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by AJ Ramirez

3 Sep 2009

I say this with utter, unwavering conviction: Hüsker Dü is the most criminally underappreciated alt-rock band of the pre-Nirvana era.  While contemporaries like R.E.M. and Sonic Youth have joined the rock canon, Hüsker Dü (which consisted of vocalist/guitarist Bob Mould, vocalist/drummer Grant Hart, and bassist Greg Norton) remains relatively unknown, and is often forgotten in the modern narrative of the development of the American underground scene in the 1980s.  This is especially troubling since Hüsker Dü was the group responsible for pioneering the sonic hallmarks traditionally associated with alternative rock: the potent mix of distortion and pop melodies, the angst-filled lyrics, and even the rhythm of the guitars.  Music journalist Michael Azerrad gave the group its due in his 2001 history Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991, and the band does make sporadic appearances on various “Best albums of the 1980s” critics lists, but it’s nowhere near what it actually deserves.  Bluntly, Hüsker Dü‘s best albums deserve to be spoken of in the same breath as alt-rock classics like Nirvana’s Nevermind, Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream, and the Pixies’ Surfer Rosa.

Of all its records, Hüsker Dü‘s New Day Rising is its best and most consistent, bursting with hooks and driven by a sheer urgency that overwhelms the listener.  Recorded in July 1984, New Day Rising was the first of two albums the Minneapolis band released on Southern California indie label SST in 1985.  The group’s preceding release, the justly acclaimed double album opus Zen Arcade (1984), blew apart the conventions of hardcore punk into a thousand searing pieces in methods that ranged from one-and-a-half-minute acoustic numbers to fourteen-minute punk-psych epics.  Zen Arcade‘s legend looms large in the Hüsker Dü discography; what is generally overlooked is that the group’s follow-up album naturally had to figure out what to do next.  SST’s edict that the group’s next release be restricted to a single disc actually benefited the trio. What the Hüskers did on this album was summarize the lessons learned on Zen Arcade into a concise 40-minute package, in the process closing the door once and for all on its punk incarnation and setting the template for the sound of alternative rock well into the next decade.

by Katharine Wray

3 Sep 2009

Wildbirds & Peacedrums
The Snake
(The Control Group)
Released: 25 August

Wildbirds & Peacedrums’ video for “My Heart” is both colorful and imaginative, matching with the band’s sound. Directed by fellow Swede Sarah Fisk, the animation is as engaging to watch as the song is to hear.

SONG LIST
01 The Island
02 There Is No Light
03 Chain Of Steel
04 So Soft So Pink
05 Places
06 Great Lines
07 Today/Tomorrow
08 Liar Lion
09 Who Ho Ho Ho
10 My Heart

by Ashley Cooper

3 Sep 2009

The 1998 comic Whiteout is brought to the big screen. U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) is the sole law enforcer in Antarctica, and is assigned to investigate a brutal murder three days before the sun sets for six months, marking the beginning of the Antarctic winter. As her investigation deepens into the first such crime in the region, she enlists the help of a U.N. operative (Gabriel Macht). With the brutal winter on her heels and the killer closing in, Stetko uncovers secrets that were buried under the ice. Secrets that someone believes are worth killing for.

Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht, Columbus Short and Tom Skerritt all star in Whiteout, which opens to wide release on September 11th.

by Brian Parks

3 Sep 2009

Do I have any idea what this film is about after viewing this trailer? Nope, not a clue. Am I going to be the first in line to see this? Suffice it to say, you better not be standing even remotely in my way if you value your well-being.

Christopher Nolan has quite simply never made a bad movie. Ignoring Joel Schumacher’s “do not resuscitate” tag, he singlehandedly revived the Batman franchise. He created a modern-day masterpiece with The Prestige. He has brought intelligence and complexity back into mainstream American cineplexes beginning with Memento and continuing through to his latest success, The Dark Knight.

This teaser trailer, albeit brief, looks to not disappoint. The release date of July 2010, a little more so.

by Jennifer Cooke

3 Sep 2009

A San Francisco band calling itself My First Earthquake is akin to a Philadelphia band picking a name like I *Heart* Cheesesteaks—so obvious that it must be ironic. With so much willful irony floating around indie music these days, it was only a matter of time before the backlash began. Behold: Hipster Haters!

Perhaps the cleverest example of the HH phenomenon is the website Look at This Fucking Hipster.

Type in the word “hipster” on YouTube and you’ll find a slew of videos aimed at skewering this most loathesome of pop culture sub-groups. I recommend POYKPAC’s “Hipster Olympics”, where contestants are screened for “an overall level of nonchalance and a reticent air of superiority”. And the Dandy Warhols’ “Bohemian Like You” gets prescience props for hipster hating all the way back in 2000!

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The Thoughtful Absurdity of 'Spaceplan'

// Moving Pixels

"Spaceplan is a goofy game that still manages to pack a potent emotional punch.

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