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by PopMatters Staff

27 May 2016


Photo: Patrick O'Brien Smith

Pryor Stroud: “Dawn in Luxor” is the introductory track from Shabazz Palaces’ second and last proper LP Lese Majesty. The track doesn’t pop into view, it fades in, a slow-moving agglomeration of spaceship wreckage and nebula dust drifting through an atmosphere-plane so cold that all life shrivels within it. But then the verse begins, and your perspective is thrown for a loop: where are we? Are we looking down from space or on earth gazing up? Unfortunately, the lyric doesn’t have any answers; it speaks in tongues, cryptic hip-hop codices and avant-rap tangents, conjuring-up more mystery and intrigue than authentic actuality. However, if you pay attention to the words, there seems to an inter-dimensional mythology growing here. “From out the water’s wall / From Luxor to heavens in the sprawl”, Ishmael Butler drones, but, between his lips, “Luxor” doesn’t seem like an ancient Egyptian city or even a Vegas casino, it seems like an Afro-futurist ether-world, a place where oppressed populations can congregate and, if necessary, escape to. [8/10]

by PopMatters Staff

26 May 2016


Pryor Stroud: Glutted with lithe polyrhythms, house drums, and a sashaying vocal sample lifted from some ‘70s Brazilian pop track, “Lite Spots” is full of miniature sonic breakdowns, moments when Kaytranada abruptly switches directions and seems to stumble into an entirely different song. Yet, despite these unpredictable aesthetic decisions, there is an overarching sense of levity and celebration to “Lite Spots”. There’s a feeling to it—call it a groove, call it a beat, whatever—that unifies the track into one propulsive, hip-shaking mass of sinuous syllables and uncontrollable funked-out movement. It’s a testament to Kaytranada’s skill as a songsmith that a cut this jumbled and frenetic, this high-on-something, sounds so totally pure. [8/10]

by PopMatters Staff

25 May 2016


Electronic duo Filastine is comprised of composer/director Grey Filastine and vocalist/designer Nova Ruth. On his many travels, Grey met Nova in Indonesia where she had been performing with a hip-hop group. Joining forces and basing themselves in Barcelona, Filastine specializes in a cinematic brand of electronic music that utilizes many global influences alongside found sounds, percussion, vocals, and acoustic instruments. The result is an irresistibly warm blend of the digital and the analogue that renders their music as meant for the mind as much as the feet. This year Filastine has been working on a series of four video singles, Abandon, representing dances of liberation and today we bring you the second video of the series, “The Cleaner”.

by Sarah Zupko

25 May 2016


As someone who suffered terrible verbal abuse at the hands of a family member for much of my childhood and teenage years, I can deeply relate with what New York singer-songwriter Rachael Sage is looking to achieve with her new single, “I Don’t Believe It”. Sage has created an uplifting and powerful piece of music that speaks to the pain caused to her from a young life filled with bullying. The song picks you up, dusts you off and tells you that the bullies were wrong and aims to show one how much self-worth they have and how much they have to offer the world. “I Don’t Believe It” is an affecting pat on the back, encouraging one to pursue one’s dreams, put the negativity behind them and find success however that may be defined.

by PopMatters Staff

25 May 2016


Chris Ingalls: I wanted to like this solely on the basis of Idris Elba, but even he can’t save this cringe fest. He drops by at the beginning and in a few other spots, like Vincent Price in “Thriller”. But at least MJ had a decent song to show for it. It may move you and even inspire, yes, a dance off, but this is little more than a novelty song, stuffed with embarrassing pop culture cliches and serving merely as background music for a hip-hop dance competition or something the wedding reception DJ can throw on after the old folks leave. [4/10]

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Moving Pixels Podcast: Our Own Points of View on 'Hardcore Henry'

// Moving Pixels

"Hardcore Henry gives us a chance to consider not how well a video game translates to film, but how well a video game point of view translates to film.

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