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10 Jun 2015 // 3:00 AM

Rumer: B-Sides & Rarities

This odds and sods collection finds the Karen Carpenter-esque Rumer making these soft rock/pop classics largely her own.

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‘Judgment at Nuremberg’ Shows the Cost of Not Caring

Judgement at Nuremberg is a reminder that the courtroom drama is Hollywood’s most underrated and underused genre.

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Weird Al Wins the Governors Ball Armed With a Fat Suit and an Accordion

"Weird Al" gave Governors Ball an outrageous and entertaining parody performance -- even the sound guy was singing along.

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Sunday Morning Coming Down in ‘Airboy #1’

This stuff is irreverent. Funny. Not suitable for children. Not suitable for adults. Wrong in so many ways. Unexpected. Crazed. Perfect.

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Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville

Rebuild 3 is a game about city management, managing that city's populace, its food supply, its resources, and the zombie hordes that surround it.

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9 Jun 2015 // 8:00 AM

A Haint in Detroit

A tale of a city and family in flux, The Turner House is a gripping, nuanced reading, heralding the arrival of a major talent.

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9 Jun 2015 // 4:00 AM

Twenty Years Into Her Career, Margaret Cho Is Just Getting Started

From her standup tours to the Golden Globes to her new comedy Tooken, Margaret Cho is an unstoppable force, and one that tells us she might be going behind the camera soon.

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Unrealistic Colors and Naturalistic Philosophies in Jean Renoir’s ‘The River’

In The River, Renoir transcends his own attractive colors, stumbling into a “realistic” philosophy of nature that the portraiture of color so often forbids.

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9 Jun 2015 // 3:30 AM

Muse: Drones

Drones could have been a return to form for Muse, but its heavy-handed political paranoia drowns out the music in a sea of unsubtle Orwellian buzzwords.

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Indigo Girls: One Lost Day

The Indigo Girls are still at the top of their game on One Lost Day.

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Christopher Owens: Chrissybaby Forever

Chrissybaby Forever's invariant topic matter coupled with saccharine singing over slow-mid-tempo songs become much too much over its lengthy tracklisting.

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Sonny Landreth: Bound by the Blues

Bound by the Blues is exactly what the title implies. Landreth doesn’t take any measures to redefine the material, and aside from his explosive playing, it pretty much hews to a traditional template.

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Andrew Gold: The Late Show Live 1978

A pop music journeyman gets his critical due with this live release, captured at the height of his commercial, if not critical, success.

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‘A Matter of Breeding’ Will Have You Rescuing a Shelter Dog

We’ve done our best friends a grave disservice by forcing them to conform to artificial standards.

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Drudkh: A Furrow Cut Short

Drudkh seem content to offer us another predicable yet satisfying slab of black metal.

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From the Bleachers to Cheer Captain: The Devolution of Taylor Swift

Whereas universality and populism mark Taylor Swift's early years, with her recent LP 1989 she has become the cheer captain she once railed against.

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Moonbabies: Wizards on the Beach

Swedish husband/wife duo Moonbabies take a more rhythm-centric approach on their latest, the dance-heavy indie pop Wizards On The Beach.

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‘Sombrero’ Is a Forgotten Technicolor Gem

Some may find Sombrero's quaintness patronizing and stereotypical, but those people may be more politically correct than truly multicultural.

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‘Murder in the First’ Is Only a Mild Intellectual Puzzle

In Murder in the First we see TNT's obvious investment in production, some promising direction, and a professional cast doing its best with a dodgy script.

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E.T. Meets Robocop Meets Hip-Hop in the Disappointing ‘CHAPPiE’

The character CHAPPiE itself is endearing, but the story and supporting characters of CHAPPiE ultimately fall flat.

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Hollow Redemption in ‘Wonder Woman Annual #1’

Wonder Woman responds to the Amazons' atrocities, but it's not in time and not enough.

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In ‘Theatre of the Unimpressed’, Failure Is the Great Subversion

Jordan Tannahill's book is full of provocative insights and exciting examples of theatre that is striving to resist the mediocrity that bores audiences the world over.

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A Nightly Ritual: Bob Dylan’s Never-Changing Set List

Bob Dylan's current show is a book musical without the book, crafted by the American Shakespeare.

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8 Jun 2015 // 3:30 AM

Jenny Hval: Apocalypse, Girl

Jenny Hval’s latest embraces aspects of popular music while also disregarding the limiting expectations that come tied to such forms.

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8 Jun 2015 // 3:20 AM

Chris Stamey: Euphoria

By looking backward, Chris Stamey manages to see a bright, euphoric future, one colored just as much by his influences as his own illustrious career.

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8 Jun 2015 // 3:15 AM

Uncle Lucius: The Light

Uncle Lucius cling tightly to the past, funneling several specific rural rock influences and generally echoing a ragged, Dixie-fried sound with a communal embrace.

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8 Jun 2015 // 3:10 AM

Shampoo Boy: Crack

Vienna-based trio deliver a tension-filled soundtrack for a tour of a post-apocalyptic underworld.

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‘Alan Turing: The Enigma’ Is Surprisingly Spiritual in Its Epiphanies

People who read Alan Turing: The Enigma after watching The Imitation Game will feel let down by the film. The epiphanies in the book are remarkable.

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Pokey LaFarge: Something in the Water

New album from Midwest heroes Pokey LaFarge mines a rich seam of roots styles, on a record which is joyous, musically seamless, progressive, and celebratory all in one.

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The Rhythmic Redesign of Porcupine Tree: An Interview with Gavin Harrison

Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison talks with PopMatters about the long and complex process that went into his creation of the big band album, Cheating the Polygraph.

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Homeboy Sandman: Tour Tape

This limited edition, tour-only cassette release finds Homeboy Sandman directing the conversation in hip-hop towards its pure founding ideals.

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Paul Dano and John Cusack Bring Brian Wilson to Life in ‘Love & Mercy’

Brian Wilson's life has all the makings of a modern day epic poem, a promise that Love & Mercy delivers on.

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‘Heaven Knows What’ Blurs the Boundaries Between Documentary and Fiction

Heaven Knows What brings fiction and experience together, raising provocative questions about how you believe one and the other.

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‘Insidious: Chapter 3’ Is the Same Old Spooky Business

Despite glimpses of something new, this installment in the Insidious film series is preoccupied with conventionality.

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With ‘Spy’, Paul Feig Proves That Only He “Gets” Melissa McCarthy

A bright and funny espionage spoof featuring amazing comedic work from Melissa McCarthy, and of all people, Jason Statham.

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5 Jun 2015 // 3:30 AM

Ash: Kablammo!

They vowed "Never Again", so is Ash's "KABLAMMO!" a "KERPLUNK!" or a "KAPOW!"?

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Champagne and Knuckle-Dusters, or, Modern Life in Singapore

Novelist and poet Catherine Lim, the most persistent critic of Singapore's government, talks candidly about her new memoir, the half-century anniversary of the city-state, and the death of founder Lee Kuan Yew.

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5 Jun 2015 // 3:20 AM

Jamaican Queens: Downers

Detroit trap-popsters tackle vicissitudes of love amid genre-weaving sophomore album.

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Loren Connors: Blues - The Dark Paintings of Mark Rothko

The aural equivalent of Rothko's Abstract Expressionism, Loren Connors manages an abstraction of the blues that gets to the very heart of the music's overriding emotionality.

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Patrick Watson: Love Songs for Robots

Patrick Watson defies all those who may consider him 'background music' by engulfing listeners in a sound experience that is definitely not just for robots.

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Dion: Recorded Live at Bitter End, August 1971

An archival recording of a transitional period in Dion’s eclectic career, this record offers a smattering of the styles for which he’s best known to varying to degrees of success.

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Ethel Payne’s Abundance of Nerve

Pioneering journalist Ethel Payne witnessed – and made – history

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Spandau Ballet Finds Redemption and Reformation After Years Apart

Drummer John Keeble talks about Spandau Ballet's reunion amid the group's first U.S. tour in decades.

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Jimbo Mathus: Blue Healer

With his 12th album in 18 years, Jimbo Mathus continues his deliberate shift from the fervent blues that inspired him early on and closer towards Americana.

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Criterion Puts Charlie Chaplin in a Different ‘Limelight’

Criterion's official release of Limelight should finally give Charlie Chaplin the proper recognition he deserves for his sound films.

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The Heightened Reality of the Art in ‘The Names’

Today, our series looking at Peter Milligan and Leandro Fernandez's The Names continues, with a focus on the art of the comic.

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Toni Morrison’s ‘God Help the Child’ Is a Cautionary Tale

God Help the Child shows Morrison's skill in fleshing out an idea through language and detail both rich and taut.

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Mark Wahlberg’s Performance Comes Up Snake Eyes in the Remake of ‘The Gambler’

Mark Wahlberg's performance in this thrice-removed Dostoyevsky adaptation is all surface moves, dance steps without the music.

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Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment: Surf

Surf feels less like the progeny of Chance the Rapper's Acid Rap and more like its twin brother, and it will likely be remembered with the same high esteem.

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4 Jun 2015 // 3:20 AM

Kinski: 7 (or 8)

Kinski’s latest for Kill Rock Stars sweats with liberation and exhales with focus.

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Various Artists: Remembering Mountains - Unheard Songs By Karen Dalton

By enlisting 11 iconic contemporary female artists, Tompkins Square brings these unrecorded songs to life in a manner befitting their creator.

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Coliseum: Anxiety’s Kiss

This is hard rock music in 2015 at its most fun, relevant, and genre-crossing.

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Someone Else’s South America: Louis C. K. Considers Life on Other Planets

Louie knows that if we do, ever, really encounter aliens, they're sure as hell not going to bend over backwards to accommodate our point of view.

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4 Jun 2015 // 3:05 AM

Passenger: Whispers II

Despite the similarities that blanket its selections, there's no denying that Whispers II is an overwhelmingly touching, serene, classy, and earnest work.

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4 Jun 2015 // 3:05 AM

Lost in ‘The Vorrh’

The Vorrh is almost certainly unlike anything you have read before, but is it worth the considerable effort required to traverse its many pages?

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The Indigo Girls Are Spreading the Pain Around

On their long-awaited 14th studio album, the Indigo Girls continue to expand on their influence as they reach out to long-time fans and new audiences.

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Jerry Lawson: Just a Mortal Man

Lawson’s experience in the industry has only blessed him with a greater step in his stride.

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‘The Decent One’ Takes on the Task of Humanizing Himmler

Using Heinrich Himmler's personal letters and journals, The Decent One presents an intimate family portrait of the architect of the Holocaust.

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Kiss and Kill: Vixens, Vamps & Vipers

Although the Golden Age of Comic Books gave us strong, independent and heroic women, the same era also showed a darker side -- villainous women punished for attempting to rise.

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Leo Tolstoy: Out of the Havoc Comes Human Compassion and a Shot at Redemption

Not only are Tolstoy's stories rich and touching, but they are fun to read -- even the tragic ones.

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3 Jun 2015 // 3:30 AM

Goatsnake: Black Age Blues

Sunn O))) guitarist Greg Anderson has revived his old band, and it's a balm to anyone who fears that all the good power chord progressions have already been written.

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As ‘The Longest Journey’ Makes Clear, a Good Story Is Not Timeless

The Longest Journey isn’t just dated because it has obtuse puzzles and blocky graphics. It’s dated because it tells a serious story that it doesn't know how to take seriously.

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3 Jun 2015 // 3:20 AM

Algiers: Algiers

The debut album from the post-punk/gospel trio Algiers is provocative, challenging, and nothing short of a triumph.

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3 Jun 2015 // 3:15 AM

Iron Butterfly: Ball

While many critics and hardcore fans have debated the merits of Ball, the truth is that it served as a solid follow-up to their one mega hit.

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3 Jun 2015 // 3:10 AM

Nosaj Thing: Fated

Fated exists as a road leading to a dead end, a journey with no arguable purpose.

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Blitzen Trapper: Live Harvest

To a certain extent, Blitzen Trapper's desire to retrace Neil Young’s fourth and arguably most famous album, Harvest provides some practical purpose; that is, to reestablish their Americana allegiance.

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Who Will Survive in America? Kanye West’s Hybridization of Hip-Hop

Kanye West's melding of multiple genres into the hip-hop fold is a complex act that challenges the dominant white notions of what constitutes true "art" music.

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Shelby Lynne: I Can’t Imagine (take 2)

This is Lynne’s show, and when she sings her voice is always the lead instrument, but she lets the layers of music carry her forward. Sometimes she gets wordlessly overwhelmed and resorts to sounds to express her emotions.

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‘1776’ Is Both a Window Into the Past and a Mirror to the Present

The American Revolution gets told in musical form in 1776, which reminds us that the past is not quite so different from the present as we like to pretend.

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It Feels Like Summer in ‘Planet Hulk #1’

Gladiator Captain America riding a big red T. Rex. I think you get the picture.

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There Are No Strings on Me: Ultron and the Top 10 Comicbook Robots

Ultron may be the most famous, but he's hardly alone in the ranks of comicbook automata. Here's a list of the 10 most interesting and important robot characters in comicbook history.

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‘Thirty Girls’: What We Learned Later

Thirty Girls is an artful fictionalized account of the 1996 kidnapping of the St. Mary’s College schoolgirls of Aboke, Uganda.

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‘Sunset’ Is a Tale of Objects

Sunset is an experiment in telling a story through the objects that people interact with.

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2 Jun 2015 // 3:30 AM

Jamie xx: In Colour

Jamie xx steps out from behind the xx's monochromatic palette with a Technicolor solo debut, the appropriately titled In Colour.

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Neoliberalism Is Changing Our World Without Our Even Noticing

Wendy Brown charts the ‘stealth revolution’ that’s transforming every aspect of society -- and now has democracy in its sights.

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Daughn Gibson: Carnation

Carnation finds Daughn Gibson taking scissors to his signature sound, recutting it to a new style all the while keeping his natural waywardness.

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Tori Amos: Little Earthquakes / Under the Pink (reissues)

Extremely welcome reissues of two of Amos’s classic ‘90s albums, which, over 20 years on from their original releases, have lost none of their ability to challenge, enlighten, and empower.

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The Mike + Ruthy Band: As Bright As You Can

Bright As You Can finds ballads and bluegrass a decided part of the mix, be it the shimmering steel guitar tempered “Chasin’ Gold” and “Freckled Ocean” or the opening good time romp of the title track itself. However, this pair are far more diverse than your typical back porch combo.

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Warm Soda: Symbolic Dream

Not unlike a sugar rush, Symbolic Dream's candy-coated sheen quickly becomes too much of a good thing.

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‘Children of Men’, ‘Babel’, ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, and the Mapping of the (Post)modern Global World

Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu, and Alfonso Cuarón -- the "Three Amigos" of Mexican cinema -- use their 2006 masterpieces to examine the global through the lens of the local.

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Mark Olson: Good-bye Lizelle

Mark Olson and guests create a warm sonic atmosphere with an international flavour on Good-bye Lizelle.

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‘A Year in Champagne’ Is All Fruit and No Acidity

There's plenty of dazzle but little depth in this champagne documentary.

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Keller Williams Huffs a Musical ‘Vape’ With His New Record

Two decades into his career, Keller Williams still feels more like a summer tour pal that anyone can relate to, rather than a distant rock star.

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‘Charlie’s Country’ Remembers and Lives Australia’s Tragic Colonial Past

Through a subtle script, exceptional acting, and brilliant cinematography, Charlie’s Country shows how the steady erosion of one individual’s autonomy illuminates an entire nation’s past.

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The Best in the Worst Circumstances in ‘Old Man Logan #1’

Wolverine is the best he is at what he does and in a world where he gets to prove it.

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Nobody Won the ‘War for the Soul of America’

Andrew Hartman’s engaging exploration of the culture wars confirms that the conflicts will never be resolved because both sides are too extreme for America's moderate middle-ground.

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Simon Spence’s Biography of the Happy Mondays Is ‘All Excess’

This is an excellent biography of the defining band of the ‘chemical generation’.

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Hacking Reality with ‘Axiom Verge’

Axiom Verge is the best game you won't remember playing.

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Soak: Before We Forgot How to Dream

Soak's full-length debut may be more briny than brainy, but it’s the emotional truths she sings that keep the listener afloat.

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In ‘The Bridges of Madison County’, Meryl Streep Proves She Is the Author of Her Films

It takes a superior actress to convey a character’s entire history in one scene, and in this film, at least, Meryl Streep does it masterfully.

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Girlpool: Before the World Was Big

Before the World Was Big is ready to comfort you on the road ahead, in so doing becoming the sound of growing up.

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Old Crow Medicine Show: Brushy Mountain Conjugal Trailer EP

Sometimes the most simple statement can sum up a career and all it entails. With the EP Brushy Mountain Conjugal Trailer, Old Crow Medicine Show have done just that.

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Arnold Dreyblatt: Nodal Excitation

A long but not-quite-lost piece of DIY minimalism gets its second victory lap on Drag City.

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Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld: Never Were the Way She Was (take 2)

Two Constellation instrumentalists produce an organic work of seismic proportions.

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‘Teaching Plato in Palestine’ Marks a Valiant Effort, but Falls Short of Consolation

Carlos Fraenkel champions two causes: the first is a culture of debate; the second is an allegiance to the principle of fallibilism. Unfortunately, both are hard to come by.

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“We’re All Fans”: An Interview with Judas Priest’s Ian Hill

Over 45 years in music, 17 studio albums and 45 million records sold. Judas Priest's only constant member talks about the band's storied history, the evolution of heavy metal, and the 30th anniversary of their seminal classic Defenders of the Faith.

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Striking Matches: Nothing But the Silence

Striking Matches have developed what is certainly an exciting first step in the right direction, cementing their album as one of the most solid full-length country debuts of the year so far.

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‘It! The Terror from Beyond Space’ Stars the Alien Before ‘Alien’

You may wonder why the final solution to killing the creature didn't occur to them earlier.

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Even the Rock Can’t Save ‘San Andreas’

What Dwayne Johnson does best, probably better than anyone else right now, is to draw attention to the absurdity and impossibility of himself.

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‘Gemma Bovery’ Is Just a Woman Trying to Be Happy

To viewers, the eponymous Gemma Bovery is an object to feel something about, rather than a being capable of feeling in her own right.

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