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Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
by PopMatters Staff
Los Angeles backpack rapper Pigeon John returns with his sixth studio album next Tuesday, but we have the goods for you today.

Pigeon John grew up listening to pop as much as hip-hop and he brings that broad sensibility to his work, creating songs that are fiercely independent of any genre expectations. That musical exploration and curiosity always renders Pigeon John’s records as intriguing listens.


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Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
He's made bad taste a true art form. In light of his recent birthday, here's our choices for John Waters' 10 Best Films.

He was born to a pair of highly conservative parents. As a child, he spent hour after hour playing the fantasy gore game “car accident” and as a teen he tended to hang around the undesirable element in his ‘50s high school. By college age he was a first class shoplifter, a bohemian troublemaker, and a fledgling filmmaker. By the time he hit his twenties, he pooled his resources and his friends. Suddenly, Dreamland Studios was born, and John Waters was a director. Today, he’s the acknowledged Prince of Puke, a man whose humor has influenced countless generations of outsider artists. From There’s Something About Mary to the many faces of Apatow, he’s the inspiration for and the King of gross out gags.


So with his birthday this week, we thought we’d revisit the Waters canon, concentrating on his full length features. Granted, we have automatically removed one from consideration (we just don’t like Cecil B. Demented) and have avoided almost anything pre-Pink Flamingos (with an exception). Also, this is just a ranking of how we see the man’s career, not some universal declaration of good and bad. As a matter of fact, Waters has had one of the most consistent oeuvres of any recognizable auteurs. Because they are always built on his singular vision, his work remains instantly discernible…and accessible. You just have to have the stomach for it, even something as innocuous as the first title on our list:


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Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
Seventeen new songs with notes to welcome spring at last.

With spring finally making an appearance, there’s plenty of news songs for another playlist thanks to the constant renewal of the music scene. Bands such as Cage the Elephant, Wye Oak and Real Estate are back with album releases along with Future Islands and Lost in the Trees. Female voices abound on this playlist, from Annie Clark of St. Vincent and Kelis, to Courtney Barnett, Sharon Van Etten and Monica Birkenes of Mr. Little Jeans.  Also check out new music from veteran bands Elbow and Maximo Park, along with indie heavyweight Beck.


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Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
Secrets of Raetikon doesn’t waste verbiage on anything that isn’t necessary to exploring the game. The impetus is to just explore.

Secrets of Raetikon is part platformer, part flight simulator, part Metroid-vania, part creation myth. It’s a lot of things without ever settling on what it wants to be most. Really that’s its strongest quality. It just sort of gracefully floats along boundaries. Secrets of Raetikon points to the value of exploration as an end in itself. The whole game is deliberately cryptic, even the name emphasizes secrets (and something unpronounceable). The appeal, though, isn’t in uncovering the game’s secrets, rather it is in being a part of them.


The opening title shows a colourful, humanoid bird plummeting through the sky and crashing into the earth. Immediately, the player takes control of said bird and learns the ins and outs of flying, collecting crystals, and installing them into a giant machine. Secrets doesn’t waste verbiage on anything that isn’t necessary to exploring the game, the impetus is to just explore.


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Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014
by PopMatters Staff
Tim Noyes, a.k.a. Handsome Ghost, ditches the indie folk of his earlier years and springs forward with a fresh take on poptronica via Color Study.

Having risked it all searching for success as an indie folk artist only to come up cold, Noyes decided to start with a completely fresh canvas and a new palette. His songwriting gift has never been in question as Noyes can write a great tune in any genre, but with his new Handsome Ghost project, he has really found his unique voice. Warm electronic beats and textures underpin gorgeous dreamy vocals that just seem to lift higher in every measure. This music feels organic, like it emerged fully formed into instantly memorable tunes.


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