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More Recent Features
Murder She Sang: Stardom and Psychosis in Eckhart Schmidt’s ‘The Fan’

A close-cutting examination on fame and the persuasive power of celebrity, The Fan is rife with tension and controversy.

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Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau: Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau

Thile and Mehldau make a pretty great duo, but it’s also an idiosyncratic one. For the most part this album feels like Thile is playing around in Mehldau’s jazz-oriented world.

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The Menzingers: After the Party

The Menzingers enjoy the ride on another dazzling punk rock album.

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Run the Jewels: Run the Jewels 3

Run the Jewels 3 is the sound of one hip-hop's most significant groups channeling their feelings of frustration, alienation, and rage into a radical call to arms.

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Rush: 2112 (40th Anniversary Super Deluxe)

Rush's 2112 is reissued with bonus material and powerful reminders of the trio's full prowess.

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Mr. Tophat feat. Robyn: Trust Me

This is as fine an introduction as any to the electronic stylings of Mr. Tophat.

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The Translators of ‘Thousand and One Nights’ Were Unquestionably Thieves

Marvellous Thieves notes that each interpreter's acts of plagiarism, theft, and recreation are nearly as interesting as the tales themselves.

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Heartache Is an Uphill Climb: An Interview With Tift Merritt

Tift Merritt opens up on the joys of motherhood, life on the road with her new daughter in tow, and what the future might hold for them both.

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1 Feb 2017 // 2:30 AM

Elbow: Little Fictions

Over seven studio albums and 20 years as a band later, Elbow hasn't lost an ounce of skill, charm, or joie de vivre.

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Moon Duo: Occult Architecture, Vol. 1

Moon Duo link kaleidoscopic, magnetic, and driving post-punk inflected psychedelia with hermetic overtones. Their best passages are not cryptic but recursive, often forceful, and occasionally mundane.

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PnB Rock: GTTM: Goin’ Thru the Motions

Maybe the album title isn’t such a bad thing after all; when you know what you’re in store for, can you really be disappointed?

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‘Sounds of the Underground’, Excavated

Stephen Graham manages to distil the essence of underground and fringe music into identifiable and recognizable components of a larger, global movement.

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Jimmy Scott: I Go Back Home

As the story goes, German producer Ralf Kemper wanted to make one last great album with Jimmy Scott before he passed from this earth. But is this it?

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‘Split’ the Difference: An Interview With Actor Betty Buckley

The Tony-winning actress is the emotional center of M. Night Shyamalan's new film Split, and like the movie, there's more beneath the surface.

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‘Riverdale’ Has Yet to Justify Its Continued Existence

Despite a keen visual flair and an intriguing performance from Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Riverdale has some work to do.

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Sam and Dean Go Rambo, the Men of Letters Go Evil in Supernatural’s “First Blood”

The show returns from a winter hiatus with an intriguing episode that introduces some key plot points.

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To Be Iranian Is to Be in a State of Perpetual Motion and Discovery

Hamid Dabashi's Iran Without Borders is a paean to the alternate ways in which the “real” Iran has been depicted since the 19th century.

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31 Jan 2017 // 3:00 AM

Overlooked Jazz Gems of 2016

No matter how much music I listen to every year, I miss some great records, somehow. Here are a half-dozen albums from 2016 that deserve our attention.

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Hardline Feminism and Unfettered Capitalism in the Action-Masala, ‘Mannan’

How does a beautiful young corporate bigwig control a rambunctiously charismatic Alpha-male trade unionist?

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31 Jan 2017 // 2:29 AM

Erik Hassle: Innocence Lost

On Innocence Lost, Swedish soul-pop stalwart Erik Hassle brings out all the bells, whistles, smoke, and mirrors he can to make music that seems sculpted from the mortar that holds the Hot 100 together

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31 Jan 2017 // 2:20 AM

Throwing Snow: Embers

Rather than building on one another, the tracks making up Embers largely drag the listener through their gloomy uniformity.

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Iron Reagan: Crossover Ministry

Iron Reagan authentically recaptures the rage and rapture of '80s crossover with a dose of humor and an energy that could light and power the world.

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Nato Thompson’s Culture as Weapon’ in the Shadow of a Political Spectacle

Nato Thompson reminds us that battles are fought not just over culture, but with it.

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Bash & Pop: Anything Could Happen

Tommy’s question, “How long can we take it before we break it?” is a perfect summary of the Replacements. And if that isn’t what the line is about, well, I'd prefer to think it is.

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Sundance 2017: ‘The Discovery’ + ‘The Rebel in the Rye’

Sundance explores life after death in The Discovery and life after fame in The Rebel in the Rye.

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‘Pretending Is Lying’ Explores the Complexity of Human Relationships

The nostalgic self-reflection in Dominique Goblet's work is painfully honest and verges on the bittersweet.

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Black and Nerdy? Shattering the Monolith With ‘Atlanta’

Atlanta goes a long way toward shattering the myth that there's a single black experience.

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‘Sherlock’ Season Four: The Russian Roulette of Relationships

Sherlock Holmes is tempted, tortured, and tested -- all in the name of love.

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30 Jan 2017 // 2:30 AM

Kehlani: SweetSexySavage

Kehlani's debut is by turns infectious, smooth, satisfying, and infuriating.

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30 Jan 2017 // 2:20 AM

Fred Thomas: Changer

The weight of memory falls across Changer, whether Fred Thomas and his characters are running or walking, daydreaming or trying hard to forget.

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Juan Gabriel Vásquez’s ‘Reputations’ Explores the Slippery Nature of Memory

Vásquez’s work shows how reputation is its own hermetic chamber, sealing the person off from his self.

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30 Jan 2017 // 2:15 AM

Chavez: Cockfighters

Twenty years later, the New York foursome's new EP does little more than make long-time fans yearn for their older material.

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30 Jan 2017 // 2:10 AM

José Mauro: Obnoxius

José Mauro's haunting, long-buried magnum opus adds a new chapter to the revolutionary history of 1970s Brazilian music.

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Charlie Haden and the Liberation Music Orchestra: Time/Life

Released posthumously, these gorgeously lush recordings serve as a fine tribute to the late Charlie Haden.

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30 Jan 2017 // 2:00 AM

Crumbling Dais: An Interview With Wolf People

"I'd always wanted to write something about the Night Witches, the female Russian bomber pilots."

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27 Jan 2017 // 12:00 PM

Sundance 2017: ‘Wind River’ + ‘The Force’

Two new films at the Sundance Film Festival -- a murder mystery and a vérité documentary -- ask the same two questions: who has the authority to dispense justice, and with how much violence?

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Sundance 2017: ‘Crown Heights’ + ‘Brigsby Bear’

The Sundance Film Festival features two films with wildly different approaches to wrongful imprisonment, a true story reimagined in Crown Heights and a whimsical enchantment in Brigsby Bear.

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Sundance 2017: ‘The Polka King’ + ‘Band Aid’

Two films about very different musical genres -- from polka to sweet crooning to punk-rock screaming -- take center stage at Sundance Film Festival 2017.

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‘I Am Michael’ Reminds Us That Identity Struggle Takes on Many Forms

I Am Michael, while an uneven film, is also an important cinematic work which evokes intelligent discourse and empathy in its exploration of sexual and religious identity issues.

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Service of the Gods: An Interview With Composer Ramin Djawadi

As composer for Game of Thrones and Westworld, Ramin Djawadi will satiate your wait between seasons by touring his most famous compositions.

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Bert Jansch: Living in the Shadows

A warm, intimate collection of late-period recordings from one of the great unsung heroes of folk music is now available in a lush boxed set.

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27 Jan 2017 // 2:30 AM

Dream Baby Dream: Suicide - A New York Story

In response to the politics, culture and sheer madness of early '70s New York, artist Alan Vega and musician Martin Rev created the counter-cultural performance art statement that was Suicide.

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Max Richter: Three Worlds - Music From Woolf Works

Max Richter’s sound is best served without real pictures but paired with your dreams.

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27 Jan 2017 // 2:15 AM

Ty Segall: Ty Segall

The ever-prolific Ty Segall is back with another collection of rock 'n' roll excellence.

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Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough: Mockingbird Soul

DeMeyer and Kimbrough are resolute artists who observe the world through their five senses. They see, hear, touch and even smell the people and places around them.

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Noura Mint Seymali: Arbina

Noura Mint Seymali takes a stripped-down and powerful approach to her psychedelic griot pop.

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The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 5, Joy Division to Gang of Four

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we conclude with part five featuring Joy Division, Gang of Four, Talking Heads and more.

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‘Inhumans vs. X-men #3’ Gives Us Underwhelmingly Misguided Underdogs

In the Inhumans/X-men conflict, one side tries to be an underdog at the expensive of a compelling story.

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Iggy Pop: Post Pop Depression - Live at the Royal Albert Hall

Half a century into an improbably long career, the original punk continues to deliver, offering up a DVD/CD combo of a riotous performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

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In Detroit They Come Out at Night

Grafitti artists, the jazz, punk, and hip-hop scenes, and the lonely mean streets of Detroit are captured by this survey of 13 photographers.

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26 Jan 2017 // 8:00 AM

Sundance 2017: ‘Raw’ + ‘XX’

In recent years, Sundance has developed a reputation for showcasing distinct and notable horror films. This year, that prize might well go to Raw by default.

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‘Westworld’s “Contrapasso” Episode Suggests Dehumanization and Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell

The narrative pivots and complicates the reality of Westworld in "Contrapasso". The show is about the most HBO-ized episode of an HBO drama ever produced.

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Sleater-Kinney: Live in Paris

Sleater-Kinney celebrates their 2015 reunion with a live album that captures the excitement and mood of their concerts without any hint of their decade-long hiatus.

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Horse Thief: Trials and Truths

Every now and then Horse Thief adds a little twist to their formula of solid, listenable, easygoing rock and the songs become noticeably better.

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Black and White and Katrina All Over: Jazz Religion, the Second Line, and Black New Orleans

One of the best things about this updated edition of Jazz Religion, the Second Line, and Black New Orleans is that it looks at what’s to come just as much as it looks at bygones.

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Tobin Sprout: The Universe and Me

One problem with modern production is its reliance on mathematical perfection, and Tobin proves that genuineness is stronger than perceived perfection.

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The Infamous Stringdusters: Laws of Gravity

They aren't reinventing the laws of gravity on this release, but the Infamous Stringdusters put out yet another masterful collection of bluegrass songs.

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The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 4, James Chance to the Pop Group

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part four with Talking Heads, the Fall, Devo and more.

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Sundance Film Festival 2017: ‘Lemon’ + ‘Wilson’

This year's Sundance Film Festival delivers misanthropy with two new comedies, Lemon and Wilson.

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Sundance 2017: ‘Before I Fall’ + ‘A Ghost Story’

'Before I Fall and A Ghost Story offer some haunting insight into the human condition.

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25 Jan 2017 // 8:30 AM

Iggy Is Not a Stooge

Total Chaos reminds us that the godfather of punk is not an idiot.

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Mark Eitzel: Hey Mr. Ferryman

A mix of postmodern lounge and his former band’s best moments, this odd and rewarding album adds to Eitzel’s reputation as an adventurous solo artist.

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Football in the Age of Late Capitalism: Field Notes From the 2016 Euro

Behind a veneer of youthful glamour, the Euro all but groaned under the weight of excess global capital, merciless media scrutiny, hyperprofessionalization, domestic French anxieties, and geopolitics.

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25 Jan 2017 // 2:20 AM

Cairobi: Cairobi

Cairobi's self-produced, self-titled debut has an international, globe-trotting feel while still maintaining an honest, straightforward, indie vibe.

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This Graphic Novel Adaptation of ‘Kindred’ Is Made Awkward With KLOKs! and CHOOMs!

If you’ve never read any of Octavia E. Butler's works, Kindred is a good place to start, but this version is a little too manga for such a serious work.

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Kid Koala featuring Emiliana Torrini: Music to Draw to - Satellite

The 18 tracks that make up Music to Draw to: Satellite fade in and out of each other, never actually reaching anything that could be called a climax, but hitting moments of particular beauty.

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The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 3, Echo & the Bunnymen to Lizzy Mercier Descloux

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part three with Echo & the Bunnymen, Cabaret Voltaire, Pere Ubu and more.

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24 Jan 2017 // 11:15 AM

Sundance 2017: ‘The Big Sick’ + ‘Roxanne Roxanne’

These two Sundance entries introduce fast-talking protagonists who take the art of comedic dialogue to new heights in speed and certainly in social satire.

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Kamasi Washington Takes Jazz to the Next Level in San Francisco

This is jazz that can dazzle the music mavens and impresarios while still remaining accessible to a more mainstream audience

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French Horn Rebellion: Classically Trained

Nailing a retro '80s synthpop style only takes you so far. French Horn Rebellion has a full album of good songs in them, but this is not that album.

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24 Jan 2017 // 10:00 AM

Sundance 2017: ‘Whose Streets?’ + ‘Dayveon’

On opening night at the Sundance Film Festival, two films raised questions about how black Americans' experiences can be more effectively shared and understood.

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“Pilgrim Rick” Shows the Best (and Worst) Parts of Holiday Traditions

The past becomes the present and the present informs the past in This Is Us's Thanksgiving episode "Pilgrim Rick".

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Howe Gelb: Future Standards

Gelb reminds us how good a songwriter he is, but his new record doesn't quite live up to its title.

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Priests: Nothing Feels Natural

DC punk band Priests' Nothing Feels Natural dials the in-your-face confrontation down a few notches.

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The Mystery of the Medieval ‘Voynich’ Manuscript Still Holds the Power to Fascinate

From the court of the 17th century Holy Roman Empire to the National Security Agency, The Voynich Manuscript has been scrutinized but not yet deciphered.

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Sundance 2017: ‘Person to Person’ + ‘Landline’

At Sundance, the indie dramas Person to Person and Landline take markedly different approaches to bring their eccentric characters to life.

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In Celebration of Life: An Interview with Nosound’s Giancarlo Erra / “Scintilla” (video) (premiere)

Nosound mastermind Giancarlo Erra offers an insightful and honest look into the making of Scintilla, among other things.

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24 Jan 2017 // 3:00 AM

Matthew Dear: DJ-Kicks

Matthew Dear offers an accessible mix that embraces the idiosyncrasies of electronic music’s most beguiling talents.

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Space Oddity: ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ is Strictly a Vehicle for David Bowie

Nicolas Roeg’s mid-'70s sci-fi misfire about an alien (Bowie) trying to save his planet but falling prey to Earth’s temptations is self-indulgent garble with a haunting premise.

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Three Americans Visited Cuba…

Dan Goldberg, Andrea Kuhn and Jody Eddy visited Cuba three times. Then they wrote a cookbook.

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The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 2, The B-52’s to Magazine

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part two with the Cure, Mission of Burma, the B-52's and more.

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Free of the Movie’s Shadow, ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ Makes the Case for More

The first six episodes grappled with the necessity of the reboot; the last two episodes make the case for a second season.

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John K. Samson: Winter Wheat

John K. Samson continues writing songs of solace and expansive generosity.

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Miniature Tigers: I Dreamt I Was a Cowboy

Miniature Tigers try out romantic bedroom indie-pop while rejuvenating their penchant for strange sounds.

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Sundance 2017: ‘Ingrid Goes West’ + ‘Bitch’

Sundance continues the Hollywood tradition of exploring mental illness with Ingrid Goes West and Bitch.

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Matthew Shipp Trio: Piano Song

Pianist Matthew Shipp's final album for Thirsty Ear finds him going about his usually adventurous trio business.

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Tift Merritt: Stitch of the World

Tift Merritt puts forth a vision that's as unguarded as it is unlimited.

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Japandroids: Near to the Wild Heart of Life

Japandroids prove once again that they are one of the very best rock bands on Earth with their third album, Near to the Wild Heart of Life.

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Murakami’s ‘Absolutely on Music’ Is Sort of a My Dinner With Andre for Classical Music Fans

A famed Japanese novelist who just happens to be a supreme music fanatic sits down with a celebrated Japanese conductor for a series of informal talks.

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Sundance 2017: ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ + ‘I Don’t Feel at Home in This World’

The 2017 Sundance Film Festival opens with two films about making the world a better place -- in two very different ways.

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One of Them Is Not One of Us in M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Split’

The movie's version of Dissociative Identity Disorder is not science, but metaphor, and horror movie metaphor at that.

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Tim Dorsey’s Latest Gives Us Beer and Loathing in Florida

Clownfish Blues places trademark characters Serge A. Storms on arguably their wildest and funniest ride yet, resulting in plenty of sex, drugs, violence, and lottery winnings.

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The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 1, Gang of Four to the Birthday Party

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and we kick things off with Gang of Four, Public Image Ltd. Throbbing Gristle and more.

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‘20th Century Women’ Holds Particular Relevance for 21st Century Women

As much as it considers the past, 20th Century Women's profound confidence in women's strength and ingenuity proposes a way to look forward.

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For Better or Worse ‘Detour’ Plows Ahead

Christopher Smith's new noir outing is a scuzzy and flawed 90 minutes, elevated by a compelling, three-pronged cast.

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Marvelous Monstrous Mayhem in ‘Monsters Unleashed #1’

This is an over-the-top, action-packed thrill ride that pits iconic heroes against giant monsters

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Miyazaki’s Haunted Utopia: The Ghost of Modernity in ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’

This is not truly a witch’s story, but a ghost story of modernity.

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Memory Drawings in Film and Print: ‘Seth’s Dominion’

Seth’s Dominion offers a full picture of an exciting artist brimming with imagination, and with a great deal more to create.

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20 Jan 2017 // 2:30 AM

Foxygen: Hang

With full orchestra in tow, Foxygen’s Sam France and Jonathan Rado deliver an absurdly overblown, gloriously over-the-top album celebrating all of pop's excesses without the slightest hint of ironic detachment.

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Heartbreaks, Musicals, and Relationship Struggles Characterize the ‘Gilmore Girls’ “Summer” Season

Despite the (over)extended musical sequence, "Summer" succeeds in moving both the plot and Lorelai and Rory's characters forward.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

'Fire Emblem Heroes' Is a Bad Crossover

// Moving Pixels

"Fire Emblem Heroes desperately and shamelessly wants to monetize our love for these characters, yet it has no idea why we came to love them in the first place.

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