Play it Forward


I love how the overall art direction ties to the concept. Helps that he's sexy, too. Check him out in the jumpsuit on the back cover if you don't believe me. Ha Ha! You'll have to pick up the CD to see that pic. album cover photo courtesy of

I’ve wanted to Play Forward Ari Gold’s Transport Systems for forever.  Co-Editor J. Dub Played it Forward to me (who has interviewed Ari Gold for mandrake society radio not once but twice; links at the end of this post) around the inception of popolio late last year and now I’m Playing it Forward to all of you.  I’m Playing Forward the whole album, but representing it with these two choice cuts. 

Released in October 2007, the thing of it is that I wasn’t too familiar with gay artists or gay music before meeting J. Dub. 

What I like about this is that, one, it’s a solid effort regardless of Gold’s sexuality.  Secondly, I know he has previous work (which I have not listened to as of yet), but it sounds, to me, like an album by an artist coming into his own, finding his groove, and drawing on his previous musical and life experience and explorations with a clear(er) vision.  It’s cohesive, both sonically and conceptually.  It really comes together.

The reason I picked Track 2, “Transport Me,” is because it really is a clear definition of the album concept and title.  I also like that though he seems to identify as a gay male he doesn’t forget the rest of the lgbt community.  This track and I think the album overall speaks to the fluidity and spectrum of the gender and sexuality of lgbt people.  I also think he doesn’t forget about transgender folks, which I think sometimes can happen with mainstream gay media of any kind. 

Now, I’m praising this aspect, and it may sound like it comes off preachy, but it doesn’t.  The opposite reason is why I like it.  It’s incidental and natural; not forced.  Not that he has a responsibility to be the spokesperson for lgbt people.  That’s just it — this is who he is and he’s being himself, doing him, and having a good time on this album.

I like Track 6, “Mr. Mistress,” because it’s about a realistic life situation that could happen to any gay man and I’m sure is happening to some right as I type this.  And it’s just nice to hear a song about a relationship that isn’t the typical boy-girl thing.  The beat is reminiscent of  “U Know What’s Up” by Donell Jones featuring Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, which I love and featured on a Left Eye MY TOP 1o in January here.  Just to reiterate, I love that the situation conveyed in the song is not pretty; it’s just real.  Thus is life.

Overall, it has a 1990s hip hop/R&B feel with some electro and dance elements thrown in and if you don’t know by now, I’m a teen of the 90s.  So, I was all about it.

So, without further ado, check out the 2 songs below and pick up the CD at,, or  Also available at, and

Transport Me

Mr. Mistress


October 7, 2007 mandrake society radio Ari Gold podcast interview 1

October 19, 2008 mandrake society radio Ari Gold podcast interview 2


telefontelavivtelefon_tel_avivThe sound of Telefon Tel Aviv combines digital glitches and stutters with symphonic strings to produce a soulful sound that is unique to their own music and to the remixes they produce for other artists.  Telefon Tel Aviv is the creation of Louisiana natives, Josh Eustis and the late, Charles Cooper.

While this latest CD project, Immolate Yourself, feels darker than previous outings, I feel it is their best project yet.  The vocals here are hushed, dubbed, and murmured and the production almost hearkens back to some early ’80s English electronic music influence.  For some that are used to the clear vocal work from their 2004 project, Map of What is Effortless, this new project may be harder to grasp.  All I can say to them is to let it marinate and you’ll hear and appreciate the growth.  Of course, the most upsetting thing is that with the death of Cooper in January 2009, this could be the last TTA project.  For now, we have a great work from this duo worthy of your hard-earned dollars, and you can pick it up at iTunes, eMusic, and Amazon.  Thank you, Josh and thank you, Charles, for your music.

immolate-yourselfEnjoy the title track of Telefon Tel Aviv latest, “Immolate Yourself.”

Eagle Nebula

There are some very good women emcees.  You just don’t hear about them enough.  This is one woman I must tell you about and advise you to give her your ear.  Working with the production of another artist fave of mine, Georgia Anne Muldrow, this emcee is Eagle Nebula.  I first became aware of her on a 2007 side project of Muldrow’s called Pattie Blingh and the Akebulan Five, with the track, “RebelYouthWithSkill.”  She mentions on a recent video that the name was inspired partly because she grew up in a family of science-fiction nerds.

In October of 2008, she dropped her debut full-length, Cosmic Headphones, and the juicy funk goodness it contains is worth playing it forward.  Enjoy the track, “Daily Debut,” and cop this disc at Amazon and iTunes.


In this Play it Forward section, either Freddie or I will share some good words on music we like,  helping you spend your good money.  Have a suggestion for us to share?  Write us@popolio[dot]com[at]gmail[dot]com.

If you like your rock music served saucy with hints of David Bowie flavor, make room in your collection for the band, Fires of Rome.  Their new CD, You Kingdom You, brings catchy pop-rock and raw sexual imagery together into songs you’ll be humming for more than a minute.

Take the following track, “It Makes Me Weak,” and tell me you’re not singing throughout the day.   (Also, listen at the end of the song where it does indeed sound as if they’re harmonizing the phrase “I’ve been f–king for days!”)

Find out more about Fires of Rome and listen more tracks at their MySpace Page.

Dave Bianchi

From the haunting piano and strings in the album’s introduction, you know that this will be the start of a good musical journey.  And through the following 12 tracks, Dave Bianchi uses grand production and intimate, even tender vocals to melodically weave the stories of dissatisfaction, disaffection, and discovery.  With each storytelling, it’s clear to me that this is already one of my top CDs of 2009.  If you like your alternative rock with elements of jazz and melancholy dub, no doubt it will be one of your favorites of this year, too.

Baby DiscoDave Bianchi
“People Are Strange” (mp3)
from Baby Disco
(Whatabout Music)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at Rhapsody
Stream from Rhapsody
More On This Album

For all the budding artists/bands  who are reading this blog, take five minutes and watch this video.  It will make a difference whether someone comes to your show or not.  This is from Ariel Hyatt’s (of Ariel Publicity) Sound Advice channel at YouTube and her guest is none other than the founder of CD, Derek Sivers.  Again, just give ’em five minutes, and it will redirect your efforts to gold.

Hailing from Washington, DC, Muhsinah has been lighting the soul and hip-hop underground with her production for a minute now, working with Hezekiah, Oddisee, and even covering Radiohead.

Now her latest work, which according to her website, is in part a re-issue of 2007’s day.break.  Would love to hear your feedback on these two pieces of trip-hop soul called “Discovery,” then “Yiy” from her latest release, The Oscillations: Sine. Yes, I know that the phrase “trip-hop” is quite 90’s, however I think it’s the best description for the soul music you’re about to hear.


If you haven’t purchased day.break, then by ALL means get The Oscillations: Sine at your online music shop of choice.

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