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Tuesday, Feb 4, 2014
It was a big month K-pop, with comebacks from Rain, TVXQ, B1A4, Dal*Shabet, AOA, Girl's Day, and more, as well as premieres by Rainbow Blaxx, Kiss&Cry, and others. If these songs are anything to go by, 2014 is going to be another big year for the Korean musical style.

For western pop, January is usually a slow month. Most big acts wait for later in the year to drop big singles or albums, but in K-pop, January is the time to set the stage for the rest of the year. In 2013, Girls’ Generation kicked things off with its incredible “I Got a Boy” video on January 1st. So far this year, we’ve seen major comebacks from Rain, TVXQ, B1A4, Dal*Shabet, AOA, Girl’s Day, and more, as well as premiers by Rainbow Blaxx, Kiss&Cry, and others. After Psy’s “Gangnam Style”, 2013 was K-pop’s year to be recognized internationally, and it certainly succeeded. But that means that 2014 will be even more important: can K-pop continue to hold the West’s attention? Can it continue to get support, new fans, and media coverage? Or will it go out with the other fads? If the songs released in January are anything to go by, K-pop is here to stay, and 2014 is off to a great start.


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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013
Whether you understand his music or not, Stetson's work is undeniably powerful -- a walled-in chamber of voluptuous white noise in which the artist holds the addressees of his wayward signals captive. He speaks to PopMatters about his new album, his 100-year-old sax, and more.

Call it uneasy listening.


Colin Stetson has not made the listening experience of his music easy for his audiences. But what Stetson has accomplished is bringing his brand of jazz to a wider mass that may have overlooked the genre, perhaps dismissing it as marginal music. Though he is quick to point out that his music is not exclusively jazz, his work is infused with the wisdom of the jazz greats that came before him: free jazz pioneers like Anthony Braxton, Sam Rivers, and Evan Parker seem to be points of reference. Yet the gripping tonalities in his music, while never even grazing the outer perimeters of pop music still share the immediacy of pop.


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Monday, Aug 19, 2013
With the announcement of Juana Molina’s upcoming album, Wed 21, an unexplainable excitement grew inside of me.

If you are from Argentina, then you must have heard at least once from Juana Molina, especially if you’re also called Juana, like me. I remember that every time a friend’s mother saw me, she used to tell me: “Here comes Juana and her sisters!” Only two years ago I found out that she wasn’t referring to my real sisters, but to Juana Molina’s old TV show, Juana y sus hermanas.


I still can’t remember when or why I was once interested to listen to her music, but I know that my admiration towards her has only increased since then and that, no matter how cliché this phrase is, her music speaks to me like no other. Although many artists use looping, her songs are different for depending on it while still being able to sound organic. Her electro-folk is both serene and eccentric, while her voice can be soft but also hypnotizing in order to fuse with the rest of the instruments (which are all recorded by herself in her house) and become another one.


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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Minimalist, Mohawked Orange County Rocker Davis Fetter delivers a well-produced, powerful and pleading new single, equal parts crooning and driving rock.

I first became aware of Davis Fetter when he opened for Black Francis in March of 2013. Fetter appeared onstage with his Buddy Holly glasses, wife-beater, motorcycle jacket and pompadour (shaved on both sides for an edgier, punk-a-billy look) and might have fit in with some strange recast version of Happy Days if not for his blue Gibson Archtop and friendly, ernest introductions to his his songs and greetings to the growing crowd.


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Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013
For listeners aching to hear more blues-inflected female pop à la Adele, look no further than this rising American singer-songwriter.

If there’s one thing Adele has reminded us in the last two years, it’s that pop listeners aren’t all mindless receptacles of EDM. We like good lyrics that we can relate to, songs with fully developed verses and choruses, and, oh yes, someone who can actually sing live, without pitch correction.


Unfortunately, it looks as if Ms. Adkins will be on hiatus for a considerable length of time, busy raising her baby boy amidst rumors that she’s heading back to the studio. Her contemporaries are few and far between: Amy Winehouse left us too soon, while Duffy and Pixie Lott both hit the sophomore slump. For listeners aching to hear blues-inflected female pop, Florence Welch and Rebecca Ferguson are currently the closest matches.


You wouldn’t expect to see Hollywood Records, a subsidiary of Disney Music Group, on a list of record companies where Adele’s audience would find an interim substitute, but it is indeed there where fans should cast their attention, to singer-songwriter ZZ Ward.


Tagged as: adele, pop, zz ward
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