All you ask from a new artist is that they be themselves. If the music is genuine, that’s all that matters. No poses. Rapper Dylan Owen doesn’t hide behind an image or persona on his debut album There’s More to Life. Growing up in upstate New York, he simply makes music about his own upbringing, and his introspective take on hip hop will remind some of the narratives created by Mike Skinner of the Streets. That characteristic shines through on “Glory Years”, in which he writes eloquently, “Making out in UFOs at the Orange County Fair / Made me feel like something from another world would save us / Or some great tragedy would come along to turn my pages.” He’s just released a video for the track.
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As Mark Allister reviewed earlier this year, James McMurtry’s latest album Complicated Game is a delight, steeped in the swampier sounds of Americana but at the same time displaying the charm of a witty storyteller spinning a yarn on a back porch. Nestled on the back half of the record is the charming little ragtime blues tune “Forgotten Coast”, McMurtry’s wonderful tribute to America’s southernmost coastal region. The new video for the track, which we’re very pleased to premiere here at PopMatters, is a beautifully photographed portrait of the region, the perfect accompaniment to the song.
Northern Irish hard rockers the Answer have put together a nice career after appearing almost a decade ago, cultivating a solid fanbase through heavy touring and some good, consistent albums. Their fifth album Raise a Little Hell came out this past March, and they’ve just completed a video for “Gone Too Long”, which we’re premiering here at PopMatters. A departure from the usual heavy blues-driven fare the Answer have become well known for, the band goes for something a little more understated on the acoustic-backed tune, which is sold well yet again by Cormac Neeson, who belts out those vocals in soulful, Glenn Hughes fashion.
It’s fair to say that a band that combines Japanese, Balkan, cumbia, gypsy, dub, tribal, roots, and 8-bit music will probably sound just a little bit eclectic. Such are the Dolomites, who for years have been combining different forms of world music to create one crazy, eclectic, and hugely enjoyable whole. Take “Wakannai”, for instance, whose video we’re premiering here today. Featuring accordion, tuba, darabuka, and wadaioko, the song inexplicably marries Balkan polka, Japanese/English lyrics, and tribal scatting, yet manages to wriggle into your head in seconds.
Known for his collaborations with Nico, John Cale, and Pere Ubu (where he serves as an auxiliary member) Graham “Dids” Dowdall has been making music for decades, and his latest under the pseudonym Gagarin, the forthcoming full-length Aoticp, continues the artist’s experimentation in the electronic realm. The humming, lurching “Feral Dreams” is a great indication of what you can expect to hear on its eleven tracks, a combination of hypnotic ambient electronica and thrumming, skittering percussion, vague in form save for the skeletal structure of the beats. Part classic electronic, part futuristic.