Call for Book Reviewers and Bloggers

Magnus Hirschfeld and the Struggle for Transformation, Not Tolerance
Sexual rights in America remain both provisional and cynical; we know everyone should have them, but we are beholden to cowardly, outmoded, theocratic institutions that are fearful of egalitarianism. [14.Jul.14]
Singing the Low-Down, Down-Low Blues
Women in jazz can sing about their same-sex experiences, while men tend to stay deeply in the closet. Odd, considering the genre once embraced such dalliances. [11.Jul.14]
Counterbalance: Ray Charles' 'Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music'
You give your hand to me, and then you say goodbye. I watch you walk away beside a lucky to never, never know the one who loves you so. Because you haven't listened to this week's Counterbalance. Ray Charles' 1962 landmark this week. [11.Jul.14]
Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion, and Film
By Marc Spitz
Artisanal chocolate. Mustaches. Locally sourced vegetables. Etsy. Birds. Flea markets. Cult films. Horn-rimmed glasses. Twee. [11.Jul.14]
Cast Off the Ego Scars: An Interview with Harvey Danger's Sean Nelson
The song was "Flagpole Sitta", and it was everywhere in the late '90s. Nearly two decades later, it finally gets the vinyl treatment. [11.Jul.14]
Today's Articles
11.Jul.14
John Hiatt: Terms of My Surrender
Legendary songwriter John Hiatt takes the hard road on Terms of My Surrender, a tough, modern blues contemplation which turns into an exciting heartland roar.
Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto: Getz/Gilberto 50th Anniversary
The seminal bossa-nova record for American audiences still sounds perfect.
Landlady: Upright Behavior
The way Landlady can explode with joy and strangeness puts them on some sort of a pedestal, right from their debut.
Chicago: Now (Chicago XXXVI)
Now (Chicago XXXVI) will likely make moms across the land swoon, and that’s pretty much all you can ask from Chicago by this point.
Trampled By Turtles: Wild Animals
When your album highlights are a song that sounded just as good in a previous rock incarnation and a pair of fast songs that sound like fraternal twins, it’s probably not your best effort. Especially when there are eight other tracks on the record.
Mick Harvey: Intoxicated Man / Pink Elephants
They are Serge Gainsbourg's songs, but it's Harvey’s show, and he does a fine job as frontman throughout.
The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer: A Real Fine Mess
This is a streamlined collection of a standard sound with some sonic detours into pop territory, and it draws inspiration from both the classic and the contemporary styles of blues.
Say Hi: Endless Wonder
Watching Eric Elbogen's career has been like watching a turtle come out its shell in slow motion, and Endless Wonder is perhaps Say Hi's most fully realized album to date.
Various Artists: The Motown 7s Box Volume 2
The second set of Northern Soul-flavored 7x7"-singles from the legendary soul label highlights just how tough it is to consider the Motown sound objectively these days.
Black Prairie: Fortune
A mixed bag from Portland's folk-rock superstars.
Counterbalance: Ray Charles' 'Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music'
You give your hand to me, and then you say goodbye. I watch you walk away beside a lucky to never, never know the one who loves you so. Because you haven't listened to this week's Counterbalance. Ray Charles' 1962 landmark this week.
Cast Off the Ego Scars: An Interview with Harvey Danger's Sean Nelson
The song was "Flagpole Sitta", and it was everywhere in the late '90s. Nearly two decades later, it finally gets the vinyl treatment.
The Yugos - Follow You (audio) (Premiere)
The Yugos deliver a nugget of lo-fi indie pop perfectly suited for the summer.
It's the Humans That Go Ape in 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'
Matt Reeves’ sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a tight, bleak, and dramatically lopsided tragedy wrapped inside a pummeling summer crowd-pleaser.
'Boyhood' Is the '400 Blows' of Its Era
When coming of age movies are measured years from now, Boyhood will be the benchmark for artistic achievement and cinematic scope.
On Roman Polanski and the Psychosexual Power in 'Venus in Fur'
Polanski's movies tend to be even-handed in their treatment of the sexes, at least in that both male and female characters can be conniving and power-mad.
'Southern Comfort' Is Populated By Tropes
Walter Hill's talkiest action film boasts one of his best stories, but isn't the forgotten classic one might hope for.
Culture
Magnus Hirschfeld and the Struggle for Transformation, Not Tolerance
Sexual rights in America remain both provisional and cynical; we know everyone should have them, but we are beholden to cowardly, outmoded, theocratic institutions that are fearful of egalitarianism.
Singing the Low-Down, Down-Low Blues
Women in jazz can sing about their same-sex experiences, while men tend to stay deeply in the closet. Odd, considering the genre once embraced such dalliances.
Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion, and Film
Artisanal chocolate. Mustaches. Locally sourced vegetables. Etsy. Birds. Flea markets. Cult films. Horn-rimmed glasses. Twee.
In 'Proof', Science Writer Adam Rogers Investigates Booze, and Suffers Gladly for His Art
Should you indulge, I encourage you to pour your favorite tipple, settle into a comfortable chair, open the pages of Proof, and enjoy the "bar moment".
There's Generational Magic in Tiphanie Yanique's 'Land of Love and Drowning'
Tiphanie Yanique's debut novel is both a family saga and an unusual love story. It seems likely to become a classic of Caribbean American literature.
Complex Moral Choices Are Best Saved for the End
The kinds of choices that force us to define what we value and how a game is about what we value are best implemented at the end of that game.
Quest for Infamy
In Quest for Infamy, you’ll spend more time looking for a story and puzzles than you do participating in a story and puzzles.
Guillermo del Toro's Vampires Are Let Loose in 'The Strain'
People must make choices, dire, resonant, tragic, repeatedly in The Strain.
Reality TV's Enduring Racism (and Other Proclivities)
Sometimes, reality TV lives up to its name and casts "by the numbers". Most of the time, however, it casts according to race and sexual orientation.
British Summer Time at Hyde Park
Black Sabbath, Faith No More, Soundgarden and more: a tale of music and Independence.
Recent Articles
Thursday, 10 July 2014
Should Film Music Stand Alone?
In evaluating what makes a great film score, writers, composers, and listeners must ask themselves if the function of cinematic music limits the form it has to take.
Hearts Alive: An Interview with Mastodon
Bassist for the Atlanta sludge metal monsters Troy Sanders discusses why Once More 'Round the Sun is simply the next logical step in the band's Go-Go's-loving journey.
The Clientele: Suburban Light (Reissue)
The Clientele were one of the greatest triumphs of the fickle aughts, and also one of the most overlooked successes of indie pop.
What Can Art Do but Push Back Against the Boundaries of What Is Lived and What Is Said?
My Struggle tells of not an epic life but one that, like every other life, is utterly ordinary — and yet, that is where its epic stature resides.
The Skygreen Leopards: Family Crimes
Donovan Quinn and Glenn Donaldson took a straight ahead approach to making their latest, a record infused with immediate charm making its 33-minute running time feel breezy, even effortless.
In 'A Hard Day's Night', Trifle Becomes Transcendent
Silly plot aside, the real attraction to A Hard Day’s Night is the music and the way it is presented.
Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden: Last Dance
Two masters play mostly love songs as if the night were coming to a close.
Bidiniband: The Motherland
The Motherland shows that, at the age of 50, Dave Bidini shows no signs of slowing, and we can all celebrate the fact that he’s still making music.
Kris Delmhorst: Blood Test
Kris Delmhorst aims for a mature, minimalistic style on her seventh studio album Blood Test, a move which ultimately lacks punch and floats by in a puff of nothingness.
Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Old Crow Medicine Show Will Save Country Music from Itself
The veritable Top 40 Country outsiders, Old Crow Medicine Show, are the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. But does that really matter?
Orange Popsicles and Lemonade: 20 Timeless Songs of Summer
Whether you're at the beach or just hanging out in the backyard, these timeless summer classics are sure to make the summer sun shine a little bit brighter.
Dirty Diapers Don't Scare Me Nearly as Much as the Wiggles Do
Parenthood comes with a lot of change, and a lot of decisions to be made, including this one: What’s your musical strategy?
Vengeance Is the Motive for Almost Everyone in Season 2 of 'The Bridge'
While vengeance is surely a reliable dramatic device, its use here is also potentially more far-reaching.
The Ever Expanding Self and 'A Dark Room'
In A Dark Room, the player begins with a sense only of the immediacy of the self and its own needs, before becoming aware of a small corner of the world around that self, before then becoming aware of how that corner fits into a larger and larger universe.
Trummors - Strangers from Now On (audio and Q&A) (Premiere)
"Strangers from Now On", the latest single from neo-folk duo Trummors' new album Moorish Highway, premieres here. We speak with Trummors' David Lerner to find out more about the new album.
Invisible No More: Fantastic Four 100th Anniversary
The setting is not one hundred years after Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny were first exposed to cosmic rays but rather one hundred years after Jack and Stan kicked off the Marvel revolution with the introduction of “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine.”
Paul Gravett Is in the Mood for Love in 'Comics Art'
Comics Art demonstrates Gravett's deep passion for the world of panels, speech balloons, fine lines and grand colors, subtle shading and transformative images.
'Quadrophenia: Live In London' Proves That the Four Sides of the Who Are Still Alive and Well
For any a fan of The Who’s “Maximum R&B” music, this is as close to being there as you can possibly get without a time machine and a hefty ticket charge.
Boris: Noise
This is probably Boris’ most accessible record to date and the overall feeling is that it has, once again, managed to mould its inspiration while remaining quintessentially "Boris".
James: La Petite Mort
Tim Booth lost his mother and a friend. His band's aesthetic betrays his grief. But it all somehow comes out alright.
Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Nobody Should Feel Embarrassed to Read YA Fiction
Young Adult literature is not just for kids, and it fills an important niche left vacant by much of contemporary "adult" fiction.
Still Stranger, Ten Years Later: An Interview with Tim Bowness
PopMatters catches up with singer and wordsmith Tim Bowness to talk about the creative process behind Together We're Stranger, its lyrical influences, and how it fits into the band's diverse career.
The 10 Best Films of 2014 (So Far)
Excellence is where you find it, not where it's forced into some Hollywood genre pigeonhole.
Dressing Classy in 'League of Legends'
By regularly releasing new characters, MOBAs like League of Legends reshape expectations about how a character class must look and play.
Halle Berry Lands on TV for 'Extant'
Flashbacks appear first as if in her mind (via circular mirrors and quaint iris transitions) and then as if on digital recording (on a tablet), neither obviously accurate.
On Equal Footing: Sex Criminals #6
Sex Criminals fits into a category all its own. Is it a book about sex? It is certainly dirty, but it doesn’t exploit its characters.
The Groundbreaking Wonderfulness of 'I Spy'
I Spy is filled with revolutionary diversity, exotic filming locations, and a textbook example of on screen chemistry.
Sia: 1000 Forms of Fear
What happens when one of the most successful and prolific songwriters of the past few years decides to return to the career that debilitated her emotionally and physically?
Selina O'Grady's 'And Man Created God' Edifies and Entertains
And Man Created God is an impressively detailed and panoramic survey of how power and piety interacted with one another in the increasingly globalized classical world.
Tombs: Savage Gold
Savage Gold proves extreme metal to be a race to the bottom that no one wins.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow: Sea When Absent
This wholly unique dream-pop band returns with an album that takes their ambient, dreamy sound to new and interesting places.
Monday, 7 July 2014
Why Don't Videogames Have Their Own Criterion Collection?
Though the video game industry bases itself on forward progression, the rich history of the medium is being underserved by the lack of preservation for older, essential games.
With 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' the MCU Decisively Breaks with Comics
Marvel owns characters and its profits come from comics sales, film tickets, lunch boxes, etc. As such, character identification fluctuates easily between media.
Moving Pixels Podcast: A Brief History of Infamy
This week our podcasters sail the Caribbean with Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.
Jumping Off the Bay-Wagon
With his picture postcard imagery and similarly shorthanded scripting, Michael Bay's movies may be nothing more than a colorful crib mobile.
Dance This Mess Around: The B-52's - 52 Girls
Is it New Wave? Is it punk? Hard to say, but what we do know about "52 Girls" is this: it just may be the greatest song the B-52's ever created.
A Beautiful Institutional Breakdown: Uncanny X-men #22
Disorganization and ineptitude somehow come together in a wonderfully meaningful story.
Judas Priest: Redeemer of Souls
This is Judas Priest as they haven't been heard in nearly 25 years. Not since Painkiller has the band had this much power, energy, or hooks.
'Famous Baby' Shows What Happens When It's Time for Mommy Bloggers to Grow Up
Famous Baby is fun and funny and a bit flawed, just like its two main characters.
'My Way to Olympia': A Filmmaker's Education
As it follows Paralympians en route to London 2102, this documentary makes clear the arbitrary dividing line between what's "normal" and what's not.
The Proper Ornaments: Wooden Head
Hardly original, but always something of quality, Wooden Head is a record you’ll be glad to hear, and, by the end, leaves you wanting more.
Chrissie Hynde: Stockholm
The Pretenders vocalist delivers first solo album with a little help from her friends. Results may vary.
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