Music

I Do It For Music, I Do It For Love: PopMatters Meets The Gift

Photo: Evan Sawdey

PopMatters traveled all the way to Spain to find out what was so unique about The Gift, one of Portugal's most famous acts, now attempting to break through to America. These are the wonderful results ...

The Gift can almost laugh about it now.

When this group of forward-thinking alternative-popsters tried getting signed to a label in the early '90s in their native Portugal, every label told them the same thing: "Why are you singing in English?"

At the time, no one wanted to put out a heavy electronic single in Portugal where English was the only language heard on the track. Discouraged yet determined, the band decided to release the track themselves, and "OK, Do You Want Something Simple?" wound up becoming a massive hit. As such, the group has never once looked back, managing every release themselves, slowly but surely building up a sizeable fanbase in Portugal, Spain, and other surrounding countries. Their debut album, 1998's Vinyl followed, and before long, "OK, Do You Want Something Simple" became the first-ever video from a Portuguese act to air on MTV.

Now, over a decade later, the band has released Explode, a disc which shows the group slowly ditching their electronic background in favor of a brighter, more rock-oriented approach. Preceded by the singles "Made For You" and "RGB" (both directed by the L.A. based Carleton Ranney), Explode truly does feel like the euphoric pop experience it was designed to be: upbeat, explosive, layered, and wonderously memorable.

PopMatters had a chance to visit the group while they prepped for a large performance in Madrid, Spain, and during that time, got to see the group do an in-store acoustic gig, show us around the many hot spots in the city, and talk about their career and what where they want to take it.


Perhaps most fascinating was a conversation with the group in the lobby of the Hotel Oscar, where a discussion about Radiohead's famed In Rainbows pricing strategy lead John Gonçalves -- the group's bassist and manager -- talk very excitedly about how he loves the idea of people sharing music all at the same time, almost instantaneously. Yet for the release of Explode over there, the band didn't have the album hit people all at once, no: fans who paid for the disc were given a song a day, so that each track could be absorbed individually. The more you talked to the group, the more obvious it became that music wasn't just a job or a gig for these guys: it truly was their life.

Perhaps the sentiment is best summed up on their single "Music", where the powerful Sónia Tavares sings "I do it for music / I do it for love / I do it for everyone around me."

With the passion and drive that The Gift has, that "everyone" is going to grow quite rapidly before too long ..

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image