All posts tagged: Music

ALBUM REVIEW: The Society Islands, ‘The Big Sleep’

Sometimes when an artist is nondiscriminatory with his or her influences, the result is unfocused, muddy, and downright confusing. Many feel compelled to use a whole spice rack of ingredients when thoughtfully mixing and matching would service their music and lyrics in a far better way. Cologne, Germany-based Boris Rogowski believes there’s no such thing as a bad influence, yet it’s clear that in his new release, The Big Sleep, no matter if the influence is good or bad, it’s been carefully integrated and, in some cases, upgraded. In the vein of digitally based artists like Gotye and Daft Punk, Rogowski, who was a founding member of psycho pop quintet Die Sonne, relates his own dreamlike vision and generates possibly the most aptly named album ever. Under the guise of The Society Islands, Rogowski takes the listener on a journey bordering on consciousness and something catatonic. Is it a dream, or is it something darker? Opener “Square 1” is a catchy, rhythm-driven pop tune cloaked in analog effects, just for good measure. Of course, not everything on The …

Star Wars Episode VII is coming. What else do you need? ( photo)

24 current reasons to be thankful in 2014

Sure, the government’s a mess, the environment is spiraling out of control and American cities are actually burning. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take time to consider some of the reasons we all have to be thankful. So everyone, please put down your torches and pitchforks long enough to appreciate the following blessings: 1) Your job doesn’t require you to balance anything on Kim Kardashian’s big shiny butt. 2) You’re not married to Robin Thicke, probably. At least not anymore. 3) Statistically, if you get pulled over by a police officer you still have a very good chance of not being shot to death. No matter what Nancy Grace says. 4) You’re not on Nancy Grace. 5) You’re not a Red Sox fan. Oh, you are? Er, sorry. 6) You weren’t in the last “Expendables” movie. Oh, you were? Er, sorry. 7) You didn’t let yourself get too attached to “Selfie.” 8) Your professional success doesn’t rely on cooperation from the Republican Party. 9) You didn’t have everything riding on that damn Benghazi report. 10) You …


Film Review: “Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton: This Is Stones Throw Records”

Initially conceived as an outlet to release the music of the late MC – and friend of label co-founder Chris Manak (Peanut Butter Wolf) – Charizma, Stones Throw Records has grown over the last 18 years to become the label of choice for hip-hop mavericks, funk weirdos and pop outcasts. In Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton: This Is Stones Throw Records, director Jeff Broadway (Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story) weaves together home footage, archival clips and new interviews with members of the Stones Throw family as well as a host of hip-hop luminaries (including ?uestlove, Common, Kanye West, Mike D, A-Trak, Talib Kweli, Tyler, The Creator, Flying Lotus and Prince Paul) to tell the story of the label and several of its genre-defining releases. Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton covers a lot of ground over a brisk 93 minutes, taking us from Manak’s days as an aspiring DJ making tapes of imagined Top 50 countdowns with friend – and eventual Stones Throw co-founder – Steve Helmer (Baron Zen) to the burgeoning hub of …


Review: Cheap Trick – The Classic Albums 1977-1979

Record Store Day isn’t just in the spring anymore. The annual tradition now happens twice a year, once in the spring, and once on Black Friday. Since you’re already out spending enormous amounts of money on enormous electronic devices, seek out your local independent record store and buy some gifts for the music geek, or, let’s be honest, buy it for yourself. Because a box set is the greatest gift in the world. The record labels have put together some impressive, huge, and gift-worthy sets specifically for “Back to Black Friday” (November 29th) this year, including this lovely, limited edition, individually numbered box set featuring Cheap Trick’s first five albums remastered and pressed onto that ultra-thick, luxuriant 180-gram vinyl. (Thank you, Legacy Recordings.) Cheap Trick’s tight pop-meets monstrous rock finally sounds as important as it ought to be in the greater rock pantheon. Cheap Trick’s first five albums, in original packaging, are accounted for: the self-titled, In Color, Heaven Tonight, Dream Police, and, of course, the classic live album At Budokan. Consider for a moment that this band …


ALBUM REVIEW: Elvis Costello and the Roots, “Wise Up Ghost”

  “Now we’re in a hall of mirrors With my secret fears and terrors” –from “Come The Meantimes” by Elvis Costello and the Roots Wise Up Ghost may be the most bleak album Elvis Costello has ever released. It’s amazing, and the Roots are ideal collaborators, intertwining their sound with the melodic bile Costello spits into the mic. It’s got grooves to spare. But it is dark, and unrelenting. We live in dark and unrelenting times. Every day brings new revelations about the NSA’s warrantless access into our digital lives. The threat of chemical weapons in Syria has politicians raising war flags and citizens issuing a mildly annoyed shrug. In spite of the near-collapse of our economy and the best efforts of the Occupy movement, the rich still get richer and the poor get…children. Much of that wasn’t in the cultural landscape as this record was being made, but does it matter? Illegal wiretapping, the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, greed running rampant over the American landscape…all of this has happened before. All of this …


ALBUM REVIEW: The Heavy Blinkers, “Health”

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 …


Inside the Art of Outside Lands

Outside Lands came and went last weekend, blowing in and out of the Golden Gate Park with the signature stomp, rock, and dazzle that’s it’s become equanimous with since Another Planet first unleashed it upon San Francisco six summers ago. This year, the dazzle was bigger and brighter than ever, the rock louder, the stomp harder, and widespread and whimsical art lavished the weekend with a warmth and brightness that superseded the grey skies.


Album Review: Orval Carlos Sibelius, “Super Forma”

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 …


IAMX, The Unified Field: The Spin Cycle Review

The next evolution of trip hop comes in the form of IAMX which is fitting seeing that mastermind Chris Corner ushered in a similar trend when his former outfit, Sneaker Pimps, paved a new electronic revolution after a void was left by Portishead and Massive Attack. On their most recent Pledgemusic-funded The Unified Field, IAMX expand their range even more to give listeners the feeling that if Dead Can Dance began in 2013, they’d probably sound similar to IAMX. But […]

Purple Suns

Purple Suns, MINES: The Spin Cycle Review

If you’re longing for the days when QOTSA was an indie band and still had that post-Kyuss fresh from the desert scent then Purple Suns is band you should definitely be paying attention to. On their latest EP, MINES, the band from Neptune (New Jersey, not the planet although their music could most certainly be classified as out of this world) lay on the rawk, pile on the grooves, and create something truly unique and wonderful. Opener “Naked Eyes” lays the groundwork […]

Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy, “The Phoenix”: The Viewfinder Review

Fall Out Boy is not messing around. On the latest single/video off the highly anticipated Save Rock And Roll (Due April 16th), we see how the boys ended up in so much trouble in the video for “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)”    and it is not pretty. Be warned, if you care about Patrick Stump at all, this video may not be for you. As for the song itself, “The Phoenix” still has some rousing electronics underneath but for the most part it sees […]


The Carlton Shuffle, 3/23/13

Spring supposedly started Wednesday, but it’s still dreary winter weather here at the Pittsburgh branch of our Popblerd offices. Spring can’t come soon enough. But while you’re waiting, we have your weekly dose of tunes that the Popblerd staff have had spinning this week. Give a listen, and let us know what’s been caressing your ears lately!