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by PopMatters Staff

1 Jun 2009

Diplo and Switch join forces and go all dancehall on us.

TOUR DATES
6/13/09 NEW YORK, NY SOBs
6/18/09 BOSTON, MA HOUSE OF BLUES
6/19/09 PHILADELPHIA, PA ELECTRIC FACTORY
6/20/09 WASHINGTON, DC ROCK AND ROLL HOTEL
6/24/09 VANCOUVER, BC COMMODORE BALLROOM
6/25/09 SEATTLE, WA NEUMOS
6/26/09 SAN FRANCISCO, CA THE GRAND BALLROOM @ REGENCY
6/27/09 LOS ANGELES, CA LA MEMORIAL COLISEUM & EXPO
7/10/09 AUSTIN, TX STUBB’S
7/11/09 DALLAS, TX HOUSE OF BLUES
8/07/09 CHICAGO, IL CONGRESS THEATER
10/31/09 INGLEWOOD, CA THE FORUM

by Bill Gibron

1 Jun 2009

How do they do it? How do they maintain such a level of consistency while others flip and flop around between commercial hits/misses and critical dismissal? For many in the animation field, Pixar’s unrealistic winning streak - 10 films, 10 classics or near classics (including the recently released gem, Up) - makes for a lot of scratched studio heads. While Shreks and Shark Tales come and go, racking up dollars but little masterpiece buzz, the minted kings of the bitmap own a winning streak that even parent company the House of Mouse can’t compete with. In fact, in the history of any artform - the novel, television, music, the movies, etc. - only The Beatles can claim such reliability, and even they strayed from the perfectionist path every once in a while.

So, again, how do they do it? Can Pixar claim something that others - mainly Fox and Dreamworks - can’t seem to find with infinitely more backing? The answers would seem obvious at first, but in looking at the situation more closely, Pixar may actually be in possession of something the rest of Hollywood can’t locate with a litany of bean counters and a cadre of MBAs. If movies are indeed magic, then the San Francisco based production company contains nothing but wizards. That’s right, Pixar probably maintains its amazing rate of success through means both pragmatic and paranormal. Anyone can fuse imagination to story and character and come up with something saleable. It takes a true conjurer to move all those elements into the realm of the flawless - and yet they manage to do so time and time again.

by shathley Q

1 Jun 2009

Writer Ed Brubaker and artist Michael Lark expose the simultaneous and contradictory feelings of fearlessness and self-reproach in Daredevil.

Writer Ed Brubaker and artist Michael Lark expose the simultaneous and contradictory feelings of fearlessness and self-reproach in Daredevil.

This is classic “DD” territory. Even before adopting the Daredevil identity, Matt Murdock displayed an unremitting fearlessness. It was this fearlessness, some might say recklessness, that led him to be blinded in an act of boyhood heroism. Since that accident, confronting and overcoming fear has been how Matt Murdock enters the world.

As Daredevil, Matt Murdock has always had an almost primal connection with the city streets. The so called Hero of Hell’s Kitchen, DD has seen it both as his right and honor to protect the streets he grew up on. Leaping from rooftop to rooftop, up streetlamps, down fire escapes to reach street level again and across vast urban chasms, DD has become definitive of how superheroes move through the cityscape. Superheroes move using parkour; efficient, dynamic movements to navigate urban obstacles.

Protector of the weak and tormentor of criminals, DD has always relished in his rash “devil may care” attitude. What makes writer Ed Brubaker’s panel so singularly engaging, is his exposition of the “daredevil” confidence as a finely-crafted facade with which Matt Murdock meets the world. Far from being a crazed risk-taker, Matt Murdock finds his true heroism by confronting his fears head on.

Moreover, Brubaker shows the supererogation of Murdock himself. Murdock holds himself responsible to the point of being guilty. These are his streets to protect, and after being arrested and tracing down a conspiracy in Europe, he has lost control of the streets.

Brubaker makes excellent work of writing himself free of the cliffhanger ending the Bendis/Maleev run which saw Matt Murdock arrested and formally disbarred as officer of the Court. For the year preceding issue 95 (the opening chapter of “To the Devil, His Due”), Brubaker wrote Murdock free from prison, then free in Europe chasing down players in the conspiracy to have him imprisoned and his legal partner assassinated. But “To the Devil, His Due”, Brubaker puts DD back on US soil, back on the streets.

But more importantly, this opening page, where DD makes his first appearance on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen in more than a year, marks the conflict at the core of both Daredevil and Matt Murdock. Murdock is someone who risks great danger not to masquerade, but to confront great fear.

by Kirstie Shanley

1 Jun 2009

Ah, Norway: Land of free health care, fjords, and a bustling creative art and music scene. From the psychedelic rock of fellow Norwegians Serena Maneesh to the complex lullabies of Hanne Hukkelberg, it seems like Norway is chock full of amazing bands. Though four piece I Was A King is part of this community, they also have a unique sound all onto their own. Using guitar pedal effects to create just enough fuzz, the sugary pop songs recall something akin to a fuzzier, feminine Beulah. Without the effects, it could have easily been considered twee-pop but it was also less silly and more focused. Still, one couldn’t help smiling while listening to the tunes, which came off as super happy and very catchy. 

Visiting Chicago as part of their very first American tour, I Was A King were energetic and fun but did not talk too much in between songs, attempting, instead, to play as many songs as possible. Lead singer Frode Strømstads even announced that they were minimizing their banter with the purpose of doing just that. The chemistry within the band seemed understated as well between songs, but it seemed as though they were perhaps saving it for the melodious songs instead. The lovely intertwining female/male vocals from Strømstads and Anne Lise Frøkedal created a certain sense of lushness that was interesting and reassuring at the same time, like a sweet dream.

 

In some ways, it was fitting that Strømstads wore an Elephant 6 shirt because it would be easy to picture him listening to many of the bands in the collective (their self titled record even has a guest appearance by Gary Olson of Ladybug Transistor). However, I Was A King came off as a little more accessible than most of those bands and not caught up in a sense of idiosyncrasy. Though they treated Chicagoans to nearly an hour of songs that, if edible, would surely be delicious, it felt as if a mere fifteen minutes has passed by the time they finished. Those are the type of songs one could easily listen to all night, relishing in the glorious texture and hooks.

by Alan Ranta

1 Jun 2009

I never liked the direction Ghislain Poirier has been headed in recently… until I saw this video of “Wha La La Ling” from his new Soca Sound System EP. Alright, already… you’ve got my attention. Now what?

//Mixed media
//Blogs

The Moving Pixels Podcast Discusses 'Tales from the Borderlands Episode 2'

// Moving Pixels

"Our foray into the adventure-game-style version of the Borderlands continues.

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