Friday, October 25 2013
A.N Wilson's The Elizabethans is a very readable history, despite the author's inability to get out of his own way.
Tuesday, September 30 2014
An issue about carrying on a legacy, but for only some of the right reasons.
One of Selfie’s biggest sins is how tone-deaf it is about social media and those who use it successfully.
Stapled onto an ephemeral present shaped by Lexus cars, Twitter, and transformational training, Murakami engages with timeless themes in his latest colourful tale.
Marvel is making their own live-action comic series, and while you don’t necessarily need to collect all the pieces to enjoy the story, there’s a much bigger payoff if you do.
"There’s something about identity I think is very fascinating and the idea of people having secrets and I think we all have that in our life."
To be in the minority is the natural condition of artists. The referendum gave Scotland's creative community a brief respite from its sense of isolation.
Lucas Pope's "bureaucracy simulator" both satirizes our information culture and reveals just how much we love mundane, everyday tasks.
It opens with images of mortality and ends with a monster’s operatic dance with a chain saw under a deathly, brooding Texas sun—it’s about America, man.
These two new albums are welcome additions to Prince's canon, as none of his post-2004 comeback discs are as wall-to-wall fun as these are.
Luke Winslow-King furthers his explorations of pre-war American music on his latest for Bloodshot.
Jam Gallahue and her English classmates are given journals to keep. But when they begin writing, something strange happens.
Former Carissa's Weird member Jenn Ghetto expands her solo project, S, into a full band for the best parts of Cool Choices. Oddly enough, it's when she's alone on the record that her emotions are the hardest to make out.
Zoot Woman’s eagerly anticipated return to the electronic music scene rarely reaches the glittering heights of its shimmering title.
By making an album for himself, Benjamin Wynn just might end up pleasing everyone.
Hornsby explores his many, many sides on a double-disc that might be tough listening for fringe fans.
Monday, September 29 2014
Any good futuristic tale worth reading should transport you to a believable, yet otherworldly reality. Luckily, Roche Limit succeeds at this…
Like Star Trek, this looks back as it looks forward, situating our present in an alternative world that reflects our story today.
The adventurous Annihilation + the Raymond Chandler-like Authority + the existentialist Acceptance = the engaging Southern Reach Trilogy.
We owe it to ourselves to recognize the many women in pop music that made an undeniable impact on popular culture and the world at large.
Despite its awful title, Gareth Murphy's extensive and compelling tome is the kind of stuff that music nerds' dreams are made of.
It takes 89 minutes to watch David Lynch's Eraserhead, but it could take 89 years to figure out what the hell it was that you just saw.
Tomorrow's Modern Boxes isn't about any new technology, even with its faux-edgy release through bittorrent; it's about the old question about the power and limitations of our human containers.
On third LP, Mended With Gold, the band pursues escape velocity with the most commitment yet, making the most bombastic and polished arrangements of their career.
While there's a fairy tale tone (think of the original ones, that don’t always have happily ever after endings), the characters are well developed and empathic.
On In the Orbit of Ra Sun Ra collaborator and Arkestra member Marshall Allen presents a portrait of the jazz legend every bit as complicated and strange as a cross-section of his reality could possibly be.
If We Loved Her Dearly is any indication, Lowell has simply run out of material, if not ideas, musical or otherwise.
This electro-dance trio wants you to feel human. Easier done than said.
Hate Core is alive and well! Sheer Terror, New York hardcore hate-mongers, return with a new record, new line-up, and their same old abhorrence for, well… everything.
Friday, September 26 2014
Tracks explores the problem of authenticity, what it means, and who perceives it.
If you follow your instincts and bolt at the start of this sturdy and bleak noir, you miss Tom Hardy creating a thing of beauty yet again
As much as Robert (Denzel Washington) delivers action and melodramatic conventions, he also hints at another possibility entirely.
Did I truly experience "the Real South" over the course of the Hopscotch Music Festival weekend?
Imagine Batman, the whole of the intellectual property, the full weight of publication and production history, now 75 years on from its inception, and imagine it as a town.
Throughout Strange Days Goodman displays elements of what the great Papa described as a “built in bullshit detector”.
The People's Platform exposes the Internet's capitalist underbelly of exploitation, control and broken promises, while still managing to offer hope for an alternative.
Somi is a not-exactly jazz singer with roots in Africa and the American midwest, and she has made the year's most amazing record, evoking the spirit of Lagos, Nigeria.
Despite their canonical status, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Oracular Spectacular, and White Blood Cells lack the staying power of truly great albums.
A Brony Tale isn’t as fun as it should be, but it does manage to say a lot of interesting things about stereotypes and fandom.
Despite the high anxiety, Night Surfer, Prophet’s 13th album, is pure-bred, colourful rock with a dark sense of humour.
The father/son team of Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman debuts with an impressive novel that supplants expectations and enhances the legacy of both authors.
A wild mix of styles are brought to the music of Fats Waller by the pianist Jason Moran and his collaborator MeShell Ndegeocello. A dance party that proves, again, that jazz boundaries are joyously crumbling.
Producer Jimmy Tamborello puts together a pleasant but modest set of textured beats and ambient sounds for his fourth studio album.
The Clean member Hamish Kilgour's first solo record, All of It And Nothing, doesn't seem interested in grabbing for your attention.
Almost every single moment of Savage Imagination is pretty and melodic, but these tracks tend to just drift by before dissolving into the next pretty, sweet bit of noodling.
Myth and Mythopoeia holds the course for John Zorn's career -- presenting music that is as difficult to hear as it is rewarding to absorb. There's also one track here that can be preserved for the ages.
Thursday, September 25 2014
How to Get Away with Murder is aimed to capture the essence of both of the Shonda Rhimes shows that precede it, Grey's Anatomy and Scandal.
“My own views on continuity are something of a mixed bag. Basically, I think the massive, over-populated mainstream superhero worlds create opportunities for interesting, inventive interactions between the disparate characters…”
The challenges of adulthood can alter the friendships we forge in childhood.
Maybe getting down just for the funk of it could indeed help unite the world in peace and harmony.
The Party, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Juggernaut give us good clean fun about slavery and brothels.
Hip-hop's turn for the weird in the '00s ended up being one of the smartest moves it could take. Forget the old guard; 21st century hip-hop succeeded in improving on its forebears.
Aching for the past dam(n)s The Stream.
Cohen's 13th studio release offers nine powerful reflections on the sacred and the profane with characteristic mix of humor and longing.
Glittered with transcendent brilliance, gilded shadows do not hide the empowered dramatic turn of Perfume Genius's Too Bright.
Like many of J.M. Coetzee’s books, this one feels written for and about the author himself, ruthlessly interrogating his own beliefs and purpose.
Single Mothers sounds like something you would expect from Earle: a carefully calculated and cohesive product.
This is psychologically dangerous stuff, and a great deal of enjoyment comes from revelling in Prude’s excesses. That comes to a point, though.
With Live at Biko, Mark Kozelek delivers a live set of highly compellingly autobiographical later period work that sets a new standard for the nakedly confessional singer-songwriter.
Girl Talk & Freeway collaborate to bring you a fast-paced EP that is well worth its short run time.
Wednesday, September 24 2014
Unlike weekly procedurals that wrap up everything with a bow, the knots tied in The Blacklist are entwined on frayed ribbon that runs the risk of falling apart.
At the New York premiere of "The Brighter Side of Day", Kathy Sledge captured the spirit and soul of Billie Holiday.
Tell your people, your super-people, that it won't stop here. It's coming your way, too. And if you have no super-people, may the lord have mercy.
Sarah Maitland writes How to Be Alone as much for us not-so-troubled loners as she does for the chronically extroverted.
It's been a life-changing five years for Bill DeMain and Molly Felder since the last Swan Dive album, but their new music is still warm and enveloping, often wistful and nostalgic, and always memorable.
Watch Dog's protagonist is a cliché that never grows beyond cliché.
The historical unfolding of hip-hop bears a strong similarity to that of literature. With that lineage in mind, it's easy to see why the '00s found hip-hop taking on its postmodern stage.
One might believe in the "Legend" of Billie Jean Davy if the distributor cared a little more about extras.
Tweedy father and son combo journey down a road of reflection and introspection.
The Violet Flame doesn't really reignite Erasure so much as keeps their torch going..
Stiched Up is an accessible, lucid book that analyses the exploitation inherent in capitalism through the often violent operations of the fashion industry.
The first album from this duo is at its best when it finds shape within its wide-open borders, when it cuts a path through all that bright light.
A comprehensive overview of 20 years of old-school punk protest and an alternate history of our nation’s turn from the 20th into 21st century.
While this trio may be a product of a certain day and age, it’s nice to hear that they aren't interested in rehashing old glories, necessarily.
PartyNextDoor may remind you of another former friend of Drake's, but he's a LOT less talented.
Tuesday, September 23 2014
In this show the doctor, Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd), is immortal. However, t's not what you think: he doesn’t sleep in a coffin, drink blood, or have sparkly skin.
The most tumultuous and varied era of comics is chronicled with balance and aplomb in American Comic Book Chronicles: 1965-69.
The classic farcical Sondheim musical springs to Blu-ray with all the hilarity of the classic movie, but only half the songs of the classic stage play.
The growing popularity and diversity of Canadian comics and graphic literature raises questions around how a culture and place presents itself to the world.
Sondre Lerche dealt with a difficult divorce going into the sessions for his latest album, Please, but it's the greatest thing he's ever done, and tells us about the saxophone solo that may have changed his life (yes, it's on the record).
Noir, as a definitive term, is elusive and always out of reach, as are dreams. So what are we to do with Fear in the Night, a noir that traffics in dreams?
Unburdened of revolutionary duties, Syro offers a deeply rewarding expression of one of electronic music's most dependably brilliant talents.
Black Moon Spell is a record about discovering yourself in the music you live. It's also a convincing and heartfelt next step for King Tuff, one as charmingly goofy as it self-assured and hard hitting.
Direct, beguiling and brilliant, songs from Wiseman's family history realised in accessible, caring ways which reflect and bring forward mountain traditions.
This is a band that is ascending, and people are standing up and taking notice, even if the group's name and sound are a little generic.
The monumental producer's compilation of recent singles and remixes may be the ideal party playlist, but it fails at just about everything else.
Monday, September 22 2014
Craig Ferguson has won his own game show in becoming a celebrity, and he's parlayed his winnings into being the host of The Celebrity Name Game with a chance to challenge the institution that turns so many everyday people into predictable, cookie-cutter contestants.
Characters collect, interpret, and decrypt, all while the countdown to Armageddon bellows like a tuba just offscreen.
It's no coincidence that Scorpion closely follows The Big Bang Theory on Mondays, a show that loves it nerds.
Gotham is off to a good start, so good that it's possible to watch the entire premiere without missing Batman one bit.
You say schlock like it's a bad thing.
Too reverential for its own good, this film feels like a social studies class instead of a work of art.
When a proud warrior becomes hardened by war, and it reveals her true strength.
Madam Secretary has more on its mind than entertainment, taking on intercultural conflicts and ethical dilemmas without obvious solutions.
Since the early '80s, The Rainmakers have been among the best bands to emerge from the Heartland Rock boom of that decade. They may be the best that's still at it.
The jazz of the '00s jumped past the great divide of earlier years, obliterating the distinction between tradition and avant-garde, jazz and pop, letting the genre blossom.
This excellent, entertaining, and accurate bio-pic of Bob Fosse's life and death was actually co-written and directed by Bob Fosse eight years before he died.
The contradiction of all second records but especially this one: Be what people expect when people want something unexpected.
I loved AC/DC as much as the next lunkheaded longhaired headbanger. But I don't know them any better than Jesse Fink does.
You have to respect Robert Plant's desire to take the crowd-pleasing, Grammy-approved formula of his last few records into wilder, hazier places. But the results don’t always reach their intended target.