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by PopMatters Staff

3 May 2011


Photo: Jed Johnson

Petra Haden is one of the few artists working today who can truly be called “a luminary”, yet here we are.

Haden, after all, has released full-length albums using nothing but her powerful, emotive voice (including a celebrated 2005 disc where she covered the classic album The Who Sell Out in its entirety) while also being in the noted ‘90s indie-quirk band That Dog, all while still contributing her considerable violin skills to artists as diverse as Beck, the Foo Fighters, the Twilight Singers, and several more.

Yet even when recording on major label budgets, Haden has still found time to indulge in her love of collaboration, and her latest effort is a band called If By Yes, where she got to meet up with another luminary—Cibo Matto’s Yuka Honda—and make something that can be best described as “experimental pop”: unpredictable yet familiar, alien yet beautiful, all at the same time.  To celebrate the release of the band’s debut effort Salt on Sea Glass (which, it should be noted, is filled with guest turns from the likes of David Byrne, Nels Cline, and Cornelius), Haden sat down to answer PopMatters’ famed 20 Questions, here revealing a particular connection to the film Kramer vs. Kramer, a talent for Moonwalking, and how she recently bought ProTools but has no idea how to use it . . .

by PopMatters Staff

26 Apr 2011


The best part about the Chapin Sisters’ unique indie-folk sound is how it is completely, uniquely their own—a great thing in its own right, and an even more astonishing aspect when you take their famous lineage into consideration.

Lily and Abigail’s story starts with their father, noted singer Tom Chapin, and how the sisters are actually nieces of icon Harry Chapin.  The group’s first album, The Lake Bottom LP, also featured contributions from their half-sister Jessica Craven, who is daughter of noted horror director Wes Craven.  Throughout all of the media namedropping, however, the group has forged ahead with their own sound, and following the departure of Jessica and the formation of the sisters’ own record label, their new effort Two seems poised to place them into the spotlight on their own terms.

Prior to the album’s release, the girls sat down to answer PopMatters’ famed 20 Questions, debating between the Beach Boys and the Beatles, Star Trek and Star Wars, and how they once got to share the stage with DMC . . .

by Evan Sawdey

14 Apr 2011


Photo: Quang Le

Let’s briefly discuss the two careers of Travie McCoy.

The first one involves his band, Gym Class Heroes.  Formed in 1997 with his long-time friend Matt McGinley, the group is best described as “alternative hip-hop”—they mix quirky lyrics, samples, and left-field cameos with tracks ranging from party anthems to somewhat more thoughtful meditations.  After being signed to Fueled By Ramen, the band really broke through with their 2006 sophomore album As Cruel as School Children, which generated single after single, ranging from the Patrick Stump-assisted “Cupid’s Chokehold” to the Rockwell-sampling “Clothes Off!”.  The album was a hit, and spurred the band to record the more rock-oriented 2008 The Quilt, which debuted in the Billboard Top 20.

by Evan Sawdey

8 Apr 2011


LMFAO will not apologize for party rocking—despite the fact that its new album is titled Sorry for Party Rocking.

The duo—of SkyBlu and Redfoo—are actually Skyler Gordy and Stefan Kendal Gordy, and if their last names ring a bell, then you are not far from the truth: Stefan is Motown Records’ founder Berry Gordy’s son, Skyler his nephew.  The pair never exploited their family’s considerable music business clout, however, as their first album—2009’s Party Rock—was released via Black Eyed Peas’ frontman will.i.am’s record imprint on Interscope.  The duo pumped out hedonistic party singles one after another, collaborating with the likes of Lil’ Jon one minute, guesting on a David Guetta hit the next. 

So while its long-delayed Sorry for Party Rocking album is due out later this year, the group is planning on showcasing some of its new material by party rocking this year’s Bamboozle Festival, April 29th to May1st in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  Before the group does that, however, SkyBlu sat down to answer PopMatters’ famed 20 Questions, where he reveals his desire to try every drug at Woodstock, the fact that The Notebook made him cry, and how in a perfect world, it’d just be him and 2Pac hittin’ up the Ritz . . .

by Evan Sawdey

1 Apr 2011


30 Seconds to Mars has literally pulled off the impossible: its has transcended the dreaded status of being known as “an actor band”.

While the band was initially seen as nothing more than an alt-rock outlet for Requiem for a Dream actor Jared Leto, the group slowly began to amass fans, initially on the strength of its 2006 single “The Kill” (from its sophomore album A Beautiful lie), and very much solidifying its mainstream acceptance with 2009’s “Kings and Queens” (a song which bares a very heavy U2 influence), the accompanying music video for which was nominated for Video of the Year at the following year’s MTV VMAs.  Now, the band is capping off a successful year of touring behind This Is War by being one of the headliners at this year’s Bamboozle Festival, going on from April 29th—May 1st in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Before that takes place, however, 30 Seconds to Mars’ guitarist Tomo Milicevic sat down to answer PopMatters’ famed 20 Questions via e-mail (Milicevic, born in Serajevo, has been playing with the band since A Beautiful Lie).  Here, he reveals Leto’s advice about push-ups, forgets to answer a few questions, and lets us know that one his hidden talents is astral projection . . .

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