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by PopMatters Staff

19 Jan 2017


Andrew Paschal: The opening track and fourth single from Rennen is also its worst offering. The song is a contrived and affected attempt to meld some idea of bluesiness into his brand of so-called “PBR&B”. Its melody is uncomfortably familiar, sounding not so much like one song in particular as a whole slew of songs, each similarly caricatured and unsubtle. “My baby don’t make a sound / As long as her hard liquor’s never watered down,” he drawls in an on-the-nose attempt to recreate the feel of a seedy tavern. In addition to going for a postindustrial bar song, “Hard Liquor” also has a curious “heave-ho” kind of vibe to it, like a co-opted imitation of the songs people associate with tough, physical labor. Perhaps this is what you would get if you crossed Blade Runner with Holes. [4/10]

by PopMatters Staff

18 Jan 2017


Photo: Angel Ceballos

Jordan Penney: Each element of “The Lost Sky” seems carefully executed to create a sense of tension. The arrangement consists of guitar and bass, and its relative simplicity and repetition create a gently propulsive rhythm. The vocal melody is an unbroken march through three lengthy verses, and until the chorus Hoop barely allows herself a moment to add a melodic flourish off the end of a word. It has a restless quality. The lyrics suggest the carrying of a haunting burden—“I walk the dark star, the lost sky / Searching for your signal, receive mine”—and neither asks for nor expects redemption. Even the video depicts a disturbing scenario played out again and again, no resolution in sight. A masterpiece of concise and thoughtful songwriting, “The Lost Sky” is also a straightforwardly memorable and appealing song. [9/10]

by Sarah Zupko

17 Jan 2017


Photo: Hillary Shemin

Sometimes you just need to hear a feel good song to get on by and this week, we need it more than ever. Enter blues/American artist Seth Walker who has a new video for “High Time”, a tune that rollicks joyfully in its New Orleans vibe. Walker laces together NOLA rhythms, some funky piano, and slinky guitar to create this earworm of a song. “High Time” leads off Walker’s recent album Gotta Get Back, and it gets your feet and backfield in motion.

by Sarah Zupko

17 Jan 2017


Photo: Sergio Lopez and Kelly Rashka

Lance Washington (a.k.a. Lando Chill) lost his father at the tender age of four and it has left a mark on him, one that he needed to address in artistic fashion to help him deal with the pain. Washington grew up in Chicago but moved to Arizona for college, and he took up poetry before diving head-long into music. Those sunny climes of Arizona have worn off on Washington, putting the real “chill” in Chill’s moniker. That and some stellar OG Kush that Chill celebrates in his song “Early in the Morning”.

Chill’s sound is soulful, warm and groovy, his honey-esque flow utterly irresistible and enticing. The video for “Early in the Morning”, which appears on Chill’s 2016 debut album, For Mark, Your Son, was shot in Northern Arizona and features Chill and his girlfriend on a road trip, spending the day in nature with some great herb and each other. This take on the song is a live band version, and it suggests the direction the artist is heading on his upcoming new record planned for this summer via Mello Music Group.

by PopMatters Staff

16 Jan 2017


Paul Carr: This is an artifact from the origins of punk that still sounds as vital and alive as it did then. The song is a powerful, spit and vinegar, aural assault, full of genuine working class angst. Chords are torn and shredded with the words hurtling past at a furious pace. A testament to the powers of youth, yet as important now as it ever has been. This is punk. Nothing held back. No thought of tomorrow. No pauses. No rest. No future. [9/10]

//Mixed media
//Blogs

That Ribbon of Highway: Sharon Jones Re-shapes Woody Guthrie's Song

// Sound Affects

"Sharon Jones and Woodie Guthrie knew: great songs belong to everybody.

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