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Friday, Sep 26, 2014
The first night of Robert Plant's tour with his new band the Sensational Space Shifters, which included new material and Led Zeppelin classics, proved how apt their moniker is.

Led Zeppelin’s blues and rock songs were steeped in mysticism. And their lead vocalist, Robert Plant has put out many albums since that group split, with perhaps the most successful being the much-lauded Raising Sand, a collaboration of Americana and folk covers done with Alison Krauss. This year, Plant is back with an excitingly dubbed new band, The Sensational Space Shifters and with their backing, he stretches the sonic palette he has working with for decades. And their first album, lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, is a wonderous and delightful amalgamation of Appalachian folk and North African and Eastern sonics that will prove as timeless as anything he’s done before. The Space Shifters include Juldeh Camara on unique instruments, the kologo, which is similar to a banjo and a ritti that is played with a bow, both Justin Adams and Liam “Skin” Tyson on guitars, John Baggot on keyboards and synths, Billy Fuller on bass and Dave Smith on drums.


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Thursday, Sep 25, 2014
Bahamas does more than keep the summer vibes alive, he gives you the opportunity to dance by the fire.

Canadian musician Afie Jurvanen, aka Bahamas, is a regular in the social scene / musical circles of his country and has a loyal following in these United States. If considering his self-appointed moniker, the sunny islands of the Bahamas might not be the first connection you make when you think of a musician from Canada. However the music Jurvanen creates is far more evocative of ocean-side bonfires and hot, sunny days with its easy going tunes than anything else. It is also fitting that Bahamas has signed to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records for the release of his third album, Bahamas is Afie, for which he is currently touring to support with fellow Canadian Tamara Hope (The Weather Station) opening for him (and him sitting in on drums for her).


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Thursday, Sep 25, 2014
Analysis of the winners and losers at Saturday night’s Gdynia Film Festival closing ceremony.

The closing ceremony and prize-giving of the 39th Gdynia Film Festival took place on Saturday night on the Main Stage of the city’s Musical Theatre, the site of many of the memorable screenings and premieres held across the festival’s jam-packed, exhilarating six days.


Punctuated beautifully by live orchestra performances of Wojciech Kilar film scores (as a tribute to the iconic composer who died last December), the slickly-staged two-hour event proved most delightful. Not all of the decisions made by the international jury were what I would have hoped for myself. But the results certainly reflected the panel’s intention to reward as wide a range of films as possible: an appropriate approach, perhaps, in a year which yielded no one masterpiece but rather a selection of diverse, interesting and sometimes provocative works, from the traditional to the wildly experimental.


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Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014
Two exciting Main Competition thrillers probing Polish-Russian relations screen on the fifth day of the Festival.

The Main Competition selection at this year’s Gdynia Film Festival has been highly diverse, with films ranging from the low, low-budget (Aleksandra Gowin and Ireneusz Grzyb’s disarming Little Crushes); Krzysztof Skonieczny’s disturbing Hardkor Disko) to the super-lavish (Warsaw 44).


More towards the latter end of the scale are Wladyslaw Pasikowski’s Jack Strong and Waldemar Krzystek’s The Photographer, two highly enjoyable, polished mainstream thrillers which also probe Polish-Russian relations in intriguing ways.


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Monday, Sep 22, 2014
A mystery thriller, a biographical portrait, a mother/daughter melodrama and a visit to the "Island of Love" make up our fourth day at Gdynia Film Festival.

In Michał Otłowski’s Waterline  (Jeziorak), Jowita Budnik plays Iza Deren, a no-nonsense policewoman who’s investigating a girl’s death. The decidedly put-upon Iza has more than this case on her plate, unfortunately.


She’s pregnant, for one, and the father of the twins she’s expecting has disappeared under mysterious circumstances with another police colleague. Meanwhile, the investigation turns up some long-buried secrets from Iza’s own past.


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