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by AJ Ramirez

18 May 2010


Early on the morning of May 18, 1980, Joy Division singer Ian Curtis committed suicide by hanging himself in the kitchen of his Macclesfield, England home. Despite the short body of work he produced (one full-length album plus a clutch of singles and EPs by the time of his death at age 23, soon followed by a second album and other posthumous releases), Ian Curtis’ music with Joy Division has gained a legendary stature in the subsequent decades. Noted for his frenzied performance style, his dark, literate lyrics, and his doomy proto-goth baritone, in death Curtis has become an icon of the post-punk movement in particular and underground rock music in general, continuing to influence scores of artists to this day.

In honor of Curtis’ legacy, here are a pair of videos that showcase his indomitable stage presence in life, followed by Anton Corbijn’s 1988 music video for the Joy Division song “Atmosphere”, quite possibly the most exquisite and beautifully-crafted posthumous tribute the medium has ever produced. As a bonus, also included is Radiohead’s cover of “Ceremony” (originally released as the debut single by Joy Division’s successor group New Order), one of the last songs Curtis ever wrote.

by Bill Clifford

17 May 2010


For anyone who may have missed it, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon hosted a week-long promotion last week of the re-release of one of classic rock’s most renowned recordings, The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street. The promotion also coincided with the premiere of Stones in Exile, a DVD documentary of the making of the double record masterpiece. The reissue comes in three editions: the classic 18-track CD; a deluxe CD package that includes 10 unearthed tracks – including four that didn’t make the original recording and haven’t been heard until now; and a super-deluxe package that includes a vinyl copy, a CD and the 30-minute documentary as well as a 50-page photo book. Friday night’s show included the premiere of the 30-minute documentary.

Lest that history be lost on the youth, Fallon invited guest musicians on the show to cover songs from Exile on Main Street, four of whom are young enough to have been children when the original recording was released. Below are the videos from long time Stones friend and contributor Taj Mahal, performing “Shine a Light”, Green Day playing “Rip This Joint”, Keith Urban’s take on “Tumbling Dice”,  Sheryl Crow with “All Down the Line”, and Phish offering up “Loving Cup”. Guests in some of the performances include Fallon’s house band, the Roots, as well as Rolling Stone touring musicians Chuck Leavell.

by PopMatters Staff

16 May 2010


Back in 2008, Christian John Wikane profiled innovative R&B songstress Janelle Monáe and called her “a freedom fighter, a daydreamer, a storyteller, and, above all, a fiercely independent artist whose music bridges the fringe with the mainstream.” She was a fairly off-the-radar performer then, but now she’s poised for major exposure with her new album The ArkAndroid releasing on Bad Boy Records this week. On her new video for “Tightrope”, she teams up with OutKast’s Big Boi and channels some fine Michael Jackson dance moves.

by Thomas Britt

14 May 2010


There are many reasons to arrive at shows in time to see supporting acts. In addition to being treated to more entertainment for the price of admission, watching opening bands often lends much-needed support to acts that are still building an audience. Perhaps the best outcome is a mutual discovery, wherein the band finds that audience and the crowd is exposed to music that theretofore had been under the radar. This is the case with Laminated Cat, whose Umbrella Weather was released late last year. Opening for the Apples in Stereo on recent dates surrounding the release of that band’s excellent Travellers in Space and Time, Laminated Cat did not necessarily play to the full-capacity attendance enjoyed by the headliner, but the young band’s performance was revelatory.

On a superficial level, the Maine band’s “scruffy young brothers” vibe recalls the emergence of Kings of Leon years ago. Musically, however, Laminated Cat could not be further removed from the shiny product that Kings of Leon eventually became. Avowed admirers of Elephant Six releases and the Beatles, the members of Laminated Cat create a beguiling mixture of psychedelic folk/rock. Umbrella Weather—recorded by Craig Morris, Tanner Smith, and A.J. Griffin with supervision from the Apples in Stereo’s Robert Schneider—does bear the sonic influence of Elephant Six acts, but it also brings to mind the sorely missed Beachwood Sparks and early Sparklehorse. The album was released through Garden Gate Records, whose “mission is to release music that should not go unheard, that the world needs to hear… sounds for the ears of the future”.

by Henry Guyer

14 May 2010


Unless you get the honor and the privilege to live in the Land of the Rising Sun, you won’t be able to enjoy Shugo Tokumaru’s new album Port Entropy just yet. It is reserved for a Japan-only release at the moment for the 21st of May. You can, however, watch over and over again his latest video for “Rum Hee”, which sums up his deserved rise since 2008’s Exit nicely. It’s nostalgic, quirky, and overflows with a profoundly sophisticated and catchy pop arrangement.

//Mixed media
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Best of the Moving Pixels Podcast: Further Explorations of the Zero

// Moving Pixels

"We continue our discussion of the early episodes of Kentucky Route Zero by focusing on its third act.

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