Friday, October 25 2013
A.N Wilson's The Elizabethans is a very readable history, despite the author's inability to get out of his own way.
Wednesday, July 9 2014
While vengeance is surely a reliable dramatic device, its use here is also potentially more far-reaching.
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.”
Comics Art demonstrates Gravett's deep passion for the world of panels, speech balloons, fine lines and grand colors, subtle shading and transformative images.
Parenthood comes with a lot of change, and a lot of decisions to be made, including this one: What’s your musical strategy?
The veritable Top 40 Country outsiders, Old Crow Medicine Show, are the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. But does that really matter?
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.
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".
Tim Booth lost his mother and a friend. His band's aesthetic betrays his grief. But it all somehow comes out alright.
No collection could do justice to some of the diverse paths which Paul Weller has pursued over the last decade.
If this was the last day on Earth, Friedman would still go out and greet friends and celebrate the moment rather than cry in despair.
Tough and yet tender, sexy and yet seductive, All of Nothin’ appeals to all of your good senses, and it is a wonderful testament of an artist who is very quickly coming into her own.
Tuesday, July 8 2014
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.
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.
Young Adult literature is not just for kids, and it fills an important niche left vacant by much of contemporary "adult" fiction.
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.
I Spy is filled with revolutionary diversity, exotic filming locations, and a textbook example of on screen chemistry.
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?
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.
Savage Gold proves extreme metal to be a race to the bottom that no one wins.
This wholly unique dream-pop band returns with an album that takes their ambient, dreamy sound to new and interesting places.
Before this night is through, White Sea wants to do real bad things with you.
While it sometimes sticks too close to home, most of Givin' Up on Free Jazz is an open and welcome invitation to join the band there and get lost in the feeling of good rock 'n roll.
Monday, July 7 2014
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.
Beck really knocked it out of the park with his show at Summerstage.
Disorganization and ineptitude somehow come together in a wonderfully meaningful story.
Marvel owns characters and its profits come from comics sales, film tickets, lunch boxes, etc. As such, character identification fluctuates easily between media.
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.
There’s no scenery chewing in All That Heaven Allows, just very eloquent décor.
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.
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.
Famous Baby is fun and funny and a bit flawed, just like its two main characters.
The Pretenders vocalist delivers first solo album with a little help from her friends. Results may vary.
Elusive would imply that she's hiding from us. The irony is that this album serves Mariah Carey in droves.
Music of the earth, emotion and community, Handsome and Gretyl talk love, hope, optimism, and life.
Wednesday, July 2 2014
Bonnaroo's four-course, farm-to-table "Bonnaroots" dinner showed the locavore food culture's vibrancy crossing into pop culture.
War is bad, demons are bad, walking on human skulls is bad. And then what?
The middle day of the festival on Saturday featured a strong draw for the rock ‘n' roll crowd.
A furious mix of hip-hop beats, Arabic primal screams and punk-rock guitars, Taha brilliantly battles against the ideologies of both Western and Arab traditions.
We take another trip to a certain simian world, we have another experience with an annual government authorized night of lawlessness, and we get our second sighting of a mythic Greek muscleman.
It’s nearly impossible to not get roped in by the easy banter of the dialogue, the epic drama, and the luminous images of this quintessential Western.
The Bats are a crucial part of the Flying Nun story, as well as the story of New Zealand music.
There is nothing hidden about the world of these stories, and Yu Hua’s writing is defined by its plainspoken voice and depiction of quotidian lives.
Willie Nelson still makes records that are smart, funny, sexy, and heartbreaking.
The Hunting Party is a decent record on its own, but it feels too repetitive, uninspired, and generic to equal its immediate predecessors.
“The Ballad of Stinky Penis”. “I’m Gonna Fuck You Up!". “Big Bloody Booger on the Bathroom Wall”. If those song titles seem even remotely appealing to you, boy, have I got the record for you!
As the title implies, this is nothing but drum solos from one of the greatest drummers of all time. Even if the notion turns you off, the album itself will prove mesmerizing.
Tuesday, July 1 2014
The children in Earth to Echo are trying to be understood, and to matter, with the footage they shoot.
Imagine you’re back in high school. You’re faced with a lot of societal pressures such as fitting in and applying for colleges. Now to top that off your school has inexplicably been transported to an alien galaxy. You are now entering The Woods.
Despite being set in London's Swinging Sixties, Up the Junction comes across just as apropos of America's here and now.
A Summer’s Tale is a rich snapshot of youth and the hopefulness contained in the realization that the world is nothing if not endless possibilities.
These adventurous women only wear some kind of underwear or nightie in front of the windows for that funny little peeping tom across the courtyard.
Good effort, gentlemen, but not the best effort. You've put together a very solid studio album but also somehow managed to include two total duds and one supremely silly track.
The success of the 32 restless, spectral stories in Last Stories and Other Stories depends upon whether Vollmann can sustain in-depth soul-searching.
Here comes Peter Murphy again, and he's got a mane this time. He might even bite you. Seriously, Lion is ferocious.
28 Grams is full of interesting, moody, personality-drenched beats, many of which go to waste because they’re not suited to the artist.
Cartoonish in nature, like an exploding cigar joke. No matter how smart one thinks he or she is, one always laughs to the groove at the moment of detonation.
Monday, June 30 2014
This explores the marriages that come after the weddings and perhaps more provocatively, the hopes and limits of documentary filmmaking.
The cop and the reverend spend the first few episodes starting or not avoiding fights, their faces increasingly bruised and bloodied, increasingly emblems of disorder.
A sequel to the 2009 Japan-only DS release Tomodachi Collection, Tomodachi Life is less a game than a virtual aquarium (or perhaps sitcom set) populated by Miis.
According to Joseph Campbell, The Demon You Can Swallow "gives you its power—and the greater life’s pain, the greater life’s reply."
Dino Risi is able to turn this odd couple’s story into a film that’s socially and emotionally intelligent -- and entertaining.
PopMatters is pleased to premiere I Sleep Alone the new album by Psalmships.
Capital offers a savage critique of capitalism and the banking industry, but it fails to imagine its ability to sustain its inhumane and self-destructive practices.
Late last year, country songwriter Brandy Clark quietly released her debut album as an artist and a funny thing happened: people listened and loved it.
Tony Randall comes across like a star for the little screen overwhelmed by the Big Screen, a Felix Unger-type trying out unsuccessfully for Her Majesty’s Service.
This Jayhawks reissue campaign makes us reconsider the band's legacy and shows how a band turned uncertainty into a new identity.
Nothing is quite what it seems to be in Lucky Us, a story of survival in '40s-era America.
Beverly have created a distillation of the best of the ‘60s girl group sounds, garage rock, C86, early indie rock, and the girls with guitars revival of the last ten years or so.
Lyrically dense and musically intimate, Invisible Hour, aims to be less a part of your hard drive and more a part of your record collection.
Spigel gets a new band to play old songs. They not only sound new but, in some cases, completely different.
With a sound at once soft and serene but clear and vibrant, Thomas Dybdahl returns with What's Left Is Forever.
Sunday, June 29 2014
Both Endeavour, and its parent series Inspector Morse make a point of juxtaposing a lovely illusion of Oxford with the city's uglier realities.
Friday, June 27 2014
Hafsat Abiola-Costello, founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), uses The Supreme Price to build on her mother's vision for a democratic Nigeria.
Kings Watch is an example of a classically outrageous sci-fi action tale being told with a more modern sensibility.
Coherence generates fear and mistrust with very little in the way of effects, gore or outright scares.
Director Denis Villeneuve's most successful film to date is a baffling mood piece, a puzzle designed with no solution.
Sometimes it seems like Rob Brydon is everywhere in the comedy world. And that's a good thing.
Get a sneak peek at some of July's most adventurous releases, including new efforts from Shabazz Palaces, Wolves in the Throne Room, and OOIOO.
This is apparently the first major Hollywood film to have no director credit, because nobody wanted to claim it. Yet it deserves reconsideration.
Vauxhall and I has long been considered a pinnacle of Morrissey's solo work... is it still?
One incredibly long and worthy exploration into the inventive Soundgarden's biggest (and arguably most consistently satisfying) release.
In this re-imagining of Laura Bridgman's life, we enter a vivid world, albeit one deprived of sight, sound, smell, and taste.
Most of the material on Tiësto’s A Town Called Paradise sounds like a Pepsi commercial.
A new reissue of the Glasgow band's only LP reveals a powerful and idiosyncratic method to their music
This will appeal to both the fans of Gord Downie and the Sadies, and possibly, quite possibly, everyone else who has yet to discover these two wonderful national Canadian treasures.
Thursday, June 26 2014
Economists routinely fail to predict GDP or oil prices, and they do even worse at boom and bust cycles. In 100 Years, they attempt to predict the future.
Jack Kirby, World War II veteran, was channeling youth when he produced Forever People. He was on the side of change and disorder for the cause of freedom.
If it's good to believe and to take a stand on it, it's also good to think through beliefs.
L’eclisse is a highly regarded work of European modernism that is pretty to look at, interesting to think about, and grueling to watch unfold.
Within the spaces of darkness or the unknown, Beyond Two Souls asserts that we can exist without being shaped, manipulated, or brutalized by outside forces.
This musical duo that never really was a musical duo prepared a nation of adolescents for disappointment -- and the eventual acceptance of Auto-Tune.
The mysteries are consistently smart and well done, but it's the relationships between the characters that really make the show.
It was the compilation that has a subgenre named after it, here given no less than 50 bonus tracks. Was that necessary? No. Is it still a blast to get through? Hell yeah.
Anyone who listens to this record is in for a treat: an uplifting, life-affirming experience.
The latest FRKWYS collaboration is a fascinating musical conversation between musicians from two different generations of experimental music.
The second installment of Fritch's "Leave Me Sessions Subscription Series" shows a breathtaking, cinematic composer and post-folk experimenter at the top of his game.
This is a well-oiled, veteran operation, with a fiery leader capable of carrying the torch of Afrobeat to far borders and bringing the music to new heights.
White Hinterland's whole existence seems to be balancing conflicting interests: to be abstract/direct, about feelings/ideas, of genre/not tied to any genre.
Wednesday, June 25 2014
This critical film underscores both differences and connections between then and now -- now as when the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is being dismantled.