Monday, October 6 2014
When Mike Newell's relatively low-key mob movie was released in 1997, Al Pacino and Johnny Depp were at very different junctures than they are today.
Images and visual culture shape our reality – in all its nightmarish, as well as hopeful, potential.
While listening to "The Dance and Song of Laos" (1906) a haunting voice, both enticing and archaic, mingles with the crepitating noise of the antique shellac.
PopMatters' picks for the best albums of the 2000s begins with a series of albums that spans epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.
The irony of Last Action Hero is that many of the best jokes work better in hindsight; however, most of the jokes are so dated that it is hard to imagine the film cultivating new fans.
Flying Lotus makes his return with a concept album that is executed exceptionally well, making for arguably the greatest accomplishment in his career thus far.
A beautiful debut from a late-discovered master songwriter and country music craftsman.
Leaving behind spectacle and sensation, Torment Saint offers a compassionate and measured portrayal of late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith.
Triumvirate, Lewis & Clarke's first release in five years, is the kind of album that can transfix you, and if it's epic in its delivery, grand in its scope, it is still first and foremost intimate and inviting.
The ex-Boo Radley finally gives us his sophomore solo album. And while it's pretty good, we can only hope that Martin Carr will someday reconnect with his musically reckless self.
Chuck D unleashes a brief but vital onslaught of old-school fury; it just might be the gutpunch today's scene desperately needs.
Banal and lifeless as anything, Sakamoto's Let's Dance Raw can't be bothered to make the listener care.
Sunday, October 5 2014
Mulaney and Motif’s third roommate, Jane is underdeveloped, and thrown into subplots that focus on typical -- if not offensive -- female storylines and stereotypes.
Friday, October 3 2014
The Good Lie voyages from the endless deserts of east Africa to the well-intentioned if myopic world of white America.
Awards season starts in earnest with several titles vying for a place among the best of's and critic's choices. We'll get a few scares, shocks, and laughs out of these films.
At first focused on quotidian details, Bird People takes a surreal turn.
Mighty Avengers stars a pseudo-random collection of heroes who form a team based on external circumstances rather than because of some specific shared goal. What’s wonderful about that, though, is that it’s exactly why the original Avengers started way back when.
A sort of Indiana Jones of the spirit-world, Shigeru Mizuki has traveled around the globe conducting research into spirit folklore.
Kid A is more fun to think and write about than it is to actually listen to.
Oliver Stone's feature film debut is a wicked little horror movie that predicted the home terror films of later eras.
Oasis' Morning Glory still holds up, which can be attributed to the fact that albums with this level of cultural clout and collective popularity tend to help define the sounds of their era.
If you don’t have these two albums, your record collection has a massive hole.
Lia Ices' third album is nothing short of folk style innovation.
Elizabeth is Missing is a beautifully written book that touches on so many of the challenges that come with aging.
For the first time, both sides of the post-punk/industrial/techno pioneers are collected in one place.
A warm and emotional record, this is the product of the band's collective knowledge and lives steeped in music.
Gauthier knows how to write and deliver a killer song. She uses a sharp knife to make one bleed with empathy.
Aided by Marcel Syskind's gorgeous cinemaphotography, the audience sees that these characters are often hidden beneath only the lightest of masks.
Thursday, October 2 2014
Richard Shaver called the rocks that he found "Rock Books". Within them he saw both stories and pictures from the ancient past. They were the world's first comicbooks -- comicbooks from before the flood.
A precarious balance between precision and messiness structures Gracepoint in its storytelling and in its position as a US network series.
Dear Luke, We Need to Talk. Darth offers an amusing, fresh look at some pop culture classics that you only thought you had overanalyzed before.
There's no bar, no restaurant, ballroom or theater. But between the silos and stars sits the music venue equivalent of the Enchanted Kingdom.
Regarding the Ray Rice saga, TMZ not only forced the NFL's hand, it put domestic violence back in the spotlight, where it should be.
October's Listening Ahead focuses on some of the month's most adventurous releases from the likes of Scott Walker and SunnO))), Caribou, and Grouper.
As much as Richard Lester throws the audience into the action, we have no reason to care about the fate of any of the passengers of the SS Britannic.
The misunderstood Adore is an album that proved to be better appreciated than enjoyed, but endless amounts of bonus ephemera provides little revelations, a slog that only hardcore Corganistas should feel compelled to make.
Ireland's clerical and lay authorities, humbugs and scolds, and the dull "plain people" were not safe from Flann O'Brien's many sharp pens.
"This year... in a world... 'A Real Hero' will rise again! But this time it's not alone."
VA effectively charts a bold new course for the band that doesn't need to rely on folk rockers du jour.
Memory loss. Death. Being under water. A lot. Counting Crows' latest features some of Adam Duritz's best moments ever, and it's now been more than 20 years after their debut.
The Brooklyn-based indie pop band manages to make a spirited fourth album without straying too far from formula, even when they should be busting out of it.
EPs seven and eight for Nerina Pallott are a mix of literary ballads and commercial pop; Rousseau leans on philosophy and poetry, whilst Little Bull turns adult.
Wednesday, October 1 2014
The 57th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival shone bright as a beacon for a long-standing organization with a mission for musical outreach and jazz education.
While going to individual venue websites and finding booking information was usually a hassle before the advent of mobile apps, searching for that same information took less time than using this particular app.
Veteran Stones scribe Robert Greenfield captures a band, and its key relationship, in turmoil and on the cusp of change.
The duo discuss their filmic influences, toying with audience expectation and the use of humor in horror.
The normalcy of reading movement into comics art is what makes Warren Ellis' and Jason Howard's new series, Trees, a curiosity.
The National's seminal 2005 album Alligator shows the band, like America, to be lit up by white lights even as it is surrounded by darkness.
Andrew Rossi’s documentary Ivory Tower opts to generate heat rather than shed light on key issues in American higher education.
Trapped in the hour-long drama structure, the half-hour sitcom that The Mysteries of Laura might long to be never finds its footing.
Both familiar and challenging, Williams' new record invites her audience to dance slow and close to a set of adult songs for adult listeners.
Existential dread is nothing new for Will Oldham's performing persona, but this new record might be his most harrowing yet.
This novel became a Nicolas Cage movie about a year ago. Rent the movie; read the book. Both are worth your time.
Much of this New Zealand compilation recalls a promo sampler from 25 or 30 years ago, when "college rock" was a niche and variety encouraged on a more daring or more cocky label's eclectic roster.
On So Cow's first full-band record, the trio sounds natural and the songs instinctual, even as they tighten into tense, nervous coils, twisting the edges and tilting the balance of typical garage rock structures.
On Bringing Back the Sunshine, Blake Shelton brings back more of the same.
Here's an album that crackles with fresh mojo while maintaining the authentic vibe of the originals that inspired the project in the first place.
Tuesday, September 30 2014
An issue about carrying on a legacy, but for only some of the right reasons.
One of Selfie’s biggest sins is how tone-deaf it is about social media and those who use it successfully.
Stapled onto an ephemeral present shaped by Lexus cars, Twitter, and transformational training, Murakami engages with timeless themes in his latest colourful tale.
Marvel is making their own live-action comic series, and while you don’t necessarily need to collect all the pieces to enjoy the story, there’s a much bigger payoff if you do.
"There’s something about identity I think is very fascinating and the idea of people having secrets and I think we all have that in our life."
To be in the minority is the natural condition of artists. The referendum gave Scotland's creative community a brief respite from its sense of isolation.
Lucas Pope's "bureaucracy simulator" both satirizes our information culture and reveals just how much we love mundane, everyday tasks.
It opens with images of mortality and ends with a monster’s operatic dance with a chain saw under a deathly, brooding Texas sun—it’s about America, man.
These two new albums are welcome additions to Prince's canon, as none of his post-2004 comeback discs are as wall-to-wall fun as these are.
Luke Winslow-King furthers his explorations of pre-war American music on his latest for Bloodshot.
Jam Gallahue and her English classmates are given journals to keep. But when they begin writing, something strange happens.
Former Carissa's Weird member Jenn Ghetto expands her solo project, S, into a full band for the best parts of Cool Choices. Oddly enough, it's when she's alone on the record that her emotions are the hardest to make out.
Zoot Woman’s eagerly anticipated return to the electronic music scene rarely reaches the glittering heights of its shimmering title.
By making an album for himself, Benjamin Wynn just might end up pleasing everyone.
Hornsby explores his many, many sides on a double-disc that might be tough listening for fringe fans.
Monday, September 29 2014
Any good futuristic tale worth reading should transport you to a believable, yet otherworldly reality. Luckily, Roche Limit succeeds at this…
Like Star Trek, this looks back as it looks forward, situating our present in an alternative world that reflects our story today.
The adventurous Annihilation + the Raymond Chandler-like Authority + the existentialist Acceptance = the engaging Southern Reach Trilogy.
Despite its awful title, Gareth Murphy's extensive and compelling tome is the kind of stuff that music nerds' dreams are made of.
We owe it to ourselves to recognize the many women in pop music that made an undeniable impact on popular culture and the world at large.
It takes 89 minutes to watch David Lynch's Eraserhead, but it could take 89 years to figure out what the hell it was that you just saw.
Tomorrow's Modern Boxes isn't about any new technology, even with its faux-edgy release through bittorrent; it's about the old question about the power and limitations of our human containers.
On third LP, Mended With Gold, the band pursues escape velocity with the most commitment yet, making the most bombastic and polished arrangements of their career.
While there's a fairy tale tone (think of the original ones, that don’t always have happily ever after endings), the characters are well developed and empathic.
On In the Orbit of Ra Sun Ra collaborator and Arkestra member Marshall Allen presents a portrait of the jazz legend every bit as complicated and strange as a cross-section of his reality could possibly be.
If We Loved Her Dearly is any indication, Lowell has simply run out of material, if not ideas, musical or otherwise.
This electro-dance trio wants you to feel human. Easier done than said.
Hate Core is alive and well! Sheer Terror, New York hardcore hate-mongers, return with a new record, new line-up, and their same old abhorrence for, well… everything.
Friday, September 26 2014
Tracks explores the problem of authenticity, what it means, and who perceives it.
If you follow your instincts and bolt at the start of this sturdy and bleak noir, you miss Tom Hardy creating a thing of beauty yet again
As much as Robert (Denzel Washington) delivers action and melodramatic conventions, he also hints at another possibility entirely.
Did I truly experience "the Real South" over the course of the Hopscotch Music Festival weekend?
Imagine Batman, the whole of the intellectual property, the full weight of publication and production history, now 75 years on from its inception, and imagine it as a town.
Throughout Strange Days Goodman displays elements of what the great Papa described as a “built in bullshit detector”.
The People's Platform exposes the Internet's capitalist underbelly of exploitation, control and broken promises, while still managing to offer hope for an alternative.
Somi is a not-exactly jazz singer with roots in Africa and the American midwest, and she has made the year's most amazing record, evoking the spirit of Lagos, Nigeria.
Despite their canonical status, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Oracular Spectacular, and White Blood Cells lack the staying power of truly great albums.
A Brony Tale isn’t as fun as it should be, but it does manage to say a lot of interesting things about stereotypes and fandom.
Despite the high anxiety, Night Surfer, Prophet’s 13th album, is pure-bred, colourful rock with a dark sense of humour.
The father/son team of Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman debuts with an impressive novel that supplants expectations and enhances the legacy of both authors.
A wild mix of styles are brought to the music of Fats Waller by the pianist Jason Moran and his collaborator MeShell Ndegeocello. A dance party that proves, again, that jazz boundaries are joyously crumbling.
Producer Jimmy Tamborello puts together a pleasant but modest set of textured beats and ambient sounds for his fourth studio album.
The Clean member Hamish Kilgour's first solo record, All of It And Nothing, doesn't seem interested in grabbing for your attention.