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by Jennifer Makowsky

17 Sep 2014

Last month, Kate Bush’s return to the stage at London’s Hammersmith Apollo for the first time in 35 years was a long-awaited event, to put it mildly. Since her first pirouette onto the music scene in 1978 when she was only 19, Bush has astonished and fascinated her listeners. She is an enigma—a Mother Nature-like figure spinning in leotards or dancing in kaftans while singing in a voice that has made her an icon.

Bush not only has a cult-like following of dedicated fans, she is a musician’s musician. Coinciding with her live show, the BBC released a documentary titled Running Up That Hill, which aired late last month. In the film, an impressive list of musicians including David Gilmore, Peter Gabriel, John Lydon, Elton John, Tricky, and Tori Amos sing Bush’s accolades and discuss how she has influenced their music. Even writers chime in: Neil Gaiman calls her voice “absolutely otherworldly“, and author Katherine Angle describes her style aptly when she observes that Bush not only stretches out her voice but also stretches “the pop form“.

by Scott Elingburg

10 Sep 2014

When you really think about the group’s music, there’s a lot about Interpol not to like. Be it the consistent post-punk cribbing or the monotonous delivery of its albums, all of which are cut from the same cloth, it’s easy to dismiss its members as hipsters of the highest order. (I have one friend who cringes at the first note that singer Paul Banks utters.) Interpol can be labeled as “the” quintessential New York indie band, the one that exploded on the scene with its debut, Turn on the Bright Lights, in 2002 to immediate acclaim and a built-in audience. But times change and sustainability is not a capital that most “it” bands are able to trade in fruitfully. Despite all of the odds against it, Interpol managed an almost-hat-trick with its first three albums; Turn on the Bright Lights,, Antics, and Our Love to Admire, respectively. The ensemble’s fourth LP, the self-titled Interpol was deemed a mediocre affair, at least critically, that culminated with founding bassist Carlos Dengler leaving the band and casting its immediate future in a wavering light.

by PopMatters Staff

27 Aug 2014

In 2014, alternative rock is a standard fixture of the musical landscape. This is an era where Coldplay regularly placing near the top of the pop charts, Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers filling stadiums, Radiohead and Arcade Fire racking up Grammy Award nominations, and Nirvana essentially being begged to be honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are normal, even expected, occurrences. One not even need look beyond PopMatters itself for confirmation, for like any other current critical publication online or off-, a sizable percentage of new rock releases reviewed will originate from the alternative/indie spectrum due to sheer volume and the ubiquity of the style.

by Jennifer Makowsky

20 Aug 2014

“Easy listening“, “adult contemporary“, “elevator music“: these dirty words have been used to describe some of the songs on the following list. In their defense, these songs came out in the ‘70s, which was the height of the soft rock revolution, yet some of the songs have their roots in rock and R&B, and transcend the time period they were released in. And those songs that don’t? Oh, well. As Paul McCartney said: “Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs. And what’s wrong with that?”

If you were a child of the ‘70s, you no doubt grew up hearing these tunes slipping out your parents’ eight-track player and car radio. The songs on the list are sappy, high-drama love ballads, and for that they’re being celebrated. They also represent a simpler, more carefree time for a generation getting older and perhaps nostalgic.

by Scott Recker

14 Aug 2014

Woodstock ’94 sometimes gets lost in pack. It obviously didn’t — and could never have — carried as much weight as the original, which in 1969 blazed a trail for modern music festivals and left us with a wealth of unforgettable performances. Nor did it digress into the nightmarish, post-apocalyptic hellhole that Woodstock ’99 did. In some ways, 20 years later, Woodstock ’94—which took place on August 13th and 14th—seems like an afterthought. But, when you dig into it deeper, it hit the sweet spot between the classic-rockers/folk-revivalists/returning-veterans and the names that were then at the forefront of popular music. They even got Bob Dylan, who turned down a spot at Woodstock ’69, to perform. In honor of the middle brother Woodstock’s 20th birthday, we decided to remember five great performances that are worth revisiting/discovering, and are readily available in their entirety.

//Mixed media

The Anti-Zen of 'Thumper'

// Moving Pixels

"There is no tranquility in the music, only menace.

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