Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Comics, Cosmopolitanism, and Canadiana
The growing popularity and diversity of Canadian comics and graphic literature raises questions around how a culture and place presents itself to the world. [23.Sep.14]
The 10 Best Stop-Motion Animated Films
For most of us in the West, it was television and the work of Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass that made stop-motion animation an aesthetic given. [23.Sep.14]
The Legends We Were Meant to Be: An Interview with Sondre Lerche
Sondre Lerche dealt with a difficult divorce going into the sessions for his latest album, Please, but it's the greatest thing he's ever done, and tells us about the saxophone solo that may have changed his life (yes, it's on the record). [23.Sep.14]
Mecca Normal - Between Livermore & Tracy (video and Q&A) (Premiere)
PopMatters caught up with Mecca Normal's Jean Smith on the Vancouver duo's upcoming album Empathy for the Evil. The video for album track "Between Livermore & Tracy" premieres here. [23.Sep.14]
Aphex Twin: Syro
Unburdened of revolutionary duties, Syro offers a deeply rewarding expression of one of electronic music's most dependably brilliant talents. [23.Sep.14]
Today's Articles
23.Sep.14
Aphex Twin: Syro
Unburdened of revolutionary duties, Syro offers a deeply rewarding expression of one of electronic music's most dependably brilliant talents.
King Tuff: Black Moon Spell
Black Moon Spells is a record about discovering yourself in the music you live. It's also a convincing and heartfelt next step for King Tuff, one as charmingly goofy as it self-assured and hard hitting.
Mac Wiseman: Songs From My Mother's Hand
Direct, beguiling and brilliant, songs from Wiseman's family history realised in accessible, caring ways which reflect and bring forward mountain traditions.
Royal Blood: Royal Blood
This is a band that is ascending, and people are standing up and taking notice, even if the group's name and sound are a little generic.
Diplo: Random White Dude Be Everywhere
The monumental producer's compilation of recent singles and remixes may be the ideal party playlist, but it fails at just about everything else.
The Legends We Were Meant to Be: An Interview with Sondre Lerche
Sondre Lerche dealt with a difficult divorce going into the sessions for his latest album, Please, but it's the greatest thing he's ever done, and tells us about the saxophone solo that may have changed his life (yes, it's on the record).
Mecca Normal - Between Livermore & Tracy (video and Q&A) (Premiere)
PopMatters caught up with Mecca Normal's Jean Smith on the Vancouver duo's upcoming album Empathy for the Evil. The video for album track "Between Livermore & Tracy" premieres here.
'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum' Is a Charming Collection of Anachronisms
The classic farcical Sondheim musical springs to Blu-ray with all the hilarity of the classic movie, but only half the songs of the classic stage play.
'Fear in the Night' Speaks the Indecipherable Language of Noir
Noir, as a definitive term, is elusive and always out of reach, as are dreams. So what are we to do with Fear in the Night, a noir that traffics in dreams?
The 10 Best Stop-Motion Animated Films
For most of us in the West, it was television and the work of Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass that made stop-motion animation an aesthetic given.
Comics Go Psychedelic, Then Dark…
The most tumultuous and varied era of comics is chronicled with balance and aplomb in American Comic Book Chronicles: 1965-69.
'Your Face in Mine' Is a Bold Take on Race and Identity
Think John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me on steroids, and you get a sense of what Jess Row’s intentions are, here.
Comics, Cosmopolitanism, and Canadiana
The growing popularity and diversity of Canadian comics and graphic literature raises questions around how a culture and place presents itself to the world.
Recent Articles
Monday, 22 September 2014
Jazz of the '00s: Jumping Past the Great Divide
The jazz of the '00s jumped past the great divide of earlier years, obliterating the distinction between tradition and avant-garde, jazz and pop, letting the genre blossom.
The Rainmakers Find Heaven and Hell in the Heartland
Since the early '80s, The Rainmakers have been among the best bands to emerge from the Heartland Rock boom of that decade. They may be the best that's still at it.
PopMatters Picks the Best Music of the '00s
With almost five years of hindsight, PopMatters' take on the Best of the '00's reveals that while some albums do outlive their hype, just as many—if not more—change upon reflection.
Celebrating the Art and Spirit of Literary Translation, NEA Style
The translation of literature is equal parts art, psychology, technical skill and spirituality – and it brings humanity closer together.
Alt-J: This Is All Yours
The contradiction of all second records but especially this one: Be what people expect when people want something unexpected.
Where Are AC/DC's the Youngs in 'The Youngs'?
I loved AC/DC as much as the next lunkheaded longhaired headbanger. But I don't know them any better than Jesse Fink does.
Robert Plant: Lullaby and... the Ceaseless Roar
You have to respect Robert Plant's desire to take the crowd-pleasing, Grammy-approved formula of his last few records into wilder, hazier places. But the results don’t always reach their intended target.
'All That Jazz' Is Bob Fosse's Cinematic Self-Flagellation
This excellent, entertaining, and accurate bio-pic of Bob Fosse's life and death was actually co-written and directed by Bob Fosse eight years before he died.
Steph Cameron: Sad-Eyed Lonesome Lady
Sad-Eyed Lonesome Lady is the kind of platter that, if all goes to plan, is going to make Steph Cameron a little less sad-eyed and lonesome when she takes the stage at a concert hall near you.
Flowers: Do What You Want To, It's What You Should Do
This is a fresh, young band, attractive in sound and approach, playing music with echoes of many great indie-pop bands of the past.
Black State Highway: Black State Highway
Black State Highway's high quality throwback hard rock might have found a place on the charts in 1990 next to The Black Crowes and "Thunderstruck"-era AC/DC.
Friday, 19 September 2014
How About Some Unironic Love for Emerson, Lake & Palmer?
Love them or loathe them, Emerson, Lake & Palmer wore immoderation like a badge of courage.
Is the Past Merely Epilogue?: Nostalgia, After The Fox
What writer-artist Dean Haspiel and co-plotter Mark Waid achieve with Red Circle’s The Fox: Freak Magnet is nothing short of amazing—the simultaneous dismantling and honoring of the golden age of pulp.
Counterbalance: Paul McCartney's 'Ram'
This week's Counterbalance takes on the 1,377th most acclaimed album of all time, Paul and Linda McCartney's 1971 joint effort. Have another look, have a cup of tea and a butter pie. (The butter wouldn't melt so we put it in a pie.)
Censorship Is Not a Puzzle I Can Solve
In this case, cheating isn’t just an admission of defeat to the game, it’s an admission of defeat for the characters as well. And I can’t bring myself to make them lose.
Why Do Sitcoms Fail (or Succeed)?
PopMatters shines a spotlight on some funny and not-so-funny shows that have failed.
In 'A Walk Among the Tombstones', Liam Neeson Finds Another Way to Surprise You
This latest Liam Neeson vehicle isn't just another vengeance movie; it's about what you expect and about how movies create what you expect.
'Quench Your Thirst with Salt' Will Make You Look at the World a Bit Differently
“How literally can you take the metaphor between land and the body?” Nicole Walker asks. The answer isn't as simple as it might seem.
Sondre Lerche: Please
Prior to Please, it was fair to say that Sondre Lerche could make a great record. With Please, however, he's one-upped himself and made a masterpiece.
'Producing Country' Is Great Oral History
This is an exceptional read on how records get made. We learn how producers coaxed great performances, made power deals, and generally had a good time.
Earth: Primitive and Deadly
Primitive and Deadly may be the dawning of another new era for the Seattle legends.
'Tusk' is Really Savage Like, Really Weird, and Really Good
Instead of playing with the anticipated and the preconceived, Kevin Smith takes a intriguing premise and circumvents our expectations.
Thursday, 18 September 2014
Mr. Mencken Went to Dayton and the Culture Wars Began
Long before Christopher Hitchens and Bill Maher, H.L. Mencken was America's most notorious satirist of religion. And thus began the battle for the soul of America.
Us in Their Land: An Interview with Mike Watt
Mike Watt has been in so many iconic bands that it's sometimes easy to lose count, but now, with a stripped-down Italian trio called il sogno del marinaio, Watt is doing his most daring work yet ...
Transmissions in Blue and Yellow from Comic-Con 2014
This summer gone, it’s Daniel’s first time at Comic-Con. But it’s beginning to feel like all our first times, again…
No Going Back: Hope and Nostalgia in 'The Walking Dead'
The types of decisions I made at the end of season two were heartfelt ones, but they’re not practical and they’re not the kinds of decisions that keep people alive.
Trigger Hippy - Trigger Hippy (album stream) (Premiere)
Anyone on the market for some unadulterated vintage rock and roll should give Trigger Hippy's self-titled LP a spin as fast as possible.
Jonathan Demme Takes on Henrik Ibsen in 'A Master Builder'
The crux of the plot lies in Solness’ state of mind, bothered by a material abundance he fears is unearned, and thus infinitely fragile, liable to be withdrawn as arbitrarily as it was given.
Frenetic and Scatter-Brained, 'Preparing the Ghost' Is Still an Infuriatingly Good Read
If one is looking for something more 21st century than beat poetry and new journalism to challenge your mind and thrill your heart, this is it, whatever this is.
The Juan MacLean: In a Dream
DFA greats the Juan MacLean sound out of their element on their new album, a collection of stripped down pop and '70s rock-flavored electro.
'7 Hours of Gunfire' Attempts to Bring the Legends of the Wild West to the Spaghetti Western Genre
Since childhood, I have been attached to those legendary figures of the Wild West listed in the synopsis of 7 Hours of Gunfire.
'How the World Was' Is a Vivid Tale of a 20th Century California Boyhood
Above all, this celebrates the wondrous and odd details of everyday life in working-class California during the Great Depression.
Moonface: City Wrecker
For all his worry over moving around, Spencer Krug's latest Moonface release makes it clear that behind the piano Krug sounds at home, rooted, in a place he's been found and a place he belongs.
Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Possessed by 'Wild Palms': How Far Will You Go to Feel Connected?
Have listeners of the Danish ambient electronic outfit, Croatian Amor, given more of themselves than the musician ever would?
Formerly Poor Old Shine
Following its name change, Parsonsfield, New England's most exciting folk band, is letting its music speak for itself.
12 Essential Songs for the Kate Bush Novice
While Kate Bush is a national treasure in the UK, US listeners don't know her so well. The following 12 songs capture her irrepressible spirit.
SILVA - Ocean View (album stream) (Premiere)
Brazilian dream-pop artist SILVA's latest album, Ocean View, offers the listener an inviting collection of dreamy, beach-worthy tunes.
'Runers': What's My Motivation?
Shoot better and better and better. Then, shoot some more.
'Red Band Society': Life is Full of Black Holes, Honey
It's hard to overstate the overstatement in Red Band Society.
Brave New Values: Super Secret Crisis War: Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends
Cohen elevates the all ages genre by tackling '90s generational creep with latent themes in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
Soul Murder and Dreams in 'Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage'
Like the cobwebs and spider webs that colonize a neglected basement, Haruki Murakami’s filamentous plot threads trail uncannily across our psyches.
Banks: Goddess
If you happen to be in the market for a new, hyper-hip iteration of slow-burning electronica, then Jillian Banks is your girl.
From Outer Space to the Bowels of Planet Earth, This Is the Stuff We're Made Of
In Stuff Matters, Mark Miodownik, a quirky science writer, shares his love and knowledge of the materials that shape our world.
GRMLN: Soon Away
On his third release as GRMLN, Yoodoo Park expands and explores pop-punk's roots.
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