All posts tagged: feature

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Eliot Sumner Claims Her Family Name on 2016’s Most Triumphant New Album

Earlier this year, Eliot Sumner quietly released Information, one of the loudest, most ambitious, most exhilarating and inventive rock/pop albums of the decade, let alone the year. And I had no idea it was sitting on my hard drive until last month. Such are the perils of being a music blogger with an overactive downloads folder. After one listen, I promptly rushed out and bought the CD. And her last album too. And such begins our story… There’s a moment every music fan longs for when they buy a new album at the store, bring it home, struggle to remove the @#$%*ing plastic wrap and security sticker, and pop it into the CD player, cassette deck or turntable. If you’re already saying — um, but what about streaming? — I say you are killing the music industry, but hey, who am I to stop you from reading this? #lovewins Back to my story — there is a moment when you realize you are listening to something truly special, something fresh, something exciting, something that will likely …

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Haley Reinhart and Allison Iraheta Come Back Swinging

Dear American Idol, Since you’ve been gone, I’ve been thinking about your legacy. Your original premise was to take an unknown talent and usher them into superstardom. Mission accomplished in Season One, but then never again. Sure you discovered a lot of country stars, but so did Nashville Star. You minted a lot of celebrities, but so did YouTube. While you still have a better track record than The Voice, Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor UK have you beat. Did any bonafide recording artists emerge from the shadow of Simon Cowell’s giant cup of Coke? When it comes down to true originality, innovation, earphoria and albums that will sound as fresh 20 years from now as they did 15 minutes ago, in my book it comes down to four: two guys (Adam Lambert and Blake Lewis) and two gals (Haley Reinhart and Allison Iraheta). No offense to Kelly, Carrie and Chris who deliver pretty popular, but formulaic albums in their respective genres of belters, crossover country and arena rock. No offense to Jennifer and her Oscar or …

80s

ABC, Daniel Ash and Others Reinvent the Eighties in 2016

One of my favorite musical trends of the 2010’s is the glorious “return to form” comebacks from a dizzying array of great 80’s artists. As gutted as I am about the death of Prince (about 80% of my time spent listening to music has been Prince-related since April 21; prior to that it was about 50%), I’m comforted that we live in a Now where The Ocean Blue, Duran Duran, OMD, Blancmange, New Order and others are again prolific, relevant and urgent. Even comebacks that might have been nothing more than an Awakenings-style one off encore (Devo, the Wild Swans and the tragically cut short comeback of Visage) were still as exciting to hear as any new music by new bands of the decade. Here’s a quick roundup of who’s back now and what why you should get off your teenage stream and check em the hell out: Daniel Ash • Stripped When you look at the CD title and familiar tracklist, Stripped looks like one of those nostalgic cash-ins where a beloved but commercially faded artist craps …

Artifact

THINKING INSIDE THE BOX SET: Cherry Red Producers Tell All

  Long before Prince’s death, fans were wildly discussing if and when the vast contents of his audio library – the legendary vault – would be officially released. While former labels, associates, band members and distant relatives jockey for position as the estate ambles through probate, one can only hope they archive, release and celebrate his work as well as London’s Cherry Red Records has been doing for years in a wide variety of musical arenas. Box Sets are nothing new; from the bloated “scrape the archives” cash-ins that just about every major artist puts under the Christmas tree to focused niche sets like Nuggets and Children of Nuggets. Cherry Red has been digging gold out of the 1970s and 1980s alternative underground they way Nuggets celebrated psychedelia. A few years ago, they released the stunning 5CD set, Scared to Get Happy: A Story of Indie Pop 1980-1989. The set brilliantly restored more than 100 tracks that in many cases were never issued on CD or digital platforms, or if they were, they weren’t prominent …

Post Pop Depression

Finding Salvation In The Best New Music of 2016

For my final POPDOSE post until Fall, I am going out with a bang — or better yet, a shake, rattle and roll. Cancer sucks. I am shifting my focus in the months ahead to support my wife through chemotherapy. In many ways, music serves as therapy for survivors, supporters and just about anyone dealing with this thing called life. The rhythms wrap around us, the lyrics comfort us, the beat keeps us moving forward. So let’s focus on the positive. 2016 is proving to be one of the best years in years for great new music from new and beloved artists. Let’s dive in. New Order • Singularity For fans of New Order’s 1989 masterpiece, Technique, this is as New Ordery as New Order has been in the New Millennium. Music Complete, one of the top albums of 2015, was a both a bold move forward and a solid reconnection to the sound that put em on the map in the first place. Plus, there’s a cameo by Iggy Pop which brings us to… Iggy Pop • …

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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 …

Skaters

One of Us: Michael Ian Cummings Discusses SKATERS and the Band’s Debut Album “Manhattan”

Music is often a product not just of its creators, but also geographic locale. Consider the role that place plays in popular music throughout the decades. Not just in terms of particular scenes, but in the way that place can seep into the very fabric of a song or album, evoking the cultural mileu in which it was created. For example, I cannot separate overall aesthetic of Bowie’s “Young Americans” or much of John Lennon’s mid-1970s records from the cultural landscape of New York City in that decade. To take a more obvious example, consider the ways that the sounds of industrial Detroit seem to permeate the sonic textures of Motown’s golden era. The same can be said of Manhattan, the debut album from New York City band SKATERS. While the title is blatant, the ways in which NYC frames the album are unimposing, yet unmistakeable. We had opportunity to chat with SKATERS’ Michael Ian Cummings about the band, the album, and what’s in store for SKATERS in the immediate future. As Cummings puts it, …

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“Broken Anchor Blues”: Austin Hartley-Leonard Discusses Broken Anchor and Their New Album, “Fresh Lemonade”

Struggles with substance abuse are so common in the rock world as to be cliche. Repeats of VH1’s Behind the Music or a skim through any rock biography will attest to how commonplace such excessive and damaging behaviors are among musicians. Equally commonplace (and perhaps, equally cliche) are how those narratives play out, tending to follow one of two storylines: either the musician dies as a victim of their own excess, or they work through their demons to emerge sober, and spend the rest of their careers producing mediocre music embedded with vaguely moral messages. Los Angeles musician and songwriter Austin Hartley-Leonard is upsetting the latter half of that narrative, having emerged from tougher times not only alive and clean, but primed to embark on a new and particularly fruitful phase of his musical career. “I had been a solo singer-songwriter type around L.A. for about five years, and had made a couple of records. It was going fine, but about two years ago, I sort of had to clean up personally, you know; I …

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The Popdose Interview: Howard Kaylan

On a cool night back in May, I ran into Howard Kaylan at the opening of Graham Nash’s photography exhibition at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York City. We chatted for a few moments after I explained that I was slated to interview him, and he shared the history of his friendship with Graham, stemming from the Laurel Canyon days in the 1960s. Our conversation was politely interrupted by a tall gentleman who tapped Howard on the shoulder. He’d seen Howard giving a taped interview earlier for a documentary by Henry Diltz and wanted to ask him a question. But it wasn’t anything to do with Howard’s long-lived career as a Turtle, or any of their monstrous hits (five in the top ten between 1965-69), nor was it regarding the time that Howard puked all over Jimi Hendrix, as detailed in his autobiopic, My Dinner With Jimi, nor did he ask any one of the plethora of FAQ from Howard’s time with the Mothers of Invention, including the age-old, “Is it true that Frank …

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Marshall Crenshaw: A New Chapter in a Timeless Story

 Marshall Crenshaw. At this point, one word sums him up: legend. From his entry into the fray with his now-classic “Someday Someway” to recording some of the most solid albums of the ’80s (think Field Day and Downtown) to writing songs for one of the best spoof-rockumentaries, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, his career has been varied, always evolving and highly respected by critics and fellow musicians alike. With the release of not one but two new three-song EPs available for download, beginning an ongoing series, Marshall Crenshaw now moves into the next phase of recording while balancing live performances and hosting a weekly radio show as well. I had a chance to speak with Marshall from his home; my thanks go to Mr. Crenshaw for the time and as always, Cary Baker for the assistance. Thanks very much; it’s great to finally get to talk to you after so many years of great music, so thank you for that; much appreciated! Hey, I recognize the name Popdose; have I ever talked to Popdose …

Reaper

The Popdose Interview(s): Rick Gonzalez, Ray Wise, and Tara Butters & Michele Fazekas of “Reaper”

From September 2007 to May 2009, The CW served as the home for 31 episodes of one of the most un-CW-like series ever to grace the network’s schedule. Reaper starred Bret Harrison as Sam Oliver, a young man who, on his 21st birthday, discovers in rapid succession that A) his parents sold his soul to the Devil, played to perfection by Ray Wise, and B) as a result of that sale, he is now forced to serve as Satan’s bounty hunter, collecting the souls that have escaped from Hell. If he doesn’t, then his parents’ souls become forfeit…or at least that’s the story that the King of Lies is spinning, anyway. Rather than take any chances, Sam sets off to perform his duties, aided by his two slack-tastic pals, Sock (Tyler Labine) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez), using a variety of “vessels” to capture these souls and then depositing them into the hands of Gladys (Christine Willes), a demonic employee at – where else? – the local DMV. When not doing the Devil’s bidding, Sam’s also …

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The Popdose Roundup: 13 Women You Must Hear in 2013 (Six Free MP3’s)

No offense to the fellas and your multi-platinum rock bands, chart-topping hip hop and country albums and ill-advised racist anti-racist collaborations; but when it comes to innovation, envelope pushing and flat out excitement, the ladies have you beat. And it’s about time Chris Brown got beat by the opposite sex. Now the lame stream media would have you believe that the only ladies on the planet who are musically relevant are Taylor Swift (TayTay), Rihanna (RiRi), Selena Gomez (SeeGee), Demi Lovato (the DL) and Adele (Ms. Adkins if you’re nasty). Enough! Let’s broaden our minds. These 13 ladies lead a new parade of talent, each moving popular culture into fabulous new places. Our only criteria: No over-earnest coffee shop singer/songwriters (like Lili Taylor’s “Joe Lies (When He Cries)” warbler from Say Anything) No age-inappropriate teen vixens or wannabe pole dancers (this knocks out 40% of the submissions) Vocals must only contain 30% of the recommended daily allowance of AutoTune (this knocks out most of the rest) No Real Housewives vanity projects #1: Charli XCX London …

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Noelle Johnson’s ‘Beautiful Soul’ Tackles Healthy Body Image Issues, Beautifully

As part of an ongoing series, POPDOSE explores the positive portrayal of women in pop culture. Last year, we discussed how British teen pop star Cher Lloyd was strangely repackaged for US audiences. The hot topic also came up in our conversations with Gabriella Cilmi, Crystal Bowersox, Brittany McDonald and Orianthi among others. Joining the conversation is Noelle Johnson, a singer/songwriter from Sequim, Washington on the breathtaking Olympic Peninsula. Not only is her single ‘Beautiful Soul’ a timely and positive message, it’s also one of the best songs we’ve heard this year. I personally keep it on near constant iPod rotation. This is a song to be shared with all of the women and girls in your life — not to mention anyone who is into Mumford & Sons, Of Monsters and Men and the Lumineers. We absolutely love the video for “Beautiful Soul.” Was it inspired by your own journey, your friends, the media or a little bit of everything? NOELLE JOHNSON: First of all thank you so much for a chance to chat with …

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Legendary Session Man Jim Horn On Working With John Denver And Getting Inside The “Genius” Of Brian Wilson

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 …

Rick Springfield

Chasing Good Songs: Rick Springfield On His New Music & The 30th Anniversary Of “Living In Oz”

If Armageddon is indeed lurking anywhere around the corner, at least there will be a soundtrack thanks to Rick Springfield’s newest album Songs For The End Of The World. Better still, Songs is a quality listen for your final trip into the great beyond, the latest in a string of solid albums that Springfield has put out in the past decade. At a time when many of Springfield’s peers are slowing down and either putting out no new music or recording sporadically, the Australian-born rocker keeps on charging ahead with seemingly limitless energy for a man who officially is 63 years young. Part of that is because Springfield wants to continue to make sure that people are aware that although he is well known for his successful acting career (and the related ‘80s teenage heartthrob status that came with that) and other side trips, it’s music that is always first and foremost in his heart. He’s still working to define how people view Rick Springfield, the artist. Even after selling more than 25 million albums …

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Sweeter in Her Story: The Ultimate Gabriella Cilmi Interview — Free MP3 Download

What would you say to one of your favorite musicians if you were given the chance to hang out for a while? For me, this would be Aussie singing sensation turned European pop star Gabriella Cilmi — for her, it would be Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. Who fared better? Read on and judge for yourself. POPDOSE was given the opportunity to hang with Ms. Cilmi (pronounced “chill me”) via SKYPE from the recording studio where she’s putting the finishing touches on her third album. It was so refreshing to chat with an artist while she’s deep in the creative process — the results of which you can enjoy for free with a track giveaway below — instead of during the typical press junket. The absolutely charming Ms. Cilmi laughed throughout our 33 and 1/3 minutes together. Perhaps this was because of my sparkling wit and charm; more likely, she’s like this all the time. Then again, I bet her bandmates were miming to her though the studio glass. Even if you’re new to the …