Pryor Stroud

Music Journalist

Location icon United States

Over 2 years of music writing experience. 50+ album reviews and 50+ single reviews for PopMatters (1.3M unique visitors per month). Interview experience (HelloGoodbye, Homeboy Sandman, Ryley Walker, Trails and Ways, Sonny and the Sunsets).

Oakland resident. Pomona College alumni. Van Morrison aficionado.

'Young Sick Camellia' Shows St. Paul & The Broken Bones at the Height of Their Powers

St. Paul & The Broken Bones have often been pigeonholed as a retro-soul act. It's a fate that has befallen many of their contemporaries, each of whom have, in their own way, taken tropes from Motown and Stax and carried them into the era of viral dance challenges, social media stunts, and tabloid-grabbing bravado.

Hiss Golden Messenger: Heart Like a Levee

Hiss Golden Messenger, the vehicle for songwriter M.C. Taylor's back-porch mysticism, has long been associated with a noble strain of American Southernness. Hailing from North Carolina, he implants a vision of the Deep South in his songs.

Porcelain Raft: Microclimate

When you think of the best contemporary bedroom pop, songs as gently spellbinding as Wild Nothing's "Chinatown" or as sleepily ecstatic as Craft Spells' "After the Moment", you often think of a certain conceit. It's a conceit undergirding the music, giving it four walls, a roof, and a ceiling just like the bedrooms that this music supposedly emanates from.

James Vincent McMorrow: We Move

James Vincent McMorrow belongs to a class of contemporary male vocalists who sing like they're moments away from lapsing into silence; not like they're moments away from seizing another's flesh, like sex-obsessed R&B crooners Miguel and Jeremih, or from dissipating into a mytho-cosmic haze, like Tame Impala's Kevin Parker, but rather from falling dead silent.

Rival Consoles: Night Melody

Today, hot-100 pop typically treats the nighttime as one homogenous spatiotemporal terrain. Regardless of an artist's idiosyncrasies, this terrain usually takes one of a few shapes: a dance floor, a table dusted with narcotics, an interminable highway edged with neon. Turn on the radio, and one of these shapes will probably meet your ear.

Palmistry: PAGAN

Like other artists with jarringly idiosyncratic styles, Palmistry is often pinned down with the same arsenal of descriptors: bedroom dance-pop, lo-fi electronica, tip-toed dancehall for fragile souls. However, these descriptors all presuppose that Palmistry is ushering the dance floor behind closed doors, rather than opening these doors and imbuing the dance floor with what lurked behind them.

Conor Oberst: Ruminations

Atop the CD sleeve for Conor Oberst's new LP Ruminations, there's a sticker that reads, "Made in Omaha in the dead of winter, 2016." It's a marketing gimmick, perhaps, but it's also a statement that speaks volumes about the Bright Eyes frontman's latest work. This is a Midwestern record; a cold record; a contemporary record.

Jamie Lidell: Building a Beginning

Contemporary male R&B is mostly populated by four archetypes: the retro-chic crooner, the womanizing chart-chaser, the experimental seeker, and the minimalist savant. Leon Bridges embodies the first; The Weeknd the second. The third can be seen in avantpop shape-shifters like How to Dress Well and Autre Ne Veut, and the fourth is perhaps best encapsulated by the quiet storm moodiness that pervades Rhye's Woman.

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