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Wednesday, August 27 2014

Who Wants to Read Comics on a Computer?

However modest in scope, comiXology's new downloads signals the beginning of the end for strict DRM in digital comics -- and it will change how we view comics.


Tongue Firmly in Cheek: An Interview with Ace Frehley

Several years sober, KISS' Ace Frehley comes fresh off some time at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to release his first solo album in over five years -- and definitely knows how to write a sexy song better than Robin Thicke.


‘The Railway Man’ Goes Off the Rails With Sentimentality

The movie wastes its impressive cast, choosing instead to drown itself in sentimentalism.


The New Pornographers: Brill Bruisers

Brill Bruisers, with its blaring, neon keyboards and deep hooks, is both a prototypical New Pornographers record and another variation on the band's established themes.


“Harry Potter for Grown-Ups” Grows Up

The third and final installment in Lev Grossman's 'Magicians' trilogy, The Magician's Land, is also its best.


Todd Snider: Cheatham Street Warehouse

Snider covers Kent Finlay on Cheatham Street Warehouse to raise funds for Finlay’s medical care.


The Rentals: Lost In Alphaville

Matt Sharp's side project-turned-band is back, and they sound just like most of you remember them. But is that really such a good thing?


Imelda May: Tribal

When May rants about a "Wild Woman", we know that it's the woman that lives inside her. She ferociously attacks the lyrics, growling and stuttering as needed.


Kindred the Family Soul: A Couple Friends

Soulful duo Kindred the Family Soul retain the refined persona of R&B on latest album A Couple Friends.


Tuesday, August 26 2014

The Walking Dead Season Two, Episode 4

With episode 4 of its second season, I feel as if the well is running dry on Telltale's ability to wring new meaning out of The Walking Dead franchise.


Not Just a Comicbook: “The Multiversity #1”

In this story of multiple worlds, fiction is fact and comicbooks are true.


Tracing the Mythos of Dylan, One Fan at a Time

The Dylanologists doesn't give up any answers about Dylan, but it does ask the right questions of people, on the trail through Dylan's America.


The Body Politic: Violence and Rebellion in the First Wave of Hardcore Punk

The value of violence in the hardcore punk movement is not what it fought against, but rather the new ground it forged.


There Is Only Now: An Interview with Adrian Younge

The acclaimed L.A. producer Adrian Younge talks about his new album with Souls of Mischief, why he hates ProTools, and about his slew of upcoming projects.


Kristen Wiig Sinks ‘Hateship Loveship’

Infusing Alice Munro's portrait of a lonely woman and her quest for happiness with deadpan comic beats, Kristen Wiig muddies the tone of "Hateship Loveship" and leaves it without a center.


Basement Jaxx: Junto

The UK progressive house duo is in transition on their latest full-length.


Cymbals Eat Guitars: Lose

For its themes of loss and longing, its wide-eyed sense of wistfulness, for all of its hopefulness in misfortune, Lose ends up being a win.


If You Can’t Take the Heat, Get Out of the (Restaurant) Kitchen

Popular Orangette blogger Molly Wizenberg loves to cook, as made clear in Delancey... just not in restaurants.


Liam Bailey: Definitely Now

Liam Bailey’s first full length album, Definitely Now , is so genre-defying that if not for the unmistakable voice of Bailey, it could seem like a mixtape of several artists.


The Gun Club: Fire of Love

A sawed-off, hard-bitten punk sensibility and a bluesy, drawn-out compulsion to sink deeper into cloudy depths. The Gun Club's debut from 1981 wallops on this reissue as exciting, entertaining and evil as ever.


Peter Gabriel: Back to Front

Peter Gabriel Live in London... So?


Monday, August 25 2014

Hohokum

The game plays like it belongs in a museum, one of those interactive displays that invites people to navigate the art rather than stare at it.


Not the Antidote You’re Looking For: “Trees #4”

What I’d hoped would happen is that Trees would be the natural antithesis to those gimmicky summer crossovers with anticlimactic events that seem to written in marketing departments.


Organized Murder and the Graphic Anthology, ‘To End All Wars’

This stark, chiaroscuro compilation promotes a humanitarian view of the First World War, as witnessed by an array of Earth's beleaguered creatures.


Is the Sadness Gone from Country Music?

Has country music lost its capacity for brutal, unshakeable loneliness? Or are we just experiencing some calm before the next, inevitable heartache?


“No Complaints”: An Interview with Pete Best, the Original Drummer of the Beatles

Despite missing out on being one of the Fab Four, Pete Best is as happy as ever: "I have no complaints, I’ve enjoyed life. Wouldn’t change anything."


‘Dream Deceivers: Heavy Metal on Trial’ Examines Culpability and Belief

Metal fans will remember this story in the lore of censorship and a dark moment in the history of Judas Priest. But this film is not about the band and is all the better for it.


‘The Legend of Hell House’ Is Cerebral Horror at Its Finest

Possibly the greatest haunted house film of all time is still as impactful as ever, a fact not reflected by this Blu-ray's paltry extras.


Ariana Grande: My Everything

In trying to sound like everything else on the charts, Ariana Grande continues to have one of pop music's most distinctive voices that has very little to say.


Which Is Better, Gorgeous Writing or a Gorgeous Blonde?

In The Black-Eyed Blond, Benjamin Black provides such a satisfying incarnation of Raymond Chandler's sensibility, it's almost possible to pretend Chandler is back among the living.


Cold Specks: Neuroplasticity

With its smorgasbord of texture and tones, Neuroplasticity is a real contender for Canadian Album of the Year.


Mirel Wagner: When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day

There's a coffin-like closeness and aloneness to each and every song on Mirel Wagner's Sub Pop debut. It's a fitting feel for a record so focused on death.


Eric Clapton and Friends: The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale

It’s safe, which only gets The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale so far, but, this record will undoubtedly get a lot of people to revisit, or discover JJ Cale, which is a win in itself.


Various Artists: 1970’s Algerian Folk and Pop / 1970’s Proto-Rai Underground

Both of these compilations provide interesting ways into a time and sound all too overlooked in certain circles, at least (hopefully) until now.


Friday, August 22 2014

‘When the Game Stands Tall’: Faith-Based High School Football

It's hard to think of a scene in this movie you haven't seen in another.


Somewhere in Dimension Mek: “Our Heroes” and the Superhero Funny Book

Our Heroes is like a Saturday morning cartoon, only better. It perfectly captures the spirit of the funny superhero. (The Human Mallet Lives!)


Knots Untie and Tie Again in ‘Boardwalk Empire: Season Four’

If previous seasons gave us glimpses of the evil that men do, then this penultimate season of HBO's best current series gives us an extreme closeup.


Our Protagonist Is a Passenger of Clichés in ‘If I Stay’

This film urges you to believe that the protagonist is as special as anyone at the center of a YA saga, which is to say, so very special.


Long Live the Beastie Boys: Their Five Most Underappreciated Songs

PopMatters looks at five Beastie Boys songs that are not only underappreciated, but some of their best.


What a Quart of Whiskey Might Assuage, but Never Alleviate

Guitar music gave John Fahey a bridge to the subconscious, and his subconscious evidently was a scary realm.


Southbound: An Illustrated History of Southern Rock

Southbound profiles the musicians, producers, record labels, and movers and shakers that defined Southern rock, including the Allmans, Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band and here, the Charlie Daniels Band.


Disney’s ‘Tarzan’ Is a Visual Thrill Ride

Disney’s Tarzan is more than the last film in the “Disney Renaissance”; it’s also the best Tarzan film ever made.


Jenny Hval and Susanna: Meshes of Voice

With Meshes of Voice, Norwegians Jenny Hval and Susanna Wallumrød come together to craft an avant garde masterpiece.


Literature: Chorus

This is a huge step forward for the band, while preserving all of the most attractive qualities of the debut.


Richard Thompson: Acoustic Classics

Folk troubadour Richard Thompson commits an intimate solo studio performance of his classics to tape, highlighting both his skills as a guitarist and exceptional songwriter.


Bishop Allen: Lights Out

At their best, Bishop Allen develop a time and a place through memorable hooks and high craft, but they just can't sustain it for the whole album.


Plastikman: Ex: Performed Live at the Guggenheim NYC

Richie Hawtin returns to the name that made him a godfather of minimal techno.


Rathborne: Soft

Soft is the opposite to what the title suggests. Instead this is an album of quick, jagged rock and roll, New York style. Take it or leave it.


Thursday, August 21 2014

‘Expedition to the End of the World’: Scientists and Artists Find Beginnings

Daniel Dencik's film helps you to look at the Earth, so majestic, so superb, and to want more than ever to be aware.


‘Transcendence’ Is a High-Tech Mess of Subplots

Like Dr. Caster's (Johnny Depp) experiments, Transcendence is much smarter in theory than it is in practice.


‘The Answer to Everything’ Questions the Veracity of Truth

If this doesn’t get shortlisted for the Giller Prize, well, that would be just proof that the world is an unjust place.


From the Soul to the Hills: The Music of the Caucasus

The music of the Caucasus is powered by national ardour and ritual. All that's needed is an open and willing audience to accept the undisclosed gifts it brings.


‘I’m Not a Teacher, But I Play One in the Movies’: The Movie Teacher Myths

Movies create iconic, mythical teacher figures who, in two or so hours, do both more harm and more good than any actual human could achieve in a lifetime.


‘Ginger Snaps’ Is Freshly Female-Centric Horror

Watching the movie now, it seems to anticipate its own cult.


Roddy Frame: Seven Dials

There's much to like about Roddy Frame, and much to admire about this album. Shame it lacks a killer tune.


Connections: Into Sixes

Connections' Into Sixes is the band truly hitting its stride while also testing its limits in exciting ways.


Jon Gnarr Is Changing the World One Laugh at a Time

The unlikely, improbable, unbelievable – and totally true – story of Iceland’s anarchist comedian turned politician.


Ruthie Foster: Promise of a Brand New Day

They say that misery loves company, which is why blues music remains so popular.


Chris Smither: Still on the Levee

It all comes down to the songs, and that weathered 'n' warm voice and guitar.


Paloma Faith: A Perfect Contradiction

Throwback chameleon Paloma Faith changes skin again, appointing herself the Queen of Retro Soul Disco and infusing every track with her irrepressible melodrama and charm.


Wednesday, August 20 2014

Hello, New World (#Ferguson): “Batgirl #34”

In her final issue, writer Gail Simone provides the space for Batgirl to start over in a new world.


‘Falling Out of Time’ Is a Profound Dissection of Grief

Woven like a colorful tapestry of many characters, all of whom share the misfortune of having lost a child, this is structured like an epic poem which, despite its short length, feels fully realized.


‘Toy Story of Terror!’ Delivers on Halloween and the Toy Story Name

This holiday special perfectly balances the recognizable elements found in horror movies and the elements of the Toy Story universe.


Philip K. Dick’s ‘Radio Free Albemuth’ Finally Reaches the Silver Screen

Like the book that inspired it, Radio Free Albemuth works as a vindicating love letter to spiritual seekers who feel that humanity is capable of more than the Orwellian rat race.


In Defense Of ... A Second Season for ‘Halt and Catch Fire’

Women are the alpha-characters in Halt and Catch Fire. There may be no better dynamic duo of smart leading females on TV today than Donna and Cameron.


Deeper, Not Softer: An Interview with Princess Superstar

She influenced too many off-beat divas to count, but was struggling for her own record deal. Now, Princess Superstar is back, and she means business.


A Small Sampling of Disney: ‘The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad’ and ‘Fun and Fancy Free’

For the most part, the shorts are some of Disney's strongest, and taken as a whole they offer a variety of animation styles, characters and tones.


Kimbra: The Golden Echo

With the help of Gotye, you can't help but feel like Kimbra's follow up to her magnificent debut squanders her undeniable talent.


What’s Happening to College Education in the Digital Era?

From MOOCs to Second Life to chairs that move, Elizabeth Losh discusses all things technological in The War on Learning.


Cory Branan: The No-Hit Wonder

Like all good country music, Cory Branan is hard, if not impossible, to define.


Castanets: Decimation Blues

On Ray Raposa's first Castanets record in five years, the elements of the formula haven't changed very much, though the album works best when the balance between those elements shift in fresh ways.


Mark Lanegan Band: No Bells on Sunday EP

The Mark Lanegan Band's first official release since 2012 is, unfortunately, a lackluster and unfocused affair.


The Who: Quadrophenia Live in London

The Who, however it survives, repeats that that youthful concerns and ideals matter, no matter how long the band or we endure.


Tuesday, August 19 2014

‘The Expendables 3’: More Action, Less Sequence

As a movie, The Expendables 3 is kind of a shambles. As part of a never-ending retirement party, it's kind of a gas.


Sex Police Future: “Sex Criminals 7”

Not many readers have put themselves in the headspace of a caped vigilante, but Jon and Suzie, the dynamic duo of deviant thoughts and sexcapades, embody our deepest desires, shame, regrets, and fears.


Johnnyswim Love Their Place in the World

The duo Amber Sudano Ramirez and Abner Ramirez live, die, and make music with the overarching theme of gratefulness.


Arguable Merits: Young Adult Fiction and Its Rabid Discontents

The YA crowd is full of articulate, well-read, hungry hyenas. They'll rip my lungs out for this. They'll crucify me. They'll leave my corpse in a ditch.


The Blissful Simplicity of Indie Rock

The goal of indie rock is to make something real, even at the expense of decades of music tradition.


‘Hercules’ Lives in the Netherworld of Good Enough

Hercules is a Disney animated film that shows the studio riding the wave of its '90's renaissance, but not reaching the heights of earlier classics.


Pallbearer: Foundations of Burden

Little Rock's Pallbearer add some studio sheen with their sophomore release while maintaining the mudslide-like heaviness of their acclaimed debut.


The Impossible Reach of History Is Made Possible in ‘The Hundred Year House’

In one of the best books of 2014, Rebecca Makkai tells a story of time, ghosts, fate, unrequited love, requited love unconsummated, and art.


Paul Thorn: Too Blessed to Be Stressed

Thorn appreciates the little things in life one takes for granted: family, love, a good rock beat, etc.


The Provincial Archive: It’s All Shaken Wonder

The Provincial Archive makes a wonderful folksy racket, and, should you saunter down to your local record store and pick this up, you’ll be more than glad that you did.


Elephant Wrecking Ball: Barren Serenade

We hear about wrecking balls as a musical metaphor all the time. But what happens when you hand the controls over to an elephant?


Dead Stars: Slumber

Dead Stars do an effective job of mimicking a mid-'90s alt-rock one-hit wonder. Right down to having only two good songs on the album.


Monday, August 18 2014

Oribtal Gear

Orbital Gear is missing an important label that would allow me to forgive its flaws: the "Early Access" label.


‘Dallas’ Season 3 Is Rich with Reincarnations and Recycled Plots

The real pleasures of the new Dallas involve engaging with repetition in all its forms and taking melodrama seriously.


Making Progress Fun: “All-New X-men #30”

Character development doesn't need killer robots or time-traveling enemies. It just needs to be fun.


Sarah Waters’ New Novel May Not Inspire a Thousand Worldwide Celebrations, but It Should

The Paying Guests is a skillful work of genuinely entertaining literary fiction.


Tori Amos: Unrepentant Geraldines Tour - 14 August 2014

Tori Amos's recent performance at New York City's Beacon Theatre was simply spellbinding and quite possibly one of the best concerts in recent memory.


The Sonny Rollins / ‘New Yorker’ Controversy and Jazz’s Image Problem

Why do jazz folks always sound so defensive about the music they love? Why can’t they take a pie in the face from Django Gold?


Wig in a Nutshell: An Interview with Stephen Trask Co-Creator of ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’

Hedwig and the Angry Inch co-creator and songwriter Stephen Trask animatedly answers questions about the production’s success on Broadway and more.


‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ Is a Restored Classic Ready to Be Rediscovered

This film is entertaining and fun, while maintaining an emotional component throughout, making it a classic Disney film rightfully getting its due in this restored master.


Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas: Secret Evil

The Detroit songstress and her Deltas take queasy carnival music, hoodoo blues stomps, country waltz ballads, primitive rock and jazzy inflections to craft a evocative realm in one of 2014's strongest releases.


‘Console Wars’ Is a Deeply Flawed Telling of a Great Story about Videogames

A book on the origins of Sega, a gaming industry giant of great historical importance, could have been great.


Fat White Family: Champagne Holocaust

One critic tries to figure out why everyone loves Fat White Family and she doesn't.


Smoke Dawson: Fiddle

A worthwhile collection for anyone interested in the American folk revival and particularly for those who enjoy its outsider elements.


Sean Watkins: All I Do is Lie

A timely reminder that Nickel Creek's often lowest profile member is a talented songwriter in his own right.


Eyehategod: Eyehategod

After a 14-year absence, New Orleans sludge-metal outfit Eyehategod return with their most brutal and best record yet.


Friday, August 15 2014

‘Dinosaur 13’: Finding and Losing the World’s Most Complete T-Rex

Dinosaur 13 traces the emotional and legal dilemmas emerging with the discovery of a T-Rex called Sue.


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