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Looking Into the Future of Cinema with Director John Boorman

The iconic Academy Award-winning director John Boorman discusses what may very well be his final masterwork, Queen & Country.

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The Story of Billie Holiday’s Life Shouldn’t Overshadow the Power of Her Music

To say that Billie Holiday's songs remain memorable because we know she lived a hard life does her artistry a most insulting disservice.

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13 May 2015 // 2:30 AM

The Weather Station: Loyalty

Taking up the mantle of great Canadian singer-songwriters, the Weather Station’s Tamara Lindeman delivers her masterpiece.

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13 May 2015 // 2:20 AM

Sóley: Ask the Deep

As murky as the waters of Ask the Deep can get, the saving grace is always Sóley’s unique and arresting voice, which can conjure fairy worlds all on its own.

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The Increasingly Political, Ever Lulzy, Richly Cultural World of Hackers

Gabriella Coleman, ethnographer of Anonymous, is on a mission to dispel stereotypes and acknowledge the cultural contributions of hackers.

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Max Richter: The Blue Notebooks

If The Blue Notebooks was ever in danger of not being considered a classic, let this re-visitation be a way to cover our bases.

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13 May 2015 // 2:10 AM

The Revelers: Get Ready

The party rolls on with this Louisiana supergroup’s second independent release, where mastery of Cajun, zydeco, and swamp rock is on full display.

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Tony Barrell’s Banging on About Drumming

Born to Drum is most engaging when it gets away from worrying so specifically about what draws people to the instrument.

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Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys: Ionia

Michigan-based four-piece Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys routinely mix roots, bluegrass and Americana influences into their own distinct sound on new album Ionia.

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13 May 2015 // 2:00 AM

HOLY: Stabs

Stabs is too conservative a psychedelic album to stand out but provides some easy fun while it lasts.

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‘Mr. Turner’ Is a Film as a Canvas

Mr. Turner, the biopic of the famous painter J.M.W. Turner, speaks to the inherent difficulties of navigating the art world.

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‘The Multiversity #2’ Is More Than an Empty Hand

At the beginning of this series, Grant Morrison's ambiguities looked like strengths. Here, at the end, they are clearly weaknesses.

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‘It’s the Pictures That Got Small’ Tells of Hollywood’s Golden Age Like Only a Diary Can

Charles Backett's diaries provide readers with a close and very personal look at the genius of Billy Wilder and a glance at nearly every other Hollywood big-wig of the Golden Age.

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Watching the Verbs Take Action!

Meegan Voss and Steve Jordan are dynamite musicians on their own, but when together as the Verbs, their years of studio mastery truly come into the fore.

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12 May 2015 // 2:30 AM

Blanck Mass: Dumb Flesh

Like a shiny penny left submerged in Coca-Cola, the elements of dance music corrode here in Benjamin John Power’s hands.

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Hollywood Creative Accounting, or, How to Hide a Hit and Still Profit From It

From Batsuits to Lawsuits, Hollywood Studios have a long history of hiding profits to claim that enormous hits were actually flops. How do they do this, and why?

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Surfer Blood: 1000 Palms

Surfer Blood's dreamy beach pop returns, more melancholic and sentimental than ever.

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12 May 2015 // 2:15 AM

Psychic Reality: Chassis

Chassis succeeds the most when Leyna Noel bares her voice opposing the music that back her.

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The Pine Hill Project: Tomorrow You’re Going

Two master songwriters flaunt their performance skills on a collection of well- and lesser-known covers.

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Color Therapy: Mr. Wolf Is Dead

If you're looking for mood-music and a soporific, look no further! Color Therapy's here to put you to sleep and exercise any of those unwanted emotions!

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Everclear’s Art Alexakis Is the Man Who Broke His Own Heart

Everclear's Art Alexakis reflects on his career in music as well as his band's "best-sounding" new album.

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Lyal Strickland: Balanced on Barbed Wire

Before long, Strickland may not be just the Ozarks’ storyteller, but America’s. Balanced on Barbed Wire, both in its production and moxie, represents a strong step in that direction.

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In 1987, ‘Hollywood Shuffle’ Satirized Hollywood’s Race Problem That Still Exists Today

Hollywood Shuffle sends up Hollywood's stereotype treatment of black actors.

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11 May 2015 // 8:50 AM

Coming Out Honestly in ‘All-New X-Men #40’

Bobby Drake, the X-Men known as Iceman, is outed by a close friend. But could the situation have been handled better?

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‘Hot Pursuit’ Substitutes Hate for Humor

Hot Pursuit is a sexist screed in which women are reduced to ridiculous gender stereotypes all for the sake of laughs -- which are nonexistent.

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‘Trigger Warning’ Proves Once Again That Neil Gaiman Rarely Fails to Be Entertaining

Trigger Warning collects 23 of Gaiman's recent stories and poems, and serves as a reminder of how he became such a phenomenon in the fantasy field.

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‘Nirbhaya’ Bellows For Women’s Rights

Using the horrific crimes against Jyoti Singh Pandey as a jumping-off point, Nirbhaya is an outstanding call for further cultural awakening on women's rights.

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Various Artists: Tease Torment Tantalize: A 30th Anniversary Tribute to the Smiths’ Debut

A cast of mostly unfamiliar names recreate the Smiths' first album song by song, rendering some surprisingly satisfying results.

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Parker McCollum: The Limestone Kid

Parker McCollum’s Americana debut The Limestone Kid is an ambitious, portentous start to a career in music.

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11 May 2015 // 4:00 AM

Too Many Things on Josh Rouse’s Mind

"Exercise, don't drink too much, and call your parents. I don't practice these as often as I should but they are good ideas!"

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Jeremiah Jae and L’Orange: The Night Took Us in Like Family

Rapper Jeremiah Jae and producer L’Orange’s cinematic The Night Took Us in Like Family brings to life the hip-hop Western.

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11 May 2015 // 3:00 AM

Mew: + -

Although it’s less innovative than Mew's prior releases, + - ("Plus Minus") makes up for it by being the most poised and commercially tempting album Mew have ever done.

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Where Did All the (Action Figure) Girls Go?

The scarcity of the Black Widow action figure on toy shelves has me thinking about what we think we know about gender identity in play, be that play with toys or play in video games.

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11 May 2015 // 2:29 AM

Grounders: Grounders

The Toronto band’s first album is both assured and willing to roll with the waves.

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Ecologizing the Political: Scapegoating, the Naturalistic Metaphor, and Propaganda

Metaphors reliant on "phobias" and "plagues" pass the buck to future generations, as if we have no control over our situations, when we in fact do.

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Peter Brown’s ‘The Ransom of the Soul’ Is a Minor Work by a Magesterial Voice

Brown's first book after his magnum opus The Eye of the Needle is a subtle and relevant study about the material problems of money and the body.

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The Tallest Man on Earth: Dark Bird Is Home

What do you do when “the new Dylan” starts to sound like the old Don Henley? If you're wise, you'll dive in and listen more deeply.

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‘Rigor Mortis’ Doesn’t Have the Decency to Scare Its Audience

It wouldn't seem possible to make a dour movie about China's famous "hopping vampires", but somehow Juno Mak has done it.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Deals With a New Kind of Zombie in ‘Maggie’

Maggie's excavation of the process of becoming a zombie is emotionally complicated and, for that, remarkable.

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8 May 2015 // 9:30 AM

War, Motherhood and Dancing in ‘Bravetown’

While Footloose clones duly follow an escapist aesthetic, Bravetown begins with a grimmer look.

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Cars That Will Kill You, An ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Triptych Finalé

Thus far, we've seen director Joss Whedon leverage the history of comics fandom and of Hollywood film in a grand and postmodern experiment. Here's why.

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Cannibal Ox: Blade of the Ronin

With their long-anticipated sophomore release, Cannibal Ox try to put out the flames of their beloved debut while hoping to prove that they can still make something spectacular.

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Translator: Sometimes People Forget

However much Translator came to represent the new vitality of the '80s, the shining embrace of the '60s and early '70s was never far behind.

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8 May 2015 // 3:30 AM

The Weepies: Sirens

Captivating folk-pop tracks that will please fans of the band.

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Super Furry Animals: Mwng (2015 Reissue)

While Mwng isn't the Super Furry Animals' finest hour, it is a valuable and essential addition to their discography.

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8 May 2015 // 2:30 AM

Lyrics Born: Real People

Real People is an exercise in passion that carries with it the weight of New Orleans' heritage and atmosphere.

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Jóhann Jóhannsson on Composing as Storytelling

PopMatters talks with Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson about his role in the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, for which he won a Golden Globe.

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So Many Roads: The Life and Times of the Grateful Dead

In 1970, the Grateful Dead's repertoire made them the most eclectic, fearsome, and versatile American rock band of their time.

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Life on Earth Has Suffered Five Known Mass Extinction Events. Has Mankind Triggered the Sixth?

Elizabeth Kolbert's warm, engaging clarity and use of anecdotes amid the data humanises her argument without softening the science of The Sixth Extinction.

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‘Mudbird Shivers’ Is the Ex’s Propaganda of the Deed

The Ex confer elegance onto a wall of sound that often comes close to the sound of bombing raid alarms and the subsequent bombs themselves.

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8 May 2015 // 2:00 AM

Mikal Cronin: MCIII

It's easy to assume that an artist will keep developing each time out, but Mikal Cronin shows that he doesn't take his evolution for granted on MCIII.

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‘Paddington’ Will Delight Children and Adults Alike

Paddington offers a good-hearted story with enough silly pleasures to please children, and sufficient good spirits and innocent fun to charm adults as well.

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Kristen Wiig Becomes a New Oprah in ‘Welcome to Me’

Welcome to Me is hard to watch, but even more difficult to ignore.

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Brother Against Brother: The Drawing of the Sword

The game doesn't portray brothers fighting brothers. It shows pieces on a map easing into firing range of one another with the objective of causing more casualties than they suffer.

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Inferior Superiority in Marvel’s ‘Superior Iron Man #8’

A high-tech concept downgrades to a low-tech, but serviceable narrative.

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‘The Long March of Pop’ Offers a Fresh Experience of Pop Art

This new and provocative survey of Pop Art widens the scope of its subject while keeping the focus on the artists.

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‘Dick’ Is an NC-17 Pixar Movie

Brian Fender's attempt to demystify penises is rather touching and revealing -- in nearly every sense of the words.

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Melisande [electrotrad]: Les Metamorphoses

If Les Metamorphoses is the future of folk, we’re in good hands.

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7 May 2015 // 4:00 AM

Föllakzoid: III

From moment to moment, III has trouble distinguishing itself.

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Tristan Perich: Parallels

Minimalism, purism, discipline are the three components that make up Tristan Perich's music and this album in particular.

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Dwight Yoakam: Second Hand Heart

No one does celebratory heartache by the numbers better than Dwight Yoakam.

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Mac McCaughan: Non-Believers

Ultimately, Non-Believers is the kind of album that needs no backstory to endear it or Mac McCaughan to the masses.

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Calling Mr. Aldrich: The ‘50s-era Fisticuffs of ‘World for Ransom’ and ‘Ten Seconds to Hell’

Robert Aldrich favors the classical presentation of angry cynical characters given to violence and grotesquery, which means he's often "tasteless" and discomfitting.

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With ‘Gates of Heaven/Vernon, Florida’, Errol Morris Flexed His Filmmaking Muscles

Gates of Heaven and Vernon, Florida both offer hints of the Errol Morris films to come, but are not essential on their own.

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‘This Idea Must Die’ Puts Speculative Self-correction Back in the Driver’s Seat

This collection from 175 scientific luminaries is something between a Faustian romp and a dilettante’s bedside companion.

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30 Musical, Literary and Cultural Reasons to Celebrate 30 More Years of Phish - Part Three

Far from just a quirky jam band, Phish pays tribute to the great legacy of mythology in culture.

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Django Django: Born Under Saturn

Django Django embrace more traditional influences for their sophomore album, reshaping their music into a more conventional rock sound.

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The PopMatters Summer Movie Preview - May 2015

The popcorn movie season starts in earnest with efforts from the Avengers, Mad Max, the ladies of Pitch Perfect 2, and Brad Bird's Tomorrowland, among many others.

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The Superhero Film Bubble Continues to Grow With ‘The Avengers - Age of Ultron’

As deft in its dialogue as it is predictable with its action sequences, Age of Ultron is a frustrating experience, forever hinting at depths that it can’t be bothered to explore.

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6 May 2015 // 7:38 AM

The Percussions and Repercussions of Falling in Love

Alex and Ada begin to fall in love. This does not go without repercussions though. Sentient androids are illegal, and the vitriol towards them, is growing.

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War Changes People, Though Not Necessarily for the Better

Predating Suite Française in time and tone The Fires of Autumn is an amazingly prescient look at war and greed.

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A ‘Sword of Doom’ in a Power Vacuum

As Kihachi Okamoto's film depicts, the end of a lengthy period of power leaves room for nihilistic violence to consume the power vacuum that's left in place.

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Miami Horror: All Possible Futures

While not a revelatory listen, Miami Horror's second album is a more-than-solid summer record using a tried and true formula of electro-inflected disco-pop.

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6 May 2015 // 4:00 AM

Marcus Miller: Afrodeezia

Bassist/composer Marcus Miller delivers a tour de force with his latest, a hybridization of African and Western styles that finds the similarities in the differences of each.

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Sugarcane Jane: Dirt Road’s End

Dirt Road’s End is a guidebook that simulates a fusion of past and present, as interpreted by two musicians blessed with a clear-eyed perspective and the ability to bring it all about.

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Tony Bennett / Bill Evans: The Complete Tony Bennett / Bill Evans Recordings

This lavish four-LP reissue celebrates the 40th anniversary of these monumental sessions by two of the great understated jazz interpreters.

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Spectacle of Empty Gestures: Rihanna’s “American Oxygen”

The problem isn't that Rihanna's "American Oxygen" fails as political art, it's that we might consider it a success instead of a mere gesture.

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Mumford & Sons: Wilder Mind

Wilder Mind is simultaneously the worst and most honest Mumford & Sons outing.

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My Morning Jacket: The Waterfall

The Waterfall continues My Morning Jacket’s reign as a Grateful Dead for the 21st century.

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An Artist Living in an Edgeland: An Interview With LoneLady

"If you've been shaped by a brutish environment," Manchester artist LoneLady tells PopMatters, "You don't have the luxury of making 'soft' music."

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Where ‘The Tudors’ and ‘The Borgias’ Use Sex and Violence, ‘Wolf Hall’ Uses Language

Wolf Hall may lack the naturalism and graphic sex and violence of other period dramas, but it's all the better for it.

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Melba Moore Honors Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson and More at New York Show

In her sold-out return to the Metropolitan Room, Melba Moore honored legendary ladies of song.

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For Good Food Go North: An Interview With Iceland’s Chef Gunnar Karl Gislason

A new generation of Icelandic chefs and consumers are rediscovering the value, and taste, of local food traditions.

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Life Is Strange, Episode 2: Out of Time

Life Is Strange is a frustrating little game. I hope it gets over its terrible twos.

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Diasporic Memories of a Jewish Family

Strangers in a strange land has been the universal theme of the Jewish story. Roger Cohen's 'A Girl from Human Street' provides an emotional account of his family's diasporic journey.

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No ‘White Saviors’ Overtake the Powerful and Illuminating ‘Selma’

Selma reclaims ownership of the Civil Rights movement for the courageous African-Americans that fought on the front lines, rather than the self-proclaimed white saviors that risked nothing but a bid for re-election.

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5 May 2015 // 4:30 AM

Tinashe: Amethyst

Tinashe’s meticulously crafted world is too engrossing to leave.

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Various Artists: Next Stop Soweto, Vol. 4: Zulu Rock, Afro-Disco, and Mbaqanga 1975-1985

Then the brass hits, trumpets double saxes in sforzando swells changing chords on the bar line as the singer talks about "our time."

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The Orange Peels: Begin the Begone

The sweetly satisfying Begin the Begone might just be the best Orange Peels outing yet.

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5 May 2015 // 3:30 AM

MG: MG

The context of Martin Gore's career in Depeche Mode doesn't lessen the achievement of MG; in fact, it complements it.

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5 May 2015 // 2:30 AM

Covering Cover Songs

Cover songs don't have to be all that bad. Just listen to what Becca Stevens and Jason Moran have been doing lately, and you'll see.

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The Liberation of Best Coast: An Interview with Bethany Cosentino

The singer, guitarist, and songwriter of Best Coast discusses the influences behind their new album California Nights, the double-edged sword of success, and the band's constantly evolving legacy.

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‘Litpop - Writing and Popular Music’ Suffocates From a Lack of the Lively Air of Opinion

This anthology is meant to study two of the most lively artistic fields on the planet, and yet it's bogged down by articles of no great substance and no great joy.

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Best Coast: California Nights

Lo-fi no longer, Best Coast give listeners an avalanche of hooks and waves of power chords with their third LP, California Nights.

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Revolvers, Redemption, and Yasujiro Ozu’s Silent Film Experimentation With Crime Drama

Like Jean-Luc Godard and other French directors who were later influenced by the American crime film tradition, Japan's own Yasujiro Ozu made the genre his own.

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John Zorn: The Hermetic Organ, Vol. 3: St. Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield

In celebrating his 60th birthday, John returns to his first instrument.

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4 May 2015 // 9:30 AM

The Face in the Puddle

The central image of Spawn #251, the reflection of the monster in a puddle, speaks volumes about both the comics industry, and ourselves.

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Sam Lewis: Waiting on You

Waiting on You is the kind of album that resonates well, one that will likely be a listening staple for some time to come.

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Josh Rouse: The Embers of Time

The 11th album from Josh Rouse continues in a relaxed and chilled-out manner, with some high quality material.

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Listening Ahead: Upcoming Music Releases for May 2015

Get the early word on new albums by My Morning Jacket, the Tallest Man on Earth, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Hozier + Death Cab for Cutie + Rock Radio 104.5's Birthday Show (Photo Gallery)

// Notes from the Road

"Radio 104.5's birthday show featured great bands and might have been the unofficial start of summer festival season in the Northeast.

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