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17 Apr 2017 // 2:30 AM

Joe Goddard: Electric Lines

Hot Chip's Joe Goddard takes a solo turn with Electric Lines.

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It Takes a Village to Put a Man on the Moon: An Interview With the Creator’s of ‘Mission Control’

Director David Fairhead and Executive Producer Keith Haviland of Mission Control marvel at the men behind the first man on the moon.

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‘Exit West’ Is a Compassionate and Imaginative Fable of Migration

Mohsin Hamid rewrites the rules of time and space to tell the tale of migration in universal terms.

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14 Apr 2017 // 10:01 AM

J. Geils: 1946-2017

Hard Drivin’ Man: J. Geils brought blues, jazz, soul -- and his name -- to one of rock’s great bands

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‘About Time’ Is the Donald Trump of Romantic Comedies

About Time professes to celebrate life, but instead celebrates perhaps the most narcissistic, selfish behaviour ever rendered in film.

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Is a Haunting Glimpse Into the Unfathomable

Timeliness of its themes and message aside, The Handmaid’s Tale is absolutely worth watching for the quality of the show on its own merits.

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Seeking El Dorado Is Its Own Reward in ‘The Lost City of Z’

Questing for humanity in the uncharted Amazon, James Gray’s new period epic is told at a whisper.

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14 Apr 2017 // 8:56 AM

Tamikrest: Kidal

Desert struggles make for purposeful rock and roll on Tamikrest's latest album of Saharan desert blues.

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Laura Marling: Semper Femina

This is art, not philosophy where the truth of beauty makes one slobber, not just salivate. Desire is too intense for good manners.

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The Bug Vs. Earth: Concrete Desert

This is difficult, oppressive music, full of sounds that would rather suffocate than eviscerate. The Bug vs. Earth really feels more like Earth's, and specifically Dylan Carlson's, project, in mood if not instrumentation.

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‘Colossal’ Stomps Along Its Own Quirky Path

Nacho Vigalondo’s monster dramedy is an intoxicating mix of the sublime and the surreal.

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‘The Lost City of Z’ Gets Lost In Its Own Ambitions

James Gray filters his rousing jungle epic through the lens of familiar melodrama with decidedly tedious results.

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‘Stephen Stills’ Won’t Be Making an Appearance Tonight

This new biography of Stephen Stills is an entertaining and informative overview of one of rock's most durable legends -- even without Stills' input.

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Ripples in the Water: A Conversation With Nick Allbrook of Pond

Nick Allbrook discusses politics, new music from Pond, and the influence of his native country, Australia, on his music.

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‘X-men Blue #1’ Brings Back an Original Cast With Renewed Energy

The original X-men get a fresh, but familiar infusion of energy.

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‘The Fate of the Furious’: Dom (Vin Diesel) Meets the Crocodile

Cipher (Charlize Theron) is the kind of smooth-talking villain you find in a Bond film, inflicting psychological and physical torture with abandon. Dom doesn't stand a chance.

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‘The Good Fight’: “Self-Condemned” Offers Needed Wins, Familiar Faces, and Bad News for Maia

Is Maia going to jail? Did Colin Sweeney just become a good guy?

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The Sexual, the Female, and the Forbidden Beckoned: ‘The Oxford History of Witchcraft & Magic’

It is hoped this solid anthology of level-headed observation will supplant spurious New Age-tinged assertions as well as lurid "exposés".

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In Praise of Comedy Films That Aren’t Funny

A look at the rather funnily not funny films, Blast-Off and Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood.

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13 Apr 2017 // 2:30 AM

Sam Gellaitry: Escapism III

The streaming era has opened up the floodgates for people looking to make music, but the chief indicator of breaking through is still sheer quality; Sam Gellaitry has that rare quality.

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Make What You Can: An Interview With Maximo Park

In a change of pace, UK guitar-rock giants Maximo Park tackle both the political and the personal on their latest effort.

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Marc Almond: Hits and Pieces - The Best of Marc Almond and Soft Cell

Hits and Pieces concentrates on the commercially-appealing aspects of Almond's recordings, painting him as the pop star he has always been so reluctant to be.

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Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer: Bach Trios

Three musical masters combine forces to tackle all manner of compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach, with thrilling results.

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13 Apr 2017 // 2:10 AM

Matt Mitchell: FØRAGE

Pianist Matt Mitchell has made a solo piano recording (his first) of compositions by Tim Berne, his longtime leader in Snakeoil. It is in every sense a masterpiece.

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So Help Me: Bartlet, Trump, and the Presidential God-complex

The West Wing's Jed Bartlet developed a God-complex because he became president; Donald Trump ran for president because of his existing God-complex.

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‘Win It All’ Plays It Safe

In Joe Swanberg’s latest amiable amble of a comedy, Jake Johnson plays a broke gambling addict who tries not so hard to do the right thing.

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‘Supernatural’: The Twisty “British Invasion” Is Confusing, Surprising, and Fun

Supernatural (finally) airs a must-see episode of genuinely surprising plot twists.

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King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard: Flying Microtonal Banana

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard's experiments with microtones are ambitious, strange and dense.

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Rev. Samuel Dixon Presents the Voices of Freedom: My Soul Says Yes

You don’t need religion to love gospel music. If church ain’t your thing, just play this every Sunday and the light will shine upon thee.

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Fleetwood Mac: Tango in the Night

Somehow, time and a fresh remaster have turned Tango in the Night's digital sheen and cool, clinical professionalism into virtues. How'd that happen?

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The Old Dominion in Song: Lamb of God’s “Hourglass” and Virginia’s Brand of Violence

Bombardments, assaults, volley-fire, flank attacks -- this is the vocabulary of Virginia’s bellicose imagination. It's also an apt lexicon for describing Lamb of God’s catalog.

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Filmmaker as Prism: An Interview With Terence Davies of ‘A Quiet Passion’

Davies reflects on his response to Emily Dickinson's work and the echoes of the poet within himself.

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12 Apr 2017 // 2:30 AM

Gonjasufi: Mandela Effect

Gonjasufi offers a companion piece to his most recent album which furthers his dark and warped artistic vision.

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12 Apr 2017 // 2:20 AM

Sondre Lerche: Pleasure

Messy in its composition and its emotions, Pleasure finds Sondre Lerche creatively unhinged -- and what fun it is.

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Alfred Hitchcock May Be a Moralist, but He Does Not Moralize

Hitchcock’s Moral Gaze argues that Hitchcock examined the darkest edges of his characters to help his audience understand their connection with the act of watching, gazing, and sometimes not connecting.

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Ruby Amanfu Gives Rich Emotional and Musical Experience at Lincoln Center

Amanfu's rich, gorgeous set alternately had people itching to dance or wiping away tears.

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On ‘The Singing Detective’ and the Horrors of Tin Pan Alley

How Dennis Potter's 1986 BBC-TV masterpiece The Singing Detective still resonates in the new Golden Age of TV.

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‘The Good Fight’ Offers Unexpected Portrayals of Difficult Topics in “Reddick v. Boseman”

A pastor, sexual abuse claims, a slimy lawyer and a botched suicide all paint a glorious picture as this first season winds down.

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The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band: Front Porch Sessions

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band's new LP features songs that are rough and rootsy with no concessions to modern technology.

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Whit Dickey / Mat Maneri / Matthew Shipp: Vessel in Orbit

A trio of viola, piano, and drums plays a recital of total improvisation, but the adventure is beautiful, focused, cohesive. Recommended to any listener with a taste for the (slightly) different.

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11 Apr 2017 // 8:34 AM

Vanbot: Siberia

Siberia is an album-length experiment in transferring mood and environment to tape.

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Less Dogma, More Dissent: Paglia on ‘Sex, Gender, Feminism’

Contrary to what her critics might have one believe, Paglia demands more, not less, of contemporary feminism.

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Hormonal Rush: The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again) of Shakespears Sister

In 1992, Shakespears Sister released Hormonally Yours, a bizarre, moonlit excursion into gothic glam-pop, featuring a host of songs beamed in from the galaxies of sci-fi.

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11 Apr 2017 // 2:30 AM

Actress: AZD

Scottish producer Actress evokes abandoned spaces, decaying yet futuristic, with skill and precision.

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Idealism to Mass Murder in ‘The Road to Jonestown’

The author of Manson tracks how Jim Jones’ tragic magnetism and promises of racial solidarity and socialist utopia pulled hundreds of people into his fatal orbit.

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Be Brave: An Interview With Jenn Grant

On Paradise, Jenn Grant looks for ways to stay connected and finds them in people, in nature, in dreams, in moments, and in the universe.

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Broadway’s ‘The Play that Goes Wrong’ Is More Tiresome Than Winsome

The Play That Goes Wrong aims for oversized laughs via an outlandish caricature of a murder-mystery performed within.

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Do You Really Want to Know What’s ‘Behind the Door’?

The tales behind the camera are as sensational as those in front of it in this potent mix of beauty, propaganda and the macabre.

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Noam Pikelny: Universal Favorite

Despite being one of the pre-eminent banjo players of the day, Noam Pikelny proves on his fourth solo LP Universal Favorite that even an established musician still has to put himself out there.

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“Heaven Just Got a Little Bit Smoother” Eases Us Into ‘iZombie’ Season 3

"Heaven Just Got a Little Smoother" both catches us up and quickly drops the audience back into the high stakes facing these characters.

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Orquesta El Macabeo: La Maldición del Timbal

Brightly colored beats and subtle complexities make Orquesta El Macabeo's latest salsa album a bold and graceful masterwork.

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The Jesus and Mary Chain: Damage and Joy

The Jesus and Mary Chain become their own context on their first new album in forever.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Has to Do Some Heavy Lifting in ‘Aftermath’

Aftermath strips away the action and relies solely on Schwarzenegger to carry the story.

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What Can Today’s Activists Learn From the Vietnam Anti-war Movement?

The lessons of the Vietnam peace movement are at risk of being distorted and forgotten, argues one of its founding voices.

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10 Apr 2017 // 2:20 AM

Arca: Arca

Arca's third album is both emotionally enrapturing and conceptually thrilling.

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The Gang’s All Here: An Interview With the Cairo Gang’s Emmett Kelly

Emmett Kelly's the Cairo Gang returns with an Untouchable album of no frills rock 'n' roll; Ty Segall guests.

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‘Colossal’, Monsters, TV and You

Among other things, Colossal asks you to consider your own responsibility for what and how you watch.

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‘Flash’ Dance: ‘Supergirl’ and ‘The Flash’ Team up in the Delightful “Star-Crossed”/“Duet”

Kara and Barry go on a musical adventure in the latest DC crossover event.

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Behind Francis Ford Coppola’s Magic, the Work: ‘The Godfather Notebook’

No one other than Coppola could have directed The Godfather, because the mental effort to work Puzo’s world into film is on the level of science fiction.

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7 Apr 2017 // 8:21 AM

Goldfrapp: Silver Eye

Silver Eye comes close to being an absolute triumph, thanks in large part to the extraordinary sonic boom that the production packs.

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The Beautiful Game in the Time of Tyranny

What a Brazilian football player who taught a nation how to fight dictatorship can teach us in the Age of Trump.

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‘SHOT!’: A Photographic Tribute to Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll

Barney Clay’s doc about legendary photographer Mick Rock is a must-see for fans of glam.

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7 Apr 2017 // 2:20 AM

Vex Ruffin: Conveyor

Vex Ruffin adds further variation to his post-punk meets hip-hop sound to create a confident and unique album.

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Guided By Voices: August By Cake

Setting “Pollard’s 100th LP” up as a historic marker may set up expectations the album isn’t prepared to deliver. At this point, it’s best to think of his discography as a raging river -- jump in, hold in for as long as you can handle it.

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Paul Madonna’s ‘On to the Next Dream’ Sketches out a Rapidly Changing San Francisco

Progress -- that is, gentrification -- marches on in San Francisco, for better and for worse, in this fantastical narrative from the creator of All Over Coffee.

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“If It’s Going to Rain, I Grab an Umbrella”: Pianist George Winston Talks Creativity, Patience

George Winston returns with an album dedicated to the medical facility that saved his life.

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‘X-men Gold #1’: Give Peace and Understanding a Chance

The Xmen's powers and their conflicts are like the weather. Sometimes they're like a simple gust of wind. Sometimes, a full-blown, not peaceful at all hurricane.

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Lettuce Tackles Mt. Crushmore in Uptown Oakland

Trumpeter Eric Bloom is the unsung hero of the night, leading Lettuce through some jazzy space jams that conjure the greatness of the Miles Davis fusion era.

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SFIFF 2017: ‘Landline’ - Disfunction and Difficult Transitions in the ‘90s

Landline relishes its '90s setting, focusing on face-to-face interaction over the emotionally isolating communicative technology used today, as a means for exploring larger issues.

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The Velvety Face of Halfnoise’s Zac Farro

When not working as Paramore's drummer, Zac Farro continues his electronic experiments with Halfnoise, sounding now more fully formed than ever.

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The Story of Hemingway and Dos Passos Is as Exciting as Any of Their Novels

The Ambulance Drivers tells of how Hemingway would use literature to seize the world and Dos Passos would use literature to change it.

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Criterion’s ‘Lone Wolf and Cub’ Includes the Original Six Films in the Series

This series of films about a masterless samurai bent on revenge while protectively raising his son features moments of pastoral silent beauty juxtaposed with quick stylized violence.

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Father John Misty: Pure Comedy

Joshua Tillman has crafted one of the year’s most undoubtedly ambitious albums, melding of-the-moment musings with classicist songwriting. It’s his best work yet.

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6 Apr 2017 // 2:20 AM

Cory Branan: Adios

Not content to follow the rules of a single genre, Cory Branan expects his fans to work a bit at keeping up with him. With Adios, he proves worth the effort.

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Saltland: A Common Truth

Rebecca Foon has managed to take what could have been a narrow exercise in chamber music and crafted something with real emotional depth and scope.

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Could This Possibly Be a Piano? The Futuristic Nostalgia of Hauschka

Volker Bertelmann of Hauschka carries a bag of wedges, sticks, marbles, rulers, razors, kitchen implements and tea lights -- ordinary objects that elicit extraordinary sounds from his instrument.

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San Francisco International Film Festival: Ten Movies to Put On Your Radar

With the San Francisco International Film Festival kicking off this week, prepare yourself with these ten highlights from the lineup.

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John Waters and the Demented Delights of the Demi-Monde

Multiple Maniacs revels in the importance of unimportant things.

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Curtis McMurtry: The Hornet’s Nest

McMurtry can be coy, but then shock with his bluntness. In fact, it is his willingness to take things a little too far verbally that gives the record its punch.

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Julia Holter: In the Same Room

Julia Holter explores her songwriting with an album focused on live in studio recordings.

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5 Apr 2017 // 8:49 AM

Drake: More Life

More life, more everything, more Drake, more songs, more sounds, more tings.

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Lars Svendsen Dispels Assumptions About Loneliness

In A Philosophy of Loneliness, Svendsen doesn't so much elucidate the topic of loneliness as he complicates it, thereby dispelling our many illusions.

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‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Is Cross-Training for the Mind

If I want cross-training for my mind, video games have great potential, especially if I play a variety of games. However, if my goal is being "ready for anything", tabletop RPGs are best.

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Fifteen Years Later, ‘Donnie Darko’ Is Still Worth Enduring the Impenetrability

Richard Kelly's debut is as good as it permits itself to be, which is just short of masterful.

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The Personal Find: Bill Doggett’s “Honky Tonk Parts 1 & 2”

A jump blues song that sold over a million copies was nowhere on my sonic horizon until I discovered it in a dusty box at the back of a thrift store.

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5 Apr 2017 // 2:30 AM

Hauschka: What If

Volker Bertelmann's minimal arrangements are carefully, even lovingly constructed. As complex and challenging as this collection can be, it feels honest above all else.

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’ Ghost in the Shell’: Sometimes Discovering Your Identity Means Fighting a Spider Tank

This version of the long running franchise focuses on visually dazzling aesthetics and beautifully choreographed action -- and spider tanks.

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‘True South’ and the Foot Soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement

True South functions as a reminder of how great and important Eyes on the Prize is, and why it remains essential.

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Umphrey’s McGee Treads Where Eagles Dare in Oakland

There's a fine line between just enough and too much, and Umphrey’s McGee aren’t shy about going over the edge just for the hell of it. But the band is at their best when they can rock just up to the edge.

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Can You Believe It?: The ‘No Such Thing As a Fish’ Podcast

The researchers behind BBC's QI emerge from behind the scenes to inform, entertain and tease via their award-winning podcast, No Such Thing As a Fish.

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The Other Is a Void: Intimacy and Loss in ‘45 Years’

45 Years gently explores the unbridgeable distance that is hidden within intimacy.

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4 Apr 2017 // 2:35 AM

J. Cole: The Coronation of a Hip-Hop Underdog

J. Cole is like King David, Kanye West is like King Saul. So goes the biblical story...

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Future Islands: The Far Field

If Future Islands have created a formula, they have yet to exhaust its creative potential.

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Lydia Ainsworth: Darling of the Afterglow

Lydia Ainsworth's sophomore LP is a warmer and more open effort than Right from Real, one that achieves remarkable consistency throughout.

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‘Elvis’s Army’: Training for a War That Never Came

A masterful look at the US Army between Korea and Vietnam: stumbling into an uncertain future, amid racial integration, endless paperwork, and nuclear-armed jeeps.

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Timothy Seth Avett as Darling: IV

The Avett Brothers frontman returns to his solo project after over a decade, and it's a good one.

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Entrance: Book of Changes

Echoing the past can be more problematic than it is cool, a case made by the first Entrance release in a decade.

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Heath Green and the Makeshifters: Heath Green and the Makeshifters

God Bless Alabama, its clay, or whatever the hell else it may be that incites these grooves.

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The Politics of Happiness: ‘Kushuthara: Pattern of Love’ and Bhutanese Cinema

In Bhutan's Kushuthara, happiness becomes a pronounced theme, one discussed and conceptualized in emotionally and ethically complex ways.

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More Recent Features

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Players Lose Control in ‘Tales from the Borderlands’

// Moving Pixels

"This is an interactive story in which players don’t craft the characters, we just control them.

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