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Wednesday, Feb 25, 2015
In which the author suggests that the new Lara Croft might be the best example of androgyny in gaming.

Last weekend, I played the board game Bora Bora, designed by Stefan Feld, whose game Castles of Burgundy is one of my favorite board games of recent years. Bora Bora is a Eurogame, which for those that run in board game circles know usually indicates a carefully balanced game with a low running time and probably no dice (though this game actually does use dice). Eurogames are also frequently economic development games that ask players to collect resources and develop an engine to drive an economy. They are also known for their wooden pieces, which often represent resources and people.


People themselves often serve as a kind of resource in Eurogames, since frequently the limited size of a population in such a game determines what jobs can be assigned and what then can be produced on a given turn. As far as people go in Eurogames, like many things in the genre, they are mostly abstracted concepts. They represent the ability to implement an action or to produce a particular good. They represent “work” itself and have little to no personal identity in general. Indeed one of the more general identity markers assigned to human beings, their gender identity, is rarely a concern in Eurogames.


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Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015
The Los Angeles rock 'n' roll outfit Kill My Coquette brings Breaking Bad and Scarface actor Steven Bauer on for their latest music video, "3rd & Bonnie Brae", an examination of the seedy side of Los Angeles.

From bleak crime films like Collateral and Drive to the fiction of authors like James Ellroy, Los Angeles is a regular subject of art that examines the morally grey and black. The LA-based rock outfit Kill My Coquette, fronted by Natalie Denise Sperl, has now thrown its hat into that ring with its newest music video, “3rd & Bonnie Brae”, taken from its recently released self-titled EP. Kill My Coquette EP was recorded at Evelyn Martin Recordings in Los Angeles, with production taken up by Danny McGough, who has worked with artists such as Tom Waits and Social Distortion. The band brought on another noteworthy name to create the crime thriller of a music video for “3rd & Bonnie Brae”, the actor Steven Bauer, notable for his supporting turns in Breaking Bad and Scarface.


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Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015
by PopMatters Staff
Best Coast's latest album, California Nights, will see its release on May 5th via Harvest Records. It was produced by Wally Gagel (Miley Cyrus, New Order, Muse) and is described as a bit more of everything Best Coast.

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Bethany Cosentino says, If you have ever lived in California, you know what nighttime here feels like. You know what the sky looks like when those epic sunsets begin, and you understand that feeling and the way things change when the sun finally sets. In LA, or maybe just personally to me, when the sun sets—I feel like there is a large sense of calmness in the air, and I feel like everything that happened to me prior in the day, whether crappy experiences or good ones, at night, it all goes away and I sink deep into this different kind of ‘world’.


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Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015
With sharp instrumentation that brings to mind the Punch Brothers, the latest video by the Michigan Americana ensemble Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys is a catchy and convivial slice of acoustic music.

Following a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, the Michigan roots quartet Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys created and recorded their latest outing, Ionia. “Hot Hands”, the first track off of the LP, is a charming number with a particularly cool mandolin riff at its center (check the picked harmonic note). The catchy and clever riffs recall the sharp “popgrass” stylings of groups like the Punch Brothers and Joy Kills Sorrow. Below you can view an intimate session recording of the song, where each musician is given a chance to shine instrumentally.


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Tuesday, Feb 24, 2015
From luxurious estates (The Long Hair of Death) to mental asylums (Slaughter Hotel), these two Italian scare flicks depict women fighting against institutional power and sexism.

RaroVideo has released excellent discs of two very different types of Italian horror: the ‘60s black and white period gothic melodrama of The Long Hair of Death and the gaudy, contemporary ‘70s giallo Slaughter Hotel. Both are excellent examples of their types, and they’re united by a vision of how women are victimized by men in powerful institutions—royalty, the church, the medical establishment. The former is explicitly about the rage and revenge of women against these power systems.


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