We dip into the interview archives this week for a previously unheard chat from June of last year with ’90s alternative veteran Matthew Sweet
Ken Shane selects his favorite albums of 2015
The three members of Papas Fritas — Shivika Asthana, Keith Gendel, and Tony Goddess — discuss the creation of their self-titled debut album.
Ken Shane recommends some of the year’s best music books
Brian Wilson and his band played a dazzling show in Boston last week
The new film about Brian Wilson is a triumph
Paul Dano is Brian Wilson. (John Cusack, too.)
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, …
No Pier Pressure is another triumph in a legendary career
Win an amazing Four Seasons prize package!
A Christmas Gift For You celebrates 50 years
Much like Pee Wee Herman, these examples of the PR shuck ‘n jive “meant to do that.”
Matthew Sweet may not be the king of pop – the title was pretty much taken before he was ever in contention – but he certainly knows his way around a pop song, and he’s proved it plenty of times over, both as a solo artist and in his choice of covers for the series of albums he’s done with Susanna Hoffs over the past few years. Under the Covers, Volume 3 hits stores on November 12, giving Sweet and Hoffs a chance to venture in the ’80s with their song selection this time around, but it’s also given Popdose a chance to chat with Mr. Sweet a bit more (you may recall that he and Hoffs answered your questions when we spoke to them in conjunction with Volume 2), quizzing him about his ties to R.E.M. and digging as deeply into his back catalog as time would allow. Popdose: So after the success of the first two volumes, was Under the Covers Volume 3 always a given, or was there any hesitation? Matthew Sweet: …
Two music legends unite in a remarkable collaboration
If you’re a fan of catchy pop tunes and you aren’t familiar with the Paley Brothers, prepare yourself: you’re about to get an education. Andy and Jonathan Paley released their lone album – a self-titled effort – on Sire Records in 1978, just on the heels of the punk rock explosion, featuring a cover photo of brothers looking like they were born to be teen idols, but their music, while certainly not as raw or rough-and-tumble as their labelmates the Ramones, also wasn’t just your typical disposable pop fare. But despite the best efforts of label head Seymour Stein and even with fans like Brian Wilson and Phil Spector in their corner, the Paley Brothers never managed to take off in a big way. Heck, they didn’t even get a chance to suffer through a sophomore slump! Andy and Jonathan soon began working independently of each other, with Andy gaining considerable press for his production work a few years later, and although they’re still tight, they’ve never managed to release another album…until now. Sort of. …
It’s hard to dispute 2012 as the best summer to be a Beach Boys fan in the last quarter-century or so, but thanks to the band’s new Made in California six-disc box set, out tomorrow from Capitol, 2013 comes pretty darn close. Admittedly, it’s hard to keep regenerating compilations under the guise of “greatest hits” when a group already has 10,000 (give or take) of them. To put it in Beach Boys terms, however, all this is not that. (See what I did there?) Given, Made in California has all the usual suspects – “Surfer Girl,” “God Only Knows,” every song about a car, etc. – but what makes it so drastically different are the fingerprints embedded within the tracks. Even the most beloved songs have a handmade touch, be it a slightly different mix (the alternate treatment of “It’s OK” is a personal favorite of mine), a rarely-heard live version, a radio tag in which each Boy identifies himself, or even an introductory soundbyte of infamous patriarch Murry Wilson urging guitarist David Marks to …
Following the releases of new albums by David Bowie, My Bloody Valentine and Justin Timberlake, 2013 might go down as the year of the unexpected comeback (your move, Dr. Dre). For lovers of lush, harmony-laden orchestral pop, the most pleasant return may be that of Halifax, Nova Scotia’s the Heavy Blinkers, whose ten-years-in-the-making Health was finally released on July 30. Fans of the group could be forgiven for having given up thinking they’d ever hear the long-gestating follow-up to 2004’s The Night And I Are Still So Young. After all, despite occasional reports of new songs and sessions as far back as in 2005, a blog dedicated to the recording of the album (which optimistically promised that Health would “be mixed and mastered by Oct 31 2008”) had last been updated in August 2008. In fact, the group was dormant for so long that Jenn Grant, who joined the Heavy Blinkers as an unknown singer following the release of The Night… and who shares vocal duties on Health with Melanie Stone and Stewart Legere, found …
A look at seven musicians who overcome serious injury or illness and rose to the creative heights of their profession.
At a time when albums are teased, hyped, leaked, dissected, discarded and re-evaluated before they are even officially released, it has become increasingly rare to be able to approach one with fresh ears, no preconceptions and little baggage. Perhaps that’s why I was so pleasantly surprised last month when I came across the sounds of one mysterious Orval Carlos Sibelius just as a pair of French robots were setting the Internet ablaze with an album that seemed equal parts new music and marketing plan. Perhaps it’s also because his most recent full-length, Super Forma, offers an hour of music brimming with ideas, richly inventive arrangements and layer upon layer of ingenious hooks that demands – and rewards – multiple listens. Super Forma is French multi-instrumentalist Axel Monneau’s third release under the Sibelius moniker (the con extends to the liner notes, which are written in Portuguese) and follows a self-titled album and an EP of the kind of home-recorded folk music that suggests hundreds of hours spent listening to scratched copies of Fairport Convention or Tyrannosaurus …
At 72 years of age, there’s not much that Jim Horn hasn’t done. While his name might not be immediately familiar, you’ve definitely heard a lot of his work over the years. The session vet got his start playing sax and flute as a key member of Duane Eddy’s band in the late ‘50s (in fact, Eddy once turned down an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, because they didn’t allow saxophones – which they called the “instrument of the devil”). His work with Eddy was merely the starting point of his professional career. From there, he would become one of the most in-demand session players (and a member of the well-known “Wrecking Crew”) during the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. He got the chance to work with all four Beatles. What else needs to be said? Okay fine, here’s more: You’ll find his work on songs like “Good Vibrations,” “God Only Knows by the Beach Boys, “Running on Empty” by Jackson Browne, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” by the Righteous Brothers, music for the movie …
A look at the first big hit for The Four Freshmen, 1952’s “It’s a Blue World.”
For the whole of the 1980s, singer Belinda Carlisle was the symbol of success, first as the lead singer for the groundbreaking band The Go-Go’s, then as a hitmaking solo artist. Lately we hadn’t heard as much from Belinda as we used to. This has recently changed for a couple reasons. Universal Music is releasing a Belinda Carlisle solo retrospective as part of their Icon series, and Carlisle put out an unflinching memoir titled Lips Unsealed in 2010. The latter openly chronicled all areas of her life, including harrowing details of her difficult childhood, her rise from Dottie Danger and role as one-time drummer for the punk band Germs, her eventual ascension to pop’s heights and concurrent depths behind the scenes. Popdose had the opportunity to catch up with Carlisle to talk about the Icon disc, her solo years, and to speculate on what life would be like for the Go-Go’s had they started in the Aughts instead of the Eighties. She responded with grace and was humble about her influence which, in the power-pop genre, is …
There are a lot of great music autobiographies out there, but there are great ones still to be written. Chris Holmes counts down the Top 5.
Fuck that guy. Fuck him in the fuckhole.
In 1965 the Righteous Brothers had a year that has seldom been equaled in the annals of popular music.
Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys return after a lengthy absence with “That’s Why God Made The Radio.” Does the iconic group still have the goods?
Thus begins our journey into AM Gold: 1972. And hey, look, Three Dog Night is still hanging around!
Brandon Schott’s latest album, “13 Satellites,” is really good. Just ask Rob Smith …
Michael Fortes looks back on five major musical highlights as part of Popdose’s 2011 year-end wrap-up.
Jon Stebbins has penned fine books about Beach Boys Dennis Wilson, and David Marks. “The Beach Boys FAQ” aspires to be the last word on the history of the band.