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by Brice Ezell

2 Jun 2015


In a short feature on American Songwriter, the North Carolina septet Songs of Water were asked what their turn-ons and turn-offs are. Their answer was simple:

Turn-Offs: false pretense

Turn-Ons: authenticity

These folks aren’t joking. One listen to Stars and Dust, the group’s gorgeous new LP, and you’ll find nary a hint of the former and the plenty of the latter. With a lush, emotional musical landscape that more often than not evokes the feel of a film score, Stars and Dust is a complex journey from beginning to end. From the piano-driven beauty of album highlight “She’s Only Sleeping” to the wide-eyed wonderment of closer “Chiaroscuro”, you’re bound to get lost in the many paths Songs of Water take. Stars and Dust is an apt title; by the time the album reaches its conclusion, you’ll have journeyed to the stars from the dust, and then back again.

by Brice Ezell

2 Jun 2015


The Jacksonville, Florida band Sea Cycles is an interesting case as far as music that’s been called “synth-pop” goes. Whereas the regular practitioners of that style typically place vocals at the center—albeit usually through a gamut of vocal processors and effects—this quartet’s music is primarily instrumental, evoking the stylistics of post-rock. Both “Your Mind is a Sundial” and “Fiber Optic Cables To Antarctica” are close sonic kin to the music of Mogwai, the former sounding like a potential B-side to 2001’s Rock Action. Introspective in disposition and pensive in mood, Ground & Air is an instrumental set that conjures up vivid mental landscapes, as the best instrumental music is in wont to do.

by Brice Ezell

1 Jun 2015


On past LPs, the Seattle-based group Barcelona have shown an affinity for groups like Coldplay. With their 2014 single “Fall in Love”, though, the band took a more minimalist, electronic direction, one far more successful than Coldplay’s snorefest Ghost Stories. To add to this electronic experimentation, Barcelona took to the Moog studio to put a fresh spin on “Fall in Love”. As the video capture of the performance attests, these Seattleites harnessed the dizzying array of synth options with aplomb.

by Brice Ezell

1 Jun 2015


With June now having kicked off, some will undoubtedly begin speculating as to what the “song of the summer” will be. While it would be premature to make any definitive calls this early on, the Nashville indie electro-pop outfit certainly have cause to throw the hat in the ring with their latest tune “Run Wild”, which features on their forthcoming Eunoia LP. Stream the track exclusively below.

by Brice Ezell

28 May 2015


Sorrow and loss are deeply woven into the country music fabric, but they’re especially critical elements to the new LP by Jeremy Pinnell, OH/KY. With a gruff voice and a strong grasp on what real country sounds like, Pinnell spins a series of compelling yarns on the album that document the hardships of the past 18 years of his life, from drug addiction to failed relationships. On the cut “Big Bright World”, Pinnell takes the former head-on, singing, “I love the needle, son / And the needle loves me / It wants nobody to be free.” As Pinnell puts it in describing OH/KY, “You live the life I live, and you will know the way that country sounds.” Fortunately, as “Big Bright World” attests, Pinnell’s life isn’t all loss: “I’m lucky to be in this big bright world”, he sings.

OH/KY received a limited Kentucky/Ohio release back in 2014, and is now seeing its national United States release this summer. In his 7 out of 10 review of the album for its limited release in 2014 for PopMatters, Eric Risch calls these tunes “a tutorial on classic country music”.

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"To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the hit franchise, PopMatters seeks submissions about Star Trek, including: the TV series, from The Original Series (TOS) to the highly anticipated 2017 new installment; the films, both the originals and the J.J. Abrams reboot; and ancillary materials such as novelizations, comic books, videogames, etc.

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