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by Jane Jansen Seymour

29 Nov 2011


A special piece of music created by British alt rock band elbow for the 2012 Olympics in London is now in the final stages of production. The theme will be used in promotional coverage before the games next summer, as well as during the event.

“We are knocked out to be involved and it’s been quite a challenge,” says lead singer Guy Garvey. His warm, distinctive baritone has been the signature of this band since it formed twenty years ago. Their fifth album released last spring, Build a Rocket Boys!, is landing on many top ten lists for the year (for example, KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” Jason Bentley). It was also nominated for Britain’s 2011 Mercury Prize and debuted at number two on the UK album chart.

by Jonathan Kosakow

29 Nov 2011


If the new single, “Lonely Boy”, is any indicator of what to expect from the Black Keys’ upcoming album El Camino, then you’d better be ready to add another disc to your rotation on December 6. And no, it’s not only because of the awesomely absurd video (below) they’ve put together for it (by “put together” I mean “pressed play”), which by itself is a feat of viral video genius.

“Lonely Boy” is perfectly Black Keys—a grungy, anthemic rock tune with hints of blues, psychedelia, and pop that is destined to be named one of the most memorable songs of the year. Granted, it’s cutting it close to the end of this year, but it would be a fault to leave this one off the Top lists of ‘11—if not for the music, then certainly for the video.

by Alan Ranta

28 Nov 2011


The Manchester roots of Golden Glow are on clear display with “The Cure”. Grainy, overexposed shots of the famous red brick city, birthplace of modern rave culture, are spliced among scenes of principal singer-songwriter Pierre Hall, alone in the studio. It is quite DIY looking, while the song itself was recorded on a four-track on a no-string budget, portraying the sort of detached delivery, loose play, and frozen drums one would expect to hear from Joy Division or the Happy Mondays, as produced by Martin Hannett. It’s all very Factory Records, very Manchester.

by Gem Wheeler

28 Nov 2011


The tunesmiths of Tin Pan Alley had an expression way back when: “the old grey whistle test”. If you played your song to the grey-clad doorman and he liked it, you had a hit on your hands. The people behind the long-running BBC music show of that name were proper musos—with all the baggage that entails—and the rather opaque title was exactly the kind of reference they’d appreciate. Whistle Test (or OGWT) may have disappeared from British screens in 1987 as a new wave of young pretenders took to the stage, but its lasting place in pop culture has been explored by a new BBC Radio 2 series. Each programme devotes a full hour to a year of the show’s history, featuring archive audio and new performances from relevant acts.

by PopMatters Staff

23 Nov 2011


Jonathan Coulton is on a major roll of late… his new album Artificial Heart just hit #1 on the BIllboard Heatseeker Chart, meanwhile folks like Suzanne Vega, John Roderick of the Long Winters, Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara and John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants turned out to collaborate with Coulton on the record. Artificial Heart is his first full-length offering of new material since his lauded “Thing a Week” series from 2006 where he produced a new musical work each week for a year. Coulton’s latest single is the ultra catchy “Sticking It to Myself”, which features Phil Hernandez from the Elegant Too. Flansburgh, who produced the whole album, returns to film and direct this new video.

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