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

The Noir Traveler Returns: The Evolving Sound of Alvarius B.
The Invisible Hands have given us a glimpse of Alvarius B.'s (Alan Bishop) view of the world from the center of Cairo. It's not a happy perspective, but there's a hint of hope. [26.Nov.14]
The Jesus and Mary Chain: Barbed Wire Kisses
By Zoë Howe
Zoë Howe's biography of the Jesus and Mary Chain opens with a look at the band's hometown of East Kilbride, Scotland, a "dull" and "antiseptic" place that wasn't the worst place in the world. [26.Nov.14]
The 10 Best Flaming Lips Sci-Fi Songs
In honor of the band with the most U.F.O.s and robots, here are the ten best Flaming Lips songs based on all things science fiction. [26.Nov.14]
'The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth' and the Transformative Power of the Monstrous Body
In The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, the body is wrecked and made ugly for the sake of freedom from fear. Instead, it becomes something fearful in its own right. [26.Nov.14]
May the Force (of Narrativity) Be With You
By Steve Neumann
The Star Wars universe is a microcosmical example of the long-standing battle over the necessity of narrativity in shaping our lives. [25.Nov.14]
Today's Articles
25.Nov.14
The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground - 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition
Few bands ever had a year like the Velvet Underground did in 1969. Even fewer have a set that documents a year like that as beautifully as this one.
Pink Floyd: The Endless River
On The Endless River, Pink Floyd sounds as strong as it did during some of its best years. On this almost entirely instrumental album, however, the lyrics are sorely missed.
Foreigner: The Complete Atlantic Studio Albums 1977-1991
No more head games: there are some true pop gems worth uncovering on Foreigner's first few albums, but a single-disc best-of would just as well satisfy anyone else.
Swans: Oxygen EP
Revealing the true horsepower behind the Swans’ "Oxygen", this four-song collection should be handled by a professional driver on a closed course.
Locust: After the Rain
Mark Van Hoen is not one-offing his Locust resurrection. Not by a long shot.
Andy Stott: Faith in Strangers
With an astonishing lead single and an enveloping album besides, the Manchester producer offers the most vivid expression of his ghostly, brooding vision yet.
Game Theory: Blaze of Glory
Game Theory's nervy debut album gets to baffle another generation of listeners with this bulky reissue.
The Bug vs Earth: Boa / Cold
This collaboration between legendary producer the Bug (Kevin Martin) and legendary metal band Earth promises, fulfills, and then promises so much more.
Parkay Quarts: Content Nausea
In the age of too much information, Parkay Quarts (AKA Parquet Courts) harness the power of the enigma.
The 10 Best Flaming Lips Sci-Fi Songs
In honor of the band with the most U.F.O.s and robots, here are the ten best Flaming Lips songs based on all things science fiction.
The Noir Traveler Returns: The Evolving Sound of Alvarius B.
The Invisible Hands have given us a glimpse of Alvarius B.'s (Alan Bishop) view of the world from the center of Cairo. It's not a happy perspective, but there's a hint of hope.
Restorations: LP3
Let’s call Restorations what they are: an American rock band. And a damn fine one at that.
Lost Twin: The Mist
The Mist is a satisfying experience, and basically puts the bedroom squarely into the realm of hip-hop.
Druid Cloak: Lore: Book One
Lore: Book One is a enjoyable-enough diversion for those who admire electronic music.
Slow Leaves: Beauty Is So Common
Slow Leaves is an outfit that has brought forth an excellent LP, and country-folk-rock fans will clutch this close to their chests.
Zulu Pearls - Boss of Your Heart (Live) (video) (Premiere)
The Berlin by way of Washington, DC indie rockers that call themselves Zulu Pearls have a nice, noir-y live video to accompany one of their newer tunes, "Boss of Your Heart".
Prawn: Settled EP
The Settled EP is a great end-of-the-year delicacy and all the more reason to love Prawn.
The Valdons​ - Just How Much Can One Man Stand 45 Single (audio) (Premiere)
Get a taste of what's to come this Black Friday from the Twin Cities soul group The Valdons through an exclusive listen to a new track and an almost lost one.
Lowbanks - Treatz (audio) (Premiere)
Scuzzy distortion and a crowd-ready singalong vibe exude from the latest tune by the Atlanta punks Lowbanks, "Treatz".
Stevie Nicks: 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault
Stevie Nicks is back and she's still singing about angels, gypsies, and Lindsey Buckingham.
Markéta Irglová: Muna
Working in Iceland pays off for the Oscar-winning piano player from Once, who takes a major sonic step forward on her second album.
'The Imitation Game' Doesn't Pretend to Solve the Enigma That Is Alan Turing, or His Machine
As visible as the Turing machine may be on screen -- and it is gorgeous, strange, and haunting, as well as sublimely mechanical and daunting -- it remains unfathomable.
The 'Penguins of Madagascar' Is Terminally Cute and Cuddly
It seems right that Werner Herzog narrates the start of Penguins of Madagascar, concerning the overwhelming cuddly cuteness of penguins and the absurd value humans attribute to them.
Italian Film Festival 2014 - Chicago: 'Viva la Libertà'
Political dramedy Viva la Libertà sees one of Italy’s best actors playing twin brothers.
Italian Film Festival 2014 - Chicago: 'Escort in Love'
Escort in Love plays it too safe, but lead actress Paola Cortellesi comes out on top.
The Postal Service: Everything Will Change
Surprisingly, a bunch of sentimental laptop pop songs from ten years ago (Give Up) make for a dynamic and engaging live show.
Italian Film Festival 2014 - Chicago: 'A Small Southern Enterprise'
August: Osage County goes to Italy in A Small Southern Enterprise, the Italian Film Festival’s best treat.
Italian Film Festival 2014 - Chicago: 'The Mafia Kills Only in Summer'
This film brings the history of organized crime in Sicily to life, but forgets to do the same for its characters.
David Bowie's Affective Relationship With the Remarkable, Schizophrenic City of Berlin
Tobias Rüther’s exploration of Bowie’s artistic and personal development in mid-'70s Berlin offers few cogent insights and a confusing timeline of an artist in a city.
Alex Capus' Latest Book Is a Wild Ride Through the Wild West
Filled with six charming tales about the American West in the 19th Century, Skidoo is an off-the-wall history lesson about the American Frontier most of us were never taught in school.
In an Underground Bar With America's First Bohemians
Rebel Souls tells how Walt Whitman and a cast of colorful characters helped define American culture from a dark, 19th century basement bar in Manhattan.
Is 'Gimme Indie Rock' Another One of Those Essential Guidebooks?
At its best, Gimme Indie Rock shows enough joy to remind its readers why books like these are made in the first place.
The Jesus and Mary Chain: Barbed Wire Kisses
Zoë Howe's biography of the Jesus and Mary Chain opens with a look at the band's hometown of East Kilbride, Scotland, a "dull" and "antiseptic" place that wasn't the worst place in the world.
'The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth' and the Transformative Power of the Monstrous Body
In The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, the body is wrecked and made ugly for the sake of freedom from fear. Instead, it becomes something fearful in its own right.
'The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth': More Grotesque, More Fun
Grotesque, strange, and difficult, Rebirth offers a fantastic vision of what might be the ideal roguelike.
How Game Designers Could Benefit By Letting Hard-core Fans Play for Free
More often than not, blockbuster video games tend to ship incomplete.
The Demonic Force in 'The Whale: Revenge From the Deep'
As in its previous literary and screen incarnations, the whale here is a demonic force, producing fear in the whalers (and the audience) even when it is not visible.
'Mystery Science Theater 3000: Turkey Day Collection (XXXI)' Is Comedy Worth Being Thankful For
Featuring episodes from both Comedy Central and the Sci-Fi Channel, this Turkey Day Collection is a feast for comedy fans.
The Adventures of Two Boys and an Elephant
At its best, Maya serves as a window into an era of kids' adventure series with unusually authentic production values and undercurrents of thoughtful attention to cultural differences.
It's Hard to Love the Pieces: The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1
This is a complex and, perhaps, technically perfect comicbook. So why is it, I wonder, that I am unmoved?
Culture
May the Force (of Narrativity) Be With You
The Star Wars universe is a microcosmical example of the long-standing battle over the necessity of narrativity in shaping our lives.
Recent Articles
Monday, 24 November 2014
I Sacrifice, Therefore I Am Good: Young Adult Fiction Heroines and Self-Destruction
Veronica Roth's Divergent series undermines all that we try to teach our young women about self-worth and the importance of maintaining autonomy and control over one’s body and mind.
In Defense Of ... Not Wanting to Hear Your Band Perform a Favorite Album Live
When a band performs its best album at shows, over and over, it's like they're admitting that they'll never achieve that particular level of greatness again.
Skype Dates and Ski Jumps: Johannes Kuhnke on the Role of a Lifetime
Force Majeure is a brutal film, and not just because of the avalanche. Johannes Kuhnke stretched himself for this awards season buzz pick, and often in very surprising ways.
Flake Music: When You Land Here, It's Time to Return
The reissue of the debut album from the band that would become the Shins showcases a raw indie rock sound that bridges that gap between '90s alternative and poignant post-millennial indie pop.
Ty Segall: $ingle$ 2
Segall's collection of cast-off numbers is a slow burn build to the single stand-out track.
Can's Impossible Music
German rock band Can's masterpiece album is the subject of yet another thinly-veiled memoir in the 33 1/3 series, but the approach fits the enigmatic subject better than expected.
Raspberry Bulbs: Privacy
Privacy is an album that makes us question our expectations of heavy music and, at the same time, our relationship to the scene around it, to social expectations, to people.
Future: Monster
Future's latest mixtape proves to be the sonic equivalent of a 40-degree day.
A Newsroom in an Apocalypse: 'The Day the Earth Caught Fire'
Val Guest's newsroom drama take on the apocalypse is a product of its nuclear war-obsessed times and a prescient commentary on the present day.
Bonobo: The North Borders Tour - Live
The audio version of British producer Bonobo's latest concert video carries far less value than the DVD and fails to provide a worthwhile supplement to the studio albums.
Banda Los Recoditos: Sueño XXX
Pinup banda provides forum for drinking stories and sex dreams; its brass lines tangle together like sweaty bodies.
Friday, 21 November 2014
The Moody Blues: Masters of the Mini Epic
While so many of their progressive rock contemporaries were writing novels in the form of side-long suites, the Moody Blues were masters of the short story.
Worldbuilder: The Paul Duffield Interview
At a time when we failed to fully understand the implications of webcomics, Paul Duffield helped define the new medium, both as a cultural phenomenon and as a commercial vehicle for artists.
Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity
Robert Beachy's study of gay life in pre-Weimar Berlin reveals just how much influence that subculture had on our current understandings of sexuality.
The Five Most Important Films of Mike Nichols' Career
He was more than just a filmmaker. With his passing at age 83, Mike Nichols leaves behind a legacy filled with awards and attitudes which influenced every medium he was involved in.
Counterbalance: 'Violent Femmes'
When I'm a-walkin' I strut my stuff and I'm so strung out. I'm high as a kite and I just might stop to check out the 304th most acclaimed album of all time. A 1983 acoustopunk bellwether is this week's Counterbalance.
Fairness Is Overrated
No one really wants to play a fair game. Video games are unfair, but in our favor, which is what makes them fun, right?
Captain Beefheart: Sun Zoom Spark: 1970-1972
Sun Zoom Spark gives us a chance to re-evaluate the post Trout Mask Replica-era of the Captain Beefheart story.
In 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1', Propaganda Wins
This penultimate installment of The Hunger Games film saga is all about perception, the film frequently has you watch someone watching someone while being watched by someone.
In 'Extraterrestrial', Cliché Counts as Comedy
Extraterrestrial's "formula-as-purpose" style doesn't make it the "meta" movie it wants to be; instead, it's just grating and mired in cliché.
'Never Alone': The Rise of the Docu-Platformer
Never Alone feels like an old Discovery channel special in game form.
The Meaning and Power of Memory Are at the Heart of 'There Was and There Was Not'
As the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide approaches, a new generation struggles to understand its meaning, and role, in their lives
PopMatters Highlights
From The Blogs
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.