The Amazing Pudding
More Recent Features
Chris Stapleton: From a Room: Volume 1

Although From a Room likely won’t sweep the CMAs as Traveller did, its refined craftsmanship hammers home Stapleton’s abilities as a singer and songwriter.

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Amir ElSaffar Rivers of Sound: Not Two

It is elevating to the spirit to encounter music and philosophy characterized by such warmth and amenity.

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14 Jun 2017 // 8:52 AM

Katy Perry: Witness

Who's going to bear Witness? The listeners, of course, because this album, unfortunately, proves to be one hell of a burden.

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‘Pussy’ Is a Savage Satire in the Form of a Comic Fairytale

Howard Jacobson shows that Donald Trump may not be beyond satire, after all...

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Ella Fitzgerald’s Centennial: Is It Possible to Reinvent This Artist?

The First Lady of Song was a seeker, and it's been all too easy to just imitate her: the scatting, the silky melodies. On her 100th, there's a better way to do it.

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Allen Ginsberg: The Artist as Mensch

The overwhelming impression from Ginsberg's interviews is his lack of ego. He comes across, again and again, as a fundamentally decent person.

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It All Began the Day ‘Blade’ Sliced Through the Silver Screen

How Blade found success out of the rubble of comic book films and Marvel's bankruptcy.

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‘The Production of Money’: How to Break the Bankers and Put Our Broken Economy Back Together

There’s plenty of money floating around in the world, but it’s all in the wrong places.

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In ‘The Blood is at the Doorstep’, a Family Suffers From an Intransigent Criminal Justice System

Erik Ljung's work is an auspicious cinematic debut which reminds that for every criminal justice statistic, there's a stirring story which deserves to be deeply considered.

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‘Orphan Black’s The Crowded “Few Who Dare” Sets Up for the Final Season

"The Few Who Dare" continues to keep the clones separate, for the most part, as they each pull on a different thread in the Neolution plot.

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20 Questions: Doctors of Madness’ Richard Strange

The Sex Pistols once opened for them, and are cited as the missing link between glam and punk. At long last, their music is available again, and frontman/erstwhile Death Eater Richard Strange reflects on it all.

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A Warts and All Look at 150 years of Women’s Wrestling

As GLOW gets a second look on Netflix and a group of new women wrestlers grab attention in the WWE, Pat Laprade and Dan Murphy celebrate the female performers who paved the way.

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13 Jun 2017 // 8:14 AM

Joe Fiedler: Like, Strange

One of the era's most astonishing trombonists, Fiedler has made his best, most appealing recording with a sterling quintet.

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13 Jun 2017 // 8:08 AM

Lyle Lovett: Greatest Hits

Despite being something of a misnomer on multiple levels, Greatest Hits is as fine a place to start as any for those looking to get into Lyle Lovett.

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13 Jun 2017 // 7:53 AM

Phoenix: Ti Amo

Summer is here and Phoenix have returned with a set of pop songs determinedly celebrating vacationing on the beach and the joys of love and romance.

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13 Jun 2017 // 3:00 AM

One Nation, Divided by Humor

We may be one nation in America, but today we appear to be living on different planets.

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Resistance and Hope in ‘Letter to Brezhnev’

Opportunities for happiness and betterment may be few and far between, but these Liverpudlians will grab them when they do come their way.

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‘Post Grad’ Takes a Hard, Honest Look at Life After College

Many recent grads will appreciate knowing that they aren’t the only ones struggling after graduating college.

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All Moviemakers Are Liars: Nick Efteriades on His Short Noir Thriller, ‘Pronoia’ (premiere)

With the protagonist thrust into a fictional situation inspired by an actual event, Pronoia is like a fusion of Melville's Le Samourai and Resnais' Last Year at Marienbad.

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Royal Trux: Platinum Tips + Ice Cream

Royal Trux, one of the most important American bands of all time, resurfaces with an anarchic yet smooth live set to remind disciples how it is done.

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The Charlatans: Different Days

Different Days may not be a match for its predecessor Modern Nature, but the Manchester talent and spirit of the Charlatans shine through.

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The Long Life of a Shattering and Complex Idea: Civil War

How a conflict is defined and labeled can make all the difference in whether an organization such as the Red Cross comes on the scene.

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‘iZombie’: “Return of the Dead Guy” Is Overcrowded But Still Entertaining

While clearly the larger ongoing stories will continue into next season, "Return of the Dead Guy" is still a fun hour, if not a standout episode.

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‘Was She Pretty?’ Depicts a Litany of Ex-lovers

Was She Pretty? may suggest that anxieties over exes are universal, it also subtlety critiques its circle of privileged sufferers.

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Linklater’s “Before” Trilogy Is About So Much More Than Romantic Love

Across three films and 18 years, the characters of Jesse and Céline have endured in the hearts of cinephiles everywhere, but their journey remains more complex than you remembered.

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The Sweet Spot Between Expression and Familiarity: An Interview with Becca Stevens

Jazz-pop great Becca Stevens is breaking from being billed as a band to craft a progressive solo effort that will take many of her fans into new and fascinating places.

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‘Practicable’ Proposes to Rewrite Postwar Western Art History

Both a historical survey and a theoretical treatise, this book highlights key artists and movements, of course, and then brings broader humanities and social science perspectives to bear.

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Chastity Belt’s ‘I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone’ and the Power of Termite Art

Chastity Belt's latest is a killer album, laid back but upbeat, honest and laser sharp, a highly unified piece of work by four people who know exactly what they want to say and how to say it.

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Pantha Du Prince: The Triad (Ambient Versions & Remixes)

Pantha Du Prince strips back his songs from The Triad to leave a delicate and soothing ambient album

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The Heliocentrics: A World of Masks

The Heliocentrics deliver straight aural acid and face-melting psych jazz as they head for A World of Masks.

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Nathaniel Rateliff: In Memory of Loss (Reissue)

Put out only seven years after its initial release, this reissue does little to expand its original incarnation.

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12 Jun 2017 // 2:10 AM

Woman: Happy Freedom

Happy Freedom may be the only album to make you think of Marvin Gaye and Kraftwerk at the same time.

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Threefifty: Gently Among the Coals

It's rare to find a band so unbeholden to genre as Threefifty.

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Raul Midón: Bad Ass and Blind

Eclectic singer/songwriter Raul Midón lives up to being a self-proclaimed badass on Bad Ass and Blind.

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‘Megan Leavey’: The Story of a Dog and His Girl

Megan Leavey is not interested in the Iraq war as such. What it offers instead is the story of her journey, heartfelt and well-acted, but never surprising.

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Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2017: ‘Nowhere to Hide’

Zaradasht Ahmed's opening night film is a quiet but searing portrait of an Iraqi family hurled into exile by the chaos that followed the 2011 pullout of American forces.

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Dressing Like Dolls as a Form of Resistance: ‘So Pretty / Very Rotten’

Unlike the western understanding of the word, "Lolitas" engage in a somewhat sexless performance of innocence, fairy tale femininity, and cultural resistance.

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’The Mummy (2017)’ Abandons Campy Fun for Faux Gravitas

Alex Kurtzman’s first chapter in the ‘Dark Universe’ franchise is stuck somewhere between William Castle and William Shakespeare.

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It’s All True!: Weston Magazines and Wrestling’s “Creative Journalism”

Stanley Weston's small pre-WWF line of wrestling magazines featured writing staffs that made up pull-quotes and headlines on the spot. Just what fans were clamoring for.

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Fried Green Tomatoes in the Rubyfruit Jungle

Although their writing styles and life experiences differ greatly, Fannie Flagg and Rita Mae Brown each has illuminated what it means to be a woman -- and a lesbian -- in contemporary American society.

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9 Jun 2017 // 2:30 AM

alt-J: Relaxer

The real gold on Relaxer happens when alt-J reins in the gimmickry a bit and starts writing folk songs.

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There Are Still So Many Barriers to Break: Zoe Lister-Jones On ‘Band Aid’ and Women In Film

Zoe Lister-Jones writes, directs, and stars in her feature debut, Band Aid, a heartfelt relationship comedy that, unlike the epically popular Wonder Woman, boasts an all-female crew.

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9 Jun 2017 // 2:20 AM

Glen Campbell: Adios

The incomparable singer and musician has been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for years, and Adios is a fitting farewell from a multifaceted legend.

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Game Theory: 2 Steps From the Middle Ages

Game Theory’s 1988 release anticipated the alternative music explosion of the early '90s.

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Iceman May Be Out as a Gay Character, But He’s Not Quite Out With the World at Large

His parents don't accept him. The world, as a whole, doesn't accept him. Even other mutants seem more "normal" by comparison.

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‘Pinstripe’ Makes for a Lovely Hell

Thomas Brush's talent is in creating compelling worlds through images that are both whimsical and haunting in equal measure.

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Finally, a Proper Biography of Chrissie Hynde

Despite the analytic difficulties inherently present in Hynde as a subject, Sobsey truly does deliver the goods.

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8 Jun 2017 // 8:30 AM

Dreams Can Be Deadly

The Nightwalker may not make perfect sense once it concludes, but its level of engagement, imagination, and self-reflection makes it unforgettably haunting,

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Trombone Shorty: Parking Lot Symphony

Same old same old from the New Orleans brass phenom, but a pretty good same old blending '70s soul and brass band swagger.

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Digging the Earth: Michael J. Sheehy on Music, Politics and Personal History

Miraculous Mule introduces politics into their poisonous melodrama on their latest album and frontman Michael J. Sheehy shares his greatest musical inspirations.

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Life in the Interzone in Old Shanghai

The Sing-song Girls of Shanghai and Flowers of Shanghai capture a William S. Borroughs-like Interzone in Old Shanghai.

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8 Jun 2017 // 2:30 AM

Bleachers: Gone Now

Gone Now shares the '80s enthusiasm and sincere sentimentalism of Bleachers' debut, but Jack Antonoff's over-the-top flair occasionally sacrifices the music.

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8 Jun 2017 // 2:20 AM

Chuck Berry: Chuck

The good news is that while the man was no longer a groundbreaking creator of a new musical style, he still could rock in creative and energetic ways.

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Oumou Sangaré: Mogoya

With her first new music in eight years, Oumou Sangaré proves she's still the queen of Malian music.

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From Punk Fan to Rising Star: Jade Jackson Delivers Formidable Country Rock

California country-rocker Jade Jackson tells PopMatters her story and talks about her debut album, Gilded, which was produced by Social Distortion's Mike Ness.

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LGBTQ People at Home, at Ease

Tom Atwood's Kings & Queens in Their Castles celebrates the diversity of the gay, lesbian, and transgender community with a series of beautiful portraits of people in their homes.

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Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Jon Batiste: The Music of John Lewis

The late show band leader and Wynton Marsalis, in concert presenting the surprising prescient music of the leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet.

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8 Take Aways from the 2017 Governors Ball Music Festival

Brief bouts of rain didn't dampen the most vibrant Governors Ball yet. The fest had a lot to offer an all-ages audience. Most importantly: great performances.

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Jazz, Cocktails, and the Overlooked Players of Film Noir

A noir protagonist usually finds himself encountering a new danger around each corner. A jazz musician, in venturing into the throes of an intricate composition, must also anticipate the unknown.

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Jacques Demy’s ‘The Young Girls of Rochefort’ Is Awash With Color—and Influence

How much did La La Land draw from the distinctive look, music, and atmosphere of this 1967 French classic?

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Omar Souleyman: To Syria, With Love

Omar Souleyman's latest collection of Syrian synthpop pays ecstatic tribute to his long-lost homeland.

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The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the Continuing High Cost of Fashion

The poor workplace conditions that led to this tragedy have been outsourced to places like Bangladesh, where similar factory tragedies happened as recently as 2013.

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Halsey: Hopeless Fountain Kingdom

Halsey has, for the most part, abandoned the specificity that was key to her lyrical successes on Badlands.

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7 Jun 2017 // 2:15 AM

Michael Nau: Some Twist

The man behind Page France and Cotton Jones takes a somnambulant approach to his latest collection of sleepy, understated bedroom pop. *Warning: do not listen to while operating heavy machinery.

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When It Comes to Collecting Vinyl, It’s Better to Be a Freak Than a Snob

John Corbett exposes a beautiful and dusty world forgotten but kept alive by that dying medium known as the vinyl record.

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6 Jun 2017 // 9:42 AM

Flamingods: Majesty

Flamingods use a wealth of exotic instruments to make rich, unusual textures. Too bad they don't work nearly as hard on their songwriting.

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13 Must-See Artists at This Week’s Northside Festival

Northside’s unique geographical situation and organizational openness makes it an ideal alternative to what has become the cookie cutter weekend-long concert experience in America.

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From the Superhero Universe of Brute Ego, Wonder Woman Arises, Unsullied

Seventy-five years ago Wonder Woman arose to show what a stagnating comic book medium could achieve; now she does it again, and in so doing, rescues the DC franchise from itself.

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‘A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women’: Siri Hustvedt and the Art of Thinking

Hustvedt reminds us that the making and encountering of art is often embodied, rooted in material and biological and neurological functions.

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‘Bop Apocalypse’: What Happened When the Beats and the Boppers Set Out to Change the World

Fifites' jazz and the Beat Generation are often linked. Aside from the drug use, however, this new book on the history begs to differ.

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6 Jun 2017 // 2:30 AM

Anathema: The Optimist

The Optimist isn’t Anathema’s finest effort yet, but it still exudes the band’s inimitable ability to capture universal sentiments like loss, love, and hope with pristine strength and grace.

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Quantic and Nidia Góngora: Curao

Vibrant traditions of Colombia's Pacific coast don't need much enhancement. Luckily, Quantic knows how to keep it low-key.

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Ricardo Villalobos: Empirical House

Empirical House transfigures lounge and even elevator music through Villalobos's trademark lens of minimal techno, creating a study of interior space and social contexts.

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‘Berlin Syndrome’ and the Struggle of Civilising the Antisocial

Director Cate Shortland assuredly rides along on her protagonist's raw desperation, crafting a nightmarish and visceral experience off-centre of mainstream filmmaking.

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Sometimes, a Budweiser Is Better

Recreating the world's oldest fermented drinks should make for entertaining reading material. It doesn't.

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‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’: Season 3 Embraces Its Sadness Without Losing Its Humor

Kimmy's back and better than ever in an hilarious and heartbreaking third season, as both Kimmy and the series find their feet and their fight.

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Lesley Kernochan: A Calm Sun

Kernochan puts new and old Americana influences into a blender on her national debut.

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Dispatch: America, Location 12

Hopeful and bright, the indie rockers yet again showcase all of what have made them a hot commodity for more than two decades.

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Saint Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell on Creating One of Their Most Uplifting Albums Yet

One of the UK's pioneering dance groups went wild and weird for their homespun new effort, out now as the band celebrates their 27th anniversary.

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Dan Auerbach: Waiting on a Song

The consistently working musician delivers his own version of a vacation on a set of tunes that pays homage to Nashville and opens up a bright road ahead.

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The Hollywood Star as Fetish Object: Joan Crawford in ‘Mildred Pierce’

Joan Crawford embodies the universal cipher: a flat, empty surface that reflects anything but reveals nothing. There was never a more perfect actress.

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5 Jun 2017 // 2:20 AM

Bobby Osborne: Original

Bluegrass legend Bobby Osborne teams with an intergenerational contingent of admirers to produce a fine set of traditional country and bluegrass.

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Jesu and Sun Kil Moon: 30 Seconds to the Decline of Planet Earth

Jesu and Sun Kil Moon's latest 30 Seconds to the Decline of Planet Earth is at times tedious and frustrating, but ultimately worth consideration.

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5 Jun 2017 // 2:10 AM

Coco Hames: Coco Hames

Imagine Dusty Springfield joining a country-fried indie garage band and you’ve got the general idea what you’re in for on Coco Hames’ beautiful, soaring debut solo album.

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The Magnetic Fields: 50 Song Memoir

50 Song Memoir might not quite capture the magic of Merritt’s landmark work, but it’s the best collection to come from the Magnetic Fields project in at least a decade.

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A Clean-up Worker’s View Inside Fukushima’s Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Ichi-F is rich in detail and strikingly perceptive in analysis, and yet it oddly supports the nuclear industry even as the radiation continues to take its toll.

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Thi Bui Asks Readers to Reconsider Their Assumptions About the Vietnam War

Bui’s powers as a documentarian and oral historian make The Best We Could Do a thought-provoking take on Vietnam and immigrant experiences in general.

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‘The Sisters Chase’ Gives Us a Protagonist Worth Taking the Journey With

Sarah Healy's The Sisters Chase introduces a flawed heroine for the ages in its breezy, affecting narrative.

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2 Jun 2017 // 8:52 AM

Joni Void: Selfless

At heart, Selfless is an interesting exercise in intentional dissociation.

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Daniel Romano: Modern Pressure

Daniel Romano continues to confound expectations with yet another stylistic shift, this time into widescreen indie rock cut through with a cluttered, ramshackle charm.

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Swet Shop Boys: Sufi La EP

Swet Shop Boys’ new EP Sufi LA is a showcase for MC Himanshu Suri and is altogether stronger than their debut Cashmere.

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White by Northwest: ‘Twin Peaks’ and American Mortality

"White" and "weird" series such as Twin Peaks and Wayward Pines speak to an American history haunted by colonialism and racism.

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Making Their Mark in Early Film: An Excellent Anthology of Women Directors

First they survived an unpredictable male-dominated industry, and then their films survived the passage of time. Early Women Filmmakers: An International Anthology.

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2 Jun 2017 // 2:30 AM

The Mountain Goats: Goths

Goths, like the Mountain Goats' music in general, is based on a deep understanding of what it feels to be out of step with the world, and of the sort-of communities built around that feeling.

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Caught Between Two Worlds and Hanging on a String: Wurlitzer’s ‘The Drop Edge of Yonder’

Be repelled by this lunatic if you must, but do so at your own risk.

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‘iZombie’: “Twenty-Sided, Die” Is a Near-Perfect Balance of Plot and Humor

"Twenty-Sided, Die" is an episode that manages to balance its mix of long-term and short-term plots perfectly; the episode flies by in a blur of hilarity and new twists.

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‘Cable #1’ Brings on a Time Traveler Who Won’t Make You Roll Your Eyes

Part Terminator, part Marty McFly, and part Rocky Balboa, Cable sticks to the basics, but not much else.

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The Tense Tale of ‘Black Butterfly’ Almost Twists Itself Apart

Imagination and violence collide in this story within a story.

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‘Paterson’ and the Role of the Silent Artist

Paterson uses poetry as an outlet of expression that can be pursued in the confines of his small boat upon the ocean.

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As Mysterious As They Wanna Be: An Interview with Dungen

Dungen founder Gustav Ejstes talks about his band's international success, scoring a classic silent film, and the creative mystery.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Of Pillow Forts and Play: Epic Games' 'Fortnite'

// Moving Pixels

"Everybody loves building a fort.

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