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Thursday, May 31, 2012
Motion City Soundtrack's Go is one of the most-anticipated rock albums of the year (especially following 2010's astonishing My Dinosaur Life), and in revealing a somewhat darker side of themselves, the band share their new song "The Worst is Yet to Come" exclusively with PopMatters ...

If Justin Pierre is anything, it’s self-deprecating.


Fans of the songs he’s made as the frontman for Motion City Soundtrack know full-well the power of cutting one’s self down to size. When he sings about falling asleep to episodes of Veronica Mars, it doesn’t stand out as a cheeky pop culture reference as much as it does describe a very specific kind of loneliness that speaks to a very specific generation—a reference with is embedded with experience almost as much as it is astute observation. Even on the song “Radio, Radio: Are You Getting This?” from his 90s-rock side-project Farewell Continental, there features a long breakdown wherein the band gives voice to their own harshest critic (“I guess you can’t love everything,” the narrator sighs). So even when the band is running their own festival, working with the likes of Ric Ocasek and Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger over the course of the same album (in that case, 2007’s Even If It Kills Me), or having their last album—2010’s magnificent My Dinosaur Life—get hailed as the Album of the Year by Alternative Press, you know full well that their success isn’t getting to their heads: it’s only keeping them that much more grounded.


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Wednesday, May 23, 2012
by PopMatters Staff
Laid Back were part of the first early wave of musicians creating electro-pop and their music has influenced countless others and been sampled often over the years.

Fellow Danes Tim Stahl and John Guldberg began working together back in the ‘70s when they met in the group the Starbox Band and quickly departed to work on their own electronic music as a duo under the moniker Laid Back. The group found success in Europe with their first #1 hit, “Maybe I’m Crazy”, released in 1981 and 1982’s “Sunshine Reggae”, which has sold more than 20 million if you count all the compilations inclusions the tune has racked up over the years. Laid Back were part of the first early wave of musicians creating electro-pop and their music has influenced countless others and been sampled often over the years. Cosyland, releasing this week on Brother Music, is a mini album featuring rarities from the duo’s 1981 creative sessions. The songs were improvised and created with brand-new equipment, such as a Roland TR-808 rhythm box, a SH-101, a Pro-One monophonic synthesizer and a GR-500 guitar controller-and-synth. Today we offer a free download of “Cocaine Cool Extended”, which is exclusive to PopMatters for the next seven days.



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Wednesday, May 23, 2012
by PopMatters Staff
This is, simply put, one of the best Afro-pop collaborations you are likely to hear, rivaling the elder Toure’s 1994 effort with Ry Cooder, Talking Tuimbuktu.

PopMatters’ David Maine recently raved about the collaboration between Afrobeat’s Vieux Farka Toure and Israeli singer-songwriter Idan Raichel, saying “it would be an understatement to say that The Tel Aviv Session is a good record, or even a great one. This is, simply put, one of the best Afro-pop collaborations you are likely to hear, rivaling the elder Toure’s 1994 effort with Ry Cooder, Talking Tuimbuktu.” The album is one of those genre-mashing blends that we at PopMatters can never resist. If our praise hasn’t been enough, then check out the mini documentary on the project below, featuring interviews with the musicians and just see if you can resist the power of this music. Admit it, you can’t.




 


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Tuesday, May 22, 2012
by PopMatters Staff
Seattle's Lindsay Fuller can belt a tune and make you really feel the lyrics too, which matters a hell of a lot when you sing a songs about the many people of Libby, Montana suffering from lung disease.

Seattle’s Lindsay Fuller was raised in Alabama, a state that births more soulful singers per capita than anyplace else in the country. So, yeah, the woman can belt a tune and make you really feel the lyrics too, which matters a hell of a lot when you pen lines as heartfelt as “Oh libby, you take my breath away / Lure me to my grave / But our history remains.” Fuller’s latest album, You, Anniversary, released back in March and her music has been praised by both the Indigo Girls and Dave Matthews, but her sound belongs more in the Southern Gothic camp of artists as diverse as Gillian Welch and Nick Cave. “Libby” is the record’s latest single and the tune is a haunting number about the many people of Libby, Montana suffering from lung disease as a result of asbestos poisoning from vermiculite mining in the area. The music is dark and, yes, the subject is death, but Fuller manages to infuse passion for living in every nook of the song.



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Monday, May 21, 2012
by PopMatters Staff
James Apollo includes Built to Spill's "Big Dipper" on his latest EP Little War, Little Less.

James Apollo’s upcoming June 5th EP release, Little War, Little Less, features six tunes based on themes of the American West and was produced by none other than Damien Jurado. The album has an immediacy meant to capture the energy of Apollo’s live shows, so they recorded the songs in one to two takes in Washington’s Cascade Mountains. Meanwhile the songs themselves were penned out in the Utah Canyons to achieve that authentic Western feel. “Big Dipper” is actually a tune by Built to Spill, but Apollo felt it fit so perfectly with the tone of Little War, Little Less that it’s covered on the album. Below, you can the actual live recording of “Big Dipper” from album sessions.



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