Thursday, April 16 2015
These eye-popping '60s French capers feature the legendary Jean-Paul Belmondo hopping the globe in a series of illogical but zanily fun adventure pieces.
Lustmore is a widescreen vision narrowed by delicate sonic focus that, unlike so much beat music, commands attention.
Summoning Suns is a perfect entry point into James Blackshaw's eclectic musical journey.
Times Beach is less a collection of poetry as it is an anthology of performance art presented under the guise of poetry.
The fifth album by this Brooklyn-based quartet provides a tribute to their dogged persistence.
This re-release provides evidence that Bettye LaVette should have been famous decades earlier.
Detroit troubadour merges the shimmering decadent of '70s glam rock, the subtleties of indie rock, and the danceable innovation of synth pop on sophomore solo LP.
Wednesday, April 15 2015
Tenor Ian Bostridge has sung Winterreise hundreds of times and here gives it the equivalent of 33 1/3 entry -- only denser in substance, more elaborately written, and with some fascinating tangentials.
The TV and film star unveils her full-length studio debut album, produced by Ben Folds.
Like a cover letter, the epigraph must take me to the textual meat without giving me reason to discard the sandwich altogether.
For the first time in the band's history, Manic Street Preachers will bring the politically charged post-punk of their 1994 LP The Holy Bible in its entirety to American audiences.
Interstellar is a movie full of Big Ideas that end up overshadowing the human element, particularly during the poorly plotted first act.
The addition of a full musical ensemble has done little to alter Villagers’ sound, what with the lush, ethereal arrangements, the lonely reminiscing and reflection, and the hushed gaze that pervades these pieces overall.
On Better than Home Beth Hart delivers a veritable tour-de-force that highlights her remarkable prowess as both a singer and songwriter.
The Blind Writer is less about South Asians and the Indian-American experience as it is about Indian-American men and their (in)abilities to navigate life.
A delightful journey of songs through musical decades and styles, all delivered in Scaggs' soulful tenor.
If you wanted a cover album of Black Sabbath, Nirvana and Weezer's greatest hits but the originals were too strong for you, no worries! JEFF the Brotherhood's prolonged adolescent fixation with their predecessors continues!
Judas Priest's three-disc re-issue of their classic 1984 chart-topper shows that the years have been kind to both the album and the band.
Tuesday, April 14 2015
Stevens goes for a transformative, pensive, and atmospheric live presentation. Ultimately, that’s what makes his artistry so one-of-a-kind and invaluable.
Saga propels readers into new and unchartered, yet always compelling, spaces. From the horribly exotic to the stunningly beautiful, the characters are impossible to forget.
The idea here is that Madec's limitless financial resources make him every bit as phantasmal and inexorable as Jason Voorhees.
A rigorous, middle ground between lurid populist histories and dry academia, Anna Whitelock provides an excellent biography as a well trained historian.
Arguing with your label about Vicodin. Creating a fictional life to write songs about. Embracing "weird crystal-worship party lovers." Just another day in the life of the Wombats.
Aiming for an incisive social commentary on the increasing violence of youth gangs, Class of 1984 falls short.
From terrorists and authoritarian regimes to government surveillance and control of the Internet, the threats to freedom of expression are greater than ever.
Seeds of experimentation and collaboration planted long ago bear some of the best fruit of Calexico's long career.
Jill Alexander Essbaum’s first novel bleakly evokes the life of a woman adrift. However well built, it is story constructed over a sinkhole.
On its second album After It All, the Durham-based sextet successfully raids the storehouse of American musical traditions, incorporating influences ranging from blues to folk, rock to pop, and hip-hop to musical theater.
Americana's band of brothers expand their sonic horizons in Water Walker.
Madeon has the ear for a strong hook and a natural knack for dance production, but by failing to provide enough distinction to his tracks on an individual basis, his Tumblr-friendly brand of EDM turns him into a bit of a one-trick pony.
Sidewalk Chalk rise further to the top of the hip-hop scene with their third release, Shoulder Season.
Monday, April 13 2015
The arena for a multiversal clash is set, but lacks theatrics.
Sarah Helm’s Ravensbrück is a searingly comprehensive look at the sole concentration camp built to house women. It is the nonfiction of nightmares.
From 27-29 March, Knoxville, Tennessee music fans were treated to a world of daring and avant-garde music at the latest installment of the Big Ears festival.
While OK Computer is important in its own right, The Bends transformed Radiohead from being a potentially indistinguishable Alternative Nation contributor to a band who has redefined the term "rock" for the past two decades.
If Fox really is going jump-start The X-Files, it better not pull any of the stereotypical homophobic crap again.
A recent biopic about the last executioner in Thailand explores the extremes between killing and redemption.
The charming and eccentric humor of this vampire mockumentary makes it feel like it was born to be a beloved cult classic.
What becomes of the broken-hearted? They go to an Eels gig, obviously.
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion aren't about to reinvent the wheel, but with music this good they don't need to.
Filled with beautiful obscurities and aural surprises, this collection will delight fans, new and old, of the genre it celebrates.
Lowland Hum's self-titled new album provides further evidence of their ability to wield seamless harmonies and a hushed low cast glow. While a handful of songs take flight, nothing here really breaks the mold or shows any evidence of an uptick in their MO.
Down Under and down in the mouth, Brisbane's Nite Fields are a certainly a moody bunch, but is that a smile lurking in the gloom?
Friday, April 10 2015
When Lost River premiered at Cannes last year, Gosling's urban fairytale was greeted with jeers. It should have been met with cheers.
This artificial intelligence flick uses the nerd archetype to make points about masculinity, ego, and empathy.
New Sheriff Clara Bronson comes to Copperhead not because she wants the job but because she needs it. The real reason though, isn’t explained.
This is a film featuring two likeable leads that goes cold and convoluted once we abandon their story and flashback to the past.
The Decemberists recreated its sonic specialties wonderfully at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia on April 7.
The model of a good parent is an ever-changing concept, one at the mercy of the forces of cultural change.
Every generation has attempted to preserve the most important pieces of its art. It should be just the same with computer games, but often it is not.
Ebert never lived to see the finished product, but it's not a stretch at all to imagine what kind of score Siskel & Ebert would have given it had they the chance: two thumbs up.
This seven-disc set takes all Frank Black's output with the Catholics favors the moment, the song, over the career, which is not a new concept for Black.
The music of Porcupine Tree meets the rhythmic intensity of Whiplash in these eight dazzling reinterpretations.
Right from the start, Nirvana had numerous musicians backing their cause.
Heavy on literary references but lacking any relative substance, Kingdom of Fear is akin to AM band conspiracy theorists spouting questionable source material with impunity.
One of heavy music's most prolific and interesting artists makes a quiet, patient album that stands with his best work.
London's Fort Romeau delivers a treat for progressive house fans and old-school electronica devotees alike.
'40s Jazz Guitar Pioneer in Full Regalia
Thursday, April 9 2015
The Beat Generation fails to capture the trendy, hipster social scene that its title promises.
We have here the post-apocalyptic wanderer, able to go anywhere because there’s nowhere he belongs.
With his new album, the veteran British singer/actor delivers a set of spirited and emotional rock and roll.
When it comes to family comedies, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is the exact opposite of terrible, horrible, and no good.
Waxahatchee’s latest album is a brilliant self-study that occupies a haunting liminal space.
Bringing a broader instrumental palette, more cinematic in scope than their debut, Lord Huron aims high and largely succeeds.
Some books you just don’t want to end. Manaster’s debut is one of those books.
The first album from one-time Go-Between Peter Milton Walsh plus attendant early material, spanning 1979-85. Moody and impressive. But loveable?
MilkDrive becomes an Americana band to watch with their genre-defying new release full of pop-ready jams.
On these reissues of Kylie Minogue's first four records, the singer starts to figure out who she is, no matter how little her producers/hit-making assembly lines seemed to care.
Wednesday, April 8 2015
I should have listened to the cover. After all, the warning was clear: "You must NOT read this comic!"
Scream! Factory's horror/comedy "double feature" doesn't truly fit into either genre.
Petterson's closely-knit stories sadly and beautifully reveal the passage from boyish innocence to "manhood", and show us what it means to be a man.
In jumping forward from the lackluster Pablo Honey, Radiohead finally started becoming the Radiohead that is idolized today.
Nostalgia has its uses, its benefits. But is it useful and beneficial when it obscures the reality of the past and present, usually in the service of power, prestige, and making a buck?
There is a game hidden behind the basketball courts and football fields of our universities, an unscrupulous match that mostly advantages the institutions themselves.
The two most famous horror blaxploitation films look and sound excellent in this dual release, but they deserve more extras considering their importance.
The Mountain Goats follow up albums about divorce, heartbreak, and scripture with one about professional wrestling.
B.J. Novak forsakes an impeccable sense of timing and an acerbic wit to patronize with this collection of cast-off skit ideas and sappy short-stories.
Becca Stevens makes a giant leap into pop music complexity with her latest, an exhilaratingly fun listen.
With a pair of singles, Yoko Ono furthers her case for artistic relevance as a proponent of fringe music that, like much of her back catalogue, was never intended for mass consumption.
First volume of the Go-Betweens' box set series: four LPs, four CDs, with re-issued albums, rarities and a live concert – a completist’s reverie.
After fighting the crippling effects of chemotherapy, George Ushers's dogged determination is apparent even at the outset.
Tuesday, April 7 2015
Superman's strengths are once again explored, but his weaknesses tell the story.
Chaz Bundick turns his restless dissatisfaction into artistic fuel on Toro y Moi's psychedelic fourth album.
The Lower Dens' new album is called Escape From Evil, but the way Jana Hunter tells it, recording it was nothing but a joy.
Given what we know about Billie Holiday now, much of Lady Sings the Blues can be read as autobiographical fiction.
On Billie Holiday's centennial, her influence remains everywhere in music. Jazz singers Cassandra Wilson and Jose James, have new tributes out on Blue Note.
This epic flick concludes a trilogy that, in retrospect, should have been a duology.
No Pier Pressure is a lifeless, limp collection of songs that counts as a Brian Wilson album in name only.
The comic series Wayward depicts the struggles of a group of supernatural teens growing up and fighting evil on the streets of modern Tokyo.
Perhaps this is the true ruffian’s misfortune: one mellows with age. Hubbard tries to pretend otherwise by snarling and playing blues licks.
Forgoing a more exploratory route, José James delivers a set of pleasantly predictable Billie Holiday covers.
In spite of a few generic weaknesses and maybe a little too much joy, Barnstar!'s sophomore effort's a boot-stomping good time.
Monday, April 6 2015
Frankenstein Underground is the magnificent postmodern crown jewel in the Hellboy-verse that creator Mike Mignola thinks of as a love-letter to Edgar Rice Burroughs. We think otherwise.
Yeah, the manic murder fantasy playground of Borderlands gets more subtle moments of humanity than the grand tragedy of Telltale's catalog, The Walking Dead.
Signs Preceding the End of the World is a moving novel about borders, identity and the world to come.
Some creators and publishers choose to make time and space infinitely malleable. Others take readers to new times and places while leaving characters in a single timeline.
The prolific songwriter and now acclaimed author John Darnielle tells PopMatters how he created his wrestling-themed album Beat the Champ, what he calls the Mountain Goats' "most musically interesting record by a country mile".
Maude certainly paved the way for other strong-willed, independent, feminist characters, but she more than others will be remembered for her wit and unwavering beliefs.
Young Fathers’ radicalization of pop is important and thrilling.
Has the US abandoned its middle-class creatives? Scott Timberg explains in Culture Crash.