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The Dark, Funny, Subversive Chamber of Angela Carter’s Imagination

In this expansive yet detailed and nuanced biography, Edmund Gordon allows the complex and endlessly fascinating Angela Carter to come alive on the page again

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Ryan Keberle and Catharsis: Find the Common, Shine a Light

The trombonist's superb quintet is now both more political and more lush in arrangement. One of the music's best bands just got better.

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Calvin Harris: Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1

Calvin Harris’s new album Funk Wav Bounces Vol.1 is a high-water mark for good vibes pop, reflecting the whimsical and collaborative spirit that is prevailing in pop music right now.

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12 Jul 2017 // 7:59 AM

Ex Eye: Ex Eye

Led by Colin Stetson and augmented by drummer Greg Fox, Ex Eye makes a black metal/jazz amalgam that is cathartic in its athleticism.

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Dope Opera: Azeem Talks with PopMatters About His West Coast Hip-Hop Classic, ‘Garage Opera’

In 1999, Azeem recorded his underground classic Garage Opera, hip-hop's equivalent of garage rock.

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Does Western Civilization Owe a “Classical Debt” to Greece?

Hanink takes us on an exploration of ancient and modern Greece, showing how our ideas of classical antiquity can have powerful implications for how we think about the present.

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Do You Want to Be Dead or a Monster?: An Interview With Jen Goma

While known for work in A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Jen "Showtime" Goma surprised even herself by going solo and embracing all the craziness that comes with it.

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Truth ≠ Clarity: Antonioni’s ‘Blow-Up’ and the Melancholy of Discovery

Blow-Up taunts its viewers with a significance that never manifests, a Truth that always recedes.

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‘Complicated Fun’ Is a Thorough Study of the Glory Days of the Twin Cities Punk and Indie Scenes

The tales of a record store, a set of like-minded club owners, and a record label all tie together into a beautiful narrative of the burgeoning Minneapolis music scene.

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‘Orphan Black’ - ‘Let the Children and the Childbearers Toil’ Tackles Mothers and Daughters

Almost halfway through the final season, Orphan Black continues to showcase the complex relationships of the sisters and those closest to them.

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Clearly, ‘Buena Vista Social Club’ Belongs in the Pantheon of Essential Music Documentaries

Win Wenders beautifully intersperses images of concert footage with more intimate performances of the same song. The differences are both illuminating and affecting.

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‘Making Sense’ Provides a Fresh, Logical Approach to Grammar

Teaching grammar is like holding water. You just can’t get a grip. That's where David Cyrstal's Making Sense comes in.

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Drummers of the Société Absolument Guinin: Vodou Drums in Haiti 2

The impact is immediate when hypnotic ritual drumming strips music down to its most basic element: pure rhythm.

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11 Jul 2017 // 8:14 AM

Foreigner: 40

40 is a well-rounded overview of hits that would make even the most jaded indie music fan admit that Foreigner songs have an ability to really sink in their hooks.

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Young Thug: Beautiful Thugger Girls

It's not the singing album we were promised, or the country album we were suggested: it's just a great Young Thug album.

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The Telescopes: As Light Return

The Telescopes have progressed from an experimental style with concealed moments of melody and drama towards one that abandons almost every formula associated with conventional songwriting

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Broken Social Scene: Hug of Thunder

Broken Social Scene return after a seven-year hiatus with their most vital release since their 2005 self-titled album.

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‘The Lodger’ Is the First True Hitchcock Film and His First Masterpiece

Here we have Hitchcock's first archetype of "the wrong man", his first blonde heroine, and his first cop-boyfriend of ambiguous character. We also have his mastery of image and, ironically for a silent film, of sound.

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11 Jul 2017 // 2:30 AM

Christopher Willits Is Enveloped in Spherical Sound

Ambient composer Christopher Willits wants to surround you in sound that comes from every direction. He talks with us about spatial audio, his latest album, Horizon, and the healing power of music.

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The Highway Is for Gamblers: Joyce Carol Oates, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen Take a One-way Trip

How Joyce Carol Oates, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen traveled out of a small town towards the great unknown.

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‘Popular’: You Are Not Fated to Be Disliked

Adolescent psychologist Mitch Prinstein's new study of popularity, Popular, confirms the worst and hopes for the best.

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‘Star Wars #33’ Has Luke and Leia Stranded on a Watery Planet

This comic is basically the sci-fi equivalent of Cast Away, but with more sea monsters and fewer volleyballs.

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Will and ‘Will’ Struggle to Find the Drama in Shakespeare’s Origin Story

Seeing William Shakespeare as a relatively blank slate doesn't give the audience much to sink their teeth into.

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‘A Ghost Story’ Is an Artful Prelude to Pattern

Lowery's movie transforms all manner of ordinary actions into weird little bits, most often offered in long takes and long distances, immobile images or slow frame movements.

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10 Jul 2017 // 8:29 AM

White Sea: Tropical Odds

White Sea's debut separated her sound from her previous work with M83, but the lush, morose dance-pop of her piecemeal sophomore effort paints her as a truly compelling pop figure.

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Various Artists: The Photographs of Charles Duvelle

Sublime Frequencies co-founder Hisham Mayet and musicology pioneer Charles Duvelle curate word, image, and sound in layers of cultural insight.

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Saint Etienne: Home Counties

A concept album that bemuses as much as it enlightens, Home Counties lacks passion and punch even though the Saint Etienne pop sensibility is still there.

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#EverythingGetsAThumbsUp: How Avidity Has Overtaken American Culture

An oh-so-brief and intentionally broad characterization of American life in these times of the Avidity Epidemic.

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‘The Abominable Mr. Seabrook’ Explores a Life Lived From Inside a Bottle

Fleshing out the man behind the term ‘zombie’ and questionable claims of cannibalism, cartoonist Joe Ollmann presents a holistic look at the fascinating, though largely forgotten, life of William Seabrook.

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10 Jul 2017 // 2:30 AM

Waxahatchee: Out in the Storm

Waxahatchee releases her strongest selection of songs to date on open and honest fourth record.

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Observe and Report: The Ethics of ‘Cameraperson’

Cameraperson is observational in ways both purer and more complex than much of what appears in documentaries edited to appear as objective works.

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In ‘The Big Sick’ and Other Films, Zoe Kazan Evolves the Rom-Com From Within

In a film world where the old-school romantic comedy scarcely exists, Zoe Kazan's recent entries to the genre stand as tests of empathy and feminism.

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‘The Big Sick’ Is a Cheerful Romantic Comedy About Dark Things

Kumail Nanjiani’s autobiographical love story has a fantastic hook but its mild demeanor keeps the comedy from having quite the right sting.

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Coppola’s ‘The Beguiled’ Shows We’re All Prisoners of the Past

The Beguiled evokes a very persistent past from the American Civil War. A past that, as William Faulkner famously reminds us, isn't even past.

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‘iZombie’: Discovery Day Brings Chaos in “Looking for Mr. Goodbrain, Part 2”

"Looking for Mr. Goodbrain, Part 2" essentially blows up the universe iZombie has spent three seasons creating.

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Marvel Scores Again with ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’

Director Jon Watts hasn’t exactly transcended the genre, but he’s (re) re-booted this familiar franchise with all of the spirited adventure and adolescent awkwardness it requires.

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Alan Alda’s ‘If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?’

Alan Alda wonders, could scientists become more personable and available if they studied the art of improvisation?

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Jefferson Starship Rocks Mt. Tam to Honor 50th Anniversary of Magic Mountain Festival

A true peak moment occurs with “Today”, as the band turns the clock back to 1967 with the psychedelic majesty of the Surrealistic Pillow deep cut.

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Prince’s Classic Finally Expanded: The Deluxe ‘Purple Rain’ Reissue

Over a year after Prince's stunning death, Warner Bros. offers the first ever expanded edition of the classic Purple Rain. How can something be so amazing and so frustrating at the same time?

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30 Jun 2017 // 7:00 AM

The Flipside #1: Oasis’ ‘Heathen Chemistry’ Turns 15

PopMatters' newest column kicks off with a reappraisal of the Oasis album time forgot: Heathen Chemistry, which turns 15 this July. Although the album was widely maligned upon its release, we dare to ask about this songbird: maybe it's good?

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Chris Bell: Looking Forward - The Roots of Big Star

Definitive proof that there was more than one genius behind the rise of Big Star.

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30 Jun 2017 // 2:30 AM

Lapalux: Ruinism

Lapalux frees himself from routine and expectation on standout electronic album.

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30 Jun 2017 // 2:20 AM

Bent Knee: Land Animal

Boston’s Bent Knee make music that sounds like it comes from another planet. Fortunately, it’s a planet full of extremely talented musicians with really good taste.

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A Soulful Escape: An Interview With Júníus Meyvant

Icelandic folk artist Júníus Meyvant re-released his debut Floating Harmonies today in America and recently performed his first NYC show.

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‘Wonder Woman #25’: From Rebirth to Resolve

Greg Rucka completes Wonder Woman's rebirth journey with heart, compassion, and wonder.

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‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’: Season Four Proved the Series Needs More Fury and More MCU DNA

Marvel does the series a disservice by severing it from the wider cinematic universe.

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Feels Good to be Home: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Is the Ultimate Spectacle

It's pure exhilaration to watch a pitch-perfect version of Spider-Man finally hit the big screen.

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29 Jun 2017 // 8:33 AM

Eivind Opsvik: Overseas V

The Norwegian bassist has created a funhouse environment for improvisation, as Overseas V is a perfect example of the kind of hybrid music that jazz has become in 2017.

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Animal Wives and Animal Husbands—It Goes Way Beyond Belle and the Beast

Sexuality, economics, cultural norms, the other, and self-sacrifice: these and other themes are shared in the globally diverse telling of the classic Beauty and the Beast.

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Kane Strang: Two Hearts and No Brain

Kane Strang stretches his songwriting muscles on a hook-filled, razor-sharp indie album.

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Punky Rock The Kids Would Want to Listen To: An Interview with Talay (& Live Acoustic Song)

Talented singer-songwriter Talay is very active in the NYC music scene and has just released her second EP. She sat down with PopMatters for a chat and a live performance.

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Alex Chilton: Take Me Home and Make Me Like It

Alternate takes and rehearsal takes during 1975 sessions highlight Alex Chilton’s frenzied energy and uncompromising musicianship that resulted in Singer Not the Song and Bach’s Bottom.

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29 Jun 2017 // 2:15 AM

Bill Orcutt: Bill Orcutt

Beautifully messy, fractured and fragmented and utterly inimitable, guitarist Bill Orcutt lays gentle waste to the canon of American song on his self-titled release.

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Lars von Trier’s Not So Manic ‘Nymphomaniac’

Much to my surprise, Von Trier’s provocation in the Nymphomaniac films is neither abhorrent nor bawdy.

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‘Orphan Black’: Alison’s Journey Is the Focus of “Beneath Her Heart”

"Beneath Her Heart" is an excellent character study of Alison (Tatiana Maslany) that not only delves into her past, but also clearly marks her future.

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Swans: The Great Annihilator / Michael Gira: Drainland

By pairing The Great Annihilator with Drainland, the emotional rawness of Gira and Jarboe's art comes through in full color.

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28 Jun 2017 // 8:41 AM

Slow Dancer: In a Mood

The indie answer to John Mayer's Continuum, In a Mood is a smooth collection of indie pop with a jazzy, '70s gloss.

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What Can Women do? Pretty Much Anything: ‘Wonder Women’

"We have to get the stories of these women out into the world. Because representation matters."

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‘Apollo in the Age of Aquarius’: Bringing the Space Race Back Down to Earth

Looking at NASA's interactions with the social movements of the '60s offers a new perspective on that landmark era in America.

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‘Baby Driver’ Speeds Through an Irresistible World of Rascals and Reverb

Baby Driver sometimes feels like a deranged mashup between Drive, Heat, and La La Land.

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The Cure’s Pornographic Cure: Bittersweet Relief

The Cure's Pornography is so much more than just the ponderously murky, suicide-inducing effort it's often made out to be.

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2 Chainz: Pretty Girls Like Trap Music

2 Chainz cashes in on his elder statesman status on one of the best rap albums of 2017. He proves that there is a path to aging gracefully as an MC by embracing trends but preserving his own unique, off-kilter sensibility.

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Rocqawali: Sufi Spirit

A fusion of rock and hypnotic Sufi music, Sufi Spirit is a warm, brilliant album to bask in from start to finish.

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‘Le Trou’: The Escape Film Under the Microscope

In this classic escape film, Jacques Becker demonstrates that true freedom resides in endeavor.

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Is Money the Root of All Good?

A celebrated philosopher wonders if everything we believe about money is all wrong.

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‘iZombie’ Events are Reaching Critical Mass in “Looking for Mr. Goodbrain, Part 1”

Interspersed with bar-hopping and sex visions, "Looking for Mr. Goodbrain, Part 1" sets the stage for the finalé and beyond.

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Bang Bang Bang to the Beat: Edgar Wright on His Musical Approach to Action in Baby Driver

Edgar Wright and Ansel Elgort break down their fresh approach to action in the musically driven, pop-culture infused Baby Driver.

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‘Condo Heartbreak Disco’: A Superhero Parody Set in an Absurdist World

A gender-bending anti-superhero chooses not to save the day.

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Ryan Adams & The Unknown Band Take the Berkeley Greek Prisoner

Ryan Adams rocks the People's Republic of Berkeley for his "best show ever"?

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Various Artists: Pop Makossa - The Invasive Dance Beat of Cameroon 1976​-​1984

An airy blend of funk and rumba make for a pleasant collection of vintage Cameroonian dance music, but never quite has its moment.

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27 Jun 2017 // 7:33 AM

Portugal. The Man: Woodstock

Woodstock demonstrates just how peculiar and adventurous yet relatable and enjoyable music can be.

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Algiers: The Underside of Power

The Underside of Power dives headfirst into the political tumult of our times, wringing from it a set of powerful, genre-defying songs.

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It’s Hummingbird Day: An Interview with Mark McGuire

For celebrated ambient/instrumentalist Mark McGuire, why bother updating your social media platforms when a hummingbird can distract you right outside your window?

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China Mieville’s ‘October’: The Bolsheviks Are Back in Vogue

What was the secret of the Russian Revolution? What lessons -- both positive and negative -- does it hold for the present day?

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‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ Evolves Into an Emotional Powerhouse

Perhaps the greatest virtue of director Matt Reeves’ film is that it captures the madness of war without ever glamorizing the abhorrent carnage.

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Roger Waters Takes on the Swine in Oakland

The pinnacle zeitgeist moment of the show occurs with “Pigs”, and who would have thought back in 1977 that the song would make such a fitting anthem for 2017 some 40 years later?

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26 Jun 2017 // 7:19 AM

Little Cub: Still Life

South London's Little Cub craft a debut album that elegantly addresses modern-era woes via a blanket of warm, familiar influences.

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26 Jun 2017 // 7:15 AM

Billy Stoner: Billy Stoner

Lost outlaw country classic gets a second chance at the long-overdue critical praise it so richly deserves.

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26 Jun 2017 // 7:10 AM

Laurel Halo: Dust

Dust dissects the modes and techniques of commercial advertisement and displaces them in barely recognizable, decidedly non-commercial contexts.

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Vince Staples: The Big Fish Theory

Vince Staples returns with his troubled and furious second album, The Big Fish Theory.

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Navigating the Hollywood Monsters of the ‘Resident Evil’ Videogame Franchise

From crawling to walking to running to the White House: dissecting 20 years of zombie evolution.

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As a Way of Being in the World, to Be Cool Is to Be a Fascinating Asshole

Cool seems to be a phenomenon located mainly between the end of Hitler’s war and the beginning of Kurt Cobain’s band.

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23 Jun 2017 // 9:27 AM

Banditos: Visionland

Banditos are at the fore of a new generation of Southern rock bands capable of both mining the region's deep musical heritage and nudging it forward.

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The Drums: “Abysmal Thoughts”

With "Abysmal Thoughts", the Drums have made a record that is emotionally powerful, disarming in its honesty, and unexpectedly fun.

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Steve Earle: So You Want to Be an Outlaw

Steve Earle reaffirms his country outlaw status with the appropriately titled, outlaw country primer So You Want to Be an Outlaw.

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Movies Matter in ‘Talking Pictures’

Critic Ann Hornaday’s clear-eyed, unpretentious guide to watching cinema is a long overdue call for thoughtful appreciation in our time of media overload.

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‘In Pursuit of Silence’ Challenges the Senses

In Pursuit of Silence's technical mastery overcomes its overuse of interview commentary to illustrate silence's numerous edifying properties.

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From Amar Akbar Anthony to Baahubali: Whither Indian Cinema’s Secularism?

A retrospective of Manmohan Desai’s Bollywood classic Amar Akbar Anthony, and the films it has influenced, 40 years on.

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War and the Novel of Integrity in ‘The Story of a Brief Marriage’

A brief, brutal, and exquisite novel set over the course of one day in a man's life in the refugee camps of war-torn northern Sri Lanka.

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Novice Enters Nick Cave Performance at Beacon, Comes Out Undeterred

Intense and dramatically profound, Nick Cave's performance allows fans to worship at the feet of a preacher.

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How Perfume Genius Learned to Live in the Moment

After touring his essential fourth album No Shape for a month, Mike Hadreas (aka Perfume Genius) talks to PopMatters about why this project is his most immediate and everything that implies.

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Crushing Adamantium Claws and Other ‘Weapons of Mutant Destruction #1’

The concept of living weapons in the Marvel Universe will make anyone who has ever had to clean up blood stains roll their eyes.

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22 Jun 2017 // 8:19 AM

Rancid: Trouble Maker

Rancid deliver yet another Rancid album, rehashing nearly every facet of their multi-decade career as they rage their way into middle age punkdom.

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Echoes of History and Nature: A Conversation with Jökull Júlíusson of Kaleo

JJ Julius Son, lead singer of Kaleo, speaks with PopMatters on his early influences and how he will never fall into the trap of a single genre.

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22 Jun 2017 // 2:30 AM

Beth Ditto: Fake Sugar

Former Gossip frontwoman makes a welcome return with her first solo album of pure pop bliss.

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22 Jun 2017 // 2:20 AM

Com Truise: Iteration

On his first full-length album in five years, Seth Haley, a.k.a. Com Truise, unleashes his usual battery of vivid retro-synth anthems.

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‘Dear Ijeawele’, Dear Tired Church Ladies

Adichie's excellent and urgent feminist undertaking is a shot in the arm that doesn’t hurt at all.

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Nick Laird’s ‘Modern Gods’ and Restless Protagonists

Modern Gods veers away from its trajectory, but it lingers askew.

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Midnight North: Under the Lights

The blend between their rock side and their country/folk side is actually what makes Midnight North a relatively unique band.

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Various Artists: Oté Maloya - The Birth of Electric Maloya on Reunion Island 1975-1986

Strut Records delivers the best of vintage African music yet again, this time straight from Réunion Island.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

'Knee Deep' Has a Great Setting That Ruins the Game

// Moving Pixels

"Knee Deep's elaborate stage isn't meant to convey a sense of spatial reality, it's really just a mechanism for cool scene transitions. And boy are they cool.

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