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23 Nov 2016 // 10:15 AM

The Peace: Black Power

When the Summer of Love meets 1970s Zambia, the result is fuzzy, free, and guaranteed to make anyone cooler.

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Biography of X-Men Comics Writer Chris Claremont Is Weighed Down With Words

Claremont's long-form X-Men story, told over 186 issues, proves he's the master of the form. Jason Powell's new book offers an exhaustive issue-by-issue commentary.

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The Brian Jonestown Massacre: Third World Pyramid

Psychedelia has a tendency to seem unhurried while keeping a tempo it can’t quite enjoy, and Third World Pyramid finds Anton Newcombe honing in on a progression that works.

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23 Nov 2016 // 9:38 AM

Nicolas Jaar: Sirens

Sirens is a masterpiece. Melding pop and experimental music, it reflects the uneasiness of our difficult times.

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23 Nov 2016 // 9:31 AM

DAWN: Redemption Heart

DAWN concludes her Red Heart trilogy with an enigmatic yet polished dance album.

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‘Allied’ Fizzles Despite Some Sizzle From Pitt and Cotillard

Half the fun of a movie like this is rushing to judgement, only to be proven wrong by a clever twist in the script.

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23 Nov 2016 // 9:06 AM

Prince: 4EVER

Prince 4Ever is a look back at some of the legend’s most familiar work, and a refresher for fans who want the big hits but might also be exposed to some singles they missed along the way.

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Alexander von Humboldt Carried the Spirit and the Genius of Goethe

Humboldt knew that nature, when properly channeled and understood, is something felt and experienced deeply and personally, that stimulates the imagination as well as the intellect.

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‘Ballistick’: Looking for the Most Efficient Kill

The stick figure killer never looks badass, but you'll feel like a badass playing him, and that’s a much more impressive accomplishment.

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Free Nelson MandoomJazz: The Organ Grinder

Leave it to a band like Free Nelson MandoomJazz to remind us that jazz and metal can be fused so easily.

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22 Nov 2016 // 8:50 AM

Ken Sharp: New Mourning

Ken Sharp’s first new studio album in nine years, New Mourning is a deceptively sunny 14-track song cycle that contemplates the beauty and endurance of the human spirit in the face of crushing emotional darkness, loss, and regret.

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‘Small Radios Big Televisions’: Small Game Short Review

Games like Jazzpunk make me laugh and make me think. Small Radios Big Televisions just reminds me of staring into a lava lamp for a couple of hours.

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22 Nov 2016 // 8:42 AM

Phil Collins: Singles

The main question with Singles is this: does Phil Collins really deserve all the critical revilement he's gotten for decades?

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Planes Mistaken For Stars: Prey

Post-hardcore outsiders reconvene to unleash a harsh and harrowing assessment of modern society.

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22 Nov 2016 // 8:30 AM

Sad13: Slugger

Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz leaves her guitar and arch songwriting behind for sweet synthpop and a more direct, heart-on-sleeve lyrical perspective.

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Finding the Sublime in Jazz, an Argument for Abstraction

Jazz columnist Will Layman presents seven pieces of music as evidence of the beauty and urgency of pure sound in instrumental jazz.

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Smile! You’re on Cinerama

According to these "consumer celebration" films, the world -- even Russia -- was once a carefree, glowing place of gracious living.

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A Year in the Hype: Can ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ Live Up to Expectations?

Where they lead, we will follow… but what'll we find when we get there?

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22 Nov 2016 // 2:15 AM

Font Matters

Simon Loxley's Type Is Beautiful will have you realizing that you haven't fully lived until you've stared into the depths of Louis John Pouchee’s 18 Lines No. 2.

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‘Miss Sharon Jones!’ Captures the Remaining Days of This Wonderful Artist

Barbara Kopple’s documentary accomplishes a great deal in shining a light on such a dynamic figure at such a difficult time.

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Weird “Watkin” Is Nonetheless the Most Coherent ‘Dirk Gently’ Episode So Far

More focus and mind games lead to the most fulfilling Dirk Gently episode yet.

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In ‘Esteros’, When Intolerant Society Pushes, Love Pushes Back

While appreciating the beauty of Argentina, Esteros tells a story of timeless love.

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‘This Is Us’: The Ties Between Family (Biological, Chosen, Found) Resonate From the Start

This Is Us offers a pilot episode full of warmth and nuance, with enough edge to keep it from being maudlin.

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‘The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2016’ Takes a Different Approach, This Year

When I learned that the content chosen for this anthology had been selected by high school students, I got nervous.

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Tales From the Trees: An Interview With Carly Simon

In her best-selling memoir Boys in the Trees, Grammy and Oscar winner Carly Simon finds Orpheus, fights the Beast, and shares the moment she saw clouds in her coffee.

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On Robert Altman’s Subversive Anti-western, ‘McCabe & Mrs. Miller’

McCabe & Mrs. Miller toys with and subverts western tropes and traditions while flat out refusing to fall into others.

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A Tribe Called Quest: We Got It From Here, Thank You 4 Your Service

This is A Tribe Called Quest’s most political album, but those politics flow naturally from everything the group has given us throughout its existence.

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Lower Plenty: Sister Sister

On Sister Sister, Lower Plenty has made a move towards something a little slicker, more intentional.

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Waylon Jennings: The Lost Nashville Sessions

Taking the vocal tracks from recording sessions done for the U.S. military’s recruitment program in 1970, this collection then wraps them in an anachronistically glossy sheen.

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‘Eileen’ Is a Grimly Funny and Dark Story of Breaking With the Past

Eileen is an atmospheric thriller with a seductively ugly narrative voice.

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21 Nov 2016 // 2:10 AM

Kris Davis: Duopoly

A new jazz pianist in careful dialogue with Bill Frisell, Craig Taborn, Don Byron, and five other great players: half written, half freely improvised.

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GQ: Standing Ovation - The Story of GQ and The Rhythm Makers (1974-1982)

GQ arrived in the days of disco and left its mark on American music, one funky bassline at a time.

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Western Education: Restless Dreams

Western Education draw on the sounds of their youth for their latest EP.

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Let’s Get the Good Stuff Out: An Interview With James Newton Howard

Enamored with the power of storytelling, the Eight-time Academy Award nominee was pleased to write the score for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

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‘Now Thanos #1’ Challenges the Complexities of Pure, Unambiguous Evil

Expanding the narrative of a wholly evil madman comes with challenges and surprising intrigue.

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The Night Before (and Morning After) “Christmas” Offers Drama and Insight Into ‘Divorce’

By forcing Robert and Frances together over one eventful Christmas, Divorce hits its comedic and emotional peak.

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‘Manchester By the Sea’ Is a Tragedy Bursting With Life

In Kenneth Lonergan’s intricate character study, Casey Affleck’s deadpan grief and humor remind us that he is among America's best actors.

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18 Nov 2016 // 9:09 AM

Redspencer: Perks

It is tantalizing to think of what Redspencer could do with a serious budget.

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“Rogue Wall Enthusiasts” Offers a Few Answers, and a Lot More Questions in ‘Dirk Gently’

Someone tells Dirk he's a good detective, the story begins its forward motion, and a secret room lead Dirk Gently's third episode.

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Miles Teller Is a Knockout in Boxing Tale, ‘Bleed for This’

Director Ben Younger delivers an entertaining reminder that defeat is only a temporary condition.

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A Show, a Lifestyle, a Religion: 20 ‘Gilmore Girls’ Episodes to Make You Excited for the Revival

Family matters and townie shenanigans are front and center in this list of Gilmore Girls faves.

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You, Me, Everyone: Martin Tillman Discusses Inspiration For ‘Superhuman’

Cellist and composer Martin Tillman opens up about his new album and remembers the big dreams he dreamed before coming to America.

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Metallica: Hardwired… to Self Destruct

The metal greats' first proper album in eight years shows a renewed commitment to discipline, craftsmanship, and best of all, fun.

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18 Nov 2016 // 2:20 AM

Jay Som: Turn Into

Melina Duterte of Jay Som has had quite the whirlwind year, and to cap it off, she is re-releasing her 2015 album Untitled as Turn Into on Polyvinyl.

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Rumer: This Girl’s in Love

Rumer has retreated to the safe territory of Bacharach/David to reignite her career. It works: refined and assured, this is a magnificent execution of vocal craft on a timeless set of songs.

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18 Nov 2016 // 2:10 AM

Barry Gibb: In the Now

For Gibb, the present is with us, but we don’t know what to do with it. He’s not so much waiting around to die as much as he’s too tired to dance.

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Alsarah and the Nubatones: Manara

Alsarah and the Nubatones blend classic Afropop and subtle electronic sounds to write a bold, beautiful new page in contemporary African music.

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The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1963

A new sound was cropping up in Detroit in the late '50s, a sound quite unlike anything heard before.

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‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ Entertains and Frustrates in Equal Measure

J.K. Rowling mixes up a strange potion of Jumanji and Carrie.

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The Fall: A Frustrating Season Still Highlights Gillian Anderson’s Brilliant Character Work

Season three of The Fall may not have lived up to the previous two seasons, but it remains a largely absorbing series.

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A Departure From Everything: An Interview With Ben Browder of ‘Outlaws and Angels’

Sci-fi icon Ben Browder discusses his new film, his sci-fi past, and the ambiguous nature of heroes and villains.

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Write Better Songs: An Interview with Sleigh Bells’ Derek Miller

On the band’s fourth album, Sleigh Bells’ Derek Miller fought to set parameters for their expansive sound.

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James Baldwin’s Resounding Words in ‘I Am Not Your Negro’

As James Baldwin reminds us, "History is not the past, it is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history."

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17 Nov 2016 // 2:30 AM

Great Wealth Pays No Dues

Brooke Harrington follows the One Percent's money around the world in Capital Without Borders and shows how the world's richest stay rich.

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17 Nov 2016 // 2:25 AM

Lambchop: FLOTUS

Lambchop takes a hard left turn on their new album FLOTUS , which makes heavy use of electronic instrumentation and treated vocals.

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Dawda Jobarteh: Transitional Times

The West African kora goes from classical to cosmic on Dawda Jobarteh's brilliant sophomore release.

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Eli Keszler: Last Signs of Speed

New York-based percussionist and visual artist Eli Keszler guides you through the exotic darkness with an album that overflows with chaos, noise, and order.

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Joan As Police Woman and Benjamin Lazar Davis: Let It Be You

Let it Be You contains 10 bouncy, jagged tracks that move in eccentric and peculiar ways.

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Lindsey Webster: Back to Your Heart

Lindsey Webster showcases incredible class and exceptional musicianship on her third album, Back to Your Heart.

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17 Nov 2016 // 2:02 AM

Beekman: Beekman Vol. 02

Accessible to the mind and easy-going to the ear, Beekman never sounds like a tri-continent mess.

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As George Orwell Might Appreciate, This New Biography Abounds in Piety and Wit

As with Orwell’s writing style, very little goes to waste here, and John Sutherland's work is a remarkable achievement of synthesis.

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‘Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories’ Offers Filling Comfort Food for the Viewer

Ten different Japanese dishes tell the story of ten different Japanese individuals finding love, battling personal demons, and searching for meaning between midnight and 7AM.

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Slapstick, Thrills, Spooks and Camera Tricks in the 9.5mm Format

Indie entrepreneurs Undercrank Productions and Grapevine Video keep old silent films preserved for new generations.

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16 Nov 2016 // 10:15 AM

Dead Elvis, Money and Jesus

The very exciting life of the King since his death in 1977.

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16 Nov 2016 // 9:50 AM

Steve Lehman: Sélébéyone

The saxophonist and composer creates a collaborative hip-hop project that puts thrilling live syncopation and slashing improvisation to good work.

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Ryuichi Sakamoto: Nagasaki - Memories of My Son

When you want weighty music for your weighty film, Ryuichi Sakamoto is the guy to call.

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16 Nov 2016 // 9:39 AM

She & Him: Christmas Party

Still more Christmas music from the anachronistically twee odd-couple duo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward.

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‘The Blacklist’ Continues to Mistake Ambiguity for Complexity

First half, too clever by half; what The Blacklist hasn't achieved this season is far more impressive than it what it has.

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16 Nov 2016 // 3:00 AM

Leonard Cohen and the Death of a Ladies Man

Leonard Cohen, synchronicity, and coping at the dawn of a darker age.

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Sleigh Bells: Jessica Rabbit

Noise pop duo rise to the challenge of diversifying trademark sound with host of new elements, crafting one of their strongest albums.

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16 Nov 2016 // 2:20 AM

Brent Cobb: Shine on Rainy Day

Country singer-songwriter Brent Cobb returns with an earnest, low-key collection of songs that sit nicely within the tradition of Nashville outsiders who came to define much of country music.

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Eugen Ruge Explores Alienation in ‘Cabo de Gata’

Ruge's latest muses upon the routines and ruptures of belonging.

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Damon Bell: Altered Visions EP

Damon Bell's little EP offers just that: rarely-changing loops that fall flat if you can't get hooked.

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Extended Dance Mixes: An Interview with Fujiya & Miyagi

In crafting three EPs to make the basis of their new album, Dave Best walks us through what sudden fame feels like, how he doesn't really care about album sales, and the most irritating aspects of Postman Pat.

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‘The Eagle Huntress’ Flies in the Face of Adversity

One of the most spectacularly cinematic sports on earth is highlighted in this real-life story of a girl who fought back gender oppression.

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Michael Chabon’s ‘Moonglow’ Is a Big, Fat (Fun), Lie

Chabon merges his earlier and more recent literary profiles in a vivid, at times explosively entertaining, and occasionally schizophrenic novel about history, memory, and family.

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‘Before the Flood’ Offers Knowledge About and Hope for Stopping Climate Change

A film about deadly environmental practices changing our world may also be changing television distribution practices.

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‘Good Girls Revolt’, “Nasty Women” and the Politics of Recognition

Amazon's Good Girls Revolt may be set in the past, but it resonates loudly with the electoral present.

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This Sporting Life: A Brit Learns to Love the Basket

At first, I didn’t have a clue what was going on at this Celtics game. By the end, I still didn’t have much more of a clue -- but I was hooked, anyway.

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15 Nov 2016 // 2:25 AM

Wolf People: Ruins

Britain's Wolf People get back to the earth with a heavy, fuzzy wallop of an album reaches into the past while carving out a sound of its own.

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15 Nov 2016 // 2:20 AM

Katie Gately: Color

Coming from an artist who outwardly flirts the obnoxious, Color is surprisingly tasteful.

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15 Nov 2016 // 2:15 AM

Helmet: Dead to the World

Dead to the World finds Page Hamilton holding old Helmet and new Helmet together in perfect balance.

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With Great Sound Comes Great Responsibility

Cheng's Just Vibrations poses the only essential question left unanswered by the academy and the secret of its truly massive failure: an absence of any instinct to repair.

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Luísa Maita: Fio da Memória

Luísa Maita's sophomore album is effortlessly cool, a lush contemporary fantasy under neon lights.

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Gene & Eddie: True Enough: Gene & Eddie with Sir Joe at Ru-Jac

True Enough collects the Maryland-based soul duo’s complete recordings for the Sir Joe Quarterman-owned Ru-Jac label.

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Steve Vai Brings Passion and Warfare to the Fillmore

The album cover features a quintet of fairies flying around Vai, suggesting a shamanic ability to traverse alternate dimensions. The album does exactly that, with Vai exploring bold sonic territory in a compelling manner.

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Season Three of ‘Black Mirror’ Maintains Its Tone of Grim Absurdity

Season three of Black Mirror doesn't always hit the mark, but it remains endlessly interesting.

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Wonder Woman Embraces Men’s World. Men’s World Embraces Her Back

Wonder Woman fights in a crowded mall after drinking a margarita with men.

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Frances and Robert Can’t Put Their Feelings Into Boxes in a Punishing Episode of ‘Divorce’

In "Gustav", Divorce can't seem find its feet as Frances and Robert lose both the battle and the war.

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Star Trek’s Utopia: Dilemmas of the Early 21st and Late 24th Centuries

How do you challenge utopia in utopian ways when the utopia itself seems flawed?

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Private Goes Public in Miklós Janscó‘s ‘Private Vices, Public Virtues’

With this highly contentious erotic drama, Miklós Janscó fashions a most insular story of sexual freedom with an impenitent degree of self-indulgence.

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There’s This Little Bar Down in New Orleans… Interview With Chris Hannah

Bartender Chris Hannah is an old soul who's perfectly suited for Arnaud's French 75.

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14 Nov 2016 // 2:24 AM

Super Unison: Auto

Poetic justice at once ferocious and dreamy, Auto sees Super Unison as a voice that takes you and grabs your attention.

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14 Nov 2016 // 2:20 AM

Body Language: Mythos

Seasoned though they may be, Body Language maintain the youthfulness and vigor of a band just starting out, and this album still has the charm and promise of a debut.

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With the Holiday Shopping Season Rapidly Approaching, Is the Ancient Virtue of Frugality Possible?

Contemporary "frugalists" are only playing at a virtue that previous generations practiced, willingly or not, to an unenviable degree.

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The Griswolds: High Times For Low Lives

A desperate plea for radio recognition, the Griswolds' High Times For Low Lives is a step back for a band known for tentpole hooks and untempered kinetic dynamism.

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Soundwalk Collective: Killer Road

Atmospheric soundscape architects Soundwalk Collective team up with proto-punk legend Patti Smith to breathe new life into the work of Nico.

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14 Nov 2016 // 2:05 AM

U.G.: Portals

Delivered through a mastery of dark spell, Portals finds rapper U.G. ensuring that his telesthetic rhymes are grounded in the loping swings of granite-heavy beats.

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14 Nov 2016 // 2:02 AM

Lubomyr Melnyk: Illirion

When Lubomyr Melnyk takes the bench, the notes coming raining down.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Emerging from My Hiatus from Big Budget Games

// Moving Pixels

"I'd gotten burned out on scope and maybe on spectacle in video games, but I think it's time to return to bigger worlds to conquer.

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