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The Joke’s on Batman in ‘Batman: White Knight #1’

This story doesn't just tweak the winning formula that has made Batman so successful over the past 70 years. It turns it on its head, inside out, and everything in between.

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A Sock Is Never Just a Sock: Thoughts on Object Lessons’ ‘Sock’

Ian Bogost and Christopher Schaberg, the editors of Object Lessons, have built an incredibly robust template for 21st century pop cultural contemplation.

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In Many Ways, ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Is Better Than Its Predecessor

A near-flawless audio-visual presentation and fascinating ideas make Blade Runner 2049 Villeneuve's best.

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Aquaman, Blooperman, Plastic Man, Bee-Man, Fatman: ‘Hero-A-Go-Go’!

Former DC editor Michael Eury offers up a loving look at the age of high cultural camp in comics and more in this collection of campy curios.

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‘Watch Around The Clock’: Retro Adventures in the Oft-disputed Golden Age of TV

A new DVD collection of vintage cartoons, movies, TV shows, and commercials shines an entertaining light on what television was like in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

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Justice Ginsburg’s Greatest Hits Reminds Us of the Virtues of Dissent

As a history of her good deeds and right thinking, My Own Words showcases in precise detail how the hard work of equality has been moved forward under Ginsburg’s judicious hand.

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Ripoffs from Space: When Big Movies Are Cannibalized by Even Bigger Movies

Hollywood screenwriters know that if you don't have an original idea you can always steal an existing plot... and then set it in SPACE!

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Reveling in Abandon: The Triumph of Tom Petty

Tom Petty was a democratizing mix of Southern rusticism and California cool, a split that made him the most relatable special-burnout rock figure for every gravel-road kid in America with an FM radio.

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5 Oct 2017 // 7:37 AM

Ledisi: Let Love Rule

Ledisi sings with emotional swoops. She lets her voice climb the scales and create beats that emphasize strong feelings.

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5 Oct 2017 // 7:28 AM

Mirah: Sundial

Classic Mirah tracks get a sophisticated boost from sweeping strings on Sundial.

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Chelsea Wolfe: Hiss Spun

Wolfe's fifth studio album continues to aggressively pursue metal and industrial music, making for an enrapturing listen all the way through.

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Are You Still Certain? An Interview with Hercules and Love Affair

"It means something that we're up on the stage playing the songs we're playing because it helps [queer people] find the strength to be who they are."

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‘Solar Bones’ Rewards Immersion

The narrator's headlong rush and gasp recalls Samuel Beckett's put-upon protagonists.

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A Heartbreaking Narrative Turn Sets Up the Final Episodes of ‘Halt and Catch Fire’

Gordon's death offers character moments certain to resonate through the rest of the series.

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No Use for a Name: Rarities Vol. 1: The Covers

No Use for a Name's posthumous covers collection is fun but slight. And because the focus is on non-album tracks, it's missing the band's best covers.

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‘Blade Runner 2049’ Is an Ambitious Vision of Startling Cinematic Beauty

Director Denis Villeneuve takes everything that was iconic about Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and expands it into a sprawling examination of hope, destiny, and creation.

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The Devil Is (or Isn’t) in the Details of “Behaving Badly’s” Search for Morality

Will secular moral solutions ever topple the ideological momentum of an amoral market?

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4 Oct 2017 // 3:00 AM

The Golden Age of TV Dramas, From Most to Least Trumpy

Characters like Breaking Bad's lucky ‘ol Walt get to live out every Trump-ish dream while the rest of us can only watch.

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4 Oct 2017 // 2:30 AM

Liam Gallagher: As You Were

Liam Gallagher answers all the questions about whether he can cut it as a solo artist on audience-pleasing rock 'n' roll record.

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Life Lessons from a Hardcore Pettyhead

I’ve been neck-deep in the philosophy of Tom Petty, my spiritual gangster, for years now and here are the things he taught me.

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Susanne Sundfør: Music for People in Trouble

Susanne Sundfør is quiet and loud in her introspection, creating an album that is flexible in its sound and glorious in its self-meditation.

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4 Oct 2017 // 2:15 AM

Tricky: ununiform

Looking back signals hope for the future.

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Synchronicity and Serendipity: Director Tomas Reyes Discusses Documentary, ‘Beyond Food’

Reyes talks with PopMatters about the motivations and ambitions for creating Beyond Food and the evolution of American attitudes toward food and health.

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From the Music, to the Word, to the Body in Motion: ‘Epistrophies’

Epistrophies teaches us to listen for how creative ideas are translated across media and offers tools for identifying and understanding insights that arise from such translations.

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‘Arrow’: Season 5 Is Visually Stunning, But Can’t Avoid Its Own Plot Potholes

Arrow remains a thrilling show, but season five is often both illogical and uneven.

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‘Based on a True Story’ Won’t Take Hold of You

The whole book is a non-answer, and to take that risk, the author has to give something in return: a fleshed-out plot, more action, or elevated language.

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3 Oct 2017 // 8:12 AM

Bubblemath: Edit Peptide

At times thrilling, at times frustrating, Edit Peptide contains the highs and lows of highly technical math and prog rock all in one package.

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Noah Gundersen: White Noise

On White Noise, Gundersen fully transitions from a pensive folk singer to a layered rock star.

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Lucinda Williams: This Sweet Old World

Redoing an entire album is a surprising and bold move, but on This Sweet Old World the gambit pays off. It's anything but a retread.

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3 Oct 2017 // 2:30 AM

Look Me in My Brand New Eye: Slipknot and Identity

Masking seems like a natural extension of heavy metal’s glorification of the grotesque. What else lurks behind Slipknot's Orwellian-like concept of identity?

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Alex Lahey: I Love You Like a Brother

Alex Lahey has made a rock record for the worst in us, and it’s awesome and powerful and liberating.

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3 Oct 2017 // 2:15 AM

David Virelles: Gnosis

An ambitious work of modern composition, Gnosis is an astounding feat from a relatively young musician on today's modern jazz front.

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No Place Like ‘Homem’: Rapper Terra Preta Gives Hip-Hop a Brazilian Re-Think

Preta's chancy way with a honeyed melody and the sensual pulse of Afro-Brazilian rhythms calls to mind the vibrant colours of his São Paulo’s coastal ridges; beautiful and exhilarating all at once.

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‘The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums’ Is Not the Last Word on the Subject

Will Friedwald writes subjectively and is not afraid to be cheeky when he thinks audiences have misunderstood an artist or a release.

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Life “Between and Betwixt Two Worlds”: Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer

With both humor and pathos, Alberto Ledesma’s graphic novel/memoir provides an inside look at the life of an undocumented immigrant.

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Nothing We Need But Everything We Want: Object Lessons’ ‘Shopping Mall’

Commerce and community blend together in this bittersweet reflection of suburban malls.

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2 Oct 2017 // 8:16 AM

Raleigh: Powerhouse Bloom

The mildly psychedelic title is spot on; this a creatively fertile album.

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Starsailor: All This Life

After an eight-year hiatus, Starsailor returns with their best album yet.

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The Orchids: Who Needs Tomorrow… a 30 Year Retrospective

Their influences were out in the open for all to see, but this Orchids retrospective sums up the sweet joy of these jangle-pop stalwarts.

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2 Oct 2017 // 7:47 AM

Whitney Rose: Rule 62

Keeping the balance between human drama and melodrama is a neat trick. Rose sings in a whispery, honey-dripped voice about life’s existential questions to a two-step beat and the twang of a steel guitar.

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Maximalism, Not Nihilism: Electronic Composer Dan Deacon on the Necessity of Creating

Dan Deacon talks with PopMatters about the 10th anniversary of Spiderman of the Rings, Ultimate Reality, and his original soundtrack for Rat Film.

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Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith: The Kid

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s compositions spotlight timbre over bombast, invoking the calm of a mother’s song.

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Make Thebes Great Again? The Ancient, Twisted Roots of ‘American Horror Story: Cult’

In a parallel to Euripides' The Bacchae, American Horror Story: Cult hammers home that not giving in to fear will not save you.

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Take It on the Chin: Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast in Print

Waiting for the Punch an engaging read of excerpts from the WTF Podcast, shows that "(E)veryone’s journey to the bottom is different."

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Exploring Sacred Space with Jesse Jacob’s ‘Crawl Space’

Evocative of Edwin Abbott’s Flatland, Jacobs takes on environmental destruction, the desecration of the sacred, and the arrogance and selfishness that plague our politics and our world.

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‘Language Barrier’ Illustrates That Words Are Pictures Too

This surreal exploration of the peculiar boundary between words and pictures dives directly into the deep end of the image-text pool.

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Nick Photinos: Petits Artéfacts

Photinos champions a wealth of intriguing contemporary composers with his collection of solo, chamber, and electroacoustic works.

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‘Una’: The Woman Who Would Not Go Away

Rooney Mara haunts Ben Mendelsohn with an unspeakable truth in this tightly wound actor’s class drama about buried secrets and shattered lives.

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Nobody But You: A Tribute to Charles Bradley

A tribute to the screaming eagle of love who dies having taken his rightful place as one of the true soul greats

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Me, Myself, and I: ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ and the Art of Being a Sociopath

Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, are not shows about nothing -- they're about everything. They’re shows about people who cannot have a thought without vocalizing it, regardless of the social or emotional consequences.

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Various Artists: Soul of a Nation - Afro-Centric Visions in the Age of Black Power

A thought-provoking collection of Afro-centric tracks from the '60s and '70s put together to accompany this summer's show at the Tate Modern in London.

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29 Sep 2017 // 7:45 AM

Antwood: Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content is a creepy listen, intentionally packed with artifice.

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Pentangle: The Albums: 1968-1972

A definitive collection and an opportunity to re-evaluate one of the most important and underappreciated bands of the British Folk Revival.

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The Western Genre Feels Like Home: Dutch ‘Brimstone’ Director Martin Koolhoven

"I can't deny the fact I am influenced by westerns... I was determined to do something that had not been done before."

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Ben Frost: The Centre Cannot Hold

Ben Frost opens up the next chapter of his discography with a work of stunning minimalism, relentless noise, and cinematic scope.

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‘Notes of a Crocodile’, The Taiwanese Queer Cult Classic Now in English Translation

Many can relate to the sense of being a monster in a human suit, of being “unnatural”, of the ways in which queer people are constantly reminded that something is amiss about their desire.

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On the Ambitious, World-building Narrative of ‘Marvel Legacy #1’

At a time when all things related to fascism inspire Hulk-level outrage, the current legacy of Marvel is in a tenuous position.

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‘Battle of the Sexes’ Serves up Bland Drama

Co-directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris capture the atmosphere of a tumultuous time, but this complicated story winds up a frustrating hodgepodge of tantalizing ideas and unconvincing drama.

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28 Sep 2017 // 9:30 AM

TIFF 2017: Woman Walks Ahead

This film confuses different types of oppression, and seems to propose that people who’ve experienced misogyny are uniquely qualified to understand racism and vice versa.

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The Walkman Is Dead, Long Live the Walkman

Personal Stereo explores novelty, norm, and nostalgia.

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How the Sublime Absurdity in ‘Fargo’ Speaks to Our ‘Post-Truth’ Era

We are reminded that life is meant to be unsatisfying, so why should we expect anything more than the truth about reality from our TV programs?

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Aesop Rock Holds His Tongue for the Sake of Cinema

Aesop Rock talks with PopMatters about his new instrumental score for Bushwick, as well as his creative process, future projects, appearance on Colbert, and his own admitted lack of versatility.

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Underworld: Beaucoup Fish (Super Deluxe Edition)

Some remnants of the age of "electronica" are even better than you remember. The deluxe treatment for Beaucoup Fish is perfect for anyone ready to jump back into that era with both feet.

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Luciferian Towers

In a slow-moving reconfiguration of its sound, Godspeed You! Black Emperor releases their most accessible and melodic work to date.

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Luke Haines: Luke Haines Is Alive and Well and Living in Buenos Aires

You don't know it, but you really need 79 songs about faded English wrestlers in a '70s glam style, with the occasional traditional folk song thrown in for good measure.

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28 Sep 2017 // 2:10 AM

Deer Tick: Vol. 1 & Vol. 2

Deer Tick sidestepped the pressure of double albums by releasing two separate records on the same day, inviting but not forcing listeners to associate them.

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The Photographic Career of Usher “Weegee” Fellig, the “Predecessor of Noise” and “Chatter”

A collection of 620 photos of New Yorkers in the '30s and '40s, many never-before-seen, from the legendary photojournalist Usher "Weegee" Fellig (1899-1968.)

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‘The Flash’ Season Three Speeds Things Up With Higher Stakes and Darker Stories

The Flash season three shows what happens when mistakes unmake the universe.

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‘The Good Place’ Builds on Last Season’s Twist, Emphasizing the Need to Connect

The Good Place is as much a commentary on human relationships as it is a high concept comedy about the afterlife.

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Aberrant Movements: Justifying Thought Without a Ground in Deleuze’s Philosophy

Lapoujade's work on Deleuze attempts to come to grips with the ways in which our constructions of knowledge seek justification: how do we learn to think otherwise?

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27 Sep 2017 // 8:29 AM

TIFF 2017: My Days of Mercy

As an indictment of the death penalty, the most unsettling aspect of My Days of Mercy is in how it presents the terrifying orderliness of taking a human life.

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St. Lenox and That Old Time Religion

Through the practice of law to music video directing, St. Lenox's Andrew Choi is working through many mediums to explore cultural anxiety in the era of Trump.

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Threads of Humor in the Darkest Places: Gail Honeyman on Her Debut Book About Mental Illness

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, now being adapted for a feature film, artfully balances dark humor and cathartic pathos.

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Iglooghost: Neō Wax Bloom

Neō Wax Bloom is the product of insatiable and earnest curiosity about musical subcultures. It becomes a museum of contemporary digital sound, and Iglooghost its curator.

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Hiss Golden Messenger: Hallelujah Anyhow

As long as life carries on and darkness exists, the world needs messengers of hope. Hiss Golden Messenger deliver that here, making it relevant regardless of time and place.

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27 Sep 2017 // 2:15 AM

Christian Lopez: Red Arrow

With Red Arrow Christian Lopez proves that his sights are set far beyond the parameters of Americana.

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27 Sep 2017 // 2:10 AM

Gary Peacock Trio: Tangents

This top-of-the-line piano trio plays with an intense beauty that is, perhaps, not often enough interrupted by joy.

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On the Fullness Found in Emptiness: The Mojave School in the Nevada Desert

To some, Pahrump, Nevada, is just a stop on the back roads to Death Valley. To Watkins, it's a fringe town within a fringe state -- a place where literature can take root.

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‘The Sinner’ Transcends the Procedural Genre With Complex Narrative and Performances

The Sinner, a sad, stunning exploration of trauma, starts with a killer hook and goes deep.

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Reason on the Cusp of Madness: Anti-Semitism and Mihail Sebastian

The ease with which one can draw a line from the message of For Two Thousand Years to the events of 2017 is almost too terrifying to contemplate.

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Phil Lesh and Bob Weir Come Together to Jam for Mt. Tam

Catching these counterculture pioneers in an intimate setting is a treat.

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26 Sep 2017 // 8:30 AM

TIFF 2017: High Fantasy

High Fantasy presents a brilliant take on the sci-fi body-switching genre, transforming a device that’s usually used for laughs into one that uncovers deeper truths about the complex nature of identity.

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The Healing Power of Music: A Conversation with Linda Perhacs

At 75, Linda Perhacs shows no signs of slowing down creatively, returning for her third album a mere three years after a more than 40-year absence.

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Hard to Stomach: Romania, Anti-Semitism, and the Lessons of Fascism

Mihail Sebastian's depiction of the many faces of anti-Semitism in For Two Thousand Years, from workplace jokes to street violence, is breath-taking in its horror.

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26 Sep 2017 // 2:30 AM

Josh Ritter: Gathering

On his ninth full-length studio album, Josh Ritter continues to combine poetic imagery with organic, expertly crafted arrangements.

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Pere Ubu: 20 Years in a Montana Missile Silo

The underground rock outfit, Pere Ubu, returns with 20 Years in a Montana Missile Silo, re-establishing its off-kilter take on the rock music form.

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Shout Out Louds: Ease My Mind

Ease My Mind gives the impression of a record made by musicians finally comfortable with their place in the world.

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26 Sep 2017 // 2:10 AM

John Tejada: Ceol

A little bit of Tejada is better than none at all.

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Chicago Afrobeat Project: What Goes Up

Master drummer Tony Allen lends his legendary skills to Chicago Afrobeat Project's soul and social consciousness to make some hard-hitting grooves.

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A New Sound in the South: J Roddy Walston on ‘Destroyers of the Soft Life’

At any moment the band might tear a hole through the speakers with songs bursting at the seams with stadium-sized power.

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25 Sep 2017 // 10:30 AM

TIFF 2017: What Will People Say

The culture clash in What Will People Say is manifest in a life-and-death difference between interpretations of defiance.

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What Is Brought Back in Michel Leiris’ ‘Phantom Africa’ Is Not Tangible

Phantom Africa represents a poignant and beautiful window into something more universal.

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Martial Solal and David Liebman: Masters in Bordeaux

Two modern jazz giants give us an understated duet album. Covers are most welcome here.

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‘Battle of the Sexes’ Whiffs the Serve

This easy-rock dramatization of the 1973 blockbuster match between Billie Jean King and past-his-prime champ Bobby Riggs has its moments but can’t capture the liberating drama of the moment.

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25 Sep 2017 // 8:13 AM

Paul Weller: Mother Ethiopia

Paul Weller offers a homage to Ethiopian music on latest EP, Mother Ethiopia.

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Imitating Aeroplanes: Planet Language

The middle of the album by itself would represent a largely unremarkable debut for the electropop of Imitating Aeroplanes. But the beginning and end of this album are so strong that they lift up the whole record.

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25 Sep 2017 // 7:52 AM

Grave Pleasures: Motherblood

Motherblood is loaded with apocalyptic imagery amidst dark-hearted romanticism.

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Is the Comedy Duo Mitchell and Webb Really ‘Back’?

Mitchell and Webb's created personas culminated in their groundbreaking sitcom, Peep Show. Reuniting for new series Back, will it be more of the same? Does that even matter?

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The Killers: Wonderful Wonderful

It will never go down as anyone's favorite Killers album, but this is easily the most fun the Vegas rockers have had in years.

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Was the Blues Born on a Vaudeville Stage?

Black creative and economic self-determination within the music industry didn’t begin with Chance the Rapper, or Prince, or even Motown.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

NYFF 2017: 'Mudbound'

// Notes from the Road

"Dee Rees’ churning and melodramatic epic follows two families in 1940s Mississippi, one black and one white, and the wars they fight abroad and at home.

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