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by PopMatters Staff

24 Aug 2015


Timothy Gabriele: Say what you will about Wham’s “Freedom” and its partial response, George Michael’s “Freedom ‘90”, but both could have only arose as a result of their time. The former, a series of bright stomping synth chords arguing against a woman’s autonomy that they somehow fashioned into a music video crying for democracy to break loose in Communist China (sadly it didn’t work, but it can be argued that China did instead “Make It Big”). The latter, a series of house vamps and slinky R&B riffs whose lyrics seem to be a rejection of music’s reliance on image that Michael somehow fashioned into an iconographic music video full of naked supermodels lip-synching the tune. !!!’s “Freedom! ‘15” could have come about from any number of recent eras. The thing that distinguishes it the most from straight-up West End/late era Prelude disco is some raw distortion. Perhaps the video’s silly but fun combo of web 1.0 and mobile ’15 technology is an attempt to rectify that.

by PopMatters Staff

24 Aug 2015


John M. Tryneski: So I admit to never having heard the Lone Bellow before this, but that’s probably a good thing for the band because there was so much here to sucker me into being a fan. The achy pedal steel, the sweetly sad lyrics, the building beat that makes it perfect driving song—it’s got everything I need from a country song. The fact that the song was apparently and ode to songwriter Zach Williams mother-in-law ups the ante even further. And, to top things off, the video is perfectly suited to its material. Shot in Lafayette, Georgia and starring a well-utilized Virginia Madsen, it does an impressive job of capturing small-town isolation. Madsen’s expressiveness also impressively conveys the constant weight of life’s daily grind heard in Williams’ lyrics. Tomorrow I’ll check out the Lone Bellow’s other songs with fingers crossed, but for right now I’m happy to just enjoy this little slice of something wonderful. [8/10]

by PopMatters Staff

24 Aug 2015


John M. Tryneski: I finally caught Courtney Barnett live at the Pitchfork Music Festival last month and it changed the way I saw her music. On record she generally sounds like a singer-songwriter at heart with a solid, if unspectacular, backing band. Live, the band comes alive, as does Barnett, with both taking pretty big (and often successful) swings at the fences of squalling rock ‘n’ roll grandeur erected by Cobain and Company. So I was a little disappointed that the “live” music video for “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party” was a relatively sedate lip-synced run-through of the song on the London streets that captured none of group’s ragged charm. The song itself is probably the most straightforward rock track on Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit but that’s by no means a problem, given its unshakable hook and universally-relatable chorus. So even while it can’t reach the lofty heights of “Depreston” and the video could be so much more, “Nobody Cares” is still an awfully solid third single from an album with all sorts of legs. [7/10]

by Adrien Begrand

24 Aug 2015


Having traded in her conventional singer-songwriter fare for something a little more adventurous, Los Angeles based/Oklahoma raised Sunday Lane has been slowly unveiling her modest makeover this year in anticipation of her upcoming new EP Future Tense(s). Her arrangements now have more variety, embracing electronic sounds more, but her biggest step forward so far is her new single “Go”, which dives headfirst into sparkling electropop. And as it turns out, it’s a perfect fit.

by PopMatters Staff

24 Aug 2015


Timothy Gabriele: Animal Collective’s Centipede Hz was a bit unfairly maligned. Production-wise, the album was possessed of a unique artistry that still sounds unlike everything else. The first few songs rival anything the band ever did, but the best tracks completely frontloaded the album. “No Man’s Land” sounds the closest to Centipede Hz’s singular dynamic that I’ve heard from any of the band members since that album’s release, but it sounds like a drifting, irresolute B-side that got cut from the album’s back end. The densely layered creaking fourth world squeals and hypnotic rhythms possess multitudes that you could fall into, but the vocal feels at best half-hearted. If you’re looking for bonus Panda Bear material, you’d be better off checking Danny L. Harle’s remix of “Come to Your Senses”. It’s one of the best things released in 2015. [6/10]

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