Music

Art Feynman - "The Shape You're In" (video) (premiere)

California's Art Feynman creates a stunning motorik and Afrobeat mix with "The Shape You're In" that announces the arrival of an artist to watch.

California's Art Feynman sports an impressive sound that blends elements of motorik and Afrobeat into a thrilling mix that comes across as something akin to chilled-out funk. On "The Shape You're In" Feynman's instrumentation and muted tones are economical but decidedly funky with slinky beats and hushed vocals. "The Shape You're In" refers to our present political calamities as well as the dehumanizing effects of technology invading every aspect of our lives.

Feynman tells PopMatters that the song "is about our current political situation, and how maybe our situation is the result of technology, and the detachment it creates from our direct experience of life. People stop knowing how to use all their senses to discern what's the best for them, hence fast food, empty music, twisted religion, and Trump. All you need to do is look at him to know what kind of man he is, but apparently, lots of people have lost the ability to really see, we've become a world of soundbites and branding, and Trump is a master at both of those things. He can be a spiteful fool in broad daylight, and it doesn't seem to matter."

"The Shape You're In" shows a young artist at the top of his game and it's a superb preview for Feynman's upcoming album Blast Off Through the Wicker, although the track is a bonus and doesn't appear on his debut. Blast Off Through the Wicker releases 14 July via Western Vinyl and you can pre-order from the label, Bandcamp or iTunes.

Meanwhile, Art Feynman will be touring with Laetitia Sadier (dates below).

TOUR DATES

08/04 - Jersey City, NJ @ Monty Hall

08/05 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's

08/06 - Washington, DC @ DC9

08/08 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle

08/09 - Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight

08/10 - Nashville, TN @ Third Man Records

08/11 - Athens, GA @ Georgia Theatre

08/12 - Orlando, FL @ Will's Pub

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

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Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

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Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

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