Marginal Utility
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When shopping nirvana shrivels away like the mega mall growing incrementally smaller behind you at the end of a long day, and buyer's remorse begins gnawing at your nerves, and you begin to fret the futility of it all, Rob Horning's blog, "Marginal Utility", steps in to stimulate your woefully neglected neocortex. Read, laugh, weep, but above all: realize. You'll feel smarter again in no time.
More Recent Features
	Grey DeLisle: Homewrecker

When you hear a line like “Something old, something new / Something borrowed, something blue / I’m getting older every day / Ain’t nothing new / Baby,

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16 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	Ron Carter: Stardust

Ron Carter is such a revered figure in jazz these days that it is hard to remember that when he first stepped into the spotlight

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16 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Jon: First off, I hate stadium shows as a general rule. Arena shows and anything even remotely related to a cavernous venue teeming with obnoxious

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16 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Timing. Some say it’s what counts most in life, and perhaps that’s true. If so, Manchester’s Chameleons UK (apparently there is still

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P R O G R A M Vivaldi:Concerto in G minor for strings, RV 157“Gelosia” from Ottone in Villa, RV 729“Se mai senti spirarti

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16 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

He was the first vocal artist to use Nelson Mandela's name in lyrics, but South Africans only got to hear them after the new democracy had come about.

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From a creative, social, and political standpoint, are there any major differences between dramas on commercial/pay cable channels and the networks?

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16 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Every child knows that monsters will not appear in Sydney, as they crawl into Tokyo's harbour; that asteroids only plummet on American cities; that aliens visit small towns around the world 'except' Australian ones . . .

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(Richard Williams) felt, when he hung up his pop pen, that he'd almost run out of words to meaningfully apply to music.

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16 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Seinfeld: The Making of an American Icon by Jerry Oppenheimer

What readers get shouldn't be shocking to anyone who knew Seinfeld the show. Oppenheimer, mostly through oral testimonies of friends, relatives and neighbours, describes a man who is driven, focused, and isolated, who only looks after himself.

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Neil Astley has collected together a sequence of poems that represent the range of ways that modern poets have addressed the questions of love, sex and their place in poetry.

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One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church by Richard Abanes

The Mormons comprise a significant part of this country's 'religious right,' or 'Moral Majority' as it is sometimes called. For those who don't consider themselves to be part of this group, it is fascinating to see once again how politics makes for some very strange bedfellows. And for those who do identify with the movement, it should be worthwhile to find out exactly who you 'are' in bed with.

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16 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

The Impressionist by Hari Kunzru

Kunzru is trendy and hybrid himself (father Indian-Kashmiri, mother English) considering the firm grip that Indian writers have over the literary market. The Impressionist is really more of a British novel than an Indian one as is apparent in the writing.

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16 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry: A Novel by Jennifer Fields

OK. Your book is ready and saved. Would you like to create another novel?"

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	Secret Garden: Once in a Red Moon

Secret Garden has danced on a thin line between authentic Celtic and Scandinavian-inspired music and flaccid, new age claptrap for their entire existence. Thanks to

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15 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	Sucka MCs: Da Album

Recently, I experienced a crisis about critiquing music. Since my boyfriend is a musician, we frequently have back and forths about bands and music styles.

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15 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	Scorpions: Bad For Good: The Very Best of Scorpions

I’d like to dedicate this review to Adam Arehart, of the Gamma Chi chapter of Delta Tau Delta. Why, you ask? Because when I

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15 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Will the Circle Be Unbroken Vol. III

It would be easy but unfair to accuse the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band of opportunism with the release of Will the Circle Be Unbroken Vol.

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	Buddy Miller: Midnight and Lonesome

Remember those miners that were trapped in Pennsylvania a couple of months ago? I hope you haven’t forgotten them or the people that rescued

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Elk City: Hold Tight the Ropes

Okay, okay, so Elk City doesn’t really sound all that much like Television, but the above comparison is as good as any to get a handle on the great music that this beguiling NYC trio create.

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	The Bangs: Call and Response

Yeah I know, it’s a drag to read samey record critics praise the simpleminded rawk or the unadorned fun of yet another samey indie

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15 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Robbery Homicide Division

You have to hand it to 'Robbery Homicide Division'. It knows just where it comes from.

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MDs

15 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

MDs

While the two MDs modeled on Pierce and McIntyre lovingly call their hospital 'the Mish' and claim to help those exploited by HMOs, the show mostly focuses on wealthy white doctors and administrators.

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15 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

The Caroline Rhea Show

Rhea may not have come on with the same bombast that O'Donnell did, but, in a way, that's what makes her a winner.

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15 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Boomtown

By playing safe, they might just as easily be playing dead.

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15 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Birds of Prey

Follows neither the super-crip model of disability perception, where an individual's 'triumph' over disability is celebrated through public tokenism, nor the common perception of disability merely as an object of pity.

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14 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	The Residents: Demons Dance Alone

The Residents’ first album of entirely new material in five years is being greeted as a return to the pop format explored on previous albums

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14 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	Reverend Horton Heat: Lucky 7

Once upon a time, the Reverend Horton Heat had a lot of fire. The Reverend was dark, scary, and fearful, mixing the threatening messages of

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14 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	The Magnetic Fields: The Charm of the Highway Strip

The challenge of confining oneself to choose a single album that is the “best” from one’s collection is an insane project. For most of

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14 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	Andrea Maxand: Angel Hat

From her earlier days with the Minerals, a Seattle-based indie-pop band, Andrea Maxand continues to forge a small but slowly widening fan base. With the

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	Baaba Maal: Missing You (Mi Yeewnii)

Baaba Maal is one of Senegal’s two biggest musical superstars (the other is Youssou N’Dour), and the only one who sings in the

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14 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	Moodroom: Hung Up on Breathing

There’s a high level of sexiness built in to Moodroom’s debut disc Hung Up on Breathing. This Washington DC band has what it

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	Luna: Close Cover Before Striking

Luna is to indie rock what Hal Hartley is to indie filmmaking: well established but no sellout, distinctive but not repetitive, mannered but heartwrenching. Definitely

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14 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	Future Bible Heroes: Eternal Youth

Despite what you may think, Future Bible Heroes are not ultramodern evangelists sent to save us from the vileness of modern society. Rather, they are

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I ask myself, 'Are you sitting at the Ritz doing interviews or are you working on that 9-11 film you're supposed to be making, to make sure that Bush isn't returned?'

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Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos  Edited by Kim Addonizio and Cheryl D

Everybody, inked or not, has an opinion of tattooing, whether it's viewed with fear, admiration, loathing, or 21st century cynicism.

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	Various Artists: Telarc Jazz—Celebrating 25 Years

There was once, many years ago, a television program hosted by Oscar Peterson. It was all rather well heeled and respectable and was thought by

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	Various Artists: The Rough Guide to the Music of the Appalachians

As the liner notes to The Rough Guide freely admit, the Appalachians stretch across a full eighteen states along the Eastern United States. That’s

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10 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	Tahiti 80: Wallpaper for the Soul

The new record from France-based pop quartet Tahiti 80 begs the question: how long should good pop stay with us? The gravity of some good pop

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	Snowglobe: Our Land Brains

If there’s a difference between being musically obtuse and being psychedelic, it’s to be found in bands like Snowglobe. Rather than being quirky

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10 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	Jack Logan & Bob Kimbell: Woodshedding

Inexplicably, sometimes the collaborative sum is far greater than the respective parts. No disrespect intended to the solo efforts of Jack Logan or to those

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	The Lucksmiths: Where Were We?

If there was ever a competition for “world’s most charming indie band”, Australia’s Lucksmiths would win it hands down. In a live setting,

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10 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	Peter Gabriel: Up

Peter Gabriel is, to put it mildly, a mercurial artist. The guy who co-founded the prog-rock juggernaut Genesis when he was a teenager is now

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10 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	The Blasters: Trouble Bound

It starts with the audience, the way it always did with the Blasters; they can still be caught live every once in a while, with

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	Black Heart Procession: Amore Del Tropico

Fans of the Black Heart Procession’s usually downtempo, understated explorations of heartache and loss might stumble over Amore Del Tropico‘s first song, “Tropics

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The Meaning of Life? Ask the Mole-Rat in ‘Fast, Cheap & Out of Control’

Ask the mole rat about the egomaniacal pursuit of what some in the military call 'command and control'.

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The Nose: A Profile of Sex, Beauty, and Survival by Gabrielle Glaser

Just as we have overworked our ears to the point that we are nearly deaf and subjected our eyes to all sorts of visual clutter, we have overworked our noses to the point that our noses hardly know what to tell us.

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Mr. Strangelove: A Biography of Peter Sellers by Ed Sikov

Sikov's book may be the most painful celebrity bio I've read since Albert Goldman's 'Elvis' (the similarities between the two men's lives are startling)...

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10 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

The sting of the word was undercut, however, by the humorous voices Rushdie used to emulate his characters, obliging the audience to consider the dialogue and the many ways that the word can act as a political fulcrum in American society.

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10 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

White Oleander (2002)

Seems stuck in first gear, grinding through a series of very "safe" clichés.

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10 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Tuck Everlasting (2002)

While the book is laced with a youthful sense of wonder concerning life and death, the film is a troubled teenage love story.

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The Trials of Henry Kissinger (2002)

Weaving together a vivid assemblage of stock footage, archival documents and talking-head spots, the movie winnows the book down to three of its more damning studies.

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10 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

The Transporter (2002)

Speedy, colorful, and clever, The Transporter establishes Jason Statham as yet another next-generational, hybrid action hero.

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10 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Swept Away (2002)

What Swept Away calls love, I would call the usual terror and degradation that keeps battered women in dangerous relationships.

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The Rules of Attraction (2002)

Attraction is not comprised of rules, only missed opportunities.

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10 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

In Praise of Love (2001)

In its preoccupations with history, In Praise of Love suggests if one has no history, one has no basis for thinking about or defining oneself.

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10 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Enough (2002)

J-Lo rocks combat boots.

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10 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Brown Sugar (2002)

Brown Sugar can blur lines between mainstream and margin, mix up the spirits, just as hip-hop -- so-called real hip-hop but also, in its way, brashly commercial hip-hop -- has always done.

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The Future Sound of London talk to PopMatters about what they've been doing for the past six years since 1996's Dead Cities and tell us about their newest release, The Isness.

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9 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

DONNIE LISTENING PARTY 30 September 2002: NoHo — New York City BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA 3 October 2002: Bowery Ballroom — New York City by Kandia Crazy Horse Robert Randolph Blind

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9 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

The house lights flashed three or four times in the lobby, so the crowd would go to their seats and get silent. A few moments

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9 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Buddy Guy Shemekia Copeland When the black and blue lights of the crystal chandeliers dimmed at San Francisco’s Fillmore Theater, the clean cut crowd

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Emmylou HarrisPhoto credit: Jennifer Bendery G-Love and the Special SaucePhoto credit: Jennifer Bendery Patty GriffinPhoto credit: Jennifer Bendery You would think the city known as

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9 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

So those stories about gypsies were true: they were thieves and beggars, always ready to assault, possibly even kill, and quickly move on.

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8 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	Saloon: (This Is) What We Call Progress

Of the many pleasures of pop music, this quintet out of Reading, England emphasizes, above all others, the soothing lull of repetition, repetition, repetition. It’

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	Ron Sexsmith: Cobblestone Runway

When an artist needs motivation to create something new, nothing does it quicker, more suddenly, than personal hardship. The very thing happened to Toronto singer/

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	Elvis Presley: Roots Revolution: The Louisiana Hayride Recordings

With the latest advancements in digital and sound technology, it will become the norm for analog to be transferred into digital. Cassettes will be burned

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8 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	I Muvrini: Leia

Because I do two radio shows, usually when I am at home there is a CD in my stereo that I am either reviewing or

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	Ex Models/The Seconds: Split EP

How to describe a violent burst of sound, four songs in five and a half minutes time, produced by two different bands? Well, that’s

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	Ray Brown Trio: Some of My Best Friends Are . . . Guitarists

Ray Brown, just about the most respected bassist in jazz, died earlier this year. Ever productive over six-decades of professional work, for the last few

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	The Apples in Stereo: Velocity of Sound

The Apples in Stereo always fill their 1960s-influenced pop-rock songs with extra verve and power when they play live. While all of their songs are

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	Justin Adams: Desert Road

Called “Britain’s answer to Ry Cooder” by the UK’s Guardian, Justin Adams is a bright imaginative guitarist. As an ambassador’s son, he

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8 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

The world on the ground is a house of blues, made worse by compliance, made better by songs and heart and -- most un-punk -- civic-mindedness. Tweedy might take seriously the Woody Guthrie mantle he inherited with Billy Bragg during the 'Mermaid Avenue' sessions.

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	Various Artists: Chooglin’: A Tribute to the Songs of John Fogerty

One of the most instantly recognizable voices in music is that of John Fogerty. A dirty and rough sound, filled with aggression, passion and loneliness,

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	Trio Mundo: Carnaval

Make a note of that label. In years to come collectors will go all gooey-eyed at its very mention. Only two years old, Khaeon has

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7 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	Pepper: Kona Town

First things first. Get the nutshell version of the review out of the way. Kona Town hail from Hawaii and have since relocated to California.

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7 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	Johnny Paycheck: The Soul & The Edge: The Best of Johnny Paycheck

In 1972, Johnny Paycheck released what eventually became one of his best-known singles, “She’s All I Got”. An emblematic example of the countrypolitan sound, the

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	Penny Dreadful: Sanctuary

Three kids get together to form a rock band; two of them play guitar and one plays drums. They sit around listening to U2 and

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7 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	Jerzee Monét: Love & War

If you’ve listened to the radio lately, your attention might have been aroused by a mysterious voice singing what seems to be more of

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7 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	The Loveless: A Tale of Gin and Salvation

You might have expected the favourite album of a PopMatters writer like myself to be one of the classics by the usual suspects of the

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	The Gourds: Cow Fish Fowl or Pig

If I was to list my five favorite cover songs of all time, The Gourds’ country hoe-down version of Snoop Dogg’s signature song “Gin

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7 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

What I Like About You

Perhaps What I Like About You will be a little cultural barometer, mirroring X and Y tastes and giving both generations one more home in primetime.

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7 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

John Doe

In John Doe, suspense takes a backseat to certainty.

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7 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Hidden Hills

Even more problematic is the moment when it's time for the episode's moral message, delivered with the subtlety of a bumper sticker.

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7 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

American Dreams

American Dreams recognizes an important point: rock and roll was deeply dependent on television in its early days. And that hasn't really changed.

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	Various Artists: Bhangra Beatz: A Naxos World Collection

[Banished words/phrases in this review: Bollywood, India/Pakistan conflict, “gang-bhangers”.] Double-headed drums dominate the two main strains of Indian-derived dance music floating around these

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3 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	Squarepusher: Do You Know Squarepusher?

I’ve always been a diehard Squarepusher fan. Since his days of acid drum and bass, I’ve worshiped every note he’s played on

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	Andy Stochansky: Five Star Motel

Andy Stochansky’s music never made it out of my scorched earth break-up. For the longest time, he inhabited the ruined space of everything that

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3 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	OK GO: self-titled

Take some smart guys a la Weezer, mix in a little bit of The Cars, add in some organic elements of J. Geils Band, stir

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	Dizzy Gillespie: Odyssey: 1945-1952

Dizzy Gillespie is one of the most important figures in jazz, period. An innovative and original trumpet player, prolific composer, musical visionary, generous teacher and

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3 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

Steve Earle: Jerusalem

Steve Earle has always been a guy who is never afraid to shoot his mouth off, and with 'Jerusalem', his timing is perfect, as his own razor-sharp words slice through the shallow slop of almost all 9-11-inspired music that has come out to date.

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	Natalie Cole: Ask a Woman Who Knows

In spite of a long and successful career, not to mention the odd Grammy or two, it remains the case that Natalie Cole has never

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3 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	C.O.C.O.: The C.O.C.O. Sound

How much more minimalism is possible before a band dissolves into nothing? C.O.C.O is frighteningly empty of personnel (Chris Sutton—who’s

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3 Oct 2002 // 10:00 PM

	The Byrds: The Byrds Play Dylan

When Dylan sang “The Times They Are A-Changin’” in 1963, he sang it with the voice of a prophet; when the Byrds sang the same song

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Vanya on 42nd Street (1994)

Elastic yet precise, Malle's film has the vitality and vividness of a Renoir -- it breathes.

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3 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Son of the Bride (Hijo de la Novia) (2001)

It affirms the institution of marriage -- and of a loving marriage.

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3 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

The Scorpion King (2002)

The Rock, director Russell says, has a 'deep commitment' to acting, bringing as much passion to the role as he does to his athletic endeavors -- good to know.

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3 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Spirited Away (2001/2002)

America is better off with Miyazaki playing in the malls and the multiplexes than Monsters, Inc.

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3 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Red Dragon (2002)

What is most politically problematic about Red Dragon is how it furthers the relationship between physical disability and psychopathology.

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3 Oct 2002 // 12:00 AM

Moonlight Mile (2002)

Fits a little too neatly with the recent popularity of media considering grief and death rituals.

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More Recent Features
//Blogs

The Best and Worst Films of Spring 2015

// Short Ends and Leader

"January through April is a time typically made up of award season leftovers, pre-summer spectacle, and more than a few throwaways. Here are PopMatters' choices for the best and worst of the last four months.

READ the article