Events

CMJ 2011 Day 2: Tanlines + King Krule + Little Red + Teengirl Fantasy

The True Panther Sounds / PopGun showcase displayed a wide range of talents, from Tanlines's emotive synth-pop, to Teengirl Fantasy's epic house revival, to King Krule's street-smart guitar-pop.

Teengirl Fantasy

Expert partystarters Teengirl Fantasy kicked off the True Panther Sounds / PopGun showcase at Glasslands on Wednesday night. The duo performs with giant floodlights turned toward the audience -- that is to say, they’re expecting you to respond to their stimuli. And it’s almost impossible not to. Teengirl Fantasy plays a style of contemporary electronica rooted in class house music -- keys, huge 808 beats, and emotional crescendos -- that never feels merely retread. Melodies pop up over the beats and worm their way into your ears for a few bars, then slowly shape shift into new hooks. It’s a process of evolution, and Teengirl Fantasy keep figuring out new ways to get your hips moving.

 
Little Red

Little Red play a pleasant brand of radio-ready pop. In fact, it’s difficult not to talk about the band without just saying that word over and over -- pleasant, pleasant, pleasant. Every song featured “oo-ah” backing vocals or three-part harmonies. Every song moves from verse to chorus to verse to chorus to brief guitar solo and out. Every lyric sticks to simple banalities (“I keep waiting, / I keep waiting…”). Pleasant is nice, but it isn’t much.

 
King Krule

British upstart King Krule (Archy Marshall) has been making waves for his style of lyrics-driven, jazz-inflected rock. Most of Marshall’s words were unintelligible at tonight’s set, buried in reverb and a thick South London accent, but snippets stood out enough to compel (“I can’t escape my own escape”). Musically, his band sounds like a high school jazz ensemble who got heavy into equal parts the Streets and the Jade Tree-Polyvinyl catalogues of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s: clean, staccato Telecaster; snappy drumming with plenty of quick fills and variations; steadily locking bass licks. Marshall’s mom was in the crowd, shouting her lungs out for her son. The crowd didn’t even need her encouragement.

 
Tanlines

Tanlines took to the stage to an uproarious welcome from a home-town crowd. The duo plays zeitgeist synth-pop with an emphasis on repetition for the dance floor. The mixture of looped beats and synth lines combined with live guitar and percussion often recalled Junior Boys, while Tanlines’s ability to expertly segue between synth hooks and guitar hooks had echoes of New Order. Crucially, though, Tanlines is nowhere near as chilly as either of those groups. Jesse Cohen’s bongos-and-crash setup brought the same charisma to Tanlines’s shows as it did for percussive pioneers Liquid Liquid. Tanlines work the crescendo to great effect, much like the similarly minded Cut Copy. That’s a lot of name-dropping to prove one major point: these dudes are onto something, and crowds outside of New York City will likely be giving the same high-energy love soon enough.

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less
3

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
5
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

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

rating-image