Latest Blog Posts

by Brice Ezell

15 May 2015


Comprised of Marshall Gallagher (Swing Hero), Kamtin Mohager (Chain Gang of 1974), and Anthony Salazar, Teenage Wrist is an up-and-coming side project that’s already got an EP of tunes ready to share. That EP, Dazed will be out next week; it features six songs, one of which you can stream exclusively here at PopMatters.

“Summer” may seem straightforward on the surface, but it has multiple different components that elevate it from its ostensible indie rock surface. Although the guitars bring mid-‘00s alt-rock to mind, when paired with the vocals—whose layered production brings shoegaze to mind—there’s a nice textural juxtaposition between smoothness and harshness. There’s also a nice and brief clean guitar break mid-way through the tune, whose tone brings to mind the post-rock of Explosions in the Sky.

by Brice Ezell

15 May 2015


If Valentina sounds terribly familiar, don’t worry—it’s supposed to. David Gedge, known best for his work with the Leeds, UK-based indie rockers the Wedding Present, is also responsible for the Cinerama project, where he explores more traditional pop songwriting. Thus, it’s no coincidence that the latter project is now releasing an album called Valentina, when the former did the same in 2012.

With the new Valentina, Gedge takes the Wedding Present’s original LP and re-interprets it through the lens of the Cinerama sonic—and the results are astonishing. Heavy on swanky jazz orchestrations, smooth pop vocals, and Brian Wilson-esque arrangements, Cinerama’s Valentina is a lush pop confection. The electric guitars of the Wedding Present have been traded in for liberally used string sections, Vegas lounge pianos, and an overall air of sophistication that’s infectiously fun. This Valentina may have its roots in a previous recording, but it stands on its own as a fine orchestral pop album that hearkens back to the ‘60s without getting drunk on its own nostalgia.

by Brice Ezell

14 May 2015


Winner of the 2005 Hugo Award and longlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke is a lengthy and complex alternate history of England, set in the 19th century during the Napoleonic Wars. With extensive footnoting and a lengthy backstory of a fictional history of magic in England, the novel is undoubtedly a titanic work, one that famed fantasy author Neil Gaiman called “unquestionably the finest English novel of the fantastic written in the last 70 years.”

Because of this loftiness, Peter Harness, who has now adapted Clarke’s novel for television, had a difficult task when deciding to take the story on. Starring Eddie Marsan (Norrell) and Bertie Carvel (Strange), the television version of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell will see its American premiere on BBC America this summer. The show will run as a seven-part miniseries.

by Brice Ezell

14 May 2015


In a fresh spin on the narrative of Jesus’ temptation in the desert—famously staged in films such as Martin Scorsese‘s The Last Temptation of Christ—director Rodrigo García adds an additional dimension to the tale through a narrative involving Jesus leaving the desert. As he does, he encounters the Devil, with whom he grapples over a situation involving a family in crisis.

The plot details have not been made widely available beyond the description above, but the one thing that is known is that Ewan McGregor is taking on a daring double role as both Jesus and the Devil, undoubtedly one of his most creative steps as an actor yet. McGregor is joined by a small cast, including Tye Sheridan, Susan Gray, Ciarán Hinds, and Ayelet Zurer.

by Brice Ezell

14 May 2015


Of the many issues facing modern liberal democracies, economic inequality, also known as the problem of the “wealth gap”, is undoubtedly one of the most challenging. Although many cite Western countries like the United States as “lands of opportunity”, that claim is becoming less credible when, as Oxfam reports, the world’s one percent are getting to the point where they hold more wealth than the remaining 99 percent combined. Such inequality might be productive for small, extremely moneyed classes, but for the overwhelming majority of the populous, such wealth disparity is a meaningful roadblock to class mobility.

It’s this vexing issue that Nobel Prize winning (2001) economist and Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz tackles in his newest volume, The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them. In the video below, Stiglitz visits the independent Washington D.C. bookstore Politics and Prose to talk about his findings, and how, per the book’s title, we could go about remediating the problems of inequality.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Hozier + Death Cab for Cutie + Rock Radio 104.5's Birthday Show (Photo Gallery)

// Notes from the Road

"Radio 104.5's birthday show featured great bands and might have been the unofficial start of summer festival season in the Northeast.

READ the article