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by Cynthia Fuchs

8 Nov 2011


“It’s difficult to describe to someone who doesn’t live here,” says Birmingham, Alabama radio host Paul Finebaum. “It’s really the Israelis and the Palestinians living together in one place, day in and day out, two sides that have a long history of hate.” Really. Martin Khodabakhshian’s Roll Tide/War Eagle means to describe just a little of that history, the long conflict between the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers. Premiering on ESPN 8 November, the film features interviews with players and coaches and a few fans, all picking sides. The rivalry, says former Auburn coach Pat Dye, goes back to Alabama’s identity as an “industrial state, with coal mines and steel mills and all blue-collar people and great families, but I think they lived a little bit of a depressed life.” This might have led to an investment in football, a way to define sides, to feel superior to someone.

Former Alabama coach Bill Curry recalls that a lawyer once laid out the rivalry’s origins as based in the South’s image problems: “The Civil War and Reconstruction has emasculated the dignity of the Southern male,” he was told. “And then we move on into the 20th century and you’ve got the Depression and the image of the Southern farmer and poor people and the uneducated and the poverty. And then you got the Civil Rights movement with the dogs and the hoses, and now we’re all focused on Birmingham and Selma and once again, the culture takes a hit.” Poor Alabama, victimized by bad PR. How better to fight back than by investing in opposing teams located just 125 miles apart?

by Sachyn Mital

8 Nov 2011


Contest is now closed! Please be sure to check pick up Wish You Were Here on compact disc or vinyl!

Today marks the day that EMI releases the expanded editions of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and the best-of compilation A Foot in the Door (following the earlier deluxe release of Dark Side of the Moon. To celebrate, PopMatters would like to give you a taste of the Immersion box set via a teaser video as well as a chance to win your own copy of the remasterd Wish You Were Here. But first we’d like to share some details on these expansive new releases.

From the press release:
Wish You Were Here Immersion 5-disc edition, includes previously unreleased material from the band’s 1974 Wembley dates, including a 20-minute live rendition of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and “Raving And Drooling” and “You’ve Got To Be Crazy,” two tracks that didn’t make it onto the original album and which were subsequently reworked to become “Sheep” and “Dogs” on the “Animals” album. ‘Immersion’ comes with an exclusive photo book edited by longtime Floyd photographer Jill Furmanovsky and a 36 page booklet designed by Storm Thorgerson. A must have for all Pink Floyd fans, the collection also includes the forgotten and unique recording of “Wish You Were Here,” featuring the legendary jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli. You can immerse yourself in the Wish You Were Here Immersion Box Set via Amazon.

by Crispin Kott

8 Nov 2011


For a band who helped build their reputation on music video, it’s been a long time since Duran Duran made a promotional film worthy of their classic clips from the ‘80s, which repeatedly cast the band as a hedonistic, futuristic, slightly effeminate gang of pirates.

Some of those videos - “Girls on Film,” “Rio” and “The Chauffeur” among them - turn up in a jarring montage midway through “Girl Panic!”, the new Duran Duran film directed by Jonas Åkerlund. I say film, because it’s nearly 10 minutes long, though it could also just as easily be called an infomercial. More on that in a minute.

There is a plot, a sort of loose one which is ultimately meant to tug at memories of an era when the guys in Duran Duran were young and pretty and supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Eva Herzigova, Helena Christensen and Yasmin Le Bon were even younger and prettier. Those models appear in “Girl Panic!” and to the surprise of almost no one, they still look incredible. In fact, the only shock of all is that being married to swarthy Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon for a few decades has only served to make Yasmin Le Bon get even better as the years pass. Surely Oscar Wilde would have had an explanation for that.

by PopMatters Staff

8 Nov 2011


Recently, Zachary Houle praised Birmingham, Alabama’s the Great Book of John with words that likened them to the American Radiohead. “Have you ever wondered what Radiohead might sound like if they were a country-rock outfit? Now, sure, Wilco has already been called the American Radiohead, thanks in no large part to the experimental and sonically challenging Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but they have nothing on Birmingham, Alabama’s the Great Book of John – a band that takes the paranoia and widescreen open spaces of the British group and pushes it directly and convincingly into straight Americana.” That’s an especially high compliment given that the band’s self-titled August release is their second long-player and not an album number five in a lengthy career.

The band is led by guitarist and songwriter Taylor Shaw, who drapes these big tunes in wide sheathes of cinematic sound, while underpinning such expansive music with careful attention to lyrical detail. This new video of “Simple Things” directed by Robert Burroughs is a perfect case in point and send us back to Houle’s words to sum up the band’s work… “The Great Book of John is a staggeringly vital record, one that I would hope gets tongues wagging in music critic circles when it comes time to select the best records of the year. It might be an album out on a small label, but it’s scope and ambition deserves laurels of the highest order. Essential listening for anyone with even a casual interest in either Wilco or Radiohead.”

by Cynthia Fuchs

7 Nov 2011


“You still have to be able to talk to people, and me and Adam, we work well together. We kind of go with the flow and make things up as we go along.” Detective Ronald Fountain, of the Troy. NY PD, describes interrogations as a process, means to ends. As he and his partner Adam Mason went through this process in the case of Adrian Thomas in 2008, they wanted to know if he killed his four-month-old son Matthew. As the documentary Scenes of a Crime shows, the “flow” in the Thomas interview is increasingly disquieting. From the first moments, the detectives see him as a likely suspect—even before they know a crime has been committed. The defense will end up arguing that Matthew died of an infection, that this was the reason he had trouble breathing. But while his baby is at the hospital, police bring Thomas in, noting that he’s unemployed and must be depressed, that he takes care of seven kids, that he’s “very cold when he talked about his children.” Screening at DOC NYC on 7 November, Grover Babcock and Blue Hadaegh’s remarkable film shows the many places where crimes can occur in this process. 

See PopMattersreview.

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