PM Pick

Black Belt, From, Dustin O'Halloran

Black Belt --"Road Crew" from Two Minutes to Midnight on Novoton

Preview the whole album

What if you kidnapped Pete Townshend, Iggy Pop and Otis Redding, put them in a small cabin, force fed them cheap beer and greasy food, and -- under the supervision of Josh Homme -- made them solve the great rock’n’roll riddle? You might come up with something similar to the diverse, yet straight-forward, soundscapes of Swedish power trio Black Belt -- big fuzzy guitars, fat ass bass, rolling drums, dirty denim, sweet soul and tons of swagger.

With one foot running the working class meanstreets of the '60s, the other foot placed firmly in the black soil of the south, Black Belt proove that it’s still possible to create a stir by rolling that old rock in yet another direction. With their largest production to date, the band both roars and crumbles, whispers and cuddles -- although they never lose trace of the chorus-driven nerve that made them a name in the first place.

From --"Fall on Me" -- a PopMatters exclusive

Sure, From is a four-letter F-word. It suits the band just fine. No song is precious. Nothing aims for utter seriousness. And it's not a bad thing to infuse some rawness into arty abstraction. In the fall of 2004, designer Roni Brunn launched From in Los Angeles, and the lineup has been fluid since. Brunn sings and writes all the music; production and performance duties are shared. From's sound began with the unexpecedly fecund pairing of the Stone Roses and early Madonna. Ride, Oasis, Primal Scream, and, of course, the Beatles have also influenced both the feel and the song writing. The lyrics reflect Brunn's multinational displacement, playful sobriety, and boy-crazy attachments: very specific yet simultaneously intutitive.

Dustin O'Halloran --"Opus 63" from the Marie Antoinette soundtrack, and "Opus 23" from Piano Solos Vol. 2

Piano Solos Vol. 2 is the beautiful new instrumental work from Dustin O' Halloran. Dustin recently attracted the attention of renowned music supervisor Brian Reitzell, who asked O'Halloran to assist in the score of Sofia Coppola's epic historical drama, Marie Antoinette. Two of the compositions on this new release, as well as Opus 17 from Dustin's first Piano Solos album, appear on the Marie Antoinette soundtrack.

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

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