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by Scott Interrante

11 May 2015


Screen capture from Big Bang's "Bae Bae"

Exo—“Call Me Baby”

With so many dating scandals and members leaving, it’s sometimes hard to remember why Exo is one of the most popular K-pop boy bands, but the release of “Call Me Baby” does well to remind us. While its accompanying Exodus album is hit or miss, the title track is exactly the kind of boy band song I love. It’s got a great groove, tons of personality, and is insanely catchy. Most importantly, though, it allows the members to show off their talent both vocally and dance-wise. Lyrically, the song is nothing special, but what they do with their voices is particularly impressive, especially at the end of the bridge, where the hook gets extended by one measure as more vocal harmonies pile up, after which the track stutters a bit into a powerful dance break. The effect is strikingly unusual, adding a level of excitement to the already amped-up track.

by Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger

8 May 2015


Mendelsohn: Confession time, Klinger. For the past six months I’ve been listening to the new album from Run the Jewels nearly nonstop. Remember those weeks when we had to listen to the Violent Femmes, or the Beatles, or Husker Du, or Jefferson Airplane, or Daft Punk, or the Kinks? I was listening to Run the Jewels instead.

That’s a bit of an exaggeration, I did listen to the other records—a little bit—but most of the time, when I was by myself, the kids weren’t in the car, or I was hanging out in the garage making stuff out of wood, Run the Jewels 2 would be on as loud as possible. I am enthralled by this messy, uncouth, unbelievably smart record from the Odd Couple of Hip-Hop. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t perfect, but for my money it is pretty damn close.

by Adrien Begrand

7 May 2015


Photo: Clutch (press)

When it was announced that Mastodon and Clutch would be touring North America together, many of those familiar with both bands thought, Now that’s a perfect combination. Granted, those underground-oriented metal fans with nothing but disdain for anything that flirts with the mainstream, not to mention the fans both bands attracts, might’ve thought that in a negative way, but those who actually enjoy Clutch and Mastodon were elated at the thought of the two doing a co-headlining tour, yours truly included. It’s the kind of double-bill that makes you wonder why bands like those two have never done it before.

by Sloane Spencer

28 Apr 2015


Mike Montali of Hollis Brown loves rock ‘n’ roll, as the band’s 2014 Record Store Day special release covering Velvet Underground tunes indicates. Hollis Brown brings together their love for Ziggy Stardust and Big Star for a step forward with their new album, 3 Shots.

Supported by a new-to-them indie label out of New York and an upcoming 40 date tour with Counting Crows, Hollis Brown has made the most of their friendships, rooted in solid rock records.

by Scott Interrante

28 Apr 2015


Seven albums, three bands, and 15 years into his career, Andrew McMahon continues to reinvent and reinvigorate his music.

The Southern-California singer/songwriter’s latest album, the self-titled first release of his new Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness project, was released in October of last year and finds McMahon spreading his wings into new sonic and thematic territories while retaining his penchant for deeply personal lyrics and confessional melodies.

Reinvention, though, is nothing new for McMahon, who started out fronting emo band Something Corporate before breaking off for a solo project under the name Jack’s Mannequin. McMahon recently made a change again with the release of Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. “I think I was ready to move on from Jack’s Mannequin,” he said. “A lot of that music was so closely attached to a really difficult time in my life that spiritually I was ready to cleanse myself of that and move into a new, exciting chapter that didn’t have to be so closely attached to my cancer,” referring to his diagnosis and battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

With a newly born child, McMahon was ready to look forward and felt a new name, his own name, was a necessary step to take in his career. “I felt like I was in a new moment in my life where so many things were changing and my emotional and spiritual headspace was so much more grounded. In that it was like this is the moment to step out and say, ‘Yeah I am a guy in a band but my name is Andrew and I’d like you to hear my new songs.’”

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Pop Unmuted Podcast: Resilience, Melancholy, and Rihanna's "American Oxygen" with Dr. Robin James

// Sound Affects

"Pop Unmuted talks to Dr. Robin James about her book Resilience and Melancholy: Pop Music, Feminism, Neoliberalism and Rihanna's latest hit "American Oxygen".

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