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Beyond Don as Dorian: Fin de Siècle, Mad Men, and Aesthetics
By Elizabeth Howells
Given the parallels between Dorian Gray and Don Draper, can we use the lesson of the former to predict the fate of the latter? [31.Mar.15]
What's Not to Love About the Trombone?
There was a time when jazz trombonists like Glenn Miller were mega-stars. Not so today, but talents like those of Ryan Keberle and Joe Fiedler make the case that they should be. [31.Mar.15]
Good Food, Big Ideas: An Interview With Chef Christian Puglisi of Copenhagen's Relae
With three restaurants, a Michelin star, and now a new book under his belt, Puglisi leads a new generation of chefs in shaking up food culture. [31.Mar.15]
Country Fried Rock: John Moreland Interview
John Moreland just cannot write a happy song. That's not a critic's assessment: he says so himself. [31.Mar.15]
'So You've Been Publicly Shamed' Makes One Wonder, Are All Internet Outrages Fabricated?
Internet shamings are simple: people say dumb things, are then pilloried for it and in the ensuing frenzy lose their jobs and reputations. [31.Mar.15]
Today's Articles
31.Mar.15
Death Cab for Cutie: Kintsugi
This isn't the sound of "indie rock", nor is it "dad rock". This is "obligation rock", a forced brand of music that exists just because it has to.
Vetiver: Complete Strangers
A lack of substance, coupled with an occasionally overwhelming “lite-ness” that veers dangerously close to easy-listening, makes Complete Strangers a less-than-solid effort.
Benjamin Clementine: At Least for Now
Benjamin Clementine's emotional cup runneth over... again and again.
Tom Brosseau: Perfect Abandon
Perfect Abandon seems to try and fit as many people into a tiny corner as possible. It's a straight-ahead folk record, but it walks that straight road with a crooked walk.
Art Pepper: Neon Art Volume One
Art Pepper reignites his stake on the jazz industry in this modernized re-issuing of the first in his Neon Art series, originally pressed onto vinyl in 2012.
Country Fried Rock: John Moreland Interview
John Moreland just cannot write a happy song. That's not a critic's assessment: he says so himself.
What's Not to Love About the Trombone?
There was a time when jazz trombonists like Glenn Miller were mega-stars. Not so today, but talents like those of Ryan Keberle and Joe Fiedler make the case that they should be.
Umami - 'Ephemeral' (album stream) (Premiere)
With Ephemeral, the Minneapolis group Umami has concocted a mad scientist's stew of synth-pop, dance rock, and a smattering of other sounds.
Led Zeppelin - Brandy and Coke (Trampled Under Foot) (video)
As a tie-in to the recent release of the 40th anniversary edition of Physical Graffiti, Led Zeppelin have released an "interactive video" for "Brandy and Coke", the initial rough mix of the classic "Trampled Under Foot".
The Staves with Justin Vernon - Make It Holy (Live at Wilton's Music Hall) (video)
Angelic vocal harmonies and a wintry mood make the Staves' "Make It Holy" a stunner of a live track.
'So You've Been Publicly Shamed' Makes One Wonder, Are All Internet Outrages Fabricated?
Internet shamings are simple: people say dumb things, are then pilloried for it and in the ensuing frenzy lose their jobs and reputations.
'Seraphim 266613336 Wings' Will Set Your Imagination Afire
This little-known collaboration between, Mamoru Oshii and Satoshi Kon, two giants of anime was never completed. But it’s very much worth reading anyway.
Good Food, Big Ideas: An Interview With Chef Christian Puglisi of Copenhagen's Relae
With three restaurants, a Michelin star, and now a new book under his belt, Puglisi leads a new generation of chefs in shaking up food culture.
Beyond Don as Dorian: Fin de Siècle, Mad Men, and Aesthetics
Given the parallels between Dorian Gray and Don Draper, can we use the lesson of the former to predict the fate of the latter?
'Weird Loners' Is Fox's 'Unromantic Comedy'
The initial set-up contrivances suggest that Weird Loners is not so strange as its title might lead us to think.
'The Imitation Game' Is Equally About Wartime and Emotional Codes
This biopic both reminds the world of Alan Turing’s genius and aims to empower “those people no one expects anything from who do the things no one expects.”
Alec Guinness Runs a Tight Comedy in All at Sea
This late '50s seafaring comedy is pleasant if uninspired.
Overwhelming and Overdue Humility in 'Uncanny X-men #32'
Cyclops is put in a difficult position that reveals his vulnerabilities, amongst other things.
The Party Games of IndieCade East 2015
With the party game, the real experience is having fun in the company of others, not winning.
Teresita Fernández: As Above: So Below
Teresita Fernández, a 2005 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, recently finished a solo exhibition at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
Recent Articles
Monday, 30 March 2015
Contemplations on the Nature of Truth: True Crime, 'True Detective', & 'Serial' Obsessions
True Detective and Serial mark our society’s preoccupation with all things illegal, especially when they end in murder.
'The Bends' and the Blazing of a Trail Into the New Millennium
Amidst a transformational time in the post-Vietnam and post-Reagan eras, The Bends represented a transition between the tumultuous latter half of the 20th century and the new millennium ahead.
Experiencing Isolation and Connection In Tall Buildings
In Tall Buildings' Erik Hall got the name from recording in a Chicago skyscraper, but notes that "I don't tend to write songs that jump out at the listener, but rather kind of invite the listener in."
Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell
Nearly five years after his last studio effort, Sufjan Stevens brings us a quiet meditation on grief.
Revenge Travels South in 'Ride the Pink Horse'
This oft-overlooked desert noir illustrates the residual violence of post-war America, where paranoia and deception abound.
The Sonics: This Is the Sonics
The first new studio album since 1967 from these garage rock legends has its faults, but it's an overall solid addition to their already classic discography.
The Master of Dark Yet Delightful Russian Tales About Family Is Back
Russia’s premiere teller of bleak, woeful tales strikes again with There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children Until They Moved Back In.
Eternal Death: Eternal Death
This is pop music that's also anti-pop music. It's consistently accessible and intentionally confusing.
These Tall Trees: And All Things In-Between
These Tall Trees veers towards a psych-lite sound, mostly upbeat and effervescent.
The Mavericks: Mono
Recording in mono might seem like a back-to-basics move but the Mavericks never forgot what they were about anyway.
Friday, 27 March 2015
30 Musical, Literary and Cultural Reasons to Celebrate 30 More Years of Phish: Part Two
From Romanticism to structuralism, the musical ingenuity of Phish pays tribute to a variety of cultural movements; they're more dada than dad rock.
Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll: The Science of Hedonism and the Hedonism of Science
The colourful science of marijuana and psychedelic drugs will make you wish you paid more attention in science class.
Counterbalance: The Who's 'The Who Sell Out'
What's for tea, darling? Darling, I said, What's for tea? It's a 1967 pop-art masterpiece. You're going to choke on it, too. A pioneer in the art of the concept album is this week's Counterbalance.
How to Use the Media
Don’t just sit there looking at your computer (or tablet, or phone). Engage!
Janelle Asselin, Rosy Press and the Reinvention of the Ordinary
Sometimes once in a rare while someone with a single idea disrupts an entire industry. Veteran Editor Janelle Asselin's Rosy Press might just be that idea for this generation.
Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock
Morningstar plays like a Star Trek episode that forgot to add in a moral message about the nature of humanity at the end.
Liturgy: The Ark Work
Religious music, black metal, electronic, and 8-bit all come together in this bizarre yet ultimately captivating philosophical tome from Liturgy.
Ben Stiller Takes on a Woody Allen Persona in 'While We're Young'
This examination of documentary filmmaking, of truth and not-quite-truth, is somewhat undercut by the neuroses of its male lead (Ben Stiller).
Jim Parsons Can't Escape Sheldon Cooper in 'Home'
Even though Jim Parsons is trying to distance himself from his Big Bang Theory character, his role in Home, like the film itself, feels awfully familiar.
'Serena' Re-Teams Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper Amidst Clichés
Every time the movie makes the claim that its protagonist is a "strong woman", it just as quickly reduces her to the worst clichés.
There's a Reason 'Braid' Wasn't a Bullet-Hell Game
Disorder might have something profound to say, but it certainly doesn’t know how to say it -- or through what genre.
Thursday, 26 March 2015
The Artist Is Not Present: The Significance of Sia's Anti-Pop Persona
For once, a pop artist has rejected the idea of stardom, and as a result, has become one of the world’s most discussed pop stars.
15 Must-Know Artists from SXSW 2015
Amidst the many artists that flooded SWSX this year, these 15 new and rising talents stand out amidst the fray.
'Convergence' and 'Secret War' Get to the Heart of the Matter
In the lead up to the release of Convergence and Secret War, we explore why these comicbook stories matter to you, no matter what the publishers' say.
Too Smart to Be Naïve, Too Young to Be Jaded: 'The Bends' and Teen Angst
Even teenagers two decades removed from The Bends' original release can still find deep emotional connections to its depiction of isolation and dissatisfaction.
Blood and Thunder: Turning Ashes to Gold
This week's best metal release finds some musical innovators from Brooklyn up to their philosophical shenanigans once again.
'Earthbound' As Children's Literature
Earthbound is a masterpiece meant for children, complete with all the daring, joyful, and deeply unsettling shards of truth this implies. Earthbound might be the best children’s game ever made.
No One Gets Away Unscathed in David Joy's Latest
Where All Light Tends to Go is unflinchingly violent, difficult to witness, and tragic from its outset.
'Stranger at My Door' Is a Western That Doesn't Settle for the Obvious
This isn't some towering milestone of the genre, but it's something harder to pull off: a quietly intelligent, handsomely made, satisfying B-western.
Laura Marling: Short Movie
The eclectic guitar becomes a tool that complements Laura Marling's lyrics on this pivotal album, at times articulating visceral anger and, at others, obliterating psychic barriers and clearing space for something new.
On the Agony of Becoming
Green Girl is Kate Zambreno's searing meditation on a young American girl's coming-to-being in London.
The Go! Team: The Scene Between
With heavier rock influence and toned-down electronic methodology, The Scene Between represents the Go! Team's greatest deviation from their original template yet.
Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Where Do We Go from Here? 'The Bends' of the 20th Century and Beyond
The Bends is the 20th century's identity emerging under pressure, forced to search bleakly for some form of cohesion among an increasingly artificial and commercial world.
What Would Don Draper Do? Reading Dante in a Secular Age
Many readers of our generation emulate Don Draper, having lost Dante's connections to Christianity or perhaps to any such deity.
Thursday's Geoff Rickly on Reissues, the Future, and Selling Crockpots
Thursday is no more, but their legacy lives on, with singer Geoff Rickly reissuing Waiting on his own label and talking about what chances, if any, there are to the group reuniting.
'White Night', 'American Psycho', and Economic Inequality, the Killer Who Devours America
I'm not especially bothered by violence in media, but the rich-on-poor violence seen in American Psycho and suggested by White Night seem exceptionally detestable.
The 10 Best Films of Sir Alan Parker
With film fans around the world still reeling from the auteur's recent announcement, here are ten reasons to mourn the retirement of one of England's most interesting directors.
In Gotham The Kids Are Alright, Day Two
By incorporating genres as diverse as Harry Potter, Dan Brown and Van Helsing, Gotham Academy #5 is as close to perfect as you can get.
Earl Sweatshirt: I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside
Earl Sweatshirt leaves shock horror behind and finds something much better on his brilliant third album.
'Twice a Judas' Is Saved by Klaus Kinski's Brilliant Acting
Just as some sports fans enjoy the mental face-off that is every at-bat in baseball more than the constant scoring and dunking on a basketball court, many will find the slow pace of this spaghetti western inviting.
Marge Piercy and the Geography of Home
In topics ranging from poverty to war’s ravages to environmental collapse, Piercy obeys the poet’s dictum to act as witness with Made in Detroit.
'Watership Down' Is a World of Rabbits in Darkness
Like all great films based on great literature, Watership Down does a fine job of not replacing, but rather complementing the source material.
Lightning Bolt: Fantasy Empire
In the end, this is exactly what we have come to expect from Lightning Bolt; a set list of fuzzy, overwhelming, noise rock that keeps it simple while never missing its target.
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