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Guided by Voices: Please Be Honest

Guided by Voices keep doing whatever it is they've been doing.

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25 Apr 2016 // 7:25 AM

Royce Da 5’9: Layers

Layers challenges the frontrunners of contemporary hip-hop with inspired storytelling and top-notch MCing.

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The Jayhawks: Paging Mr. Proust

Classic elements of the Jayhawks sound mingle with adventurous influences from their contemporaries on the band’s engaging ninth release.

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WhoMadeWho: Body Language, Vol. 17

The Danish indie trio jump into Get Physical's DJ mix series and come out with a pretty nice comedown soundtrack.

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25 Apr 2016 // 7:02 AM

Rokia Traoré: Né So

With her latest album, Malian singer-songwriter Traoré has made something beautiful and moving from the traumas of war and personal crises

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Denovali Festival Returns to London With Drones, Waves and a Range of Frequencies

Two evenings of experimental and daring music transport festival-goers at St John-at-Hackney and Kings Place.

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Spinsterhood and Its Discontents in Daniel Sada’s ‘One Out of Two’

A bewitching story about sisterhood, spinsterhood, and identity by a celebrated Mexican writer.

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Kanye and Mingus: Gifted, Complicated and Proud of It

Charles Mingus and Kanye West represent an extreme form of the complicated-and-proud-of-it black man, within a society that prefers its black men as uncomplicated and untroubling as possible.

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‘Elvis & Nixon’ and Histories and Fates Captured in a Photo

Even as this film gets bogged down in jokes and speculations, it makes the point that performance is its own kind of truth.

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‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’ Delivers a Failed Fairytale

Outside of simple spectacle, this film fails on every level.

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22 Apr 2016 // 10:00 AM

Outlander: Season 2, Episode 2 - “Not In Scotland Anymore”

The dualities of court life expose the tensions between the public and private lives of all the characters.

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‘Sing Street’ Goes Back to the (Neo-Romantic) Future

Faith in the transformative power of music courses through Sing Street like an electric current.

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The Flash: Season 2, Episode 1 - “Versus Zoom”

The dark and dangerous threat of Zoom works better than it should, precisely because it's set against the generally happy tone of this show.

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22 Apr 2016 // 3:00 AM

The Oxford Handbook of Music & Virtuality

Blur's Damon Albarn and comic book artist Jamie Hewlett created the cyberworld Gorillaz as a critique and subversion of manufactured music. Does it succeed in its intentions?

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PJ Harvey: The Hope Six Demolition Project

Harvey's ninth album buzzes with energy, but her stories, for the first time, often make her sound like a tourist unable to scratch the surface of the places she documents.

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Movie Time: Annie Baker’s Pulitzer-winning ‘The Flick’ Transfers to the National Theatre

Funny, sorrowful, quietly subversive, and a film nerd’s wet dream, Annie Baker’s Pulitzer-prize-winning play mines humour and pathos.

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22 Apr 2016 // 2:20 AM

J Dilla: The Diary

Fifteen years after J Dilla signed a two-album deal with MCA, his solo rap album The Diary is finally seeing release.

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Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom: Otis Was a Polar Bear

The eclectic drummer fronts her best jazz band ever, setting up clarinet, cornet, violin, and piano to fly free and have fun. Allison Miller is a force.

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22 Apr 2016 // 2:10 AM

RJD2: Dame Fortune

Master hip-hop bricoleur RJD2 creates a set of arresting electro-funk beat-impulses on his new LP.

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Let the Darkness In: Johnny Indovina Reflects on 30 Years of Human Drama

For every band that makes it big, there are countless others working for the love of creation. Human Drama is one of those bands.

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4 the Tears in Your Eyes: Remembering Prince

A reflection on the life and death of Prince, one of popular music's greatest artists.

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Better Call Saul: Season 2, Episode 10 - “Klick”

Chuck and Jimmy continue to battle, Mike's plans are halted at the last moment, and Ernesto takes home finale MVP honors in the season’s final episode.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 3, Episode 16 - “Paradise Lost”

Sacrifices, both large and small, form the basis of the episode's narrative, as Hive gains power.

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21 Apr 2016 // 9:14 AM

‘Archer’, Season Seven, and the Fantasies of Success

Apolitical Archer eases into its seventh season with the same dedication to parody and fantasy that's always characterized the series.

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VICE: Season 4, Episode 5 - “Meathooked and End of Water”

Vice covers the dual disasters of our modern meat and water industries, and how we're slowly running out of both resources.

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Criticism: It Gets Personal

New York Times film critic A.O. Scott defends his craft in a thought-provoking book, even as he gets attacked by the very industry he critiques.

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Of ‘Men & Chicken’: An Interview With Director Anders Thomas Jensen

Jensen once again teams up with his muse, Hannibal's Mads Mikkelsen, for a twisted comedic romp that is sure to have fans of black comedy squealing with glee.

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‘Men & Chicken’ Is as Enjoyable as It Is Absurd

Anders Thomas Jensen's latest film delivers a genre-bending story, a dark sense of humour, and a delightful cast of oddballs.

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21 Apr 2016 // 2:30 AM

Wire: Nocturnal Koreans

Though Wire have radically reinvented themselves in the past, Nocturnal Koreans finds them aiming their formula just slightly to the left.

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Carlos Niño & Friends: Flutes, Echoes, It’s All Happening!

While interesting in concept and number of musicians involved, Carlos Niño’s new album is about as disappointing as finding out that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.

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Betty Boo: Grrr! It’s Betty Boo

A charming mix of pop kitsch, lite rap and Julie London mannerisms, Betty Boo's lost gem, 1992's Grrr! It's Betty Boo, gets a re-release from Cherry Red Records.

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The Replacements’ Blithely Adolescent Spirit

Bob Mehr's biography of the band that regularly pulled defeat from the jaws of victory makes for compelling, heartbreaking reading.

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21 Apr 2016 // 2:10 AM

Yeasayer: Amen & Goodbye

Yeasayer throw everything into the mix, resulting in a beautiful, trippy, mind-blowing album with smart, catchy songwriting.

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Various Artists: Miles Ahead Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Don Cheadle, director and star of Miles Ahead, has assembled a mostly enticing soundtrack to his film, though still peppered with a few inessentials.

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Vinyl: Season 1, Episode 10 - “Alibi”

Richie gets sold out by his best friend, while the Nasty Bits sell out a show in a neatly tied up season finale.

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The Good Wife: Season 7, Episode 19 - “Landing”

The NSA, Canada, an arrest, the return of Kurt McVeigh and a looming divorce. Yep. We're right back where we started.

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Supergirl: Season 1, Episode 20 - “Better Angels”

Supergirl ends its freshman season on a disappointing note.

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‘Agnostic’: Against Theists and Atheists

Lesley Hazleton’s brand of agnosticism simply holds open a space for contemplative thinking.

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The Walking Dead: Michonne’s Second Part Is All About Momentum

The real success of "Give No Shelter" is the episode's length, resulting in an episode moved along by pure momentum.

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20 Apr 2016 // 3:00 AM

Kiss My Grit: 19th Annual Full Frame Film Festival 2016

Full Frame has that roughly perfect doc fest combo of grit and grits: viable texture, more heavy than fluffy, at times a bit cheesy, sometimes sweet, and always a worthwhile indulgence.

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20 Apr 2016 // 2:30 AM

M83: Junk

What connected on a deeper emotional level with Saturday=Youth is replaced by a chasm of wonder: what in good God’s name was the band’s central idea with Junk?

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Lil Uzi Vert: Lil Uzi Vert vs. the World

A member of rap's ascendant new class, Lil Uzi Vert's newest release is worth exploring to discover what direction the genre is taking.

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Peter Wolf: A Cure for Loneliness

Wolf's eighth solo album shows a gradually mellowing singer still in fine voice and experimenting with a variety of styles.

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Eskimeaux: Year of the Rabbit

Breezy pop music meets exquisite storytelling in Eskimeaux's Year of the Rabbit.

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20 Apr 2016 // 2:04 AM

Lush: Blind Spot

The four songs here announce Lush's return, but they're just a tease.

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Kurt Vonnegut: Our Reluctant, Agnostic, Hippy Guru

Vonnegut's timeless stories challenge the assumptions, institutions, and ideologies that so delimit critical thinking and open-mindedness.

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Orphan Black: Season 4, Episode 1 - “The Collapse of Nature”

The fourth season of Orphan Black seems poised to go back to its roots with “The Collapse of Nature”; that's a good thing.

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The Blacklist: Season 3, Episode 18 - “Mr. Solomon, the Conclusion”

Touching acting, brilliant self-parody, and whetting the viewers' appetite for next week -- The Blacklist bounces back.

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‘Grief Is the Thing With Feathers’ Pokes Around in Poetry’s Carcass

In his first book, Max Porter pulls disparate voices and bangs them together to make something beautiful and scary.

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There’s Music Coming From ‘The Last House on Dead End Street’

Having apparently blown $2,200 of his $3,000 budget on coke, Roger Watkins turned to what's known as ‘library music' to salvage a decent soundtrack.

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Murder for Two: Oedipal Death-Cycles in ‘The Eye of the Beholder’

Behm turns the detective novel first on its head and then sideways before shot-putting it across a terrain of Żuławskian terror; its film adaptation is an equally nerve-wracking descent into oedipal destruction.

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19 Apr 2016 // 2:30 AM

Suuns: Hold/Still

Suuns made a career-focusing album reflective of, and worthy of, our scattered brains.

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Woods: City Sun Eater in the River of Light

A slight step out of the comfort zone from Brooklyn's Woods, one of indie rock's most reliable and steady voices

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19 Apr 2016 // 2:15 AM

Ace Frehley: Origins Vol.1

We finally get the inevitable covers collection from the ex-KISS guitarist and it's all we imagined it would be.

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Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil: Dois Amigos, Um Século de Música - Multishow Live

These artists' names evoke Brazilian music to anyone even faintly familiar with the country's cultural history.

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Ulli Bomans: Sort by Dragging

Ulli Bomans may deal mainly in moods, but his music still has a profoundly eerie pulse.

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19 Apr 2016 // 2:02 AM

Claffy: Claffy

Well-fashioned post-bop from an up-and-comer with a broad pedigree.

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Without a Net: A Conversation with Peter Frampton

Peter Frampton: "(W)hen I do finally kick the bucket it's going to read 'Frampton drops dead', it's not going to say 'Frampton Comes Alive!', anymore."

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The Blacklist: Season 3, Episode 17 - “Mr. Solomon (No.32)”

Are ten seconds of near-Lynchian imagery worth 59 minutes and 50 seconds of Christmas Lilies of the Field?

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Satire Is a Key Feature in ‘Silicon Valley’ Season 2

Silicon Valley's relentless skewering of the Bay Area's well-known tech valley continues as Pied Piper faces new challenges.

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All the WOO in the World: An All-star Benefit for P-Funk Legend Bernie Worrell

The Wizard of WOO got his due as Nona Hendryx brought together George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Living Colour, David Byrne, Meryl Streep, and dozens more.

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Vinyl: Season 1, Episode 9 - “Rock and Roll Queen”

While the boring murder and crime storyline gets some airtime, we really delve deep into Vinyl's Madonna/whore problem in this episode.

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Daredevil: Season 2, Episode 5 - “Kinbaku”

Daredevil's relationships with women highlight his identity crisis at the expense of their own characterization.

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Questlove’s ‘Somethingtofoodabout’ Is Immensely Satisfying

Questlove’s Somethingtofoodabout showcases how the performing arts necessitate a different kind of creativity.

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18 Apr 2016 // 2:30 AM

Kevin Morby: Singing Saw

Singing Saw is a breakthrough record for Kevin Morby, brimming with vibrant imagery and fluid orchestration.

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18 Apr 2016 // 2:30 AM

Cloud Nine: Interview with Hælos

They broke on Soundcloud and are being hailed as a successor to the sound of trip-hop greats like Massive Attack. But HÆLOS are out to craft a legacy all their own.

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Weezer: Weezer (The White Album)

Weezer's long-awaited return to form continues with a loose concept album about California, complete with the requisite Beach Boys influences.

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Tiny Tim: The Complete Singles Collection (1966-1970)

All of the idiosyncratic performer’s late ‘60s singles are brought together in one place, providing a small piece of the puzzle necessary to reevaluate his place within popular culture.

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Father: I’m a Piece of Shit

Rapper Father returns with more debauchery. But he’s feeling more conflicted about it.

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‘Culloden’ and ‘The War Game’ Don’t Rewrite History, They Rewrite How We Can Learn From the Past

Peter Watkins' controversial BBC documentaries from the '60s still astound, startle, and disturb.

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Chelsea Wolfe: Abyss (Deluxe Edition)

Chelsea Wolfe's latest album, Abyss, improves upon her distinct metal-folk fusion that's characterized her music since the beginning.

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18 Apr 2016 // 2:00 AM

Persona and Modern Music in 17 Songs

Persona -- the “I” of the song -- has evolved, broadened, and expanded to more fully represent a diversity of experiences as well as emotional, political, and cultural orientations.

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In ‘Criminal’ Gal Gadot Is Surrounded by Galoots

Jill (Gal Gadot), who's really good at protecting her body, her home, and her child, adept with a gun and smart too, is nonetheless turned into a plot point.

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By Mixing Comedy With Social Commentary, ‘Barbershop: The Next Cut’ Finds Its Voice

With one foot in the contemporary and the other in the franchise's past, this latest installment of Barber Shop is fresh, funny, and not overly familiar.

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iZombie: Season 2, Episodes 18 and 19 - “Dead Beat” and “Salivation Army”

iZombie’s finale cemented how expertly paced this season has been as a whole, revealing huge secrets and enough gallows humor in keeping with the show’s distinctive tone.

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Jon Favreau Delivers a Future Family Classic With ‘The Jungle Book’

It may be a live action adventure, but The Jungle Book has all the magic of Disney's original animated effort, and much more.

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Outlander: Season 2, Episode 1 - “Through a Glass, Darkly”

Is the past fixed, or can Jamie and Claire make a difference in Scotland's fate?

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‘Hardcore Henry’ Tells Gamers Sorry, There Is No Princess

Hardcore Henry questions gamers' instinctual need to fulfill a particular role within the context of a presumed masculine identity.

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Is Copyright Killing Creativity?

It's time to move toward an open-source model for literary and creative production, argues Illegal Literature, a provocative new challenge to traditional copyright models.

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The Last Shadow Puppets: Everything You’ve Come to Expect

Simultaneously fresher yet less exciting and memorable than its predecessor, Everything You've Come to Expect captures almost everything that makes the Last Shadow Puppets stand out.

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Miracle Legion: Portrait of a Damaged Family

Miracle Legion returns after a 20-year hiatus and reissues their barely-noticed final album. It's an album that richly deserves to be heard.

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The Lumineers: Cleopatra

The trio’s three year hiatus complimented their songwriting, but their recent effort to provide less singalongs and more authenticity feels too tempered.

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15 Apr 2016 // 2:10 AM

East of Venus: Memory Box

An indie super-group comprised of members of the Feelies, Winter Hours, and the Bongos, East of Venus have crafted one of the year’s best rock and roll records so far.

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‘Try and Get Me’ Goes Where Most Films Fear to Tread

This overlooked noir film takes a disturbing look at ordinary American life, circa 1950.

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Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements

Trouble Boys is a deeply intimate and nuanced portrait, exposing the primal factors and forces—addiction, abuse, fear—that would shape one of the most brilliant and notoriously self-destructive groups of all time.

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The Magicians: Season 1, Episode 13 - “Have You Brought Me Little Cakes”

There isn't any better way to respond to this episode than with a angry, sustained "no".

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Mindbending Avenging in ‘All-New, All-Different Avengers #8’

This comic gives the impression that the human mind is stronger and more rational than daytime talk shows would have us believe.

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Better Call Saul: Season 2, Episode 9 - “Nailed”

For the first time all season, "Nailed" is in a hurry to give not only answers, but plenty of action to go along with them.

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‘Green Room’ Strikes Visual and Emotional Balances

Jeremy Saulnier's film underscores the basic drives and manipulations of belonging, of social existence.

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Once Upon a Time: Season 6, Episode 16 - “Our Decay”

Hades forces Rumpelstiltskin to bring Zelena and child down to the Underworld, because it turns out that he and Zelena have a bit of a past.

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‘Day of the Tentacle Remastered’: Remastering a Classic

Day of the Tentacle follows the structure of a Saturday morning cartoon. It also has the stakes of one.

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The City as Autobiography in Darryl Pinckney’s Black Deutschland

Leaping from one fragmented city to the next, Pinckney’s narrator uses history to simultaneously define and obscure himself.

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‘Disruptive Film’ Creates a Constellation Where the Past and Present Meet

One should approach this collection not unlike how Walter Benjamin approached collecting books: ".... not as dry, isolated facts, but as a harmonious whole..."

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Sturgill Simpson: A Sailor’s Guide to Earth

Sturgill Simpson's latest musical offspring is a love letter we can all cherish.

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Bottled Out of Eccentricity: A Conversation With Kavus Torabi of Knifeworld

Knifeworld mastermind Kavus Torabi discusses the positive rewiring effects of LSD, Gong's late Daevid Allen, and Knifeworld's newest, Bottled Out of Eden.

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14 Apr 2016 // 2:20 AM

Ben Watt: Fever Dream

Ben Watt’s Fever Dream resembles those dark Impressionist paintings where everything bleeds together in the rain.

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The Coathangers: Nosebleed Weekend

More weekend than nosebleed, the Coathangers deliver a mix of sluggishly performed garage rock and passable punk attitude.

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Eric Bachmann: Eric Bachmann

Eric Bachmann continues to age gracefully without sacrificing his youthful essence.

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New Kids on the Block’s Fans Are Hangin’ Tough

The 33 1/3 book on New Kids on the Block highlights the perils of aging gracefully.

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Free Cake for Every Creature: Talking Quietly of Anything with You

These indie pop kids describe themselves best: "All you gotta be when you're 23 is yourself."

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Cage the Elephant Ignite Central Park with Kickoff for Summerstage Season

// Notes from the Road

"Cage the Elephant rocked two sold-out nights at Summerstage and return to NYC for a free show May 29th. Info on that and a preview of the full Summerstage schedule is here.

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