Wednesday, November 19 2014
Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, Taylor Goldsmith, Jim James and Marcus Mumford add music to Bob Dylan’s lyrics for The New Basement Tapes: Lost on the River.
Though the individual tracks stand strong, The Hum's corner-cutting arrangement obscures and frustrates its most important asset: momentum.
Sam Hunt records his first full-length LP, makes an argument about genre, and is still problematic about women.
In lieu of issuing an album proper, Jens Lekman lovingly wraps three new compositions in a mixtape that plays like a gift to the listener, showing off his personal sources of inspiration.
NSYNC's songs never really defined their era so much as were merely a product of them.
Tuesday, November 18 2014
Workers at a Manhattan deli fight for their most basic rights, and a woman who believed herself to be Jewish discovers a shocking truth about her paternity.
Iron Man finds a way to be arrogant, shallow, and superior in all the right (and a few wrong) ways.
pom pom is up there with Ariel Pink's very best work, even if there’s nothing as insanely hooky as “Round and Round".
Brian Jones, founder of the Rolling Stones, had the vision and musical intuition which helped make the band a vital force in the '60s.
John Darnielle's debut novel is an exploration of self-reliance, pain, and acceptance. Isn't that enough?
Hozier's back to back, sold-out nights at Irving Plaza, proved to the audience that the Irish singer-songwriter's recent buzz, post-SNL, is well deserved.
Starring in a film directed by Jean-Luc Godard is an intimidating prospect (especially when it's in 3D), but not only did Héloise Godet rise to the challenge, she's starting to get rave reviews of her own.
If The Great Gatsby is a peep through a keyhole at the dirty underbelly of extreme wealth from a bygone era, Small Apartments kicks the door down and lays bare a grotesque characterization of today’s urban lower middle class.
"Jumping the shark" may be a fun and lingering trope in popular culture, but its truth in relation to the Happy Days episode from which it gets its name is questionable.
Deliberate artificiality and horror based in human psychology make this horror classic, first released in 1920, feel remarkably fresh today.
Like George Harrison, whose career and influence only grew after his death, Gibb’s final efforts reveal that he too deserves a re-evaluation of his solo offerings.
When Hyponotized succeeds, it feels like a fresh start and a new direction that could worm its way into Mark Perro and Nick Chiericozzi's other band, the Men, or wander down its own weird path for quite a while.
A 1985 bestseller re-issue which fails miserably to stand the test of time to put it mildly.
With Motion, Calvin Harris delivers a pleasant album, not without flaws.
Some interesting questions, and some worthy answers from bluegrass country rockers Greensky.
Monday, November 17 2014
A lyrically surreal investigation into the mysterious disappearance of a professor in Nebraska and an exposé on the case an innocent man that might have been a huge mistake.
The Spider-Verse has no one author, no omnipotent guiding hand. It is organic, connecting and reconnecting like the strands of a web, like the strands of life.
Whereas Jules Verne's novel consisted of only one trip around the world, 80 Days contains multitudes.
Like spent fuel rods, refugees of the Fukushima nuclear disaster are handled delicately, considered toxic, and unwelcome anywhere they go.
The prison correspondence of Tolokonnikova and Zizek might not change the world, but it ought to be required reading for those with such aspirations.
In reinterpreting the words and music of their male peers, songwriters like Tori Amos and Joan Baez create whole new works of art.
Suzan Beraza's documentary captures the contours and stubborn endurance of myths about uranium mining, as well as the evidence of their tenuous connection to reality.
Alpha Mike Foxtrot's 77 tracks suggest that Wilco didn't have an experimental period. Instead, we see Wilco as an ever-changing, constant experiment in and of itself.
This leans towards hard rock rather than punk, back to the type of music prevalent when punk burst out, and which after all most punks grew up hearing.
John Updike is able to highlight the details of domestic life in a way that turns the mundane into something sacred and significant.
Arca invites you to come along for the ride into the netherworld of the self, and those who do may feel alternately exhausted and exhilarated.
The Jazz June’s first new album in a dozen years is one of the most surprising developments so far in the unlikely second life of second-generation emo.
This collection of songs are serviceable tracks that would fit well on any EDM-lovers playlist, but it lacks a certain something: experimentation.
The Swedish duo explores the protagonist's journey through the post-war torn landscape in a soundtrack for an imaginary film.
Sunday, November 16 2014
N. M. Gwynne is devoted both to the preservation of the proper English language and also to its use for higher aesthetic purposes.
Saturday, November 15 2014
This novel should take its rightful place as a serious literary endeavour about what it means to be human, to be in love, and how that love overcomes all obstacles.
Friday, November 14 2014
For all its desperation, Rosewater is also suffused with hope and even joy, a reminder that journalist Maziar Bahari is not forgotten.
The conventions in Gina Prince-Bythewood's film are fully functioning, not so much challenged as fine-tuned, placing it safely in the camp of melodrama.
Both Salad Days and Happy Valley conclude leaving as many questions as they ask during their runtimes.
On a rainy New York night, Obie Award winner Eisa Davis transformed Joe's Pub into the garden of Eisa.
This restoration of the television classic will remind you of all that was wonderful and odd, sweet and quirky, intriguing and terrifying about Twin Peaks.
In Twenty Poems That Could Save America and Other Essays, Tony Hoagland makes a compelling case that poetry is just what America needs, so long as it's the right kind of poetry.
Rather than recapitulating the faux sentiment of veterans' poppies, BBC's Centenary Collection gives viewers a chance to really understand WWI.
While owning a record may seem commonplace, some artists hold the controversial view that these "postcards" actually ruin the musical landscape.
Don't be fooled by the pretty faces: Tammy is as bad as they come, a major flop that fails to show Melissa McCarthy and her cast's true talents.
Big K.R.I.T.'s second major label debut continues his reign of dominance as he claims the role as "King of the South".
Now in the 50th year of her career, Faithfull delivers a vibrant, haunted and haunting set of songs that look to the past and the future.
To the author, pain exists only in the act of naming it. Sufferers may disagree.
blue isn't only the most satisfying record in this collective's discography; it's also one of the best albums released this year.
As Kevin Drumm steers you through the Wrong Intersection, you can't help but get the feeling that that's where he belongs.
A beautifully balanced group, including Steve Wilson on saxophones, Jay Anderson on bass, and Lewis Nash on drums.
There’s nothing not to recommend about this release, which offers further evidence that virtually everything Jon Madof touches turns to sonic gold.
America’s first anti–sex trafficking law, meant to protect women, more often resulted in the policing of women’s sexual behavior.
Thursday, November 13 2014
One of New York’s most crooked cops tells his story in an electric film, and a tragicomic story looks at the troubled life of Florida’s most dedicated prison escape artist.
This documentary poses hard questions about how teams, communities, and identities are developed, and how assumptions shape expectations.
The reason Ms. Marvel is so capable of dealing with the enormous shifts in her life is that, underneath all of her typical teenage fear and doubt, she very much knows who she is.
A fascinating, thorough, and highly intellectual exploration of how popular music shaped the counterculture of the '60s, this is a must read for any fan of music and/or modern anthropology.
Provocative filmmaker Ruben Östlund's Force Majeure is getting awards buzz for setting the story of a crumbling marriage on avalanche-prone ice slopes.
The veteran indie singer-songwriter discusses the past, present, and future of the Dismemberment Plan, how D'Angelo and Pearl Jam influenced their music, and what it's like to grow up making records.
This rollicking look at the intersection of heavy metal music and Canadian identity reveals some interesting connections, and raises some important questions, too.
Röyksopp are officially saying au revoir to the “traditional album format” with The Inevitable End, but they are definitely not disbanding anytime soon.
This revised and expanded second edition of the hardback, details one of the most influential campaigns in the history of advertising.
Deerhoof's 12th album channels the band's musical chops toward sharp political critique while retaining moments of whimsical release.
The law of diminishing returns has begun to catch up with Seregenti's sketch-like Kenny Dennis persona on this, his fourth dedicated release.
The Hollies have been better represented on other collections and this anniversary collection contains little new. But their '60s pop virtuosity is still something to be treasured.
An excellent documentary of a deserving band. Thirty years down a long road, the band is still driving with tears in their eyes and telling stories worth hearing.
Still trading on much of the heavy electronic grooves of past albums, Ruby's latest effort also sees much of the sonics stripped to a bare minimum of just voice and guitar.
Wednesday, November 12 2014
After 16 long years, the Fleetwood Mac lineup is complete with Christine McVie and touring again. The legendary band's show in Hartford proved the reunion to be a happy one.
Director Orlando von Einsiedel comes under literal gunfire for documenting the colonial capitalist powers in the Congo, a reminder that sometimes the price for oil is blood.
Superman demonstrates his power to inspire in an appropriately effective ending to the series.
Kirk Walker Graves' mix of fanboy marvel and critical detachment will convince even Kanye West detractors to give My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy a close listen.
He's produced hits for Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and more, but on his forthcoming Ryan Adams-produced album, Butch Walker explores some of the darkest corners of his soul.
The remarkable author of How to Build a Girl wasn’t seeking controversy; she just wanted to change the world.
The “true” codes of the Western hero, as borne out in an excavation of the subtleties in major films of the canon, are really more perverse than moral, more calculating than artless.
A bluesy howl of addictive beats, political fury, and hypnotic technique, the sequel to Run the Jewels' triumphant debut bests the original in every way.
Charles Atlas' 2006 tour documentary captures the depth, beauty, and complexity of Antony Hegarty’s artistic vision and her corollary mission for transgendered acceptance.
2:54 craft a weirdly woven tapestry of implied grunge, dream pop, and psychedelic folk in compelling sophomore record.
A long-lost acid folk classic crawls out from the Australian bush to blink its stoned eyes in the sun.
Childish Gambino flexes his immense talent and versatility on EP Kauai.
This is a record for the blue-haired crowd, but there’s enough here for those who like soul, R&B, and jazz rock to make Pemberton an appreciative force.
This story, although not mindless, is kind of a trashy read; rather like the celebrity culture it critiques.
Tuesday, November 11 2014
Ali's book is devoted to unraveling the story of the Muslim prophet, and a serious contribution to the debate over what is real, what is apocryphal, and what is myth.
Perry Farrell's antics during the Jane's Addiction CBGB Festival set were probably more wild than one would expect in tourist friendly Times Square.
Margaret Brown chides at questions about being a female filmmaker, but that's nothing compared to the subjects of her film The Great Invisible, dealing with the personal toll that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill took on people's livelihoods.
Executive producer Bob Brush and actor Dan Lauria ruminate on The Wonder Years timeless nostalgia.
Despite claims that The Hunger Games' Katniss Everdeen represents a step forward for women, her self-sacrificial streak reveals just how unfree she really is.
The seven films in The Female Gaze offer an interesting look at the work of seven different female directors, each a welcome antidote to action-hero blockbusters and formulaic rom-coms.
After a few albums of focused hard rock, Trail of Dead confidently begins to reintegrate the more pop-oriented experimentations that killed their early '00s buzz.
Final Days is an uncompromising record played with the passion and conviction to back up its ambitious artistic vision.
For those ready to consider the the real meaning of Christmas rather than the crass commercial aspect, this is the holiday record for you.
Deftly penchant, heart rending, and thoughtful, Close Talker is certainly a band worth chatting about.
Jazz saxophonist Darius Jones has composed before, but you’ve never heard him make anything like this.
This was no doubt created for fans, but it serves as a decent introduction to the band's music anyway.
Monday, November 10 2014
Just under the surface, the earnest Barry Allen suppresses his darkness in the hope of freeing his wrongly convicted father.
Gowing's manifesto is short on philosophy, long on facial hair, and bound to appeal to high-brow and low-brow readers alike.
Film and magic have always been intertwined. Some works take advantage of the relationship, but Houdini does not.
James Muschler, drummer for EDM and dubstep infused jazz trio Moon Hooch, discusses his group's new record, being shut down by the cops, and finding happiness in jazz.
GeekGirlCon may not be a "comic-con", but it has helped to bring about positive change in comics culture.
Pink Floyd’s concept album The Wall is a key example of an artwork that the studies of the musical theatre are missing out.
Both A Most Wanted Man and God's Pocket reminder us of how Hoffman always rose to the occasion of the role and drew our attention to the larger structures at play.