In a universe consisting of four percent matter and ninety-six percent negative space, absence is the dominant substance. With the right frame of mind, a void can be an endless possibility. Disappears' fifth album pounds that clay into a sonic metaphor. Gloom is one thing,...

Folklorists like to romanticize blues music as being a pure expression of culture, but recorded blues music was carefully marketed to its intended audience from its very beginning. As early as the 1920s, music aimed at African-Americans was labeled as "race music", and the best way to advertise it was in the pages of African-American newspapers. These newspapers had a wide circulation among urban African-Americans and even in parts of the South, where they were treated as contraband and discretely shared. While living in Arkansas, the singer Big Bill Broonzy recalled furtively reading the most famous of these newspapers, The Chicago Defender, and he made the move to Chicago in part because of what he had learned in the newspaper. Broonzy said that Black readers of the Defender were seen as brave, as it was a newspaper that promoted Black migration to the North, criticized racism in the South, and pushed for social change.1

Califone Stitches Dead Oceans (2013)Califone - Stitches Album ReviewPeople go to the desert to find themselves. Califone's honey-baritoned lead singer Tim Ruttili went looking for himself in the endless sands of the American Southwest, and with their latest, Stitches, returns with the band's most vital and compelling record since 2003's Quicksands/Cradlesnakes. Stitches was recorded at various locations across Arizona, Texas and Southern California, where Rutilli's been living for the past few years. This is the first Califone record to be recorded outside of their native Chicago; they've traded steel and chrome skyscrapers for wide open skies and the promise of the sea. This translocation has had a profound impact on Califone's music; Stitches radiates stillness and expansiveness, the aural equivalent of driving in the sun across the Mojave, or watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.
Califone - "Stitches" - DOWNLOAD MP3 [audio:/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Califone-Stitches.mp3|titles=Califone - Stitches]

Gunnelpumpers Montana Fix Spiritflake Music, 2013On their fourth LP, free-improvisers Gunnelpumpers conjure the wide open skies and primordial landscapes of the Big Sky State. The incantatory nature of improvised music will not appeal to everybody. It's for a specialized sect, those that like to be surprised. It's the spirit of adventure that sends you off on random and unknown holidays, waiting to see what lies beyond the next corner. Like any other unplanned holiday, Montana Fix has its share of tedium and embarrassing memories. But what's good is golden, and the Chicago five piece transform your home into a sweat lodge with a mixture of Middle Eastern percussion, double bass drones, flutes, shakers and guitar. A free improvisation CD can be a hard sell these days. Only the most hardcore mental voyagers can invest an hour to listen to an album largely devoid of hooks, choruses, lyrics, or any discernible genre. In the liner notes for Montana Fix, Gunnelpumpers cite prog rock, krautrock, world music, jazz, experimental music, as well as traditional and modern classical, as influences. Believing in everything can be the same as standing for nothing, and Gunnelpumpers run the risk of entering bloated pretentious FUSION country. In addition, considering the infrared bison that graces the album cover, the jaded listener may hastily judge this as a post-modern New Age Putumayo reject. Judge this record by its cover, and you will be deprived of its epiphanies.
 

Obscured male and female forms face off in these alternating works from Patty Carroll, obscuring the female form draped with patterns, and Matthew Stone, abstracting the male form with contortion. Regardless of its content, a sense of royalty and fluttering grace is pervasive in Stone's Optimism As Cultural Rebellion, which flows like angel robes in religiously significant Renaissance-era classics. Draped Women, Carroll's series of draped, anonymous women, is more self-contained -- exploring spaces shared not with partners, but singular individuals and their relationships to domesticity. Domesticity is displayed like a prison, in contrast to the balance between freedom and constriction in Stone's pieces, with ornate though purely suffocating aesthetics. Nonetheless, Carroll's vision bears some similarity to Stone's, as she reveals in the following statement: "This series has references to draped statues from the Renaissance, nuns in habits, women wearing the burka, the Virgin Mary, priests robes, and ancient Greek and Roman dress, among others. Hopefully, I am bringing humor to pathos."
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Matthew Stone

UK photographer Matthew Stone is self-described on his website as an artist and a shaman, who utilizes numerous artistic disciplines to recreate the role of an artist in the 21st century.

Patty Carroll

Patty Carroll is a Chicago-based photographer and teacher with an interest in documenting human interests and pecularities.

 

Remix City Sifting through mountains of remix trash so you don't have to, in an attempt to find the ones that contribute to their originals. Erika Spring of Au Revoir Simone releases her solo project, with a remix by Jensen Sportag, and Chicago's Another offers up an entire remix EP, with standouts from LUST and Ambinate.

 

Erika Spring - "Hidden"

Singer and keyboardist of Au Revoir Simone, Erika Spring, has just released a self-titled EP from the experimental pop label Cascine, which is curiously a record label guided by intuition. A quick browse through their catalog reveals a series of clever, often female-fronted forays into gentle pop music. "Hidden", Erika Spring's first single, comes with a burning underlying synth line that adds a depth to its already sultry qualities. The remix by Jensen Sportag throws a mellow haze atop it, in some senses, while picking up its dancing in the bedroom potentialities.
Erika Spring - "Hidden" (Jensen Sportag Remix) Erika Spring - "Hidden" (Original)

 

"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles. Hella indie pop today.

YAWN

YAWN's singles are usually joyful celebrations bearing resemblance to a more stripped down and straight-forward Animal Collective (to name bands that people in such genres hate/love being compared to), with color barf videos to match. But their latest track, "Ganymede", is twinkly without being too energized; it's like a glorious, vocally harmonized lullaby. Cool album art too, bros. The EP came out earlier this month on FeelTrip Records.

 

Watch music video for YAWN's "Yum Yum"

 

Remix City Sifting through mountains of remix trash so you don't have to, in an attempt to find the ones that actually build on the originals in meaningful ways.

:PAPERCUTZ & Stalker

Portugal's :PAPERCUTZ have a new album dropping July 10th, entitled The Blur Between Us on Sounds Of A Playground. It comes with two remix EPs, including a remix from Chicago producer Stalker, which you can check out below (along with a remix of Grimes' "Crystal Ball", album cover artwork from Aëla Labbé, and full-length tracklisting. THE BLUR BETWEEN US TRACKLISTING 01- Into The Storm 02- Before The Day Reigns 03- Rivers 04- The Fourth Wall 05- Echoed 06- Redenção 07- Silent Passenger 08- In 09- Between 10- Porcelain Beauty 11- Redenção (Reprise) 12- Where Beasts Die

 

:PAPERCUTZ - Rivers (Stalker Remix) :PAPERCUTZ - Rivers (Original)