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Now Hear This: Peace, Love, Understanding and New Music

Go Betty Go

Can’t figure out what to listen to this summer? Once again, the PopMatters’ music team presents a highly opinionated, overall quite superlative and even, at times, revelatory examination of 18 artists that, they suggest, absolutely demand your attention.

Ranging from the satirical, hip-hop sensibilities of 29-year-old rapper MC Chris (Windows Media Player required) to the avant-garde emo-rock of the San Francisco-based band, Evening, and the moody rock of The Velvet Teen you're bound to discover at least some new music to your liking. And, the best part: almost all of the artists have made free mp3s available on their websites.

Meanwhile, the always reliable éminence grise of rock criticism, Robert Christgau, weighs in with another Consumer Guide column in this week’s Village Voice, reviewing the latest releases from Sonic Youth, Bobby Bare Jr., and Arto Lindsay, among a raft of other bands. Needless to say, Mr. Christgau loves the music of each of these artists.


VanRamblings has, this afternoon, downloaded (legal in Canada, don’tcha know?) 18-year-old Norwegian chanteuse Maria Mena’s début album, Another Phase, about to be re-released in North America with the title White Turns Blue. The album’s lyrics may relate to Mena’s junior high school experience, but to this listener the sentiments expressed in the lyrics address universal emotional issues. Mature beyond her tender years, VanRamblings has not been as impressed with a new artist since we first heard Fiona Apple.


And, finally, for this instalment, the strongest possible recommendation for the upcoming 27th annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival (VanRamblings has placed a clickable advertisement for the Folk Fest at the top-right of all ‘pages’). Under the stewardship of longtime Folk Fest aficionada and political activist Frances Wasserlein, and artist cum Folk Festival artistic director Dugg Simpson, the annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival is a summer must. This year’s event promises to be a particular treat.

One of the premiére cultural events that takes place in Vancouver each summer, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival site transforms into an ideal universe of peace, love and understanding, where gays and lesbians stroll about unmolested holding hands with one another, where children run free in the safest of environments, where white cotton is the de rigeur fabric of the day, and where the music covers a broad spectrum of genres (because, after all, folk music is the music of the people, and is not limited, simply, to old-time folkies with acoustic guitars), wafting through the air from any one of the 7 daytime stages, and throughout the evening on the main stage.

In the coming days, VanRamblings will write more on the upcoming 27th annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival. In the meantime, if you haven’t purchased your ticket for this year’s event, you can do so online or by scrolling to the bottom of this page to find out where tickets are available.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at July 2, 2004 3:54 PM in Music


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