Latest Blog Posts

by Arnold Pan

10 Jan 2011

PJ Harvey
Let England Shake
Releasing: 15 February

It’s pretty much a major cultural event every time PJ Harvey releases a new album. One good reason for that is that you never know quite what to expect from her, since the inimitable Harvey seems to reinvent herself with each album even as she stays true to her unshakable and unique musical vision. Two leaked tracks from Polly Jean’s upcoming album Let England Shake—“The Last Living Rose” and “Written on the Forehead”—seem to find her in a more contemplative mood, though the music seems as stirring as ever.

01 Let England Shake
02 The Last Living Rose
03 The Glorious Land
04 The Words That Maketh Murder
05 All and Everyone
06 On Battleship Hill
07 England
08 In the Dark Places
09 Bitter Branches
10 Hanging in the Wire
11 Written on the Forehead
12 The Colour of the Earth

by G. Christopher Williams

7 Jan 2011

Despite claiming that “lists are silly,” Kill Screen magazine has brought together a number of video game critics (including former PopMatters blogger L.B. Jeffries) to score the best “Big Games” and “Small Games” (read: indie titles) of 2010.

Describing their methodology as an effort to avoid a “boring consensus candidate,” the list aims to provide “a measure of truth, passion, and controversy.”

All in all, there’s some pretty good games on both lists, which you can find at Kill Screen’s online home:

Kill Screen magazine

by Eric Allen Been

7 Jan 2011

Last month, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy chatted with critics Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot on their rock and roll radio show Sound Opinions. During the near hour-long conversation, the frontman/producer dished about, among other things, being a middle-aged artist in the music business, his love for the guitar work on the B-52’s “Rock Lobster” and the positive effects of gentrification on New York City. He also does an amusing impersonation of the guys from Daft Punk. The fantastic interview is essential viewing for fans of Murphy and his band.

by Timothy Gabriele

7 Jan 2011

The song is about as lo-fi as they come. When I first heard it, I thought I’d stumbled across some suburban high school student’s page. Yet, there’s something oddly hypnotic about it as well. Little surprise that it comes from a release on hypnagogic label Hippo in Tanks, who’ve also put out music by GAMES, Laurel Halo, and White Car. The video is about as overtly political as any hypnagogic all-star has gotten, merging footage from the Afghan war with promo video fluff and Playstation killing games. Oh, and awkward YouTube dancing girls. Enjoy.

by Nathan Pensky

6 Jan 2011

One sometimes wonders whether we need a new film category: the “Blockbuster Cult Classsic”. Of course, Cult Classics in the more conventional sense are films that were critically and popularly panned upon release but went on to make inroads to the collective consciousness, either through appreciation of their awfulness or critical re-assessment. But the question is, do films create “cults” only when initially unpopular? Or is “cultishness” defined by certain kinds of popularity?

One should immediately distinguish between “fanboyism” and “cultishness”. The kind of cult meant here is that of film buffs whose guiding criteria is quality, not nerd enclaves more concerned with esoterica for its own sake. Tricorder-bearing Trekkers and bow-slinging LOTR enthusiasts can definitely be described as “cultish,” but that’s another question for another day.

No, “Blockbuster Cult Classic” would signify a film that sold big at the box office but was not received to its fullest critical or popular potential until well after it had left theaters, a film that was always popular but achieved new heights only after the passage of time. Of course, films are constantly rising and falling in the estimations of the taste-makers. But some experience this roller coaster ride more than others, and many among them were huge ticket sellers and critical darlings.

Films like Ghostbusters, Casablanca, or The Godfather were extremely popular and well-received upon their releases but arguably didn’t achieve “cult” status until way later. Anyway, just a thought. Any other suggestions out there for “Blockbuster Cult Classics”?

//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.

READ the article