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Above All Else, ‘Finding Dory’ Is a Poignant Story of Self-acceptance

Pixar's latest is predictably enchanting, unexpectedly layered and complex.

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‘The Shallows’ Takes Anthropomorphising Deeper

The camera hovers over the ocean's surface or dips below, forcing you, too, to scan apprehensively through the blue-green waters for this relentless stalker.

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Bracing for Heartbreak and Embracing It in ‘Ms. Marvel #8’

Her heart is in the right place. Her ideals are respectable. She sees the world through Disney-like ideals. It's clear that those ideals are destined to shatter.

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Game of Thrones: Season 6, Episode 9 - “Battle of the Bastards”

"Battle of the Bastards" may have satisfied the age-old bloodlust for war; unfortunately, it did so through the more recent tradition of dramatizing, aestheticizing, and making war cool.

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AFI Docs 2016: ‘Tickled’ + ‘Zero Days’

These two documentaries explore the consequences -- the "wormholes" -- engendered by advancing technologies.

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Outlander: Season 2, Episode 10 - “Prestonpans”

A few victories, infighting, and mud put Jamie and Claire's ability to change history in doubt.

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Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble: Sing Me Home

Under Yo-Yo Ma's direction, the latest effort by the Silk Road Ensemble is a joyous, mesmerizing experience.

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24 Jun 2016 // 8:54 AM

Yumi Zouma: Yoncalla

Yumi Zouma have crafted an album for the summer, positively gleaming with synths and airy vocals that intone sunshine.

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‘Bukowski In a Sundress’ Is a Book You Should Judge By Its Cover

Kim Addonzio's memoir in essay ain't no summer beach read. Be very happy.

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Steve Vai: Passion and Warfare (25th Anniversary Edition) / Modern Primitive

The 25th anniversary edition of Passion and Warfare does something that anniversary reissues rarely do: provide a re-framing of a classic album.

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‘I Ain’t Afraid of No YouTube’: When Hollywood Trailers Become Unhitched From Their Films

Key scenes in trailers are briskly propelled before our eyes like a Willy Wonka candy-machine set to rapid-fire auto-spoiler by some sucrose-soaked Oompa Lumpa Tony Montana.

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24 Jun 2016 // 2:20 AM

Psychic Ills: Inner Journey Out

Inner Journey Out has a cracked but unbreakable zen demeanor as it searches for serenity along a desert roadside.

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24 Jun 2016 // 2:15 AM

Luke Bell: Luke Bell

Luke Bell's debut handily assists in saving country music.

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Dark Knight of the Republic: Charles ‘Terrifying Monsieur’ Pasqua

As hatchet man and master of dirty tricks for Charles de Gaulle, Pasqua operated under the ethos that "democracy ends where the interests of the state begin."

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Divisions in a Dystopian Present in ‘Civil War II: X-men #1’

A bad situation brings out a different kind of drama within the X-men.

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‘O.J. - Made in America’: Race, TV, and All Kinds of Heartbreak

This film offers a remarkable analysis of US systems of race, media, and justice that to this day seem to be turning more complex and less flexible.

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Preacher: Season 1, Episode 4 - “Monster Swamp”

Battle lines come into focus, as Preacher continues its weird and wild ride.

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‘The Martian’ on Blu-ray: An at-Home Lesson in DIY Space Survival

The Martian puts the fun into being stranded hundreds of million miles from home.

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BrainDead: Season 1, Episode 2, “Playing Politics…”

The ants keep coming, the heads keep exploding, and episode two begins the process of a series getting into its groove.

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Custody-Con 2016: ‘A Hundred Thousand Worlds’

Proehl’s multisided take on geek culture (mixing fandom, creativity, and business) pulsates with colorful insight and ugly truths.

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A Spiderweb of Sorts: Interview With Juanita Apraez Murillo of SEEYOUSOUND

The program at SEEYOUSOUND International Music Film Festival includes competitive sections of music videos, shorts, and feature film.

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Sing My Songs to Me: Eric Johnson on the Return of Fruit Bats

Having left behind a highly identifiable name in 2013, Eric Johnson embarked on a career as EDJ. The music stayed the same but, Johnson says, a little bit of confusion in the marketplace had to go.

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In Episodic Games, Space Should Matter More Than Time

The most successful episodic games have mimicked television episodes. What could a purely game-like "episode" look like, though?

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Various Artists: Venezuela 70: Cosmic Visions of a Latin American Earth

Venezuela thrived culturally and economically in the '70s, and this compilation reveals the fresh and exciting experimental rock scene at a time when rock music in that country was finding its own sound.

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Peter Bjorn and John: Breakin’ Point

With a stable of blockbuster producers in tow, Peter Bjorn and John reach indie pop nirvana on their seventh collection of upbeat, hook-driven bubblegum.

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Blue Orchids: Awefull / The Once and Future Thing

Blue Orchids comes roaring back with new songs and a collection of early '80s Rough Trade sides.

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Pointer Sisters: Greatest Hits (Expanded Edition)

Despite its title, this Greatest Hits comp deftly mixes radio smashes with lesser-known album cuts to paint a picture of a group burgeoning on pop stardom, but stops just a breath before they got there.

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Ringo Starr Embodies Peace As He Leads Thrilling All-Starr Band

Starr's show is one of the most surprising and enjoyable throwbacks of the year.

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Jon Savage’s ‘1966’ Explores How the Music Shaped the Culture

Jon Savage connects societal changes with the changing landscape of popular music and its role within not only popular culture, but in how it shaped an entire generation’s way of thinking.

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The Pleasure of New Challenges: An Interview With Andrzej Chyra

The acclaimed Polish actor talks about collaborating with Warlikowski and Skolimowski, and the pleasure of playing Hippolytus opposite Isabelle Huppert in Phaedra(s).

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For The Time Being: Robbie Fulks Reflects on His Rural Heritage With ‘Upland Stories’

For a moment Robbie Fulks worried that he'd gone to the well of southern life one too many times. Then he decided to embrace the kind of music and stories he loves best. The result? A new career high with the album Upland Stories.

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22 Jun 2016 // 2:30 AM

Deerhoof: The Magic

Deerhoof exploit lo-fi warmth to signify their musical roots and chaotic beginnings on their lucky 13th album.

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“Maybe Later You’ll Be Lucky”: The Wisdom in Louis C.K.

Louis C.K. and Philosophy reveals a man as insightful as he is entertaining.

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Allen Toussaint: American Tunes

On his final album, New Orleans songwriter, producer, and pianist Toussaint puts his distinctive stamp on jazz, pop, and R&B classics.

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FKi 1st: First Time for Everything (Part 1)

With First Time for Everything (Part 1), FKi 1st continues to construct the supersonic bridge to the days of future past with their amalgamation of trap, drum, and bass tones that sound more relevant than tomorrow.

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Bonnie “Prince” Billy: More Revery

Long out-of-print set from Bonny (no "Prince" and note the different spelling of Bonnie here) Billy resurfaces in expanded form. It's Will Oldham sounding ferocious and loud. A welcome return.

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Love in the Time of Reboots: My 2017 ‘Twin Peaks’ Dysfunction

Despite the specter of disappointment, it's hard not to get excited over the potential of Twin Peaks' reboot.

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‘Batman Rebirth #1’ Suffers Climate Change

The world of Batman has a new look post-Rebirth. But how much of it can we recognize?

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‘10 Cloverfield Lane’ Just Goes to Show: It Could Be Worse

This is a fascinating if not always successful experiment that makes you realize there are far worse films to be locked in an underground bunker with.

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The Felice Brothers: Life in the Dark

"The rain in Maine / Is made of Novocaine… / Minnesota / Is made of baking soda."

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Orphan Black: Season 4, Episode 10 - “From Dancing Mice to Psychopaths”

With one season to go, the series has a great deal to wrap up; this season proves it's undoubtedly up to the task.

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‘Empire of Things’ Is Both an Epic and a Necessary Look at Consumer Culture

Trentmann's historical analysis of consumption manages to be both depressing about our habits and hopeful about change.

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‘Fragments of Him’ Is Emotionally Resonant, But Also Exhausting

Several times while I was playing Fragments of Him, I asked myself: why is this a game?

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Mogwai Explores the Nuclear Age’s Benefits and Disasters on ‘Atomic’

Mogwai finds ways to balance their music to their political stance -- complete nuclear disarmament of all countries in possession of weapons of mass destruction -- with a strong emphasis of dynamics to match the themes of annihilation, despair, and hope, albeit bleak.

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‘Gilda’ Is an Invitation to Look Deeper Into Pop Culture

Beautiful, classic, important, and thoroughly complex, Gilda is a real “aficionado” film, and yet it has an undeniable popular appeal.

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‘The Hunger Games’: The Writer’s Cut Really Is Better (Sponsored Article)

Even if you've seen The Hunger Games films dozens of times, the books will reveal character complexities that were left out of the film adaptations.

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case/lang/veirs: case/lang/veirs

case/lang/veirs makes the case that these three artists should do more than a once-off collaboration.

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21 Jun 2016 // 2:20 AM

Young Mister: Young Mister

Young Mister's readiness to draw so authentically on a wealth of different styles make you think that this outfit really aren't as young as they claim to be.

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21 Jun 2016 // 2:15 AM

Pete Seeger: Pete-Pak

A compelling example of Pete Seeger's artistry and character, in both audio and video form.

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Wolf Parade: Apologies to the Queen Mary (Deluxe Edition)

Recreating the magic of something like Apologies to the Queen Mary is no easy feat, yet it shines as a stunning example for those who might want to make music matter again.

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Why Is Opera So Derided in America?

Prokofiev's The Fiery Angel offers everything movie goers seek: debauchery, religious obsession, exorcisms, devilish abuses, graphic sexual assault, and a variety of horrific effects both musical and visual.

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HRWFF 2016: ‘Starless Dreams’ + ‘The Crossing’

Two films in the 2016 Human Rights Watch Film Festival -- Starless Dreams focused on young girls detained in Iran and The Crossing, following Syrian refugees -- consider the ways that souls might be imprisoned, inside and outside of actual walls.

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UnREAL: Season 2, Episode 2 - “Insurgent”

Season two of UnREAL isn’t shying away from the difficult or the unpleasant.

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‘Janis: Little Girl Blue’ Avoids the Usual Rock Doc Clichés

Janis Joplin's life and career get the American Masters treatment in a doc that provides useful reminders about her titanic spirit and talent.

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20 Jun 2016 // 9:29 AM

Ohal: Acid Park

An impressive electronic debut from an up-and-coming artist.

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Living at the Movies With Dana Spiotta’s ‘Innocents and Others’

Spiotta's work is a vivid and enduring argument for the powers of imagination.

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Ralph Fiennes and Vanessa Redgrave Re-team in the Almeida’s Excellent ‘Richard III&#8217

Rupert Goold’s spare, intense production divests Richard III of any pantomime associations and boasts an astounding performance from Ralph Fiennes as the treacherous monarch.

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Plaid: The Digging Remedy

On their new record The Digging Remedy Plaid provide us with one of the most satisfying examples of the Plaid sound yet recorded.

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Who’s Better Than Mark Twain at Bible-bashing?

Sounding more like Christopher Hitchens than a lapsed Presbyterian from the 19th century, Mark Twain rips apart Testaments Old and New.

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The Temper Trap: Thick As Thieves

Dougy Mandagi's feverishly operatic voice -- a spectacle in and of itself -- saves Thick as Thieves from becoming just another anodyne, stadium-ready rock trifle.

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Bonnie Bishop: Ain’t Who I Was

Bonnie Bishop’s straight-no chaser take on country-soul goes down smooth on this triumphant return after a brief time away.

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20 Jun 2016 // 2:10 AM

Rooney: Washed Away

Beach playlist essentials pepper the latest from Rooney.

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Living the Dream: Robin Clark and Carlos Alomar Remember David Bowie and Luther Vandross

"Then we got to a point in our lives when we met David Bowie … and I didn’t even know who David Bowie was."

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On Finding Forgetful Dory and Remembering How to Make a Decent Pixar Sequel

The Finding Nemo follow-up sends its forgetful fish on another ocean-crossing quest: this time to find her parents.

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17 Jun 2016 // 10:35 AM

Lawrence: Yoyogi Park

On the third in a trio of collaborations with artist Stefan Marx, the electronic musician means to evoke the urban Tokyo landmark of the title, but his music is more of the bedroom-and-laptop sort.

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Count Ossie and the Rasta Family: Man From Higher Heights

1983's Man From Higher Heights is an interesting chapter in the story of Count Ossie, but it succeeds in adding to that larger story more than it does as a stand-alone album.

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‘Central Intelligence’ Has a Semblance of Self-awareness, If Not Actual Intelligence

It's no surprise that Central Intelligence, buddy movie or bromance, indulges in dick jokes.

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BrainDead, Season 1, Episode 1, “The Insanity Principle ...”

The Kings don't quite hit it out of the park with their first post-The Good Wife effort, but the pilot makes the series worth coming back to.

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‘Someone Else’ Director Nelson Kim on the Fluidity of Identity

"The puzzle, or mindfuck film, if you will, is an inherently cinematic idea. Something about the very nature of cinema invites playing around with different levels of reality."

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17 Jun 2016 // 2:30 AM

Gojira: Magma

Magma is a prime example of how Gojira successfully navigate the line between high art and theme park thrill ride.

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Principled Pleasure: Janet Jackson’s ‘Control’ at 30 Still Commands Respect

A masterpiece of self worth-themed contextual pop proves our idiocy for downgrade shaming her to the status of "wardrobe malfunction".

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Ottaviani and Purvis’s ‘The Imitation Game’ Is an Extraordinary Achievement

I thought of the notion of purity of the mind, of a kind of almost frustrating innocence, as I read this new biographical graphic novel about Alan Turing.

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Sarah Jarosz: Undercurrent

The atmospherics are rich on Undercurrent. Even when Sarah Jarosz just sings the mundane language of ordinary conversations, her words suggest that much more is meant than is said.

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UCLA Film & Television Archive to the Rescue

The Chase, Too Late for Tears, Woman on the Run and The Southerner are all examples of postwar indie cinema that had fallen through the cracks -- until now.

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Charlie Faye and the Fayettes: Charlie Faye and the Fayettes

Charlie Faye and the Fayettes offer a flawed but ultimately successful soul-pop offering.

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‘Maggie’s Plan’ Is a Genuinely Satisfying Romantic Comedy

Rebecca Miller’s writerly screwball comedy triangulates Ethan Hawke between two strong-willed women.

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There’s Still Much to Enjoy in ‘Star Trek into Darkness’

Star Trek Into Darkness has never looked or sounded better than this new 4K UHD release, but it's hard to ignore that this is a big budget remake of Wrath of Khan.

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Earthless + Harsh Toke: Acid Crusher / Mount Swan

This is psychoactive music for psychoactive times, and neither Earthless nor Harsh Toke falter in their mission to sing the words of the muse.

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Travis: Everything at Once

Travis may never be able to cut loose from their folk rock trappings. But Everything At Once has enough injections of passion and departures from the regular formula to merit attention.

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‘The Revenant’ Is Both Unquestionably Unpleasant and Incredibly Beautiful

Iñárritu immense skills with the camera eye, taking in the expansive, cruel landscape and harsh, cold mountain ranges in an appreciation that rivals the best nature paintings.

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16 Jun 2016 // 9:00 AM

The Walking Dead Michonne, Episode 3

With so few even semi-accurate portrayals of mental illness in games, I'm forced to give The Walking Dead: Michonne props for getting what little I know and understand about the facts right.

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‘The Rhapsodes’: When an Aesthetic Approach to Film Criticism Was Novel

It’s hard to imagine now, but in the '40s it was a daring thing to champion film. These four critics did just that, and did it very well.

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Dexys: Let the Record Show: Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul

A minor triumph for one of music's ultimate mavericks, Kevin Rowland, convincing that Irish folk and pop/soul standards can make an appealing combination.

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Packing Bags and Hittin’ the Road: A Look Back on Music Gatherings of Yore

Remember when Mumford and Sons spent their pre-show hours swinging from tires in a lake crowded with fans?

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16 Jun 2016 // 2:15 AM

After Absurdism, Algiers

Jacques Ferrandez's graphic novel adaptation of Albert Camus's The Stranger is a surprising salve for grown-ups.

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To Gong or Not to Gong? ‘The Gong Show Movie’

The Gong Show was screwball to the point of centrifuge. So how did The Gong Show Movie find itself being gonged?

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The Trek Saga Re-Begins, Again, But This Time in UHD

The rebooted Star Trek looks and sounds amazing in 4K, but the Ultra High Definition proves even more that the film hasn't stood up to the (brief) test of time.

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Vice: Season 4, Episode 13 - “State of Surveillance”

The Vice Team interviews the world's most infamous whistleblower, and hears why he's concerned.

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Orphan Black: Season 4, Episode 9 - “The Mitigation of Competition”

In many ways, this episode belongs to the two clones that’ve been most isolated this season: Rachel and Helena.

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Fantôm Menace: The Films of ‘Fantômas’

One can’t help but feel as though the movements of this romantic and dreamlike world are the work of some whimsical puppet-mastery.

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Leave Me Out of Your Loop: An Interview with Homeboy Sandman

A fixture in the indie hip-hop scene, Homeboy Sandman pivots from sociological commentary to personal rumination on new album Kindness for Weakness.

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Flea-Market Music: On the Glorious Cacophony of The Felice Brothers

Their style is loose, but not without form; cluttered, though sometimes spare; common, but not ordinary; discounted, but not cheap; public, but out-of-the-way; historical, but liable to disappear at any moment.

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15 Jun 2016 // 2:30 AM

Classixx: Faraway Reach

In Faraway Reach, L.A.-bred dopamine dealers Michael David and Tyler Blake stick to their guns and craft disco-tinged dance-pop that draws equally from '80s new wave and maximalist EDM.

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Rhys Chatham: Pythagorean Dream

Despite Chatham's history of working with hundreds of musicians for a single project, the complex and curious Pythagorean Dream is all about Chatham and his guitar.

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‘The Restless Clock’ Will Have You Pondering the Matter of Matter

History of science professor Dr. Jessica Riskin examines how we banished agency from the science of living things.

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15 Jun 2016 // 2:15 AM

Robert Ellis: Robert Ellis

The fourth album from the New York based songwriter reaches beyond a singular style or genre to showcase a growing talent.

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15 Jun 2016 // 2:10 AM

Elephant Revival: Petals

Following the departure of a prominent band member, Elephant Revival holds its own with a restructuring on Petals.

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15 Jun 2016 // 2:05 AM

Night School: Blush

With two EPs to their name already, the time was right for Night School to try their hand at crafting a full-length release.

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Griffiths Bathes Her Color Palette in Grit for ‘The Night Stalker’

Griffiths expertly uses atmosphere and visuals to create a hellish summer in this cold-hearted examination of evil’s intoxicating allure.

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UnREAL: Season 2, Episode 1 - “War”

“War” is an excellent introduction to UnREAL, and one that sets in motion a great deal to explore throughout season two.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Paul McCartney: Pure McCartney (take 2)

// Sound Affects

"Pure McCartney really is a compilation for those wanted to dip their toes in wading pool instead of jumping waterfalls.

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