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More Recent Features
Van Morrison: It’s Too Late to Stop Now… Vols. II, III, IV and DVD

One of rock music's greatest live albums gets a sequel and shows a legendary singer/songwriter at the peak of his powers.

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The Bangles: Ladies and Gentleman… the Bangles!

These earliest recordings of the Bangles showcase their chops as a live group and an excellent grasp of songwriting and melody writing. It's a must-have for die-hards and those wishing to delve deeper into the group's discography.

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The Stillness That Slays: Buffy, “The Gift”, and the Avoidance of Choice

Buffy's final action in "The Gift" is both a noble sacrifice and a narrative evasion of the hard choices the series is predicated on.

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All-New, All-Different Avengers Annual #1

An insight from fans creates a colorful world for Ms. Marvel.

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‘Pete’s Dragon’ Soars Higher Than Other Recent Remakes

Pete’s Dragon is a fun unabashedly kid-friendly film that makes old-fashioned, simple storytelling cool again.

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Mr. Robot: Season 2, Episode 5 - “logic-b0mb.hc”

Elliot finally gets back in the game, and it couldn't have come soon enough.

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Observing the World at Escape Velocity With Russell Banks

Russell Banks latest is a throw-back to a bygone style of literary travel writing.

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11 Aug 2016 // 7:49 AM

Speaking Gently: An Interview with BADBADNOTGOOD

They are the Canadian jazz group who have performed with Ghostface Killah, MF Doom, and other hip-hop elites. Oh, and they only formed five years ago.

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‘A Touch of Zen’ Finds the Art in the Martial Arts

Although King Hu's languorous action melodrama loses the thread many times, when all the elements tie together, the result is pure ravishing spectacle.

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11 Aug 2016 // 2:45 AM

America’s Pulse

If the most constructive thing one can offer after a national tragedy is prayer, perhaps one's calling is the ministry and not politics.

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Thee Oh Sees: A Weird Exits

A Weird Exits and John Dwyer's latest line-up mark maybe Thee Oh Sees' freshest turn since the beginnings of their In the Red Records era.

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Brendan Canning: Home Wrecking Years

Brendan Canning gives us a smart, pleasurable pop record that's best experienced in the wee small hours of the night.

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11 Aug 2016 // 2:15 AM

Ricardo Donoso: Quintesence

Minus the visual component for which it was commissioned, Donoso's Quintesence EP could be one of the most stimulatingly spooky things you'll hear all year.

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‘Track Changes’: History Written on Glass

A dense, scholarly history of machine-made literary magic: effortless revisions, swappable files, perfect printouts, and what authors did with them.

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Juxtapositions of Beauty and Destruction in Michael Cimino’s ‘The Deer Hunter’

Unlike war films to follow, there's no post-war celebration to be had in The Deer Hunter.

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The A Word: Season 1, Episode 4 - “Sleepover”

The line between realistic moral ambiguity and nihilistic amorality isn't as narrow as "Sleepover" would lead you to believe.

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The Dark Side of Obsession in ‘The Osamu Tezuka Story’

Tezuka may be a god of manga, but his story is apocryphal.

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An Interview With Director Gillian Armstrong on Her Orry-Kelly Documentary, ‘Women He’s Undressed’

Armstrong discusses Orry-Kelly, the premiere costume designer of Hollywood's Golden Age, and stories from behind the scenes of classic-film sets.

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Becca Stevens on Popping Jazz Boundaries

Becca Stevens, a perfect exemplar musician of boundary-less "jazz" in 2016, makes the case for the power and difficulty of art-pop in our age.

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Rival Consoles: Night Melody

Lifting tropes from IDM, deep house, Eno-indebted ambience, and end-of-days electro, Ryan Lee West creates a borderless shadow-reality that is part somnambulant carnival and part cosmic void on Night Melody

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The Pineapple Thief: Your Wilderness

Your Wilderness finds the Pineapple Thief refining its sound and bringing a much-needed cohesion to their brand of accessible prog.

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Breasting the Amazon With Canoe and Coati Mundi in ‘Manhunt in the Jungle’

Perhaps that anti-celebratory bit of colonial chastening is among the reasons this modest if sincere effort is so obscure.

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The Stray Birds: Magic Fire

Magic Fire is an essential step forward into musical collaboration for the rising Americana trio.

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The Tragically Hip: Man Machine Poem

This may be this inventive Canadian outfit's swan song, but you don't have to cry. It's as good, if not better, than any of the band's past glories.

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Will Downing: Black Pearls

Smooth R&B vocalist Will Downing maintains the utmost consistency on his latest project, covers album Black Pearls.

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A Society With Its Hand on the Trigger: Vicki Baum’s ‘Grand Hotel’

Vicki Baum writes of a stir-crazy people living in a world that is both swiftly and slowly emptying of its meaning.

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Damaged, Abstract, Cut-Up Sewer Things: An Interview With Tobacco

Black Moth Super Rainbow’s Tobacco discusses his past and prepares us for a demented future with his upcoming solo album, Sweatbox Dynasty.

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BrainDead: Season 1, Episode 7 - “The Power of Euphemism ...”

For an up-and-down debut season, BrainDead stumbles yet again as the story's direction stalls.

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9 Aug 2016 // 11:24 AM

Merrin Karras: Apex

Brendan Gregoriy's first album as Merrin Karras delivers electronic music that feels sometimes classic, sometimes nostalgic, but always immediate.

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Richard Russo’s ‘Everybody’s Fool’ Reminds Us That Fortune Comes in Gradations

Only in Russo’s world could we hang as tightly as we do on a belief that misguided fortunes might correct themselves and turn life’s cruelties around.

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Separate But Unequal: ‘Pioneers of African-American Cinema’

Funded by Kickstarter, this five-disc set preserves and restores the most significant collection of "race films" on DVD and Blu-ray.

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Of Montreal: Innocence Reaches

Kevin Barnes has found his center again. He's figured out how to combine his melodic skills with his musical idiosyncrasies.

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Elvis Presley: Way Down in the Jungle Room

Way Down in the Jungle Room is more than just yet another repackaging of the King’s work, instead showing how vital a performer Presley remained right up to the end.

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Lil Uzi Vert: The Perfect Luv Tape

Lil Uzi Vert's yet to create a release as vital as many of his peers, but on The Perfect Luv Tape, he shows progression.

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DJ Shadow: The Mountain Will Fall

The Mountain Will Fall, despite being released nearly 20 years after Shadow's debut masterpiece Endtroducing....., is still less innovative at release than the original is decades after coming out.

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What Would Animals Say If We Asked the Right Questions?

Vinciane Despret blends science with story to give readers new ways to think about animals and our relationships with them.

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Can Satire Bring Down Donald Trump?

Michael Moore calls for humorists everywhere to satirize Donald Trump, but what if our best satire simply cannot (yes, we'll say it) "trump" reality?

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Stranger Things: Season 1, Episode 2 - “The Weirdo on Maple Street”

Stranger Things continues to offer escapism and cultural touchstones to a bygone era for the audience to decode.

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‘Into the Maelstrom’ Provides a Fascinating View of 20th Century Underground Movements

Free music performer and writer David Toop spends much of his latest effort exploring the philosophical and artistic movements from which pre-1970 performers drew inspiration.

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UnREAL: Season 2, Episode 9 - “Espionage”

Much of the drama and conflict that's been driving UnREAL all season comes to a head in “Espionage”.

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‘Ivan’s Childhood’ Was Cruelly Interrupted by the Horrors of World War II

Between Ivan’s nightmarish dreams and the real world of the Eastern front, “Only the idle rest during wartime.”

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Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler: Music Inspired by Philippe Garrel’s Le Révélateur

The duo's new album, originally performed live with screenings of Philippe Garrel's 1968 silent French film, is a subtly complex composition that works very well on its own.

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8 Aug 2016 // 7:42 AM

Dark Suns: Everchild

Touches of pop, avant-garde, and Euro-jazz rub shoulders on latest from formerly metal-driven unit.

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Brice Randall Bickford: PARO

Brice Randall Bickford's second solo album is the finest of his long musical career. PARO relies on carefully built textures that grow more fascinating with each listen.

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Camera: Phantom of Liberty

Like the apparatus in their name, Camera are able to produce some crisp, delicate work on their third album.

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Impressions of a “Real People” Life: An Interview with Chris Collingwood

Look Park isn't Fountains of Wayne, and it's a good thing. Chris Collingwood tells us why.

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8 Aug 2016 // 7:14 AM

Wild Beasts: Boy King

Wild Beasts’ Boy King is a woefully uncensored portrait of masculine libido woven through their aesthetically tightest record to date.

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Privilege Corrupts: Donald Trump and “The Devil in His Youth”

How a song by Protomartyr keeps taking on new meaning in the age of Donald Trump.

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Past and Present, Space and Time: The Script for ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’

Though pasts and futures are undone and redone, by the end we are left where we began.

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Someone Needs to Stop ‘Suicide Squad’ Before It Kills Again

Suicide Squad forgoes interesting characters and engaging plotlines in favor of faux nihilism and flat one-liners.

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This Mortal Coil: The Human Body in History and Culture

How we feel and think about our bodies "has shifted across times and cultures, taking and losing definition due to any number of forces and trends-philosophical, religious, cultural, technological."

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5 Aug 2016 // 2:30 AM

Nels Cline: Lovers

The unclassifiable guitar legend and Wilco secret weapon finally releases the album he's been working on for 25 years, and it's definitely worth the wait.

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Read Chuck Klosterman, Blow Your Mind, Then Put on Your Pants

Chuck Klosterman’s new book succeeds by failing spectacularly.

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Ensemble Signal: Steve Reich - Double Sextet / Radio Rewrite



Ensemble Signal makes a strong case for Reich’s continued relevance as well as the strength of his work in this masterful recording of two late-period Reich compositions.

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O’Connor Band with Mark O’Connor: Coming Home

A true family affair and a triumphant return home for bluegrass legend Mark O’Connor.

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The A Word: Season 1, Episode 3

Series writer Peter Bowker seems to have created his own post-feminist Madonna/whore complex.

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Garbage Celebrated Its 22-Year Career Impeccably at the Fillmore Philadelphia

Garbage's nearly two-hour spectacle demonstrated not only how beloved they remain by fans, but also how hard they can still rock out.

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Updating an Iconic Romance in ‘X-men 92’ #5

It's actually possible for two characters to be together, support each other, and be functional heroes.

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Pink Talking Fish Take San FranPhishco

Pink Talking Fish mix the repertoires of Phish, Pink Floyd and the Talking Heads. Now they’re boldly joining the Phish aftershow party cottage industry.

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‘Headlander’: Disembodied Hijinks Dressed Up as ‘70s Camp Sci-Fi

You are a disembodied head. You land on things. Really, that's it. That's the game.

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Preacher: Season 1, Episode 10 - “Call and Response”

Preacher wraps its first season as only it could, which isn't necessarily such a good thing.

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Rob Sheffield’s ‘On Bowie’ Is a Textual Funeral for an Idol

Portrait of Rob Sheffield as a young American.

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New Additions to Netflix Worth Watching in August

Forget summer sunshine, PopMatters offers you several reasons to stay in the air conditioned indoors with these Netflix offerings.

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Dinosaur Jr.: Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not

This emotive new LP is not just another Dinosaur Jr. record.

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4 Aug 2016 // 2:20 AM

Steel Cranes: Tango

Steel Cranes' unusual approach and airy, open arrangements makes Tango an interesting listen every time through.

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4 Aug 2016 // 2:15 AM

JPNSGRLS: Divorce

With Divorce, the Vancouver, BC-based JPNSGRLS maintain the energy of their debut record, Circulation, but lose out on some of its charms.

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4 Aug 2016 // 2:10 AM

Slow Dakota: The Ascension of Slow Dakota

It feels awkward to label The Ascension as an album, for while it’s certainly a musical endeavor, it’s also a literary one.

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In ‘You Will Know Me,’ the Mystery is Everybody

Megan Abbott’s novel of suburban gymnastics’ competitive psychosis is like the fictional version of Joan Ryan’s excoriating Little Girls in Pretty Boxes.

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Moving Beyond the Dream Theory: A New Approach to ‘Mulholland Drive’

With doubles, strange coincidences and nightmarish elements, David Lynch shows us the reality of Hollywood living.

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Newport Folk Scores High Marks with Favorites and Well Curated New Draws

Newport offered sets from favorites like Ryan Adams, Glen Hansard, Flight of the Conchords and chances to see new acts.

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In ‘The Childhood of a Leader’, Old Europe Rises on the Shoulders of a Psychopath

Brady Corbet’s disturbing psycho-historical melodrama is like the Stanley Kubrick edit of The Grand Budapest Hotel.

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3 Aug 2016 // 9:53 AM

Panorama Peaks with Sounds of Silver

Panorama closes out its first edition with the monumental return of LCD Soundsystem and an awkward performance by Sia.

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The Lucas Museum Saga: Why Was This Museum Rejected by Chicago?

What made George Lucas such a cinematic visionary is also what’s making him less effective as a civic figure.

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BrainDead: Season 1, Episode 6 - “Notes Toward a Post-Reagan Theory…”

BrainDead bounces back with a lot of dancing, a lot of booze, and a ton of fun.

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‘American Candide’: A Modern Allegory on Nationalism

Candide and the gang take the gas out of the contemporary political landscape, capitalism, formal education, Hollywood and the news with a sarcastic flare.

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3 Aug 2016 // 2:30 AM

Russian Circles: Guidance

Some parts of Guidance feel a little familiar for Russian Circles, but it's still a document of a band operating at the peak of its powers.

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Omar Rodríguez-López: Sworn Virgins

A series of cacophonous collages that'll only appeal to die-hard fans.

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From Curiosity to Denial: The Case of ‘An Open Secret’

The failure of An Open Secret to connect with a wide audience speaks to the persistence of denial when the perpetrators of child abuse populate the entertainment industry.

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Velvet Crush: Pre-Teen Symphonies

Pre-Teen Symphonies offers a fascinating snapshot into the life of a song, from its most embryonic stages to the shape it takes post-release as a piece of a band's live act.

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Cuong Vu: Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny / Pat Metheny: The Unity Sessions

Two recent releases from Pat Metheny and his collaborator Cuong Vu show how acid and sugar can meet beautifully in the middle.

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3 Aug 2016 // 2:10 AM

Rich Robinson: Flux

Rich Robinson's fourth solo LP quiets any doubts that he can write and rock without the Black Crowes.

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‘Jane Steele’, a Victorian Murderess With a Heart of Gold

This glossier and better-dressed creative reimagining of Jane Eyre falls short of the original, sacrificing depth for the usual pop culture tropes of liberal feminism.

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Finding the Image: Michael Gira Talks Swans’ Creative Process

Michael Gira discusses the mistake that led to a critical part of the latest Swans album, building a collective mind, and the art of Francis Bacon.

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‘Necropolis’: Randomly Generated Blandness

The dungeons may be randomly generated, but Necropolis guarantees monotony around every corner.

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Outlander: Season 2, Episode 13 - “Dragonfly in Amber”

Plot trumps character development in Outlander's finale, but it's still an exciting ride.

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‘Jonathan Unleashed’: Nice Dogs, Too Bad About the Jokes

This shoots for the angsty New York comedy of Woody Allen, but it suffers from that which Allen so famously called grounds for divorce: insufficient laughter.

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Jonah Tolchin: Thousand Mile Night

Jonah Tolchin drives the Americana genre forward with a reverent eye in the rear view mirror and a right foot heavy on the gas.

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Toward an Encyclopedia Apocalyptica

To a post-apocalyptic population, merely explaining scientific and technological facts about our situation won't help. We'll need a guidebook.

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Gov’t Mule: The Tel-Star Sessions

Recorded across the magical summer of 1994, these tracks show that Gov't Mule arrived with the passion and fire that would characterize the group's style and sound for 20 years to come.

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‘Star Trek Beyond’ Treks Towards Planet Hollywood

Justin Lin helms creates a popcorn-friendly Fast and Furious Star Trek with Roddenberry's original vision jettisoned in the escape pods.

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2 Aug 2016 // 2:15 AM

Heart: Beautiful Broken

The Wilson sisters resurrect some songs from their early '80s forgotten years and fix what was broken, often achieving beauty.

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2 Aug 2016 // 2:10 AM

Dierks Bentley: Black

There’s a fog hanging over Dierks Bentley’s ninth album Black. A strategic fog, perhaps.

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‘Year of the Dragon’ and the Year When Michael Cimino Was Set Loose

Year of the Dragon’s biggest flaw is in being a perfect reflection of its filmmaker, and in that, it deserves to be seen as a messy, massive, achievement.

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Panorama Offers Social Commentary From Kendrick Lamar and New Songs From the National

Stellar sets from the Julie Ruin, Foals, Kendrick Lamar, the National and more made for an exciting second day of the inaugural Panorama Music Festival.

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A Great TV Show Logs Off in ‘Person of Interest: The Fifth And Final Season’

In its final season, “Person of Interest” ties up loose ends and offers something for everyone -- including the possibility for more.

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The 100 Greatest Alternative Singles of the ‘90s - Part 5 (20 - 1)

The fifth and final part of our examination of the 100 Greatest Alternative Singles of the '90s, includes Portishead, Blur, Björk, R.E.M., Nine Inch Nails and more.

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‘The Star Trek Book’: This Is Why We Still Love Star Trek

Long before society caught up by heeding calls for diversity in education and the workplace, Star Trek was preaching "infinite diversity in infinite combinations" as a strength.

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Mr. Robot: Season 2, Episode 4 - “eps2.2_init1.asec”

Many of Mr. Robot's characters remain in a stalemate in an episode meant mostly to set up future battles.

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Present and Future Intrigue in ‘Extraordinary X-men #12’

The conclusion of Apocalypse Wars finishes strong and offers new possibilities.

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UnREAL: Season 2, Episode 8 - “Fugitive”

UnREAL continues to be compelling television for all the same reasons Everlasting is: it’s unafraid to create drama around deeply flawed characters.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Virtual Reality and Storytelling: What Happens When Art and Technology Collide?

// Moving Pixels

"Virtual reality is changing the face of entertainment, and I can see a future when I will find myself inside VR listening to some psych-rock while meditating on an asteroid.

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