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‘The Transporter Refueled’ Should Actually Be the Transporter, Rejected

An overly familiar pile of action movie clichés lacking the one element -- Jason Statham -- that made the original franchise worthwhile

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Robert Redford and Nick Nolte Return for ‘A Walk in the Woods’

Even as Stephen and Bill reassure each other that they'll walk the Appalachian Trail, thereby demonstrating that their youth isn’t so lost as it seems, that their bodies maintain some resemblance to their memories, you see otherwise.

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Anatomy of a Betrayal in ‘Superman #43’

Lois Lane's betrayal is troubling, but underwhelming.

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4 Sep 2015 // 2:30 AM

Low: Ones and Sixes

Low's Ones and Sixes is surprising for sounding very much of the moment.

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4 Sep 2015 // 2:20 AM

Dâm-Funk: Invite the Light

Modern-day funk prophet Dâm-Funk returns with another massive collection of synthetic retro-futurist funk.

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Yo La Tengo: Stuff Like That There

Yo La Tengo look both inward and outward on their new covers album.

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Cacophonies and Heavenly Choruses: A Cure for the Classical Blues

Is there any term in any field that is more slippery or meaningless or that carries such impossible, historically artificial burdens of meaning as "Classical Music"?

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American Dreams and Road Trips: Packing Up Season 1 of ‘Unplanned America’

In the final two episodes of its first season, the guys seek out the paranormal, settle for the weird, and wrap up their cross-country adventure.

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Bingham Prize Winner Jack Livings on Imagining China

Award-winning fiction writer Jack Livings discusses his new book, The Dog, and the importance of writing with moral purpose.

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Paul Theroux’s ‘Deep South’ Takes Us Inside America’s Third World

After a career spent traveling the world, Paul Theroux makes a revelatory journey through the blighted, wounded, struggling, well-armed, and resilient small towns of the American South.

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Bittersweet and Uplifting: ‘Show Me a Hero’ Offers No Easy Solutions

In its conclusion, HBO's Show Me a Hero delivers the catharsis of a social victory despite firm political barriers.

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The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution Gives a Lesser Known History

Stanley Nelson’s studious history shows that even without the law enforcement campaign of disinformation, infiltration, and assassination, the Black Panthers would have imploded on their own.

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Love Is a Battleworld in ‘Secret Wars: Secret Love #1’

The Heroes of the Marvel Universe Battle their Feels.

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The Faces: 1970-1975: You Can Make Me Dance, Sing, or Anything

This five-disc set shines a properly deserved light on one of rock and roll's greatest and most versatile bands.

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Could YouTube Help Bernie Sanders—and Hurt Hillary Clinton?

Hillary Clinton may be the Democratic establishment's favorite, but on the Internet, social media users are feelin' the Bern.

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William Parker: For Those Who Are, Still

Jazz bassist William Parker escorts himself into a whole new realm of modern music on For Those Who Are, Still.

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Ghost: Meliora (take 2)

The songs on Meliora are triumphant hymns to the Morning Star that will stick in your head from now until Armageddon.

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The Awful Beauty of ‘The Tribe’

In a bleak tale of violence and revenge, The Tribe astonishes with style even more than it shocks with content.

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Pugwash: Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends)

Play This Intimately (As if Among Friends) is as unobtrusive as its banner implies, but cheery enough to beg repeated hearings.

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What Should One Make of Childlike Comics Depicting the Exploits of an Erotic Dancer?

Canada's first autobiographical comic chronicles the drama of a stripper's life in a lighthearted and welcoming way.

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2 Sep 2015 // 2:05 AM

DTCV: Uptime!

Lead singer Vivarock is DTCV's biggest asset, but is sometimes let down by unexciting songwriting.

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‘Monster Mash’ Is a Veritable Catalogue of the Damned

Nearly every consumer good sold in America from 1957-1972 had some kind of monster on it at some point.

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Dante and Don: The Word Made Flesh and the Word Made Cash

Separated by 750 years, the dualities of both Dante and Don Draper share a resonance that transcends time.

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Sunn O))) + Phurpa: London - 18 August 2015

This is an uninterrupted, dynamic journey to the purity of sound, to decomposition, rather than its opposite, to the destruction of music in the search of silence

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Things Take Flight in ‘Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #3’

Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps is a solid addition to Marvel's big-deal Secret Wars crossover event.

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Riverside: Love, Fear and the Time Machine

Ten years on, Riverside remain as special as ever, and Love, Fear and the Time Machine is their truest work of art.

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Kevin Gordon: Long Gone Time

A necessary soundtrack for these times: a reflection on America, mid-apocalypse.

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1 Sep 2015 // 2:15 AM

John Hulburt: Opus III

Overlooked Chicago acoustic guitarist finally gets his due thanks to this lovingly curated reissue of a private press gem.

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The New ‘Walt Disney Short Films Collection’ Is Rather Charming

Although we expect some emotional junk food from Disney studios, this new collection boasts shorts that not only warm your heart, but dazzle you with impressive animation, as well.

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Corey Taylor Grumpily Sorts Through Society’s Rubble

Proclaiming himself, “The Great Big Mouth” Taylor’s third book takes a critical and shameless look at the state of society.

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1 Sep 2015 // 2:04 AM

Video Beast: Gooch

Gooch is a wonderfully sloppy and vulgar debut album.

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Achieving a Space Age Utopia with Vinyl Williams

We spoke with psychedelic spa musician and visual artist Vinyl Williams about his new set, Into, along with theories of universal oneness.

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Futility, Humility, and Villainy in ‘Magneto #21’

As the world ends, we find out just what kind of man Magneto is.

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‘Welcome to Leith’ Tells of the Day the Nazis Came to Town

When a white supremacist tried to turn this tiny North Dakota town into his own Aryan enclave, the locals were horrified but found that they had limited resources to fight back.

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What Happens When Public Health Becomes a Battleground for the “Moral Language of Health&#8221

After the Wrath is an amazing read and full of thought-provoking ideas and theories about how religion – leaders, institutions, and policy – frames responses to disease.

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Toto’s Steve Lukather Has Something to Prove

The veteran rock group’s guitarist talks about Toto XIV and the band's summer tour with Yes.

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Iron Maiden: The Book of Souls

Instead of coasting like a legacy act, the metal greats push themselves like never before on their 16th album.

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For Jazz and Gospel Artists and Audiences, Music Is Their Faith, and Faith Is Their Rock

Black music's spiritual aspect may be a given, but two new books, A City Called Heaven and Spirits Rejoice! go deep into explaining how that actually happens.

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Noah Gundersen: Carry the Ghost

Beautiful, melancholy folk-pop that wrestles with spiritual and philosophical matters.

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Dee Dee Bridgewater: Dee Dee’s Feathers

Bridgewater turns in a loving tribute to the city and its rich musical heritage a decade after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

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31 Aug 2015 // 2:10 AM

Seapony: A Vision

Call it purity of vision, if you will, when a band releases three albums that sound almost exactly the same, and as a listener you don’t mind.

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Who Are We Supposed to Feel Sorry for in ‘Good Kill’?

Good Kill has a lot to say, and the conviction to say it loudly, but gets lost in a series of predictable plot points.

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Can Magic Cure Madness?

Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is a complex but wonderful, masterful story with a charming sense of humor.

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Hu Vibrational: The Epic Botanical Beat Suite

The Epic Botanical Beat Suite is an album made by a percussionist, with five other percussionists, for anyone.

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“This Is My Design”: How Hannibal Turned Into a Modern Television Classic

"Hannibal's not God. He wouldn't have any fun being God. Defying God, that's his idea of a good time." With Hannibal taking its final bow, a bloody good time was had by all.

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20 Questions: Oliver Sacks

Neurologist and philosopher Oliver Sacks possesses a tireless intellect, a perpetual curiosity, and a compassionate understanding of humans.

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Big Art and Big Ideas in Jack Kirby’s ‘Devil Dinosaur’

Today comics giant Jack Kirby would have celebrated his 98th birthday. It's time to commemorate his mightiest monster.

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Estrella Morente and Carmen Consoli Were Highlights at David Byrne’s Meltdown Festival

Estrella Morente and Carmen Consoli were among the artists who fired up this year’s Meltdown Festival at London’s Southbank Centre, the former with intense flamenco, the latter with punchy pop-rock.

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‘Z for Zachariah’ Is the Anti-‘Mad Max’

A post-apocalyptic pastoral turns primal radioactive love triangle in this throwback drama starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie, and Chris Pine.

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Owen Wilson Plays the Hapless American in ‘No Escape’

Again and again, No Escape shows that this is not how the clueless American planned for things to "work out", that he's a victim.

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Noise Uprising: The Audiopolitics of a World Musical Revolution

The soundtrack to decolonization is heard in Havana’s son, Rio’s samba, New Orleans’ jazz, Buenos Aires’ tango, Seville’s flamenco, Cairo’s tarab, Johannesburg’s marabi, and more.

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The Weeknd: Beauty Behind the Madness

Beauty swaps the Weeknd's black light laments for humming neon fluorescents, the party line kept intact though the guests are having much more fun.

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28 Aug 2015 // 2:20 AM

Ghost: Meliora

Turn up the speakers and let the evil flow forth.

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Shrines of Supremacy: The Five Best Riverside Songs (So Far)

With Love, Fear and the Time Machine, arriving next month, it's worth discussing why these five tracks make Polish quartet Riverside one of the best modern prog rock bands.

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Ashford and Simpson: Is it Still Good to Ya / Stay Free

There are spaces where one can imagine audiences finding the groove in the disco rap suggested by these recordings.

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‘I Dream of Wires’, Like Its Subject, Is Large, Intimidating and Multi-faceted

Before the film's halfway point, you are not dreaming of wires, you are in the wires.

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The Articulation of Outrage in Brian Michael Bendis’ ‘Scarlet’

Brian Michael Bendis pens a socially relevant tale of revenge.

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The Evolution of Racism: Coded Bigotry and Aggression in ‘Show Me a Hero’

With overt acts of racial violence are now less socially acceptable, writers David Simon and William F. Zorzi expose the coded racist rhetoric in the middle third of Show Me a Hero.

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George Carlin: Philosopher, Poet, Preacher

Few comedians have aimed for the mind over the funny bone (while still reaching both) quite like George Carlin has.

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27 Aug 2015 // 2:30 AM

FKA twigs: M3LL155X

The success of FKA twigs says as much about shifting public tastes as it does her unique style.

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FKA twigs: M3LL155X (take 2)

With M3LL155X FKA twigs cements her status as the most experimental pop musician within the last few years.

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27 Aug 2015 // 2:15 AM

Deaf Wish: Pain

The Australian noise-merchants return with their feedback, heavy distortion and stylistic juxtaposition.

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Orson Welles Is Like the Eccentric Uncle in ‘Around the World With Orson Welles’

A combination of sublime and ridiculous makes for a surprisingly enjoyable show.

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Elephant Revival: Sands of Now

Haunting and joyous, this is everything good folk music should be.

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Bodega Bay: Our Brand Could Be Your Life

Despite lacking the entire picture, Our Brand Could Be Your Life is as packed with as much profundity, wit, and energy as any indie debut this year.

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In ‘The Fly Trap’ Fredrik Sjöberg Writes Much Like His Subjects Behave

If Sjöberg's stylistic tics are an impediment to real investigation, they at least provide an aesthetic pleasure all their own.

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Who Cleans Up When the Party’s Over? An Interview with the Good Life

Eight years since their last effort, Tim Kasher of Cursive and Ryan Fox shake that "other band" tag by making their best, weirdest disc yet.

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The Struggling Economies of ‘Two Days, One Night’

With a clear respect for the struggle of its characters, Two Days, One Night crafts a story that reveals the strife inherent in the economic system.

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War Is Eternal in ‘Welcome Back #1’

Two warriors are reincarnated again and again to do Eternal Battle. Will either ever escape the cycle?

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‘Kyn’ Is a Straightforward Enough RPG in the Best Way Possible

Kyn is generic, but somehow it is generic in the most intriguing way that a fantasy game could be.

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How Might ‘Meru’ Be Measured?

Climbing Meru might be represented in a film, but even as it's shared here among the three climbers, each has his own version of what happened.

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John Moreland Restores Hope in a Hopeless World

John Moreland sings tales that crawl through the soil, hiss in the night, and burrow themselves into the heartpocket of listeners.

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Deradoorian: The Expanding Flower Planet

On her debut, the former Dirty Projectors bassist proves herself to be a vital force in contemporary experimental pop music.

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26 Aug 2015 // 2:20 AM

Mick Jenkins: Wave[s]

Mick Jenkins is a masterful technician, but Wave[s] lacks a vital push into the mainstream.

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Daniel Romano: If I’ve Only One Time Askin’

Country revivalist Daniel Romano furthers his career evolution square into countrypolitan territory with masterful results.

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26 Aug 2015 // 2:10 AM

Jill Scott: Woman

On Woman, Jill Scott is both reflective and bitter: not only with the world, but also herself.

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The ‘Magician’ Is Orson Welles, But Not As You Know Him

The story of extravagant talent unfulfilled is turned on its head in this simplistic yet entertaining retelling of Orson Welles' career

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‘The Meaning of the Library’ Goes Beyond Mere Bricks and Mortar

Despite their apparent tidiness, libraries are also formidably entropic spaces, messy jungles, with their own undergrounds.

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The John Patitucci Electric Guitar Quartet: Brooklyn

A surprising album from the astonishing bassist, playing only electric along with guitarists Adam Rogers and Steve Cardenas, along with Brian Blade on drums.

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Laugh, Cry or Die: The Funny Young Women of Contemporary British Fiction

Unlike their "angry young men" predecessors, Caitlin Moran and Emma Jane Unsworth bring a sense of humor to the grit and grind of working-class life.

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Onward: The Trials (and Tours) of Yes

On the eve of a US tour with Toto, Yes bassist Billy Sherwood talks about the band's past, future, and the phone calls that forever changed his life.

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Meddling Progress in ‘Wonder Woman #43’

The redemption of Donna Troy begins, but just barely.

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‘Spirits Rejoice!’ Takes a New Look Into an Old Tradition

Scholar Jason C. Bivins thinks through more difficult aspects of the relationships between jazz and American religions, while at the same time examining the permeability of both.

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‘The Pawnbroker’s Daughter’ Tells Us How to Write Well and Live Beautifully

Maxine Kumin's final memoir is painfully brief, but like all her work, ever lyrical.

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‘Eyes Without a Face’ Is Full of Fairy Tale Aesthetics

In Eyes Without a Face, French director Georges Franju lifts a fairly standard horror film narrative into the realms of poetic fable.

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Silicon: Personal Computer

Silicon is an exposé of the superficiality of our technology-dependent lives, but does such a good job it feels superficial itself.

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25 Aug 2015 // 2:20 AM

Dope Body: Kunk

A top-notch rock record, of the disgusting variety.

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25 Aug 2015 // 2:15 AM

Elbow: Lost Worker Bee EP

Lost Worker Bee can't help but feel like something of a stopgap, but it shows flashes of Elbow's brilliance.

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25 Aug 2015 // 2:10 AM

Teen Men: Teen Men

Teen Men's take on synth-pop isn't groundbreaking, but their strong command of melody makes the album fun and worthwhile.

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25 Aug 2015 // 2:05 AM

Ryn Weaver: The Fool

An electrifying, although imperfect, debut that rightfully sets the anti-pop princess on the map.

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A Different (and Better) Shade of Grey: Reconsidering ‘9 1/2 Weeks’

Given the mainstream’s preoccupation with kink, it may be time to give 9 ½ Weeks the credit it deserves as a pioneering meditation on desire and power.

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Faith and Doubt in ‘Guardians of Knowhere #3’

In the midst of blood and battle, a moment unfolds, a human moment – in words, lines and colors.

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Roman à Clef: Abandonware

Roman à Clef quietly charms and shatters with this evocative debut album.

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‘Citizenfour’ Is Invaluable Cinéma Vérité

I welcome Oliver Stone’s forthcoming biopic about Snowden with an open mind, but I doubt that it will surpass the riveting realism of Citizenfour.

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24 Aug 2015 // 7:42 AM

Sorcery!: Episode 3

If you don't limit me by telling me what is possible, then I'll be far more interested in the journey that I have been sent on.

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Contemplations on the Nature of Truth: True Crime and Dark Empathy

How well can one digest murdertainment's darkest elements?

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Beach House: Depression Cherry

Indie dream pop band Beach House broaden their approach with bolder textures and brighter sounds on their fifth studio album.

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Barrence Whitfield and the Savages: Under the Savage Sky

Barrence Whitfield and the Savages sound as wonderfully raw and unhinged as ever on their latest record. Hopefully it will find an audience to match.

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The Maccabees: Marks to Prove It

Marks to Prove It shows that, even in 2015, Brit indie bands can still cut interesting and surprising recordings.

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Both Obvious and Evasive, Carol Morley’s ‘The Falling’ Fails to Do Justice to Intriguing Theme

There’s a genuinely provocative, disturbing film trying to get out of The Falling.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Country Fried Rock: Drivin' N' Cryin' to Be Inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame

// Sound Affects

""If Drivin' N' Cryin' sounded as good in the '80s as we do now, we could have been as big as Cinderella." -- Kevn Kinney

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