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Music
Listening Ahead: Upcoming Music Releases for August 2014
By Matthew Fiander and Arnold Pan
Get advance word on new offerings from Spoon, J Mascis, and Pallbearer, plus an extensive list of August's new releases. [1.Aug.14]
Beth Orton: Central Reservation: Revisited
Central Reservation was one of the best albums released in the past 20 years, and although the bonus material gives some new insight, the power of the original remains as potent as ever. [1.Aug.14]
Bleachers: Strange Desire
The fun. guitarist steps out on his own, and the result proves that Nate Ruess isn't the only guy in his other band that can write a stadium-sized hook. [1.Aug.14]
R. Kelly: The Essential R. Kelly
Subtlety was never R. Kelly's strong suit, which is both his greatest gift and his greatest curse. [1.Aug.14]
When the Man in Black Went to Bat for Native America
A recasting of Johnny Cash's most controversial album, Bitter Tears, raises questions about the inclusiveness of American music. [31.Jul.14]
Reviews
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Subtlety was never R. Kelly's strong suit, which is both his greatest gift and his greatest curse.
The alto saxophonist and composer returns with his large band and his “spectral harmony” approach, this time expanded upon with electronic effects.
The veteran Chicago rapper returns to his troubled hometown on a conscious album for a post-conscious age.
Alvvays is an exciting opening album from a band who bring refinement to a genre that make them sound mature beyond their years.
A fine, fine record which could do with a little more pep down the stretch, or a slightly stronger editing hand.
Epiphanies emerge and fade and come back again. The tempo stays steady and deliberate even when individual players pick up speed when adding baroque touches to the composition; an aural rendition of an optical illusion.
By not glossing over the rough patches in a life spent pursuing a childhood dream, Dickinson provides a grounded perspective and lack of hubris on Rock 'n Roll Blues.
With Cold World, Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens deliver funky throwback gospel-tinged soul music of the highest quality.
Unrelentingly pummeling and brutally oppressive, Constricting Rage of the Merciless is a thrilling ride.
Gustavo Santaolalla may have some Grammys, Oscars, and Global Globes at home, but Camino is for himself.
The German synth-pop band pull an unfortunate bait-and-switch.
Akeda seems much less focused on garnering radio hits and more on delving into themes, both lyrically and musically, that Matisyahu has resisted in the past.
If RZA, GZA, and Smoke DZA weren’t enough for you, we’re now throwing SZA into the mix.
Paul McCartney commanded the stage in Kansas City with an astonishing degree of seemingly effortless finesse. A most glorious concert.
The innovative hip-hop duo from Seattle is back with another genre bending album.
Fresh off a short, aborted stint with the Pixies, Kim Shattuck reforms the Muffs and puts out a very solid album.
McLagan has a pleasantly conversational voice. He’s a tasteful keyboard player. While he may not rock out, there’s a nice sashaying quality to the music.
Jennifer Lopez has lost her steam since Rebirth. On her eighth album, she's never sounded so boring or flimsy.
Long known for performing commissioned works, PRISM Quartet release a double album of original material. It is staggeringly wonderful.
There's nothing groundbreaking from Minnesota punk rockers Banner Pilot on their fourth album, but it's a solid release from a solid bunch of dudes.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers provide a blistering reminder of rock 'n' roll's subversive nature with Hypnotic Eye.
Late-'90s emo heroes Braid return with their first record in almost two decades.
Ed Sheeran certainly doesn't exceed expectations, but he delivers something that resembles a solid mish mash of genres and often cliche lyrics about romance and breakups.
50 Cent's latest album is more of the same old 50.
On his sixth recording, this young UK pianist based in New York brings his trio into a fully improvised encounter with British avant-garde saxophone legend Evan Parker.
By HC
Fans of Nils Frahm must be introduced to Otto A Totland, whose delicate piano melodies will forever feel like home.
Capsule Reviews
As a whole, Firework is a bit lumpy, but there’s enough here to warrant a recommendation for those into experimental jams with a pop edge. [31.Jul.14]
Events
Mixed Media
News
Features
By Matthew Fiander and Arnold Pan
Get advance word on new offerings from Spoon, J Mascis, and Pallbearer, plus an extensive list of August's new releases. [31.Jul.14]
PopMatters catches up with Sean Watkins during one of his busiest years as a musician yet, which finds him touring with Nickel Creek, recording with Tom Brosseau, and releasing his new solo record, All I Do Is Lie. [28.Jul.14]
Columns
Kickin' Up Dust
A recasting of Johnny Cash's most controversial album, Bitter Tears, raises questions about the inclusiveness of American music. [30.Jul.14]
The Amazing Pudding
A Passion Play tends to draw the most resistance from even prog-rock aficionados; it obliges time and attention to let it work its charms. [23.Jul.14]
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