Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

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Thursday, Apr 23, 2009

Would Van Hunt do anything to get your “attention”? After parting ways with Blue Note/EMI last year, the funk-rocker is now a free agent. As a “salve for these desperate times”, he’s offering free downloads of tracks from his extensive vault to fans. Entitled Use in Case of Emergency, the songs can be accessed for a limited time by visiting Hunt is currently working on new music that will be available 8 May on his website only.


Tagged as: van hunt
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Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009


Depeche Mode: Sounds of the Universe
Pet Shop Boys: Yes

Both of these artists began their lengthy careers in Southern England back in the early ‘80s, 1980 and 1981 respectively. Their 30-year careers have been punctutated by stylistic shifts, most notably in the case of Depeche Mode who began life as among the poppiest of new wave’s synth pop bands and steadily turned darker and rockier over the years. Both artists return this week with new albums that will be competing heavily for attention among Generation Xers.

Tagged as: new cds
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Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009
by PopMatters Staff

The new King Khan and the Shrines album is streaming in full over at imeem right now.

King Khan and the Shrines
“Land of the Freak” [MP3]

04-29 9:30 Club - Washington, DC
04-30 First Unitarian Church - Philadelphia, PA
05-01 Music Hall of Willamsburg - Brooklyn, NY
05-02 Maxwell’s - Hoboken, NJ
05-03 Santos Partyhouse - NYC
05-07 Paradise - Boston, Mass
05-08 Babylon - Ottawa, ON
05-09 La Sasa Rossa - Montreal, PQ
05-12 Phoenix Theatre - Toronto, ON
05-13 Magic Stick - Detroit, MI
05-14 Wexner Center - Columbus, OH
05-15 Bottom Lounge - Chicago, IL
05-16 Triple Rock - Minneapolis, MN

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Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009
Certainly, my wet dreams aren’t of some wanton tragic mulatto naked on her hands and knees, projecting that very old Plantation style racial order (See the next-to-last scene of Monster’s Ball). Rather, I fantasize about Mariah, Barack and Alicia.

I’ve started to capitalize ‘White’ in my lexicon, elevating it to an anti-racist category, like Black. Undoubtedly, ‘white’ as a racial category grew out of imperialism and dominance- a holistic ideology to squash others. It is rare that folks reclaim the identity, forming it into anything other than what pop culture has said: bland, mainstream (See 1999’s American Beauty- WASPY asses hung out to dry!). Further aiding whiteness evaporate into nothingness, came the lexicon celebrating ethnicity, diversity and inclusion, which understandably even further silenced and effaced ‘white’.  Interestingly, Martin Luther King always affirmed the category of White and Black, and as cable of engaging in dialogue. Beyond King’s dream, what happens when the ‘white kids and black kids’ playing together (inevitably) grow up and decide to play parents together?

Certainly, my wet dreams aren’t of some wanton tragic mulatto naked on her hands and knees, projecting that very old Plantation style racial order (See the next to last scene of Monster’s Ball). Rather, I fantasize about Mariah, Barack and Alicia. I wonder what it would be like if Mariah took piano lessons from Alicia Keys, and actually started belting out, stomping and mashing the keyboard all at once. How fierce would that diva be then? Or what magic would the two composers compose together? Imagine them rocking the White House. Do you wonder about the kinds of dialogue they would have, and how much it would benefit the public? Imagine a Save the Music concert not sponsored by VH1’s corporate sponsors, but by ‘the people’. Imagine government investing in art education at all levels on behalf of us, ‘the people’. Imagine the Queen of Soul praising a Black president, in dialogue with a nation, before the world stage at his inauguration. Hey Lover, as LL fantasized, it’s no longer just one-way love, anymore.

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Monday, Mar 30, 2009

It’s not everyday that a classically trained baritone fuses opera, gospel, and funk. On Now Sings My Soul, Giuseppe Spoletini, indeed, vacillates between numerous musical worlds with stunning dexterity. He warmly wraps his rich and sumptuous voice around a harp-based arrangement of “Ave Maria” yet brings Mahalia Jackson’s “Trouble of the World” to a feverish pitch with equal aplomb. Produced by Nona Hendryx, Now Sings My Soul is a remarkable showcase for Spoletini, who currently instructs aspiring vocalists at Manhattan School of Music while winning over enthusiastic audiences in the clubs and cabarets of New York. 

“The purpose of the CD is to be very inclusive and it’s to uplift people”, Spoletini says about his debut. “The goal is to just make people feel better or give them some hope”. With rousing tracks like “Who’ll Be a Witness for My Lord” and a stunning original composition by Hendryx entitled “The Impossible”, Spoletini not only uplifts, he inspires, illustrating that when categories are suspended, truly magical music can be made.

For more information, visit


Giuseppe Spoletini EPK

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