Monday, February 24 2014
Kovač brings ideas from Romanian, Hungarian, Serbian, etc, folk dance into contact with other musics that are urban and fringe-dwelling but at the same time somewhat antique
Imagining the world ending is a safe kind of fantasy because, deep down inside, we don’t think it can actually happen.
With this five-song concept EP, Krill proves itself a serious band that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Aram Bajakian's second album is a testament of his love affair with the guitar.
As good as this album is, it’s ultimately less a cohesive entity of its own and more like a mishmash between great pop songwriting and the flighty, inspired production of Molad and Lalish.
Friday, February 21 2014
Will and Marcus “grow up” together in bite-sized portions, learning to put away their respective childish things in the course of each episode. Then they regress.
On one hand Atticus, the most awesome slave-gladiator in Pompeii, is smart and splendidly charismatic. On the other, he's tormented.
Dan's fearlessness is, in all truth, the light of rationalism, and the courage of spirit that comes from humanistic values. And that is the fireside we both sit at, as we head into the darker winter of the conversation ahead.
Stanley Kramer's widow notes that this movie was made more or less on a dare. Apocryphal or not, the origin makes sense.
Martin Luther King, Jr., narrowly escaped a mob attack; protesters were teargassed by state police; Lyndon Johnson refused to intervene; and Stokely Carmichael led the chant that would deﬁne a new kind of civil rights movement: Black Power.
Plotting exposure, parody seeks to unveil rather than to mask, to offer truths where it finds lies, deceit, or hypocrisy. So why has religion proven particularly prone to this means of comedic put-down?
The Prey bounces along from one suspense-building setup to the next, erupting in a flurry of running, shooting, driving very fast, and occasionally falling from great heights.
This re-issue is an example of when youth and musicality collide in a sublime fashion.
Eric Church is not as hard as he wants you to think, but his softness is what makes him interesting.
This is an elegant, concise book on the entanglement of feminism with imperialism by a foremost anthropologist in her field.
The Berlin deep house trio takes you on an eclectic journey for their DJ-Kicks selection.
Surpassing expectations and comparisons to their former band, Sonic Syndicate, The Unguided's sophomore release is a strong follow up to their impressive debut.
The most complete Scaggs retrospective to date is hard to turn down.
Bigby Wolf falls into the tradition of the beaten down noir investigator, a figure along the lines of a Philip Marlowe or a Sam Spade. However, he is different enough to eke out his own individuality within the context of a Fables inspired world.
Thursday, February 20 2014
Scenes inside Murphy's dreaming brain give way to a real-life nightmare, and for a few brief moments, Robocop hums with disturbing sci-fi possibilities.
Family Matters is a sterling (and torturous) example of the allegedly “post-racial” America inaugurated by the bourgeois and only mildly Afrocentric triumphs of The Cosby Show.
A London Year chronicles marvelous tales and observations by writers known and unknown.
An Afrocentric future is born out of the inspiration and aspiration of a growing African diaspora. Of course, this promising future is a reflection of a troubled past and contested present.
Italy’s independent hip-hop scene has so far produced some of the brightest, most interesting artists on European shores.
Upon the re-release of his band's seminal debut album High Land, Hard Rain, the Aztec Camera frontman talks about that album's legacy and his iconoclastic approach to music.
Guillaume Nicloux's 'The Nun' has a translucent woman at its centre; her face at first a budding rose becomes increasingly drawn and bruised over the course of the film.
Building on the strength of last year’s stellar White Buffalo, the songs of Dark Night of the Soul are as equally impressive as anything the 47-year-old Mathus has delivered before, if not more so.
In Simple Dreams Grammy Award wining Linda Ronstadt takes readers on a ride through the landscape of America's '60s and '70s music.
With its reliance on minimal beats to build up its sound, the album is less something destined for the dance floor than something you can appreciate on the hi-fi in your living room.
Nadler's first album for new label Sacred Bones is also her best. July is an assured, confident artistic statement from someone who we'll be talking about for years to come.
Overall, the effect of the album is mostly jarring. Gusty, but jarring. It is music that moves me more to fascination than appreciation.
Loping tempos and cryptic sonorous vocals mesh with jaggedly beautiful washes of sound, fostering auditory earworms that will burrow Wrath of Khan-style into your brain.
There are plenty of grinding riffs and pummeling beats here for those searching for them. Listeners satisfied with that, and with a few vaguely shouted, anthemic refrains against, y’know, oppression, will like this record just fine.
Wednesday, February 19 2014
Congressman Bennie Thompson's recollections are chilling, and not only because the government of Mississippi once posed a real threat to some of its citizens.
About Last Night is intriguingly refashioned as a vehicle for a quartet of black actors, many of them veterans of predominantly black ensemble comedies.
Dave Berg's Mad work reveals the true motivations of people, their selfishness and greed, and their utter ridiculousness.
Jeanne Moreau is a bewitching temptress; but what about the men?
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is the Moulin Rouge of turn-based anime dress-up fighters.
Free-to-play game developers are playing a game of their own. The object of that game is to gain ownership of your time.
Greek actor Stathis Papadopoulos was poised to be the next big thing in Greek cinema following his bold and equally sensitive turn in Constantine Giannaris' From the Edge of the City more than 15 years ago. But Papadopoulos' star never ascended the way it should have.
Battle of the Damned is almost incredibly fun, but winds up as bad as you anticipated.
The truly remarkable thing about Olsen's sophomore album isn't just its wide musical palate or the huge leap forward in her songwriting, but also the way it questions the very nature of sad songs.
Books about the Fab Four need to justify themselves. The Beatles Solo, a handsome but information-light and overpriced doorstop, doesn't get there.
Almost every single song on All Love’s Legal delivers some sort of message about gender, sexuality, and Rostron’s desire to tear down the demarcations and hierarchies that arguably imprison them.
The intimate and lovey feel of Acoustic at the Ryman is very becoming to Band of Horses.
Free-ish Finnish jazz guitarist alludes to ecstasy, makes solid album.
The artists tend to work with a grand palette and paint the obvious tropes so that even those in the cheap seats can hear what’s happening. The result is a lack of subtlety and fuzziness.
Tuesday, February 18 2014
Darkman, the darkest hero (an amalgam or classic horror monsters) versus the criminal underworld... in broad daylight.
Terrorists want to kill the US Secretary of State; sensitive information is in danger of falling into the wrong hands. What more do you need?
Wolverine enters a new era without a healing factor or any kind of transition phase.
The success of Canon Fodder's "50 Nights at the Movies -- at Home!" Requires a bigger and better sequel. Or at least, a longer one. Might want to make some popcorn before sitting down for this one.
It's worth noting that, the problematic politics of the series aside, this is not great TV.
Josh Carter may be one half of the noted electronic group Phantogram, but in a few short years, the group has gone from Barsuk signees to major label heroes. Carter walks PopMatters through the creation of their excellent new record Voices.
Bad Self Portraits is another outstanding release from a really crucial and important group who is on the cusp of shedding its relative anonymity for bigger and better stages.
The bad-ass New York duo comes out with their strongest work yet.
While there is something ethereal about Dawn Landes's music, it also has substance and physicality.
Water Liars is the band’s strongest outing, formalizing their distinct sound.
Spartan, supportive, and never obtrusive, Phelps and The Downer Trio alternate between pastoral acoustic tracks and more excoriating fare on Gala.
Monday, February 17 2014
Sebastián Lelio’s melodrama about a woman’s determined search for love and meaning is hilarious and disquieting, sometimes within the same moment.
In this film, replacing the carburetor and revving the engine is actually a terrible affront.
As first issues go, The Mercenary Sea #1 quickly establishes the cast and setting, packing as much in as possible, therefore giving the reader a wide window into this world.
Robert Stone has set his terrific new novel at a fictional school called "Amesbury". But don't be fooled. The institution he indicts is Yale University.
It’s no wonder that Game of Thrones is one of HBO’s biggest successes and a worldwide phenomenon. Plus, you know, it's got dragons.
An institution once associated with class, heroism, athletic superiority, equality and, of course, proud patriotism has been deduced to yet another pawn in the ongoing game of international passive-aggression.
As the idealism of the ‘60s congealed into the malaise of the ‘70s, TV offered us small bands of forlorn humans in tight suits, roaming the stars. These are the “the starlost shows”.
Motivational Jumpsuit may be the most fitful and impatient and exciting album since the "classic" Guided By Voices line-up returned.
Thinking of Gertrude Stein’s work in traditional storytelling terms is an exercise in futility. So how should one think of this?
With a graceful and gradual shift, Loveless has been carving a path toward a distinct sound. On Somewhere Else, she hits the sweet spot between where she came from and where she’s going.
A soul-jazz Blue Note debut for Jose James's trumpet man. Tasty if somewhat samey.
The prolific Virginia power trio delivers an album stocked with enough potent guitar riffs to overcome a few less than inspired ballads.
This legendary guitarist/trumpeter/composer retraces some of his steps, but not to the point of retrograde.
Friday, February 14 2014
As soon as Winter's Tale steps out of the Judge's (Will Smith) basement, so isolated, so abstract, and so strange, you see that he's working too hard to make sense of what's going on.
Smartly and compellingly, The New Black presents the complicated intersections of religion, generation, and race in conversations about marriage equality.
This is a drama of two families brought together by death and the resulting stories that splinter off from that singular event.
Superstar creator Jimmy Palmiotti talks about PaperFilms, his most newest KickStarter project, Denver, and his mainstream success, but none of this in an actual bar.
In Roddy Doyle’s many-years-on follow-up to The Commitments a middle-aged Dublin rocker faces mortality and a serious case of Nick Hornby-itis.
Before skyscrapers forever transformed urban landscapes, the conveyance that made them possible had to be created.
The spectre of murder threatens to divide Elizabeth and Darcy in this adaptation of P.D. James' Austen homage, but the poor grasp of character might be the more devastating crime, here.
Small Town Heroes is a collection of songs that speak from and for the heart of America’s fringe.
Ever think Hollywood is making the same films over and over? These many sets of twin films that constitute Hollywood’s Great Duopolies show no signs of stopping.
Robust and complete, both of these reissues are a welcome reminder that you didn't have to be punk to be a punk in 1980s California.
Throughout Sun Structures, Temples obsess over emulating their idols and many songs go by without a hint of originality. Yet, there is some fun to be had.
Tara Jane O'Neil's latest channels a kind of narcotic cloudiness that makes it surprisingly appropriate for any number of moods.
After four years off, Magik Markers return with a dark, compelling album that demonstrates the power of good sequencing to craft its own narrative
Thursday, February 13 2014
The first gig of a tour can sometimes mean the band will sound a bit blunt around the edges, but not even severe jetlag can put a stop to Killswitch Engage.
Most of A Single Shot is an almost fetishistic look at life in this small, broken down town.
The question of the narrator of Histoire de Melody Nelson and its title nymph can only be answered by exploring the questions surrounding Serge Gainsbourg himself.
Isn’t modern life grand? A comicbook fan can dig into the histories of specific characters, creators, titles, etc. via the numerous online archives and blogs that are out there for just that purpose.
Just as our bodies are made of recycled stars, our thoughts are spawned from bits of songs and books and movie dialogue. So what happens when your star gets old?
Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West capture the emotional truth of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor's relationship in the BBC biopic, Burton and Taylor.
For a moment, the darkness holds at bay and the band colors their world with tropical guitars and chanting vocals, a type of brief bulwark against cold, linear modernity.
Like The Woman in Black, The Mist in the Mirror proves Susan Hill is a master at spinning a good old fashioned ghost story.
Seriously strange and seriously excellent.
On this challenging and intimate album, Robert Ellis walks up to the brink of despair and calls it out to play.
This is a nice keepsake not only for fans of the original '80s tenure of the group, but new fans coming aboard thanks to the band's Guided By Voices connection.
The Norwegian trumpet player enchants with sounds inspired by various locations of worship.
Some good tunes leaven an otherwise tame offering.
Wednesday, February 12 2014
As confusing and strange as the outcome of the 2012 Iowa caucus may have been, the film indicates that it's pretty much in line with the process, a process that is equal parts outrageous and unaccountable, entertaining and stressful.
The truth is that Good Times is an excellent and remarkably funny show. The irony of the show and its title continues to resonate.
Black metal is often reduced to a slew of clichés, but Black Metal unpacks the genre’s history in its true form via a huge cast of characters.