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Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Shirli McAllen captures that coy but sexy, sophisticated but rather saucy style of the '20s/'30s chanteuses, while contemporizing the approach enough to make her a possible indie poster girl.

Last year PopMatters’ Chris Conaton said of LA’s Leftover Cuties, “If you’re bored with Adele’s retro soul and Mumford and Sons’ take on Americana, Leftover Cuties may have the next throwback sound you’re looking for: 1930s vocal jazz. And like those acts, they do their thing quite well.” Well, I’m a sucker for ‘20s and ‘30s music and vocal jazz and, in fact, it might be just about my favorite era for popular music, so this band hits all my sweet spots. Lead singer Shirli McAllen captures that coy but sexy, sophisticated but a rather saucy style of the ‘20s/‘30s chanteuses, while contemporizing the approach enough to make her a possible indie poster girl.


Following last year’s Places to Go, Leftover Cuties have just released a covers EP, Departures featuring takes on tunes by Etta James, Coldplay, Lady Gaga and more. On the video, we are premiering today, the band performs Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”, which is also available on the EP.


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Tuesday, May 8, 2012
by PopMatters Staff
The former frontman of Austin’s Lions, Matt Drenik aka Battleme, just recently released his self-titled debut album, highlighting his rekindled love for the music of the Flaming Lips, Beck and the Stones.

The former frontman of Austin’s Lions, Matt Drenik aka Battleme, just recently released his self-titled debut album on Trashy Moped Recordings. Back in 2009, Drenik was diagnosed with uvetis, an autoimmune disease of the eye and he lived in Portland for a while and recorded more than 40 tunes in his girlfriend’s basement and got medical help at a renowned eye clinic in the area.


The illness made him re-evaluate his life and music and, as a result, he fell back in love with old favorites, such as the Flaming Lips’ “Clouds Taste Metallic”, Beck’s “Mellow Gold”, and the Rolling Stone’s “Sticky Fingers”. That in turn influenced his songwriting and he decided to work under the new name Battleme to celebrate his new artistic direction. Today we have the pleasure of presenting the online premiere of “Shoot the Noise, Man”, which you can stream below and, as a bonus, we have the download of “touch” for you as well, along with the video.



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Friday, May 4, 2012
by PopMatters Staff
Art Alexakis from Everclear is one of the latest major talents who has stopped by Guitar Center to play for the Nic Harcourt podcast series that now numbers 25 entries.

Art Alexakis from Everclear is one of the latest major talents who has stopped by Guitar Center to play for the Nic Harcourt podcast series that now numbers 25 entries. Previous podcasts have included a diverse fare, from legends Jimmy Cliff and Quincy Jones to today’s hottest new acts like Alabama Shakes and Dirty Beaches. Today we bring you the premiere of Alexakis performing the hit “I Will Buy You a New Life”, which isn’t included on the Guitar Center web site. The official video for the episode online was “Father of Mine”, which is also included. The podcast is an intriguing series combining live performance and interview segments and is well worth subscribing to both for the quality of content and the wide range of artists represented. After checking out the videos, head on over to grab the podcast and listen to the interview with Alexakis.


About the series: “‘At: Guitar Center with Nic Harcourt’ is a podcast series that that delivers unique music, and the stories behind it as told to host, Nic Harcourt, in the highest quality possible. The series features both exclusive performance videos and audio podcasts of these interviews that aim to tell the stories of the artists, their background, their music and more.”



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Thursday, May 3, 2012
by PopMatters Staff
Alex Winston is a young singer-songwriter from Detroit who melds the '60s girl group sound with smart and pointed lyrics, turning pop on its head while fully exploiting pop's standard musical tropes.

Alex Winston is a young singer-songwriter from Detroit who melds the ‘60s girl group sound with smart and pointed lyrics, turning pop on its head while fully exploiting pop’s standard musical tropes. Somehow it’s only too perfect that someone from Detroit is the one twisting Motown sounds into a new style. Her debut album, King Con, received praise from notables such as Pitchfork, Spin and Brooklyn Vegan and she looks set to have an artistically satisfying career. Today we bring you a remix of the album tune “Guts” remixed by Swedish electronic duo the Sound of Arrows.



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Monday, Apr 30, 2012
by PopMatters Staff
Portland's Strangled Darlings bring punk intensity to folk pop and completely bust the mold, creating smart, irreverent tunes using classic acoustic folk instrumentation paired with rough, impassioned vocals.

Portland’s Strangled Darlings bring punk intensity to folk pop and completely bust the mold, creating smart, irreverent tunes using classic acoustic folk instrumentation paired with rough, impassioned vocals. The lyrics are more political and confrontational than the rather observational style that you often hear in folk. Think of it rather like the Clash with an indie Northwestern American aesthetic and acoustic instruments instead of Telecasters and Fender Precisions. George Veech and Jessica Anderly lead Strangled Darlings, playing tenor banjo, mandolin, cello, fiddle, and bass, while they bring in friends to add percussion and jazzy horn bits.


The group’s latest album, Red Yellow & Blue releases 15 May via Mudfarm Records. Today we bring you the premiere of the album’s opening track, “Snake & The Girl”, which takes on organized religion in a big way, saying “stand up for yourself… be your own goddamn salvation.”



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