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Listening Ahead: Upcoming Music Releases for March 2015
By Matthew Fiander and Arnold Pan
Get a sneak peek of some of March's most compelling new releases, including albums from Courtney Barnett, Purity Ring, and Lightning Bolt. [27.Feb.15]
The Hays Code Nightmare Has Come True. Ain't That Grand?
The '30s era Hays Code limited significantly what artists could express and what audiences could see. Today's LGBT media has blasted through all that. [27.Feb.15]
Jeff Lemire on the Coming-Through-Slaughter of Descender
The interview with creator Jeff Lemire on his newest book Descender, which releases in March. [27.Feb.15]
Counterbalance: Hüsker Dü's Zen Arcade
Something I learned today: Black and white is always grey. And this week's Counterbalance takes a look at a 1984 turning point in punk. Turn on the news for the 219th most acclaimed album of all time. [27.Feb.15]
Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press
By James McGrath Morris
Ethel Payne's gripping accounts of black life in post-World War II America provided critical information that was largely missing from mainstream journalism. [27.Feb.15]
Today's Articles
27.Feb.15
Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti (Deluxe Edition)
Physical Graffiti, Led Zeppelin's first last album, represents the most grandiose expression of these Brits at the height of their powers.
Steve Gunn and Black Twig Pickers: Seasonal Hire
The rough carpentry of these songs lets the dust fly, lets the grain show, but the songs are all the purer, all the sweeter, for their scuffs.
Sonny & the Sunsets: Talent Night at the Ashram
This noble experiment often overextends its reach, but does so with such charming confidence you can’t help but enjoy its ramshackle pop confections.
Jellyfish: Bellybutton / Spilt Milk
Expanded re-mastered releases of Bellybutton and Spilt Milk with live cuts and demos from power pop cult band Jellyfish.
Universal Togetherness Band: Universal Togetherness Band
From 1979 to 1982, Andre Gibson's band recorded countless tunes with audio engineering students at Columbia College. Universal Togetherness Band compiles a tight cross-section of those recordings, showing the band's tight chops and expansive taste.
Counterbalance: Hüsker Dü's Zen Arcade
Something I learned today: Black and white is always grey. And this week's Counterbalance takes a look at a 1984 turning point in punk. Turn on the news for the 219th most acclaimed album of all time.
Listening Ahead: Upcoming Music Releases for March 2015
Get a sneak peek of some of March's most compelling new releases, including albums from Courtney Barnett, Purity Ring, and Lightning Bolt.
BoDeans - Slave (audio) (Premiere)
The classic Wisconsin rock outfit BoDeans will release their 12th studio outing, I Can't Stop, this April. Now you can stream the pounding rocker "Slave".
Kenosha Kid - Zombie Party (video) (Premiere)
Surf rock meets jazz meets bizarro black and white in the latest music video by the Athens, Georgia experimental outfit Kenosha Kid.
The Last Bison - 'Dorado' (EP stream) (Premiere)
Following their sharp VA album in 2014, the Last Bison are releasing an EP of tracks culled from that time in the studio.
'The Lazarus Effect' Is an 88 Minute Excuse for Exposition
Because The Lazarus Effect takes so long getting to the supposedly scary stuff, we have to stay focused on either the characters or the content, and both fail.
'Focus' Is a Romantic Comedy With Dimension
This Will Smith vehicle is witty, brash Hollywood entertainment that's sexy, smart, and on the whole, successful.
'Maps to the Stars' Brings Back Some Classic Cronenberg Horror
While not in the vein of Cronenberg's classic body horror thrillers, the bleak showbiz satire Maps to the Stars could well be a horror film after all.
'Lucy' Entertains Despite Its Stupid Science
Lucy's idea of science is akin to a stoner complaining about how math doesn't really exist, but it does have an audacity that many sci-fi thrillers in the present day lack.
Jeff Lemire on the Coming-Through-Slaughter of Descender
The interview with creator Jeff Lemire on his newest book Descender, which releases in March.
Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press
Ethel Payne's gripping accounts of black life in post-World War II America provided critical information that was largely missing from mainstream journalism.
'Valiant Hearts' Struggles Between Adventure and Documentary
Valiant Hearts wants to show us that war isn’t caused by super villains, and their defeat changes nothing in the grand scheme of things. However, the presence of a super villain in the story still detracts from the harsh reality the game wants to explore.
Sleater-Kinney: 26 February 2015 - Terminal 5, New York (Photos)
Audiences hungry for the reunited Sleater-Kinney will be thrilled. The band are as explosive as ever.
Culture
The Hays Code Nightmare Has Come True. Ain't That Grand?
The '30s era Hays Code limited significantly what artists could express and what audiences could see. Today's LGBT media has blasted through all that.
Recent Articles
Thursday, 26 February 2015
Weapons Drawn! Perspectives on Charlie Hebdo
Questioning cartoons, satire, and the role of the media after the Charlie Hebdo assassinations.
Drake: If You're Reading This It's Too Late
At the peak of his game, Drake has begun to embrace the darker sides of success.
The Pop Group: Citizen Zombie
In an age of band reunions where anything is possible, we now have the Pop Group’s first album in 35 years.
Okey Ndibe's 'Arrows of Rain' Splits Its Powerful Message
This is a strange and at times unwieldy book. It's also smart and often deftly written, a parable of power and the humanity it strips away.
Death and Childhood Hover Over Guy Maddin's 'My Winnipeg'
The comic mythologizing of Winnipeg becomes conflated with an urge for Maddin to mythologize himself.
Vijay Iyer Trio: Break Stuff
Iyer’s trio returns for its ECM debut, a sharp rhythmic workout that continues this musician’s brilliant run.
Elana James: Black Beauty
The Hot Club of Cowtown fiddler Elana James makes it a point to let her folk flag shine high and mightily in her solo debut, Black Beauty.
Wednesday, 25 February 2015
Songs I Can Sing Ya: An Interview with Andy Kim and Kevin Drew
He was the man behind hits like "Sugar Sugar" and "Rock Me Gently", but Andy Kim discovered something about himself in the creation of It's Decided, his emotional new album created with Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew.
Songs of Imploration and Love: The Music of Tajikistan
For centuries, Tajikistan has seen just about every monarchy, kingdom, religious faith and culture sweep through its land, leaving an indelible impression on its people and music.
Anthologies, 'American Horror Story', and the Disposability of Pulp Storytelling
This show embraced its reputation for the weird and the strange, but it's storytelling methods are among the messiest in television.
Big Breasts and Badasses: The Dividing Line of Gender Representation in Gaming
In which the author suggests that the new Lara Croft might be the best example of androgyny in gaming.
Beyond Good and Evil: Multiversity: Mastermen #1
Mastermen is a masterwork. A perfect 10. The greatest issue yet in this stunningly good series. Bravo, Mr. Morrision! Bravo!
Minae Mizumura's 'A True Novel' Makes for a Truly Engrossing Tale
This deeply engrossing and sophisticated Japanese novel unpeels itself in multiple nested narratives over its 855 page length.
Torche: Restarter
On Restarter, Torche delivers the smoothest sludge.
'Bitter' Is Another Brave Exploration Into the Gustatory Outlands
Jennifer McLagan loves a controversial ingredient. Her cookbooks include works on bones, fat, and the scary bits. Now it's time to get bitter.
Sam Prekop: The Republic
The second instrumental adventure in the land of modular synthesizer from the golden voice of the Sea and Cake.
'Sophia' Is a Fascinating Story of a Princess Turned Revolutionary
This former socialite once made the papers after throwing herself at the car of Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith while holding a banner reading, “Give women the vote!”
'Más Negro Que La Noche' Is the Rare Remake That Trounces the Original
This Mexican horror remake evokes the mood, atmosphere and acting of the classic era of horror.
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Is All the World Really a Stage in 'Birdman'?
Is Birdman's metacommentary the theatre within cinema that it appears to be?
'The Jimmy Stewart Show' Emerges from TV's Never-Never Land
This is a traditional family sitcom, which means it's not funny.
Finding Hope in the Horror: An Interview with Director Bernard Rose of 'sx_tape'
Fresh off of last year's divisive sx_tape and with the classic Candyman to his credit, director Bernard Rose talks horror's past and present, as well as his own forthcoming take on Frankenstein.
Country Fried Rock: Ben Miller Band
Ben Miller Band brings punk sensibility to homemade instrumentation. Don't let the washboard fool you: their live shows still outshine their records.
A Shot Across the Bow: Hawkeye #21
This penultimate issue is essentially Home Alone, if Macaulay Culkin was an Avenger and the Sticky Bandits were a bunch of Eastern European mobsters in tracksuits and armed with machine guns.
Life Is Strange, Episode 1: Chrysalis
Max wants to make friends, survive high school, and impress her famous photography teacher to jump start her art career, the kinds of human and relatable stories not often seen in video games.
The Dead Talk in Maírtín Ó Cadhain's 'The Dirty Dust'
This novel's recurring themes of discontent and rivalry dominate whatever moments of tenderness and solidarity remain after Irish village life has given way to common death.
Dan Deacon: Gliss Riffer
Gliss Riffer is by far Deacon's most successful and accessible full-length thus far, but it's just shy of being a masterpiece.
'Big Hero 6' Bursts at the Seams With Emotion
Big Hero 6 demonstrates how Disney does animated storytelling like no other.
Mahalia Barnes & The Soul Mates Featuring Joe Bonamassa: Ooh Yea! The Betty Davis Songbook
Australia's soul wunderkind Mahalia Barnes crosses her T's and dots her Betty Davis I's as she pays tribute to an artist who was too much, too soon.
Secret Conflicts Shape a Family in Sandip Roy's 'Don't Let Him Know'
At its best, Don’t Let Him Know merges — or, more fundamentally, presents — the clash between Indian and American, traditional and tolerant sensibilities.
Monday, 23 February 2015
Wikipedia, Controversy, and the Myth of Neutrality
As the Gamergate controversy illustrates, Wikipedia’s call for unbiased writing is really a euphemism for the privileging of certain ideologies.
Let's Make Childhood Savage, Again
A growing movement says we ought to help our kids lead riskier lives with the intent of improving society.
This Is a Cautionary Tale: An Interview With Dan Gilroy of 'Nightcrawler'
PopMatters speaks with Nightcrawler writer/director and Academy Award nominee Dan Gilroy about writing antiheroes, watching local television news, and questioning the pervasiveness of fear mongering media.
Double Take: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Double Take wraps its mind around Charlie Kaufman's fractured tale of love, loss, memory, and hair dye. Does this film have the whole human race pegged?
As the Death Knell for the Oscars Resounded in Our Ears, the Academy Did Little to Stop the Eulogy
Oscars 2015 reminded everyone that while there's room for massive improvement, the AMPAS is at least capable of some self-reflection and response to criticism.
Weaving A New Web: Silk #1
Cindy Moon's story is just beginning, but her potential is still growing.
'Blackguards 2': A Good Kind of Evil
Blackguards 2 makes it feel good to be bad, but being bad also comes with a lot of responsibility.
Gang of Four: What Happens Next
Never so pretty as Content or as clinical as their earliest efforts, this latest album from Gang of Four marks an ugly and interesting new era for the band.
The Woman Who Had the Front-Row Seat to the Height of Basquiat's Career
The story of Jean-Michel Basquiat's longtime companion lets us see him as more than merely a brilliant artist.
Ringo Starr Becomes a Stoner Cro-Magnon in 'Caveman'
There are many surprises to be found in Caveman, not the least of which is that it is not a complete waste of time.
Romare: Projections
How many modern electronic/downtempo acts take their primary inspiration from the Afrocentric American painter Romare Bearden? At least one.
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