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Finding the Image: Michael Gira Talks Swans’ Creative Process

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

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‘Necropolis’: Randomly Generated Blandness

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

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

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

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

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

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Jonah Tolchin: Thousand Mile Night

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

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Toward an Encyclopedia Apocalyptica

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

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Gov’t Mule: The Tel-Star Sessions

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

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‘Star Trek Beyond’ Treks Towards Planet Hollywood

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

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2 Aug 2016 // 2:15 AM

Heart: Beautiful Broken

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

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2 Aug 2016 // 2:10 AM

Dierks Bentley: Black

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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UnREAL: Season 2, Episode 8 - “Fugitive”

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

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1 Aug 2016 // 8:46 AM

Lookin’ at the Upside: An Interview with Allen Stone

"I don't look like your typical soul singer, I don't look like Justin Timberlake, I don't wear a suit and tie ... I'm from Packwood, eastern Washington state."

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Various Artists: I’m a Freak Baby: A Journey Through the British Heavy Psych & Hard Rock Under

If you have ever watched Spinal Tap and thought, “Yeah, I get the joke, but this music still rocks,” then this is the anthology for you.

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1 Aug 2016 // 2:15 AM

Lil Durk: 2X

2X is Lil Durk through and through, and that’s what ultimately makes it the thrill it is.

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‘Lee Scratch Perry’s Vision of Paradise’ Doesn’t Find the Transcendence Within Perry

In its attempt to worship, Vision of Paradise condescends and exploits.

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Allen Ginsberg: The Last Word on First Blues

The Last Word on First Blues is all the Allen Ginsberg, musician, you could ever hope to have and more.

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1 Aug 2016 // 2:05 AM

Nisennenmondai: #N/A

Japan’s masters of ‘organic techno’ team up with Adrian Sherwood, with results that show their sound can withstand just about anything.

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‘In the Shadow of Frankenstein’ Will Haunt Your Dreams

In the Shadow of Frankenstein provides a first-rate example of how the creature's heart continues to pump life into the horror genre.

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The Essential Dilemma in ‘Under the Sun’ Is That No Truth Is singular, No Story Is Simple

The documentary tells a story of North Korean oppression by focusing on eight-year-old Zin-mi, her openness and also her caution, her obvious effort to please and her occasional and barely discernible frustration.

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‘Bad Moms’ Embraces the Stereotypes It so Desperately Wants to Subvert

The story is uneven, the laughs are plentiful, but it's the politics that make this movie a tad... questionable.

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Just How Would Captain Fantastic Feel About His Own Film?

An average day at Ben Cash's commune -- at least in his mind -- would make Iron Man competitions look like intermediate intramural fluff.

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BrainDead: Season 1, Episode 5 - “Back to Work…”

BrainDead's response to switching days and losing ratings? The weakest episode yet.

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‘The Secret Life of Pets’ Indicates Filmwriters Are Worn Out

The Secret Life of Pets is what happens when filmmakers try to create a movie around an entertaining teaser -- you get a main course that makes you long for the appetizer.

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Roadies: Season 1, Episode 5 - “Friends and Family”

In an up-close and personal episode, the gang’s in Denver for a hometown double bill, and everyone's got an itch that needs scratching when it comes to family.

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Looking for an Outlet: An Interview with Sonny Smith

Sonny Smith -- the bandleader and chief songwriter of the genre-morphing Sonny & The Sunsets -- sees modern existence as a swirl of ephemeral stimuli and microscopic mood swings.

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Miles Davis’s Corporeal Score to Louis Malle’s ‘Elevator to the Gallows’

Davis's score doesn't articulate a narrative in this film; it provides a haunting, corporeal presence that refuses to assimilate to our efforts to find meaning.

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‘Doctor Who’ and the Constraints of the American Cultural Cold War

Decolonization, shifting demographics and the rise of the US needed to be understood and processed through the British popular imagination. The Doctor landed his TARDIS just in time to help.

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Descendents: Hypercaffium Spazzinate

The Descendents today sound a lot like the Descendents you've always known, but this album is hardly a self-conscious clinging to past success. Instead, it's the sound of four guys with a deep bond, making music on their own terms.

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Various Artists: Coxsone’s Music 2 - The Sound of Young Jamaica

As with its companion piece, this second volume of early Jamaican music shows just how integral a role jazz and R&B played in shaping what would become the island nation’s dominant form of popular music in the second half of the 20th Century.

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Paul Kelly: Seven Sonnets and a Song

Legendary Australian songwriter Paul Kelly reconciles his trademark acoustic style with the works of Shakespeare on his latest album, Seven Sonnets and a Song.

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Edgar Winter: The Definitive Collection

The Definitive Collection features the big singles, the lost classics, and so many more facets to the Edgar Winter tale that time has mostly forgotten.

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Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie

The new Agatha Christie biography is a graphic novel in form but a mere flipbook in narrative.

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29 Jul 2016 // 2:05 AM

David Bazan: Blanco

David Bazan is capable of making misery seem bearable. Not so on this third long-player where he falls into the mire and can't get unstuck.

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Panorama Festival: FKA twigs and Arcade Fire Convey Passion

The inaugural Panorama Festival invited ticket holders into a big, shiny, technology-savvy paradise that carried promise for future installments.

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‘Jason Bourne’: The Bourne Repetition

Here again, the cuts in fight scenes are thrilling but maybe indecipherable, making irrelevant any logic of time and space, in favor of a viewing experience you might call meta-visceral.

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Preacher: Season 1, Episode 9 - “Finish the Song”

Worlds come crashing together in perhaps the best episode of the series thus far.

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Lewis Pesacov and wild Up: The Edge of Forever

Lewis Pesacov’s music carries a rare and delicate voice in today’s contemporary classical music.

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‘Last Night, a Superhero Saved My Life’ Is Grounded in Reality

Recommended reading for those whose lives were saved in the nick of time, and were transformed into their better selves, thanks to Amazons, Caped Crusaders, and Mutants.

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What Defines an “Old School” JRPG?

There’s a common assumption that a story starring kids is also for kids, and that a kid’s story is inherently less complex, less nuanced, and simply lesser in quality.

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28 Jul 2016 // 2:30 AM

MSTRKRFT: Operator

With the continually progressive and impressive places electronic music and its satellite genres are going, Operator is a regression to the uninspiring basics.

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Les Durs and the Anatomy of the (French) Tough Guy: Gabin, Ventura, and Belmondo

At Les Durs (The Tough Guys) Film Fest, the tough guy is a bulwark against decay; he's the guarantor of value -- even if that value is compromised by the world around him.

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Various Artists: Sherwood at the Controls Volume 2 - 1985-1990

The seminal producer/mixer Adrian Sherwood engages Ministry, KMFDM, and the dude from Spearhead. All without losing touch with his post-punk and reggae roots.

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Are The Rolling Stones More Than Just a Rock Band?

Rich Cohen, who covered the band for Rolling Stone in 1994, documents the Stones' historical and cultural importance in a new biography.

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28 Jul 2016 // 2:15 AM

Justin Llamas: Gold

Gold is an auspicious debut that feels like the beginning of something special.

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Panorama to New Yorkers: “Gimme All Your Love” and Sweat Stains, Too

Rock of the Aughts highlighted the debut day of New York City's brand-new music festival.

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Who’s Watching the Watchers in ‘Nerve’?

Nerve indicts the bad social media consumers, but lets you, the "better watchers", off the hook.

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‘Snotgirl’ S’not Your Average Comic

Bryan Lee O'Malley blows his nose at social media and fashion culture.

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Stranger Things: Season 1, Episode 1 - “The Vanishing of Will Byers”

Stranger Things captures fear and the '80s so brilliantly, you'd think Netflix injected it with some mad scientist-created serum to ensure maximum binge-worthiness.

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Mollner’s ‘Outlaws and Angels’ Trying Western Isn’t for the Weak of Heart

Mollner lays out this harsh story and rubs our faces in it. It's raw and hurtful and the sting remains even after the last frame has faded from our retinas.

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The A Word: Season 1, Episode 2

The best parts of The A Word are worth putting up with the awful parts, but why does writer Peter Bowker make his audience sit through them?

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The Life of a Navy Wife Is Told With Blazing Honesty in ‘The War At Home’

An existence of constant upheavals, classified work, and arcane cultural mores, the military is a peculiarly isolated place even as it runs parallel to civilian life.

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The ‘Chainmail Bikini’ Success Story: Challenging Sexism in Gaming and Comics

A growing array of writers are challenging previously dominant tropes of misogyny, sexuality, and whiteness; 40 of them can be found here.

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The Summer of De Palma: Looking Back at a Master Filmmaker’s Career

Following the release of Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow's document on the eponymous director, the legacy of Brian de Palma's extensive and controversial filmography is given renewed attention.

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27 Jul 2016 // 2:30 AM

Snoop Dogg: Coolaid

On Coolaid, Snoop Dogg brings back his iconic G-Funk sound with mixed results.

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Various: Tanbou Toujou Lou - Merengue, Kompa Kreyou, Vodou Jazz and Electric Folklore from Haiti

What it lacks in any immediately identifiable musical and geographic point of origin, this collection of mid-20th Century Haitian recordings more than makes up for in its unique cultural and stylistic fusion.

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27 Jul 2016 // 2:15 AM

Omni: Deluxe

Deluxe is a far better way to spend 30 minutes than many other 2016 releases shackled with the blanket terms of “indie” and “post-punk”.

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Andy Stott: Too Many Voices

This is everything but a claustrophobic piece of sonic art. On the contrary, this is Stott at his best, a composer whose futuristic music is well-rooted in today’s world.

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Fantasia Film Festival 2016: ‘Slash’ + ‘The Love Witch’

At this year's Fantasia Film Festival, you'll see all kinds of films, including one stylized homage to the sexual revolution and one playful nod to sexual repression.

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Grant Morrison Takes ‘Heavy Metal #281’ for a Spin

A special issue, dedicated to sex, 'cause we've never seen that before in the Heavy Metal series.

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‘Kabali’ Is a Cerebral Gangster Film

Kabali, Rajinikanth's finest film in years, asks (and answers) whether the lumpenproletariat can be revolutionary.

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26 Jul 2016 // 10:00 AM

Jeff Beck: Loud Hailer

Angered by a world going to hell, Jeff Beck rages against the dying of the light with a little help from his friends.

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‘Lost Sea’ Wants to Be a Casual Roguelike

Lost Sea is a fun low-impact experience until it remembers that it's a roguelike and rains down swift unmerciful death.

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26 Jul 2016 // 3:00 AM

Is There More Hoodoo Than Blues to C.W. Stoneking?

An interview with Australia's Americana chameleon C.W. Stoneking as he embarks on a North American tour.

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To Each Her Own Avocado Toast: Philosophers at Table

Philosophers at Table declares Cartesian dichotomies the ruin of food, with delicious results.

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Little Richard: Mono Box - The Complete Specialty and Vee-Jay Albums

Little Richard wasn’t just making music for the baby boomer generation; he was making music for the new millennium.

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Connections: Midnight Run

After the taut Into Sixes, the more fractured Midnight Run risks upsetting the formula the band has established, and yet that risk pays off at every turn.

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‘Fright Night’ Revisited: The Dubious Pleasures of the Vampiric Remake

The original Fright Night is a cult classic of the '80s horror genre; the remake features a classic Anton Yelchin performance.

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‘Café Society’ Is an Exhausting, Exasperating Film About Illusions and Delusions

The Woody Allen express rolls bumpily on with a glossy '30s-set bauble that half-heartedly poses the same interesting questions he’s been ruminating on for decades.

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Woody Allen Can’t Be Anyone But Himself in ‘Café Society’

Café Society is a competent film, but that's hardly praise for an auteur director like Woody Allen.

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Race and Sci-fi Theory: Not Just for Dissertations Anymore

Ever thought Toni Morrison's Beloved has a place at ComicCon? Carringont's Speculative Blackness might be for you.

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Laying the Groundwork: An Interview With Saul Williams

Poet/musician/auteur Saul Williams discusses the influence of Haitian post-apocalyptic art on his music, artist and listener responsibility, and more.

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25 Jul 2016 // 2:29 AM

Rhyton: Redshift

Redshift is an impressive and lasting record because it manages something not all experimental music can pull off. It is both immediate and challenging, catchy and complex.

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25 Jul 2016 // 2:20 AM

Aaron Neville: Apache

Aaron Neville sounds overcome with feeling -- even orgasmic, without having to strain. Like a gentle rain, his voice soothingly cleanses the air.

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25 Jul 2016 // 2:15 AM

Spain: Carolina

Spain's sixth album features a wealth of smart, sophisticated songs from Josh Haden. It's a record both haunting and haunted.

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The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

Fifty years on, Pet Sounds is still celebrated.

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The Warhol Paradox and ‘On&By Andy Warhol’

Andy Warhol seemed to always have it both ways. He was able to play high against low, simple against complex, present and yet far away, sexual/asexual, etc.

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Various Artists: Hungarian Noir: A Tribute to the Gloomy Sunday

The curse of "Gloomy Sunday" may or may not be lifted, but we are still left with one of the most tedious musical exercises that I have come across in some time.

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The 100 Greatest Alternative Singles of the ‘90s - Part 4 (40 - 21)

The fourth part of our examination of the 100 Greatest Alternative Singles of the '90s, including Suede, Manic Street Preachers, Pulp, and My Bloody Valentine.

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Mr. Robot: Season 2, Episode 3 - “eps2.1_k3rnel-pan1c.ksd”

Elliot continues to battle with Mr. Robot, while the rest of FSociety face growing threats from all sides.

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UnREAL: Season 2, Episode 7 - “Ambush”

“Ambush” takes on a great deal in one episode, but thankfully, it’s been setting things up beautifully all season.

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By Looking Backward, ‘Star Trek Beyond’ Prepares the Franchise for the Future

Star Trek Beyond successfully straddles the fine line between Star Wars' high tech toy merchandising and the serious ideas fostered by concept creator, Gene Roddenberry. It's also a stone cold blast.

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22 Jul 2016 // 9:09 AM

Tony Joe White: Rain Crow

Tony Joe White is to swamp rock what the Beatles were to the British Invasion and the Sex Pistols were to punk.

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22 Jul 2016 // 9:07 AM

Floating Points: Kuiper

Sam Shepherd's electronic/jazz/jam collective continues to push boundaries with a hypnotic new EP.

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22 Jul 2016 // 8:53 AM

Bat For Lashes: The Bride

The Bride is an intimate concept album on the death of a loved one and the process one takes in returning to normalcy.

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Grace Jones: Warm Leatherette (Deluxe Edition)

Though it was her fourth album, Warm Leatherette is really where it all started for the one and only Ms. Jones.

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There’s No Room for You in Hannah Tennant-Moore’s ‘Wreck and Order’

Our self-indulgent protagonist tries to find herself in the rural poverty of the third world but the people, the customs, the food, it all starts to grate on her first world sensibilities.

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22 Jul 2016 // 3:00 AM

Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything

Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David: "like Harold Pinter or Samuel Beckett for television." What more does one need?

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Foray into Fragments: Friedrich Schlegel

In this world, truth cannot be known in its fullness. We only get distorted images and fragments of the whole.

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“A Joyful, Very Happy Feeling”: A Conversation With Tanya Donelly of Belly

Donelly discusses her solo work and the much-anticipated Belly reunion -- and hints that the band may have more than a summer tour in the works.

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The Strumbellas’ Fun Folk Appeals to 4 Knots Festival-Goers (Interview + Photos)

A conversation with Canadian folk-pop group the Strumbellas and photos of Car Seat Headrest and Protomartyr from the 4 Knots Music Festival.

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It’s a Personal Apocalypse in ‘Uncanny X-men #10’

Cullen Bunn ends Apocalypse Wars with a choppy, but personal touch.

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Roadies: Season 1, Episode 4 - “The City Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken”

They would drive 100 miles, and they would drive 100 more, just to break the curse that could bring down the tour in a fun episode that combines sex, former drugs, and superstition.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Saul Williams Commands Attention at Summerstage (Photos + Video)

// Notes from the Road

"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.

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