Opium Traces
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Whitney Rose: Heartbreak of the Year

Rose's new album is technically beautiful, historically minded, smartly constructed, and slightly dull.

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Dave Cloud and the Gospel of Power: Today Is the Day That They Take Me Away

A fitting epitaph for Nashville’s Beefheartian garage rock guru and essential listening for fans of outsider art.

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Ever Wonder Why Netflix Offers Bad Movies? Blame Washington, Not Hollywood

With streaming video making the dissemination of video cheaper and easier, why are most classic domestic and foreign films not widely available via Netflix streaming?

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The Who’s ‘Lambert and Stamp’ Is a Murky Telling of an Unknown Chapter in Rock History

This film tells the story of two men who formed an unlikely partnership and persuaded The Who to sign with them, despite their lack of connections and experience in the industry.

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Lamb of God: VII: Sturm und Drang

The band's blueprint hasn’t changed nor have they compromised creativity. Lamb of God is everything a metal band should be in 2015.

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Fist City: Everything Is a Mess

That "thinly mixed and sloppy" equals the "raw" feel the band is going for is questionable, but Everything Is a Mess isn't quite the mess it appears to be at first.

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Of Acolytes, Geese, and Ghosts: Genesis’ Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips

The album journeys taken by Genesis' Steve Hackett and Anthony Phillips in the mid-'70s are remarkably similar.

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Tarzan Meets Jane in the Urban Concrete Jungle of ‘Wild Thing’

From the wide range of ‘80s cheese to choose from, Wild Thing offers very little of the tang that makes the slightly better ‘80s schlock a little more fun to watch.

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Harder Core Justice in ‘Justice League - Gods and Monsters #1’

A different world breeds a different kind of justice.

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The Ghosts of Lucio Fulci and H.P. Lovecraft Haunt ‘We Are Still Here’

We Are Still Here mixes modern horror aesthetics and '80s shlock sensibility.

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‘Poetry Is Useless’ and Other Merciless Engagements With Meaninglessness

Anders Nilsen’s absorbing and provocative art satisfies with existential angst.

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17 Aug 2015 // 2:30 AM

Dr. Dre: Compton

A rapper/producer that started in the '80s raps and produces a surprisingly good album three decades later.

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‘24 - Live Another Day’ ‘Cause You’re Gonna Die Anyway

24 began sugared-up on gooey clichés of liberty and freedom -- and ended in hypoglycemic shock. Would a new series be worse for our health?

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Fairground Saints: Fairground Saints

Fairground Saints not only create an instant impact, but also convey the impression they’ve been floating around the ether forever.

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17 Aug 2015 // 2:15 AM

The Mynabirds: Lovers Know

The Mynabirds Lovers Know trades rhetoric for trite ruminations.

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Chelsea Wolfe: The Abyss (take 2)

Chelsea Wolfe's latest throws her helplessly into the abyss, where she's buried under the sheer mass of her band's fearsome noise and her own paralyzed fatalism.

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The Philosophy of Violence Is the Central Theme to Sergio Sollima’s ‘Face to Face’

Our protagonist exemplifies how intelligence and education, when used as weapons, can lead to far more violence than guns and knives.

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The Lovely Intangibles: Tomorrow Is Never

The Lovely Intangibles deliver haunting beauty on their first album, Tomorrow Is Never.

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‘The 100 Greatest Console Video Games’ Chooses Style Over Substance

This is an accessible boilerplate encyclopedia of vintage game history that eschews analysis for rudimentary information and attractive presentation.

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Fade Away Slow: An Interview with Tamaryn

When a musician describes one of her tracks as "an early Madonna song if it was produced by My Bloody Valentine", you know you're in for something special.

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‘How Music Got Free’ Is a Compelling Read for the Disaffected Music Collector

"What happens when an entire generation commits the same crime?"

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‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ = CIA + KGB + Girl

For all its archness and cleverness, for all its showy self-awareness, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. can't come up with a new idea.

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‘Death Sentence London’ and the Success of Doomed Generations

Death Sentence: London #3 makes me consider what it would be like if we lived under a President Trump.

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‘Straight Outta Compton’ Could Have Come Straight Outta Today’s Headlines

As a biopic, as a social commentary, as a reminder of our current cultural limits and liabilities, you couldn't ask for a better film.

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‘Your Worst Self Is Your Best Self’: Defending Season Two of ‘True Detective’

Nic Pizzolatto seems to have written this season for a specific audience, knowing full well and not giving a damn that it would not be viewed favorably by the general public.

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Carl Hall: You Don’t Know Nothing About Love: The Loma/Atlantic Recordings 1967-1972

Compared to the singer, one does not know a thing about love. But feel it, yes one does!

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Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Latin Disco

This compilation traces the disco movement from its roots in the Latin community through to Nu-disco.

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14 Aug 2015 // 7:47 AM

The Cairo Gang: Goes Missing

Emmett Kelly's the Cairo Gang presents a musical diorama of the 1960s on Goes Missing.

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Bobby Long: Ode to Thinking

Bobby Long’s latest record was completely fan-funded in under four weeks, a testament to his devout following separate of his vampire swan song.

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14 Aug 2015 // 7:37 AM

Luke Bryan: Kill the Lights

Luke Bryan’s songs are almost all centered on women, but those women themselves are rather shadowy figures.

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Even Meryl Streep Can’t Save ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ From Postmodern Pretense

This film has not aged well, and this has to do with the failure of postmodernism and poststructuralism to contribute anything useful to popular culture.

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Grunge Rock, Flannel, the Birth of DC/Vertigo, Whatever

Vertigo was a completely unprecedented break in the corporate backing of artistic creativity. But it needed the '90s to come into being.

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13 Aug 2015 // 8:30 AM

‘Orphan Black’ Is Truly a Family Affair

By widening its focus, season three explores the intertwined joy and heartbreak of family.

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If ‘Bad English’ Gets Your Dander Up, You Should Read Ammon Shea’s Latest

Sticklers, scolds, and prescriptivists beware: you aren't as smart as you think you are.

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What’s So Smooth About the New Smooth Jazz?

Recent work from a group of young musicians, beautifully represented by the new Supreme Sonacy from Revive Music, makes it cool again to put out jazz that wants to be popular.

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Small Feet: From Far Enough Away Everything Sounds Like the Ocean

Swedish trio Small Feet's debut album delivers the same magnificence any sea ever could, and chances are as soon as it’s ended you’ll want to dive straight back in.

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Ultimate Painting: Green Lanes

The London songwriting duo's latest is unhurried and casual, going forth leisurely seeking various ways to perfect their syncopated jangle melodies.

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13 Aug 2015 // 2:15 AM

JOBS: killer BOB sings

Agile, noisy experimentalists add a vocalist and get both more straightforward and more daring.

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Sweet Baboo: The Boombox Ballads (take 2)

Sweet, lush romantic pop from North Wales.

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The Characters in ‘The Salvation’ Are Easy to Care About but Terrifying to Watch

Mixing the classic themes of the American western with splashes of modernity makes for a attention-grabbing tale of salvation.

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13 Aug 2015 // 2:05 AM

bvdub: A Step in the Dark

Though Brock Van Wey's address has changed from China to California, his expansive soundscapes remain much the same.

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‘Sapiens’ Takes the Long View on the History of Humanity

Yuval Noah Harari's book is a brilliant exercise in counterfactuals: what could, might and should’ve been.

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Music Writer Jessica Hopper on Her New Anthology and the Role of Women in Music Culture

The Rookie andThe Pitchfork Review editor talks about her latest collection of writings, spanning over a decade.

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Love and Other Skirmishes in ‘Death Sentence London #3’

How do you outdo yourself, if you've already produced a masterpiece? Sometimes you succeed in a way that redefines success itself.

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‘2 Broke Girls’ Is on the Way to Comedy Bankruptcy

While it has moments that make you think about laughing, this sitcom relies heavily on poorly delivered re-hashings of the same tired jokes.

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Esoteric Musings in ‘Love Unto Death’ and ‘Life is a Bed of Roses’

These two films by Alain Resnais are moody, mysterious and stylish exercises in self-indulgence.

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12 Aug 2015 // 2:30 AM

HEALTH: Death Magic

HEALTH's characteristic noise is upended by obscured pop aesthetics on their first LP in six years.

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‘Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist’ Is Older But Still Wise and Just As Funny

While this show is as funny now as it was when it first aired 20 years ago, the passing of time has given it even greater cultural meaning.

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12 Aug 2015 // 2:20 AM

Georgia: Georgia

Like other musical omnivores before her, Georgia is distilling the essence of music of the period.

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Martin Newell: Teatime Assortment

Teatime Assortment
's consistency is conveyed through the cheery disposition that’s maintained throughout, all the oddball and eccentric references tossed in for good measure.

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Black Mountain: Black Mountain (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

This reissue of Canadian group’s debut album gets the deluxe treatment, doubling its length and lessening its impact.

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Don’t Confuse ‘Brother’s Keeper’ With ‘My Brother’s Keeper’

Devote Christians will probably get more from Brother’s Keeper than non-believers, but this film is without a doubt better made and acted than most in its genre.

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In ‘A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me’, Denial Bites the Hand

David Gates writing shines in those moments of self-conscious vulnerability, where the veil is drawn and the confrontation with oneself and one’s reality is glaring back, undeniable.

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12 Aug 2015 // 2:05 AM

The Knack: Zoom

The Knack’s reissued album certainly hits all the expected beats, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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12 Aug 2015 // 2:02 AM

Real Dphrepaulezz: A Conversation with Fantastic Negrito

"It took a long time to get here. Twenty years just to get here, to the voice of Fantastic Negrito. If I'm honest," Dphrepaulezz reflects, "it takes a long time to be honest with yourself."

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Gods Walk the Earth in ‘The Infinity Gauntlet #3’

From a horror thrill ride that will leave your heart racing to a science-fiction family adventure, The Infinity Gauntlet is on the verge of becoming something much more.

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It’s the Special Features That Shine in ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XXXIII’

The featurettes here are extremely respectful and well-made, detailing the oft-forgotten studio systems in place that made cheap B-movies thrive in the '50s and '60s.

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11 Aug 2015 // 7:00 AM

When a Memoir Isn’t

In chapter after chapter of Hold Still, Mann unfolds the dark secrets of her father, her mother, her adulterous great-grandmother -- everyone, it seems, but Mann herself.

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11 Aug 2015 // 2:30 AM

Chelsea Wolfe: Abyss

Although Abyss is most unnerving in its quieter moments, the album is Wolfe’s most well-paced and effective release to date.

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In Praise of Kristen Wiig’s Risky Career Choices

Kristen Wiig’s genius is that she can generate humor and pathos from the same source, her characters’ pain.

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Sweet Baboo: The Boombox Ballads

The Boombox Ballads is, at its essence, all about surfaces. Gorgeous, sumptuous surfaces.

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Charlie Haden and Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Tokyo Adagio

An important reminder of Charlie Haden's great spirit and generosity.

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Some Memories Just Won’t Be Released in ‘Unfriended’

Unfriended successfully updates horror movie conventions for a social media savvy audience.

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Wendy & Lisa: Fruit at the Bottom

The late ‘80s album gets a fresh work-out with re-mastered expanded edition, featuring Prince remix.

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11 Aug 2015 // 2:05 AM

Rancid: All the Moon Stomper’s

Rancid have had an extremely colourful career, warmly regarded as a Californian foursome who eat, sleep and breathe punk rock.

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“This Awesome, Uncontrollable Surprise”: An Interview with Bastille

Mercedes-Benz has been curating a five-month, five-stop tour to try and target millennials, with Bastille as one hell of a headliner. For Bastille, it's just "exciting to have a whole new set of songs to play."

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Things Get Really Creepy in ‘The Gift’

Our protagonist's status as victim is mostly a function of images, mesmerizing shots from behind, so you might be stalking her in the shower or jogging on the streets near her home.

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A New World of Wonder in ‘Justice League Gods and Monsters—Wonder Woman #1’

A new Wonder Woman explores a new world in a bold new way.

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‘33 Days’ Is a Complex Portrayal of Life Under Nazi Occupation

A harrowing, psychological – and true – first-hand account of Nazi Germany’s invasion and occupation of France.

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Singapore’s ‘1965’ Sacrifices a Good Story and History at the Altar of Nationalism

Conflations, copouts, and confusions turn 1965 into a kitschy commemorative paean that will struggle to shrug off accusations of being propaganda.

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No Apologies: A Critique of the Rockist v. Poptimist Paradigm

Both rockists and poptimists treat music as not much more than a social commodity, a consumerized product within the spectacle of American capitalism.

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10 Aug 2015 // 2:30 AM

Tunde Olaniran: Transgressor

This is hip-hop in 2015. This is R&B in 2015. This is music in 2015. It isn’t static, it isn’t formally restricted, it’s hell-bent on blurring lines.

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10 Aug 2015 // 2:20 AM

Grace Potter: Midnight

Hopefully, Midnight is simply a test spin and not indicative of all Grace Potter intends to achieve.

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Carly Simon: Spoiled Girl (Expanded Edition)

Yuppie drama in expanded version of Carly Simon’s Spoiled Girl. Cult masterpiece or cult disaster?

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Life on the Inside of Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch

The story of the man behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch needs no embellishment to make it an emotional one, but that doesn't stop the filmmakers from trying.

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10 Aug 2015 // 2:10 AM

DJ Koze: DJ Koze

Tack on "tastemaker" to Koze's impressive resume.

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10 Aug 2015 // 2:05 AM

John Anderson: Goldmine

Anderson’s twangy inflections endow him with charm. He’s the good ol’ boy who enjoys simple pleasures of life.

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‘The Dying Grass’ Refuses to be Coralled

Like the unfenced West, William T. Vollmann's novel roams freely, evading control of the mechanical hand and conforming style.

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Missed Opportunities in ‘Fantastic Four’

Angry teenagers in the midst of superheros' origin stories.

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Chalice Brings Together Lovers of Music, Glass, Hash and Art Along Old Route 66

STS9 was headlining Chalice for the second straight year and once again drew a devoted audience that reveled in the chance to catch the jamtronica band’s groovy instrumental jams in an intimate setting under the summer stars.

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‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’ Is Really About Adults in Need of Parenting

We follow the exploits of Minnie (Bel Powley), a 15-year-old aspiring cartoonist in 1976 San Francisco. The first thing she tells us -- “I just had sex. Holy shit!” -- sets the film's tone.

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Songs About the Southland: Marvel’s Black Panther vs. the Klan

It was a hot Southern summer when the Black Panther came down South to do battle with the Klan.

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Not Safe for Children, ‘Cop Car’ is a Crafty and Cool-Handed High Plains Thriller

When two ten-year-old boys steal a seemingly abandoned police cruiser, they get roped into an absurdist crime drama they don’t comprehend any better than the audience does.

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‘The Crimson Field’ Addresses War and the Changing Roles of Women

The Crimson Field may not completely enthrall but it is consistently interesting. For a show without grand ambition, you can say much worse.

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Lush Life: The Music of Brazil’s Doris Monteiro

Doris Monteiro, Brazil's "Queen of Radio", offered in 1976 what was perhaps her finest musical declaration with Agora, a now obscure and luxurious treasure of Brazilian pop-delights.

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The Jam: About the Young Idea: The Very Best of the Jam

You can dock About the Young Idea a point for its lack of marketing vision, but the Jam were as good as three-and-a-half minutes or less gets.

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The Bird and the Bee: Recreational Love

The subtle charm and sly sophistication of the style makes you gaze at shoes and tap your feet at the same time.

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Warren Haynes: Ashes & Dust

Mostly known for his work as a rocker, Haynes shows off his Americana side in just as seamlessly a manner.

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Meek Mill: Dreams Worth More Than Money

On Dreams Worth More Than Money savvy potential hits are overshadowed by tracks with chips on their shoulders, made for a guy who sounds like he leaves blood on the mic.

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Two Masters of Hollywood Expressionism Go Back to Europe

Escape From East Berlin and War-Gods of the Deep both try to escape from tyranny.

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7 Aug 2015 // 2:05 AM

Ministry: Trax! Box

The nine hours of early Ministry and co-conspirators on the Trax! Box just doesn’t get old.

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A Massive Attack on America’s Ideological Fiction

The WikiLeaks Files examines how 21st century American imperialism works; the military and economic interventions, the covert actions, the violations of national sovereignty and human rights.

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Existential Rap: An Interview With LOSTBOYEVSKY

With the release of his debut mixtape Rhymes 'N' Puns 'N' Shit, art rapper LOSTBOYEVSKY talks about rapping in South Korea, the nature of art rap, and technology's impact on life.

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A Battle of Wills and Faiths Ensues in ‘Moon Knight #17’

Moon Knight faces the other followers of Khonshu. Yes, other followers.

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An Excellent Ensemble Shines In ‘The Casual Vacancy’

The series does an admirable job of adapting J.K. Rowling’s dense book into a miniseries, even with the sacrifice of several storylines.

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In ‘Hard to Be a God’, Slumming It Has Never Felt so Real

Aleksey German's last film is part genius, part a confusing mess, and 100 percent a cinematic experience like no other.

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What Is the Real Story of the Atomic Bombings?

America claimed the atomic bomb ended World War II and saved American lives. Journalist and historian Paul Ham calls that “a pack of lies”.

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6 Aug 2015 // 2:30 AM

The Delta Saints: Bones

The Nashville outfit dips into moonshine barrels of influence to create a heady cocktail of roots rock.

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The Whistles & the Bells: The Whistles & the Bells

A complex and musically surprising account of Bryan Simpson's Christian journey.

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6 Aug 2015 // 2:15 AM

Zachary Cale: Duskland

Zachary Cale's excellent new record is full of travelers at rest, people taking stock of what already was and caught between worry and hope over what comes next.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Ubisoft Understands the Art of the Climb

// Moving Pixels

"Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed and Grow Home epitomize the art of the climb.

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