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Privilege Corrupts: Donald Trump and “The Devil in His Youth”

How a song by Protomartyr keeps taking on new meaning in the age of Donald Trump.

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Past and Present, Space and Time: The Script for ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’

Though pasts and futures are undone and redone, by the end we are left where we began.

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Someone Needs to Stop ‘Suicide Squad’ Before It Kills Again

Suicide Squad forgoes interesting characters and engaging plotlines in favor of faux nihilism and flat one-liners.

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This Mortal Coil: The Human Body in History and Culture

How we feel and think about our bodies "has shifted across times and cultures, taking and losing definition due to any number of forces and trends-philosophical, religious, cultural, technological."

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5 Aug 2016 // 2:30 AM

Nels Cline: Lovers

The unclassifiable guitar legend and Wilco secret weapon finally releases the album he's been working on for 25 years, and it's definitely worth the wait.

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Read Chuck Klosterman, Blow Your Mind, Then Put on Your Pants

Chuck Klosterman’s new book succeeds by failing spectacularly.

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Ensemble Signal: Steve Reich - Double Sextet / Radio Rewrite



Ensemble Signal makes a strong case for Reich’s continued relevance as well as the strength of his work in this masterful recording of two late-period Reich compositions.

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O’Connor Band with Mark O’Connor: Coming Home

A true family affair and a triumphant return home for bluegrass legend Mark O’Connor.

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The A Word: Season 1, Episode 3

Series writer Peter Bowker seems to have created his own post-feminist Madonna/whore complex.

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Garbage Celebrated Its 22-Year Career Impeccably at the Fillmore Philadelphia

Garbage's nearly two-hour spectacle demonstrated not only how beloved they remain by fans, but also how hard they can still rock out.

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Updating an Iconic Romance in ‘X-men 92’ #5

It's actually possible for two characters to be together, support each other, and be functional heroes.

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Pink Talking Fish Take San FranPhishco

Pink Talking Fish mix the repertoires of Phish, Pink Floyd and the Talking Heads. Now they’re boldly joining the Phish aftershow party cottage industry.

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‘Headlander’: Disembodied Hijinks Dressed Up as ‘70s Camp Sci-Fi

You are a disembodied head. You land on things. Really, that's it. That's the game.

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Preacher: Season 1, Episode 10 - “Call and Response”

Preacher wraps its first season as only it could, which isn't necessarily such a good thing.

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Rob Sheffield’s ‘On Bowie’ Is a Textual Funeral for an Idol

Portrait of Rob Sheffield as a young American.

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New Additions to Netflix Worth Watching in August

Forget summer sunshine, PopMatters offers you several reasons to stay in the air conditioned indoors with these Netflix offerings.

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Dinosaur Jr.: Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not

This emotive new LP is not just another Dinosaur Jr. record.

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4 Aug 2016 // 2:20 AM

Steel Cranes: Tango

Steel Cranes' unusual approach and airy, open arrangements makes Tango an interesting listen every time through.

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4 Aug 2016 // 2:15 AM

JPNSGRLS: Divorce

With Divorce, the Vancouver, BC-based JPNSGRLS maintain the energy of their debut record, Circulation, but lose out on some of its charms.

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4 Aug 2016 // 2:10 AM

Slow Dakota: The Ascension of Slow Dakota

It feels awkward to label The Ascension as an album, for while it’s certainly a musical endeavor, it’s also a literary one.

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In ‘You Will Know Me,’ the Mystery is Everybody

Megan Abbott’s novel of suburban gymnastics’ competitive psychosis is like the fictional version of Joan Ryan’s excoriating Little Girls in Pretty Boxes.

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Moving Beyond the Dream Theory: A New Approach to ‘Mulholland Drive’

With doubles, strange coincidences and nightmarish elements, David Lynch shows us the reality of Hollywood living.

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Newport Folk Scores High Marks with Favorites and Well Curated New Draws

Newport offered sets from favorites like Ryan Adams, Glen Hansard, Flight of the Conchords and chances to see new acts.

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In ‘The Childhood of a Leader’, Old Europe Rises on the Shoulders of a Psychopath

Brady Corbet’s disturbing psycho-historical melodrama is like the Stanley Kubrick edit of The Grand Budapest Hotel.

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3 Aug 2016 // 9:53 AM

Panorama Peaks with Sounds of Silver

Panorama closes out its first edition with the monumental return of LCD Soundsystem and an awkward performance by Sia.

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The Lucas Museum Saga: Why Was This Museum Rejected by Chicago?

What made George Lucas such a cinematic visionary is also what’s making him less effective as a civic figure.

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BrainDead: Season 1, Episode 6 - “Notes Toward a Post-Reagan Theory…”

BrainDead bounces back with a lot of dancing, a lot of booze, and a ton of fun.

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‘American Candide’: A Modern Allegory on Nationalism

Candide and the gang take the gas out of the contemporary political landscape, capitalism, formal education, Hollywood and the news with a sarcastic flare.

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3 Aug 2016 // 2:30 AM

Russian Circles: Guidance

Some parts of Guidance feel a little familiar for Russian Circles, but it's still a document of a band operating at the peak of its powers.

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Omar Rodríguez-López: Sworn Virgins

A series of cacophonous collages that'll only appeal to die-hard fans.

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From Curiosity to Denial: The Case of ‘An Open Secret’

The failure of An Open Secret to connect with a wide audience speaks to the persistence of denial when the perpetrators of child abuse populate the entertainment industry.

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Velvet Crush: Pre-Teen Symphonies

Pre-Teen Symphonies offers a fascinating snapshot into the life of a song, from its most embryonic stages to the shape it takes post-release as a piece of a band's live act.

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Cuong Vu: Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny / Pat Metheny: The Unity Sessions

Two recent releases from Pat Metheny and his collaborator Cuong Vu show how acid and sugar can meet beautifully in the middle.

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3 Aug 2016 // 2:10 AM

Rich Robinson: Flux

Rich Robinson's fourth solo LP quiets any doubts that he can write and rock without the Black Crowes.

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‘Jane Steele’, a Victorian Murderess With a Heart of Gold

This glossier and better-dressed creative reimagining of Jane Eyre falls short of the original, sacrificing depth for the usual pop culture tropes of liberal feminism.

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Finding the Image: Michael Gira Talks Swans’ Creative Process

Michael Gira discusses the mistake that led to a critical part of the latest Swans album, building a collective mind, and the art of Francis Bacon.

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‘Necropolis’: Randomly Generated Blandness

The dungeons may be randomly generated, but Necropolis guarantees monotony around every corner.

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Outlander: Season 2, Episode 13 - “Dragonfly in Amber”

Plot trumps character development in Outlander's finale, but it's still an exciting ride.

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‘Jonathan Unleashed’: Nice Dogs, Too Bad About the Jokes

This shoots for the angsty New York comedy of Woody Allen, but it suffers from that which Allen so famously called grounds for divorce: insufficient laughter.

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Jonah Tolchin: Thousand Mile Night

Jonah Tolchin drives the Americana genre forward with a reverent eye in the rear view mirror and a right foot heavy on the gas.

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Toward an Encyclopedia Apocalyptica

To a post-apocalyptic population, merely explaining scientific and technological facts about our situation won't help. We'll need a guidebook.

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Gov’t Mule: The Tel-Star Sessions

Recorded across the magical summer of 1994, these tracks show that Gov't Mule arrived with the passion and fire that would characterize the group's style and sound for 20 years to come.

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‘Star Trek Beyond’ Treks Towards Planet Hollywood

Justin Lin helms creates a popcorn-friendly Fast and Furious Star Trek with Roddenberry's original vision jettisoned in the escape pods.

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2 Aug 2016 // 2:15 AM

Heart: Beautiful Broken

The Wilson sisters resurrect some songs from their early '80s forgotten years and fix what was broken, often achieving beauty.

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2 Aug 2016 // 2:10 AM

Dierks Bentley: Black

There’s a fog hanging over Dierks Bentley’s ninth album Black. A strategic fog, perhaps.

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‘Year of the Dragon’ and the Year When Michael Cimino Was Set Loose

Year of the Dragon’s biggest flaw is in being a perfect reflection of its filmmaker, and in that, it deserves to be seen as a messy, massive, achievement.

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Panorama Offers Social Commentary From Kendrick Lamar and New Songs From the National

Stellar sets from the Julie Ruin, Foals, Kendrick Lamar, the National and more made for an exciting second day of the inaugural Panorama Music Festival.

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A Great TV Show Logs Off in ‘Person of Interest: The Fifth And Final Season’

In its final season, “Person of Interest” ties up loose ends and offers something for everyone -- including the possibility for more.

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The 100 Greatest Alternative Singles of the ‘90s - Part 5 (20 - 1)

The fifth and final part of our examination of the 100 Greatest Alternative Singles of the '90s, includes Portishead, Blur, Björk, R.E.M., Nine Inch Nails and more.

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‘The Star Trek Book’: This Is Why We Still Love Star Trek

Long before society caught up by heeding calls for diversity in education and the workplace, Star Trek was preaching "infinite diversity in infinite combinations" as a strength.

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Mr. Robot: Season 2, Episode 4 - “eps2.2_init1.asec”

Many of Mr. Robot's characters remain in a stalemate in an episode meant mostly to set up future battles.

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Present and Future Intrigue in ‘Extraordinary X-men #12’

The conclusion of Apocalypse Wars finishes strong and offers new possibilities.

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UnREAL: Season 2, Episode 8 - “Fugitive”

UnREAL continues to be compelling television for all the same reasons Everlasting is: it’s unafraid to create drama around deeply flawed characters.

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1 Aug 2016 // 8:46 AM

Lookin’ at the Upside: An Interview with Allen Stone

"I don't look like your typical soul singer, I don't look like Justin Timberlake, I don't wear a suit and tie ... I'm from Packwood, eastern Washington state."

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Various Artists: I’m a Freak Baby: A Journey Through the British Heavy Psych & Hard Rock Under

If you have ever watched Spinal Tap and thought, “Yeah, I get the joke, but this music still rocks,” then this is the anthology for you.

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1 Aug 2016 // 2:15 AM

Lil Durk: 2X

2X is Lil Durk through and through, and that’s what ultimately makes it the thrill it is.

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‘Lee Scratch Perry’s Vision of Paradise’ Doesn’t Find the Transcendence Within Perry

In its attempt to worship, Vision of Paradise condescends and exploits.

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Allen Ginsberg: The Last Word on First Blues

The Last Word on First Blues is all the Allen Ginsberg, musician, you could ever hope to have and more.

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1 Aug 2016 // 2:05 AM

Nisennenmondai: #N/A

Japan’s masters of ‘organic techno’ team up with Adrian Sherwood, with results that show their sound can withstand just about anything.

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‘In the Shadow of Frankenstein’ Will Haunt Your Dreams

In the Shadow of Frankenstein provides a first-rate example of how the creature's heart continues to pump life into the horror genre.

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The Essential Dilemma in ‘Under the Sun’ Is That No Truth Is singular, No Story Is Simple

The documentary tells a story of North Korean oppression by focusing on eight-year-old Zin-mi, her openness and also her caution, her obvious effort to please and her occasional and barely discernible frustration.

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‘Bad Moms’ Embraces the Stereotypes It so Desperately Wants to Subvert

The story is uneven, the laughs are plentiful, but it's the politics that make this movie a tad... questionable.

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Just How Would Captain Fantastic Feel About His Own Film?

An average day at Ben Cash's commune -- at least in his mind -- would make Iron Man competitions look like intermediate intramural fluff.

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BrainDead: Season 1, Episode 5 - “Back to Work…”

BrainDead's response to switching days and losing ratings? The weakest episode yet.

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‘The Secret Life of Pets’ Indicates Filmwriters Are Worn Out

The Secret Life of Pets is what happens when filmmakers try to create a movie around an entertaining teaser -- you get a main course that makes you long for the appetizer.

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Roadies: Season 1, Episode 5 - “Friends and Family”

In an up-close and personal episode, the gang’s in Denver for a hometown double bill, and everyone's got an itch that needs scratching when it comes to family.

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Looking for an Outlet: An Interview with Sonny Smith

Sonny Smith -- the bandleader and chief songwriter of the genre-morphing Sonny & The Sunsets -- sees modern existence as a swirl of ephemeral stimuli and microscopic mood swings.

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Miles Davis’s Corporeal Score to Louis Malle’s ‘Elevator to the Gallows’

Davis's score doesn't articulate a narrative in this film; it provides a haunting, corporeal presence that refuses to assimilate to our efforts to find meaning.

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‘Doctor Who’ and the Constraints of the American Cultural Cold War

Decolonization, shifting demographics and the rise of the US needed to be understood and processed through the British popular imagination. The Doctor landed his TARDIS just in time to help.

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Descendents: Hypercaffium Spazzinate

The Descendents today sound a lot like the Descendents you've always known, but this album is hardly a self-conscious clinging to past success. Instead, it's the sound of four guys with a deep bond, making music on their own terms.

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Various Artists: Coxsone’s Music 2 - The Sound of Young Jamaica

As with its companion piece, this second volume of early Jamaican music shows just how integral a role jazz and R&B played in shaping what would become the island nation’s dominant form of popular music in the second half of the 20th Century.

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Paul Kelly: Seven Sonnets and a Song

Legendary Australian songwriter Paul Kelly reconciles his trademark acoustic style with the works of Shakespeare on his latest album, Seven Sonnets and a Song.

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Edgar Winter: The Definitive Collection

The Definitive Collection features the big singles, the lost classics, and so many more facets to the Edgar Winter tale that time has mostly forgotten.

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Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie

The new Agatha Christie biography is a graphic novel in form but a mere flipbook in narrative.

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29 Jul 2016 // 2:05 AM

David Bazan: Blanco

David Bazan is capable of making misery seem bearable. Not so on this third long-player where he falls into the mire and can't get unstuck.

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Panorama Festival: FKA twigs and Arcade Fire Convey Passion

The inaugural Panorama Festival invited ticket holders into a big, shiny, technology-savvy paradise that carried promise for future installments.

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‘Jason Bourne’: The Bourne Repetition

Here again, the cuts in fight scenes are thrilling but maybe indecipherable, making irrelevant any logic of time and space, in favor of a viewing experience you might call meta-visceral.

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Preacher: Season 1, Episode 9 - “Finish the Song”

Worlds come crashing together in perhaps the best episode of the series thus far.

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Lewis Pesacov and wild Up: The Edge of Forever

Lewis Pesacov’s music carries a rare and delicate voice in today’s contemporary classical music.

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‘Last Night, a Superhero Saved My Life’ Is Grounded in Reality

Recommended reading for those whose lives were saved in the nick of time, and were transformed into their better selves, thanks to Amazons, Caped Crusaders, and Mutants.

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What Defines an “Old School” JRPG?

There’s a common assumption that a story starring kids is also for kids, and that a kid’s story is inherently less complex, less nuanced, and simply lesser in quality.

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28 Jul 2016 // 2:30 AM

MSTRKRFT: Operator

With the continually progressive and impressive places electronic music and its satellite genres are going, Operator is a regression to the uninspiring basics.

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Les Durs and the Anatomy of the (French) Tough Guy: Gabin, Ventura, and Belmondo

At Les Durs (The Tough Guys) Film Fest, the tough guy is a bulwark against decay; he's the guarantor of value -- even if that value is compromised by the world around him.

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Various Artists: Sherwood at the Controls Volume 2 - 1985-1990

The seminal producer/mixer Adrian Sherwood engages Ministry, KMFDM, and the dude from Spearhead. All without losing touch with his post-punk and reggae roots.

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Are The Rolling Stones More Than Just a Rock Band?

Rich Cohen, who covered the band for Rolling Stone in 1994, documents the Stones' historical and cultural importance in a new biography.

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28 Jul 2016 // 2:15 AM

Justin Llamas: Gold

Gold is an auspicious debut that feels like the beginning of something special.

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Panorama to New Yorkers: “Gimme All Your Love” and Sweat Stains, Too

Rock of the Aughts highlighted the debut day of New York City's brand-new music festival.

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Who’s Watching the Watchers in ‘Nerve’?

Nerve indicts the bad social media consumers, but lets you, the "better watchers", off the hook.

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‘Snotgirl’ S’not Your Average Comic

Bryan Lee O'Malley blows his nose at social media and fashion culture.

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Stranger Things: Season 1, Episode 1 - “The Vanishing of Will Byers”

Stranger Things captures fear and the '80s so brilliantly, you'd think Netflix injected it with some mad scientist-created serum to ensure maximum binge-worthiness.

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Mollner’s ‘Outlaws and Angels’ Trying Western Isn’t for the Weak of Heart

Mollner lays out this harsh story and rubs our faces in it. It's raw and hurtful and the sting remains even after the last frame has faded from our retinas.

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The A Word: Season 1, Episode 2

The best parts of The A Word are worth putting up with the awful parts, but why does writer Peter Bowker make his audience sit through them?

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The Life of a Navy Wife Is Told With Blazing Honesty in ‘The War At Home’

An existence of constant upheavals, classified work, and arcane cultural mores, the military is a peculiarly isolated place even as it runs parallel to civilian life.

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The ‘Chainmail Bikini’ Success Story: Challenging Sexism in Gaming and Comics

A growing array of writers are challenging previously dominant tropes of misogyny, sexuality, and whiteness; 40 of them can be found here.

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The Summer of De Palma: Looking Back at a Master Filmmaker’s Career

Following the release of Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow's document on the eponymous director, the legacy of Brian de Palma's extensive and controversial filmography is given renewed attention.

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27 Jul 2016 // 2:30 AM

Snoop Dogg: Coolaid

On Coolaid, Snoop Dogg brings back his iconic G-Funk sound with mixed results.

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Various: Tanbou Toujou Lou - Merengue, Kompa Kreyou, Vodou Jazz and Electric Folklore from Haiti

What it lacks in any immediately identifiable musical and geographic point of origin, this collection of mid-20th Century Haitian recordings more than makes up for in its unique cultural and stylistic fusion.

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27 Jul 2016 // 2:15 AM

Omni: Deluxe

Deluxe is a far better way to spend 30 minutes than many other 2016 releases shackled with the blanket terms of “indie” and “post-punk”.

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Andy Stott: Too Many Voices

This is everything but a claustrophobic piece of sonic art. On the contrary, this is Stott at his best, a composer whose futuristic music is well-rooted in today’s world.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

After Images: Poland's 41st Gdynia Film Festival

// Short Ends and Leader

"From painters to interrogators, some of the finest films at Gdynia Film Festival 2016 dramatized real-life figures from the country’s past.

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