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

The New Puritanism, or, Some Troubling Tendencies in Video Game Criticism
Is the role of the video game critic to protect us from that which we may find offensive? [23.Apr.14]
Conquering Demons: A Conversation with Gazpacho's Thomas Anderson
"If we were a soda, we’d be a soda with pepper and ginger." A humorous, insightful, and honest discussion with the founding keyboardist of Gazpacho, Norway's leading prog storytellers. [23.Apr.14]
Pigeon John - 'Encino Man' (album stream) (Premiere)
By PopMatters Staff
Los Angeles backpack rapper Pigeon John returns with his sixth studio album next Tuesday, but we have the goods for you today. [23.Apr.14]
Ranking the Greats: The 10 Best Films of John Waters
He's made bad taste a true art form. In light of his recent birthday, here's our choices for John Waters' 10 Best Films. [23.Apr.14]
Spring 2014 New Music Playlist
Seventeen new songs with notes to welcome spring at last. [23.Apr.14]
Today's Articles
23.Apr.14
Eels: The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
Mark Everett admitted that Cautionary Tales was an uncomfortable record to make, but what's most unsettling is how familiar it sounds.
Heartsrevolution: Ride or Die
Choose your own adventure. Heartsrevolution give you two choices: Ride OR Die. (Hint: Say "Ride, please").
The Baseball Project: 3rd
The Baseball Project goes deep into the lore, heritage and shadows of the great American pastime -- and comes up with an awesome record.
Nina Persson: Animal Heart
First solo effort from the Cardigans and A Camp vocalist is pleasant enough singer-songwriter fare that doesn’t truly find its footing until the back half of the album.
Witch: Movin' On / Kuomboka
This is what we're left with after the fuzz guitars go away.
Conquering Demons: A Conversation with Gazpacho's Thomas Anderson
"If we were a soda, we’d be a soda with pepper and ginger." A humorous, insightful, and honest discussion with the founding keyboardist of Gazpacho, Norway's leading prog storytellers.
Spring 2014 New Music Playlist
Seventeen new songs with notes to welcome spring at last.
Catherine Deneuve Hits the Road in 'On My Way'
While the title On My Way implies the start of a journey that might be energetic and fresh, by film’s end, Bettie doesn’t seem like she’s moved much at all.
'Bayou Blue' Takes an Unflinching Look at Death in the Dark
These men are painted as those that easily disappear, and when they do disappear, it takes nearly ten years to bring their killer to justice.
'To Chris Marker, An Unsent Letter' Has Insufficient Postage
Collaborators and admirers provide an enlightening, but at times opaquely idiosyncratic assessment of the maverick French filmmaker.
Ranking the Greats: The 10 Best Films of John Waters
He's made bad taste a true art form. In light of his recent birthday, here's our choices for John Waters' 10 Best Films.
'On Such a Full Sea' Challenges Our Notion of Free Will, but Leaves So Much More Unchallenged
What are we willing to trade off in order to have a steady income, food on one’s plate and a house over one’s head?
Father and Son = Author and Reader in 'A Fairy Tale'
Jonas T. Bengtsson takes us down unexpected paths, reminding us that life is too complex for us to assume we know how things will turn out.
One Need Only Bring Gumption and Goodwill to 'The Art of Simple Food II'
Even the most experienced cooks, gardeners or not, stand to learn a great deal from The Art of Simple Food II.
'Pokemon Battle Trozei': How Many Times Do I Need to Catch Them All?
Other games that have a successful collection system follow the idea that what the player collects should have some sort of pragmatic value. This iteration of Pokemon does not.
The New Puritanism, or, Some Troubling Tendencies in Video Game Criticism
Is the role of the video game critic to protect us from that which we may find offensive?
Exploration and the 'Secrets of Raetikon'
Secrets of Raetikon doesn’t waste verbiage on anything that isn’t necessary to exploring the game. The impetus is to just explore.
Culture
Pigeon John - 'Encino Man' (album stream) (Premiere)
Los Angeles backpack rapper Pigeon John returns with his sixth studio album next Tuesday, but we have the goods for you today.
Carly Ritter - It Don't Come Easy (video) (Premiere)
Tex Ritter's granddaughter Carly Ritter emerges as a promising young Americana artist with her self-titled debut from Vanguard Records.
Specters of Marquez: Iron Fist, the Living Weapon #1
Writer-artist Kaare Andrews shapes an entirely new mythology for Iron Fist—not so much “like unto a thing of iron,” but “when offered life, he chose death…”
Recent Articles
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
Cassette Fever in the Age of Bandcamp
The cassette tape is a miniature monument to a lost age of music; a small casket in which to hide memories and last hopes.
The Little Joys (Not Pleasures) of Scopophobia: On Mystery Science Theater 3000, Vol. XXIX
From our fear of the culture industry emerges a new sense of self—a negative self to be sure, created from the fear of being hypnotized by one’s inferiors, yet a self less likely to get lost in the dark.
Paradoxical Obscurity: All New X-men #25
A time travel paradox that's overdue yet underwhelming.
TEEN: The Way and Color
The Way and Color is a welcome and daring departure from TEEN's Spacemen 3-laced debut, 2012’s In Limbo, even though it doesn’t always hit its marks.
'At Middleton' Is a Delightful, European-Style Romance
Vera Farmiga and Andy Garcia are enchanting in a film made exclusively for the pleasure of hearing them talk.
G. Love & Special Sauce: Sugar
Sugar is not a sticky-sweet album. Whether or not that's good news to you, G. Love & Special Sauce have returned.
Will Yet Another Scholarly Trip to Walden Yield Any New Truths?
This vigorous interdisciplinary approach brings a revealing new perspective to a well-worn classic of American literature.
Cloud Cult: Unplug
Occasional corniness aside, Cloud Cult have crafted an excellent live album.
Young Money: Rise of an Empire
Lil' Wayne hits the reset button on his Cash Money imprint, but with only minor roster changes is it worth the effort?
Connections: Year One
Year One, which collects three releases from the past year or so, serves as both a celebration of what has been and a preamble to what seems like an awfully bright future.
Monday, 21 April 2014
'LOST' and Found: Mystery Boxes and Pleasure Domes
LOST arrived with the thunderous roar of exploding fuselage. It cut wildly through pop-culture stereotypes, and then left its fans lost and bewildered amidst the wreckage.
More Beautiful Blues: An Interview with Eels' Mark Oliver Everett
The Eels prime-mover answers questions about the band's new album The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett, which follows the tradition of other tragedy-driven greats in his storied and beautifully sorrowful discography.
When I Grow Up: The Beach Boys - Don't Hurt My Little Sister
Originally offered to Phil Spector to record with the Ronettes, the third track on The Beach Boys Today! presents a conflicted and guilt-ridden autobiographical narrative.
'McSweeney's Internet Tendency' Takes on the Bathroom Reading Format
The beloved McSweeney's is stripped of its Internet cloak and laid before us on the bare, naked pages of print.
Which Is More Interesting in 'A Brief History of Time', His Ideas or Stephen Hawking Himself?
Errol Morris delivers an impressionistic take on a remarkable life that is perhaps more wondrous than it has any right to be.
The Psycho in a Batsuit is My Friend: Batman #30
I find myself growing tired of Zero Year, a yearlong story that has come after two other lengthy storyarcs. I’m especially tired after lines like this: “Gentlemen, meet my friend…the ‘$%$^! psycho in a batsuit.’
'Fez': Revisiting Exceptional Design
Curiously, getting lost in Fez's pixelated world becomes the game's greatest pleasure.
Keb' Mo': BLUESAmericana
On BLUESAmericana, Keb' Mo' clears a few emotional cobwebs then plays in the mud. It's not his best, but it's got one of his best songs.
Mean Streets Meet Clean Streets: 'Bill Elliott Detective Mysteries'
Despite tough breaks, happy endings prevail thanks to the intelligence and professionalism of law enforcement.
Smoke DZA: Dream.Zone.Achieve
Smoke DZA's third album, Dream.Zone.Achieve, is strong on beats but weak on personality.
'Shotgun Lovesongs' is One Big Nostalgic Ballad
Nickolas Butler’s golden-toned Bon Iver-inspired novel about four friends in a small Wisconsin town has gorgeous intent, but too little purpose.
Friday, 18 April 2014
The Success and Failure of Silence: Gordon Freeman in 'Half Life' and 'Half Life 2'
In terms of silent protagonists few come bigger, or quieter, than Dr. Gordon Freeman, whose beard, glasses, and crowbar cut an iconic figure, which has left an imprint on video game culture, reaching the tops of popularity polls.
What Do We Do When Our Online Comics Collections Explode?
Complications or confusion aside, the hacking of comiXology demonstrates a disconcerting vulnerability in digital comics.
That Thing, That Time…: A Look at Mimi Ponds Over Easy
Over Easy is hauntingly beautiful, breathtaking, ferociously intelligent. It allows us to peer behind the veil of private lives in a radically different way to other biographies.
Counterbalance: Disclosure's 'Settle'
When a fire starts to burn, right? And it starts to spread, right? Then it's time for another edition of Counterbalance. This week it's electronic time with a critically acclaimed UK hit from 2013.
Slint: Spiderland: Deluxe Box Set
The expanded story of Slint's Spiderland shows that the album doesn't define place or genre so much as it illuminates a singular approach to making music.
Miley Cyrus + Sky Ferreira: 5 April 2014 - Brooklyn, NY
Miley Cyrus's performance is not a sexed-up act, but a manifestation of her bad-ass, "female rebel" persona.
Johnny Depp Is Ubiquitous Not Only in Real Life, but in 'Transcendence', Too
The decision to preserve the consciousness of Johnny Depp's AI researcher is a Frankenstein- and Skynet-like Very Bad Idea.
'Cloudbuilt': The Devil Is in the Design
Where Cloudbuilt really shines is at the intersection of art and level design. Art and science operate in a delicate dance, blurring the lines between the two.
'Americas Forgotten Constitutions' Bear Potent Messages for Our Times
What can the ‘failed’ constitutions of American history teach us about building community and galvanizing social movements?
Place and Space in 'Device 6'
Device 6 does a wonderful job conveying the physical layout of an environment, but does a relatively poor job conveying the unique characteristics of a location.
Medeski, Martin & Wood plus Nels Cline: Woodstock Sessions, Vol. 2
The funky organ trio gets together in the studio with a live audience and an adventurous guitarist to break the mold.
Thursday, 17 April 2014
Marketing in the Age of Surveillance
What do you get when you try to marry perky start-up optimism with the ominous prospect of the surveillance age?
The Azzarello–Risso Yearbook, Part 1 of 4: Jonny Double
The star of Jonny Double is also its title character, a private investigator who fancies himself hardboiled but is really just headstrong and impulsive without quite enough talent to back that up…
Serious Comedy in 'South Park: The Stick of Truth'
The Stick of Truth represents the best of what South Park offers: satire with sincerity.
Dear Studios: Stop with the Post-Credits Stingers!
Whatever the case, the stinger trend, once seemingly novel, has now run its course.
'King of the Hill' Is a Touching, Sweet Story and Quite Unlike Later Soderbergh Films
This is a fascinating glimpse into an exploratory, identity-forming period before even Soderbergh himself seemed to have a handle on his erratic muse.
'30 for 30: Bad Boys' Wants to Crush 'em -- but Only Mentally
The Piston's Isiah Thomas exhorts haters to "erase the labels that you've given us and the names that you called us, all those people who said we were thugs and vicious."
Post-Tsunami Trauma Is Imbued with Painful Lessons in 'Facing the Wave'
"We think we have time to love, cook dinner, take walks, become enlightened, but one wave can take us, or it can spit us out." -Gretel Ehrlich
Duck Sauce: Quack
They may not ever be able to achieve the dizzying heights of "Barbra Streisand", but Quack is more than worth the wait.
It's Not Easy, 'Being Ginger'
Kermit the Frog may have said it’s not easy being green, but this entertaining documentary shows that it’s sure not easy being a ginger, either.
Rodney Crowell: Tarpaper Sky
With a recent Grammy in hand and momentum on his side, a Nashville legend returns to the studio with some old friends.
On Being Up a Creek with Only a Paddle
Love Is a Canoe is about how people in love will latch onto any floating bit of debris to salvage their sinking relationships.
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