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8 Feb 2017 // 8:25 AM

Surfer Blood: Snowdonia

Surfer Blood's first LP since the passing of Thomas Fekete, the group's longtime guitarist, Snowdonia is laden with the same power pop-meets-surf rock that put these melodically-minded Floridians on the map.

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8 Feb 2017 // 3:00 AM

‘The Witness’: A Game of Wandering and Wondering

This game's core themes -- attentiveness, curiosity, the value of Zen -- are conveyed intuitively through gameplay, allowing them to be internalized in a way that's personally meaningful.

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‘Ben-Hur’: Once More Around the Circus Maximus

This Ben-Hur remake wants to teach against the rift that drives Ben-Hur and Messala to extreme lengths while still glorying in bloody revenge.

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8 Feb 2017 // 2:30 AM

Lowly: Heba

On debut album Heba, Lowly is skilled at communicating new ideas about the shape of pop to come.

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8 Feb 2017 // 2:15 AM

When Does an Object Become a Historical Artifact?

Dispatches from Dystopia seeks out and is drawn to tell stories of places that are often left open to interpretation.

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From Hot Rods to Heartbreak: Bruce Springsteen and ‘Baby It’s You’

Baby It’s You pushes past high school’s safe spaces to confront the audience with an imperfect world.

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An Overcrowded Episode Shows ‘The Blacklist’ Is Exhausted

"Natalie Luca (No. 184)" suffers from too many twists that don't compel viewers, and Red prepares himself for death -- or just practices for a poetry slam.

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‘Akron’: Sometimes the Simpler, the Better

Had Akron went all-in on its simpler, piercingly authentic premise, it could have elevated itself into a truly singular film.

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‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’: Watch Out for the Little Guy

Tom Cruise's Jack may be smaller and older than Lee Child's Jack, but that just adds to the character's remarkability.

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‘Santa Clarita Diet’: Barrymore and Olyphant Have Bloody Fun in “So Then a Monkey or a Bat”

Santa Clarita Diet offers a kind of Eat (People), Pray, Love, but this show has more bark -- and more bite.

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This New Translation of Yusuf Atılgan’s Work Shows a Mind Unraveling

Motherland Hotel is an astounding work by a master who makes it look easy.

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7 Feb 2017 // 3:00 AM

Chicago’s Chance

Chance the Rapper’s prideful ambition is reshaping Chicago’s cultural narrative.

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7 Feb 2017 // 2:30 AM

Syd: Fin

The Internet's Syd embarks on her solo career with a solid, sensual debut album, and keeps it casual from start to finish.

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Save Ferris: Checkered Past

Save Ferris' first release in 18 years is enjoyable but not exactly a triumphant return for the third wave ska act.

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7 Feb 2017 // 2:15 AM

Communions: Blue

Communions started as an audacious and loud rock band, but they have settled into something entirely different. With Blue Communions have created triumphant power pop cheese.

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‘Reading the Silver Screen’ Is a Jocular Romp Through the Components of Film

Thomas C. Foster exudes a colloquial passion for movies of all shapes and sizes.

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7 Feb 2017 // 2:10 AM

Ab-Soul: Do What Thou Wilt

Top Dawg's Ab-Soul approaches a lot of interesting thoughts with his newest release, but doesn't explore them fully enough to make them stick.

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‘The Watermelon Woman’, or, Whatever Happened to New Queer Cinema?

A disturbing trend is arising; if you want your film to be nominated for the Academy Awards, it cannot potentially offend the sensibilities of the most narrow-minded “gay friendly” viewer.

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‘This Is Us’ “The Trip” Explores the Past to Cast Light on the Present

A cabin in the woods becomes a place for revelation, recriminations, and reconfiguration in "The Trip".

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The Mavericks: All Night Live, Vol. 1

All Night Live, Vol. 1 offers a wildly eclectic, highly enjoyable set of songs performed by the legendary group.

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‘24 - Legacy’ Is Fox’s Post-Super Bowl Post-Truth Bomb

24: Legacy and the dilemma of mediating a xenophobic aesthetic resurgence.

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‘Dark Money’ Shines Light on the Billionaires Waging Secret War on Democracy

Jane Mayer’s riveting and frightening book tells how wealthy conservatives spent decades building an alternate universe of think tanks and owned politicians to make their dreams reality.

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They Still Believe in Love: An Interview With Elbow

Elbow producer and keyboardist Craig Potter talks about the band's new album, the importance of writing simply, and the departure of long-time drummer Richard Jupp.

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On the Glories of Mardi Gras and Trump’s Inaugural Just Desserts

I suppose sometimes a cake is just a cake, but more often than not, it’s not.

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6 Feb 2017 // 2:30 AM

Migos: C U L T U R E

By being made into a meme, Migos have ensured their lasting presence; even without it, however, C U L T U R E will stand as a worthy artifact.

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6 Feb 2017 // 2:20 AM

Fufanu: Sports

The foreground of Fufanu's Sports lingers like a bad feeling, one that could have been more frightening by pulling closer more elements within the background.

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6 Feb 2017 // 2:15 AM

Lee Hazlewood: 13

Lee Hazlewood's 13 is an excellent -- if uncanny -- addition to his eclectic body of work, a fascinating document for devoted fans and curious newcomers alike.

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Feminism Pauses and Laughs: Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron's interviews are full of timeless and hilarious truths.

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6 Feb 2017 // 2:10 AM

Black Anvil: As Was

American black metal outfit returns with a smart, snappy collection that will give air guitarists carpal tunnel and purists plenty to chew on.

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Ex-Cult: Negative Growth

Negative Growth is the crown jewel of Ex-Cult's trifecta of LPs on In the Red Records.

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Maeve Ascends as More ‘Westworld’ Secrets are Revealed in “The Adversary”

Despite the ubiquity of corporate intrigue and maze imagery, "The Adversary" delivers another fascinating episode.

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‘The Grace of Jake’ Is Awfully Caught Up in Southern-style Christianity

Because The Grace of Jake has a plain agenda -- it means to proselytize -- it occasionally offends.

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‘The Space Between Us’ Almost Works

Ultimately, Peter Chelsom’s sci-fi romance is just a bad movie about a Martian and his girlfriend playing hide-and-seek from some space cops.

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3 Feb 2017 // 3:00 AM

“Be a Woman”: Joanna Newsom, the Selkie, and the Sea

Newsom uses the sea as a lawless mirror of our present social world.

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3 Feb 2017 // 2:30 AM

Sampha: Process

Sampha's gorgeous debut brings physicality and immediacy to internal experiences like memory and fear.

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Annie Anxiety: Soul Possession

A reissue of the 1984 debut long player from a forgotten punk poet operating at the intersection of Crass, On-U Sound, and Throbbing Gristle.

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John McCutcheon: Trolling for Dreams

A storyteller with a painter’s eye and a musician with an ancient troubadour’s soul, John McCutcheon’s 38th release reminds us why he’s a modern master.

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Philippe Druillet’s Lone Sloane Adventures Artfully Take You to Other Worlds

These books create a visually mesmerizing mix of sci-fi and fantasy, where rocket ships cause men to stumble upon gods and monsters that occupy the distant corners of the universe.

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The Visual Aesthetic of ‘Don’t Knock Twice’, Like Its Moral Agenda, is Dark

The film delivers on two levels. Savor its clever annotations of feminist horror film theory. Or just enjoy the more visceral pleasures of fear.

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The Uncanny Truth Hurts (and Astonishes) in ‘All-New X-men #18’

This is not just another tie-in where a teenaged Cyclops whines at feeling so overwhelmed.

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Albert Goldbarth’s Adventures of Frustration and Cleverness

The Adventures of Form of Content is filled with exceptional essays for a specific crowd.

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Albert Goldbarth’s Delightful Adventures

In his new collection of essays, Albert Goldbarth takes on the interconnection of random aspects of life, revealing a synergy present among all things.

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The Sanctity of Endings in ‘Dark Souls III’

The Sable Church tells us to work towards the Darkness, yet it also tells us not to let the First Flame go out; it tells us to take the flame for ourselves.

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Murder She Sang: Stardom and Psychosis in Eckhart Schmidt’s ‘The Fan’

A close-cutting examination on fame and the persuasive power of celebrity, The Fan is rife with tension and controversy.

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Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau: Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau

Thile and Mehldau make a pretty great duo, but it’s also an idiosyncratic one. For the most part this album feels like Thile is playing around in Mehldau’s jazz-oriented world.

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The Menzingers: After the Party

The Menzingers enjoy the ride on another dazzling punk rock album.

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Run the Jewels: Run the Jewels 3

Run the Jewels 3 is the sound of one hip-hop's most significant groups channeling their feelings of frustration, alienation, and rage into a radical call to arms.

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Rush: 2112 (40th Anniversary Super Deluxe)

Rush's 2112 is reissued with bonus material and powerful reminders of the trio's full prowess.

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Mr. Tophat feat. Robyn: Trust Me

This is as fine an introduction as any to the electronic stylings of Mr. Tophat.

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The Translators of ‘Thousand and One Nights’ Were Unquestionably Thieves

Marvellous Thieves notes that each interpreter's acts of plagiarism, theft, and recreation are nearly as interesting as the tales themselves.

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Heartache Is an Uphill Climb: An Interview With Tift Merritt

Tift Merritt opens up on the joys of motherhood, life on the road with her new daughter in tow, and what the future might hold for them both.

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1 Feb 2017 // 2:30 AM

Elbow: Little Fictions

Over seven studio albums and 20 years as a band later, Elbow hasn't lost an ounce of skill, charm, or joie de vivre.

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Moon Duo: Occult Architecture, Vol. 1

Moon Duo link kaleidoscopic, magnetic, and driving post-punk inflected psychedelia with hermetic overtones. Their best passages are not cryptic but recursive, often forceful, and occasionally mundane.

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PnB Rock: GTTM: Goin’ Thru the Motions

Maybe the album title isn’t such a bad thing after all; when you know what you’re in store for, can you really be disappointed?

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‘Sounds of the Underground’, Excavated

Stephen Graham manages to distil the essence of underground and fringe music into identifiable and recognizable components of a larger, global movement.

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Jimmy Scott: I Go Back Home

As the story goes, German producer Ralf Kemper wanted to make one last great album with Jimmy Scott before he passed from this earth. But is this it?

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‘Split’ the Difference: An Interview With Actor Betty Buckley

The Tony-winning actress is the emotional center of M. Night Shyamalan's new film Split, and like the movie, there's more beneath the surface.

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‘Riverdale’ Has Yet to Justify Its Continued Existence

Despite a keen visual flair and an intriguing performance from Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Riverdale has some work to do.

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Sam and Dean Go Rambo, the Men of Letters Go Evil in Supernatural’s “First Blood”

The show returns from a winter hiatus with an intriguing episode that introduces some key plot points.

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To Be Iranian Is to Be in a State of Perpetual Motion and Discovery

Hamid Dabashi's Iran Without Borders is a paean to the alternate ways in which the “real” Iran has been depicted since the 19th century.

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31 Jan 2017 // 3:00 AM

Overlooked Jazz Gems of 2016

No matter how much music I listen to every year, I miss some great records, somehow. Here are a half-dozen albums from 2016 that deserve our attention.

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Hardline Feminism and Unfettered Capitalism in the Action-Masala, ‘Mannan’

How does a beautiful young corporate bigwig control a rambunctiously charismatic Alpha-male trade unionist?

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31 Jan 2017 // 2:29 AM

Erik Hassle: Innocence Lost

On Innocence Lost, Swedish soul-pop stalwart Erik Hassle brings out all the bells, whistles, smoke, and mirrors he can to make music that seems sculpted from the mortar that holds the Hot 100 together

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31 Jan 2017 // 2:20 AM

Throwing Snow: Embers

Rather than building on one another, the tracks making up Embers largely drag the listener through their gloomy uniformity.

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Iron Reagan: Crossover Ministry

Iron Reagan authentically recaptures the rage and rapture of '80s crossover with a dose of humor and an energy that could light and power the world.

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Nato Thompson’s Culture as Weapon’ in the Shadow of a Political Spectacle

Nato Thompson reminds us that battles are fought not just over culture, but with it.

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Bash & Pop: Anything Could Happen

Tommy’s question, “How long can we take it before we break it?” is a perfect summary of the Replacements. And if that isn’t what the line is about, well, I'd prefer to think it is.

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Sundance 2017: ‘The Discovery’ + ‘The Rebel in the Rye’

Sundance explores life after death in The Discovery and life after fame in The Rebel in the Rye.

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‘Pretending Is Lying’ Explores the Complexity of Human Relationships

The nostalgic self-reflection in Dominique Goblet's work is painfully honest and verges on the bittersweet.

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Black and Nerdy? Shattering the Monolith With ‘Atlanta’

Atlanta goes a long way toward shattering the myth that there's a single black experience.

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‘Sherlock’ Season Four: The Russian Roulette of Relationships

Sherlock Holmes is tempted, tortured, and tested -- all in the name of love.

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30 Jan 2017 // 2:30 AM

Kehlani: SweetSexySavage

Kehlani's debut is by turns infectious, smooth, satisfying, and infuriating.

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30 Jan 2017 // 2:20 AM

Fred Thomas: Changer

The weight of memory falls across Changer, whether Fred Thomas and his characters are running or walking, daydreaming or trying hard to forget.

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Juan Gabriel Vásquez’s ‘Reputations’ Explores the Slippery Nature of Memory

Vásquez’s work shows how reputation is its own hermetic chamber, sealing the person off from his self.

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30 Jan 2017 // 2:15 AM

Chavez: Cockfighters

Twenty years later, the New York foursome's new EP does little more than make long-time fans yearn for their older material.

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30 Jan 2017 // 2:10 AM

José Mauro: Obnoxius

José Mauro's haunting, long-buried magnum opus adds a new chapter to the revolutionary history of 1970s Brazilian music.

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Charlie Haden and the Liberation Music Orchestra: Time/Life

Released posthumously, these gorgeously lush recordings serve as a fine tribute to the late Charlie Haden.

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30 Jan 2017 // 2:00 AM

Crumbling Dais: An Interview With Wolf People

"I'd always wanted to write something about the Night Witches, the female Russian bomber pilots."

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27 Jan 2017 // 12:00 PM

Sundance 2017: ‘Wind River’ + ‘The Force’

Two new films at the Sundance Film Festival -- a murder mystery and a vérité documentary -- ask the same two questions: who has the authority to dispense justice, and with how much violence?

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Sundance 2017: ‘Crown Heights’ + ‘Brigsby Bear’

The Sundance Film Festival features two films with wildly different approaches to wrongful imprisonment, a true story reimagined in Crown Heights and a whimsical enchantment in Brigsby Bear.

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Sundance 2017: ‘The Polka King’ + ‘Band Aid’

Two films about very different musical genres -- from polka to sweet crooning to punk-rock screaming -- take center stage at Sundance Film Festival 2017.

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‘I Am Michael’ Reminds Us That Identity Struggle Takes on Many Forms

I Am Michael, while an uneven film, is also an important cinematic work which evokes intelligent discourse and empathy in its exploration of sexual and religious identity issues.

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Service of the Gods: An Interview With Composer Ramin Djawadi

As composer for Game of Thrones and Westworld, Ramin Djawadi will satiate your wait between seasons by touring his most famous compositions.

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Bert Jansch: Living in the Shadows

A warm, intimate collection of late-period recordings from one of the great unsung heroes of folk music is now available in a lush boxed set.

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27 Jan 2017 // 2:30 AM

Dream Baby Dream: Suicide - A New York Story

In response to the politics, culture and sheer madness of early '70s New York, artist Alan Vega and musician Martin Rev created the counter-cultural performance art statement that was Suicide.

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Max Richter: Three Worlds - Music From Woolf Works

Max Richter’s sound is best served without real pictures but paired with your dreams.

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27 Jan 2017 // 2:15 AM

Ty Segall: Ty Segall

The ever-prolific Ty Segall is back with another collection of rock 'n' roll excellence.

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Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough: Mockingbird Soul

DeMeyer and Kimbrough are resolute artists who observe the world through their five senses. They see, hear, touch and even smell the people and places around them.

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Noura Mint Seymali: Arbina

Noura Mint Seymali takes a stripped-down and powerful approach to her psychedelic griot pop.

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The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 5, Joy Division to Gang of Four

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we conclude with part five featuring Joy Division, Gang of Four, Talking Heads and more.

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‘Inhumans vs. X-men #3’ Gives Us Underwhelmingly Misguided Underdogs

In the Inhumans/X-men conflict, one side tries to be an underdog at the expensive of a compelling story.

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Iggy Pop: Post Pop Depression - Live at the Royal Albert Hall

Half a century into an improbably long career, the original punk continues to deliver, offering up a DVD/CD combo of a riotous performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

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In Detroit They Come Out at Night

Grafitti artists, the jazz, punk, and hip-hop scenes, and the lonely mean streets of Detroit are captured by this survey of 13 photographers.

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26 Jan 2017 // 8:00 AM

Sundance 2017: ‘Raw’ + ‘XX’

In recent years, Sundance has developed a reputation for showcasing distinct and notable horror films. This year, that prize might well go to Raw by default.

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‘Westworld’s “Contrapasso” Episode Suggests Dehumanization and Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell

The narrative pivots and complicates the reality of Westworld in "Contrapasso". The show is about the most HBO-ized episode of an HBO drama ever produced.

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Sleater-Kinney: Live in Paris

Sleater-Kinney celebrates their 2015 reunion with a live album that captures the excitement and mood of their concerts without any hint of their decade-long hiatus.

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Horse Thief: Trials and Truths

Every now and then Horse Thief adds a little twist to their formula of solid, listenable, easygoing rock and the songs become noticeably better.

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Black and White and Katrina All Over: Jazz Religion, the Second Line, and Black New Orleans

One of the best things about this updated edition of Jazz Religion, the Second Line, and Black New Orleans is that it looks at what’s to come just as much as it looks at bygones.

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Tobin Sprout: The Universe and Me

One problem with modern production is its reliance on mathematical perfection, and Tobin proves that genuineness is stronger than perceived perfection.

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The Infamous Stringdusters: Laws of Gravity

They aren't reinventing the laws of gravity on this release, but the Infamous Stringdusters put out yet another masterful collection of bluegrass songs.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

The Moving Pixels Podcast Explores 'This Is the Police'

// Moving Pixels

"This week we take a look at the themes and politics of This Is the Police.

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