Latest Blog Posts

by Imran Khan

13 Jul 2010


Probably one of the hardest-working bands around, Dreadzone have been cutting records for nearly two decades now, forging a path as one of the more trusted names in dub-rock to emerge on British soil.  After a number of experiments in club-land sonics (namely, the dub-trance of Biological Radio and Once Upon a Time’s rave-rock hip hop), the band turns their attention toward the call of radio and opt this time for what is as close to a pop record that the Dreads can make. Eye on the Horizon is an album aimed at both the head and the feet, and Greg Roberts (AKA Greg Dread - founder and drummer) talks about Dreadzone’s approach on their latest offering.

PopMatters: Upon hearing the new Dreadzone album, there is an obvious shift toward pop-oriented structures. That is to say, the album seems to feature more “songs”, rather than “clubbers”. More emphasis lies in the instrumentation, rather than experimentations in loops/backing tracks/breaks etc. I could almost say that the music belies elements of orchestral pop, without it being exactly “orchestral”. Talk about the approach you took in making “pop” songs (if you at all agree with this assessment). What informed this new sense of direction and why at this point in your career, when you could have easily made a “pop” album earlier?

Greg Dread: Good question; it sounds like you have really understood this record.  It is much more “pop” though in our own individual way with our rhythm and sound giving it an edge. The songs are our way of expressing the feeling from the last few years of losing people close to us, along with our desire to grow as songwriters. also we have gone beyond being a dance group with guest vocals, we have our own identity and voice and find it easier to channel those ideas after such a time. I don’t think we could have made a “pop” record before although Second Light had hooks that came naturally and people picked up on it. After all what is pop ... popular, reaching out a wider audience. We have a vibe we want to share with many people, and why not. ..this album is very much about expression through words and melody; a lot of dance-orientated groups throw vocal hooks on but miss out on a strong identity. I am kind of determined to make people recognise us for our tunes and not just as “dub dance festival band”. There are only so many times that we can reinvent the dub-meets-dance blueprint. It’s all about the song, for this album at least.

by Sean McCarthy

12 Jul 2010


Right now, Beach House’s Teen Dream is my favorite album of the year. The Baltimore duo has crafted a phenomenal arrangement of baroque pop. Sadly, I’ve only listened to it three times. The National’s High Violent is another great album, but since purchasing the album, I’ve only listened to it once. One major reason was because I listened to it repeatedly when it was available for streaming weeks before the release.

I shouldn’t feel guilty for voting an album “one of the best of the year” and then watch it collect dust. After all, people have no problem dubbing a movie or book as the best they’ve seen or read this year after a single viewing or reading. But it seems that music is the only major form of pop culture that requires an unspoken demand that an album be absorbed multiple times before dubbing it “the best” of the year.

by Jessy Krupa

9 Jul 2010


Side A of McCartney closes with “Man We Was Lonely”, which was the first song that both Paul and his wife, Linda, wrote together and sang together as a duet. In a way, it is a precursor to Wings. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that it is about the pair’s true feelings for each other, being that the two could be considered lonely before they got together. When they first started dating, Linda was a recent divorcee and Paul’s long-term relationship with actress Jane Asher had just ended.

Regardless of the song’s meaning, Paul admitted in 1970 that it was one of the last songs recorded for the album. He and Linda wrote the chorus while in bed the morning of the day it was recorded. Later that afternoon, they wrote the middle part. The background is made up of a bass drum and three different guitars, all played by Paul and tracked on together later. As for the song’s unique steel guitar sound, Paul revealed that he created it by playing his Telecaster “with a drum peg”.

by Teresa Jusino

8 Jul 2010


Before Ricky Martin drank from the Cup of Life while shaking his bon-bon, and before Shakira was even a glimmer in the eye of the American pop culture landscape, there was Selena: a young, beautiful Texan of Mexican descent who was the first of that generation of Spanish-language performers to begin to cross over into English-language success.

Fifteen years after her tragic murder, her music—in both languages—lives on. Even the most sheltered English-speaking music fan might not know Selena’s name, but if you mention her hit singles, “Dreaming of You,” or “I Could Fall In Love,” they’ll likely respond with I remember that song! or I love that one!  Today, Suzette Quintanilla Arriaga, Selena’s sister and long-time drummer, is doing her part to ensure that this remains the case: that Selena’s memory lives on through her music.

by Nathan Pensky

2 Jul 2010


Last year when Flo Rida’s album R.O.O.T.S. dropped to chart-crushing popular acclaim, it was easy to miss the peculiarities of the album’s fourth single, “Be on You”. Perhaps tempered by the influence of the rapper’s several other hits that year, including “Sugar” and the number one Billboard hit “Right Round”, the sheer oddness of “Be on You” went pretty much unnoticed. And what, exactly, is so unique about “Be on You”, one might ask? Oh, nothing except that the song’s chorus and title are lifted wholesale from the Will Ferrell comedy, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004). While many dance pop tracks have made the sexing up of one’s significant other their subject matter, this may be the only song that can truthfully tout itself as “baby-making music”. Flo Rida’s “Be On You” is not just another rapper’s homage to Scarface but a musical tribute to a character who describes his dog/life coach as “a miniature Buddha, covered in hair”. Knowing this, is it even possible to take this song seriously, and by “seriously”, I mean even on the level dance-pop is meant to be taken? Is the song meant to be earnest (as far as any pop music is earnest), ironic (insofar as pop music is capable of irony), or staking a claim in some post-ironic netherworld of genre definition where the likes of the Insane Clown Posse reign supreme?

Before proceeding, a definition of “post-irony” should probably be attempted. At least in terms of the minimum understanding required for conversation’s sake, and with an all-encompassing disclaimer in terms of the actual ins and outs of nascent terminology: A) when hipsters listen to Britney Spears because they think her music is awful, ever saying to themselves “Ha, look how awful she is, how clever I am, etc.”, their appreciation is ironic; and B) when the same hipsters have been listening to Britney Spears way too long for their appreciation to be truthfully called “ironic” anymore, their appreciation is post-ironic. The hipsters have, in fact, started to genuinely like Britney Spears. Their enjoyment happened by way of irony but is not actually ironic. Now that that’s out of the way…

//Mixed media
//Blogs

A Chat with José González at Newport Folk Festival

// Notes from the Road

"José González's sets during Newport Folk Festival weren't on his birthday (that is today) but each looked to be a special intimate performance.

READ the article