Wednesday, March 18 2015
Calling an album consisting of a dozen original songs traditional may seem strange, but Wood, Wire & Wood surely is. Blake pens story songs about past events and composes instrumentals with roots in an earlier period.
Tuesday, March 17 2015
In Howard the Duck #1, Zdarsky and Quinones get the most important things right. They get Howard right.
The British singer's latest LP, Curio City, finds all of his influences distilled down to a funk-strummed groove of pure pop magic.
Valiant Hearts challenges the barbaric connotations of the appellation “the dogs of war” by making a dog, the only creature blind to the “essential” identity markers of nationalism and language, the hero.
In 2014, the legendary jam band Phish released its 12th studio LP, Fuego. Here are some reasons why this group's legacy is one worth celebrating.
Top Five is one of the most original and satisfying comedies in years.
Subtlety is nowhere to be found on Twin Shadow's major label debut Eclipse. One thing is for certain though, George Lewis Jr. still has an undeniable knack for crafting a killer refrain.
The Undersea Network changes our imagination of communications infrastructure, revealing how culture, politics and geography interrelate in the global circulation of technology.
On the third full album from their side project, the guys from Grails deliver instrumental hip-hop with a dark side.
Everlasting Lane is an excellent reminder of how smart and intuitive children can be and how difficult childhood really is.
Wild Strawberries is Earth-minded space rock of its own kind, grounded in both American and European strains of psychedlia.
Kenny Wheeler finished his career and his life with a near-timid masterpiece.
On their new album, Medicine, the emotional bond is especially affecting, reinforcing the budding relationship they’ve nourished with their fans.
Monday, March 16 2015
Eatin' at Me is like Gurf Morlix is steering the sound through the side roads and avoiding any main thoroughfares as if to avoid notice.
Emma Frost teaches Jean Grey a few important lessons in unorthodox ways that feel oddly fitting.
On their latest tour Nickelback’s shtick rings hollower than usual -- and for this band, that’s saying something.
Even if Sony had pulled off a successful marketing gambit with The Interview, they couldn't have masked that this is a genuinely unfunny film.
Richard Kraft and Danielle Dutton's latest work is a visually stunning, intellectually perplexing postmodern comic.
After eight years on the road, these Welsh indie rockers are conquering the music world one show at a time.
As the red-breasted bird folds its wings from flight, it too portends things are less than all right... on Prom Night.
The successors to Radiohead and The Bends are a generation who liked how the film started, but lost the script halfway through.
Through a Lens Darkly surveys the often hidden or forgotten history of African Americans as photographic subjects as well as photographers.
On Strangers to Ourselves, Modest Mouse often come off like strangers to themselves.
Rediscovering the spirit and power of the human voice.
Anne Tyler is an avowed fan of Eudora Welty's work, but it's Flannery O’Conner’s old woman down the way that came to mind when I read A Spool of Blue Thread.
Abandon hope all ye who enter here as this devilish duo fail to "Blow the bloody doors off".
The Widening Gyre finds this veteran Celtic combo journeying to Nashville and intertwining their Irish roots with ample doses of Appalachian mountain music and wholly American bluegrass.
Although flawed, Never Been Better has many worthwhile moments.
Friday, March 13 2015
A quatrain of "ways of looking", as Wallace Stevens put it, at the groundbreaking first issue of Dark Circle’s relaunch of The Black Hood.
This paint-by-numbers crime film is buoyed by the sharp work of its lead actors.
By showing the range and the influence these session musicians had on the hits from the '50s to the '70s, The Wrecking Crew proves their place in rock 'n' roll history.
The audience already primed for more "happily ever after" will be more than satisfied with the results. Everyone else will wonder what the studio was thinking with this strategy.
Mob comedies, reflective looks at wartime, and the Italian financial crisis are all under the gaze of the cameras at the Cinema Made in Italy season.
Revered English musical visionary Steven Wilson discusses the inspirations, methods, and reflections that helped create his newest solo opus, Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Although sex education is important, sex can never be reduced to a matter of health, science, or even knowledge.
A Place to Call Home is a period piece in the best sense in that it embraces its time period completely, all the while showcasing universal themes.
This is a cold film where it's clear something is always wrong, but no one can quite piece together what it is.
Heems, having broken away from rap group Das Racist, tackles politics, race and romance on his disparate yet ultimately compelling first solo album.
Hand. Cannot. Erase. is easily the strongest of Wilson's solo output in terms of cohesive narrative and dynamic song structure.
Tim Lee 3’s fourth and best release hankers for the excitement of the unknown lurking just around the next back road bend, offering a mature set of rock and roll songs about staying young at heart.
Not your run-of-the-mill supergroup, kindred spirits crank up the amps on the solid follow-up to their 2012 debut
Little Comets' fluttery experimental indie pop falls into a down-tempo rut on their third album.
Thursday, March 12 2015
Guy Kawasaki defines “good stuff” to post online, and how to really get more followers. (Hint: don’t pay for them!)
This story is about what happened in between Mad and Playboy. It's the story of how one time the great Harvey Kurtzman played a real slow burner.
Two unique jazz phenoms of the Reagan '80s -- tapping guitarist Stanley Jordan and falsetto scatting legend Bobby "Don't Worry, Be Happy" McFerrin -- are back.
In a culture where people Tweet nonsensical thoughts, Rosewater challenges us to consider the ways we can use our voices to speak on behalf of those that are routinely silenced.
With 50 years having passed after Freedom Highway's original issue, we get a new, complete version of this vital live recording.
"They sleep, we live!" Young hearts come hither and feel the After glow.
Anthrax's Scott Ian recruits ringers to revive obscure '90s and '00s hard rock band Mother Superior. The resulting album inadvertently makes the case for why Mother Superior was obscure in the first place.
Being dumb is a rebellion against city sophistication. It’s a clarion call to descend into the mud and morass of country life where being smart has nothing to do with intelligence.
Mikky Ekko shows great potential and promise throughout his debut album, Time.
Wednesday, March 11 2015
Arkham Manor #5 brings the series to its Batman-heavy, ass-kicking climax.
Axiomatically, Bollywood’s India is a survey of the collective dreamscape created by a billion desires and dreads.
Touring with the Beatles. Topping the charts with hits like "Giving It Up for Your Love". Now, Delbert McClinton looks back on his career and hints at what's to come.
Gay Berlin reveals a vibrant gay rights movement that flourished in Germany a hundred years before Stonewall.
No matter how many times someone writes that Radiohead and The Bends “changed the face of music” in 1995, the retail and radio numbers tell a different story.
Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons turn music performance into a battle of espionage and counter-espionage under cover of darkness.
On their third release, Australia’s Dick Diver up the ante in terms of what indie pop can and should be.
Dungeon Golds reeks of Record Store Day as it sounds like something that a super fan would hoard.
Enmeshing heartfelt stories into a roots sound, McMurtry crafts an Americana classic.
Archive Series Volume No. 1 ought to be considered an absolutely mandatory acquisition.
The long-out-of-print, Lightning Seeds-produced third album from the British indie-poppers isn't exactly a trainwreck, but it's no "Crash", either.
Tuesday, March 10 2015
Neverboy is a tight little story that begs to be read twice.
1965 places that year's astonishing surge of innovative pop music in a larger context of social, cultural, and political change.
With The Bends having such strong cultural and critical preconceptions behind it, hearing the album from the perspective of a new lister can help cut through the pre-ordained narrative.
The CW's excellent Jane the Virgin reminds us there is no such thing as a true guilty pleasure.
James Gunn's epic borrows from the mythologies of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, but its characters are on a much more contemporary quest for identity.
Mockingjay -- Part 1 proves that a stellar cast and some meaningful direction can take a dreary storyline and turn it into the ultimate penultimate film.
Arcade Fire's Will Butler unapologetically leans into solo project stereotypes by making an album that sounds just like a diluted version of the band's early records.
River City Extension almost gets there, and that's the problem.
In her memoir of a lifetime of reading, Samantha Ellis analyzes her early impressions and explores the ways that her adult reactions have since diverged.
If the importance of a label can be judged by its talent, then Signature has done pretty good in its 20-plus year existence.
Living in the afterglow of 2014’s excellent Manipulator, this live record sounds like a man hitting the beer tent hard after a marathon.
Unearthed late '60s psychedelic rock band featured a great organ player and a good drummer, but lacked the songwriting to compete with the Doors and Iron Butterfly.
Monday, March 9 2015
Princess Leia begins an important part of her journey towards becoming a true rebel.
The internet economy has changed the world, and Andrew Keen (still) isn't happy about it.
Game of Thrones is giving us something different in the adventure game genre. We are finally engaging with intrigue.
In his examination of the social isolation caused by capitalism, Jean-Luc Godard wanders too far off into the cerebral.
If death haunts fewer of the stories collected here than one might imagine, it's because there are things worse than death.
Hurry Sundown, Skidoo, and Such Good Friends welcome you to a world of crowded frames and uncertain tones.
PopMatters begins its look back at Radiohead's The Bends today. Here we examine The Bends track by track, examining it from angles spanning the cultural to the theoretical.
Rebel Heart has a profoundly human element to it, one that paints Madonna more as a person than a product, which is in and of itself a minor miracle.
Moments of calm within the hurricane rush of massed vocals and guitars, from a young York, England, punk trio.
In some ways, the line from his first album in 1962 to this one is straight and short, especially when one considers that Paxton has released more than 50 discs over the years.
Mourn condense the essence of Sleater-Kinney and PJ Harvey into an impressive bite-size debut.
Austrian bassist Georg Breinschmid has done it all on one release, a miracle to be shared by all.
Friday, March 6 2015
If you liked the first one, you'll love this return trip. All others should perhaps consider booking their entertainment lodging elsewhere.
Chappie is a weird combination of science fiction and South African rage-rap culture that's so off key, you can't see the good for the god-awful.
Unfinished Business is like a juggler given too many divergent elements to manage.
Comics covers may not always reflect what's inside, but it's difficult to see covers as distinct from the books they adorn.
Rebels is the book I was waiting for Brian Wood to attempt. Since long before Local, since before Northlanders since even before DMZ. It’s the story of the American Revolution, told in a way that only Brian Wood can.
The crowd is riveted to the intensity of the performance; some barely moving as they watch the stage, almost reverent in their witness. Sleater-Kinney has walked out onto the ledge with us and back. Again.
Sometimes the most successful and acclaimed films are marked and marred by the absolutely worst sequels imaginable.
These eight films collectively demonstrate a master filmmaker with a total understanding and command of cinematic language.
Seminal Scottish punkers show they’ve still got what it takes.
Expanded re-issue of CVB’s 2004 epic New Roman Times remains ambitiously thrilling.
Those of us who write only wish for half of author Priya Parmar’s talents, whose writing is a lovely, lilting thing.
Driver is heavy on melodies and breezy in its effortlessness. It's the kind of album that moves in different ways during different times and reveals aural layers on multiple listens.
JJ Grey and Mofro provide a connection to the past and a time when talent and tenacity moved the music forward.
A "new" CD of Ralph Stanley duets provides an easy metaphor for how music is currently sold.