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Crossing the Troll Bridge With ‘Marvel Comics in the 1980s’

It’s almost as if Pierre Comtois is trolling the reader, treating the printed page as a message board on which to make fans go crazy.

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21 Apr 2015 // 1:05 AM

Turbo Fruits: No Control

No Control turns the trouble of being a very fast fruit into a full-on, true rock and roll experience.

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Marie Davidson: Un Autre Voyage

Canadian Coldwave Queen's third heralds the rise of the machines. Quick hide!

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Kristian Bush: Southern Gravity

This isn’t disconnected from the current country-radio charts entirely; some of what he’s doing is taking familiar tropes and making them sound “fun” and easily digestible.

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The Gibson Brothers: Brotherhood

Eric and Leigh Gibson continue to innovate with a collection of bluegrass covers dedicated to fellow bands of brothers.

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21 Apr 2015 // 1:01 AM

Bandit: Of Life

For an album that's sparse on ideas and interest it certainly SOUNDS big.

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‘Ninjak #1’ is Too Fresh to Fade

Valiant's new Ninjak reboot is remarkably fresh and a lot of fun.

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You Can Tell Where ‘True Story’ Is Going Five Minutes In

No matter how much the ruthless male leads of this film (Jonah Hill and James Franco) try to control the narrative, it's all too obvious where their lie-fueled story is going.

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Now, Voyager: Barry Hill’s ‘Peacemongers’

'Peacemongers', by the Australian poet and journalist Barry Hill, is an epic travelogue and probing meditation on the importance and elusiveness of peace.

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Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

Unfortunately, the chief interest of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is not the game itself, but the demo for Final Fantasy XV that it comes bundled with.

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Former Katrina and the Waves Singer Finds Her Bliss on New Record

Katrina Leskanich talks about her first solo album in ten years and the 30th anniversary of Katrina and the Waves' mega-hit “Walking on Sunshine”.

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America Hears a Hoosier at the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference

A college conference is helping train students to battle the idiocy of laws like Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

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20 Apr 2015 // 1:10 AM

The World Is Ready for ‘Star Wars Episode VII’

All signs point to the upcoming seventh installment of Star Wars remediating the follies of the prequel trilogy and returning the series to its original glory.

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‘Late Phases’ Is a Tame and Toothless Experience

This tale of werewolves run amok in a retirement community could do with more guts -- in every sense.

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20 Apr 2015 // 1:06 AM

Speedy Ortiz: Foil Deer

They may party like it's 1995, but 2015 might just be the year of Speedy Ortiz.

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20 Apr 2015 // 1:05 AM

Daktyl: Cyclical

English DJ Daktyl's first album of originals suffers from a lack of conviction, but shines in short bursts.

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‘The Lost Boys Symphony’ Has a Fascinating Concept and Strong Plotting and Pacing

This realistic novel about a collegiate love triangle develops into a fascinating genre-bender about time travel and mental illness.

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20 Apr 2015 // 1:04 AM

Bombadil: Hold On

Hold On is full of perky, precocious and thoroughly engaging intent, an album with a more experimental nature that doesn’t diminish ample accessibility. Consider it a must-hear, even if for its sheer ingenuity alone.

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Sarah Gayle Meech: Tennessee Love Song

Nashville's Sarah Gayle Meech will just as soon kick your ass as she will break your heart on Tennessee Love Song.

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Anonymous 4 with Bruce Molsky: 1865

A vibrant and lively collection that will please a wide variety of listeners who open their ears to its many layers and surprising connections.

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‘Unfriended’, Social Media, and the Horror of Sharing Too Much

Unfriended raises a few good questions concerning how social media works, how it is used, and also how it shapes experience.

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‘Child 44’ Is a Suspenseless Soviet-Era Misstep

By adding too many subplots and political asides to the true story of Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo, Child 44 becomes a deadly bore.

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Every Generation Gets the ‘Daredevil’ It Deserves

Marvel's Daredevil is a reminder that our pop culture, even that which is rooted in the pulp tradition, can be vivid, vital, and powerful.

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Disneynature Lets the Clichés Overpower the Footage in ‘Monkey Kingdom’

As Monkey Kingdom turns into another cookie-cutter family film in which the underdog overcomes all odds, it's easy to lose track of the incredible documentary footage.

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Still Life: The Portrait of Time in ‘Boyhood’

Boyhood sets itself the daunting task of reflecting the breadth of a human adolescence, but it instead reveals that it is in life's minutia that we find the most meaning.

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Say No to the Devil: The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis

Who was the greatest of all American guitarists? The relatively unknown blind son of sharecroppers, whom Bob Dylan called “one of the wizards of modern music.”

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“Why Don’t You Try Writing Your Own Songs?”: ‘The Bends’ and Its Cover Songs

Three unique takes on tracks from The Bends, spanning the stripped-down acoustic to the full-fledged orchestral, represent how these songs still have the power to stun two decades later.

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John Carpenter’s ‘Escape From New York’ Is an A-Grade B-Movie

Playing a one-eyed special forces soldier, Kurt Russell has to save an inexplicably British president of America from a dystopian New York in this early '80s classic from director John Carpenter.

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Tyler, The Creator: Cherry Bomb

Cherry Bomb is the first time in a long time that we’ve gotten to see Tyler grow up at all, but is it too much to ask for this 24-year-old man to mature a little faster?

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17 Apr 2015 // 1:05 AM

The Staves: If I Was

The tightly woven harmonies of these three sisters evoke the old souls and sounds of British folk while offering an updated feminine perspective.

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17 Apr 2015 // 1:04 AM

Therapy?: Disquiet

Therapy? never seemed to be programmed for longevity, but Disquiet shows us they aren't close to running out of gas.

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Umphrey’s McGee: The London Session - A Day At Abbey Road Studios

Umphrey’s McGee’s ninth album finds the band taking a sojourn of sorts with a session at London’s landmark Abbey Road studios.

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17 Apr 2015 // 1:02 AM

Emile Haynie: We Fall

Underground-turned-super producer Emile Haynie (KiD CuDi, Lana Del Ray, Eminem) stunt-casts his debut like crazy (Randy Newman?!) and against the odds crafts a very firm pop record out of the attention deficit.

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16 Apr 2015 // 9:45 AM

‘Tangerines’ Is a Quiet War Film

As this Estonian-Georgian film shows, in harsh wartime conditions, something as unassuming as bringing in a tangerine crop safely becomes a significant metaphorical act.

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The Steady Increase of Awfulness in ‘Borb’

With homages to Little Orphan Annie and Gasoline Alley, there's a lot serious ground to cover in Borb, and a lot of serious laughs.

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Why Are Critics Falling All Over Deepti Kapoor’s ‘A Bad Character’?

Too many reviews of this book universalise Idha’s experience and praise it for providing a window into the Indian woman’s experience. Which women would that be?

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Punch Brothers Pack a Punch in Tucson, AZ - 13 April 2015

Punch Brothers proved to the crowd at Tuscon just why they're one of the most celebrated bands in modern bluegrass.

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Laughing Through the Great Depression With ‘Sullivan’s Travels’

The real charm of Sullivan’s Travels is the way it exposes Hollywood’s mediation of the Depression and the trauma it inflicted.

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Genesis’ Mike Rutherford Recounts His ‘Living Years’

Guitarist and songwriter Pete Rutherford talks about his new book The Living Years, his career with Genesis, and his touring with Mike + the Mechanics.

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‘That Man From Rio’ and ‘Up to His Ears’ Find Jean-Paul Belmondo Shirtless and Athletic

These eye-popping '60s French capers feature the legendary Jean-Paul Belmondo hopping the globe in a series of illogical but zanily fun adventure pieces.

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16 Apr 2015 // 1:06 AM

Lapalux: Lustmore

Lustmore is a widescreen vision narrowed by delicate sonic focus that, unlike so much beat music, commands attention.

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James Blackshaw: Summoning Suns

Summoning Suns is a perfect entry point into James Blackshaw's eclectic musical journey.

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‘Times Beach’ Gives Us Theater, Free-form Jazz, Art Cinema, and Southern Gothic Literature

Times Beach is less a collection of poetry as it is an anthology of performance art presented under the guise of poetry.

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The Damnwells: The Damnwells

The fifth album by this Brooklyn-based quartet provides a tribute to their dogged persistence.

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Bettye LaVette: Child of the Seventies

This re-release provides evidence that Bettye LaVette should have been famous decades earlier.

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George Morris: We Will Go to Hell for This

Detroit troubadour merges the shimmering decadent of '70s glam rock, the subtleties of indie rock, and the danceable innovation of synth pop on sophomore solo LP.

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The Romance of Obsession in ‘Schubert’s Winter Journey’

Tenor Ian Bostridge has sung Winterreise hundreds of times and here gives it the equivalent of 33 1/3 entry -- only denser in substance, more elaborately written, and with some fascinating tangentials.

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Actress Alicia Witt Finds Her Voice in Music

The TV and film star unveils her full-length studio debut album, produced by Ben Folds.

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15 Apr 2015 // 1:30 AM

On Epigraphs and Other Incestuous Things

Like a cover letter, the epigraph must take me to the textual meat without giving me reason to discard the sandwich altogether.

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Talking “Method” Recording and Youthful Delusions with the Manic Street Preachers

For the first time in the band's history, Manic Street Preachers will bring the politically charged post-punk of their 1994 LP The Holy Bible in its entirety to American audiences.

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The Science Overshadows the Story in ‘Interstellar’

Interstellar is a movie full of Big Ideas that end up overshadowing the human element, particularly during the poorly plotted first act.

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Villagers: Darling Arithmetic

The addition of a full musical ensemble has done little to alter Villagers’ sound, what with the lush, ethereal arrangements, the lonely reminiscing and reflection, and the hushed gaze that pervades these pieces overall.

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Beth Hart: Better Than Home

On Better than Home Beth Hart delivers a veritable tour-de-force that highlights her remarkable prowess as both a singer and songwriter.

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Coming Full Circle as the Children of Immigrants

The Blind Writer is less about South Asians and the Indian-American experience as it is about Indian-American men and their (in)abilities to navigate life.

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15 Apr 2015 // 1:04 AM

Boz Scaggs: A Fool to Care

A delightful journey of songs through musical decades and styles, all delivered in Scaggs' soulful tenor.

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JEFF the Brotherhood: Wasted on the Dream

If you wanted a cover album of Black Sabbath, Nirvana and Weezer's greatest hits but the originals were too strong for you, no worries! JEFF the Brotherhood's prolonged adolescent fixation with their predecessors continues!

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Judas Priest: Defenders of the Faith: Special 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Judas Priest's three-disc re-issue of their classic 1984 chart-topper shows that the years have been kind to both the album and the band.

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Sufjan Stevens Shone With Sorrowful Genius at Philadelphia’s Academy of Music

Stevens goes for a transformative, pensive, and atmospheric live presentation. Ultimately, that’s what makes his artistry so one-of-a-kind and invaluable.

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‘Saga #27’ Characters Are Unforgettable

Saga propels readers into new and unchartered, yet always compelling, spaces. From the horribly exotic to the stunningly beautiful, the characters are impossible to forget.

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14 Apr 2015 // 8:00 AM

Greed Gets Tiresome in ‘Beyond the Reach’

The idea here is that Madec's limitless financial resources make him every bit as phantasmal and inexorable as Jason Voorhees.

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‘The Queen’s Bed’, the Queen’s Body, and the Body of the State

A rigorous, middle ground between lurid populist histories and dry academia, Anna Whitelock provides an excellent biography as a well trained historian.

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The Fictional Life of the Wombats

Arguing with your label about Vicodin. Creating a fictional life to write songs about. Embracing "weird crystal-worship party lovers." Just another day in the life of the Wombats.

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School’s Out Forever in ‘Class of 1984’

Aiming for an incisive social commentary on the increasing violence of youth gangs, Class of 1984 falls short.

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Fighting the New Censorship: Joel Simon of the Committee to Protect Journalists

From terrorists and authoritarian regimes to government surveillance and control of the Internet, the threats to freedom of expression are greater than ever.

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Calexico: Edge of the Sun

Seeds of experimentation and collaboration planted long ago bear some of the best fruit of Calexico's long career.

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The Heart Says Whatever in ‘Hausfrau’

Jill Alexander Essbaum’s first novel bleakly evokes the life of a woman adrift. However well built, it is story constructed over a sinkhole.

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14 Apr 2015 // 1:05 AM

Delta Rae: After It All

On its second album After It All, the Durham-based sextet successfully raids the storehouse of American musical traditions, incorporating influences ranging from blues to folk, rock to pop, and hip-hop to musical theater.

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Folk Family Revival: Water Walker

Americana's band of brothers expand their sonic horizons in Water Walker.

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14 Apr 2015 // 1:03 AM

Madeon: Adventure

Madeon has the ear for a strong hook and a natural knack for dance production, but by failing to provide enough distinction to his tracks on an individual basis, his Tumblr-friendly brand of EDM turns him into a bit of a one-trick pony.

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Sidewalk Chalk: Shoulder Season

Sidewalk Chalk rise further to the top of the hip-hop scene with their third release, Shoulder Season.

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A Confluence of Conflicts in ‘Convergence #1’

The arena for a multiversal clash is set, but lacks theatrics.

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‘Ravensbrück’: The Nonfiction of Nightmares

Sarah Helm’s Ravensbrück is a searingly comprehensive look at the sole concentration camp built to house women. It is the nonfiction of nightmares.

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Big Ears 2015 Was a Festival for Serious Artists and Listeners

From 27-29 March, Knoxville, Tennessee music fans were treated to a world of daring and avant-garde music at the latest installment of the Big Ears festival.

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Radiohead’s ‘The Bends’ and the Escape from Alternative Nation

While OK Computer is important in its own right, The Bends transformed Radiohead from being a potentially indistinguishable Alternative Nation contributor to a band who has redefined the term "rock" for the past two decades.

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Smear the Queer: ‘The X-Files’ Reboot and Stereotypes in Speculative Fiction

If Fox really is going jump-start The X-Files, it better not pull any of the stereotypical homophobic crap again.

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Death in the Land of Smiles

A recent biopic about the last executioner in Thailand explores the extremes between killing and redemption.

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‘What We Do in the Shadows’ Became a Cult Classic Upon Creation

The charming and eccentric humor of this vampire mockumentary makes it feel like it was born to be a beloved cult classic.

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13 Apr 2015 // 1:06 AM

Eels: Royal Albert Hall

What becomes of the broken-hearted? They go to an Eels gig, obviously.

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The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Freedom Tower - No Wave Dance Party

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion aren't about to reinvent the wheel, but with music this good they don't need to.

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Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Unsung Heroes of Country Blues

Filled with beautiful obscurities and aural surprises, this collection will delight fans, new and old, of the genre it celebrates.

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13 Apr 2015 // 1:03 AM

Lowland Hum: Lowland Hum

Lowland Hum's self-titled new album provides further evidence of their ability to wield seamless harmonies and a hushed low cast glow. While a handful of songs take flight, nothing here really breaks the mold or shows any evidence of an uptick in their MO.

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Nite Fields: Depersonalisation

Down Under and down in the mouth, Brisbane's Nite Fields are a certainly a moody bunch, but is that a smile lurking in the gloom?

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Ryan Gosling’s Directorial Debut Is Far From Lost

When Lost River premiered at Cannes last year, Gosling's urban fairytale was greeted with jeers. It should have been met with cheers.

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Callous Masculinity and Robot Sexuality Conflict in ‘Ex Machina’

This artificial intelligence flick uses the nerd archetype to make points about masculinity, ego, and empathy.

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‘Copperhead’ Is Greater Than the Sum and Then Some

New Sheriff Clara Bronson comes to Copperhead not because she wants the job but because she needs it. The real reason though, isn’t explained.

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‘The Longest Ride’ Loses Itself in the Past

This is a film featuring two likeable leads that goes cold and convoluted once we abandon their story and flashback to the past.

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The Decemberists + Alvvays: 7 April 2015: Philadelphia

The Decemberists recreated its sonic specialties wonderfully at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia on April 7.

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10 Apr 2015 // 3:00 AM

The Prime of Life: A History of Modern Adulthood

The model of a good parent is an ever-changing concept, one at the mercy of the forces of cultural change.

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10 Apr 2015 // 1:20 AM

Backwards Compatibility is the Only Way Forward

Every generation has attempted to preserve the most important pieces of its art. It should be just the same with computer games, but often it is not.

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If He Were Still With Us, ‘Life Itself’ Would Be Worthy of Roger Ebert’s Praise

Ebert never lived to see the finished product, but it's not a stretch at all to imagine what kind of score Siskel & Ebert would have given it had they the chance: two thumbs up.

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Frank Black and the Catholics: The Complete Discography

This seven-disc set takes all Frank Black's output with the Catholics favors the moment, the song, over the career, which is not a new concept for Black.

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Gavin Harrison: Cheating the Polygraph

The music of Porcupine Tree meets the rhythmic intensity of Whiplash in these eight dazzling reinterpretations.

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10 Apr 2015 // 1:05 AM

I Found My Friends: The Oral History of Nirvana

Right from the start, Nirvana had numerous musicians backing their cause.

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East Cameron Folklore: Kingdom of Fear

Heavy on literary references but lacking any relative substance, Kingdom of Fear is akin to AM band conspiracy theorists spouting questionable source material with impunity.

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Aidan Baker: The Confessional Tapes

One of heavy music's most prolific and interesting artists makes a quiet, patient album that stands with his best work.

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10 Apr 2015 // 1:02 AM

Fort Romeau: Insides

London's Fort Romeau delivers a treat for progressive house fans and old-school electronica devotees alike.

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George Van Eps: Once in Awhile

'40s Jazz Guitar Pioneer in Full Regalia

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‘The Beat Generation’ Is More Deadbeat Than Beatnik

The Beat Generation fails to capture the trendy, hipster social scene that its title promises.

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Robert Christgau Falls From Grace in ‘Going into the City’

We have here the post-apocalyptic wanderer, able to go anywhere because there’s nowhere he belongs.

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Michael Des Barres Puts His Heart on His Sleeve for ‘The Key to the Universe’

With his new album, the veteran British singer/actor delivers a set of spirited and emotional rock and roll.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

"Island of Lemurs: Madagascar" Is Cute but Spooky

// Short Ends and Leader

"This flick is a superficial but eye-popping survey for armchair nature tourists.

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