Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 
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Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009

Two years ago, CunninLynguists, a group little known outside underground hip-hop circles, dropped Dirty Acres, easily one of the best hip-hop albums of 2007 and arguably one of the best albums of the past decade.


Three alliterative Ss were all you needed to describe Dirty Acres.


Subtle: Unlike many of their peers in the South, CunninLynguists don’t overpower you with club beats and violent vitriol. Instead, they let the subtle music and lyrics slowly work their way into your consciousness. It may take a little longer, but, once the songs are there, they stay for good.


Savvy: Kno, the primary producer in CunninLynguists, is one of the most savvy diggers around, searching for, selecting, and mixing a range of samples that serve as the basis for some of the most infectious beats in hip-hop. His songs aren’t supersaturated with layers of electronica, strings, and harmony vocals. Instead, Kno relies on timely cuts, careful tempo modification, and elegant key changes to enhance—rather than overpower—tasteful samples and thoughtful lyrics.


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Tuesday, Apr 14, 2009
by Robin Cook

Music journalist. Biographer. One half of the Siskel & Ebert of pop music criticism. Jim DeRogatis shares anecdotes about Lester Bangs and lets us in on some of his guilty pleasures.



Tagged as: jim derogatis
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Monday, Apr 13, 2009
by Robin Cook

This close knit band does everything their way, whether releasing EPs in place of albums and bringing their kids on the road. Timshel Matheny and her brother, Keegan DeWitt, talk about how they do it.


 



Tagged as: roman candle, sxsw
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Friday, Apr 10, 2009
by PopMatters Staff
L.A. pop band Eulogies released their latest album Here Anonymous this week on Dangerbird and stopped by 20 Questions to talk about their inspiration and tennis.

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
Last Chance Harvey. It’s easy to feel sorry for Dustin Hoffman. Gimme a break, I’m sleep deprived.


2. The fictional character most like you?
Max from Where the Wild Things Are. I love going places in my mind when given the chance… I have very vivid dreams on a consistent basis. I think this might be because I’m a light sleeper, so when i do get there I’m not too far from conscience.  Or maybe it’s because I eat a lot of dark chocolate.


3. The greatest album, ever?
Sgt. Peppers. My first experience with this album was my older brother’s copy on vinyl. I drew on it with a piece of chalk. In retrospect I knew for me it was going to be either visual arts or music or a combination of the two.


4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Wars. What more can I say?


5. Your ideal brain food?
Sushi. Raw protein on some sugary starch, mmm. Nozawa in Los Angeles is the best sushi in the western hemisphere.


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Thursday, Apr 9, 2009
Madonna was as contradictory as Uncle Tom, except in reverse. She claimed to challenge the institution and dominance of the church while worshiping at the mantle of capitalism and white supremacy in ways that only reinforced the nexus of gender, race and class oppression and mutual exploitation.

”Only when I’m dancing can I feel this free…”


…at night I lock the door so no one else can see. I’m tired of dancing here all by myself. In the fourth grade, Madonna and I had danced together, alone in our rooms. I remember hearing 1985’s Get into the Groove and would almost be ashamed to listen to it in front of others, particularly my around other Black folks, many of whom where disappointed that yet another Elvis had emerged. Yet, her looks and her lyrics bent at more of the classic traits of Black music, her beats pushing towards a resolution to any sadness, more than most other white rip-off artist: “At night I lock the doors so no one else can see/I’m tired of dancing here all by myself/Tonight I want to dance with someone else.” Snapping her fingers and ruling the dance floor of a steamy nightclub—a fantasy she’d ultimately repeat in several videos- she pleads: “Live out your fantasies here with me,” where no one else can see.


I too had plenty such fantasies. This “nasty secret,” kept neatly behind locked doors, closed windows and fantasies in my mind, was threatening to emerge. Since this need to explore a side of sexuality not often widely accepted, men and women, in their respective roles, easily exploit it. Madonna’s music told me that we had both acted out, trading sex for affection—for the freedom to give and receive affection. If I ran away, I’d never had the strength to go very far. Madonna, like millions of other young people including me had substituted anonymous sex for daddy’s love.


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