Latest Blog Posts

by Jessy Krupa

9 Jun 2010

This week, we look at “Valentine Day”, a short instrumental track from Paul McCartney’s his first solo album McCartney. Perhaps because it appears on the same album as five other instrumental songs, it isn’t commonly known. McCartney himself doesn’t seem to place much emphasis on it, describing the song as, “Recorded at home. Made up as I went along…, This one and ‘Momma Miss America’ were ad-libbed with more concern for testing the machine than anything else.”

I’ve heard it described as only an acoustic guitar riff, but drums, bass, and electric guitar can also be heard in it. Paul played all of the instruments on the entire album himself, a lengthy process that he currently rarely attempts. In recent interviews, he said he feels silly doing all of the instrumentation by himself.

With its short length, maybe we should reconsider “Valentine Day” as a bright, lively interlude that eases the transition from the slow-paced rocker “That Would Be Something” to “Every Night”, a tender, romantic ballad.

by Christian John Wikane

7 Jun 2010

Alex Cuba is a storyteller. Ask him a question and he’ll thread together different stories to illustrate his answer. He gives a completely honest point of view and offers more insight about his life than your childhood friend probably would about theirs.

His openness also extends to his music. He doesn’t approach music with a formula in mind or abide by trends. From the balmy sway of “Directo” to the urgency of “En El Cielo”, it’s clear that the songs on Alex Cuba were conceived and executed without checking off boxes. There’s a spontaneity to the styles that dress each song. Like his gift for understanding visual aesthetics, Cuba intuitively knows what sounds belong together and how to render them in a creative and compelling way. “The album has to have a certain amount of tension to last”, the Cuban-born Canadian resident explains about his approach, “otherwise it becomes a piece of plastic. It’s the tension of imperfection. It’s the line between perfection and imperfection, which is spontaneity. That’s the way I do music”.

by Gregg Lipkin

4 Jun 2010

With 1987’s sprawling double album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, the Cure, long considered by many fans to be the face of alternative music achieved something “the face of alternative music” was never supposed to achieve. Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me made the Cure mainstream pop stars. Of course, their stardom was pretty much an inevitable product of their immense talent. The Cure was never simply an alternative band in the first place. They were Masters of the Form blessed with an incredibly gifted songwriter in Robert Smith that had a knack for writing shimmering pop compositions so catchy they were destined to crossover into the musical mainstream. After Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, the Cure was no longer the cool band that only smart kids liked or the depressing band that only weird kids liked. After Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, and its predecessor The Head on the Door, the Cure was the band who sang “Close to You”, “Why Can’t I Be You” and “Just Like Heaven”, tunes so good and accessible that they were songs that everybody liked.

by Jessy Krupa

4 Jun 2010

Despite the fact that it was never released as a single, “That Would Be Something” has been well-loved and critically praised throughout the years. Shortly after the McCartney album’s release, George Harrison, who harshly criticized the rest of the album, called both it and “Maybe I’m Amazed” “great”. He wasn’t its only admirer, though. The Grateful Dead started covering it at some of their concerts in 1991. A part of their version appears on the Dick’s Picks, Vol. 17 CD. Paul McCartney himself seems to have some fondness for it, performing it at his 1991 MTV Unplugged TV special. That version also appeared on the Unplugged (The Official Bootleg) album.

by Evan Sawdey

3 Jun 2010

Angus and Julia Stone remain just as humble today as they did when they first started recording in 2006, which, given the trajectory of their career so far, is somewhat remarkable.

The Australian brother-sister duo—swapping vocal duties pretty much whenever they feel like—initially started as two separate solo acts wherein one would support the other on instruments, but before long it was realized that their powers are much better when combined. Specializing in remarkably understated acoustic numbers revolving around love and heartbreak, it wasn’t long before the duo began garnering the attention of everyone from Travis (Julia sang backup on that band’s 2007 disc The Boy With No Name) to Natalie Portman (who hand-picked their track “The Beast” for the charity album Big Change: Songs for FINCA), all while gathering attention by doing the tired-and-true method of touring like hell, opening for the likes of Brett Dennen and Martha Wainwright. The buzz on the duo slowly grew, and by the time their current disc Down the Way came out in their homeland, it shot straight to the top of the charts.

Now garnering some much-deserved attention in America (with their music videos collectively garnering more than two million hits on YouTube alone), Julia Stone took some time to answer PopMatters’ 20 Questions, and wound up giving one of the most open, honest, and downright touching set of answers we’ve yet seen for this feature. Discussing everything from handling her wounded pet dingo to stealing some lights from K-Mart so that their garage-based Hawaiian-themed hangout space would be a rousing success (much to dad’s disapproval), Julia Stone approaches these 20 Questions with the same thought and care that so dominates her music, which is a rare feat in itself. Never once showing an ounce of ego or hubris, it’s refreshing to see that all these years later, the Stone siblings are just as humble as they were when they started out making their brilliant music ...

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

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