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by Evan Sawdey

18 Nov 2015


We’re kind of done with calling things “chillwave” at this point, right?

After all, the first wave of the bedroom-borne genre of synth-heavy midtempo dance-pop has already crested, even if some of its most notable acts, like Washed Out and especially Neon Indian, are still releasing large-scale albums to this day. Sure, you could argue that Toledo’s John Jagos, who records under the name Brothertiger, is of the same ilk, but even that wouldn’t be totally fair in the long run, as his soundscaping has been a kind that focuses less on tone and more on songcraft outright, nailing the hooks time and time again, which is part of the reason why he already has a sizable audience even after releasing his debut set, the excellent Golden Years, a mere three years ago.

Since then, he dropped sophomore disc Future Splendors in late 2014, and will follow that one up almost to the day with a third album slated for the end of 2015. Yet between recording and touring, Jagos keeps a level head to himself, focusing on making the best damn music possible, honing in on a sound that would work on both dancefloors and private pajama parties all the same. In answering PopMatters’ 20 Questions, Jagos reveals a lot about his influences, ranging from his love of Brian Eno to his obsession with Tears for Fears’ Songs from the Big Chair, to say nothing of the fact that he likes to wear “a baseball hat when I travel; I’m not sure why, but it just feels right.”

by Evan Sawdey

16 Nov 2015


Photo: Ben Telford

It’s been over six years since the last Most Serene Republic album proper, which is the kind of statement that seems to carry the typical critical arc of a band seeking redemption (“Now they’re back and better than ever, guys!”), but when you get right down to it, the six years between the group’s heavily melodic 2009 set ... And the Ever Expanding Universe and this year’s long-overdue Mediac were filled with a strange bit of turmoil.

by Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger

13 Nov 2015


Mendelsohn: It has been a while, Klinger, since I’ve made you listen to some sugary, flavor-of-the-month pop act with just enough critical cache to garner a little bit of acclaim outside of the Top 40. So when I happened upon Courtney Barnett’s debut Sometime I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit, I thought I might as well force it upon your ears because it hit that soft pop spot in my head. But before you start to see shades of Haim, let me be the first to say that Barnett is not a pop diva in training, and while she does have a great ear for pop music, she also has an incredible sense of song craft. Coupled with lyrical material about nothing, in the same vein as Jerry Seinfeld’s show about nothing, it isn’t hard to see why this album is so well liked.

by Evan Sawdey

10 Nov 2015


“Music is our strongest antidote to feelings of emptiness and disquiet.” So says Phil Jamieson, one of the founding members of Caspian, and truth be told, it’s hard to disagree with the man.

After all, although Caspian only formed back in 2003, the Massachusetts-bred post-rock collective have already carved out a unique niche for themselves as masters of multi-layered catharsis, their songs ranging from aggressive hard rockers to thickly melodic acoustic laments to experimental electronic pieces, and somehow, just somehow, they always manage to keep it together. In fact, in his 2010 review of the re-release of Caspian’s first two notable forays into the world, PopMatters’ own Zach Corsa summed the band up thusly: “To put it in so many words, if you had to point to one lasting document, one Exhibit A to testify for the validity and emotional power of the entire instrumental post-rock genre, then you’d be hard-pressed to pick a more winning example than Caspian’s brilliant The Four Trees.”

by Jason Mendelsohn and Eric Klinger

6 Nov 2015


Klinger: First of all, yes. We’re back. We decided to take the summer off, then yada yada yada… and now we’re back. Tanned, fit and rested.

When we started this Counterbalance project back in the fall of 1987, we were young and naive, and possibly a bit foolish as we were still learning how to do this whole “writing about music” thing. So much so, in fact, that we managed to write several hundred words about The Velvet Underground and Nico without ever mentioning John Cale by name. It really was an oversight on our part, and one I’ve been kicking myself over for nearly 30 years. But since then, so much has happened. The Berlin Wall has come down, the Internet has presented an avenue for our correspondences, John Cale’s occasional collaborator and foil Lou Reed has passed on—and I have become completely obsessed with Paris 1919.

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The Moving Pixels Podcast Battles the 'Jotun'

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