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by PopMatters Staff

14 Sep 2016


Dan Kok: The most recent album by this Norwegian experimental jazz group, Starfire, came out over a year ago, but the recent release of this companion music video adds another layer of interest and depth to the music. The song itself is a dense and tightly packed seven-minute composition that drifts between sweeping mystical clarinets and strings and driving, intense electronic sections. And the video, an equally jarring short film made with eerie wooden marionettes, enhancing this idea of duality. The images and cultural markers experienced by the traveler in the video often have two sides that are at odds with one another. The result is a strange viewing experience, but also one that has a perfectly matched soundtrack to accompany it. [8/10]

by Evan Sawdey

14 Sep 2016


Photo: Simon Cardoza

Not a lot of people know of the Marches, but the select people that know of Richard Conti’s found-instrument experiment know that as he compiles his songs one single take at a time, he eventually turns simple, funky melodies into something that sounds both old-school and modern at the same time, his albums walking a fine line between the familiar and the new, creating for a visceral, exciting listening experience.

Indeed, the Marches’ 2008 full-length, 4.a.m. Is the New Midnight and the covers-driven Director of Photography EP in 2010 helped establish Conti as a reliable savant of styles both old and new, his hammering horn-attack cover of Adele’s “Cold Shoulder” bringing actual adrenaline to the original while original works like the too-funky “Bad Touch” could very well have been masterminded by the kind folks at Daptone Records. (Full disclosure: The Marches even contributed a song to this writer’s own free compilation album Good With Words, adapting a cover song which then lead off the Director of Photography EP.)

by PopMatters Staff

13 Sep 2016


Max Totsky: Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman is chock full of songs that really shouldn’t work on paper but somehow find a way to be entertaining/captivating in a slightly post-tasteful way. “Side to Side” is not one of the album’s stronger tracks, but it epitomizes its strongest quality. It makes a bizarre combination (Grande and Minaj singing about ridiculously rough sex over a dancehall-infused over a Max Martin instrumental) and turns it into convincing pop-radio fodder. It’s one of the most unabashedly infectious tracks Grande has put out, subbing her typically refined style of pop for something a bit less pristine, a bit sweatier. Grande might actually “run pop”, but ‘Side to Side’ works on very different terms than her best tracks, the most clear-cut choice from a single from an album with many. [7/10]

by PopMatters Staff

13 Sep 2016


Photo: Derick Daily

Adriane Pontecorvo: In a year marked by outrageous, over-the-top political tensions, both locally and globally, it’s beyond satisfying to watch a video centered on politicians that go from a rap battle to a full-on intergovernmental brawl, especially with such a strong song to back up the action. Nobody holds back here; Run the Jewels’ rapping takes hard, dirty swipes at Trump, your momma, and anyone else in the way while blues arpeggios evoke wild west showdowns and trumpets back up every dramatic moment. DJ Shadow’s electronic beats add an extra layer of cinematic thrill to the track, giving us the no-holds-barred musical catharsis we all deserve for sticking it out through 2016. [10/10]

by PopMatters Staff

9 Sep 2016


Photo: Nick Zinner

Adriane Pontecorvo: There must be a vault somewhere in Stockholm that holds all the secrets to pop music, because nobody puts together a catchy song quite like the Swedes do. Miike Snow’s latest single attests to this; “My Trigger” captivates and begs for a dozen successive listens. Every element is so polished that it’s hard to pick the key to this song, but for my money, nothing keeps the song both moving forward and adds some weight to it like those keys. Upbeat, skillful, and above all, entertaining, both aurally and visually. This is the perfect pop song. [10/10]

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In Defense of the Infinite Universe in 'No Man's Sky'

// Moving Pixels

"The common cries of disappointment that surround No Man’s Sky stem from the exciting idea of an infinite universe clashing with the harsh reality of an infinite universe.

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