Latest Blog Posts

by Erin Giannini

5 Aug 2015

Will Saturday  Night Live ever die?

Like the late-night creature that it is, Saturday Night Live seems nearly unkillable. Started by Baby Boomers, reborn for a Gen X audience, and still watched by millennials, SNL has managed to stay, if not always relevant, at least on the air.

Seven presidents, two Iraq Wars, and numerous other sketch shows seeking the SNL crown have come and gone since George Carlin hosted the first episode in October 1975. What keeps a show—a comedy show, no less—around that long? The talent? The recurring characters, from Belushi’s Samurai to Cecily Strong’s “A One-Dimensional Female Character from a Male-Driven Comedy”? The commentary (and sometimes controversy) on the issues of the moment? Will SNL ever die? What is this constant human need that SNL feeds? (Or are we feeding it?)

by PopMatters Staff

4 Aug 2015

Low's latest album , Ones and Sixes, is scheduled to release on September 11th via Sub Pop Records and it was recorded at Justin Vernon's April Base Studios in Wisconsin.

Photo: Zoran Orlic

As befits a band of their stature and longevity, Low’s 11th album Ones and Sixes is shaping up to be a deep and subtle look at Big Subjects like commitment and mortality. Unlike the pummeling bleakness of “No Comprendre”, the first song they released from the record, “What Part of Me” blends the big scary stuff inherent in talking about being with another person forever with the sweetness such commitments also require. The thick keyboards, plaintive lyrics and, especially the rich harmonies between Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk combine to give the song a warmth and beauty that is somehow deeply reassuring. Low may not do feel-good summer songs but this is, at the very least, a summer jam for a rainy day.—JOHN M. TRYNESKI (7/10)

by PopMatters Staff

4 Aug 2015

Danny Brown and  Clams Casino team up for the latest Adult Swim single.

Wonky and sinewy as fuck. I was dreading that this would be some kind of sad, humiliation of the vaguely empowering Fifth Harmony tune of the same name currently making the radio rounds (a la Kid Cudi’s “Poke Her Face”), but this is something altogether other. I’ve generally backed Danny Brown more on his weird-ass B-sides than the album cuts—“ODB”, “#Hottest MC”, the original rendition of “Kush Coma”, guest spots with Rustie and Darq E Freaker—so it’s nice to see this slippery little number, released as part of the Adult Swim summer singles, count amongst those hidden treasures. Clams Casino comes in swinging chiming synths along a greasy axel riddim mechanical enough to qualify for industrial, but not hyperactive enough to fit amongst the foley grime lots (HER Records, M.E.S.H., Bloom, Lotic). You’d almost be forgiven for thinking there is no beat in this by how asynchronous it sounds. It’s a big sloppy, albeit calculated, mess, but so is the subject matter and Danny Brown finds exactly where to ride each successive recurrence.  I much prefer keen-eyed, critical, and paranoid Danny Brown to his raunchier alter ego self so I’m feeling this on all levels.  It makes me excited for his return. In addition, Clams Casino is having his best year since ’11, having also honed some fine Vince Staples cuts on his debut full-length.—TIMOTHY GABRIELE (8 of 10)

by Adrien Begrand

4 Aug 2015

Sludge metal gets  mighty weird awfully fast on this debut album. In the best way imaginable.

In addition to being one of the coolest writers around, an expert in everything from jazz, to death metal, to Ween, Hank Shteamer is the drummer and vocalist for Brooklyn band STATS. As it so happens, the band is as eclectic as Shteamer’s musical taste, a wildy creative mishmash of Melvins-derived sludge and Beefheart-esque experimentation. Massively heavy but showing a progressive nimbleness that you don’t exactly hear in sludge/noise-oriented bands, the band’s debut album makes for an absurdly delightful listening experience.

by Anthony Merino

4 Aug 2015

Series creator Nic  Pizzolatto constructs the entire season on a simple exchange: death seems to be the metaphysical wage of knowledge.

“Man is always prey to his truths. Once he has admitted them, he cannot free himself from them.”
—Albert Camus

In a scene near the end of Michael Curtiz’, 1942 classic movie Casablanca, the main protagonist Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) meets with Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains), in a scene that ultimately sets up the end of the movie. Dissected from the rest of the film, this scene seems rather improbable: Rick proposes a scheme that requires the buy in of other players. This is, of course, totally and completely irrelevant to the plot, and yet leads into one of the best and most quotable final scenes in film history.

Indeed, the plot of Casablanca was just a necessary element to allow the characters to react to each other. Episode seven of season two of True Detective, “Black Maps and Motel Rooms”, serves the same function. Writer Nic Pizzolatto needs to merge as many of his loose strings together as possible to lead into the season finalé.

//Mixed media