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All Kinds of Time: Adam Schlesinger's Pursuit of Pure, Peerless Pop

Adam Schlesinger was a poet laureate of pure pop music. There was never a melody too bright, a lyrical conceit too playfully dumb, or a vibe full of radiation that he would shy away from. His sudden passing from COVID-19 means one of the brightest stars in the power-pop universe has suddenly dimmed.

Music

Dua Lipa's 'Future Nostalgia' Is the Dance Escape We Need Right Now

Engaged, confident, and better than ever, Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia is a dancefloor fire-starter but just a shade away from being a true pop masterpiece.

Music

Sam Sparro's 'Boombox Eternal' Is the Melodic Throwback We Need Right Now

Sam Sparro's Boombox Eternal is Jam & Lewis, Nile Rodgers, and Quincy Jones all nodding in unison. It is Day-Glo colors and endless mists of hairspray.

Evan Sawdey
Music

Lemon Jelly's Fred Deakin Aims to Make a Lasting Impression with the Lasters

Former Lemon Jelly frontman Fred Deakin uses Kickstarter to fund a pop-rock passion project, but for all its good faith efforts, it ends up an unfocused mess.

Music

Los Campesinos! 'Romance Is Boring' Holds Up a Decade Later

The three albums Los Campesinos! released after their debut showed who the band really were: angrier, artier, and more thoughtful than we initially thought. Romance Is Boring holds up in its notable decade-on reissue release.

Music

I Just Want to Make That Sad Boy Smile: An Interview with Kleerup

Former Robyn producer Kleerup dropped a lovely solo debut in 2008 then largely disappeared before deciding to come back over a decade later. What happened to him in the intervening years? "Actually, I died twice but got sent back," he tells us.

Music

The 2020 Grammy Awards Didn’t Chase the Dark Clouds Away

In 2019, a spotlight on queer musicians and fast-paced broadcast made the Grammys have some real cultural relevance. Its 2020 edition, clouded by tragedy, scandal, and bloat, only served to remind us why award shows are so problematic.

Music

The 12 Best Pop Albums of 2019

From "Old Town Road" to "7 Rings", from Lizzo to Lucy Spraggan, 2019 was a wild time for pop music, one where escapism was king. Now, as the year winds down, we simply can't escape how good these 12 albums are.

Evan Sawdey
Music

The 10 Best Ambient Albums of 2019

Ambient music has grown with the birth of streaming, ushering in big audiences to sounds both challenging and relaxing. Here are ten best records of the year that say so much without saying a word.

Music

No Fear No More: An Interview with Madeon

Madeon shot to fame as a teenager as a new dance music hero, then withdrew from the world as he battled with his emotions. Now, with his thoughtful sophomore album, Madeon is back with an evolved sound and a new outlook, ready to connect with people like never before.

Evan Sawdey
Music

"It's OK to Not Be OK": An Unflinching Interview with Colin Dieden Formerly of the Mowgli's

Once of the Mowgli's, Colin Dieden's new Little Hurt project is unflinching in its rawness. "I used to think that meeting sadness head-on with happy songs was how I was going to move through it, but one day that stopped feeling honest to me."

Evan Sawdey
Music

Gods in Heat: Tobacco on Celebrating Two Decades of Ghostly International

With a headlining show as part of Ghostly International's 20th anniversary, Tobacco reflects on his own start, why he went with Ghostly, and why his old band Black Moth Super Rainbow is closing up shop.

Evan Sawdey
Music

Every Day Is a Miracle: Caravan Palace and the Joy of Performance

Caravan Palace are one of the most famed groups to come out of the electro-swing movement, but their reach is so much grander with streaming totals in the hundreds of millions. Caravan Palace are back with a new album and a fierce bout of independence.

Music

Anything But Easy: An Interview with Tycho

Scott Hansen's Grammy-nominated instrumental outfit has thrived in the streaming era, soundtracking lives with quiet anthems while selling out arenas. With Tycho's new album, he does the unthinkable and adds vocals to the mix.

Music

Finally Unchained: the bird and the bee Tackle Van Halen's Legacy

In 2010, the quirky electropop outfit the bird and the bee scored a hit with an album of Hall & Oates covers. Now, almost a decade later, the duo reinvent the hair metal machismo of Van Halen into one of the most joyous albums you'll hear all year.

Music

Hero Worship: The B-52's Embrace Their Place in Rock History

To casual onlookers, they made for the best kind of disposable party pop. To their devoted fans, they were taboo-breaking new wave kingpins. Now, with four decades of history under their belt, the B-52's look back and take their bow. Cindy Wilson speaks to PopMatters about their legacy.

Evan Sawdey
Music

Fave Five: Hayden Thorpe - Five Albums That Show Me How It's Done

We all miss the now-defunct UK outfit Wild Beasts, but with his solo album, singer Hayden Thorpe is aiming to make something more personal, and raw. Guiding his way? His "Five Albums That Show Me How It's Done".

Evan Sawdey
Music

Fave Five: Mamas Gun - Five Albums Where the Voice Is King

Songwriter Andy Platts has played for everyone from Corinne Bailey Rae to Beyoncé and has written hits for K-Pop stars. However, his home base is UK soul outfit Mamas Gun, now going a decade strong. Celebrate their new album with Andy's picks of "Five Albums Where the Voice Is King".

Evan Sawdey
Music

He May Sound Strange: An Interview with Spencer Sutherland

As a pop-obsessive who was on the verge of being pigeonholed as a radio-ready pretty boy, Spencer Sutherland instead turned inward, dedicated himself to songwriting, and ended up creating a full-throated choir by looping his voice dozens of times over.

Music

Fave Five: Love Fame Tragedy

Wombats' frontman Matthew Murphy has new project called Love Fame Tragedy with members of the Pixies, Alt-J, and Pearl Jam. He gives us the "The Five Artists/Bands that have influenced I Don't Want to Play the Victim, But I'm Really Good at It EP".

Evan Sawdey
Music

Silence My Drum: An Interview with ionnalee

A medical scare forced ionnalee to make what she thought might be her last album, and asked her fans to crowdfund her tour. They funded it in five days, and once home, was inspired to write a whole new album ripe with optimism -- and right when we need it the most.

Evan Sawdey
Music

Fave Five: JR JR

After the biggest hit of their career, the indie-quirk all-stars JR JR return from a multi-year break with a new label and two new albums. As they count down their "Five Albums That Shaped My Musical Taste", we learn of how Josh used to call Sunny Day Real Estate band members at home.

Evan Sawdey
Music

Fave Five: Tor Lundvall's Favorite Albums of All Time

Dark ambient artist Tor Lundvall is releasing his new album of early, surprising, and downright joyous pop-oriented material today and so he gives us a scintillating tour through the albums that shaped him.

Evan Sawdey
Music

Pretty Ribbons and Lovely Flowers: An Interview with Bibio

For Ribbons, Bibio continues to move away from his defining folktronica sounds and to something increasingly pastoral, revealing to PopMatters what song made him feel palpable heartbreak, why he rarely performs live, and why his new album samples actual cow moos.

Evan Sawdey
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