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by Crispin Kott

8 Apr 2010


In the eyes of countless punk rock enthusiasts, Malcolm McLaren has always been seen as a villain, with injecting the urban glam of the New York Dolls with a red patent leather and clumsy politics sheen and being portrayed as an artless svengali by the Sex Pistols in their documentary, The Filth and the Fury, chief among his crimes.

But McLaren, who reportedly died of mesothelioma in New York City this week, was more than just the guy behind the guys. Through a string of genre-hopping musical explorations, he was at best a visionary, at worst a journalist in thrall to the sights and sounds of the streets, whether those found in the Bronx or Johannesburg or Vienna.

by PC Muñoz

5 Apr 2010


Over the years, East LA stalwarts Los Lobos have consistently proven themselves to be visionary recording artists, approaching each album with a distinct sonic palette, a daring attitude, a batch of kickass songs, and lots of pure rock n roll abandon. “La Guacamaya” is from their most controversial record, La Pistola y El Corazón, which is a cover album of sorts: the entire record, save for two originals, features the group’s interpretations of songs from various Mexican music traditions.

“La Guacamaya” is from the Son Jarocho tradition, which originated in Veracruz, Mexico. “La Bamba” is probably the most famous Son Jarocho tune. Though I also love the moody Huapango style, Son Jarocho is probably my favorite style of Mexican music because of both the form (characterized by call-and-response vocals, rhythmic playing, and improvisation) and the instrumentation (I love La Arpa Jarocha, the harp associated with this style). “La Guacamaya” (ostensibly about the multicolored toucan/macaw bird) is rendered here with the precise syncopation and gusto of musicians who thoroughly know and love this music. The lead vocal is by Cesar Rosas, whose way with a Spanish lyric expresses both the intent of the tradition and his own rock/R&B background. Dig the lyric:

by PopMatters Staff

4 Apr 2010


Simply send an email to contests@popmatters.com with your name, email address and city/state and we will select a winner each day this week to win a pair of tickets to the event. The event is in the Bay Area, so please keep that in mind when entering.

 

Enter to win a pair of tickets to Yuri’s Night Bay Area on April 10th with Common, N*E*R*D, Les Claypool, the Black Keys and more!

Celebrated across the world, Yuri’s Night is a global party in honor of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. Yuri’s Night’s mission is to support space programs and make space exploration cool again. Founded in 2000 by the UN’s Space Generation Forum, Yuri’s Night has evolved into a planet-wide event celebrating man’s scientific achievements.

Hosted in the Bay Area at NASA Ames Research Center, the local party will feature demonstrations and seminars by NASA employees, cosmically-themed art exhibits, and a live music by a quadruple-threat of a lineup: Common, the Black Keys, N*E*R*D, and Les Claypool.

 

by AJ Ramirez

2 Apr 2010


After months of being exposed to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” (a song that contains what I consider the single most annoying hook of 2009) via its endless plays on the top 40 radio station every store I enter seems to be piping in, I was reasonably certain I had no pressing desire to further explore the work of pop music’s current It Girl. Ah, but nothing demands attention like a zeitgeist-capturing hit, the sort everyone around you seems to have already heard dozens of times. Given the massive attention afforded to Gaga’s latest single “Telephone”—a duet with new millennial R&B diva Beyoncé Knowles—I took that as a sign that I should probably see what the fuss was about. So I caved and watched the video for the song on YouTube (which, it must be said at every opportunity, is so much more a fitting vehicle for the music video medium than any cable network currently is).

And, well… the song didn’t impress me. A rather routine modern dance-pop tune that demands attention based more on its volume than due either to its hooks or its groove. Not bad, but not outstanding either, and also not as effective as Gaga’s previous singles. But to be fair, it isn’t necessarily the song I’ve been hearing everyone yabber about. It’s the epic nine-and-a-half-minute video directed by Jonas Akerlund that’s really demanding the public’s attention.

by Omar Kholeif

2 Apr 2010


In the last year, UK listeners have been inundated with the sound of the nasal-grazing, strawberry vixen, Florence Welsh – or as she is more popularly referred to as, Florence and the Machine. An opinionated, and compulsive Londoner, Florence, at just 22, was able to instigate the re-emergence of a musical trend that seemed to have petered out when the terms ‘avant garde’, and ‘experimental’, all of a sudden became unsexy.

By formulating arty piano tunes, and splashing in garage rock, and ‘80s style pop, synthesizers, and luscious string-soaked ballads, Florence seems to manage the unwieldy with effortless grace. This is coupled with a Kate Bush style quirkiness, a Christie Hynde snarl, and an effortless vocal ability that sits somewhere between Annie Lennox and Etta James.

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Moving Pixels Podcast: Coming of Age When 'Life Is Strange'

// Moving Pixels

"Time travelling and selfies are the central conceits of Life Is Strange.

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