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by Michael Edler

28 Apr 2009

I have a secret. I like Death Cab for Cutie. I’m a 36-year-old, married man, living in Chicago, and I walk my dog two or three times a day (I am a terrible and awful urban cliché) and I really like Death Cab for Cutie. I think Transatlanticism is a very good album with depth and glorious pop hooks, and dynamic depth. I own every Death Cab album and think each has important merit in my love of music.

But have refused to see Death Cab for Cutie in concert. The myriad of 16- through 25-year-old girls, hungry for sensitivity, dragging their boyfriends to play sing along for a two-hour Death Cab show has always prevented me from wanting to see them live.

This time, I would not be deterred. I was going to see Death Cab for Cutie. I was going to buy three or five beers and stomach the high pitched yelps, the desperate sing along, the disappointed boyfriends, and I was going to like this show.

by L.B. Jeffries

28 Apr 2009

Coming out just before Halo 3 was released onto the Xbox 360, Gears of War managed to be the game that was in the right place at just the right time. People were hungry for a definitive action game for the 360 and this title stepped up. Third person shooters had steadily been evolving on the PS2 for some time, but Gears deserves credit for honing this design to its essential elements. It borrows from the “over-the-shoulder” camera of Resident Evil 4 while using the left-trigger aiming that was popularized in the Call of Duty series. The cover system was inspired by Space Defender and Kill Switch.

Coupled with this critically acclaimed melding of ideas is a plot that has received a much more mixed response. The macho setting of Gears of War has been criticized for being shallow and for its homoerotic undertones. At its core, the game is mostly a classic retelling of the standard ‘Dude War Story’. The characters may be cliché and their relationship by the numbers, but it’s the same classic formula that people have relied on for centuries. For the purposes of this essay, I played and beat the game on co-op with a friend split-screen at Hardcore difficulty.

by Jason Gross

28 Apr 2009

“Here’s the deal. I am in a hard time with money, and I am trying to get it in as many ways possible. Please understand.”

So said Tom Waits on Twitter last week but there was one problem.  It wasn’t the famous West Coast singer-songwriter who actually said that but a fake who was using his name and pretending to be him on Twitter.  At first, this innocuous phony would post music thoughts once in a while, which seemed plausible since TW’s probably a busy guy all around otherwise. “TW” even provided a link to a ‘new song’, (a live version of Falling Down). 

But then about a week ago, “Tom Waits” on Twitter started providing links that would supposedly let fans buy ringtones of his songs with posts like this: “Once again, here is the link to the ringtone offer - (WEB ADDRESS WITHHELD) - It should work now, things have been sorted out.” 

Waits fans on Twitter were confused.  Some said the account was hacked or that poor Tom was in desperate straights and needed dough or said that the guy on Twitter was just a fake.  The exasperated “TW” even stepped in to plead his case, asking (paraphrased) ‘what do I have to do to convince you?’

by Andrew Martin

28 Apr 2009

El Michels Affair hooked up with the Wu-Tang Clan a few years back for a live show that spawned a limited run of 7-inch singles. But now with Enter the 37th Chamber, the soul-funk band is tackling the gritty hip-hop collective’s best tracks on its own. Here we have an MP3 download of El Michels Affair’s “C.R.E.A.M.”, perhaps the Clan’s most memorable joint. From the famous twinkling piano to the dusty drums, it’s all there and then some. Enter the 37th Chamber is available now on Fat Beats.

El Michels Affair
“C.R.E.A.M.” [MP3]
     

by J.M. Suarez

27 Apr 2009

Bea Arthur’s death this past Saturday marks the passing of one of television’s distinctive voices. Her portrayal of Edith Bunker’s outspoken cousin on All In the Family led to a spin-off of her own with Maude and her Dorothy Zbornak on The Golden Girls stands out even among the three other wonderful characters on the series.

Beginning her career on the stage, she starred in Broadway productions of Fiddler on the Roof and most famously in Mame, a role she reprised for the 1974 film version with Lucille Ball. Her place in television history was assured during her guest starring episodes on All in the Family. Maude was a liberal and a feminist and the perfect counterpart to blustery Archie Bunker. Her apearance on the series was so striking that upon first seeing her on All in the Family, the network realized that Arthur had created a character with a life of her own and one who warranted her own series.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

'Hopscotch' is Anchored in Walter Matthau's Playful, Irascible Personality

// Short Ends and Leader

"With his novel, Hopscotch, Brian Garfield challenged himself to write a suspenseful spy tale in which nobody gets killed.

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