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by Brice Ezell

15 May 2015


Comprised of Marshall Gallagher (Swing Hero), Kamtin Mohager (Chain Gang of 1974), and Anthony Salazar, Teenage Wrist is an up-and-coming side project that’s already got an EP of tunes ready to share. That EP, Dazed will be out next week; it features six songs, one of which you can stream exclusively here at PopMatters.

“Summer” may seem straightforward on the surface, but it has multiple different components that elevate it from its ostensible indie rock surface. Although the guitars bring mid-‘00s alt-rock to mind, when paired with the vocals—whose layered production brings shoegaze to mind—there’s a nice textural juxtaposition between smoothness and harshness. There’s also a nice and brief clean guitar break mid-way through the tune, whose tone brings to mind the post-rock of Explosions in the Sky.

by Brice Ezell

15 May 2015


If Valentina sounds terribly familiar, don’t worry—it’s supposed to. David Gedge, known best for his work with the Leeds, UK-based indie rockers the Wedding Present, is also responsible for the Cinerama project, where he explores more traditional pop songwriting. Thus, it’s no coincidence that the latter project is now releasing an album called Valentina, when the former did the same in 2012.

With the new Valentina, Gedge takes the Wedding Present’s original LP and re-interprets it through the lens of the Cinerama sonic—and the results are astonishing. Heavy on swanky jazz orchestrations, smooth pop vocals, and Brian Wilson-esque arrangements, Cinerama’s Valentina is a lush pop confection. The electric guitars of the Wedding Present have been traded in for liberally used string sections, Vegas lounge pianos, and an overall air of sophistication that’s infectiously fun. This Valentina may have its roots in a previous recording, but it stands on its own as a fine orchestral pop album that hearkens back to the ‘60s without getting drunk on its own nostalgia.

by Brice Ezell

14 May 2015


Earlier this week, the Manchester-based duo of Bernard + Edith had their debut LP, Jem, released in the United States. Already, other artists have found the young group’s music ripe for interpretation, as the remix you can stream below evinces. This remix, done by the Icelandic electronic trio Samaris, removes the original vocal from Bernard + Edith’s tune “WURDS”, stripping it down to a pulsating electronic instrumental that’s ideal for the darkest hours of the night. In changing what began initially as a somewhat dramatic song into a moody and pensive little number, Samaris highlight both their own creativity and the strength of the material that they were working with.

by Brice Ezell

14 May 2015


MacGillivray, a singer and protest poet who hails from the Scottish Highlands, has crafted a unique take on the image of Marilyn Monroe with her tune “Night Skin”, which features on her forthcoming Once Upon a Dirty Ear LP. Over layers of lush electronic textures that form the ambiance of a nocturne, MacGillivray’s echoey vocals unfold evocative lyrical images like, “She went swimming in diamonds / A thousand glimmer scratches to the skin / Peels it off at night time / Wears it just for him.” The spacey flow of the tune is then capped off with a brooding drum sample, one that gives the music a Massive Attack-esque twist.

by Brice Ezell

14 May 2015

Photo: Swans performing at CBGB on 22 April 1983, by
Catherine Ceresole

The Swans you see in the photo above, the Swans that rose to prominence in New York City’s famed “no wave” scene in the early ‘80s, are not the same Swans that have been rising to popularity over the past five years with megalithic double LPs in tow. Although the plodding rhythms and earth-rumbling heaviness that Swans have recently perfected on LPs like The Seer and To Be Kind can be heard in the band’s early music, the Swans of the ‘80s are an entity unto themselves. Gira wasn’t being glib when he called Swans’ 2010 return a “reconstitution”, not a “reunion”. A lot has changed since the no wave days.

One foundational early work of Swans’ is Filth, their 1983 debut. The band recently announced a reissue of the record, both in deluxe 3CD and vinyl treatments, both remastered by Doug Henderson, who mastered The Seer and To Be Kind). This reissue will mark the album’s first vinyl pressing in 24 years.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

'Staircase' Is Gay in a Melancholy Way

// Short Ends and Leader

"Unfairly cast aside as tasteless during its time for its depiction of homosexuality, Staircase is a serious film in need of a second critical appraisal.

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