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Monday, Feb 23, 2015
Nope, there's no "Frozen" cover here, just a jubilant slice of neo-soul/pop by the Albany, New York outfit Mirk.

“Let It Go” marks the second single Mirk has released in anticipation of their third studio record, Run. Now, before you roll your eyes at what is yet another cover of the ubiquitous Frozen track, fear not: Mirk’s “Let It Go” shares only a name with that sing-along standard. Their tune is a prime cut of neo-soul, with a summertime mood and ace backing vocals aplenty.


The group regularly performs 75+ concerts per year, which means that the seemingly unbounded energy exuded by “Let It Go” will be available to be seen, heard, and felt in a live setting—don’t miss out.


Film | TV
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Monday, Feb 23, 2015
“The disclosures that Edward Snowden revealed don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself."

In accepting the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature on Sunday night. Laura Poitras focused, as always, on the significance of transparency and visibility. As the film she made with Glenn Greenwald and Ed Snowden reveals, such democratic ideals remain at risk by the American government’s activities and attitudes. For all the daunting information Citizenfour reveals it asks you not only to see, but also to take responsible for what you see. Sometimes, the film offers long, nearly meditative takes of exteriors, the Hong Kong hotel from afar, implacably shiny, or distant views of dully thunk-thunking machinery at a new NSA data collection facility under construction in Bluffsdale, Utah, and near film’s end, a long shot of a kitchen window, showing Snowden and his partner Lindsay Mills, in their for-now home in Moscow, quiet, ordinary, perfectly framed.


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Friday, Feb 20, 2015
by Evan Sawdey and Brice Ezell
PopTalk is a new podcast on PopMatters that casts its gaze on exciting developments in culture and the arts. In this first installment, we examine the 2015 Oscar nominees, and the broken rules of the institution that is the Academy.

In this inaugural edition of PopTalk, a new podcast on PopMatters, Evan Sawdey and Brice Ezell take a look at the controversial slate of Oscar nominations for the 2015 ceremonies. From there, they examine the other problems that occur in large award ceremonies like the Oscars, the Grammys, and the Emmys. Topics include the limited rules for what constitutes a “Best Original Score”, the exclusion of minority artists by predominately white voting blocs, and the refusal of certain award ceremonies to break their predictable trends.


Evan Sawdey is the Interviews Editor at PopMatters and Brice Ezell is the Assistant Editor.


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Friday, Feb 20, 2015
This documentary about a New Jersey "free school" is as adventurous and experimental as its subject.

“I’m not the weak one,” says Lucy. One time, she goes on, she “pinned down a boy.” A student at the Terry McArdle Free School, eight-year-old Lucy is doing her best to establish a place, a voice, and some respect among her fellow students and also her teachers. As Approaching the Elephant, Amanda Rose Wilder’s remarkable new film reveals, this is an ideal fostered at the school, founded by Alex Khost and modeled after the experiment started in Barcelona in 1901, a protest against the “reading, writing, and arithmetic model of education that came from the industrial revolution’s need for factory workers.” The participants at Terry McArdle, students and staff. Work together to craft structure, to discover independence, and to build community.


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Friday, Feb 20, 2015
Blur's big comeback single turns out to be a weird little number that will appeal to only hardcore fans. Thank goodness.

The best part about “Go Out”, the lead single from Blur’s first full-length album in 12 years, is that a lot of people probably won’t like it.


Its side-stepping bassline and timid backbeat set the stage, but “Go Out” is, like all great Blur tracks, all about Damon Albarn’s stretched-out vocal phrasings interacting with Graham Coxon’s lyrical, expressive guitar work. The two collide and build upon each other to reach a climax that isn’t really that much of a climax, typical of the band’s mid- and late-period phases. Albarn finds an obtuse way to speak about isolation, dancing with himself, and then going out to the local (and sometimes, the lo-o-o-cal) on his ownsome, all while Coxon unleashes all the distortion he can out of his cheap pedal before trying to wrestle all of it to the ground in spectacular fashion, our ears caught up more in the struggle than the result. When you get down to it, this is a weird-ass little ditty, and therein lies its charm.


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