Friday, September 12 2014
Pere Ubu's 18th album offers their most cohesive and disturbing vision of dystopian America. A carnival of oblique reference points, it's also their best album of the 21st century.
Mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile and double bass virtuoso Edgar Meyer meet up for a second time, making music that, unsurprisingly, sounds like it was made for virtuosos.
To most, hitchhiking is a terrifying risk taken by the desperate or insane. This makes it a perfect subject for John Waters’ latest book, Carsick.
Adrian Thaws is one of Tricky's most successful attempts to achieve reconciliation between the strengths of his established sound, and his need to progress as an artist.
A concise, pure and punchy pop history lesson.
American Hi-Fi is not a group to reshape the way we hear music. They’re simply a good time.
It's a fine line between "retro" and "novelty", but no one walks it better than Brian Setzer.
Three of Shostakovich's symphonies sound as scary as they probably did during their premiere, thanks to a unique orchestra and a unique conductor.
From the top on down, the intent of Forever For Now is perfectly clear: fun. This is one big good time broken into 12 melodically succinct, percussively infectious packages.
Thursday, September 11 2014
This is a celebratory affair from start to finish, and constructed in such a way as to put a big grin on your face.
The Man Upstairs is a beguiling diversion for Hitchcock, one devoid of any mystery or humor.
Seemingly on the verge of death not long ago, Vini Reilly re-emerges with a timely, often gorgeous reminder of why he is among the greatest guitarists of his generation.
Wednesday, September 10 2014
Gods as pop stars. It’s a novel concept and one that could crumble under its own weight if not pulled off correctly. But so far, we’ve been treated to a thoughtful exploration of where divine intervention meets celebrity worship.
Hugh Fleetwood's eerie tale of deadly symbiotic relationships is rife with Freudian desires and erotic tensions.
Drugs. We LGBT folk certainly seem to like them. We use them at higher rates than heterosexuals, and we really like to mix them with sex. What a shame they're killing us.
In the realm of moral ambiguity they occupy, Rust Cohle and Marty Hart become a microcosm of Lawrence Kohlberg's three stages of moral development.
Never once do Night Moves's three lead characters genuinely consider the ramifications of what they're doing. Naturally, they can't foresee their downfall.
If you've never been a Devo fan, this DVD will give you all the reason you need to remedy the situation.
Sloan changes things by giving each member a side of a double-vinyl record. It works.
Avi Buffalo settle for a sleeker, cleaner set of psychedelic folk on the follow-up to their more compelling 2010 debut.
Forty-plus years on, Afro-beat master Orlando Julius is still gettin' it done.
Any anticipatory pleasure to be derived from the pain detailed on Annabel Dream Reader is numbed by its own flogging tedium.
He tells you about a "Brand New Dance" that’s sweeping the nation. The craze is just getting out of bed, standing up, and confronting death. He's not just being funny
Tuesday, September 9 2014
Images of devastation unite Ebola Outbreak and Hunting Boko Haram, two harrowing PBS documentaries.
What Another Perspective wants to say is that the the essence of the video game is rooted in interaction. In other words that “You are me. I am you.”
She-Hulk is a quirky legal drama, like Ally McBeal or Boston Legal. With superheroes.
Perhaps because of her acting background, French has a knack for creating layered, multi-dimensional characters and distinctive voices.
The premise of the film is too silly to ring as true, but the palpable chemistry of Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche makes this an enjoyable trifle.
P.T. has the digital world bleeding out into the real, hands flailing in search of something to hold onto so it can pull itself out of the game and into your living room.
Ethan Johns calls upon the ghosts of such British songsmiths as Bert Jansch and Nick Drake, while developing interwoven and metaphorical narratives in the footsteps of Richard Thompson and Bob Dylan.
Reading heroine-driven young adult (YA) fiction, one can't help but wonder why stagnant views of women’s sexuality and societal roles prevail.
A slack conclusion can't totally detract from the twisty script, mannered performances, and uncommonly gorgeous direction that make Proxy, the must-see independent thriller of 2014 so far.
Somebody call 911! Ryan Adams is on fire!
Just when you thought hip-hop couldn't get weirder...
Exile proves that McGrath deserves something more: a rabid following of many devotees who sing along with every pointed word and buy his albums with no reservations.
Rustie continues his go big or go home mission statement, for better and worse.
Its similarities to 2011's Very Best differ only by three songs -- but excising his Rubin-produced songs for some '70s schmaltz will make you say "Play Me" to this comp.
Those that didn’t enjoy Skull Orchard before won’t be won over, but it doesn’t change the fact that those naysayers have conspicuously terrible taste.
Monday, September 8 2014
Knowledge of what might happen, a sense of limits and possibilities, make New York firefighters' lives simultaneously extraordinary and essential.
Death is a revolving door in comics so how does the upcoming death of Wolverine have meaning?
The most excruciating of breakup movies, "We Won't Grow Old Together" showcases a classic performance from Jean Yanne.
Kelli Deeth’s characters, at the end of their wits and their youth, take the long, last painful look into their abating past, only to see themselves staring back at a fated future.
Like Kierkegaard did more than a century-and-a-half ago, Arcade Fire has the courage to ask whether our experience of the world is really as spectral, thin, and shallow as it sometimes seems.
Almodóvar's shocking, NC-17 film makes us realize that pornography and love are only in the eye of the beholder.
Interpol return with confidence on El Pintor, a record that may satisfy even Turn on the Bright Lights devotees.
Composed entirely in correspondence, Dear Committee Members casts some light upon Professor Jason Fitger’s crumbling corner of academia.
With Haven’t Got The Blues (Yet), Loudon Wainwright III works to a singing observational comic, heavy on the observations, light on the comedy.
Once you’re finished with this round, you’ll definitely want seconds.
Re-recorded from old snippets, this new Ashrae Fax set is more self-assured than the band's debut, Static Crash!, though you might sometimes miss the nervous energy of that first album.
Soulja Boy's latest offering is a fairly vanilla addition to the trap genre, with few highlights to make it a worthwhile listen.
The main discriminant between a bluff and the worthwhile is quality, and smallgang have plenty of it.
Friday, September 5 2014
Gringo Trails doesn't explore the construction of travelers' desire for an "authentic" experience, but instead focuses on its effects: the global tourism industry.
For fans of everything from the truly buzz-worthy (Terry Gilliam) to that found footage trope yet again (Casey La Scala), this warm-up to the end of the year awards has you covered.
As art imitates life, there are parallels between the violence in Laura McBride's We Are Called to Rise and the most recent headlines of violence in America.
In The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs, Marcus's writing is as intoxicating as ever. The man is a poet.
The Flaming Lips' Steven Drozd talks with PopMatters about new group Electric Würms, his thoughts on progressive rock, and decades of musical exploration.
The controversial French director's best known films are collected into this handsome six-film BFI box set, full of impressive nouvelle vague innovation.
This re-release of M83's first three albums paint a fascinating story of the band's rise to masters of catharsis-oriented synth-pop.
Wire are arguably one of the most influential post-punk bands ever. But the (mostly) tuneless noise of this 1979/1980 live album is not the place to start.
The album feels like Paisley exerting his countryness, just three years after titling an album This is Country Music.
A reissue of a beautiful yet tragic album which, as now as on its original release, unites a nation and a world with its mixture of traditions, sounds and stories.
The Walkmen's bandleader becomes big-band bandleader.
Thursday, September 4 2014
Wetlands is both sweet if off-kilter love story and a movie full of stomach-churning material. Think of a substance you might find unpleasant, and you can probably find it here.
Southern Bastards is a true Alabama story as much as To Kill a Mockingbird is a true Alabama story.
The Past Is a Grotesque Animal takes a compelling, 20-year long story, and zips far too quickly through it.
Some say it's impossible to call one volume the definitive history on a topic, but it is possible to announce one as the seminal work. This book is both.
After three decades as a recording artist, David Bridie, Australia's best kept secret, releases his fourth solo album Wake, an album born on the outer reaches of a dream.
This adaptation of Rosemary's Baby misses out on a lot of the charms of Roman Polanski's original.
Overjoyed, Half Japanese's first record in over a decade, is all unapologetic, whole-hearted declarations of love that, oddly, make for some of the band's most confrontational material yet.
On his latest, deceptively quiet solo outing, legendary Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis wisely lets his guitar do the talking.
Chamber jazz that cries, whispers, and aches beyond standard harmony but with focus and clarity despite being wholly improvised.
In the Valley Below definitely recalls the synth pop of the ‘80s on this debut album, though without the sheer brightness or glossiness of that decade.
Blacc Hollywood is content to stay on the same eternally-stoned playing field as past Wiz Khalifa efforts.
Wednesday, September 3 2014
Curt Pires and Jason Copland delve into the mysterious origins of pop stars in their new miniseries from Dark Horse Comics.
Framing George Takei as part of a larger project that has as much to do with his civil rights activism as with his acting career, "to be Takei" is something of a job.
What could have been little more than a longform book about Gaiman's Sandman becomes a visual and engrossing biography on the prolific dream genius.
Reuniting Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore can't spark the magic long lost from the former comedian's flailing career.
Ira Sachs' moving new film boasts career-best work from his lead actors John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as a partnered couple.
With years between albums, a lot of factors, including a "get here now so we can record" email from the Black Keys' Patrick Carney, was what got Matt Sharp's the Rentals back into gear.
Larry Kramer’s blistering cri de coeur about the early days of the AIDS plague gets a solidly respectful but flawed treatment from Ryan Murphy
It's worth crediting Maroon 5 for having spawned a guilty-pleasure earworm, containing just enough traces of actual instruments to remind listeners that digital synthesizers haven't completely cannibalized rock 'n' roll.
Pink City is a real winner, and listeners will be swayed by its gentle beauty.
San Francisco avant garde black metal group opts for accessibility while maintaining its novel instrumental lineup on stellar VI: Flora.
The Baltimore psych-indie band, championed by TV on the Radio, have a new label and a new album that often is "out there" in a less-than-flattering way.
Two very noisy bands try out kinds of noise.
A mature, powerful collection of songs from the Arkansas singer-songwriter, equal parts darkness and light.
Tuesday, September 2 2014
The game earns a trust that allows you to let go of your worries and to just let the mood wash over you, vagaries and all.
What was billed as the biggest fight between Wolverine and Sabretooth to date ends up being a total rip-off.
Most people know Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia; few people, regrettably, know the superior work from which it is adapted.
There are brains here, interesting tidbits that make you think. They're scattered all over the place, like matter without thought, without movement, without electricity.
"It’s just like exploration really, and just jumping off certain types of cliffs and trying to open up sonic parachutes that’ll get you floating down to your destination and landing on two feet."
The Captain America movies are well-suited to mix and match time periods with a comic-book-y flair.
Game of Thrones trades in everything good and bad about nations and realms for everything good and bad about pure individualism.
Swimmin' Time is the product of our generation's June Carter and Johnny Cash after the messy past has been laid to rest.
Barragán is aimless and directionless, and it’s hard to see what the group is trying to really do here other than make music that somehow pleases itself.
Put a thousand monkeys in front of a thousand Google searches, and eventually...
There is a dark, dark humor that bubbles up on occasion, but its dry wit can't keep the record from being a depressing listen.
The M-Base trombonist returns with a slippery, funky mix of rock tunes and originals.
Somewhere between remixes and a live album, this brief collection would be less of a let down if the band weren't about to end.
Friday, August 29 2014
Eric Merola's documentary shows us what happens when our everyday language must be turned inside out.