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by Imran Khan

4 Mar 2015


He’s from England’s West Country but he sounds like he’s straight out of the Bronx.

Like a strange musical answer to The Lonely Londoners and The Planet of Junior Brown, British rapper Luca Brazi’s solo debut, Dying Proof, bridges the gap between the salty airs of English dives and the danger and panic of the South Bronx. The 20-something MC has been circulating in the UK’s underground hip-hop scenes for a number of years now, as a member of hip-hop collectives Granville Sessions, Moose Funk and B.O.M.B. He’s now just released his first solo album this past summer. It’s the product of everything the rapper has loved about hip-hop, his saving grace from his early school days as a young child growing up in the West Country.

by Max Qayyum

17 Dec 2014


Nick Santino is well known from his days of being lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist in American pop-rock band, A Rocket to the Moon. In 2013 they called it a day, and Santino carried on by himself.

While the split may have come swiftly, Santino moved on. He released a couple of EPs last year, and then released his first solo, full-band album, Big Skies, in May of this year. The record continued where A Rocket to the Moon left of, yet left Santino in a position to add new influences here and there, while expanding his musical career.

Now, being signed to 8123, Santino is touring with the UK on the label’s own tour, supporting alternative-rockers The Maine and indie-pop group Lydia. The tour has been a major success, and PopMatters caught up with Santino in Nottingham to talk about the transition from touring in a big rock band to gracing the stage with just a guitar.

by Imran Khan

19 Nov 2014


Possibly the only punker during the UK’s post-punk revolution in the early ‘80s to have a serious understanding and appreciation of Chopin and Stravinsky, Mark Springer was always an outsider amongst the outsiders. As a member of Rip, Rig and Panic, a post-punk band that melded the incendiary attitude of punk with the free-flowing good vibes of funk and jazz, Springer added to the proceedings the unlikely element of classical music. His unusual contributions made him at once an appreciated and welcome colour in the dreary landscape of post-punk, as well as an alienated affiliate.

by C.W. Mahoney

13 Jun 2014


Lana Del Rey’s debut Born to Die suffered from a crisis-of-authenticity, the outrage and barrage of think-pieces as manufactured as the singer’s found-footage videos and pouting sexuality. But beyond all the hipster handwringing, Born to Die simply didn’t have many great songs, and even standouts like “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans” were marred by a limping production style.

by Imran Khan

14 Jan 2014


Photos: Olivia Divecchia

Vanessa Daou assumed her place on the dance music throne during the height of the cresting electronica scene in the 90’s rather reluctantly. The New Yorker’s music was never destined to be a staple of radio and, moreover, it required listeners to do two things at once: dance and think—two functions that don’t necessarily jibe well on a dance floor. Her heady brew of electronic beats and poetic implorations have both fascinated and mystified listeners alike; aiming at both the head and the feet, Daou’s music has never sought to be accepted as a genre defined by a playlist or the same marketing ploys used to sell lingerie.

Instead, the singer spent her time and resources wisely, mining the library for books to feed and supplement her musical diet. Take Zipless (1995), her first solo outing into lounge-hopping culture, where she would spark the curiosity and desire of both the literati and club-goers. Zipless, her proper debut, was the congealed lava of still heated emotions, cooling slowly over the bedrock of smooth, percolating beats. The sonic dressing, courtesy of producer and then-husband Peter Daou, furnished the music with the sweaty, carnal atmosphere of two lovers locked in an overheated sauna and deliriously happy about it. At the core was Daou’s voice, a haunting, diaphanous whisper that divulged only the most clandestine secrets in the listener’s ear. Zipless was so over-the-top in its impassioned femininity and, yet, so understated in its approach and intent that you might have missed what was the album’s most sensual cue: Erica Jong’s erotic poetry, of which Daou’s lyrics were based upon. Her association with Jong alone made Daou the talk of feminist circles amidst the album’s release; meanwhile, her tracks were doing time in the swankiest of underground cells, giving DJs a run for their wax and honey.

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