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More Recent Features
Witnessing Sexual Trauma: The Complex Facets of the Gaze in Phoebe Gloeckner’s Work

How Phoebe Gloeckner creates the "Feminist Gaze" and critiques Western art in her taboo-defying graphic narrative, A Child’s Life.

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Something Isn’t Right with Criterion’s Release of ‘Something Wild’

This film itself is problematic, but Criterion's Blu-ray of Something Wild has me wondering, is Criterion slipping?

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6 Mar 2017 // 3:30 AM

Blanck Mass: World Eater

Blanck Mass's World Eater is a humungous, terrifying slab of electronic noise.

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sir Was: Digging a Tunnel

A hazy, hip-hop inspired album for the early hours that features moments of deep introspection from the impressive Joel Wästberg.

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6 Mar 2017 // 3:15 AM

Pieta Brown: Postcards

Brown penned simple acoustic version of the songs while in hotel rooms on tour and sent them to various musical collaborators to turn into a shared track.

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The Courtneys: The Courtneys II

The Courtneys' sophomore release unfortunately lacks the fun that surrounded their debut.

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John Abercrombie Quartet: Up and Coming

The influential guitarist and his regular group produce a lovely follow-up recording that could use a dose of caffeine.

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6 Mar 2017 // 3:01 AM

Ryanhood: Yearbook

Hood and Green expertly weave pop-sensible tracks that ride the alternative folk wave straight into a medley of musical influences

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How Foxygen Turned a Study of Genre into the Sound of the Future

PopMatters spoke to Sam France and Jonathan Rado about the themes that dominate the album, their work with a 40-piece orchestra, and their strange connection to the POTUS.

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David Duchovny Hits the Road to Seek the Musical Truth That’s Out There

The concept of witnessing the man who plays Mulder live on stage in a rock band seems like it’s what’s providing the buzz here for one of the more unique pop culture moments of recent years.

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“The Schtup List” Is Full of Surprises and Suspense for ‘The Good Fight’

What we thought we knew? Perhaps we shouldn't have been so sure. Plus, terrorism and political donors in the Age of Trump.

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Still Living Dangerously After All These Years

As autocratic leaders slowly take over the First World, popular representations of a Third World coup take on renewed significance.

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3 Mar 2017 // 3:30 AM

Thundercat: Drunk

With Drunk, Thundercat has delivered a fascinatingly scattershot series of song fragments, snippets, and ideas perfectly suited to the increasingly limited, equally fragmented attention spans of modern listeners.

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The World Is an Unfair Place: An Interview With Min Jin Lee

Min Jin Lee’s novel Pachinko is a multi-generational look at the little-known plight of Koreans living in Japan.

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3 Mar 2017 // 3:20 AM

Temples: Volcano

England's neo-psychedelic wonder boys bring grand vision and more explosions to sophomore release Volcano.

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Guy Clark: The Best of the Dualtone Years

Collecting Clark’s late-period songs and ending with a sprinkling of unreleased demos, this anthology is a reminder of what a singular songwriter he was.

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“I’m Just Bad-Assed”: An Interview with Delbert McClinton

Veteran singer-songwriter returns from heart surgery with a new label with a new career high in the form of Prick of the Litter.

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‘Girls’: An Engrossing “American Bitch” Just Misses Transcending Its Sitcom Medium

In "American Bitch", the novelistic approach squares up against polarized argumentation.

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‘Before I Fall’ Can’t Break Free From Its Built-in YA Shackles

Before I Fall is more cinematically interesting than its contemporaries and boasts a solid lead performance from Zoey Deutch, but it's bogged down by teen-drama clichés.

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‘Champions #6’: There Are Better Ways to Do Good

The Champions have successfully started a movement, but they've also triggered a backlash.

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The Power of Small Acts of Kindness in ‘The King of New Orleans’

A tale of a man who talks people off ledges -- from the seat of his cab.

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‘The Book of the Dead’ Reflects the Complexity of Its Author and His Times

Orikuchi Shinobu's work helps to illustrate the power of fiction and literature to bring to life -- quite literally, in this case -- academic theories surrounding religion, folklore and sociology.

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Dream Theater: “Images, Words & Beyond” at the Forum Karlín, Prague

Combining old classics with new cuts, Dream Theater demonstrates why they've managed to stick around all these years.

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2 Mar 2017 // 4:00 AM

The Reluctant Superhero: Marvel TV in the ‘70s

Before the rise of the MCU, Marvel attempted to bring some of its most famous superheroes to television.

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2 Mar 2017 // 3:30 AM

Sleaford Mods: English Tapas

Sleaford Mods call their music "electronic minimalist punk-hop rants for the working class." On their newest album, they are as aggressive, unpolished, and totally unapologetic as ever.

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Slice of Life: Sinkane Lives it Up With His Latest Work, ‘Life & Livin It’

Sinkane’s counterintuitive approach to making (and performing) his music forces his roots to show unabashedly in ways that are almost punkishly defiant.

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Old 97’s: Graveyard Whistling

The band still band finds complexity in apparent basics, and depth within its play.

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Hecker: A Script for Machine Synthesis

Hecker presents a dissertation told as much through the way it makes the listener feel as what it tells the listener to think.

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Dead Sara Lets It Bleed for the Resistance at the Chapel in San Francisco

Dead Sara has a sound that now seems destined to help lead the rock resistance against the Donald Trump regime’s assault on America.

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1 Mar 2017 // 10:57 AM

The Paperhead: Chew

The Nashville band’s fourth album reads like vintage rock CliffsNotes.

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Various Artists: Young Art Sound

On TOKiMONSTA's electric Young Art label, the bold thrive. Young Art Sound is a brilliant showcase of what the crew can do.

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‘Testosterone Rex’ Delivers an Anticlimactic Attempt to Extinguish Gender Myths

Light on science, heavy on smugness, Testosterone Rex, does everyone a disservice.

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‘La La Land’ Is a Delightful Return to Mise en Scène Cinema

The melancholy in this film's musical sequences serves as commentary on cinema’s bygone capacity to produce a unique kind of magic.

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Valerie June: The Order of Time

Valerie June returns with a stirring journey through time and its impact on love and life.

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Visible Cloaks: Reassemblage

On Reassemblage, Portland's Visible Cloaks craft ambient soundscapes where machines talk and muted light suffuses even the remotest of places

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Vulgarians 101: A Course for Future Leaders of America

A dystopian syllabus for an inevitable future at a hypothetical university.

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Lady-Killer: Exploring Coming-of-Age Through Horror in ‘Lady in White’

Lady in White is a patiently-crafted example of how setting and atmosphere can supersede character and action in a story.

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There’s a Reason Why There’s No Biography of John Hughes

Searching for John Hughes is among the finest tragedies in the brave new genre of memoir wherein the author’s own life is reflected in the undertaking of a biography fail.

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There Never Was an Academy Awards Battle Between ‘La La Land’ and ‘Moonlight’

It's important to recognize storytelling that gives voice to the voiceless. The Oscars, however, are not that important.

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How to Study Kafka in East Berlin Without Really Trying

A review of Schadenfreude, a Love Story, including some personal observations and self-identification that connect to a memoir with a really long title and lots of German words

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Ibibio Sound Machine: Uyai

Ibibio Sound Machine's sophomore album is a nonstop block party, bursting with summer soul, retro electronics, and funky Afrobeat.

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Unearthly Trance: Stalking the Ghost

One of the best and heaviest bands to come out of NYC in the past several decades returns with a vengeance to stake their claim.

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Molly Burch: Please Be Mine

Molly Burch makes yearning an art on her debut, only faltering when she questions herself and her love.

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27 Feb 2017 // 11:10 AM

Ministry: Trax! Rarities

Once more into the vault for a double-vinyl showcase of the many faces (and styles) of Al Jourgensen and Co. Culled from the awesome 2015 Trax! Box.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers Blast Through Tremendous Set at Madison Square Garden

I finally saw Red Hot Chili Peppers do their funky thing no matter that Kiedis rocked out while wearing a soft-cast boot. Find photos and tour dates here.

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‘The Good Fight’ Gets Its ‘Good Wife’ on in “First Week”

In "First Week", moral ambiguity, a Good Wife judge, and an affair pay tribute to the series that spawned it.

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27 Feb 2017 // 10:24 AM

Porcelain Raft: Microclimate

The third LP from professional dreamer Mauro Remiddi, Microclimate is filled with lush bedroom pop that transports you to strange, hermetic vistas

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Sarah Bethe Nelson: Oh, Evolution

On her gorgeous sophomore album, Sarah Bethe Nelson combines the sunny hooks of the '60s with the more contemporary feel of indie rock.

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‘The Sound of the One Hand’: Ancient Mysteries (Sort of) Revealed

Can a religious text be revolutionary if it's also inscrutable?

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Dirty Projectors: Dirty Projectors

What David Longstreth attempts to pass as daring, confessional experimentation often veers closer to self-indulgence.

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‘Muslim Cool’ Puts Its Faith in Hip-Hop, and Hip-Hop in Its Faith

Where Chance the Rapper injects spirituality into hip-hop, Muslim Cool injects hip-hop into spirituality.

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The Indeterminate Terror of the Neighbor in Kurosawa’s ‘Creepy’

The horror of the neighbor is not what is seen but what remains hidden.

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‘Groundhog Day’ and Iterations Toward a Theory of the (Third) Wheel: Or, Larry the Cameraman

No matter what the actor Phil Connors (Bill Murray) does, it's the cameraman Larry (Chris Elliott) who holds the power to make or break him.

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Red Gets Poisoned, but ‘The Blacklist’ Gets Better in “The Apothecary”

Decent writing, great casting, and a potential plot twist help The Blacklist recover some of its faded glory.

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‘Punching Henry’ and the Pains of Standup Comedy

Henry Phillips’ sequel to Punching the Clown revisits the difficulties of performing stand-up comedy (with his guitar,) but doesn't pose new questions about that experience.

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‘This Is Us’ Steps Into the Past for “The Big Day” Episode

Random circumstances are rarely random for the characters in This is Us.

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‘Santa Clarita Diet’: “The Farting Sex Tourist” Is Both Deep and Deeply Silly

Despite its title, the episode brings both the funny and the touching in the series' inimitable style.

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‘Get Out’ Is a Fantastic Freak-Out

Jordan Peele's new movie mixes humor, horror, and satire to create vital social commentary.

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24 Feb 2017 // 3:30 AM

The Feelies: In Between

Quieter but no less energetic, mature but still playful, the Feelies’ new record confronts the challenge of aging with eyes and hearts open.

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Dogs, Dialectics, and Academy Awards

Controversies involving A Dog's Purpose, The Birth of a Nation, and Last Tango in Paris reveal that access to more offscreen information can lead to greater accountability.

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24 Feb 2017 // 3:20 AM

Call Super: Fabric 92

Call Super offers a captivating mix to soundtrack the discoveries and revelations of the early morning

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Fabiano Do Nascimento: Tempo Dos Mestres

Awe-inspiring and all analog, Fabiano Do Nascimento fuses music and nature deep in the Amazon rainforest with enchanting results.

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La Nausée in the Spanish Empire: Antonio Di Benedetto’s ‘Zama’

A servant of the Spanish crown finds himself in remote Paraguay, entertaining fantasies and delusions that clash with the actual circumstances of his position. A bleak, comic, and tragic story of alienation.

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Mark Porkchop Holder: Let It Slide

Gritty bluesman Mark Porkchop Holder impresses on Let It Slide.

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24 Feb 2017 // 3:02 AM

Travis Linville: Up Ahead

Up Ahead showcases a bright and deserving future for this up-and-comer.

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24 Feb 2017 // 3:00 AM

Freedom in Movement: An Interview With Sarah Bethe Nelson

San Francisco-based songwriter Sarah Bethe Nelson got out of the West Coast's most expensive city and hit the road. The result: a new buoyancy and swagger in her music.

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On a Long Drive: An Interview with Andrew Davie of Bear’s Den

Bear's Den's Andrew Davie spoke with PopMatters about the band's latest album Red Earth & Pouring Rain and touring life after a sold out show at NYC's Bowery Ballroom. Photos included.

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‘Infamous Iron Man #5’ and the Long Road From Infamy

The world still sees Victor Von Doom as an infamous villain, but that infamy is the greatest strength of the story.

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This New Spielberg Biography Falls Short in its Analysis of a Storied Man

Film historian Molly Haskell's Steven Spielberg covers all of Spielberg's life, but its pointed analytic lens is too small to properly put his life's work in perspective.

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By Focusing on Androids, ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Risks Losing Some of Its Humanity

Focusing on the technology is a missed opportunity for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to truly explore issues of "otherness".

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‘Black Girl’ and the Ambiguous Nature of the Mask

Black Girl suggests that in its act of concealment the mask offers the revelation of the abyss that we truly are.

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A Linguistics Revolution: ‘Arrival’ and the Politics of Language

After watching Arrival, the sci-fi technology we think about is not possible developments in the future, but rather, one of our most intimate and fundamental technologies: the technology of language.

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23 Feb 2017 // 3:30 AM

Pissed Jeans: Why Love Now

Pissed Jeans rage against the everyday on cynical and caustic punk return.

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Earthen Sea: An Act of Love

The streets of San Francisco at night are the inspiration for Earthen Sea's latest.

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Power Trip: Nightmare Logic

This Dallas quintet speaks to the questions of "the edge" with might and imagination.

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Andrés Landero: Yo Amanecí

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more definitive collection of classic cumbia than Yo Amanecí.

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Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo: Peace

Japanese composer Satoko Fujii takes another crack at the big band route in the way only she can.

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Sad Suppers: An Interview with Los Campesinos!

From a four-year hiatus to Brexit blues, the new Los Campesinos! album tackles tough subjects but with a quirk-pop smile.

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Baranski, Jumbo, and Leslie Fight ‘The Good Fight’ In the “Inauguration”

In its debut episode, The Good Fight reminds us precisely how great The Good Wife once was, while setting its own course.

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The “Good Old Days” of TV Are Happening Right Now

Why American television is better now than it's ever been -- and the unexpected paths by which it got there.

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Surrealistic Superjam Conjures the Fillmore’s Summer of Love Glory Days

An all-star cast of Bay Area musicians gather for a magical night featuring the hippie hits of 1967.

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How ‘Gotham’ Re-Invents Batman’s Sexual Politics

Fox's Gotham finally gives DC an edge over Marvel as it interweaves morality and sexuality into a sophisticated narrative.

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Children of Alice: Children of Alice

An ambient project emerging from the remains of Broadcast, Children of Alice is often as lighthearted as it is spooky.

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‘Arrival’ and the Lost in Translation

Arrival reveals how it often takes something totally unexpected -- something alien to us -- to make us realize that we don't always know what we think we know about ourselves.

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Crystal Fairy: Crystal Fairy

A thrilling and very strong yet semi-straightforward rock album from a collection of very cool weirdos.

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Scott H. Biram: The Bad Testament

Scott H. Biram is a filthy-ass peacock in full bloom on this record, kicking arse and not even bothering to take names.

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No Country for Broken Men in Joseph Scapellato’s ‘Big Lonesome’

Even at their most impenetrable and monotonous, the stories here are still rich with refined poeticism and imagination.

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Dennis Coffey: Hot Coffey in the D

These 1968 live recordings offer a glimpse into Detroit’s storied music history courtesy of three of its finest session players.

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The Wood Brothers: Live at the Barn

In the world of new live records, you could do far worse than Live at the Barn, but it would be quite the task for you to find far better.

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‘This Is Us’ Slows Down to Question the Meaning of the Word Home

Home becomes a place to both run to and run away from in "The Right Thing to Do".

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‘Land of Mine’ Explores the Intolerable Costs of Nationalistic Vengeance

Land of Mine is perhaps the most powerful denunciation of nationalism's destructive force as we'll see on movie screens in 2017.

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‘The Black Notebook’ Shows Modiano’s Undiminished Capacity to Conjure the Magic of Paris

Someday, perhaps, a virtual reality headset will achieve something like what Patrick Modiano has done here.

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Art Transforms in Brad Bird’s Pop Americana Film, ‘The Iron Giant’

This film takes a revisionist approach to forms of American popular culture and mythology -- the Atomic Age, comic books, sci-fi, mid-century design -- and depicts a fierce battle between orthodoxy and individual vision.

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21 Feb 2017 // 3:30 AM

Xiu Xiu: Forget

On their latest effort, Xiu Xiu express their grave existential concerns in a structured, disciplined pop format, managing to sound palatable and even fun without diminishing any of their gravity or darkness.

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Hayes McMullan: Everyday Seem Like Murder Here

A window into an earlier time. Plain and simple: any serious fan of the Delta blues will want this record.

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Brisbane Punks in Transition: An Interview with Dune Rats

Their 420-friendly antics have gotten them barred from Vietnam, but for the Australian stoner-punks in Dune Rats, the good times are just beginning.

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Bloody ‘Logan’ Is a Worthy Sendoff for Hugh Jackman

Director James Mangold imagines a world in which superheroes must face their own mortality.

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There’s No Cure for Fakeness in ‘A Cure for Wellness’

Fox's unfortunate campaign for this film -- even the idea of it -- is exponentially more interesting than the film it meant to promote.

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‘Supernatural’ Goes All ‘Reservoir Dogs’ in One of the Season’s Best Episodes

Despite a few gimmicks, this week's potentially classic episode sets the stage for an exciting finalé.

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‘The Art of the Blues’ Captures the Music’s Visuals to Sublime Standards

Author Bill Dahl and art consultant Chris James' work celebrates the visual swagger of the blues simply for the sheer joy of those visuals.

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More Recent Features

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Players Lose Control in ‘Tales from the Borderlands’

// Moving Pixels

"This is an interactive story in which players don’t craft the characters, we just control them.

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