Friday, October 17 2014
Italo Calvino offers a rarely personal, and deeply insightful, glimpse of the adolescent experience of war.
The constantly morphing new jazz trio moves into deeply atmospheric, electronic territory and dares you to follow.
This EP bears the mark of idle hands merely wanting to keep busy.
The latest from M.C. Taylor and Scott Hirsch's country-leaning band serves as an re-introduction and a rebirth for their signature sound.
When playing corridos, one must be absolutely modern. If you play them as hard as possible, that helps.
Thursday, October 16 2014
Lilting challenges what it means to assimilate into a culture, suggesting that blending in isn't necessary for shared experience.
From the first selfie to the importance of jazz musicians, Steven Johnson puts a few surprises into How We Got To Now.
Just keep moving, folks. There is nothing to see here, especially nothing scary. This Klarion, this Witch Boy, is a lot more boy than witch.
The Essential Jacques Demy provides an insightful look inside an auteur who may finally be getting the recognition he deserves.
Written in vivid detail and expertly researched, Mike Stobbe's chronicle of the office of the Surgeon General parts the curtains on some surprising heroes and brings us to a surprising conclusion.
Phil Elverum brought minimalist arrangements of songs from upcoming Mount Eerie release Sauna to NYC's Le Poisson Rouge, along with plenty of mystery and endearing stage banter.
Hannibal, unlike much-hyped pulp revival shows like True Detective and Fargo, refuses to give its audience neat answers on matters of right and wrong.
Spanish punkers came swinging harder than ever, screaming not for the sake of inducing change, but screaming for the sake of screaming – because now they could.
Lara Meyerratken, the Los Angeles-by way of-Australia indie pop musician, returns with her first new album in four years.
In its third season, Revenge jumps the shark and drowns slowly afterwards.
From the club to the bedroom, the Bloc Party frontman explores the empty sensuality of sleeping with complete strangers.
Johnny Marr's second solo album suggests a consummate musician becoming more comfortable with his solo status.
Lars Iyer's latest novel explores sadness and genius while contemplating the end of philosophy.
Bestial Burden really knows how to work a mood, and beat that sense of claustrophobic misery right into the ground.
These Birmingham lads mine their musical past to create a sound in keeping with their influences without straying too far from established templates, finding comfort in familiarity.
A long-shelved power pop gem gets its chance to shine.
Trigger Hippy's roots run deep and the down-and-dirty, soul-tinged blues they rock is the real deal.
Wednesday, October 15 2014
The revamped Pixies prove there's plenty of fuel left in the tank yet.
Terry Gilliam's quest for life's biggest answers finds a new formulation in The Zero Theorem: perhaps, the film suggests, there is no meaning to it all.
A high concept that's high on potential and low on refinement.
Tim & Eric, with Dr. Steve Brule in tow, shared their brand of entrancingly preposterous, thoroughly sweet comedy during an extended set in Boston's Back Bay.
These days there's so much technodread floating around that you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a thinkpiece about how smartphones are ruining our minds.
Nation isn't an opus. It's a warning.
Sarah Silverman's second HBO special/comedy album gives us another healthy helping of rape, incest, oral sex, profanity and jokes about Jews. In other words, Sarah Silverman being herself.
He's almost single-handedly invented the Blaxploitation film genre, but as his recent collaboration with Heliocentrics proves, Melvin Van Peebles is so much more than simply a filmmaker in command of his craft.
Vashti Bunyan is given the final word on a sporadic yet influential career with the organic swan song Heartleap.
I’ll Be the Tornado is an enrapturing album, and one that you simply must hear with your mind and your heart.
It’s not that Anna Karina couldn’t act, but that she didn’t have to. Her physical presence was the art, and her beauty, in and of itself, was a significant contribution to the culture.
Though a surface reading of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy suggests compelling depiction of women, underneath lies ages-old patriarchal myths.
Million Dollar Arm is a film that picked the wrong protagonist.
Try as you might to take Foxygen's ...And Star Power at face value, it's hard to because the mischievous duo does everything but play it straight on the 82-minute double LP.
Coma Witch is a bracing, unapologetic, mesmerizing album. And it could very well be easily one of the best metal albums of the year.
This real-world account of an ill-fated Yale student's life will be haunting me for many months.
Tuesday, October 14 2014
For Werner Herzog, man’s tug-of-war with nature is not a present imbalance but a lost cause, the barbarous beauty of nature made mere barbarism by humankind.
Pearl Jam's shows are more and more memorable for hardcore fans but they still remain approachable for everyone as they pulled from their earliest releases in St. Louis.
The challenges for Americans and other countries to grapple with are not economic ones, and they are not narrow, technically ‘scientific’ ones. They are moral and philosophical ones.
"It’s not the greatest #1 I’ve ever read by a long shot but…"
Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke talks his new solo album, Trick, and explains how the album pushed him to make music in an entirely fresh way.
With its Apple-sponsored free public release, U2's Songs of Innocence betrays just how far the band has come from their past, despite its attempts to bring back a Dublinesque vision.
Richard Brooks's adaptation of Elmer Gantry lives and dies on Burt Lancaster's strangest, most unforgettable performance.
Gazelle Twin's Unflesh is as immaculate as a hotel in a JG Ballard novel, and just as bloody scary.
Celebrated book designer Peter Mendelsund considers how readers construct (or fail to construct) visual images in their minds in What We See When We Read.
Deathless should cement Revocation as one of the top metal bands in the world, if they haven’t already reached such lofty heights on previous releases.
Aldean's personal life, and Nashville's change of direction, isolate the listener and reinforce stereotypes.
Abaporu is a record that, despite all of its differing hues, manages to come across as a unified mosaic of sound.
The jazz trio, supplemented by frequent partner John Scofield, put out another appealing blend of jazz and groove music -- a flavorful if somewhat slight version of what they do best.
Texas in July is so lifeless that not even the transfusion of a whole new line-up can revive this corpse.
Monday, October 13 2014
Why shouldn’t a maligned genre -- and romantic comedies are nothing if not maligned -- follow in drama's footsteps?
Just ahead of tomorrow's second episode of The Flash, we present this special Iconographies on this show isn't very different from This American Life's spinoff, Serial.
His Ph.D revoked, a man fueled by anger returns to an institution he despises in Primordial: An Abstraction.
The trend in alternate reality gaming fits a traditional definition of hyperreality; the condition where fiction and the real become indistinguishably blended together.
He's an iconic photographer for rock stars such as the Beastie Boys and Bruce Springsteen. Here, he talks about his first book and the stories behind some of his most memorable images.
Even when Obvious Child lacks interesting conflict, it still admirably presents women in a way atypical from mainstream cinema.
OK Go successfully dips a toe into synth-rock without forgetting their power-pop roots, yet they still manage to include a small handful of outright clunkers.
What really happens when you hit rock bottom?
How many times can you challenge your audience to join you at the top of the room before these big moves become big tropes?
The Canadian singer-songwriter decides that pop music is no place for individualism or high-energy performances on her third album.
The latest from Philadelphia guitar wizard Mike Polizze gives voice to his catchy, pop-loving side.
Fly guy Mark Turner makes a sparse quartet really work for him and you.
FaltyDL's newest floats around without aim or interest.
Sunday, October 12 2014
Kevin Smith and his comic book-loving posse spend each episode swapping tales about daily trades, sales, and purchases in Smith’s comic book store, Secrete Stash.
Saturday, October 11 2014
Like most kids' movies, this one is less chaotic and inventive than it is predictable and reassuring.
Friday, October 10 2014
In Whiplash, all the visual and aural magic comes from Andrew's (Miles Teller) precise and jazzy drum solos.
A strong cast fights a losing battle against subpar material in this ramshackle drama.
Like any movie in the curmudgeon-mentors-a-child subgenre, St. Vincent draws some fine lines, between comedy and sentimentality, formula and, well, more formula.
Almost all portable games are single player, and for the most part, this feels like a single player game, which does the fantastic series a disservice.
An unprecedented access telling of this landmark musical showcase whose history spans dramatic changes in the nature of television, the expansion of digital media, and the ways in which we experience music.
Few authors are able to write equally well about war strategy, communism, cover crops, and postpartum depression.
These top 20 records of the '00s feature some familiar faces, but also several that, over time, have grown more fondly in memory.
A master of visuals, Walerian Borowczyk's stunning recreation of medieval life presents a world which seems as real and defined as the space in our own living rooms.
By tweaking the sound of his previous record, Caribou's Dan Snaith has created one of the most enjoyable, crowd-pleasing records of the year.
Mary Timony's new project Ex Hex makes the best case possible for listening to that urge to simplify on Rips.
Twee is about much more than DIY/Etsy, hipsters and Zooey Deschanel.
Field Report have crafted a near-masterpiece of pain and triumph within the deckle-edged leaves of Marigolden.
Avant garde pianist Shipp explores his musical past through this contemporary solo set, hinting at where we may find him in the future.
On album 13, and album two since extracting himself from his Curb contract, Tim McGraw is in his element and doing what he does best.
An under-heard but top-notch tenor player, leading a sharp band through excellent tunes. Vibes, guitar, driving rhythm, all right here.
Thursday, October 9 2014
Wytches marks a radically important turning point in Scott Snyder's evolution as a writer. And thereby hangs a tale…
Whether it’s the recollection of Jesus’ time on the ice as a hockey player, or the confessions of a newspaper editor, Warner isn’t bound by the traditional template for short stories.
If this were a murder mystery, it would be a fine enough catalyst to a long, protracted investigation, complete with red herrings and an arc that would befit Raymond Chandler.
From breathtaking reformulations of shoegaze to British soul revival, this batch of stellar recordings from the 2000s is an eclectic one.
Flesh + Blood has at least this to its credit: it's not as bad as Howard the Duck.
Everything Will Be Alright in the End is not an album: it's an act of contrition that you can dance to.
Follow author Ian Woollen's advice: "Sit back, sip your drink, and allow words and phrases such as 'sock hop' and 'fallout', 'Studebaker', and 'Red Scare' to summon up what images they will."
SBTRKT leads a disparate cast of collaborators down a rabbit hole of mismatched beats and psychotic melodies on his second LP.
Highly accomplished and in-demand, classical collective yMusic host a range of notable peers on their second album.
Space Cadet Frisell requests permission to come aboard.
It's great to revisit John Dwyer's old band, Coachwhips, in light of Thee Oh Sees' success. The group's 2003 record, Get Yer Body Next Ta Mine, more than their 2002 debut, sounds like a great stand alone rock record.
Iain Matthews finds a rare musical soul-mate in Dutch pianist Egbert Derix. The two albums resulting from this unexpected collaboration rank among the best of Matthew's career.
Wednesday, October 8 2014
Even as you know the US government can be brutal in its retributions, you're also left with a set of images that are a bit too mythic or contrived.
When something as big as Thor #1, that completely alters the character after more than 50 years of publication history, the only proper response is our very first "Title Fight".
Death was always inevitable in Gauntlet. It was not merely a matter of skill, but also a matter of time.
Emily St. John Mandel's book about the survivors of a devastating plague is a thoughtful and original take on the post-apocalyptic genre.
Pollitt’s new book, Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights is both a call to arms and a call for honest reflection.
PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electro-R&B.