Wednesday, December 3 2014
Gay Dog Food is a bold statement without a lot of substance, one that isn't even sure of its own meaning.
Mute Records continues to surprise with the latest signing of the Acid, a genre-bending super sound.
Tuesday, December 2 2014
The Babadook reveals that grief is a lot like a monster: even if you think you've killed it, it's never quite as killed as you would hope.
Despite ill health almost curtailing this series of shows, Marianne Faithfull proved to be in funny, fierce, formidable and fascinating form at her Royal Festival Hall concert in London, the only UK stop on her 50th Anniversary World Tour.
Superman faces a daunting challenge to his principles and ideals, but he ends up not having to confront it.
The audience hears wonderfully evocative global music between Idan Raichel and Vieux Farka Touré as they collaborate unrehearsed on stage.
Someone is among this risk-taking writer's very best books.
Jen Wood did a duet with the Postal Service, but has an amazing solo career all her own -- as well as an invisible Lasso of Truth, we're told.
When knowledge falls outside of that which is found on the Internet, it falls outside of modern understanding. Thus, games like these, which fall outside of the norm, become intensely compelling.
Some of the heavy hitters may not have made the cut for the best indie rock of 2014, but newer acts did more than just fill the vacuum left by the usual suspects.
Bernardo Bertolucci’s magnificent drama The Conformist bridges the supreme elegance of the jazz age with Euro mod-chic.
More hard rock from those kings of heavy riffs, AC/DC; big on chorus, short on verse.
Essence magazine proved its founders’ bets were right: black women comprised a significant market with money to spend, and the right product with the right approach could virtually own it.
Foulbrood adeptly welds together Two Inch Astronaut's DC influences into ingenious structures.
With her latest release, the Divine Miss M takes on girl groups from the Andrews Sisters to TLC and a little bit of everything in between.
Jon Hopkins' quasi-companion EP to last year's Mercury Prize-nominated Immunity is the audio equivalent of a warm blanket. Just in time for the Polar Vortex.
The San Francisco duo imbue their lo-fi, psychedelic tendencies with pop songwriting and clearer production on the follow-up to 2012's Lucifer.
Haerts is an album, that although not awful, will have to find a way to stray a little bit from their tiresome formula to keep listeners interested.
Monday, December 1 2014
I kept expecting a villain to pop up or hints of a conspiracy or some outside force that connected all the various vignettes of the story together. In A Golden Wake, there are a bunch of short term goals, but ultimately this is a character-driven narrative.
When Worricker is on screen, paying attention is consistently rewarding.
H.G. Wells' invading menace is back, this time to be met by a different sort of Invaders.
In Culture Worrier, Pulitzer Prize Winner Clarence Page tackles a multitude of issues in his intelligent newspaper columns from 1984-2014.
Roman Polanksi's adaptation of David Ives' play is a layered film where the true identity of its characters, including Polanski himself, is constantly being interrogated.
So if you want the Leonard Cohen experience, but cannot afford the $100-plus tab for the ticket, this is the next best thing
Research suggests that RTTP games provide historical education, create a sense of community, foster long-term friendships, aid in memory retention, and help create moral leaders.
The posthumous The Pale King finally gets its day in court.
Children of the Iron Age is a sturdy, dependable release that weaves a tapestry of dark magic across its eight songs.
The Wings album on which each member of the band sings and it really doesn't matter.
Like the band's namesake bird, Greylag follows rather than leads, traversing domesticated grounds and tested sounds of bands that have come before.
Echolalia, a covers record, finds the band revealing its influences while still shifting them into a Winterpills' sound. Songs here become both tributes and spaces for exploration.
Jazz’s post-modern “little big band”, fronted by trumpeter Steven Bernstein, gets together with a great New Orleans pianist to bring you back in time and up to the present.
Sunday, November 30 2014
Whether you entertain delusions of grandeur or merely write to justify alcoholism, The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure is a book for you.
Saturday, November 29 2014
From Jerome Robbins to an all-black school production, Solomon cherishes the Fiddler's legacy.
Friday, November 28 2014
The sequel skips the original’s workers' fury and lets its comedy all-star trio play to their strengths, with mixed results.
Wednesday, November 26 2014
As in its previous literary and screen incarnations, the whale here is a demonic force, producing fear in the whalers (and the audience) even when it is not visible.
The Monty Python legend offers something completely different: a look back on what led him to his storied career in comedy.
As visible as the Turing machine may be on screen -- and it is gorgeous, strange, and haunting, as well as sublimely mechanical and daunting -- it remains unfathomable.
Tobias Rüther’s exploration of Bowie’s artistic and personal development in mid-'70s Berlin offers few cogent insights and a confusing timeline of an artist in a city.
The Invisible Hands have given us a glimpse of Alvarius B.'s (Alan Bishop) view of the world from the center of Cairo. It's not a happy perspective, but there's a hint of hope.
Zoë Howe's biography of the Jesus and Mary Chain opens with a look at the band's hometown of East Kilbride, Scotland, a "dull" and "antiseptic" place that wasn't the worst place in the world.
Featuring episodes from both Comedy Central and the Sci-Fi Channel, this Turkey Day Collection is a feast for comedy fans.
Few bands ever had a year like the Velvet Underground did in 1969. Even fewer have a set that documents a year like that as beautifully as this one.
Filled with six charming tales about the American West in the 19th Century, Skidoo is an off-the-wall history lesson about the American Frontier most of us were never taught in school.
On The Endless River, Pink Floyd sounds as strong as it did during some of its best years. On this almost entirely instrumental album, however, the lyrics are sorely missed.
No more head games: there are some true pop gems worth uncovering on Foreigner's first few albums, but a single-disc best-of would just as well satisfy anyone else.
Revealing the true horsepower behind the Swans’ "Oxygen", this four-song collection should be handled by a professional driver on a closed course.
Mark Van Hoen is not one-offing his Locust resurrection. Not by a long shot.
Game Theory's nervy debut album gets to baffle another generation of listeners with this bulky reissue.
Tuesday, November 25 2014
This is a complex and, perhaps, technically perfect comicbook. So why is it, I wonder, that I am unmoved?
It seems right that Werner Herzog narrates the start of Penguins of Madagascar, concerning the overwhelming cuddly cuteness of penguins and the absurd value humans attribute to them.
If you want to hear black metal music that’s heartfelt and from the womb, this is as good of a starting point as any.
Rebel Souls tells how Walt Whitman and a cast of colorful characters helped define American culture from a dark, 19th century basement bar in Manhattan.
Grotesque, strange, and difficult, Rebirth offers a fantastic vision of what might be the ideal roguelike.
At its best, Maya serves as a window into an era of kids' adventure series with unusually authentic production values and undercurrents of thoughtful attention to cultural differences.
The Star Wars universe is a microcosmical example of the long-standing battle over the necessity of narrativity in shaping our lives.
Surprisingly, a bunch of sentimental laptop pop songs from ten years ago (Give Up) make for a dynamic and engaging live show.
With an astonishing lead single and an enveloping album besides, the Manchester producer offers the most vivid expression of his ghostly, brooding vision yet.
This collaboration between legendary producer the Bug (Kevin Martin) and legendary metal band Earth promises, fulfills, and then promises so much more.
At its best, Gimme Indie Rock shows enough joy to remind its readers why books like these are made in the first place.
In the age of too much information, Parkay Quarts (AKA Parquet Courts) harness the power of the enigma.
Let’s call Restorations what they are: an American rock band. And a damn fine one at that.
Stevie Nicks is back and she's still singing about angels, gypsies, and Lindsey Buckingham.
Working in Iceland pays off for the Oscar-winning piano player from Once, who takes a major sonic step forward on her second album.
Monday, November 24 2014
Two documentaries about surprising success stories: the men behind the National Enquirer and Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The sheer frustration of watching the nearly immobile Major Crimes is compounded by the glimmers it offers of alternative roles for women in primetime television.
Magneto's transformation gives form and substance to the concept of inversion.
The evil is both banal and terrifying in George Sluizer's 1988 labyrinthine thriller.
Absolute Recoil is less a "major philosophical intervention" and more a natural continuation of Žižek's decades-long project of interpreting the world through Hegelian and Lacanian analysis.
Force Majeure is a brutal film, and not just because of the avalanche. Johannes Kuhnke stretched himself for this awards season buzz pick, and often in very surprising ways.
When a band performs its best album at shows, over and over, it's like they're admitting that they'll never achieve that particular level of greatness again.
Veronica Roth's Divergent series undermines all that we try to teach our young women about self-worth and the importance of maintaining autonomy and control over one’s body and mind.
Val Guest's newsroom drama take on the apocalypse is a product of its nuclear war-obsessed times and a prescient commentary on the present day.
The reissue of the debut album from the band that would become the Shins showcases a raw indie rock sound that bridges that gap between '90s alternative and poignant post-millennial indie pop.
German rock band Can's masterpiece album is the subject of yet another thinly-veiled memoir in the 33 1/3 series, but the approach fits the enigmatic subject better than expected.
Segall's collection of cast-off numbers is a slow burn build to the single stand-out track.
Privacy is an album that makes us question our expectations of heavy music and, at the same time, our relationship to the scene around it, to social expectations, to people.
Future's latest mixtape proves to be the sonic equivalent of a 40-degree day.
The audio version of British producer Bonobo's latest concert video carries far less value than the DVD and fails to provide a worthwhile supplement to the studio albums.
Pinup banda provides forum for drinking stories and sex dreams; its brass lines tangle together like sweaty bodies.
Sunday, November 23 2014
This tale takes pains to emphasise the difference between the crass newly-rich mainland Chinese (yay!) and the rich-for-like-forever distinguished Chinese families (boo!).
Saturday, November 22 2014
None of the men in this telling of John du Pont's murder of Dave Schultz are able to say what's going wrong -- they might not even know themselves.
If trying to grasp screen presence is like reaching for the stars, James Harvey shows noble reach in his book, Watching Them Be.
Friday, November 21 2014
This penultimate installment of The Hunger Games film saga is all about perception, the film frequently has you watch someone watching someone while being watched by someone.
Extraterrestrial's "formula-as-purpose" style doesn't make it the "meta" movie it wants to be; instead, it's just grating and mired in cliché.
Never Alone feels like an old Discovery channel special in game form.
At a time when we failed to fully understand the implications of webcomics, Paul Duffield helped define the new medium, both as a cultural phenomenon and as a commercial vehicle for artists.
As the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide approaches, a new generation struggles to understand its meaning, and role, in their lives
Houndmouth and the Drive-By Truckers brought a healthy dose of rock to a Halloween-captivated Athens, Georgia audience.
Robert Beachy's study of gay life in pre-Weimar Berlin reveals just how much influence that subculture had on our current understandings of sexuality.
While so many of their progressive rock contemporaries were writing novels in the form of side-long suites, the Moody Blues were masters of the short story.
The timeless adventure of Edmund Talbot, who undertakes a journey from England to Australia to find a new life is also part of the career adventure of the Benedict Cumberbatch.
Sun Zoom Spark gives us a chance to re-evaluate the post Trout Mask Replica-era of the Captain Beefheart story.
Angel Olsen expands her 2014 triumph with five bonus tracks that further exemplify her reliable talent for passionate, powerful songwriting.
Angaleena Presley steps away from the Pistol Annies for a solo album that cements her status as country music's great moralist.
It's not a perfect intro nor a set for the hardcore, but this anniversary set shows the Who are still vital after 50 years.
A rare saxophonist who is comfortable playing baritone, tenor and soprano records an album that is, simply, beautiful.
I Love You's... attempts at wedding theatrical, celestial rock with low-down, pulsing post-rock is a miss in many ways.
Thursday, November 20 2014
These two excellent documentaries examine failed state systems: an unresponsive police department and a negligent oil safety regime.
Unlike Sundance Channel or IFC, Turner Classic Movies' original manifesto remains as solid as Gibraltar.
There is a corner of the British comics industry that is forever devoted to the portrayal of warfare.