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by PopMatters Staff

23 May 2016


Photo: Holly J. Schumacher

East Tennessee’s Derik Hultquist did what lots of musical dreamers do… he headed straight to Nashville after graduation. Like most, he worked the odd jobs to support himself while working hard on developing his songwriting as well as discovering his true singing voice. Hultquist has released a number of EPs over the years as his music progressed and now, after 10 years in Nashville, he is set to release his full-length debut album, Southern Iron, coming June 17th via Carnival Music/Thirty Tigers. Southern Iron is a well-crafted set of Hultquist’s original songs living in the country/pop sphere with songs that occasionally feature elements of psychedelic and roots rock.

by PopMatters Staff

23 May 2016


Pryor Stroud: In “Vapour Trail”, Lone dexterously melds a muscular hip-hop beat with a fidgety, chrome-coated electronic melody, forging a unique sound that seems, at once, anchored in cracked concrete and suspended in the clouds. As the track progresses, the reduplicated, half-legible vocal sample begins to assume a hypnotic quality—that is, it begins to pull you deeper into the track without announcing its intentions. This opens up a set of questions: where is Lone taking us? Where does this vapour trail lead? [7/10]

by PopMatters Staff

20 May 2016


Pryor Stroud: Charged with gargling synths, metronomic percussion, and a vocal ripped straight out of the ‘80s fem-rock playbook, “Never Going to Die” is the debut single from Mary Jane Dunphe’s new synthpop project CC DUST. While on the surface this is a relatively straightforward electro-punk ballad, the details here deserve additional scrutiny: the foregrounded synthesizer drones are rough-edged, thick, even dirty, and Dunphe’s voice—a hoarse, up-from-the-gut warble—seems determined to fight against them. It’s as if she’s trying to free herself from the track’s sonic muck and, by extension, the oppressive sense of mortality that has begun to feel like a shackle against her skin. [7/10]

by PopMatters Staff

19 May 2016


Australia’s CW Stoneking grew up in a remote part of the Northern Territory, but he fell in love early with gospel music, blues and ragtime and those first loves have been with him ever since. Stoneking notes that when he first heard blues he “thought it was kinda funny music because it was so deconstructed and not really adhering to any rules that I’d been told music [should] fit into.” Robert Johnson and Son House are among Stoneking’s influences, which makes sense given Stoneking’s raw, unvarnished, passionate form of the blues. That rawness has always been a part of country blues at least and it melds well with Stoneking’s somwehat punk sensibility.

by PopMatters Staff

19 May 2016


Emmanuel Elone: For a comeback song, “All For One” is extremely solid. The descending chord progression feels vibrant and full thanks to some fantastic guitar tone, and the drums are crisp and steady. Ian Brown’s vocals are relaxed yet prominent as he croons a catchy melody and chorus. The only issues is the guitar solo on the bridge; while sweet, it feels out of place on the song. Still, it’s been two decades since the band broke up, yet they’ve returned to form as if it’s been only a couple of years. For that alone, they’ve solidified their position as one of the better British jangle pop bands of the ‘90s, right alongside the likes of the Smiths. [8/10]

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