The Amazing Pudding
More Recent Features
‘The Autobiography of James T. Kirk’: Backstories for Everyone!

Filled with in-jokes and subtle references to the show, uber-fans will love this "auto" biography of Star Trek's Captain Kirk and the stories of the people in his life.

READ more
Shawn Mullins: My Stupid Heart

With his new album, Mullins draws ever closer to a breakthrough, thanks to some of the strongest songs he’s ever written.

READ more
Heroes and Politics in ‘13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi’

The world in this version of Benghazi is both awful and glorious, outsized and shrinking, poignant and repetitive.

READ more
Billy Gibbons and the BFG’s: Perfectamundo

A Latin-tinged misfire from flame-maned ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons

READ more
Igor Stravinsky’s Music Will Long Outlast the Chatter it Begat

True to form for Critical Lives, Jonathan Cross packs a rich life into a lean yet bountiful biography in Igor Stravinsky.

READ more

15 Jan 2016 // 2:30 AM

Ulver: ATGCLVLSSCAP

A stellar collection of material from a collective that pushes more boundaries and buttons than it often gets credit for. An early contender for Album of the Year.

READ more
‘Steven Universe’: Cartoon Network’s Avant-Garde Animation

Steven Universe's brightly colored world offers nuanced characters and complex plots by doing everything "wrong" by the outmoded standards of typical animated programs.

READ more
The Moon, the Marquise and Other Sad Romantics

Eric Rohmer and Heinrich Von Kleist converge in a parallax of misguided literary loves.

READ more
The Kamasi Washington Phenomenon

PopMatters' jazz critics didn't include Kamasi Washington's The Epic on their "Best of 2015" list, despite its huge acclaim by mainstream critics. Here's why.

READ more
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 11, Episode 2 - “Frank Falls Out the Window”

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia doubles down on their delightfully meta, Oulipian 11th season with an episode designed to satisfy the show's long-time fans.

READ more
American Crime: Season 2, Episode 1

The second season of ABC's American Crime starts off with a demonstration of both the benefits and the limitations of the anthology series format.

READ more
And: Phenomenology of the End by Franco Berardi

Imagine orienting yourself on a map, scratching a red "X" to mark your location, and then realizing how precarious your position is, how perilously far you are from where you want to be.

READ more

14 Jan 2016 // 6:29 AM

In Defense of Board Games

Board games show us a path out of our addiction to the on-screen desert of gaming by making the real world a tactile oasis for entertainment. You’re playing against people, not code, and you might even learn some history, biology, or economics while you're at it.

READ more
Not This Again… ‘Sinister 2’

Take the advice of the kids being forced to watch horror scenes in this film. You won't want to watch any more, either.

READ more
Shearwater: Jet Plane and Oxbow

Jet Plane and Oxbow is a remarkably polished, alluring, and dignified accomplishment.

READ more
Luke Haines: British Nuclear Bunkers

British Nuclear Bunkers is as stubborn, singular and compelling as its creator.

READ more
Donnie Fritts: Oh My Goodness

As a true Southerner, Donnie Fritts understands the finer things in life. He sings about the power of food and sex.

READ more
Alison Brown: The Song of the Banjo

The Song of the Banjo may be Alison Brown's most mainstream effort yet.

READ more
Jodie Landau: You of All Things

You of All Things re-elaborates without overturning or, worse, overdoing.

READ more
Downton Abbey: Season 6, Episode 2

As the series nears its end, it's the women of Downton Abbey who get to shine.

READ more
The Good Wife: Season 7, Episode 11 - “Iowa”

The Good Wife hits the reset button for the second half of its seventh season: how else could it avoid one of those dreaded cliffs?

READ more
American Horror Story - Hotel: Season 5, Episode 11 - “Battle Royale”

The dirty, stinky, gross side of rock 'n' roll throws up Sally's back-story, and all the characters are united in their aim to off the Countess once and for all in this episode.

READ more

13 Jan 2016 // 8:10 AM

The Expanse: Season 1, Episode 2 - “The Big Empty”

The Expanse remains a work in progress, but some excellent performances and interesting developments help it avoid common sci-fi plot pitfalls.

READ more
Sarah Vowell Explores American History With One Foot Firmly in the Land of Humor

Part travelogue, part historical narrative, and every bit a statement on post-Obama politics, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States is an interesting work that serves multiple purposes.

READ more

13 Jan 2016 // 2:30 AM

Secrets of the Moon: Sun

The German metal unit takes black metal and progressive metal to new extremes on their latest release.

READ more
Pinkish Black: Bottom of the Morning

Fort Worth duo forges through tragedy to make their uniquely compelling heavy, dark music.

READ more
There Are No Accidents on ‘Mulholland Drive’

David Lynch's film unfolds in a series of desires, warnings, and deals that are often made under duress by unseen malevolent forces, or motivated by darkness within.

READ more
A Great Big World: When the Morning Comes

A Great Big World's versatility as musicians will carry them through accusations of mediocrity and sameness.

READ more
Doc Watson: Live at the Bottom Line

There may be too many Doc Watson albums for one person to hear, but it is difficult to think of a more pleasurable musical experience. In the meantime, this concert from 2002 provides an excellent place to start.

READ more
An Impressive Look at the Evolution of the British TV Documentary

Most of the films in Visions of Change: Volume 1 - BBC 1951-1967 consists of writerly texts that challenge viewers to conceive of their meaning in new and unexpected ways.

READ more

13 Jan 2016 // 2:05 AM

Beer Is a Funny Thing

The Comic Book Story of Beer shows how the evolution of beer parallels the evolution of civilization. Bottoms up to civilization!

READ more
‘Silicon Valley’s’ Humor Is Smart, and Assumes Its Viewers Are Too

Unlike the other "geek-themed" series, The Big Bang Theory, Silicon Valley finds its humor in its geeky characters, rather than at their expense.

READ more
‘Chuck Norris vs. Communism’ and the End of Television

Unable to find food to eat, working long hours for precious little compensation, living in cramped, cold quarters, Romanians sought hope in "video nights".

READ more
Shades of Blue: Season 1, Episode 1 - “Pilot”

Have we gotten to the point in television where moral ambiguity is the norm?

READ more
Steven Universe: Season 2, Episode 29 - “Log Date 7 15 2”

The conclusion to this week’s "StevenBomb" is a quiet episode that offers greater insight into Peridot.

READ more
The Blacklist: Season 3, Episode 9 - “The Director”

In the latest episode of The Blacklist, the sides are set between Team Red and the Cabal.

READ more
Steven Universe: Season 2, Episode 28 - “Message Received”

Peridot, in her own unique way, finally makes a decision about her place in the world.

READ more
‘Like Family’ Unfortunately, Is a Story as Lifeless as Its Central Subject

Like Family is full of worthwhile scattered sentiments, but there isn’t enough appeal or momentum between them to make enduring the entire work worthwhile.

READ more
Mourning the Alien: The Many Lives and Powerful Death of David Bowie

In remembering David Bowie, we ask that you remember him two ways: through the eyes of so many others who saw so many different things in him, and through the biggest lie that he ever told us.

READ more
Lee Hazlewood: The Very Special World of / Hazlewoodism: Its Cause and Cure / Something Special

These records tell a fascinating story of a compellingly eccentric artist given the chance to shine and experiment with his craft.

READ more
John Lennon’s ‘Working Class Hero’: Boundaries, Mobility and Honesty

The working class song has to speak of boundaries and ambition, but it also has to say where the performer stands among the people, among the classes—or where he thinks he stands, or wants to stand.

READ more
Judy Dyble: Anthology Part One

Judy Dyble sang with the Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention and Giles, Giles Fripp. Then she disappeared...

READ more
Martin Courtney: Many Moons

While Many Moons doesn’t veer from the band’s template, its lush arrangements and baroque influences make every track a joy to listen to.

READ more
Igor Levit: Bach, Beethoven, Rzewski

Igor Levit's triple album of variants runs the gamut from preservation to interpretation.

READ more
Silent Film Speaks Up: This Newly Restored Chaplin Comedies Elicit New Laughs

Flicker Alley’s recent release of 15 newly restored comedies from Chaplin’s time at Essanay Studios is another priceless intervention in the decay of Hollywood history.

READ more
Paper Your Walls With Rock’s Most Beloved, Most Surprising Poster Artist, Todd Slater

There were two people whose music poster hobbies interested me in graduate school. One of them was a local guitarist who did the publicity flyers

READ more
Riverdale and Our Discontents: Bart Beaty’s ‘Twelve-Cent Archie’

The secret of Archie is that neither its characters nor its readers desire any kind of truth at all. What we love most about comics is the balance of the art with story.

READ more
Steven Universe: Season 2, Episode 27 - “It Could’ve Been Great”

Peridot's the focus of an episode with an ominous cliffhanger that could spell large-scale changes for the character.

READ more
Steven Universe: Season 2, Episode 26 - “Steven’s Birthday”

Low on action, "Steven's Birthday" still manages to infuse a darker, more elegiac thread into the episode.

READ more
Sherlock Special: ‘The Abominable Bride’

The cinematic screening of "The Abominable Bride" illustrates the audience within an audience for whom this episode was made.

READ more
The Terror Has Settled in, in ‘Fear the Walking Dead’

In The Walking Dead, it’s all about picking up the pieces. In Fear the Walking Dead, it’s trying to hold them together.

READ more
There’s a Starman Waiting in the Sky: Remembering David Bowie

Artists too numerous to count have been influenced by David Bowie’s music, style, and various personas. He will never be forgotten.

READ more
As Long as There’s Fire: David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ to ‘The Next Day’

Forty years after "Heroes", we discover the doomed couple wasn’t so doomed after all, those declarations of love weren’t as futile as we thought, and there are indeed heroes to be found.

READ more
The Great I Am: Magic, Fascism, and Race in David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’

Blackstar addresses the tension between David Bowie’s avowed attraction to ideologies of blood and soil, and his equally committed obsession with African American musical forms and tropes.

READ more
‘Dreams Rewired’ Provides a Poetic Gloss on a Well-known Story

Dreams Rewired isn't in the business of recovery or even analysis. Instead, it gestures, it implies, it signifies.

READ more
‘Just Cause 3’: Fighting to Have Fun

A people's liberation has rarely come to feel like such a hassle.

READ more
Where Is the Truth in Our Romance of Popular Physics?

If all the truth of physics is in the math, what kind of storytelling are we lay persons getting when we read popular accounts of physics that are completely stripped of it?

READ more
Tortoise: The Catastrophist

Seven years since their last LP, the revered post-rock band return with a familiar but ultimately fulfilling album.

READ more
Neil Finn + Paul Kelly: Goin’ Your Way

Two-disc document of the Kiwi/Aussie legends' 2013 joint tour gets a belated worldwide release. Expect many good tunes and few surprises.

READ more
All Them Witches: Dying Surfer Meets His Maker

For all its variety, this is a damn fine rock album, plain and simple.

READ more
Sexual Climates in ‘Black Angel’

Primarily a story of excessive sexual leisure, a story of genuine passion emerges in Tinto Brass' Black Angel.

READ more

11 Jan 2016 // 2:10 AM

Romain Collin: Press Enter

Romain Collin makes crossover music sound easy on Press Enter.

READ more
‘Cruising the Movies’ Is as Entertaining as the Movies That It Looks At

Cruising the Movies is film writing that delivers that magic with verve, wit, and self-deprecation.

READ more
Au Pair: One Armed Candy Bear

Gary Louris and Django Haskins have produced an album that fully integrates the sounds that each have forged on their own.

READ more
The Best Musical Hopes to Break Out in 2016

This vibrant gang of musicians is approaching 2016 from all different angles.

READ more
‘Uncanny X-men #1’ Is Twisted, Uncanny, Yet Intriguing

Brutal circumstances breed a harsh, yet compelling, narrative.

READ more
‘Heroin: Cape Cod, USA’: Systems of Addiction

Pain is costly, and treating it, profitable; Heroin: Cape Cod, USA reveals that 80% of heroin users start with prescription painkillers.

READ more
The Real Draw of ‘Jessica Jones’ Is Its Complex, Flawed, and Nuanced Characters

The stark, urban beauty of Jessica Jones draws the viewer into the world and the stories of broken people that’s nearly impossible to stop watching.

READ more

8 Jan 2016 // 2:30 AM

David Bowie: Blackstar

Blackstar is Bowie’s most unconventional album since his dual '70s masterpieces Low and ”Heroes”, and is a breathtaking and relentlessly fascinating piece of work.

READ more
Alternative TV: Viva La Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Complete Deptford Fun City Recordings 1977-1980

There are experimental acts that can't touch Mark Perry's otherworldliness, punk bands that can't capture his pop fury, and we're all the better for it.

READ more
Grupo Fantasma: Problemas

Yeah, there's a Beatles cover on this record, and that's a good hook, but the other stuff will blow you away too.

READ more
Jacques Rivette’s ‘Out 1’: If You Come, They Will Build It

A conspiracy of realities, perceptions and put-ons.

READ more

8 Jan 2016 // 2:05 AM

Problems at the Zoo

While revealing the complex social ecology of zoos, David Grazian's ethnographic safari ends up defending moral twilight zones.

READ more

8 Jan 2016 // 2:00 AM

The Best TV of 2015

Female leads, streaming TV, robots and zombies? 2015 may go down as the year when the much-anticipated but rarely actualized changes in TV actually started to happen, as the best TV of 2015 offers an embarrassment of riches.

READ more

7 Jan 2016 // 10:00 AM

Steven Universe: Season 2, Episode 25 - “The Answer”

The first episode of the new year doesn’t provide answers so much as clarification and a deeper understanding of both the characters and the sociopolitical aspects of the Gem Homeworld.

READ more
The Songs of Sorrowful Fates and Bloodthirsty Constituents Are Sung in ‘Hear My Sad Story’

Richard Polenberg's work documents America's musicology of lawless police and amped-up citizens chasing, terrorizing, maiming, and killing innocent people.

READ more
Fear, Rage and Social Media in Season 2 of ‘American Crime’

What's most arresting in the premiere episode of American Crime is what can't be said, and what's seen but missed or misread.

READ more
Naptown Heroes: A Conversation With Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s

Margot & The Nuclear So and So's founding member Richard Edwards reflects on the legacy of his group just as Joyful Noise Recordings releases

READ more
A Tribe Called Quest: People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm 25th Anniversary Edition

This is an anniversary worth celebrating, but is this repackaging the best way to celebrate?

READ more
The Gospel According to Ricky Gervais (in 140 Characters or Less)

One of today's most accomplished and revered comedic minds has jettisoned himself onto the frontlines of the culture wars where he wittily battles on behalf of humanism, reason, and secularism.

READ more
Various Artists: Sam Phillips, The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll

Not a greatest hits collection, nor organized chronologically or thematically, these are idiosyncratic favorites.

READ more

7 Jan 2016 // 2:15 AM

Harmonia: Complete Works

Brian Eno loved them, and probably would not have made those beloved Bowie albums the same way without them.

READ more
Haneke’s ‘Code Unknown’ Manages Impact and Accessibility

Thematically and visually cohesive, Code Unknown displays Michael Haneke's talent as a filmmaker without alienating viewers hesitant to explore his darker films.

READ more
Beach Slang: The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us

Beach Slang hit the ground running with a debut that chronicles the existential ennui of being smart, weird, and bored.

READ more
The Morningstar Shines Again in ‘Lucifer #1’

The Devil you know is back in his newest Vertigo chapter.

READ more

6 Jan 2016 // 9:09 AM

The Expanse: Season 1, Episode 1 - “Dulcinea”

Dystopian space opera The Expanse successfully continues SyFy’s new plan to create high-quality drama.

READ more
New ‘Star Wars’ Film Is a Fascinating Insight into the Populist Artistry of Its Veteran Screenwriter

The rehabilitation of the Star Wars franchise is a triumphant return for Kasdan, whose output since the start of the millennium has been as underwhelming as that of, well, George Lucas.

READ more
Buttoned Up: Clothing, Conformity, and White-Collar Masculinity by Erynn Masi de Casanova

Office culture is full of passive aggressions and radical uncertainties. Buttoned Up is a delightfully firm hook on which to hang your hat, if hats are your thing.

READ more

6 Jan 2016 // 2:30 AM

Hinds: Leave Me Alone

Hinds' debut is fuelled by an infectious lust for life. Well, that and copious amounts of Sangria.

READ more
Weather Report: The Legendary Live Tapes 1978-1981

This comprehensive live set moves back and forth in time, and between quintet and quartet line-ups. The comparisons make for fascinating listening, and suggest that maybe the jazz fusion band is actually more genre defying than defining.

READ more

6 Jan 2016 // 2:15 AM

FOXTROTT: A Taller Us

FOXTROTT's A Taller Us overstays its welcome with its tinny and familiar electronic beats.

READ more
Eugene Mirman: I’m Sorry, You’re Welcome

Comedian Eugene Mirman really puts the "post" in post-modern on this box set.

READ more

5 Jan 2016 // 9:02 AM

‘Making a Murderer’ Sets a High Bar For True Crime Documentary

With its densely woven narrative and unobtrusive style, Making a Murderer is a groundbreaking work with far-reaching implications.

READ more
Is Religion Really the Root of Human Violence?

In a vast survey of human history and religion, Karen Armstrong insists that the link between religion and violence is greatly exaggerated.

READ more

5 Jan 2016 // 2:30 AM

Baroness: Purple

Back from nearly losing it all, the reconstituted band sounds bigger, bolder, and better than ever on an album that makes no apologies for reaching for mass acceptance.

READ more
Sara Bareilles: What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress

Fans of Sara Bareilles will want more than a slice of her in What's Inside: Song from Waitress, a more than fair record from the talented musician.

READ more

5 Jan 2016 // 2:15 AM

Norman Westberg: 13

Almost too obscure to gain any attention the first go-round, Swans guitarist Norman Westberg's 13 enjoys a deserved reissue.

READ more

5 Jan 2016 // 2:10 AM

Wimps: Suitcase

Suitcase is a 27-minute uprising of stupid fun.

READ more
‘Automan’ and ‘80s Neon Visuals

Light-reflective strips in this Tron TV knock-off could spook criminals into submission.

READ more
Pugwash: Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends)

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

READ more
More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Best of the Moving Pixels Podcast: Love Stories in Video Games

// Moving Pixels

"This week we return the topic of how love, sex, and relationships are represented in video games.

READ the article