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More Recent Features
Tom Cruise Teaches the Genre What Action Is All About With ‘Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation’

This is the best thriller of the year not named Mad Max: Fury Road.

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The Media Circus Begins in ‘Best of Enemies’

This gripping documentary about the invective-slinging 1968 William F. Buckley-Gore Vidal debates isn’t a celebration of intellectual combat, it’s an original-sin tale for where TV news went wrong.

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Class Actress Plays the Role of Femme Fatale on Her Latest EP

The synthpop artist's Movies is a concept work, with her native Los Angeles serving as the backdrop.

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Omar Souleyman: Bahdeni Nami

If you’re not dancing or clapping while listening to Omar Souleyman, you’re doing something wrong.

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Various Artists: Shirley Inspired

Contemporary folk revivalists assemble to pay tribute to one of the British folk revival’s leading lights, Shirley Collins.

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Mark Springer: The Watching Bird / The Rip Rig and Panic Piano Solos

In Mark Springer's work, there is a presence of emotional distortion that pushes forward a striking narrative of signatures and chords.

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31 Jul 2015 // 2:15 AM

Folk City: New York and the American Folk Music Revival

Folk City explores New York's central role in fueling the nationwide craze for folk music in postwar America.

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31 Jul 2015 // 2:10 AM

Elizaveta: Messenger

A cocktail of style, skill and beauty, Elizaveta's second album leaves fans wondering if there is anything this singer-songwriter cannot do.

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‘Tangerines’ Is a Passionate Plea for Diplomacy and Coexistence

Tangerines highlights the various reasons why people fight, and then shows why these reasons are inadequate.

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Lyfe Jennings: Tree of Lyfe

The script changes little for R&B singer/songwriter Lyfe Jennings on sixth album Tree of Lyfe, but it works out just fine.

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Image Comics Challenges the Comics Industry with ‘Island #1’

Island #1 brings something to comics that hasn’t been as popular for a long time now, the anthology comicbook.

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‘Listen to Me Marlon’ Makes It Clear That for Marlon Brando, Acting Was Surviving

Marlon Brando's face offers various sorts of "stages", as he puts it, acting as a character or asserting a truth, showing that he is cocky or wounded or fearful.

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Grim Thoughts and Gallows Humor in Eugene Thacker’s ‘Cosmic Pessimism’

Chuckle if you want, but these are good times for grim thoughts, and some of the best and freshest writing is coming from Eugene Thacker.

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Titus Andronicus: A Most Lamentable Tragedy

Titus Andronicus deliver a massive, sprawling opus dealing with lead vocalist Patrick Stickles’ mental health issues that is often as frustrating, and satisfying, as the disorder itself.

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Does Reality Television Need ‘The Profit’?

A series about making money, airing on CNBC, might seem like an unlikely place for fostering positive values.

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Mission of Burma: Signals, Calls, and Marches / Vs.

Thirty years later, Mission of Burma still sounds like the future.

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The Internet: Ego Death (take 2)

Rising from the ashes of Odd Future, the Internet delivers the former collective’s first post-dissolution masterpiece.

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‘Five Easy Pieces’ Must Be Appreciated on Its Own Cantankerous Terms

As the hippie hangover from the ‘60s begins in earnest, Jack Nicholson's Bobby Dupea has neither tuned in nor entirely dropped out.

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The Continental Drifters: Drifted: In the Beginning & Beyond

Omnivore Records has chosen to focus attention on L.A.‘s sadly unappreciated Continental Drifters by doing so in such a way that doesn’t retrace previously released material.

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30 Jul 2015 // 2:05 AM

Chappo: Future Former Self

A concept album, Future Former Self , is far from perfect storytelling, but does allow Chappo to explore intriguing musical and stylistic themes.

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The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”: A History

Deconstructing the impact of the Rolling Stones' “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and remembering how the song has fired our imaginations for the last 50 years.

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Archie Is Born Again in ‘Archie #1’

Archie brings a new Riverdale for a new generation.

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Audiences Will Have No Fun on This ‘Vacation’

Instead of finding a way to channel the original film's clever cluelessness, this new take on the material is all gross-out gags from two decades ago.

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Sex, Lies, and Uprising in ‘A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile’

This film raises questions about truth and fiction in documentary, and questions regarding other sorts of storytelling, in news, social media, and political movements.

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The Writing in Frank Jacobs’ MAD’s Greatest Writers is MAD to the Max

Frank Jacobs' parodies are what most people first think of when they think of MAD, even if they don’t know the name of the man who penned them.

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Everything Is Easy: The Touring Lives of Third Eye Blind

"I really, really look at the audience. I'm not one of those people who glosses over; I very directly, soberly engage. I'm going to look you in the eye. And you can just see this summer of America getting better."

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The Life, Death and Afterlife of Video Stores

In the dust of long gone video stores ghosts of film geeks past forever roam.

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Tim Bowness: Stupid Things That Mean the World

So few of Bowness’s peers show the same level of artistic integrity and fearlessness, not to mention boundless creativity and precise expressionism.

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Ducktails: St. Catherine

Matt Mondanile's (Real Estate) latest solo excursion improves upon his refined fuzz-pop approach, though he struggles to find an emotional core inside his casual synth arrangements.

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Strange Wilds: Subjective Concepts

Though the group manage to display flashes of powerful punk prowess, their debut record cant quite escape the shadows of their considerable Northwest predecessors.

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29 Jul 2015 // 2:10 AM

Cold Cave: Full Cold Moon

This vinyl reissue of a year’s worth of singles serves as an ideal introduction to Cold Cave’s icy aesthetic.

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There’s No Resting in Peace in Roger Corman’s ‘Premature Burial’

So burdened is Ray Milland by the trappings of horror convention that you marvel he doesn’t smother on the spot, even though he is safely above ground.

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Neil Young and Promise of the Real: The Monsanto Years (Take 2)

While the message often appears to overpower the music, the album is nowhere near the unlistenable mess some critics have claimed.

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‘Lovers At the Chameleon Club’ and the Stories We Tell Ourselves

Lou Villars is a French athletic champion -- and a spy for the Nazis.

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Them Changes: A Conversation with Thundercat

He's the go-to bass mastermind who's anchored already-iconic albums by Kendrick Lamar and Kamasi Washington. For his latest mini-album, Thundercat gets both sad and weird, taking us on a true emotional journey.

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Getting the Poison-to-Punch Ratio Just Right: Mini Mansions Steps Into the Limelight

Mini Mansions discusses the band's current/future efforts, the sometimes-arduous process of writing compelling lyrics, and the intimate interrelationship they maintain to pop, music, and the wider culture of major-label work.

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Forging a New Batman in ‘Justice League Gods and Monsters: Batman #1’

Making Kirk Langstrom a believable Batman... to an extent, in one of the trinity of prequel books to Justice League: Gods & Monsters.

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Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Is Today

Some of Dead Synchronicity's attempts at “ripping away the veneer of civility to show man's true nature” are downright comical.

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‘The Killers’ DVD Is a Double Whammy

Criterion brings two film versions, one a classic and one a misfire, of Ernest Hemingway's short story, "The Killers".

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The Forecastle Festival Louisville, KY (Day Three)

It was a hot time in the old time tonight as Widespread Panic, Modest Mouse, TWEEDY, and more put the cap on Louisville's riverfront festival.

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Glowing Skulls, Murder Mysteries and The Detection Club

The Golden Age of Murder frequently feels like spending time in the company of a loquacious friend who is a veritable storehouse of information about the Detection Club.

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‘Superman’ and ‘Superman II’: What Is, and What Might Have Been

Superman and Superman II are two of the best films of their kind, but budget and time overruns necessitated a number of changes from the original vision.

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28 Jul 2015 // 2:30 AM

Future: DS2

On his second installment of the Dirty Sprite series, Future redeems himself and creates his own minimalist paradise.

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28 Jul 2015 // 2:20 AM

High Tides: High Tides

High Tides swirls nostalgia, synthesizers and neon-coated pop together for a sun-bleached beauty

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Watkins Family Hour: Watkins Family Hour

The long-running L.A. musical variety show yields a slight but enjoyable album without pretensions to being anything more than slight and enjoyable.

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What Zone Were the Writers of ‘Zone Troopers’ In?

This banal imitation of WWII B-movies is a perplexing and tedious film that never fully commits to the genre blending that could have elevated it to B-movie standards.

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Ted Drozdowski’s Scissormen: Love & Life

Love & Life creates a continuous buzz that often translates into a very deep groove or the sound of a persistent rumble.

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Kopecky: Drug for the Modern Age

Drug for the Modern Age shows Kopecky's ability to repeatedly create instantly catchy indie-pop tracks over and over again, almost to a fault.

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What Happens When the Sappiness of ‘The Bachelor’ Meets the Plotting of ‘Inception’?

Experiencing Chris Harrison's The Perfect Letter is similar to that of the show he hosts, The Bachelor: you love to "hate-read" it.

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In ‘Tea Time’, 60 Years of Illusions and Pretense Are Pleasantly Lost

Filmed over six years, Maite Alberdi's lovely, profound documentary observes five former Catholic high school classmates' conversations.

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‘Godzilla’ Holds Its Fun Hostage

Godzilla is a love letter to the giant lizard in all his incarnations, and it's a cynical abuse of that love.

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Barbarians Weep in ‘Weirdworld #2’

Weirdworld gives us a barbarian king at his wits end, at the end of his rope, and at the brink of tears.

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‘Ex Machina’ and the Moral and Intellectual Facets of AI Development

Ex Machina treats its audience with reverence and care, and as a result, it's a film that can be dissected and appreciated by both humans and sentient robots alike.

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Queen Said It Best: We Are the Champions

The Invaders considers the tenuous position of the planet's top dogs.

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Lovecraft Was Wrong: Knowledge Is Power in ‘Bloodborne’

Bloodborne is not about the horror of knowledge, but the horror of unfettered knowledge.

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How a Streetwalker Became America’s Sweetheart

Pretty Woman was porn-lite for women long before Fifty Shades of Grey came along, and apparently, it still is.

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27 Jul 2015 // 2:30 AM

Lianne La Havas: Blood

With Blood, Lianne La Havas rediscovers herself and adds a prefix to her name.

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27 Jul 2015 // 2:20 AM

Mas Ysa: Seraph

Many moments of Seraph may seem random but are really meticulously placed in an effort to create something truly graceful and charming.

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The Dustbowl Revival: With a Lampshade On

If these cats don’t get you out on the dance floor, you need to see a doctor about your missing pulse.

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27 Jul 2015 // 2:10 AM

LA Priest: Inji

Producer Sam Dust arises as a maverick electronic pop revisionist on his full-length debut as LA Priest.

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The Political Allegory in ‘White God’ Has Quite the Bite

White God ferociously tells a universal story about the ties that bind us, and the forces that try to tear them apart.

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‘The Dark Net’ Peers Beyond the Headlines About the Hidden Web

Part investigative journalism, pop-anthropology, and travel diary, The Dark Net finds a bizarre world; a funhouse refraction of our surface interests, intents, motivations, and mores.

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27 Jul 2015 // 2:05 AM

Simply Red: Big Love

Big Love come across as a kind of audio time capsule, one that makes the passage of the past 30 years simply disappear.

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27 Jul 2015 // 2:02 AM

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Curious Legacy of Outkast

When it comes to hip-hop, everyone remembers who kicked down the front door -- but no one remembers who opened the windows.

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Forecastle Festival: Louisville, KY (Day Two)

My Morning Jacket headline Day Two, bringing hometown rock glory to Louisville's riverfront.

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‘Lantern City’ and Its Steampunk Origins

Origins aren't predicative of outcomes. But the consequences of choices are compounded over time. This becomes remarkably apparent with Lantern City's choice of genre in steampunk.

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The Fight Scenes in ‘Southpaw’ Are Brutal and Beautiful

The fight scenes comprise a slamming mix of point of view shots, ringside images, and dazzling choreography showcases, as well as generally corny reaction shots.

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‘Pixels’ Can’t Survive It’s Hackneyed Script

Other elements of the movie almost work. The screenplay definitely doesn't.

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Miles Davis: Miles Davis at Newport: 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4

With the fourth installment in the so-called bootleg series, the evolution of Miles Davis is on full display. To say these recordings are essential to understanding the artist’s progression would be an understatement.

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The Chemical Brothers: Born in the Echoes

The legendary electronic duo modernize the roots of house and techno music on their first studio album in five years.

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24 Jul 2015 // 2:15 AM

Unbuttoning America: A Biography of Peyton Place

With its frank discussions of poverty, sexuality, class and ethnic discrimination, and small-town hypocrisy, Peyton Place was more than a tawdry potboiler.

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Joe Satriani: Shockwave Supernova

Joe Satriani is joined by a crack band on this album, but it also features some of his most emotive and brilliant playing in 26 years.

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‘Timbuktu’ Sends a Powerful Message About Jihadism

Timbuktu isn’t just a film about jihadism. It’s a film about the vibrant cultures jihadism can eradicate if it continues to spread.

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Robert Glasper: Covered (The Robert Glasper Trio Recorded Live at Capital Studios)

The Best R&B Grammy winner who is really a jazz pianist does both on this acoustic trio record.

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Roger Waters: Amused to Death (take 2)

Amused to Death, emerged as a dark, desultory look at the domination of the media as a brainless but powerful influence in the shaping of mankind’s political, religious and social ideals.

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Animotion Talks About the Hit Song That’s Been an ‘Obsession’

Animotion member Bill Wadhams looks back at the band's big hit, "Obsession", which marks its 30th anniversary this year.

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Jack Savoretti: Written in Scars

At turns rustic and sensual, Jack Savoretti's Written in Scars proves his most lustrous effort.

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Los Angeles Film Festival 2015

The Los Angeles Film Festival continues to lean in amongst a decidely crowded festival market.

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‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ 30 Years On

In 1985, Crisis on Infinite Earths was a necessary evil to tie together inchoate timelines in DC's grander continuity. No one could foresee this book coming to define the next 30 years in comics.

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The Majesty of U2 Shines at the First of Eight NYC Shows

U2's eight night run at Madison Square Garden began with a powerhouse performance including many of their classics and a huge production that embodies a global theme.

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‘It Follows’ Has a Deep Dread on Its Mind

This movie is often creepy and unnerving, but it's not unbearably terrifying, if only because Mitchell's distinctive voice as a filmmaker is such a pleasure to behold.

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Roger Waters: Amused to Death (take 1)

In 1992, Roger Waters released a mighty record that was given the bum's rush by pop history. Remixed, repackaged, and remastered, it's back to teach us a lesson.

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Danielewski’s ‘The Familiar, Vol. 1’ Is Too Much, All at Once

As a compendium of inventive thought and prose, The Familiar, Vol. 1 succeeds. As a coherent novel, it's impenetrable.

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23 Jul 2015 // 2:20 AM

Years & Years: Communion

There may be the odd misstep, but Communion is a solid debut, and one of the better pop albums in recent memory.

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Joss Stone: Water for Your Soul

Think of it as the aural equivalent of a Lego set. One can use the simple bricks in different styles and colors to make something that stands out as special.

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The Lover Speaks: The Lover Speaks

Full of bouncy, ebullient grooves and an atmosphere of high drama, the Lover Speaks’ lone 1986 album is a solidly written and performed work which still maintains its charm nearly 30 years later.

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Soldiers vs. Werewolves in the Scottish Highlands

Through their relentless bloodlust and willingness to organize and plot with their own kind, these werewolves are, in many ways, like us.

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23 Jul 2015 // 2:05 AM

Kool Keith: Total Orgasm

A master provocateur, Kool Keith unleashes three discs' worth of the scatological, pornographic and often just plain absurd.

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Tom Petty and George Harrison Were Two Sides of the Same Bicentennial Coin

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Thirty Three & 1/3, and self-destruction in the Spirit of '76.

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The Forecastle Festival: Louisville, KY (Day One)

Sam Smith blows the crowd away at a busy, memorable opening day of Forecastle 2015.

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Comedy’s the Game in ‘Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions #3’

Dating Awkwardness Takes the Stage (with help from Marc Maron).

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In ‘Go Set a Watchman’, Racism Is Resilient and Seductive

In Harper Lee’s dry run for To Kill a Mockingbird, it’s somehow less shocking that Atticus Finch is a racist but that his once-forceful daughter Scout is so powerless against him.

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20 Questions: Albert Hammond, Jr.

For Albert Hammond Jr., "Sometimes you wanna be James Bond and sometimes you wanna be Marlon Brando until you realize you can't be either!"

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What Sebastian Bach and ‘Gilmore Girls’ Taught Us About Music and Life

Gil (Sebastian Bach) was the physical embodiment of the themes Gilmore Girls tried to convey through music.

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22 Jul 2015 // 2:30 AM

Tame Impala: Currents

Australia's most promising young rock band masterfully blend psychedelia with dance music on their bold and epic third album.

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Fantastic Negrito: Fantastic Negrito

The immediacy and disjointed nature seems fitting, in tune with Xavier Dphrepaulezz’s rebellious nature and his disregard for formulaic music.

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Lee Bannon: Pattern of Excel

On his latest album, left-field garage producer Lee Bannon emphasizes his true sonic passions with moody ambient pieces and glitchy soundscapes.

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Sexual Horror in ‘Valerie and Her Week of Wonders’

This film presents adolescent desires as if it were a raging ocean of mercury – beautiful and deadly all at once.

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22 Jul 2015 // 2:10 AM

Joy Williams: Venus

On her first post-Civil Wars album, Williams sometimes hits the mark perfectly. And sometimes she sounds like she's trying on musical costumes to see what fits.

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What Is the Line Between Cultural Respect and (Mis)appropriation?

The Goddess Pose is fascinating story of how an Eastern European woman became a global chameleon and the most recognizable face of yoga in the world.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

A Chat with José González at Newport Folk Festival

// Notes from the Road

"José González's sets during Newport Folk Festival weren't on his birthday (that is today) but each looked to be a special intimate performance.

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