All posts filed under: Featured

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What The World Needs Now: The Incredible Music and Story of Cait Brennan

Cait Brennan has an amazing story. One of conquering incredible odds of gender identity, disease, abuse and homelessness, getting her shit together, rising up, becoming a stellar live performer and giving birth to not one, but two amazing albums with a third on the way. But that’s not why we’re here today. We’re here about the music. Cait Brennan makes AMAZING music. Songs steeped in 50 years of music history that sound urgent, current and eternal. Songs that the moment you hear them, you can’t imagine how you lived so long without them. Cait Brennan isn’t some jaded hipster Millennial whose main currency is Instagram followers, she has lived herself some life – and that life is captured in her debut album, perfectly titled to document her coming out on an international stage. Debutante. Debutante, a sparkling album produced by Brennan and Fernando Perdomo, is right up there with the great “drenched in blood, sweat & tears, leave everything on the table, conquer the world” albums like Against Me’s New Wave, Guns & Roses’ Appetite …

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All Hail The Legends of Et cetera

Every time I see something like Selena Gomez’s flat, tuneless, speak/sung SNL performance and think to myself, “seriously, THIS is the crap the kids are listening to these days!”, someone else comes along, kicks my ass, and makes me believe that the children are indeed the future… well, if we don’t fuck it up for them by electing some douchebag like Trump or Cruz. It shouldn’t matter that singer/songwriter/guitarist Serena Miller and her band, Legends of Et cetera, are still in high school, their music is pure, and it rocks. Their story, high school plot line and all, is truly worth telling, so here goes. They crushed their set at WTMD’s Baltimore Band Block Party and their song, ‘Give Up The Ghost’ is on regular rotation at the station. The station recently set them up with a gig at the airport of all places (see it on their facebook page). ‘Ghost’ deserves to be a national hit, the guitar line hooked me first and it’s been thundering out of my stereo ever since. When I picked up, Coyote, their …

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Album Stream: Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons’ Homemade Vision

POPDOSE has been listening to Homemade Vision, the second album by Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons, nearly round the clock for the past month. Spin after spin, the Michael Landolt-produced rocket ride soars higher onto my eventual Best Albums of 2016 list (their previous album, Hey Kid, landed high in my 2014 round-up). Thankfully, you don’t need to wait a year to hear my fancy pants aging hipster music critic review of it, take control and Rock & Roll right now. Stream it below — for a limited time — to give yourself a taste and then pick it up on iTunes or Amazon (digital). Want a CD? You should, I’m an old school (circa 1985), high fidelity guy myself. Get it direct from Angela’s store right here. While it’s easy to get lost in her midnight eyes or swoon over her signature vintage dresses and hats, don’t for a minute think this is a one woman show. Chris Connor (lead guitar), Billy Zehnal (bass) and a Spinal Tap’ian rotation of drummers help Perley deliver the goods on record and on stage …

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VIDEO PREMIERE: The Not-Its! – Dance With Me

photo credit: Mike Hipple Seattle’s The Not-Its! ask a simple question with the title of their new record: Are You Listening? If you’re not, you should be. After a rare 2 year break between records, The Not-Its! are back with a vengeance, full of absurdly catchy pop-punk grooves. Despite an incredible burst of creative energy – releasing their 6th record in 7 years(!) – The Not-Its are not short on ideas. The band’s sharp and witty lyrics with strong vocals by lead singers Sarah Shannon (Velocity Girl) and Danny Adamson are on full display with Are You Listening? Songs like “Grandad is a Spy” “Don’t Fear The Dentist” and “Traffic Jam” (which channels Rocket From The Crypt) are just a blast of energy. Popdose is proud to premiere the video for the first single, “Dance With Me”. The multi-plane video was directed by Chris Looney (who provides insight on the creation process) Are You Listening? will be released on February 19th and is available for pre-order from Amazon or straight from the band. Starting February 3rd you can pre-order the …

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Oh Canada! Here Come The Lipstick Junkies

If the Lipstick Junkies new song, ‘Build Me a Box’, gets stuck in your head for days, don’t blame me. Blame Canada! Blame Canada! The Toronto trio’s new EP was recorded by Al Connelly and Sam Reid of the Juno Award-winning and Grammy-nominated band, Glass Tiger. For fans of HUGE pop songs from the Eighties, let’s let the awesomeness of that sink in for a moment… Now if this post can’t get Canadian enough, Bryan Adams sings back-up on that Tiger track. OK, back to business. Fun and games is part and parcel for the Lipstick Junkies who take their name from a Red Hot Chili Peppers song (2011’s ‘The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie’). They have performed around southern Ontario, from London to Montreal, including appearances at Canadian Music Week, Indie Week and Ryerson Radio, and have opened for acts like Walk Off the Earth and Organ Thieves — never heard of those bands? Ask a Canadian! If you think I mock Canada here, you could not be further from the truth. I love Canadian music. From …

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Breaking Band: Banta Fits The Fashion and Breaks The Mold

Decades after its Sunset Strip heyday, Los Angeles has no shortage of hot new bands on the rise. Phases (featuring the Like’s Z Berg), Halo Circus (featuring Allison Iraheta, one of American Idol’s most talented expats) and Echo Park’s Banta are well poised to break out nationally as 2016 picks up speed. Imagine if Rumors-era Fleetwood Mac truly went new wave in the early 80’s — that’s just about the sound Banta brings to ‘Someday’, a single from their promising full-length debut, Dark Charms. Banta is Sharaya Mikael (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Alathea Reese (Keys & BGV’s), Dan Perez (Lead Guitar), Jon Marcu (Drums) and Steve Grohne (Bass). The group unveiled their debut EP in 2014, recorded with producer Andrew Stonestreet, and began playing shows around Los Angeles, including the Buzzbands LA Showcase at Echo Park Rising and opening slots at The Satellite and The Troubadour. Dark Charms was pieced together over several sessions in Portland and Los Angeles with Stonestreet and producers Andy Brohard and Ryan Castle. “I can’t believe this album is actually finished,” Sharaya Mikael said via her rep. “It was such a long process. …

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Honor “The Artist”, Feed An Artist, Gift Your Favorite Little Prince

Last summer, POPDOSE talked with Seattle artist, Troy Gua, about his years-long celebration of a funky lil musical genius named Prince — and the lawsuit, global press coverage and short film (pun intended) that followed. Read the full interview here. As 2016 kicks off, we reconnect with Gua to discuss his latest project, one that could land your hands on this limited edition gem of a poster (see below): What inspired the Le Petit Prince poster project? LPP for those in the know. It was an end-of-the-year Instagram app that culled your 9 most popular posts of the year and compiled them into a grid for posting. I guess it should have come as no surprise that all nine of mine turned out to be LPP pics. I posted, someone said it would make a great poster, the wheels turned. Does this mark the end of the LPP era? It’s not the end of an era, but I had concentrated on an entirely new 80’s period series earlier this past year, so I thought a compilation would make sense and …

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WORLD PREMIERE: Bill Pritchard ‘Saturn and Co.’

26 years after it’s release, Bill Pritchard’s Three Months, Three Weeks & Two Days, remains one of my all time favorite albums. It arrived at my college radio station, WKSR (Kent State University), just as we were playing Morrissey’s Viva Hate into the ground. Pritchard struck the same nerve as Moz without all the drama. The buoyant melodies, wry lyrics, Parisian cafe touches and Pritchard’s crisp, deep woodwind of a voice helped end the Eighties on a high note as we faced a daunting Nineties without the Smiths. ‘Nineteen’ and ‘Tommy & Co.” were the big hits, but I absolutely fell in love with the single ‘Romance Sans Paroles’. Considering this album was Pritchard’s 4th in two years, I fully expected to fill my shelves with his work in the decade to come. But the stretches between albums became greater and greater and I often found out about “new” Bill Pritchard albums years after their official release. Needless to say, I am glad to be ahead of the game with his upcoming album, Mother Town Hall — arriving hot on the heels of …

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World Premiere Video: Repeater ‘Never Forget’

To kick off 2016 in high style, POPDOSE proudly premieres the latest video from one of our favorite bands. Ideal listening for fans of New Order, Echo & The Bunnymen and The Postal Service. There are plenty of original new wave acts (typically with at least one original member and loads of spare parts) riding nostalgia circuit. Beyond New Order, a handful, like Duran Duran, OMD and Blancmange, have found a way to recapture their magic with compelling new music (see my Unintentionally Retro Top Albums of 2015). Even fewer NEW bands have been able to tap into that signature sound with original music that looks back and still moves forward. Among them, Repeater of Long Beach, California. Their self-titled album made the Top 10 of the Best Albums of 2014. Repeater’s music might be close to impossible to find on Amazon or Google — type in the name and you need to wade through a crap load of electronics — but it’s worth seeking out. Repeater the album gets better and better with every listen. Big melodies with dark undertones. Shiny synths and shimmering guitars with …

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Review: Kurt Cobain – Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings (Deluxe Edition)

Kurt Cobain’s first solo record – recently released 21 years after his 1994 suicide and paired with a suspect “documentary” film project of revisionist mythmaking and iconography – is a jumbled, scraping-barrel-bottom mess of an affair. It’s not to say that, for die-hard fans, there are not things to like about it. There are moments of, I’ll go so far as to say, genuine beauty. The opener “The Yodel Song” shows how easily Cobain could toss off a Nirvana-style melody without giving a second thought, and tunes like “The Happy Guitar” make you feel like, alone sometimes, Cobain genuinely just had a good time making music, even if – maybe especially if – there was no audience to intrude sans himself. And, yes, the acoustic take on “And I Love Her” and the instrumental “Letters To Frances” are sweet. But for every engaging moment (an epic “Do Re Mi,” a frequently bootlegged “Sappy” demo, the Melvins-ish “Reverb Experiment”) there’s a lot of grime. The scattered montages and audio collages, while interesting ephemera, are dated sonically and haven’t aged …

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ALBUM REVIEW: McAlmont & Butler – The Sound Of…McAlmont & Butler (1995, reissued 2015)

Even the best laid plans never quite work out as expected. When David McAlmont first met Bernard Butler in London’s Jazz Café in 1994, both were still reeling following acrimonious splits—McAlmont’s dream pop duo Thieves had just broken up and Butler had left Suede during the recording of the band’s sophomore LP, Dog Man Star—and  neither wished to enter a new musical marriage: the initial plan was only to record a pair of songs for a single and create what Butler described as a “perfect moment in pop”. That their collaboration immediately resulted in the majestic, transcendent “Yes”—inspired by Dusty Springfield’s “I Only Want to Be With You”—and the sprawling, soaring “You Do” threw bit of a spanner in the works: why stop at a single? Why not record a full album? With a bit of prodding from industry types, the pair returned to the studio to complete nine more songs and assemble enough material for an album that was never meant to be in the first place. By The Sound Of…McAlmont & Butler‘s release, ten of its eleven songs (“The Right Thing” was the lone …

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TV on DVD Review: Manimal and Automan

In the annals of TV history, there are a handful of shows held up as the universal examples of shows gone horribly wrong – high-concept shows so preposterous as to flop and get cancelled extremely quickly. These shows live forever, but not as shows people remember, but as trivia items, because they were quickly cancelled and never seen again. Their names become punchlines and we can only imagine how bad these so-called bad shows truly were…even ones from eras in which TV was universally not very good. (Basically any time before 2007.) Shows like My Mother the Car. Turn On. Cop Rock. Pink Lady and Jeff. And of course, Manimal. It’s at the top of this unique list, and not only because it has the most inadvertently awesome and hilarious title in TV history. Also on that list, even though it ran slightly longer than Manimal and maybe because it’s title isn’t as glorious: Automan. The shows are spiritual cousins, if not actual cousins, because they were created by the same man (Glen A. Larson), …

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Jack Fear’s All-Night All-Fright Halloween Mixtape Party Pack! (FINAL UPDATE 10/29)

There are (as has often been observed) two kinds of people in this world. What those two kinds are — well, that’s a matter of personal interpretation. Myself, I tend to divide the population into larks and owls. To wit: Some of us, maybe most of us, live in the daylight — the early risers, the good people, who live in the daylight and greet the morning with a song. But there are some of us who burn the midnight lamp; the night hawks, who have prowled the infomercial wasteland of the TV graveyard shift, who know the eerie hush of 3:00 AM, who crawl the streets sleepless in the small hours, in the liminal zone between yesterday and tomorrow, moving through pools of lamplight when the pavements are strange and lonely in the dark. The Night People. For the tribes of the night, Halloween is our Mardi Gras, our Christmas, and our Thanksgiving, all rolled into one. It’s our tourist season, when we natives of the interzone play host to the bright-eyed Day People …

Salt-N-Pepa with En Vogue. Can you guess the song?

CONCERT REVIEW: FLOW 93.5 Throwback Birthday Bash featuring Salt-N-Pepa, En Vogue, Maestro, Fat Joe and Choclair, TD Echo Beach, Toronto, ON, September 27, 2015

FLOW 93.5 has long been Toronto’s pre-eminent R&B/hip-hop radio station, but in recent years it has begun to tweak its format to move away from contemporary/Top 40 hits in favour of a classic hip-hop format. The FLOW 93.5 Throwback Birthday Bash—I’m still unclear as to why a station launched in March 2001 would celebrate its birthday in late September, but feel free to chime in with an answer in the comments—was certainly a reflection of that shift to “All The Best Throwbacks,” featuring a lineup of classic acts headlined by En Vogue and Salt-N-Pepa. Kicking things off on Sunday afternoon was Choclair with a brief set that closed with a medley of hooks from standout hits from the 90s (“Hip Hop Hooray,” “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”) and a short rendition of his debut single, 1999’s “Let’s Ride.” Choclair was generally well received by fans who made it out to the sand-filled venue before sundown, but it was a bit disappointing to watch him finish with an abbreviated version of what remains to this day his biggest …

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CD Review: Now That’s What I Call Halloween

It’s so interesting that I was asked to review Now That’s What I Call Halloween, a definitive, all-encompassing compilation of Halloween songs, scary film score highlights, and other soundscapes from the makers of the Now That’s What I Call Music series. It’s the perfect thing to throw on at a Halloween party or when trick-or-treaters are coming and going, and I know a thing or two about the proper way to celebrate Halloween. You see, I invented the word spooktacular. But actually, you know what? That’s neither here nor there. My personal achievements and lasting, priceless contributions to the vernacular have nothing to do with Now That’s What I Call Halloween. This is about the album, which joyfully and wonderfully celebrates this Halloween season, a season defined by jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin-flavored everything, and clever neologisms that combine a well-known superlative word with a word that describes the Halloween season. Here’s a bit of what you will find on the Now That’s Call I Call Halloween compilation, which is, in a word, and I have no choice here, …