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by PopMatters Staff

26 Jul 2017


Mike Schiller: This is a fine way to continue on with the ridiculous success of James Arthur’s own “Say You Won’t Let Go”, though it’s not nearly as catchy as that massive pop hit. The “Stripped Version” linked here is most certainly the preferred way to listen to the song, concentrating on Arthur’s appealing voice rather than Rudimental’s beats and synth work—Arthur’s laid-back vocal style here is what drives the song from forgettable territory into “I wouldn’t turn it off if I heard it on the radio.” Simple, relaxed, and direct is a valid approach even if its results aren’t particularly memorable. [6/10]

by PopMatters Staff

24 Jul 2017


Photo: Kim Black (Sub Pop)

Morgan Y. Evans: Iron & Wine writes songs for days and nights you’ll remember long after they have faded into the past. One of the foremost real lyricists left out there, Sam Beam is also able to match it with beautiful, warm and rustic music that doesn’t come off as disingenuous or overly self-important while still feeling personal. He creates such lively musical postcards that most people can find a way into his songs, even as Beam avoids making them run of the mill. “Call It Dreaming” shows Iron & Wine is still the go to band for honest sentiment. [8/10]

by PopMatters Staff

17 Jul 2017


Paul Carr: This is a big, bold statement of intent from Arcade Fire. There is a clear and admirable desire for the band not to spend too long in the same space and to mine their DNA to reinvigorate themselves. The big synths and angular new wave of early ‘80s the Cure sound fresh and like nothing the band has done before. Despite the retro stylings, the subject matter is refreshingly current as the group deal with the quest for personal validation from family, friends, and strangers, the anxieties of negative body image and the relentless pursuit of fame at the expense of everything else. The band cleverly offer a metaphorical panacea for all of these ills in the form of Creature comfort. Something to numb the pain. This is a song that leaves you anything but anesthetized. [9/10]

by PopMatters Staff

13 Jul 2017


Paul Carr: Mogwai provide a perfectly measured lesson in song pacing. The song slowly dawns as a meditative crawl of chiming guitar notes echo and glide before gradually being joined by restrained drumming and a rumbling bass line. It’s an evocative opening as the music gradually lets the breaks off and gathers pace. As the song threatens to become something transcendental, the graceful whisper becomes a howl as the turbulence of instrumentation cracks to ensure it climaxes with maximum effect. [8/10]

by PopMatters Staff

12 Jul 2017


Photo: Tim Saccenti

Tristan Kneschke: Last year’s Post Pop Depression was a revelation, with tracks like “Break Into Your Heart” and “Gardenia” reminding us that Iggy could actually sing. Though Iggy has lent his gruff voice to productions since White Zombie’s “Black Sunshine”, Post Pop still seemed like a gamble to see how far he could stretch himself vocally. He clearly likes the direction, digging into the feeling again on “The Pure and the Damned”, an unlikely but exciting joint effort with Oneohtrix Point Never. The track is essentially a duet between Ig and a spare, somber piano recalling later Johnny Cash until tasteful string and synth elements bleed through the edges. The result is majestic and awe-inspiring. Why can’t more collaborations turn out like this? [9/10]

//Mixed media
//Blogs

How a Song By Unknown Newcomer Adam Johnston Ended Up on Blondie's New Album

// Sound Affects

"Adam Johnston of An Unkindness wrote a song at 17 years old and posted it online. Two years later, magic happened.

READ the article