All posts filed under: Featured – Frontpage

Jim Gaffigan Show Cast

Impastor and Jim Gaffigan Turn TV Land into the New HBO

TV Land, once Cable TV’s Cousin Oliver, has gone all Marsha, Marsha, Marsha seemingly overnight. Their latest one-two punch, The Jim Gaffigan Show and Impastor, rival the best comedic fare on HBO and Comedy Central and just might be the best two scripted series on TV this summer. The Jim Gaffigan Show Gaffigan mines his irreverent family-themed adult stand-up routine to fuel his first headline series (after a solid two year run with a supporting role on TBS’s My Guys). Ashley Williams (How I Met Your Mother) is perfectly cast as the fictional Jeannie Gaffigan; the real Jeannie serves as a show producer and writer. The Fat Dad/Hot Wife combo is a sitcom staple; what makes this one more believable than the rest is the fact that semi-fictional Jim and Jeannie work as well on screen as the real ones do off screen. Raising five kids in a 2-bedroom New York apartment is a fertile premise, with the Big Apple cast as a supporting character (reprising her role from Sex and the City). Adam Goldberg plays Jim’s BFF ‘Dave’ no differently than every other time ‘Adam …

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Trans TV: The Big Debate About “I Am Cait” and “I Am Jazz”

As POPDOSE’s resident non-gender conforming correspondent, I thought it was high time to weigh in on this fabulous summer of Trans television: I Am Cait (E!) and I Am Jazz (TLC). What started off as a traditional television review (this is POPDOSE after all) turned into a more personal exploration leading to the question, Should Caitlyn Jenner be THE voice of the transgender Community? TV in and “on” Transition TV has come a long way since men in dresses were the punchline (M*A*S*H, Bosom Buddies) or Trans characters were relegated to that of serial killers or murder victims. Let’s not even talk about soap operas where female actresses are revealed as trans! in a shocking plot twist. I hear CBS’s Big Brother has a trans contestant this season, but that’s just a stunt. Let’s talk about people who are actually doing something positive. This summer, we’re being treated to two reality shows about budding icons in Trans culture. They have a lot in common; redundant titles (technically Jazz claimed the “I Am…” bit first), trans topics (“coming out” and “day in the life stories”) and captivating leads …

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Review: Big Lazy – “Don’t Cross Myrtle”

Stephen Ulrich and his jazz/rock noir band Big Lazy will take up residency at the renowned Brooklyn joint Barbes starting in a couple short days and there seems like no better reason to take a second glance at the 2014 gem of a record that slipped below our radar here at Popdose, that comeback kid LP, the group’s first outing since 2006, Don’t Cross Myrtle. All you really need to know about Myrtle is that it’s the trio’s best record to date and that’s saying a goddamn lot. But better sounding than “Skinless, Boneless?” More killer than “Tel Aviv Taxi?” Hu-f**in-zzah. The entire thing, like the group’s whole twisted back catalog, is a story of intersections: the intersection of rockabilly and icy-smooth menthol smoke, the intersection of surf music and David Lynch films, that of jazz and beatnik composition, that of big-sky country possibilities and film-noir endings. It’s all in there for the picking. Dive right in. Album-opener “Minor Problem,” with its vaguely Afro-Cuban grooves and lurching upright bass, is menacing, the evil twin to …

Duran_Duran 2015

10 Essential September New Releases for Kids of the Eighties

For jaded hipster Millennials and their streaming services, September 2015 will be just another month of the year, a time to wander aimlessly through millions of songs and hundreds of commercials. For record collectors, especially whose who grew up in the 1980’s or love 80’s music, September 2015 just might be the greatest month in world history. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many blockbuster releases hitting the shelves, if it weren’t for Gerry Galipault’s comprehensive and addictive new release calendars on Pause and Play, I would be completely lost. Let’s tear open his calendars and dive on in: September 2 Against Me! • The Libertines • Public Image Limited Against Me! • 23 Live Sex Acts Since coming out as transgender in the pages of Rolling Stone, Laura Jane Grace has risen from being unfairly tagged as a “major label sell out” to the much-deserved status as a national icon. Best of all, Grace is finally being recognized as one of the era’s top songwriters and performers. With an Emmy nomination under her …

Karl Larssen

Popdose Premiere: Last Days of April, “Oh Well”

Don’t let the Swedish passports fool you, Sea of Clouds by Last Days of April, out last week on Tapete Records, is not your typical Robyn or Max Martin confection. Imagine a slow simmering skillet of indie rock-fueled deep country Americana, seasoned by Tom Petty, sad Beck, Fountains of Wayne, My Morning Jacket, the Ravonettes and David Lynch. Clouds is the band’s 9th album across a prolific 20 years. Led by singer Karl Larsson, Last Days of April decamped to Atlantis Studios in Stockholm and recorded the entire album to analog tape in two and a half days. The result is a cohesive and magnificent listen. Take a peek inside the studio for the POPDOSE world premiere of album highlight, ‘Oh Well’: While ‘Oh Well’ is a quieter affair, there is plenty of thunder to be heard elsewhere, most notably the guitar solo that crescendos ‘The Thunder & The Storm’: Get Sea of Clouds on CD and vinyl or on iTunes and Amazon MP3. For the newly enlisted fans of the band, this summer also marks the 10th anniversary of Larsson’s hit ‘Off a Cliff’, presented …

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Sarah Cracknell, Adam Lambert, FFS Lead June Bloom New Releases

Forget Christmas or “Christmas in July”, most of the year’s top new albums arrive this month to a record store (way to go!), digital retailer (sure why not?) or streaming service (you are killing the music industry) near you. Sarah Cracknell • Red Kite Her name might not ring a bell, but her voice will flood your memory holes with 20 years of effervescent post acid indie house dance pop singles dreamily sung through her day job in Saint Etienne. For the second time in as many decades, Cracknell leaves bandmates Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley in the train station to cut off on a solo holiday. 1997’s Lipslide (and companion EP, Kelly’s Locker) were charming if unmemorable affairs, but Red Kite (out this week on Cherry Red) is much more lush and ambitious and easily ranks high among her best work (for the record, I am more of a Finisterre man than team Foxbase Alpha). The dreamy waltz, ‘On The Swings’, whisks you out of London into the English countryside, Oxfordshire to be exact, where Red Kite was …

LPP

Artist Vs. The Artist — Le Petit Prince Rides Again

Troy Gua isn’t the first artist to run afoul of the Artist currently known as Prince, we all remember that dancing toddler who was served with a Cease & Desist letter in 2007. However the wet towel snap of the law stung a little bit more for Gua for he had been an ardent fan of Prince for close to 30 years at the time (read SPIN‘s account of the drama). Gua’s work(s) of art, Le Petit Prince, featured a 1/6th scale marionette of the musical super genius posed in re-creations of landmark Prince album covers, video moments and film clips. The project went viral, gaining fans around the world including ?uestlove of the Roots who frequently wears an LPP shirt while DJing and sported one of Troy’s custom-made  ‘<3’ emblems on his lapel the night Prince played Fallon. You would think that Prince would be honored, but we all remember, Prince has similarly refused to grant “Weird Al” Yankovic permission to parody his songs for years. Under the protection of the law, Weird Al …

Isley Reust Film Still

The Spectacular Spectacular Trans Mission of Isley Reust

Isley Reust is a force of nature. While most everyone in Hollywood is a multi-hyphenate of some kind (writer/producer/model) with an off-resume day job, Isley is making waves on several fronts by thrusting her art and herself into the world.  She’s an activist for the LGB and Transgender communities, the title subject of a film to come out next year, and the guitarist for a new band, Spectacular Spectacular, that is prepping a summer tour up the West Coast and Canada. Isley was also featured in the AOL series, True Trans, hosted by Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! Hayden Black, the writer/director/co-star of Goodnight Burbank (Laura Silverman, Dominic Monaghan), urged me to check out Spectacular Spectacular’s first single, ‘Orange Juice’ after he lined up the band’s music to appear in his upcoming animated series, Gen Zed. “Isley’s music is just phenomenal so when she offered Gen Zed an exclusive track, all of us here just flipped,” said Black. “Gen Zed, which is coming out later this year, is the first animated series to feature a …

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Record Store Day Founder Responds To Popdose Op-Ed

My POPDOSE op-ed on how to build a better record store day turned into a bit of a lightning rod when Salon picked it up and added an incendiary new headline. In both forums, many people shared part of my opinion and others said I have it all wrong. One reader pointed me to an article by (no not that) Chris Brown that put the number of RSD titles on eBay in perspective with total titles offered and sold. Another called me a curmudgeon, which is more charitable than many of the other insults hurled my way from people who likely didn’t ready beyond the headline or lead. If the founders of Record Store Day responded to interview requests from every blogger with an opinion, they would have no time to plan the event. But since we got the Salon bump, they welcomed my offer to share their perspective. So with that, here’s an unedited Q&A with Michael Kurtz, Co-founder, Record Store Day and Chevalier de Ordre des Arts Et Des Lettres, France. POPDOSE: We agree on the intentions of Record Store Day — …

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Why Record Store Day 2015 Should Be The Last

People have been griping about eBay since the beginning, but there are many more reasons why we should save our independent record stores by abolishing Record Store Day. As a kid, I never wanted to be an athlete. That’s why I became a record collector. Long before the Internet, local Cleveland-area record stores like Wax Stacks, Record Exchange, Chris’s Warped Records, Time Traveler, Peaches and Record Revolution were the places to discover bands and scenes from around he world, connect with kindred spirits and turn on or get turned onto life changing music. And then, with Record Store Day, record collecting became a highly competitive full contact sport and endurance event. You know the drill: Arrive at 4:00 AM on a blustery April morning and STILL not be the first in line. Incur the wrath of your line mates when you dare take a pee break in the nearest Starbucks or alley. Endure the stench of men who have not showered or likely left their parents’ basement in months. Get pushed around by hired goons and their extended family …

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Hot LP Roundup: The Fall, Echosmith, Local H, Jimmy Somerville and More

On Record  Store Day, do you really want to stand in line for hours at the crack of dawn to get your mitts on a bunch of half baked rarities before they wind up on eBay? No? Well then, here are some truly worthy new and recent albums that you can pick up any damn time you please. Jimmy Somerville • Homage When Jimmy Somerville announced he was doing a pure disco album,  I think most of us thought — wait, when was Jimmy Somerville ever NOT disco? He remade disco classics like ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ and ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ for the new wave generation and the 12-inch singles for originals like ‘Smalltown Boy’ shoulda come packed with a glitter ball. By the time Jimmy started promoting Homage, he was getting downright cocky: ““A homage to disco is something I always wanted to do. I never really thought I could pull it off but I did, and it’s a really brilliant album to be perfectly honest”. Well boogie to the boogie to be if he didn’t …

Popdose Deluxe Edition Roundup

Hot New Deluxe Editions: Are Extra Tracks Worth The Extra $?

Spring is here and some of the big releases come in even bigger “deluxe editions”. So, if you pony up the dough, is it worth the extra show? POPDOSE places a few recent releases into the ring: Madonna • Rebel Heart (Super Deluxe Edition) I’ve been with Madge since day one and she rarely disappoints — but when she does, whoa Nelly. I blew $20 on the deluxe edition of MDNA thinking there is no way it could be worse than Hard Candy but boy was I in for a shock. Rebel Heart marks a move towards redemption. There’s a 19-track deluxe edition and a 25-track super deluxe edition (let’s just call it “Super” from here onward). If you buy the latter and trim the fat, you have Madonna’s best album since the criminally underrated American Life. Rebel Heart only misses the mark when Madonna is chasing her younger colleagues instead of leading them. The word “Bitch” shows up in three songs and is needed or welcome in none (same goes with Rihanna’s new single — seriously, …

MUSE band 2015

Hot New Tracks: Muse, Charli XCX, Christine Martucci, Jessica Domingo, X&Y, Vinyette

In honor of Net Neutrality, there is just about something for everyone in this week’s round-up of hot new tracks: MUSE • Dead Inside After getting their Queens of the Stone Age on with ‘Psycho‘, the first release from their upcoming concept album, Drones, MUSE scales it back a notch with follow-up ‘Dead Inside’. This trippier, more logical follow-up to the dubsteppy feel of their last album, still sizzles. The video borrows a bit much from the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Give it Away’, but so long as Marvin Gaye’s family doesn’t detect a trace of ‘Sexual Healing’, Muse will be fine. Two singles in as many weeks, pace yourself Warner Brothers, Drones (co-produced by Muse and Robert John “Mutt” Lange) ain’t out til June 9. Charli XCX • Famous What’s that sinking feeling? The inexplicable underperformance of Charli XCX’s sophomore LP, Sucker. it debuted shockingly low (#28 on the Billboard 200) for a major label album with such a massive promotional push. It quickly fell off the 200, but that’s not stopping her from releasing new videos. The …

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ZTT Mines More Vault Gold From The Art of Noise On Two Essential Reissues

ZTT Records, the influential record label founded by Paul Morley (NME Journalist), Trevor Horn (mega producer) and Jill Sinclair (the business end), has been prolifically releasing and reissuing the limitless treasure in its vaults since the end of the label’s heyday in the 1990’s.  Just when you think you’ve heard it all, they dump another bushel on you – and near every damn track is a breathtaking listen. Last month saw the European releases of two more titles in the Element series on Salvo Records that already includes the essential Art of the 12” discs and The Organization of Pop.   The Art of Noise* at the End of a Century The asterisk in the band name is more than ornamental – it could take you hours to wade through the different lineups and incarnations of the band to determine who owns The Art of Noise as a brand. At the end of the 20th Century, the line up was Morely, Horn, co-founder Anne Dudley and Lol Creme (of Godley & Crème fame and that …

Nalani & Sarina Press Photo

POPDOSE WORLD PREMIERE: Nalani & Sarina ‘We’ll Be Free’

This week, two exciting funk workouts have been blowing up my speakers. The first, a surprise track leak by Prince & 3rdeyegirl called ‘What If…‘; the second, ‘We’ll Be Free’ by fresh faced twin sister act, Nalani & Sarina. As good as the Prince track is, it’s a bit of a mess with way too much stuff going on in the mix. The sisters, on the other hand, out Prince Prince with their sexy, fresh, sonically-tight, new power soul throwdown. The classic rock contingent of the POPDOSE readership might look at their picture and dismiss the Bolton sisters as another tween pop act — in doing so, they will miss out on what just might be their favorite record of the year. While any American Idol contestant can imitate the masters, Nalani and Sarina bring a masterful blend of old school rock, funk and soul sonics into the modern age of pop. Grab onto your seats, here is the WORLD PREMIERE of ‘We’ll Be Free’: There’s a reason the music is as hot as it is. The sisters …

Neil Arthur Blancmange 2015

WORLD PREMIERE SONG + A Semi Detached Interview with Blancmange

The first three Blancmange albums came in quick succession between 1982 and 1985. The next three as well, save for the quarter century in between. 2011’s stellar Blanc Burn was a return to form that made POPDOSE’s list of the Most Awesome New Wave Comebacks Ever. Happy Families Too, a modern reinterpretation of their debut followed last year. March 23, 2015 sees the release of Semi Detached, the first album of new Blancmange material to not feature band co-founder Stephen Luscombe. The last time Neil Arthur went solo, he went big, bold and POP with 1994’s Suitcase. This time around, he goes a bit darker, daring and personal. While previous albums may have boasted bigger pop singles (like ‘Living on the Ceiling’ and ‘Lose Your Love’), Semi Detached turns out to be perhaps the best cohesive album of Arthur’s career. Semi Detached is a very compelling, visceral and engaging listen – the production isn’t glossy, but sparse and edgy synths crackle with energy and Arthur’s lyrics reveal more and more with every spin. Arthur’s songwriting is …

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MEET LEFTY WEEKLING: An Interview With The Weeklings’ Glen Burtnik

New Jersey legend Glen Burtnik doesn’t seem to know how or when to slow down.  Always busy, always making music, always performing somewhere with someone, this multi-faceted musician is a local legend – having played with the likes of Styx, a variation of E.L.O., The Orchestra and having begun his journey in Beatlemania, playing (what else?) the McCartney role (at the same time Marshall Crenshaw was portraying Lennon). Fast forward to the now and Burtnik (in the guise of “Lefty Weekling”) has teamed up with some very formidable local musicians to create the magnificent Weeklings.  Taking tracks by Lennon and McCartney (and Harrison) that were never recorded or released by the Fabs (save for two or three and only released decades later as part of the Anthology series) and doing it in a way that you would swear it was The Beatles, the debut album from The Weeklings is simply a joy and one to embrace fully.  Add to the mix that half the songs are original Weeklings tracks (co-written by Burtnik and guitarist Bob …

Marc Almond 2015

50 Shades of Cabaret: Inside Marc Almond’s Triumphant Pop Return

If you’re a softer Soft Cell fan like me, it’s been hard to keep up with Marc Almond all these years. If you’re more ambitious, it’s been quite the ride with dozens of fabulous albums ranging from experimental (Torment and Toreros), cabaret (Mother Fist and Her Five Daughters), Jacques Brel-ian (Jacques) or Russian romance and folk songs (Heart on Snow). There were grand pop albums from time to time, most notably 1988’s The Stars We Are – a modern new wave record that spawned the hits ‘Tears Run Rings’ and the deliciously dour Nico duet ‘Your Kisses Burn’. A sequel of sorts lays in 2015’s The Velvet Trail, out today on Cherry Red. Sensual, dangerous and otherworldly creatures populate the VIP room as Almond plugs in the neon and welcomes you back into his non-stop erotic cabaret. Orchestral instrumentals kick off the three-sided album’s acts. ‘Bad to Me’ quickly satiates the ‘Tainted Love’ crowd so that Almond can move forward with his show of shows. ‘Zipped Black Leather Jacket’ is coy and gorgeous and could very well …

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Leroy Sanchez’s One Direction: Top of the Charts

After a lot of prayers, God has finally built a better Bieber. More talent. Less antics to serve as TMZ fodder. Leroy Sanchez hails from Spain and is winding his way through America one city at a time as Kate Voegele‘s Wild Card tour wraps up in the Midwest. Hipster purists might turn their ears on pop music, but any true lover of good songwriting can find just as much gold on the Billboard 200 as they do deep in the Pitchfork archives. Sanchez has the appeal, talent and work ethic of current greats like Bruno Mars and Pharrell Williams, so there should be no stopping his artistic and commercial ascent. POPDOSE caught the dynamic duo in Seattle last week and witnessed Sanchez’s star is born performance. No dance numbers. No lip synching. No fake band. Just one man, a guitar, a voice with incredible passion and range, and a smile that will soon grace magazine covers around the world. Sanchez just released his debut single on iTunes, on Interscope’s Rebel Rock label, under the wing of producer …