Tuesday, March 31 2015
Benjamin Clementine's emotional cup runneth over... again and again.
Perfect Abandon seems to try and fit as many people into a tiny corner as possible. It's a straight-ahead folk record, but it walks that straight road with a crooked walk.
Art Pepper reignites his stake on the jazz industry in this modernized re-issuing of the first in his Neon Art series, originally pressed onto vinyl in 2012.
Monday, March 30 2015
This indie horror flick finds a young couple stranded in the woods looking for safety in an uncaring natural world.
There is plenty of horrible fun to be had in this weird mixture of horror, science fiction and good old fashioned, healthy, wholesome sports.
A victory of endurance, Blood Brothers should also be recognised as a testament to the resilient spirit of art and culture.
In Tall Buildings' Erik Hall got the name from recording in a Chicago skyscraper, but notes that "I don't tend to write songs that jump out at the listener, but rather kind of invite the listener in."
True Detective and Serial mark our society’s preoccupation with all things illegal, especially when they end in murder.
Amidst a transformational time in the post-Vietnam and post-Reagan eras, The Bends represented a transition between the tumultuous latter half of the 20th century and the new millennium ahead.
This oft-overlooked desert noir illustrates the residual violence of post-war America, where paranoia and deception abound.
Nearly five years after his last studio effort, Sufjan Stevens brings us a quiet meditation on grief.
The first new studio album since 1967 from these garage rock legends has its faults, but it's an overall solid addition to their already classic discography.
Russia’s premiere teller of bleak, woeful tales strikes again with There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children Until They Moved Back In.
This is pop music that's also anti-pop music. It's consistently accessible and intentionally confusing.
These Tall Trees veers towards a psych-lite sound, mostly upbeat and effervescent.
Recording in mono might seem like a back-to-basics move but the Mavericks never forgot what they were about anyway.
Friday, March 27 2015
This examination of documentary filmmaking, of truth and not-quite-truth, is somewhat undercut by the neuroses of its male lead (Ben Stiller).
Even though Jim Parsons is trying to distance himself from his Big Bang Theory character, his role in Home, like the film itself, feels awfully familiar.
Sometimes once in a rare while someone with a single idea disrupts an entire industry. Veteran Editor Janelle Asselin's Rosy Press might just be that idea for this generation.
Every time the movie makes the claim that its protagonist is a "strong woman", it just as quickly reduces her to the worst clichés.
You may find yourself laughing at the homophobia and hate on display in this borderline despicable film.Said snickers are nothing to be proud of.
This film about a woman so obsessed with Fargo she thinks it contains clues to buried treasure turns into a beautiful, chilly odyssey.
Morningstar plays like a Star Trek episode that forgot to add in a moral message about the nature of humanity at the end.
Don’t just sit there looking at your computer (or tablet, or phone). Engage!
The colourful science of marijuana and psychedelic drugs will make you wish you paid more attention in science class.
From Romanticism to structuralism, the musical ingenuity of Phish pays tribute to a variety of cultural movements; they're more dada than dad rock.
Starry Eyes presents a twilit world of hysterical ambition that would put Norma Desmond to shame.
Religious music, black metal, electronic, and 8-bit all come together in this bizarre yet ultimately captivating philosophical tome from Liturgy.
It roars, dilutes, squeals, shrieks, pulsates and squawks. Welcome to the world of Zu.
Chastity Belt brings the '90s nostalgia, but forgets to bring the variety along with it.
Pug fought through some tough times to produce this optimistic, rewarding record.
The candor of Bingham on Bingham reveals an intimate portrait of love and hope on Fear and Saturday Night.
True to its name, Vibes comes chock-full of different vibes for different situations.
Thursday, March 26 2015
In the lead up to the release of Convergence and Secret War, we explore why these comicbook stories matter to you, no matter what the publishers' say.
Where All Light Tends to Go is unflinchingly violent, difficult to witness, and tragic from its outset.
For once, a pop artist has rejected the idea of stardom, and as a result, has become one of the world’s most discussed pop stars.
Even teenagers two decades removed from The Bends' original release can still find deep emotional connections to its depiction of isolation and dissatisfaction.
This isn't some towering milestone of the genre, but it's something harder to pull off: a quietly intelligent, handsomely made, satisfying B-western.
The eclectic guitar becomes a tool that complements Laura Marling's lyrics on this pivotal album, at times articulating visceral anger and, at others, obliterating psychic barriers and clearing space for something new.
Green Girl is Kate Zambreno's searing meditation on a young American girl's coming-to-being in London.
With heavier rock influence and toned-down electronic methodology, The Scene Between represents the Go! Team's greatest deviation from their original template yet.
Goon isn’t great, but it is a fine example of what might evolve from pure pop purpose.
Andrew Combs is either ignorant of or recording in deference to the past by rekindling the gilded countrypolitan spirit on his sophomore release, All These Dreams.
The Booster series wraps up as the world bids farewell to Edgar Froese.
There's an innovative sound happening here, with many tracks sounding like they came from the soundtrack of some dystopian sci-fi world or even just the dark Orwellian future that’s currently on Earth’s horizon right here in 2015.
Wednesday, March 25 2015
By incorporating genres as diverse as Harry Potter, Dan Brown and Van Helsing, Gotham Academy #5 is as close to perfect as you can get.
In topics ranging from poverty to war’s ravages to environmental collapse, Piercy obeys the poet’s dictum to act as witness with Made in Detroit.
Thursday is no more, but their legacy lives on, with singer Geoff Rickly reissuing Waiting on his own label and talking about what chances, if any, there are to the group reuniting.
Many readers of our generation emulate Don Draper, having lost Dante's connections to Christianity or perhaps to any such deity.
The Bends is the 20th century's identity emerging under pressure, forced to search bleakly for some form of cohesion among an increasingly artificial and commercial world.
Like all great films based on great literature, Watership Down does a fine job of not replacing, but rather complementing the source material.
Earl Sweatshirt leaves shock horror behind and finds something much better on his brilliant third album.
Readers that aren’t easily offended will find themselves laughing and cringing at what is surely the raunchiest history book in years.
In the end, this is exactly what we have come to expect from Lightning Bolt; a set list of fuzzy, overwhelming, noise rock that keeps it simple while never missing its target.
Tulsa speaks to more than the desolate environs its sound sometimes suggests.
Distressing, awkward, disturbing and almost upsetting, this aura of discomfort, if combined with the sound of the term itself (|ˈkɒntrətɒ̃|) is the essence of the music presented by Joel Ebner.
Junior Wells and his men straddle two decades and lay down 15 gems.
Tuesday, March 24 2015
It’s when publishers create titles outside the hype of their most recognizable heroes that writers and artists are able take risks that can lead to some of the most innovative and original comic books available. This is where Gotham Academy comes in.
Ian Parton, leader of the Go! Team, weighs the maturation and development of his crazed wall-of-sound schoolyard aesthetic on new album The Scene Between.
Disturbing, funny, alluring and repulsive in a uniquely American way that no one likes to admit, The Voices should trouble you.
Far more than a comic book with an edge, Maus interrogates the fallacious identity politics of the Nazis, to an unforgettable effect. Given recent events in Europe, this is a vital book to revisit.
Die-hard Sondheim fans may enjoy this adaptation, but the rest of the world should revisit Chicago and wonder why Marshall hasn’t been able to capture that film’s magic since.
Forgoing the obvious hits and contemporary pop star collaborators, iconoclast Van Morrison raises the bar for what duet albums can and should be.
The assortment of different tunes here suggests McKay understands the complexity of the past and reveals her empathy for a more hopeful time when love and peace were fresh thoughts rather than a debased slogan.
Michael Booth sets out to investigate the mystery of Scandinavian perfection. He doesn’t find the answer, but what he does find is equally entertaining.
Larson's description of the torpedoing of the Lusitania churns like an angry sea, full of detail gleaned from memoirs and letters of survivors and rescuers.
The Brothers Jarman maintain a taut, propulsive sound. There’s no let up at all, and even the more melodic entries maintain a considerable amount of swagger and sway.
Does every album have to be a classic? Minor pleasures are still pleasures, at the end of the day.
The Popguns are an archetypal '80s/'90s Brit indie band who, although they can knock out a passable tune, lack the inspiration or adventure to stray any distance from their fixed musical roots.
Monday, March 23 2015
Superman reveals his identity and spends a day without his powers, but he still finds a way to be a heroic ideal.
Disorder doesn't know how to balance its gameplay with its story or its art with its gameplay. It's a game whose individual pieces work well on their own, but when mixed together, they only break what was in the beginning a pretty fun game.
This is Deepti Kapoor’s time to paint a picture of India that no one has the nerve to do anymore.
For every powerful moment, there is a scene that lacks force and overstays its welcome.
Americana legend James McMurtry is fiery, opinionated, and smart as a whip. His latest (accidental) endeavor: Occupy spokesman.
Rope of Sand, Dark City, and Union Station each extend the shadowy reach of film noir.
With one album Radiohead left an impressive music video legacy, one that would extend to later masterpieces such as OK Computer.
The Identical is as egregious a cinematic misfire as could be imagined, bumbling its message, its music, and even in its spiritual intent during its ingratiating 107 minutes.
Even though Courtney Barnett has tightened and punched up her sound, her songwriting still gets stuck in your head because she gets lost in her own imagination.
UK Next Big Indie Thing loves Pavement, whispering, on US reissue of 2014 debut.
The stories in Subtly Worded are lost gems from Russia's wacky past.
Modern jazz's legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette assembles a post-bop dream team from hell.
Americana cult favorite Shakey Graves whets the appetite of his fans with the pleasantly surprising release of the Nobody's Fool EP.
Another confident expression of this couple's quiet command of music and lyrics, Fortune wins us over again.
Friday, March 20 2015
Smashing the hubris of grand space opera against the neonoir of political investigative journalism, it’s only a matter of time until we make the leap to Shakespeare.
If gobbledygook was gold, Insurgent would be Ft. Knox.
Sean Penn tries to better Liam Neeson in the middle-aged ass-kicker action film genre, and fails miserably.
After the back-to-back-to-back brilliance of their previous three albums, a letdown seemed inevitable; amazingly, Ian Anderson & Co. raised the bar, instead.
As Elliot Murphy tells PopMatters, the new reimagining of his 1973 debut Aquashow may be the most profound musical adventure of his 40-plus year career yet.
Much of Nicolas Philibert's La Maison de la Radio is essentially The Office without any jokes.
Skip the self-help books on moving through the grieving process and get this album instead.
Elliott Murphy heads back to his debut album, "a lost classic" re-recorded and re-interpreted for the modern age.
Alfred Hitchcock's reputation for meticulousness in conceiving his thrillers also extended to his kitchen.
Longley’s greatest strength is her ability to share her emotions while never conceding to whatever adversity comes her way.
El Perro Del Mar's self-titled album has its charms, especially in this expanded edition.
Modern French house pioneer and Yeezus co-producer drops his first solo album after years of remixes and singles. Sadly, the result is far too middling.
Thursday, March 19 2015
Hearing the Pop Group in action in the present day makes you wish bands that are half the Pop Group’s age would try harder.
Arthur Mathew and Matt Berry's sitcom, Toast of London is almost too weird and wonderful to put into words.
Jonny Greenwoods' musical achievements on The Bends represent as far as he was ever going to get by limiting himself to channelling his ideas through his guitar.
This slow, long-winding walk around Paris is a languorous exploration of two lost souls.
Stone Jack Jones bestows upon us the truths of human nature that we are too blind ourselves to see.