The Amazing Pudding
More Recent Features
‘Miss Sloane’ Presents DC Corruption Lite

Lobbyists can only win or lose, no in-betweens, no moral victories.

READ more
Various Artists: Boogie Breakdown: South African Synth Disco 1980-1984

Not much music got out of South Africa in the late apartheid era, but Hot Chocolate and Keith Sweat must have gotten in.

READ more
Paul Kelly and Charlie Owen: Death’s Dateless Night

Two of Australia's most gifted musicians team up for a daring concept album

READ more
‘This Is Us’: New Life, New Opportunities, and Loss are All Part of “The Game Plan”

You could try to resist This Is Us's particular brand of drama and schmaltz, but it's a pretty irresistible mix.

READ more
Wayne Hancock: Slingin’ Rhythm

When it comes to a new Wayne Hancock record, you know exactly what you’re getting -- and that in itself can be a damn comforting notion.

READ more
Dizzy Gillespie and Friends: Concert of the Century - A Tribute to Charlie Parker

This may not be the greatest performance of its time, but it's bristling with improvisatory energy and instrumental play that should leave jazz devotees more than satisfied.

READ more
‘Bar Yarns and Manic-Depressive Mixtapes’, or, Music criticism, Minnesota-style

Jim Walsh’s writing combines heartfelt personal stories with knowledgeable music criticism. Reading this collection feels like having a conversation with an old friend.

READ more
Pete Townshend Expands His Musical Explorations for All the World to See

Any time Townshend dances, which happens frequently and enthusiastically here, the preposterousness comes out.

READ more
The Best Jazz of 2016

These are the 20 "best" jazz records of 2016 identified in stylistic diads, ranked loosely from most sublime to merely breathtaking.

READ more
Telefon Tel Aviv: Fahrenheit Fair Enough

With a bonus disc of unreleased electronic experimentations, the reissue of Fahrenheit Fair Enough is a document of forward-thinking genre wars that will fascinate one's faculties and promote a still, meditative awareness.

READ more
‘The Subsidiary’ Is a Chilling Experimental and Fragmented Tale About the Evils of Corporate Power

The lights go off in a subsidiary office; the phone lines go down and the exits are closed off. What happens next is told by an employee keeping records via rubber stamps.

READ more
George Harrison’s “Savoy Truffle”: Holiday Reflections on Sweets and the Beatles

George Harrison knew that in the time and space that get between us and our food, there's a sense of longing.

READ more
“Dissonance Theory” Both Reveals and Conceals Westworld’s Purpose

Westworld goes beyond HBO's usual visual spectacle and raunchy window dressing to offer philosophical meditations on both narrative and character.

READ more
‘Loving’, An Urgent Work of Compelling Quietude

Loving is particularly resonant at a time when many in America may feel as if their own inherent rights are on shaky ground.

READ more
‘Man Down’ Has the Dubious Distinction of Going Nowhere in Three Different Directions

Director Dito Montiel’s lack of subtlety cheapens a subject that calls for thoughtful examination.

READ more
‘Dirk Gently’ Picks Up Steam in the Best Episode Yet

"Fix Everything" highlights The Big Showdown, captivity and a fired detective to great effect.

READ more
Ted Rall’s Bernie Bio Has Extra Relevance in the Wake of the Democrats’ Presidential Defeat

While clearly endorsing Bernie Sanders’ politics, Rall offers an interesting and balanced portrait of the man behind the politics.

READ more
Confronting Evil, Determinism, and Death in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Exploring the darker core of a Christmas classic reveals just what is so wonderful about life.

READ more

2 Dec 2016 // 2:25 AM

Justice: Woman

Justice's third album finally finds them picking a solid theme, but it doesn't conjure as much magic as expected.

READ more
Queen: Queen on Air - The Complete BBC Radio Sessions (Deluxe 6-CD Edition)

These leaner versions of well-known tracks showcase a version of Queen with less pomp but plenty of circumstance.

READ more

2 Dec 2016 // 2:15 AM

Tove Lo: Lady Wood

The sophomore effort from Swedish pop artist Tove Lo immediately announced itself as a much darker, more sinister version of its hit 2014 predecessor Queen of the Clouds.

READ more
‘Nietzsche’s Journey to Sorrento’: Wherein Nietzsche Finds His Voice

Paolo D'Iorio writes of the costs and rewards of a man in the midst of transformation.

READ more
Soundgarden: Badmotorfinger (Deluxe Edition)

Twenty-five years on, the populace gets a renewed look at Soundgarden’s contribution to the year punk broke with a fully loaded reissue of their career-changing Badmotorfinger.

READ more
Hedvig Mollestad Trio: Black Stabat Mater / Evil in Oslo

On a pair of recent releases, Norwegian guitarist Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen continues to evolve into a thrilling modern guitarist informed equally by jazz and hard rock.

READ more
The Best Metal of 2016

Adrien Begrand celebrates the best heavy metal of the year in all of its thrilling diversity.

READ more
“The Pool” Pulls at Some of the Dramatic Threads in ‘This Is Us’

As an encapsulation of what's great about the show "The Pool" is representative of the complex, challenging, smart, and lovely things This Is Us has to offer.

READ more
‘A Wild Swan and Other Tales’: A Twist on Fairy Tales for a More Sober Time

Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham gives a compelling demonstration of how to reimagine magic while retaining a literary legacy.

READ more
Ready For “Change”: Cindy Wilson Talks Upcoming Album, Stage Show, and New Collaborators

Ryan Monahan had no idea that taking a birthday party gig would change his musical life. Neither did the B-52's Cindy Wilson, who tapped the musician to help her create her first-ever solo release.

READ more
Queering the Sponge: The Transcendent Queerness of ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’

Despite being rooted in nostalgia, the reemergence of SpongeBob could very well be linked to a longing for a yet-to-be-realized queer future.

READ more
Minutia Fuels the Masterful ‘Boyhood’

Richard Linklater's bold cinematic experiment pays off in ways that the more brash family dramas fail to.

READ more
An Italian in New York: Mondo Marcio Gets Fresh

Italy's favourite rapper mines the crates of American '90s hip-hop on his latest work.

READ more
Tad: God’s Balls / Salt Lick / 8-Way Santa

Heavier than heavy, Tad is back with a trio of deluxe editions of their first three Sub Pop releases.

READ more
Mary Halvorson Octet: Away With You

The quirky guitarist expands her septet to include pedal steel and creates landscapes that push the players to real invention.

READ more
‘Reading the Silver Screen’ From a Man Who Really Knows How to Teach

Thomas C. Foster’s little narrative method is a smart bit of teaching in a book that’s filled with great teaching techniques.

READ more

1 Dec 2016 // 2:15 AM

E: E

This noisy rocker opens in the midst of doom and fights its way forward.

READ more
Avenged Sevenfold: The Stage

Does Avenged Sevenfold's first concept album find the band going all prog-metal? Nope.

READ more

1 Dec 2016 // 2:05 AM

Paul Cauthen: My Gospel

Paul Cauthen’s personal gospel comes off as a belief in youthful innocence corrupted by the passage of time. His songs are rooted in the past.

READ more
Thom Sonny Green: High Anxiety

Drummer of Alt-J struggles to engage listeners on overlong electronic solo debut.

READ more
Setting Up An Ominous (and Overdue) Conflict in ‘Inhumans vs. X-men #0’

A clash between the Inhumans and X-men is inevitable, but it can still be compelling.

READ more
Grunge Fans Pay Homage to Temple of the Dog in San Francisco

It’s moments like these where music fans can rightfully feel genuine hope for humanity at a time when the world seems to be going mad.

READ more
‘Dirk Gently’ Gets Dramatic and Deadly in “Very Erectus”

The season's most dramatic episode so far says goodbye to a character and sets up showdowns leading to the finale.

READ more
The Painful Beauty in ‘Moonlight’

In his sophomore effort, writer-director Barry Jenkins' exacting calibration results in an experience that is deeply moving.

READ more
‘This Is Us’: Only Three Episodes In, “Kyle” Establishes the Series as a Lovely, Lyrical Delight

"Kyle" continues the series' trend of focusing on the moments that affect one's entire life, small as they may be.

READ more
Naomi Duguid’s ‘Taste of Persia’ Demystifies and Enchants

Duguid is particularly well-qualified to address the jewels in Persian cuisine's crown: exquisite rice cookery and a vast array of flatbreads.

READ more
The Moral Morass of Playing ‘Beholder’

Beholder shows the disasters that can come from, perhaps, being too compassionate within the context of a totalitarian state.

READ more
Was Your iPhone Produced by Slaves? Has It Made You One, As Well?

Media scholar Jack Linchuan Qiu argues that slavery-like conditions, which define digital media workers, mirror the slavery-like obsessions of consumers.

READ more
Instead of a Black Comedy, ‘The Executioner’ Offers Varying Shades of Gray

Instead of hitting us in the gut with it themes, this Spanish gem plays a more subtle and satisfying game.

READ more
Otis Redding: Live at the Whiskey a Go Go: The Complete Recordings

Three historic nights spread out over six discs makes for an unprecedented, essential Otis Redding listening experience.

READ more

30 Nov 2016 // 2:20 AM

6LACK: FREE 6LACK

6LACK has carved out a niche in Atlanta by drawing from the Soundcloud production aesthetic and combining his rapping ability with a smooth, if at sometimes disaffected, voice.

READ more

30 Nov 2016 // 2:15 AM

Loscil: Monument Builders

Monument Builders is a tribute to those who have sought to make grand artistic statements in their medium of choice, and Scott Morgan subverts this concept by adhering to a minimalist script.

READ more
Hawkwind: The Charisma Years 1976-1979

The Charisma Years captures a band constantly on the verge of transition, willing to explore more commercial-leaning avenues without fully sacrificing their underground bona fides.

READ more
Immersion: Analogue Creatures Living on an Island

Electronic duo Immersion combine two EPs to make an album that is better than the individual parts.

READ more
You Can Go Home Again: An Interview with R.E.M.‘s Mike Mills

Mike Mills of R.E.M. tells PopMatters about his new "Concerto for Violin, Rock Band, and Orchestra" project.

READ more
Phish and the Spiders From Mars Take Las Vegas

Phish has personally transformed Halloween into the holy high holiday of the rock world due to their legendary musical costume performances...

READ more
‘Divorce’ Gets a Lot Wrong in Its Seventh Episode, but Ends With an Emotional Gut Punch

Frances and Robert unearth even more secrets, personal and financial, that drive them further apart.

READ more
Zadie Smith’s ‘Swing Time’ Makes for a Difficult Dance

Learning from the past is not as simple as pressing rewind: it's a dance that's quite difficult to execute.

READ more
‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’: “The Good Samaritan” Leans Too Heavily on the Supernatural

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gets a little too magical for a science fiction series, with decidedly mixed results.

READ more
Archive: The False Foundation

Despite some exciting and vital moments, The False Foundation struggles to cohere into a cogent statement befitting of a legitimately scary political moment.

READ more

29 Nov 2016 // 8:44 AM

Cut Copy: January Tape

Cut Copy fans may enjoy this record, but ambient lovers should know to beware of what lie ahead.

READ more
The Pack A.D.: Positive Thinking

The Pack A.D. deliver their most hard hitting, personal and overall best work to date.

READ more
Roger Ebert Was Tuned in to the Average Reader’s Frequency

The Great Movies IV may be thinner than its predecessors, but it's just as essential for fans of the late critic.

READ more
Various Artists: Pop Ambient 2017

Another calendar year, another blissful blessing from Kompakt's long-running Pop Ambient series.

READ more

29 Nov 2016 // 8:16 AM

The Weeknd: Starboy

Starboy has something for each individual, without a doubt, but it has nothing for everybody as a collective, a balance he managed on his first three releases.

READ more
The Best Progressive Rock and Metal of 2016

The following ten albums rightly outshine the competition and best represent what made 2016 such a diverse and phenomenal year in progressive music.

READ more
Rediscovering an Overlooked Non-Masterpiece: ‘The Beautiful Blonde From Bashful Bend’

Preston Sturges' funny western farce has a few subversive ideas.

READ more
The Future and Past of Batman, Superman, Fantastic Four and Hunger Games

Can Batman and Superman save the DCEU or will their efforts fail, again? These and other The Next Reel speculations, past, present and future.

READ more
‘Agnes’ Is a Bleak Tale About the Misuses of Storytelling

Peter Stamm's work is an example of how stories can hold their creators in their power.

READ more
‘Westworld’ Continues to be a Cerebral Examination of Consciousness and Story

"The Stray" deepens the narrative as both story and characters move forward in unexpected ways.

READ more
The Fight Is Rigged in Death of X #4

Death of X is a cage match between one side that has the unconditional backing of Disney's lawyers and another that remains under the boot of a rival company.

READ more
‘The Road Not Taken’ Travels the Blurred Boundary Between Sincerity and Performance

David Orr's exploration of Robert Frost's famous (and famously misinterpreted) poem will have you questioning Frost's intentions -- and your illusions of self-agency.

READ more
Bitori: Legend of Funaná - The Forbidden Music of the Cape Verde Islands

Accordion-fueled revolution reigns on the first worldwide release of an album of Cabo Verdean classics.

READ more
Ryan Bingham: Ryan Bingham Live

A well-rounded live collection from one of today's best Americana artists.

READ more

28 Nov 2016 // 9:27 AM

Harvey Mandel: Snake Pit

Harvey Mandel returns with his first widely-distributed album in roughly 20 years. The record finds him playing with the excitement of a newcomer and is a must-hear effort for six-string enthusiasts.

READ more

28 Nov 2016 // 9:20 AM

Pale Hands: Graphism

Pale Hands' moody indietronica LP Graphism reminds us that, in a time of frothing demagogues and unsightly political upheavals, there are still euphorias to chase

READ more

28 Nov 2016 // 9:03 AM

Jay Daniel: Broken Knowz

Jay Daniel blazes his own trail on forward thinking, innovative electronic album.

READ more
‘This Is Us’: “The Big Three” Digs Deeper Into Story and Character

Post-pilot, the second episode offers deeper characterization, a big twist, and a lot more questions.

READ more
Nouvelle Vague’s Olivier Libaux Talks About Why We Need Music to Discover New Worlds

Documentaries, tours, and the bossa nova song stylists' first ever stab at original songs infuses the celebrated group with new energy, new life.

READ more
History, Commentary, and Religiosity in ‘No Man’s Sky’

The universe of No Man's Sky may be calm, but it’s certainly no utopia.

READ more
‘My Love, Don’t Cross That River’ Showcases Love, Loss, and Nothing In-between

Mo-young Jin's debut documentary fails to develop its characters or story, and only scratches the surface of the universal emotions with which is grapples.

READ more
‘Star Trek’: Where Have All the Starships Gone?

After the events of 9/11, many Star Trek fan clubs and online role playing ships disappeared from view. How do I know? I was one of the people in those communities.

READ more
The Kids in ‘The Edge of Seventeen’ Are Adorable. You Know They’re in for Trouble

The kids in The Edge of Seventeen can't anticipate their mistakes like you do.

READ more

23 Nov 2016 // 10:15 AM

The Peace: Black Power

When the Summer of Love meets 1970s Zambia, the result is fuzzy, free, and guaranteed to make anyone cooler.

READ more
Biography of X-Men Comics Writer Chris Claremont Is Weighed Down With Words

Claremont's long-form X-Men story, told over 186 issues, proves he's the master of the form. Jason Powell's new book offers an exhaustive issue-by-issue commentary.

READ more
The Brian Jonestown Massacre: Third World Pyramid

Psychedelia has a tendency to seem unhurried while keeping a tempo it can’t quite enjoy, and Third World Pyramid finds Anton Newcombe honing in on a progression that works.

READ more

23 Nov 2016 // 9:38 AM

Nicolas Jaar: Sirens

Sirens is a masterpiece. Melding pop and experimental music, it reflects the uneasiness of our difficult times.

READ more

23 Nov 2016 // 9:31 AM

DAWN: Redemption Heart

DAWN concludes her Red Heart trilogy with an enigmatic yet polished dance album.

READ more
‘Allied’ Fizzles Despite Some Sizzle From Pitt and Cotillard

Half the fun of a movie like this is rushing to judgement, only to be proven wrong by a clever twist in the script.

READ more

23 Nov 2016 // 9:06 AM

Prince: 4EVER

Prince 4Ever is a look back at some of the legend’s most familiar work, and a refresher for fans who want the big hits but might also be exposed to some singles they missed along the way.

READ more
Alexander von Humboldt Carried the Spirit and the Genius of Goethe

Humboldt knew that nature, when properly channeled and understood, is something felt and experienced deeply and personally, that stimulates the imagination as well as the intellect.

READ more
‘Ballistick’: Looking for the Most Efficient Kill

The stick figure killer never looks badass, but you'll feel like a badass playing him, and that’s a much more impressive accomplishment.

READ more
Free Nelson MandoomJazz: The Organ Grinder

Leave it to a band like Free Nelson MandoomJazz to remind us that jazz and metal can be fused so easily.

READ more

22 Nov 2016 // 8:50 AM

Ken Sharp: New Mourning

Ken Sharp’s first new studio album in nine years, New Mourning is a deceptively sunny 14-track song cycle that contemplates the beauty and endurance of the human spirit in the face of crushing emotional darkness, loss, and regret.

READ more
‘Small Radios Big Televisions’: Small Game Short Review

Games like Jazzpunk make me laugh and make me think. Small Radios Big Televisions just reminds me of staring into a lava lamp for a couple of hours.

READ more

22 Nov 2016 // 8:42 AM

Phil Collins: Singles

The main question with Singles is this: does Phil Collins really deserve all the critical revilement he's gotten for decades?

READ more
Planes Mistaken For Stars: Prey

Post-hardcore outsiders reconvene to unleash a harsh and harrowing assessment of modern society.

READ more

22 Nov 2016 // 8:30 AM

Sad13: Slugger

Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz leaves her guitar and arch songwriting behind for sweet synthpop and a more direct, heart-on-sleeve lyrical perspective.

READ more
Finding the Sublime in Jazz, an Argument for Abstraction

Jazz columnist Will Layman presents seven pieces of music as evidence of the beauty and urgency of pure sound in instrumental jazz.

READ more
Smile! You’re on Cinerama

According to these "consumer celebration" films, the world -- even Russia -- was once a carefree, glowing place of gracious living.

READ more
A Year in the Hype: Can ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ Live Up to Expectations?

Where they lead, we will follow… but what'll we find when we get there?

READ more

22 Nov 2016 // 2:15 AM

Font Matters

Simon Loxley's Type Is Beautiful will have you realizing that you haven't fully lived until you've stared into the depths of Louis John Pouchee’s 18 Lines No. 2.

READ more
More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

"Rock Never Dies" Takes Shots at Celebrity Culture In a Surprisingly Effective Episode

// Channel Surfing

"Season 12's best episode yet isn't perfect, but well-done, with an excellent swan song performance by Rick Springfield.

READ the article