PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Music Day 2: Beerland again, what can I say?

Photos: Jennifer Kelly

Music Day 2: Beerland again, what can I say?

Enough so so music; life is short. I head to Beerland again. The chalkboard outside is heavy on Siltbreeze bands, the noise-monster label from Philadelphia and the driving force behind shit-gaze. There’s Pink Reason near the dinner hour, and Naked on the Vague in the afternoon, and that’s good, because I’ve been kicking myself about choosing a big label showcase (Secretly Canadian et al) over Siltbreeze and Post-Present Medium (Abe Vigoda, Mika Miko) for tonight’s evening entertainment. Plus, I’m starting to feel like a regular. The guy at the door doesn’t want to see my ID anymore, just waves me in.

Zola Jesus

My eyes adjust to the dark, and there’s Zola Jesus on stage, wailing like a banshee. (The tagline on her MySpace, coincidentally, is “fear the banshee”.) Zola Jesus is a striking presence in every way, from her long Morticia Adams black hair, to her spectral keen, a little of priestess-style Jarboe, a little skewed blues Carla Bozulich, and a bit of the extended sound palette of Yma Sumac. Zola Jesus is primarily one woman, Nika Roza Danilova, but for this performance she’s backed by fellow Wisconsin native Dead Luke, who elicits spooky, static, netherworld atmospheres from Korg, Casio, and other keyboards.


Crossing Fruit Bats with Intelligence sounds like some sort of weird Mendelian experiment, but it’s actually how Factums, from Seattle, were formed. That folky gene from Fruit Bats is apparently a recessive one, because this band’s post-Ubu, Chrome-plated clank and drone resembles the Intelligence and A-Frames more than any laid-back Americana trip. Drummer Matthew Ford drives clattering, lurching, robot-gone-feral grooves. He sings from the back, in hollowed-out, alienated tones while a storm of keyboard infected feedback, viscous bass slides, all out effects-pedaled frenzies litters the foreground. Bleak, stunning, and powerful.

Naked on the Vague

Naked on the Vague, from Australia, is next, a dissonance churning, industrially distorted duo of keyboard mayhemist Lucy Phelan and bassist/guitarist Matthew Hopkins. Their aptly named Blood Pressure Sessions, out last year on Siltbreeze, pitted the cold mechanisms of drum machine beats against undulating waves of Dead C-ish noise. Here, Phelan howls and wails and intones “try, try, try” as she full-body-bobs over the keyboard, Hopkins all bent intensity beside her. Think of the shape-shifting, dream vocals of, say, Bardo Pond, bludgeoned by noise, pulsed through with techno drums, chaotic, unfathomable, overwhelming, a fabulous trainwreck in progress, and you can’t look away for a second.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.


Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.


Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.


Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.


Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.