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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013
He's one of electronic music's rising stars, and now with an extraordinary debut and a budding friendship with Damon Albarn, Kwes tells us how he still has a legitimate fascination with Jar Jar Binks, despite having never really seen any Star Wars films ...

Increasingly, with the availability of digital technology and basic recording software, we are seeing an amazing surge of young voices creating mature, absolute genre-bending music, outstripping the elder statesmen they listened to in their youth with surprising swiftness.


When Kwes—who goes by no other name—put out his debut single “Hearts in Home” in 2009, it garnered quite a bit of attention, as Kwes managed to quietly bend slower IDM tropes and put them in an emotional, cathartic context, sometimes working instrumental tracks and sometimes featuring his own vocals. After his No Need to Run EP in 2010, he wound up soon garnering a great deal of production gigs, soon catching the eye of none other than Blur’s Damon Albarn, who wound up bringing him on as co-producer of Bobby Womack’s 2012 LP The Bravest Man in the Universe. Now, after many successes, we are greeted with ilp, Kwes’ debut full-length, and it is a trippy, moving, wild ride into one of electronic music’s most unique minds in the game right now.


To help celebrate the release of ilp, Kwes has tackled PopMatters’ 20 Questions, and here reveals how proud he was to make a chocolate torte, the best piece of recording advice he ever received, and how he still has a legitimate fascination with Jar Jar Binks, despite having never really seen any Star Wars films ...


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Tuesday, Nov 5, 2013
She releases some of the most forward-thinking electronic pop music during the day, goes out in ball gowns in the night. Glasser tackles PopMatters' 20 Questions, and the results are predictably wonderful.

Some may call the work of Cameron Mesirow (better known as Glasser) something like “dance music”—yet such a label simply doesn’t fit work as daring as Glasser’s. Not in the least.


Part of the reason for this is that Glasser’s music, which itself is indebted to synthpop just as much as it is to experimental electronica, defies easy categorization. On Mesirow’s 2011 debut, Ring, she wound up creating what sounded like a modern-day, lo-fi tribute to the Cocteau Twins, and slowly but surely, her sound garnered acclaim across the blogosphere. With Interiors, Glasser’s new album, things go a little bit weirder, flirting with the likes of IDM and non-traditional song structures, still managing to find time to fit in straight-from-the-‘80s sax breaks in the middle of songs like the thumping “New Year”. It’s for reasons like this that Interiors isn’t mean to be an album that’s “enjoyed” as much as it is to be “experienced”—and what an experience it is.


To help celebrate the release, Mesirow sat down with PopMatters’ 20 Questions, and winds up revealing that the movie Aladdin made her cry, why Thriller is the greatest album of all time, and why ball gowns may very well be an acceptable form of day-to-day attire ...


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Monday, Oct 14, 2013
Take members of Slowdive, Mojave 3, and Locust, mix 'em together, and you get the space-rock album of the year. Black Hearted Brother sit down with PopMatters, and woolly socks are discussed.

Indie-bred space-rock is a subgenre that doesn’t tend to lend itself to “supergroups” all that often, but if there’s any band that comes close, by gods it’s Black Hearted Brother.


The group is a trio of guys who have been friends for quite some time: Neil Halstead can be spotted as an influential member of Slowdive and Mojave 3. Mark Van Hoen is one of the founders of Locust as well as Seefeel, and Nick Holton is best known as the mastermind behind, of course, Holton’s Opulent Oog. This trio of guys, prior to the formation of Black Hearted Brother, played in each other’s bands, produced each other’s albums, and even put out said albums on each other’s labels. It’s a long, convoluted history of camaraderie and great tunes, so the fact that they all got together at long last to record an album doesn’t seem as much as an event as it was an inevitability.


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Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013
Atlanta's great electro-pop hope, Sonen hits the ground running with their debut full-length Inside The Sun, finally capturing the excitement of their live shows. They also have plenty to say in our latest 20 Questions segment, which is best enjoyed with the premiere of their new music video to boot!

Atlanta’s electro-pop duo Sonen has made waves down south for years, becoming both a critical and popular pick for those searching for an electronic revolution. Not that it should surprise that the region’s scene would be pioneering the launch of forward-leaning pop music; just look at what the Athens scene did for bands like REM in the eighties. Still, you’d be easily forgiven for not having heard of Sonen’s debut full-length Inside The Sun, though not as easily forgiven for not giving it a once-over now that you’ve been put on the right track.


Sonen, the brainchild of Keith Evans and Holly Mullinax, has been twice named Atlanta’s “Best Electronic Band” by Creative Loafing. The duo tries to capture the excitement of their live shows on the LP, drawing together a deep appreciation for layered electronic textures while smoothing out the hardest edges via all the synth-fueled melodies you can possibly handle. As a result, Inside The Sun plays effectively as an album of ready-for-the-dance-floor anthems, even as the strong hooks seem likely to propel the band to hit-maker status in the burgeoning EDM scene.


Keith and Holly sat down with PopMatters to take on the “20 Questions” challenge, opening themselves up to a full-scale dissection while exposing their affinity for the Keytar, live performances of electronic music, and plans for a follow-up to their debut even as they recover from the act of its creation.


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Tuesday, Jul 9, 2013
Oh Canada, where pop music bears the most fruit! Rusty Matyas, of Winnipeg's own Imaginary Cities, turns his attention from the band's stunning sophomore effort Fall of Romance to play a game of 20 Questions in which we're all winners.

For those of us who bemoan the fact that we weren’t born Canadian, Imaginary Cities adds more fuel to the fire with their blend of pop music, which does more to blur the lines of what makes meaningful music than any of their contemporaries.


Fall of Romance, the duo’s sophomore album, sounds as refreshingly dense and well-developed as most bands’ fifth or sixth record, owed in no small part to Rusty Matyas’ already storied experiences with major label success via his work with the Weakerthans and his band the Waking Eyes. Yet it was Marti Sarbit’s voice which captured Matyas’ attention in the first place, and it’s that same voice which anchors the music on both their studio efforts. The two worked up material for 2011’s Temporary Resident playing music just for the sheer hell of it, and had they not been initially pressured by the Weakerthans’ manager to focus on putting out a full record, we may never have heard them.


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