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by Philip Majorins

2 Feb 2012

Noah and the Megafauna are an L.A. based band whose recent album Anthems for a Stateless Nation brings together both gypsy jazz and modern influences. Their sound is stamped with jazz influences that blend into folk flamenco fusion, usually sounded in a minor key. Familiar rock melodies are accompanied by gypsy guitars, passionate vocal phrasing, horns, and a swinging rhythm section. Obvious comparisons to Django Reinhardt will be made, but their musical ethos is also reminiscent of bands like the Dustbowl Revival, Beirut, or Devotchka.

This video for “Liquid Modernity (You Can Never Go Home)” was recently premiered on KCRW Music Blog. It was directed by Travis Knight and features the muted colors and choreography of a bygone era. Anthems for a Stateless Nation is a concept album that succeeds at communicating the displacement felt underneath the cynicism of the Occupy generation. However, this cabaret for the apocalypse still qualifies as fun cerebral pop.  The video represents just that kind of tongue-in-cheek in the face of impending doom.

by Jane Jansen Seymour

2 Feb 2012

New Build was created as a “drop-in centre for friends” as the London-based group told Mixmag last fall. Al Doyle (of Hot Chip and formerly LCD Soundsystem) and Felix Martin (Hot Chip) joined forces with studio producer Tom Hopkins, along with Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem occasionally joining in. The band has released four songs from the upcoming album, Yesterday Was Lived and Lost (due 5 March), on for consumption. The tracks are filled with the buoyant dance music expected from these solid synthpop/indietronica types. Before kicking into movement-oriented grooves, the session begins with the ethereal intro of “Do You Not Feel Loved?” Multi-layered world music rhythms of “Mercy” features synth solos in between melodic verses. “Finding Reasons” brings in the steel drum of many Hot Chip songs, capping off a slower tune of vocal harmonies and fuzzy guitar. “Misery Loves Company” presents a confident stride and crooning similar to Bryan Ferry’s Roxy Music, calling us all to ruin.

Steady as I start to loose control
It’s not good for the body, but it’s good for the soul

by Comfort Clinton

31 Jan 2012

Daisy McCrackin, a San Francisco native, first broke onto the musical scene in 2009, when she wrote and recorded an album titled Til Death Do Us Part, which acted as the soundtrack to the feature film 29 Palms. She has recently released her sophomore album, called God Willing, featuring nine soulful tracks infused with a modern-folk vibe. McCrackin emphasizes simple and elegant melodies, which allow listeners to focus on the insightful lyrics and moving messages her songs espouse.

The video for her single “Ladykiller’s Wife” was shot on location in Topanga Beach, CA, and is the brainchild of director Ciamac, producer/actor James Mathers, and of course, singer/songwriter, Daisy McCrackin. The video, making its premiere here on PopMatters, focuses on the antagonistic relationship between a husband and wife, and is, as producer Mathers describes it, “A meditation on the dominator paradigm (and all things Daisy).”

The video is presented almost entirely in slow motion, which serves to underscore the extreme tension between the couple described in the lyrics. Overlapping images powerfully bleed into each other as McCrackin’s melodic tones and expressive lyrics echo and emphasize the dreamy ambiance of “Ladykiller’s Wife”. Gentle splashes of water provide a scenic backdrop to the image of the singer’s flaming red hair, flowing freely as she runs away in desperation from her tormenting husband.  McCrackin herself speaks to the fantastical mood the video evokes, saying: “Without castles and horses and chainmail armor, this is the absolute best video that could have been made for this song.”

by PopMatters Staff

30 Jan 2012

Photo: Sigurd Grunberger

The Danish pop collective, the Asteroids Galaxy Tour, specialize in a super poppy and dancey form of simultaneously retro and futuristic soul. You can hear the Stax (check the glorious horns on “Major” below) , Motown and ‘70s funk DNA in their tunes, but those remain influences and reference points while the band takes soul pop forward with electronic flourishes and contemporary dance beats. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour returns with their latest album Out of Frequency this week and today we present the Cosmic Kids remix of album tune “Heart Attack”, following a previous remix by CSS. The Cosmic Kids version is mellower than the original tune, with a muted spacey vibe and early Depeche Mode-esque synth beats. Great stuff that should light up the hipper dance floors this year.

by Comfort Clinton

27 Jan 2012

Sometimes rejection is the best motivator. This was certainly the case for filmmakers Dan Mirvish, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and Peter Baxter, who took their rejection from the Sundance Film Festival and channeled it into the creation of their own, alternative film festival. Slamdance Film Festival, begun in 1995, has become a yearly event, taking place, “coincidentally”, at the exact same time as Sundance, in scenic Park City, Utah. Run and operated with the mantra of “by filmmakers, for filmmakers” in mind, the Festival, which aims to showcase truly independent films, has drawn quite a following in its 18 years of operation, and even boasts the discovery of directors Christopher Nolan, Marc Foster, and Oren Peli.

Proving a veritable breeding ground for documentaries, in 2005, the Festival showcased Mad Hot Ballroom, which was then purchased by Paramount for a record-breaking sum, and in 2010 was home to the world premiere of Steven Soderberg’s documentary And Everything is Going Fine, which chronicles the life of deceased actor Spalding Gray.

//Mixed media

How a Song By Unknown Newcomer Adam Johnston Ended Up on Blondie's New Album

// Sound Affects

"Adam Johnston of An Unkindness wrote a song at 17 years old and posted it online. Two years later, magic happened.

READ the article