All posts filed under: Featured – Frontpage

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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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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 …

Repeater 2016

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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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, …

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Stream The New Nat Jay EP (A Popdose Premiere)

Last year, Vancouver’s Nat Jay crashed the Cheryl Cole, Taylor Swift and Charli XCX party on my Top Pop Albums of 2014 list with her stunning debut album, All I Think When I Wake Up. This album is nominated for Pop Album of the Year at the 2015 Western Canadian Music Awards happening later this month. To celebrate her nomination and help a wounded nation heal from the Avril Lavigne/Chad Kroeger split, Jay releases an encore EP, Quiet Dreams, on September 8th. Among the EP highlights, two acoustic versions of songs from the album, plus ‘Something This Way Comes’, a duet with Hey Ocean! lead singer, Ashleigh Ball, and a lovely rendition of Pat Benatar’s ‘We Belong’. “There’s an intimacy in an acoustic performance that can be extremely moving for the audience, and as a listener, this has always been my favorite kind of music to experience,” said Jay at the EP’s completion. “It was exciting to see these songs come to life in such a quiet and simple setting. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I was lucky to be …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …