CFP: The Legacy of Radiohead's 'The Bends' 20 Years On [Deadlines: 29 Jan / 12 Feb]

 

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Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015
The beautiful and hip environs of Portland, Oregon, a catchy tune, and a duo with real chemistry... Kool Stuff Katie's "Cars" has it all.

And who says Craiglist has to be completely sketchy? It certainly wasn’t in the case of the Portland, Oregon garage rock/pop duo Kool Stuff Katie, helmed by Shane Blem and Saren Oliver. The two met over the website, and have since then forged a creative union that’s as playful and quirky as the city in which they live. With a few curveballs added, the music video to the track “Cars”, taken from the duo’s self-titled debut, could be a Portlandia sketch in the waits. But, alas, the video chooses (wisely) to focus on the rapport between Blem and Oliver—and their pretty sweet ride, too.


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Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015
"Easy Mistake", the downcast and somber tune by the gravel-voiced David Corley, now has a somber black-and-white music video to complement its gruff folk sonic.

The low, ragged voice of David Corley is of the kind one would expect could only come from many years of experiencing life and putting it into song. With Corley, such a guess would be on the money. At 53, he has plenty of years to his name, and ever since he was 20 he’s been honing his songcraft into a distinctive voice. Surprisingly, however, Available Light, his recently released studio LP, marks his first full-length recording. That fact is stunning; Corley sounds like the kind of guy who’s been in the studio for decades, a consummate natural. Comparisons to songwriting greats like Tom Waits and Lou Reed aren’t far off. Tunes like Available Lights’ “Easy Mistake”, the video of which you can watch exclusively below, evoke the image of a weary songwriter looking back on all of his years in the world. His presence is a natural and authentic one, as any one of his songs evinces.


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Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015
Over the next 12 months, we will be bombarded with all manner of proposed cinematic spectacle. Here are the 20 films we are most looking forward to.

While the stars are brushing off their formal wear and brushing up on their acceptance speeches, we bid a fond farewell to 2014… and almost immediately focus on the films that will have us giddy with anticipation between now, the dog days of cinema, and December, when we’ll play “What’s the Best?” all over again. There are literally hundreds of offerings up for grabs, from unknown works of independent art to big, brawny, wannabe blockbusters. Each one hopes to tap into that tricky well of public appreciation. Some will succeed in billion dollar designs; others will open and never be heard from again.


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Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015

This post contains spoilers for The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.


There’s a saying when it comes to writing fiction. Never reference a better work in your own writing. You’ll only make the audience wish they were reading that instead. The saying is only half true. In reality, the effect of making a reference to other pieces of fiction is generally an enhancement of the feelings an audience already has towards your work. Making a reference to a better work in one that the audience isn’t liking, will make them wish they were reading that instead. However, making that same reference in a work that the audience is liking, will make them appreciate it as an homage or possibly as a deepening of the thematic message of the original. This goes for movies, poems, songs, and, yes, video games.


Ignoring for the moment that making a direct reference is complicated, it is a substantial risk because it can have the above effect of making the audience wish they were reading/watching/listening/playing the other work right now. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter does refer to the works of H.P. Lovecraft and other genre fiction, but peppered throughout the game world are a number of side stories that have an unfortunate, detrimental effect. Those short side stories make me wish any one of them were the focus of the game instead of the Carter family.


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Monday, Jan 19, 2015
Those interested in the American Sniper controversy ought to check out Dan Krauss' documentary The Kill Team, which similarly explores the dehumanization of war.

While American Sniper generates debate over its protagonist’s patriotism as well as remarkable box office returns, here’s another film that considers the dire effects of war on its soldiers. on PBS’ Independent Lens, Dan Krauss’ The Kill Team focuses on the Maywand District murders, committed by US soldiers in 2010, a case made notorious by a Rolling Stone article that included photos of the soldiers posing with corpses.


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