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Red Gets Poisoned, but ‘The Blacklist’ Gets Better in “The Apothecary”

Decent writing, great casting, and a potential plot twist help The Blacklist recover some of its faded glory.

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‘Punching Henry’ and the Pains of Standup Comedy

Henry Phillips’ sequel to Punching the Clown revisits the difficulties of performing stand-up comedy (with his guitar,) but doesn't pose new questions about that experience.

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‘This Is Us’ Steps Into the Past for “The Big Day” Episode

Random circumstances are rarely random for the characters in This is Us.

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‘Santa Clarita Diet’: “The Farting Sex Tourist” Is Both Deep and Deeply Silly

Despite its title, the episode brings both the funny and the touching in the series' inimitable style.

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‘Get Out’ Is a Fantastic Freak-Out

Jordan Peele's new movie mixes humor, horror, and satire to create vital social commentary.

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24 Feb 2017 // 3:30 AM

The Feelies: In Between

Quieter but no less energetic, mature but still playful, the Feelies’ new record confronts the challenge of aging with eyes and hearts open.

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Dogs, Dialectics, and Academy Awards

Controversies involving A Dog's Purpose, The Birth of a Nation, and Last Tango in Paris reveal that access to more offscreen information can lead to greater accountability.

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24 Feb 2017 // 3:20 AM

Call Super: Fabric 92

Call Super offers a captivating mix to soundtrack the discoveries and revelations of the early morning

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Fabiano Do Nascimento: Tempo Dos Mestres

Awe-inspiring and all analog, Fabiano Do Nascimento fuses music and nature deep in the Amazon rainforest with enchanting results.

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La Nausée in the Spanish Empire: Antonio Di Benedetto’s ‘Zama’

A servant of the Spanish crown finds himself in remote Paraguay, entertaining fantasies and delusions that clash with the actual circumstances of his position. A bleak, comic, and tragic story of alienation.

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Mark Porkchop Holder: Let It Slide

Gritty bluesman Mark Porkchop Holder impresses on Let It Slide.

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24 Feb 2017 // 3:02 AM

Travis Linville: Up Ahead

Up Ahead showcases a bright and deserving future for this up-and-comer.

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24 Feb 2017 // 3:00 AM

Freedom in Movement: An Interview With Sarah Bethe Nelson

San Francisco-based songwriter Sarah Bethe Nelson got out of the West Coast's most expensive city and hit the road. The result: a new buoyancy and swagger in her music.

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On a Long Drive: An Interview with Andrew Davie of Bear’s Den

Bear's Den's Andrew Davie spoke with PopMatters about the band's latest album Red Earth & Pouring Rain and touring life after a sold out show at NYC's Bowery Ballroom. Photos included.

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‘Infamous Iron Man #5’ and the Long Road From Infamy

The world still sees Victor Von Doom as an infamous villain, but that infamy is the greatest strength of the story.

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This New Spielberg Biography Falls Short in its Analysis of a Storied Man

Film historian Molly Haskell's Steven Spielberg covers all of Spielberg's life, but its pointed analytic lens is too small to properly put his life's work in perspective.

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By Focusing on Androids, ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Risks Losing Some of Its Humanity

Focusing on the technology is a missed opportunity for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to truly explore issues of "otherness".

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‘Black Girl’ and the Ambiguous Nature of the Mask

Black Girl suggests that in its act of concealment the mask offers the revelation of the abyss that we truly are.

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A Linguistics Revolution: ‘Arrival’ and the Politics of Language

After watching Arrival, the sci-fi technology we think about is not possible developments in the future, but rather, one of our most intimate and fundamental technologies: the technology of language.

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23 Feb 2017 // 3:30 AM

Pissed Jeans: Why Love Now

Pissed Jeans rage against the everyday on cynical and caustic punk return.

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Earthen Sea: An Act of Love

The streets of San Francisco at night are the inspiration for Earthen Sea's latest.

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Power Trip: Nightmare Logic

This Dallas quintet speaks to the questions of "the edge" with might and imagination.

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Andrés Landero: Yo Amanecí

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more definitive collection of classic cumbia than Yo Amanecí.

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Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo: Peace

Japanese composer Satoko Fujii takes another crack at the big band route in the way only she can.

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Sad Suppers: An Interview with Los Campesinos!

From a four-year hiatus to Brexit blues, the new Los Campesinos! album tackles tough subjects but with a quirk-pop smile.

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Baranski, Jumbo, and Leslie Fight ‘The Good Fight’ In the “Inauguration”

In its debut episode, The Good Fight reminds us precisely how great The Good Wife once was, while setting its own course.

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The “Good Old Days” of TV Are Happening Right Now

Why American television is better now than it's ever been -- and the unexpected paths by which it got there.

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Surrealistic Superjam Conjures the Fillmore’s Summer of Love Glory Days

An all-star cast of Bay Area musicians gather for a magical night featuring the hippie hits of 1967.

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How ‘Gotham’ Re-Invents Batman’s Sexual Politics

Fox's Gotham finally gives DC an edge over Marvel as it interweaves morality and sexuality into a sophisticated narrative.

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Children of Alice: Children of Alice

An ambient project emerging from the remains of Broadcast, Children of Alice is often as lighthearted as it is spooky.

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‘Arrival’ and the Lost in Translation

Arrival reveals how it often takes something totally unexpected -- something alien to us -- to make us realize that we don't always know what we think we know about ourselves.

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Crystal Fairy: Crystal Fairy

A thrilling and very strong yet semi-straightforward rock album from a collection of very cool weirdos.

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Scott H. Biram: The Bad Testament

Scott H. Biram is a filthy-ass peacock in full bloom on this record, kicking arse and not even bothering to take names.

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No Country for Broken Men in Joseph Scapellato’s ‘Big Lonesome’

Even at their most impenetrable and monotonous, the stories here are still rich with refined poeticism and imagination.

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Dennis Coffey: Hot Coffey in the D

These 1968 live recordings offer a glimpse into Detroit’s storied music history courtesy of three of its finest session players.

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The Wood Brothers: Live at the Barn

In the world of new live records, you could do far worse than Live at the Barn, but it would be quite the task for you to find far better.

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‘This Is Us’ Slows Down to Question the Meaning of the Word Home

Home becomes a place to both run to and run away from in "The Right Thing to Do".

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‘Land of Mine’ Explores the Intolerable Costs of Nationalistic Vengeance

Land of Mine is perhaps the most powerful denunciation of nationalism's destructive force as we'll see on movie screens in 2017.

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‘The Black Notebook’ Shows Modiano’s Undiminished Capacity to Conjure the Magic of Paris

Someday, perhaps, a virtual reality headset will achieve something like what Patrick Modiano has done here.

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Art Transforms in Brad Bird’s Pop Americana Film, ‘The Iron Giant’

This film takes a revisionist approach to forms of American popular culture and mythology -- the Atomic Age, comic books, sci-fi, mid-century design -- and depicts a fierce battle between orthodoxy and individual vision.

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21 Feb 2017 // 3:30 AM

Xiu Xiu: Forget

On their latest effort, Xiu Xiu express their grave existential concerns in a structured, disciplined pop format, managing to sound palatable and even fun without diminishing any of their gravity or darkness.

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Hayes McMullan: Everyday Seem Like Murder Here

A window into an earlier time. Plain and simple: any serious fan of the Delta blues will want this record.

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Brisbane Punks in Transition: An Interview with Dune Rats

Their 420-friendly antics have gotten them barred from Vietnam, but for the Australian stoner-punks in Dune Rats, the good times are just beginning.

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Bloody ‘Logan’ Is a Worthy Sendoff for Hugh Jackman

Director James Mangold imagines a world in which superheroes must face their own mortality.

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There’s No Cure for Fakeness in ‘A Cure for Wellness’

Fox's unfortunate campaign for this film -- even the idea of it -- is exponentially more interesting than the film it meant to promote.

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‘Supernatural’ Goes All ‘Reservoir Dogs’ in One of the Season’s Best Episodes

Despite a few gimmicks, this week's potentially classic episode sets the stage for an exciting finalé.

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‘The Art of the Blues’ Captures the Music’s Visuals to Sublime Standards

Author Bill Dahl and art consultant Chris James' work celebrates the visual swagger of the blues simply for the sheer joy of those visuals.

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Kingdom: Tears in the Club

A future pop canvas of exquisite beauty, experimental club producer Kingdom shares an intimate, half-drunk night in and out of safe and not-so-safe spaces.

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Make It Clear: A Conversation With Feelies’ Co-Founder Glenn Mercer

Glenn Mercer talks about the latest in a long line of releases from The Feelies, In Between.

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20 Feb 2017 // 3:20 AM

Big Sean: I Decided

Is Big Sean cool? I Decided has done little to sway that to a “yes".

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20 Feb 2017 // 3:15 AM

Sam Patch: Yeah You, and I

Arcade Fire's Tim Kingsbury steps out on his own with a winning, engaging solo project full of analog synths and killer hooks.

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‘Aleksandr Sokurov: Russian Ark’ Serves as a Succinct Companion to the Landmark Film

At once a production history, a film analysis and a history of the Hermitage Museum, the Chair of the Film Studies at Aberystwyth University has written a concise and thought-provoking volume.

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Gary Stewart: Gary / Cactus and a Rose

Stewart sung with the stateliness of a drunk at the bar just one shot short of getting sloppy. He can be imposing one minute and heroic the next.

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William Matheny: Strange Constellations

Beside his seasoned piano chops, Matheny makes for a compelling debut.

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20 Hits of the ‘80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

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17 Feb 2017 // 10:05 AM

Tall Tall Trees: Freedays

Tall Tall Trees show that they are capable of big big things on their new record.

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The Fun Is Trapped on the Wrong Side of ‘The Great Wall’

The Great Wall strives to indict the selfish consumerism that defines Western culture, but its monsters get in the way.

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The Obscure Cities Series Blends the Subtle and the Fantastic

The steampunk cityscapes are fantastic in The Theory of the Grain of Sand, yet the underlying mystery is subtle.

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The Spirit In Her Soul Is Free: An Interview With Linda Clifford

From Curtis Mayfield to Neil Simon, the legendary Linda Clifford recalls how she capped the '70s with two full servings of spunk and sophistication.

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America’s Dirty Secrets Revealed in Robert Altman’s Short Cuts

Altman spent his entire career amplifying the hidden comedy in America’s soul. Short Cuts is his most sweeping and relatable sketch of the country caught off-guard.

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Jens Lekman: Life Will See You Now

Singer-songwriter Jens Lekman returns with Life Will See You Now, possibly his finest record to date.

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17 Feb 2017 // 3:20 AM

Dutch Uncles: Big Balloon

Big Balloon’s many highs don’t owe much to either trends or the tried-and-true.

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Teen Daze: Themes for Dying Earth

A cold atmosphere and candid words are what make Teen Daze soar on Themes for Dying Earth.

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Jens Lekman: Life Will See You Now (take 2)

Life Will See You Now makes no secret about exposing its tender heart, but luckily it has enough substance to rescue it from a Lifetime movie level of sentimentality.

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AJ Hobbs: Too Much Is Never Enough

As a backroads country outlaw and a soulful modern gentleman altogether, Hobbs makes a compelling case.

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It’s a Wonderful Death: A Thanksgiving Carol

This novel is reminiscent of Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol -- but with a twist.

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‘Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #4’ Is a Case Study in How Well Spider-Man Works as a Family

Superheroes can not only have families -- those families can make for compelling storylines. No deals with Mephisto required.

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Ramblin’ Jack Elliott: Young Brigham / Bill Durham Sacks & Railroad Tracks

Ramblin' Jack Elliott celebrated people who lived at the margins of society. He was older than the new, young generation. It was difficult to make him hip.

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Toothless: The Pace of the Passing

The Pace of the Passing is a first step for Ed Nash that doesn't completely work but shows the potential for something really special.

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Dave Barry Does the Unimaginable in an Exploration of the Sunshine State

Tired of fielding questions about what's the matter with Florida, a treasured American humorist takes matters into his own hands and finds out for himself.

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Decoding Dylan, a Servant of the Text

Bob Dylan’s work proves not only that he's an autodidact, but also that he understands the importance of structure, form, and tradition in both literature and music.

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16 Feb 2017 // 3:30 AM

Grails: Chalice Hymnal

The wandering core trio behind Grails has redrawn their boundaries by stitching all of their maps together.

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16 Feb 2017 // 3:20 AM

Strand of Oaks: Hard Love

Timothy Showalter is Strand of Oaks, and his fourth album packs a heavier, more ambitious punch than anything he's attempted before.

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Quelle Chris: Being You Is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often

Quelle Chris has made an ambitious project that is an off-kilter hike through different faces of equally forward-thinking and revivalist hip-hop.

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On Robert Walser’s Idiosyncratic, Whimsical, Sly, and Enchanting Works

Walser's attentiveness to the world's capacity for beauty and kindness in a time of brutality is the most interesting aspect of this book.

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John Huston and Truman Capote’s Bizarre Confection, ‘Beat the Devil’

Beat the Devil, playing at the Film Forum, is so tongue-in-cheek that it would seem to have caused disfiguration.

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‘The Santa Clarita Diet’ Realizes, “We Can Kill People”, After All

Drew Barrymore does breezy and ballistic in a narrative-heavy episode.

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Ricky Gervais’ ‘David Brent: Life on the Road’ Will Make You Laugh Until You Cry, Cry, Cry

Ricky Gervais' most iconic character becomes his most tragic in this surprisingly dour mockumentary.

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‘Arcade Fire: The Reflektor Tapes’ Is Supposed to be Hypnotic

The Reflektor Tapes is 66 minutes long but feels like three hours of pretension. The bonus concert film Live at Earl's Court is nearly two hours long but breezes by.

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Graham Central Station: Now Do-U-Wanta Dance / My Radio Sure Sounds Good to Me / Star Walk

The ex-Sly & the Family Stone bassist Larry Graham brings the funk on this trio of late '70s albums.

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John Mayall: Talk About That

British blues father returns with further evidence that he is a truly singular figure in the musical world.

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Paul Auster’s ‘4 3 2 1’ Has Flashes of Brilliance But Doesn’t Transcend Its Genre

The four lives of Archie Ferguson do not add up to more than the sum of their parts.

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Wondering, Maybe: An Interview With Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu

"Okay, we'll just go forth and not think about it at all. Hold the hand of the musical universe and see where she takes us."

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15 Feb 2017 // 3:30 AM

Ryan Adams: Prisoner

On his 16th full-length studio release, Ryan Adams puts heartbreak and loss on display with a gorgeous, deep-winter "divorce album".

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The Sadies: Northern Passages

Veteran Canadian rockers return from a multi-year hiatus stronger than ever.

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15 Feb 2017 // 3:15 AM

Vermont: II

There is a very singular sort of trajectory to II, lived-in and about as vital as ambient music ever deigns to be.

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Zombies and the Search for the Edible Other in ‘The Abominable Mr. Seabrook’

Joe Ollman’s new graphic biography is a revelation, showing the darkness and the light in the life of the man who introduced zombies to the world.

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‘Heart of a Dog’: The Sublime Journey of Lolabelle

Laurie Anderson's story of her rat terrier features moments of clever emotional connection.

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Pontificating Drama: The Glory and Absurdity of HBO’s ‘The Young Pope’

HBO's The Young Pope is a fascinating and ambitious filmic endeavor that's remarkably unpredictable, conceited, and foreign to the North American eye.

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Do Our Superheroes Satisfy a Secret Craving for Authoritarianism?

Chris Gavaler's On the Origins of Superheroes raises compelling questions about our fascination with men in tights.

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With ‘Throwing Shade’: Saf and Gibson Move From Podcast Superstars to TV’s Freshest Voices

The march towards equality gains two staunch, hilarious new voices with the day-glow dream Throwing Shade.

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Can Literature Like Banana Yoshimoto’s ‘Moshi Moshi’ Heal the Soul?

For those who haven’t yet experienced Bananamania, Moshi Moshi is as good a place to start as any. Because what Yoshimoto does, she does incredibly well.

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Race Explored With Different Degrees of Emphasis: ‘Pioneers of African-American Cinema’

Encompassing documentaries, silent comedy, melodramas and religious films, this collection of early cinema made by American-American filmmakers is fascinating viewing.

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Tim Bowness on Exploring (and Avoiding) the ‘Ghost Light’

Tim Bowness is putting out some of the most inspired music of his career. But on his new solo album, he tells the story of a musician "locked into one point in history".

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14 Feb 2017 // 3:30 AM

Moiré: No Future

Moiré sees a world spinning out of control on this mesmerizing left-field house album.

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Mozart’s Sister: Field of Love

If the candied aspect of Field of Love makes for an entertaining listen, the same characteristic at times limits the album's emotional scope and depth.

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Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Hillbilly Blues

The historical reframing and high quality of re-mastering make this and other Rough Guide early music collections well worth the time and investment.

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You Will Get Fooled Again: ‘Cinema’s Bodily Illusions: Flying, Floating, and Hallucinating’

On experiencing the cinema without representation or ideology.

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Bic Runga: Close Your Eyes

Made up of ten dreamy covers and two dreamy originals, Bic Runga's latest is a gentle reminder of the versatility and skill of one of New Zealand's national treasures.

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The Human League: A Very British Synthesiser Group

Some of the pop music on this collection ranks among the best, but fans and the curious of nature might be better off with acquiring the four-disc anthology than another greatest hits package.

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More Recent Features
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'Steep' Loves Its Mountains

// Moving Pixels

"SSX wanted you to fight its mountains, Steep wants you to love its mountains.

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