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by Jorge Albor

20 Oct 2016

I thought that I knew what a rhythm game was. Even back in my PaRappa the Rapper days, rhythm games were about losing myself to the beat. It was about achieving that much sought feeling of flow. From Rock Band to AudioSurf, even at their most difficult settings, you could find a kind of zen in the performance of music. Going into Thumper with this perspective was a huge mistake.

Developed independently by Drool, Thumper is aptly called a “rhythm violence” game, a moniker I didn’t know before picking up Thumper earlier this month. The strange shapes and psychedelic colors that surround the game’s brightly winding path certainly bears a striking resemblance to other calming rhythm games. Looking just at screenshots, like I did, you’d be excused for believing the landscape was some gyrating reflection of the music meant to calm your mood and lull you into a steady musical pattern.

by PopMatters Staff

19 Oct 2016

Adriane Pontecorvo: Retro, fun, and unabashedly sexy. Kimbra sings, squeals, and shouts, possessed by the spirit of a low-key disco diva. She’s all over the place in the best way, as strange as she is sultry on this electric downtempo track. Whether whispering or growling, Kimbra’s voice is always powerful, and here, it may even be at its strongest, a warm blend of soul, jazz, and pop. Everything from handclaps to oohs melts together, and it’s a hedonistic kind of heavenly. [10/10]

by PopMatters Staff

19 Oct 2016

Andrew Paschal: The Weeknd returns with one of his tightest pop singles yet. “Starboy” eschews the bouncy R&B of “Can’t Feel My Face” for something more nocturnal and tormented. Daft Punk show surprising reserve in their production efforts, pulling back from their maximalist impulses to engage with the track’s brooding ambience. The noirish combination of sensuality and melancholy is oddly reminiscent of Madonna’s 1992 classic “Erotica”, and the tightly coiled, looping beats are like candy for the brain. My first exposure to this song was during the Weeknd’s recent performance on Saturday Night Live, which was propulsive and almost euphoric. The studio track, however, features the blue-hued keyboards more prominently, making for a more somber, but no less engaging, listen. [9/10]

by G. Christopher Williams

19 Oct 2016

While staring into a mirror in the first-person, you are introduced to the character that you will be playing as in Virginia, a black female FBI agent named Anne Tarver. The first thing that you will do as Tarver is click on your bag in order to get out a tube of lipstick, which Tarver will then apply to her lips. This is the first of many indicators that one of the central themes of Virginia is identity and especially how we mask and reveal it.

This first scene precedes a ceremony initiating her into the FBI. On stage, she shakes the hand of her boss and receives applause for her inclusion in the group, an occupational identity. However, shortly thereafter, as Anne awakens for her first day on the job and readies herself in the bathroom of her apartment, she once again takes out the lipstick, hesitates, and then discards the tube in the trash can, choosing not to continue applying this feminine marker of identity.

by Dominick Grillo

18 Oct 2016

Are there HEALTH-heads out there? You know, like the Dead-heads of elder generations who followed their beloved band around the country from gig to gig, noting every minute change in the set list or experience? I haven’t reached this kind of HEALTH-head status just yet, but I have seen the industrial electro noise rock outfit four times (and counting) over the past twelve months. So I might be just at stalker status. Maybe they have begun to recognize my shaggy face, my slightly yellow teeth, my dangerous tendency to toss my elbows around with abandon, amidst the darkened club crowds…

//Mixed media

Tricks or Treats? Ten Halloween Blu-rays That May Disrupt Your Life

// Short Ends and Leader

"The best of this stuff'll kill you.

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