Although the frozen north seems to be a beacon for hard rock and metal, not every band that emerges from the ice is listenable, much less enjoyable. The second studio album for Blinded Colony (and the first featuring John Schuster on vocals) is thankfully, one of the good ones. With Bedtime Prayers, Blinded Colony embraces nearly every metal cliché and successfully turns each one on its ear to produce a unique sounding album while avoiding the sophomore slump. The self-produced effort is one of the rare exceptions in which a band benefits from a completely internal approach. In most cases, when a band chooses to produce their own album, it's either due to lack of funds or an abundance of ego. The nine tracks on Bedtime Prayers are short, sweet and leave the listener wanting more, sounding both fresh and polished. Without charging into the realm of musical masturbation, the songs are carefully orchestrated, often containing several movements throughout. New addition Schuster's vocals compliment the chugging guitars and use (as opposed to abuse) of synthesizers with a nice mix of melody, rasp and well-placed screams for emphasis. Lyrically, the bulk of the material on Bedtime Prayers deals with a serious contemplation of faith -- or a lack of. Recurring themes of man vs. religion vs. himself prevail. Whereas many bands of the genre beat the topic to death with trite, whining treatises, Blinded Colony offers some profound observations.
To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.
Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First CenturyPublisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.
Guitarist and band leader Gary Lucas and veteran vocalist Nona Hendryx pay tribute to one of rock's originals in this interview with PopMatters.
From the opening bars of "Suction Prints", we knew we had entered The World of Captain Beefheart and that was exactly where we wanted to be. There it was, that unmistakable fast 'n bulbous sound, the sudden shifts of meter and tempo, the slithery and stinging slide guitar in tandem with propulsive bass, the polyrhythmic drumming giving the music a swing unlike any other rock band.
From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.
In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.
As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.
Kehr was one of the best long-form essay writers people read for clear and sometimes brutally honest indictments of film.
This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.
Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel
Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.
Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.