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Trio Da Kali and Kronos Quartet: Ladilikan

Trio Da Kali and the Kronos Quartet are musical soulmates on collaborative album Ladilikan.

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‘Soul Survivor’: On Al Green, Coming to Terms With His Powers

This book is a compelling and exhaustively detailed account of a man at peace with his life, a man who may... be pleased with a final exit that sees him keeling over dead in mid-sermon.

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‘Caca Dolce’, or, Self-indulgent Solipsism for the Facebook Generation

A collection of 18 personal essays charting the writer's sexual, delinquent, family, and substance abuse journeys.

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TIFF 2017: ‘Faces Places’ (Visages Villages)

Agnès Varda's usual cinematic beauty and charm come through, with her subjective experience creating a wonderfully delightful film about art.

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‘I’m Not Here’ Is One of the Richest and Gently Disturbing Graphic Novels I’ve Read in Years

We travel with the protagonist, suffering the same confusions that define her life.

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‘The Gang’s All Queer’ Challenges Simplistic Assumptions About Gang Members

Vanessa Panfil seeks to complicate the popular narratives surrounding gang members and the hypermasculine, hyper-heterosexual lives they lead.

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Twang to Trombones: Top 20 Picks for AmericanaFest 2017

When Wynonna and Lee Ann Womack drag queen impersonators are NOT the highlight of the night, you know you need to be at these shows. AmericanaFest has something for every music fan.

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On Passing Gas and the Time in Yasujiro Ozu’s ‘Good Morning’

Ozu’s Good Morning demonstrates that platitudes such as “hello” and “good morning” are not merely pleasantries, they are acts of reconnaissance.

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The Next Hot Music Scene Can Be Found at Twin Peaks’ Bang Bang Bar

One of the most heartening and compelling aspects of David Lynch's approach to this new season of Twin Peaks is his widened musical palette.

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Queens of the Stone Age: Villains

More energetic than 2013's ...Like Clockwork, Villains finds QOTSA teaming up with super-producer Mark Ronson to emphasize their grooves as much as their riffs.

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12 Sep 2017 // 2:20 AM

Lunice: CCCLX

CCCLX is an album that works best when experienced front-to-back, as the simply-built tracks effectively build upon one another toward a common end.

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12 Sep 2017 // 2:15 AM

Lizz Wright: Grace

There is a Southern elegance to the music. One can almost touch the Spanish moss. The songs are frequently languid and sensual.

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Andrew W.K. Breaks Out of His Shell

Andrew W.K. talks about making life choices, his "life-force", the yearning to connect with fellow humans, the church, and some of the early rock gods.

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‘The Bold Type’ Blends Political/Social Issues With Good Female-Centered Action

The Bold Type still needs work, but watching women portrayed as smart and competent and funny and flawed is undeniably refreshing.

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TIFF 2017: Le Redoutable

Blinded by love for Godard, Le Redoutable is an uncritically sexist bore.

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‘Stephen Colbert’s Midnight Confessions’ Runs Hot in the Show, Cold in the Book

Reading Colbert's Midnight Confessions cover to cover is a little like watching Peter Pan’s shadow run around the room -- you can't nail it down.

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O Brother, How Art Thou? Grayson Perry’s ‘The Descent of Man’

The Descent of Man is a spider's web of a book: fine, delicate and strong, catching and highlighting the trappings of modern masculinity without force.

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Bresson and Ray on Money and Its Corruptions in ‘They Live by Night’ and ‘L’argent’

Nicholas Ray's debut and Robert Bresson's farewell to cinema may be split by decades and operate in different genres, but they come together in examining the fatalistic implications of money changing hands.

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The Brill Building, Broadway, and Beyond: R&B and Soul Singer-songwriter Joshie Armstead

Original Ikette and Northern Soul legend Joshie Armstead retraces her journey from Mississippi juke joints to revered music royalty.

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Midnight Sister: Saturn Over Sunset

Though thoroughly steeped in the ‘60s and ‘70s music that influences them, Midnight Sister’s sound is indeed now -- a timeless effort for the duo’s first time together.

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CYMBALS: Light in Your Mind

On their third album, the artsy UK synthpop outfit CYMBALS have matured, but have they gotten better?

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11 Sep 2017 // 2:15 AM

Neurosis: The Word As Law

Out of print since the 1990s, The Word As Law show the evolution of Neurosis from straightforward hardcore to a more thoughtful, but nonetheless aggressive, outfit.

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Lal and Mike Waterson: Bright Phoebus

Once considered too weird for the folkies, this long-out-of-print 1972 album featuring Ashley Hutchings, Martin Carthy, and Richard Thompson in addition to Waterson siblings is a long-lost masterpiece.

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You Must Do What You Love to Survive: ‘Rock in a Hard Place: Music and Mayhem in the Middle East’

Rock in a Hard Place is a sober chronicling of music in some of the most conservative countries on the planet.

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The Realpolitik of Wildlife Conservation is Explored in Documentary, ‘Trophy’

Trophy pits emotionally unsettling images against a sophisticated blend of practical justifications which compel a more mature outlook on the correlation between big game hunting and wildlife conservationism.

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‘The Teacher’ Shows That Communism’s Impact Still Resonates

Director Jan Hrebejk uses a Bratislavan high school to explore abuse of power and the effects of group complacency endemic to the time.

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A Bullied Nature Nerd Falls Victim to His Own Deep-rooted Revenge in ‘Outburst’

Coudyzer's visual narration suggests that even though many children can be inhuman in their cruelty, even the worst eventually grow into human beings.

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8 Sep 2017 // 8:30 AM

The Flipside #6: Spectre

Spectre attempts to unify classic Bond camp with the grittiness of the Daniel Craig 007 films. Can anything be salvaged from the resulting mess?

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Tori Amos Finally Lets Her ‘80s Flag Unfurl and Reissues “Y Kant Tori Read” After Three Decades

As she prepares the high-profile release of her new studio album Native Invader, Tori Amos sneaks out her almost forgotten '80s debut that has been officially unavailable for three decades: Y Kant Tori Read.

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‘Television Antiheroines’: Wherein Women Stake Their Claim to Darkness and Desperation

An examination of the changing political/ sexual/ power roles of women in international television crime and prison drama, from The Sopranos through Orange is the New Black.

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The Dream Syndicate: How Did I Find Myself Here?

Nearly 30 years on, the Dream Syndicate sound even more revelatory and energized than when last heard from them.

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8 Sep 2017 // 2:20 AM

ODESZA: A Moment Apart

ODESZA demonstrate their natural ability to write tight, late summer floor fillers on mixed third album.

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8 Sep 2017 // 2:15 AM

Living Colour: Shade

Funky hard rock veterans still own the block and knock socks off.

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8 Sep 2017 // 2:10 AM

Adam Rogers: DICE

Jazz guitarist Adam Rogers makes a record drenched in rock and funk but not without complexity and melodic invention. Strong brew.

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The Pleasure Is in the Hunt: Tomas Leach, Director of Documentary ‘The Lure’

"There’s a beauty... about the fact that we can wholeheartedly throw our selves into something, even if we think the end thing might be impossible, futile or non-existent."

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Just Flying Through: ‘Generations: Iron Man and Ironheart #1’

A chance for Riri (Ironheart) Williams to expand her appeal fails to take off.

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Stephen King Adaptation ‘It’ Hurts

Director Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King’s horror classic is a hodgepodge of tones and genres that begs the question, “Who is the audience for this movie?”

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No Spoons are Bent in ‘Spoonbenders’ But the Laughs Make Up for It

Daryl Gregory's wry tale of psychics deftly intermixes a family saga, a mob thriller, and high-concept storytelling.

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Bond on Valium? This Game of ‘Hopscotch’ Is a Low-key but Entertaining Affair

A slow first act can't keep Walter Matthau from soaring as an opera-loving agent with no more license to kill.

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Zen Champ: An Interview with Iglooghost

Defying the very limits of genre (as to be expected when signed to Flying Lotus' label), Iglooghost's eclecticism is primed for a breakthrough.

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Tori Amos: Native Invader

On her 15th studio album, Tori Amos dispenses wisdom and evokes complex, unspeakable emotions with inimitable skill.

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Mogwai: Every Country’s Sun

Every Country’s Sun certainly has some very lovely, dense, and poignant moments borne out of creative and unpredictable arrangements, yet the majority of it fails to leave any impression.

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Paul Simon and the Flipside of “Feelin Groovy”

This is why Paul Simon's songs of darkness, bridges, and boxers still matter in these troubling times.

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Patti Smith Is Some Messed Up Kind of Saint

Perhaps what Smith's Devotion teaches us most easily is the virtue of hubris.

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Technology Is the Servant of the Human Beings: The OMD Interview

At the turn of the postmodern era, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark was on top of the world. They were the cutting edge of pop music, whether they hate to admit it or not.

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The Rest Is Silence: Why 1967’s Tribal Rock Musical ‘Hair’ Resonates in These Times

Americans may have been "letting the sun shine in" for the past 50 years, but now the burning sensation is out of control. Revisiting Hair serves as a salve.

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6 Sep 2017 // 2:30 AM

Zola Jesus: Okovi

Zola Jesus takes a confident and empowering stance on matters of life and death in her supremely dark but undeniably uplifting new album.

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OMD: The Punishment of Luxury

On their third post-reunion album, the synth veterans' triumphs more than make up for a somewhat dated message.

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Lilly Hiatt: Trinity Lane

She writes and sings in the first person about addictions, bad love and such in a voice scarred and innocent like a sinner reborn. Hallelujah!

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6 Sep 2017 // 2:10 AM

Avey Tare: Eucalyptus

Recalling Syd Barrett, the record continues here and there with intentionally poor pacing and a wacky progression.

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6 Sep 2017 // 2:05 AM

Adam Kolker: Beckon

A mature and quiet record featuring jazz trio (sax, guitar, drums) and woodwind trio, this is a floating, whispering joy.

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Ever Wish You Could Go into a Parallel World? Todd Tucker on ‘The Terror of Hallow’s Eve’

For those who have been bullied, revenge fantasy The Terror of Hallow's Eve may prove cathartic.

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Percival Everett’s Latest Is a Muted, Sober Rendering of What Seems to Be a Cliché

So Much Blue is a controlled novel of interwoven timelines about an artist coming to terms with the secrets he's kept from others.

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How Hollywood Saved Itself (Again) at the Summer 2017 Box Office

The Summer Box Office of 2017 does not represent the death of the Hollywood. It simply represents the changing face of Hollywood accounting.

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The Clark Kent of Jazz: Bassist Ben Allison on His Latest, ‘Layers of the City’

Bassist and composer Ben Allison may be the most unassuming man in jazz, but his music is unique and brilliant. He talks with jazz critic Will Layman about finding his sound.

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The National: Sleep Well Beast

Sleep Well Beast, the National's best LP since Boxer, features some of the band's most raucous numbers to date, as well as a newfound use of electronics.

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David Ramirez: We’re Not Going Anywhere

Ramirez mixes anger and compassion on an album that should bring a larger audience to this, at turns, philosophical and confrontational songwriter.

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Alex Chilton: A Man Called Destruction

Alex Chilton’s 1995 selection of covers and originals produced with constructed spontaneity is reissued with bonus tracks and a vinyl debut.

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Raymond Scott: Three Willow Park

This double-disc set collects more than 60 ideas, experiments, and fully-realized works from early electronic music pioneer Raymond Scott.

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Mints Rule by Fear But Bonbons Do Not

Forget fresh breath, bonbons breed bon mots.

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Walter Becker, the Cayenne in the Steely Dan Recipe

Steely Dan's Becker and Fagen were storytellers who invented characters whose odd, off-putting circumstances commented on the world as incisively as any Bob Dylan lyrics.

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In Praise of Homeboys: An Interview with the Kasai Allstars

A unique inter-tribal superband, the Kasai Allstars, provide the soundtrack for the Kinshasa based film Félicité, utilizing a hybrid style that adapts not only traditional instruments but cultural attitudes.

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Horror Film Director Norbert Keil and Actor Barbara Crampton Discuss the Pleasures of the Genre

"All characters should be able to justify their actions, however heinous," says Crampton, who plays a twisted doctor in body horror film, Replace

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Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Conquer Climate Change in Berkeley

When Petty & the Heartbreakers hit the stage, they’re accompanied by the electric vibe that comes with being a classic rock band on their 40th anniversary tour.

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William Parker Quartets: Meditation / Resurrection

Two slightly different quartets led by bassist William Parker, each ferociously swinging and free, to breathe life into your listening.

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‘Supergirl’: Season Two Offers a True Multigenerational Viewing Experience

Supergirl is super charismatic in super campy action; Warner Brothers brings the DC character to life for a new generation.

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EMA: Exile in the Outer Ring

EMA's Exile in the Outer Ring is a jet black post-industrial fever dream.

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1 Sep 2017 // 8:08 AM

Bicep: Bicep

Bicep iron out and stitch together elements from throughout electronic musical history to create one of the most distinctive and exciting dance albums of the year.

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How ‘The Quiet American’ Continues to Colonize Vietnam

Neither bombs nor bumbling Americans broke the will of the Vietnamese. Something far more insidious and far-reaching, however, may have.

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1 Sep 2017 // 2:45 AM

Philosophy for X-Philes

The X-Files and Philosophy ponders deeper questions, both in Mulder's and Scully's world and our own.

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Prohibition: When Chicago’s Seedier Elements Became National Celebrities

Al Capone’s Beer Wars features an exhaustively researched, incredibly in-depth look at organized crime in Chicago during the years of Prohibition.

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Rising, Falling, and Rebuilding In Marvel’s ‘Secret Empire #10’

Secret Empire begins and ends with a struggle that warps, re-warps, and obscures reality to the utmost.

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In a Battle for Digital Media Literacy, Scholars Debate ‘Liberalism In Neoliberal Times’

A cabal of contributors demonstrate how collective efforts to truly achieve a lived understanding of the political theory of neoliberalism are failing at a societal if not global level.

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‘Halt and Catch Fire’: Season 4 Deals With the Past While Moving Forward

For all the big events this show covers, Halt and Catch Fire never sacrifices nuance and thoughtfulness for twists or attempts to outdo itself.

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On ‘Game of Thrones’ and Its Problematic Nod to John Ford Westerns

With Game of Thrones' massive cultural power comes responsibility. Alas, the John Ford homage "The Spoils of War" episode fails to address "savage Indian" stereotypes.

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Brockhampton: Saturation II

Brockhampton has created a new offering that is equally refreshing and enjoyable by pretty much following their original formula to the letter.

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Madeline Kenney: Night Night at the First Landing

Madeline Kenney wows with her delicately transcendent debut album.

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John Pizzarelli Recreates Sinatra/Jobim and Makes It New Again

The soft-voiced jazz guitarist who shares a home state with Ol' Blue Eyes reimagines Sinatra's bossa nova record 50 years later.

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‘Moscow 1956’ and the Beginning of the End of Soviet Rule

Arresting and weighty, Moscow 1956 recreates the triumph and tragedy of a society recovering from the ravages of despotism but still ensconced in the throes of an authoritarian political system.

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It’s Time to Confront the Tyranny of the Professional Class

The Amateur argues that professionals -- and the roles they assume -- facilitate the wealth generation of those in power in our neoliberal hierarchy.

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A Specialist in Dying Arts: An Interview with Steven Wilson

Steven Wilson talks with PopMatters about a restored love for adventurous pop, the challenges of writing a simple song, and the role of a musician in addressing political tumult.

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Cromulons and Headists: Finding Religion in ‘Rick and Morty’

Rick and Morty can't resist the tug of religion in its dark and expletive-filled sci-fi universe.

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Dälek: Endangered Philosophies

Dälek release a statement regarding the current state of reality. By reflecting on their past and collecting the various aspects making up the essence of their identity they unleash a vitriolic work of experimental hip-hop.

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Penny & Sparrow: Wendigo

Penny & Sparrow’s somber mood is still the same, but their lyrical and musical exploration bring them to their most ambitious state thus far.

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Gary Bartz NTU Troop: Harlem Bush Music - Uhuru

Stepping out on his own with the NTU Troop, saxophonist Gary Bartz delivered an empowering declarative opening statement of purpose with 1971’s Harlem Bush Music – Uhuru.

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Rosemary Clooney: I Feel a Song Comin’ On: The Lost Radio Recordings

It’s too late to change the popular perception of Rosemary Clooney as an artist, but this is a pleasant release nonetheless.

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‘The Emoji Code’: It’s So Much More Than Just a Smiley Face

Linguist Vyvyan Evans digs into background and possibilities of Emoji. For lovers of language, it’s a worthy expedition.

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How Professional Wrestling Flung Itself Into the Arena of the Opinionated Class

The Mountain Goats' Beat the Champ and TV show Glow are just two examples of how wrestling has become "cool" to a snobby demographic.

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29 Aug 2017 // 2:30 AM

Deerhoof: Mountain Moves

Deerhoof has been cranking out vital, multifaceted music for decades, and their latest album shows no signs of the band slowing down.

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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: The Echo of Pleasure

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are back to show us that '80s alternative synthpop isn't dead, and it's perfectly fine to be mopey as long as there's a good beat.

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Dean Hurley: Anthology Resource Vol. 1: △△

The Twin Peaks soundtrack collection exposes a key architect for one of the most daring shows of all time.

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Dan Tepfer Trio: Eleven Cages

A piano trio on the rise, these guys play free or precise, romantic or mechanical, standard or original. Get your ears opened, but there is better on the way, I'd guess.

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Does the Recent Scholarship on ‘Mein Kampf’ Risk Giving It More Legitimacy Than It Deserves?

Fringe bohemians and academic dropouts can produce great beauty and brilliance, in addition to great horrors. So what’s the point?

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‘Tokyo Boogie-Woogie’ Guides Readers on a Musical Journey Through Japanese Modernity

Tokyo Boogie-Woogie outlines the contested space of Japanese popular songs as the modern nation evolves.

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Terrapin’s Allstars Rock Petaluma All Day Long to Keep Music in the Schools

“Outside of the corporate music business, it’s an amazing time for music,” Robinson said prophetically a couple days earlier in an interview on Sonoma’s NPR station KRCB.

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‘Friends From College’ Is a Show About Identity That Fails to Establish Its Own

Netflix's new series stumbles with a season that's sometimes lovely but mostly messy.

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PopMatters’ 2017 Fall Film Preview: At Last, the Film Industry Awakens From Its Slumber

From Gary Oldman in The Darkest Hour to James Franco's meta-experiment Blade Runner: 2049 and Daniel Day-Lewis's final role, here are the movies you'll want to watch ... and a couple you might not.

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28 Aug 2017 // 2:30 AM

Iron & Wine: Beast Epic

Sam Beam returns to his roots with a warm acoustic record which is often understated but packed with emotional power and arguably his strongest vocal performance to date

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Akercocke: Renaissance in Extremis

After a decade in waiting, progressive black/death metal connoisseur Akercocke, returns with an enticing album of brutal intentions and twisted machinations.

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Chris Speed Trio: Platinum on Tap

The ubiquitous saxophonist goes way forward and way back on this trio date.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media

//Blogs

Stevie Wonder Takes a Knee as Green Day and Others Also Speak Out at Global Citizen Festival

// Notes from the Road

"The 2017 Global Citizen Festival's message for social action was amplified by Stevie Wonder and many other incredible performers and notable guests.

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