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Perfect Sound Forever- June/July 07 edition

Yes, it's summer time here in the Western hemisphere so another edition of PSF is out including...


Finnish secrets no more

"Forget inanities like Eurovision goofs Lordi and action rawkers like The Flaming Sideburns. Finland’s best kept secret is a chick band that couldn't even play their instruments back in 2000. Branded Women's story and evolution is a testament to the divine powers of rock 'n' roll. By 2004, they'd signed to a major label and issued a mysterious debut album..."


Her switched-on world

"Much contributes to Wendy Carlos' current near-total lack of presence in the larger music world, not the least of which has been her ages-past decision to transfer out of the gender she was miscast in, a decision that appears to have, unsurprisingly, dogged her to the present moment. Expectedly, obnoxious hounds have nipped at her heels, baying at the Tiresian quandary, to which she has responded in a largely lamentable manner."


San Fran punk interview

"Like most people of 'my' generation, the band Crime probably invaded your consciousness via the Sonic Youth cover of their classic 'Hotwire My Heart,' a track whose aural and lyrical content seemed perfect for the crypto-cyberpunk vibe of SY's Sister album. But for those that weren't around when the band initially existed, finding any recorded output was akin to finding an intact Ark of the Covenant or something."


Former Blag Flag interview

"If Chuck Dukowski had only played on, say, Black Flag's first 6 releases – and he DID – he'd already be a music legend. Hell, if he'd only written Black Flag's "My War" – which, again, he did – he'd make the history books. But there's much more to the guy than that. Chuck also helped run (and co-owned) the SST label from approximately 1978-1989, the core period which saw the label make its name as the most important American independent label of the 1980's..."


Ska/rocksteady hero

"Justin Hinds began to make records with the Dominoes (Junior Dixon and Dennis Sinclair) forming a Jamaican harmony trio in the early 1960's and later gained some popularity abroad in the 1990's. Sadly, today Hinds and his comrades have remained rather unknown outside the circle of reggae cognoscenti and their music deserves much wider exposure."


Geographic compositions

"... the result of Kagel's desire not to be limited bylanguages he commonly heard around him in Europe and North America... (was a) change in compositional orientation from the electronic/theatrical to the linguistic/cultural- "Pieces of the Windrose," written between 1988 and 1994. Kagel composed these eight pieces, one for each of the major points of the compass, for a nine piece "salon orchestra."


Her feminist catalog

"It doesn't exactly require a feminism as uncompromising as Andrea Dworkin to observe any demands for female liberation issued from Yoko Ono carry with them a problematic premise. Who better than Ono illustrates the unhappy fact that "[w]omen have needed what can be gotten [only] through intercourse: [...] access to male power through access to the male who has it"? Let us remember, Ono made her mainstream debut (on the 1968 album Two Virgins) unclothed, a sexual conquest..."


A trio of tributes

A triple toast to the late great Voidoid guitarist from Jody Harris, a look at his side projects "Let It Blurt" and Dim Stars as well as an appreciation and some somewhat juicy gossip from Terry Edwards.


Queen of Portuguese fado

"Fado has always been an "inferior" type of music... Actually, nothing could be less respectable than being a Fado singer. Severa, the most famous "fadista" (fado singer) of her time (late seventeenth Century) was a prostitute. All this would change with the advent of the Amalia Rodrigues phenomenon."


Their flowing Caribbean rhythms

"The percussive ensemble of Rumba Bajura seemed to ooze out of the night and the vortex itself. Emerging as a small tribe of tropical gypsies... there is a radiance of assurance that emits from the group on their ability to deliver. The gathering audience reflects the vibes with high anticipation, knowing they will not be disappointed. They come well prepared with a vast array of percussion instruments as congas, cajons of different styles, shapes, and sounds, batá drums, shekeres, claves, a cuá and block set up, Brazilian surdos, cuicas, marching snare and large tympanis."


Their shoegazing universe

"... we need to be reminded to cleanse the soot off our doors of perception once in a blue moon. Enter Soundpool, a band in 2006 who came along with an album (On High) so delicious as to make the familiar fresh, and remind us that infinity can be liberating, rather than horrifying and that it can be exhilarating instead of exasperating. It can be joyous. For the record, Soundpool reinterpret infinity through sound."


Of Sky Explosion and Eluvium

"When he is watching a band perform, or listening to music at home, which is very often indeed, Jeremy deVine has a look of sustained, faintly devotional concentration that resembles nothing so much as a person contented and given to great depths of feeling, wonder, empathy and joy. These are the very same qualities that shine through in the albums produced by Jeremy's record label, Temporary Residence, which, as it happens, includes some of the most haunting, challenging and important music in any genre to be released in the last few years."


Her post-Helium life

"The Shapes We Make is the title of Mary Timony's newest record, and it's a fitting title for a musician whose oeuvre is ever changing. Since her first album with her band Helium, she's created a sound that draws equally on harsh, serrated musical textures and the lyrical, otherworldly aspects of—surprise!—art rock. Without, of course, songs about elves or side-long album suites."


The USB port blues

"... there's a lot to be said about doing "needle drops," as they're now calling it. There's an art to doing it correctly, and a lot of hi-fi enthusiasts are, well, enthusiastic about getting the best possible results. And what's interesting about needle drops is that in theory, the digital conversion should preserve the sound of the turntable perfectly."

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Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.


The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.


'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.


'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.


The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.


Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.

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