Music

Valerie June - "Shakedown" (Singles Going Steady)

Photo: Danny Clinch

Valerie June brings us a gospel that speaks in tongues and gets down and dirty on “Shakedown”.

Adriane Pontecorvo: Valerie June brings us a gospel that speaks in tongues and gets down and dirty on “Shakedown”. A bluesy twang gives her folk sounds grit while June sings up a storm and unfettered keyboards rock without getting slick. If you're not catching serious spirit, listen again and again and again: the simplicity is catching, and one listen isn't enough. This is music that wakes the whole body, with knee slaps and hand claps all implied. This is a song made to shake the sins from your skin and your skin from your bones, and it's got some heavy grooves. [8/10]

Andrew Paschal: It's fitting that the music video for "Shakedown" is a live performance of the song, as this feels like the setting for which it was truly devised. The track has a loose and pleasantly careless vibe, a light Southern rock jam designed to bring bodies together and circulate warmth. Arriving in the deepening of winter, this is a welcome endeavor indeed. Whether or not June's latest leaves much of a lasting impression is up to the listener, but this may be beside the point. "Shakedown" seems spontaneous and ephemeral by nature, as though June and company picked up their instruments and let the song simply appear (a masterful illusion to be sure). If it evaporates entirely after its less than three-minute runtime, it still will have accomplished its mission. [7/10]

Chris Ingalls: I really like the eclectic vibe here. There's kind of a swampy gospel feel to it, but it rocks, with a freewheeling party atmosphere and a lot of noisy guitar and retro keyboards. Naysayers may accuse it of being a bit derivative -- in a Black Keys kind of way -- but there are a raw excitement and vitality that makes it hard to ignore. [8/10]

Scott Zuppardo: Although I'm a bit biased as I've had the luxury of seeing and meeting Ms. June several times over through the years, this latest record has a certain juxtaposition. Ditching folkier strains for some funked up bluesy jazz rock, Ms. June is bringing it with a Les Paul Jr. and her killer backing band. The woman simply houses more beauty and soul than a small continent; great band, phenomenal songwriter. Here's to hoping this album perpetuates her through the stratosphere where she belongs. [8/10]

Valerie June's new album, The Order of Time, releases 27 January via Concord Records.

SCORE: 7.75


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Music

GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".

Music

Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".

Music

Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.