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by Ian Mathers

18 Jan 2010

The deliberately mysterious and reserved British duo Hurts have yet to put out so much as a single, but between the stylishly retro videos for “Wonderful Life” last year and now “Blood, Tears & Gold”, whatever they manage to put out in 2010 ought to be incredible. What they do isn’t exactly innovative—the Guardian described them as “a boy-duo styled by Helmut Newton, directed by Anton Corbijn and produced by Trevor Horn on a Martin Hannett tip”, but if you like the certain kind of elegant, tightly reined in pop music those names conjure up, you ought to be paying attention, because so far Hurts do it exceptionally well.

“Blood, Tears & Gold” is the ballad counterpoint to the soaring Pet Shop Boys/OMD/Eurythmics synth-pop of “Wonderful Life”, and honestly, despite my love for that song, I didn’t know if they could pull something less icy off.  But they do, and they do so magnificently.

by Allison Taich

18 Jan 2010

Tuesday, January 19th marks the birthday of the late, great Janis Joplin. Born in 1943, Joplin rose to rock stardom in the mid-‘60s with her raspy, soulful vocals and colorful demeanor as the front woman of Big Brother and the Holding Company. Unfortunately, her life and career were short-lived due to continuous run-ins with various substances, ultimately passing away from an overdose on October 4th, 1970. Regardless, Joplin’s spirit, presence, and voice will be immortalized in her music. Happy 67th, Janis!

by Sarah Zupko

18 Jan 2010

The musical event of the week on TV had to be the Austin City Limits appearance of two of the world’s best rappers, the incomparable and adventurous Mos Def and the Somalian born K’naan. Both produced sterling albums last year that found their way into many top music of 2009 lists, including our Top 60 list, and both create the kind of thinking-person’s hip-hop that has expanded the boundaries of the genre.

K’Naan “Waving Flag”

by Ian Chant

16 Jan 2010

You probably recognize Ashley Greene as Alice, the psychic member of the sexy, undead Cullen clan in Twilight and New Moon, in theaters now. Yeah, you’ve seen the movies. Just admit it. Soon, you’ll see her in another guilty pleasure, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, due in just a few weeks. Greene sat down with PopMatters writer Ian Chant for a brief interview to talk about body paint, her upcoming film Skateland, and how to have a film career after being one of Hollywood’s most recognizable bloodsuckers for years.

by Sarah Zupko

15 Jan 2010

The Blur documentary No Distance Left to Run had its London premiere last night in Leicester Square. British fans can catch the film in theatres now and pick up a copy of the DVD on 15 February. Those of us on this side of the pond will either have to switch our computers to PAL format to play the import DVD or wait until some underdetermined date for the US release. Me, I’m not waiting and will opt for PAL. It’s an easy change in your computer settings.

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

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