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by Will Rivitz

27 Jul 2016


Michael Blume’s percussive pop is a listener’s dream, everything perfectly polished and all elements in their proper places. When I Get It Right is part Flume’s processed, pop-savvy electronic, part Sam Smith’s pained gospel falsetto, part James Blake’s soul-flavored downtempo. It’s equally comfortable at higher speeds as lower, bouncing between Casio-heavy blue-eyed soul and upbeat R&B. If When I Get It Right is any indication, Michael Blume’s career can only go up from here — this is a seriously impressive debut.

by Will Rivitz

27 Jul 2016


The pop of Maggie Szabo‘s “Touch the Ground” straddles a few tangential genre lines. There’s the subdued drums and piano of soft rock, there’s the riffing associated with a radio-ready take on soul, there’s the slight twang and shuffle of country and bluegrass. In other words, it’s pop in its purest sense, a style that draws from everything around it and reflects what people are listening to. Szabo is a uniting force, a singer who appeals to disparate groups of listeners, and that bringing together is always a force for good. Music is better when it’s shared.

by Will Rivitz

26 Jul 2016


The Brevet are a part of an ever-popular poppy flavor of folk rock, a genre spearheaded most publicly by Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers. Their newest video, a live one-take of their “Hold On”, hews closely to the former of these, anthemic acoustic guitar driving the song forward with verve. There are a lot of similarities between Brevet and Mumford — the heavily accented baritone vocals, the tamped-down drums, the close harmonies — but, most importantly, the two bands intersect in terms of their undying energy, a massive and effusive stage presence. It’s loud, it’s proud, and it’s uplifting in the most melancholically positive way.

by Matthew Fiander

26 Jul 2016


Photo: Jonathan Pfundstein

North Carolina’s Estrangers’ last record, Season of 1000 Colors, was a bittersweet sunburst of power pop released back in 2013. Now, the band is prepping their sophomore record, and the first single from that release is “Croc Rock”. The song marks a few shifts in the band’s sound. The song isn’t afraid to murk up and complicate the band’s shimmering pop sensibilities, to leave a bit of coal dust on the diamond. Jangling guitars clash nicely with airy keys over a lean rhythm section that gives the song a pulse while giving its parts space to echo outward. “What would it take to chip your armor?” singer Philip Pledger wonders at the beginning of the song, and then the music answers, cracking its own pop sheen with dusty, scuffed-up guitar solos punctuating each chorus. There’s a lucid-dreamy feel to the track, as if it’s stuck somewhere between the physical and ethereal, between the grit of the earth and some rare shine mined from it. And if the textures of the song weren’t sweet enough, the chorus is stick-in-your-ear catchy and the song bursts with infectious energy. It’s an impressive introduction to the new album, and one that should build some anticipation for its upcoming release.

by Will Rivitz

26 Jul 2016


Wages’ “Super Perfect Dreams” is a classic album closer. Its atmosphere is a denouement, steady guitars and clicking drums carrying vocalist Nick Byron Campbell’s shrill falsetto over oceans of space. It’s the kind of sound easily (and appropriately) described as “crystalline”, casually undulating melody and harmony conjuring images of cosmic seas or technicolor caverns. The song is a wonderfully spacey end to a wonderful album, a “super perfect dream” in its most lucid sense.

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It's Not Easy Being Yellow

// Moving Pixels

"In which we consider the challenges of and the reasons for making the “wrong” color choice in Pokemon Go.

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