Latest Blog Posts

by Cynthia Fuchs

16 Aug 2011


Driving a taxi in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, Abu Jandal says the job lets him “go out and mingle with people,” and as often as he jokes and exchanges stories with fares, he also lies outright, telling one nervous client the camera on the dashboard is turned off. “It belongs to a foreign company making a film about the daily life of taxi drivers,” he says, “Because they hear there’s an economic crisis and life is hard.” The questioner doesn’t know that Abu Jandal is Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard, that he was imprisoned in Yemen for his participation in the U.S.S. Cole bombing, or that he is, at the time of filming, concerned that his brother-in-law, Salim Hamdan, is imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay. Such storytelling seems to come easily to Abu Jandal. Throughout Laura Poitras’ superb documentary, The Oath, he appears to be a good father, a deeply charismatic and manipulative interviewee, and a thoughtful former jihadist. Maybe. Though the film has no access to Hamdan, it cuts between Yemen and Guantánamo, where lawyers report on Hamdan’s trial by U.S. military commission. Abu Jandal says more than once that he feels responsible for Hamdan’s trouble, that he helped him to get work as bin Laden’s driver, a job that led to his imprisonment. Asserting his sense of responsibility for what happened to Hamdan, Abu Jandal also remains elusive, asking that Poitras “delete” an answer he’s made the day before. She does not, but rather includes the request, but it’s an inclusion that complicates Abu Jandal’s allure and credibility rather than undermining them.

See PopMattersreview.

by PopMatters Staff

15 Aug 2011


Tomorrow Detroit’s Prussia are kicking off the release of a series of 10-inch singles with “Mediator”. This three-part series is titled “Poor English” and will roll out over the next three months while the band heads out on tour with El Ten Eleven. “Poor English” is an ambitious undertaking from a group known for tackling serious subjects underneath glossy pop melodies; in this go-around they sing tales of “suicide, misogyny, sexual vacancy, and the crippling ennui of illusory love”. The band describes it best as “T.S. Eliot’s drunken scribbling on a bathroom wall”.

by PopMatters Staff

15 Aug 2011


Brian Eno recently praised the 21-year-old Cosmo Jarvis, “he is a very interesting example to me of a new kind of person; a new kind of artist.” Considering that Eno has been something of a trailblazer his entire career, it’s pretty impressive to be labeled a “new kind of artist” from the likes of him. Jarvis has a restless creative spirit that seeks many outlets, as songwriter, musician, actor and director, who has apparently already created 300 songs. He will be following up his self-titled debut with Is The World Strange Or Am I Strange?, releasing 11 October via Frame / The End Records. The new album includes the viral smash hit “Gay Pirates”, which made fans of Stephen Fry and the NME, and was intended as pro-gay sing-a-long to be sung by the “rowdy lads”. While this album is in the midst of being unveiled via singles and videos, Jarvis is hard at work directing his first feature-length film, which he also penned the screenplay for. Today we’re proud to present the US online premiere of Jarvis’ latest video for the anthemic and punky, “My Day”, a tune with rousing choruses and sneering attitude up the wazoo.

by John Bergstrom

15 Aug 2011


In the mid-to-late 1980s, lots of bands popped up that sounded like Echo & the Bunnymen. On the surface, the Wild Swans were one of them. But their story was unique.

The band’s debut album, Bringing Home the Ashes, didn’t appear until 1988. But the Wild Swans had already established their reputation for starry-eyed guitar pop magnificence with the “Revolutionary Spirit” single in 1982. release was actually produced by the Bunnymen’s Pete De Freitas. Both the Wild Swans and the Bunnymen were signed to Bill Drummond’s Zoo label. The two bands were contemporaries.

Wild Swans leader Paul Simpson is set to release the band’s first album since Space Flower in 1990. The Coldest Winter for a Hundred Years is released August 1 in Europe and the following day in the US. Simpson’s always-fluid band now includes ex-Bunnymen bassist Les Pattinson as well as members of Brian Jonestown Massacre and Spiritualized. Here, via Slicing Up Eyeballs is a free download of album track “In Secret”. Thankfully, the band’s windswept sense of nostalgia hasn’t aged at all.

  The Wild Swans, ‘In Secret’ by Slicing Up Eyeballs

by Cynthia Fuchs

12 Aug 2011


“It is curious that homosexuality is a crime [in Iran],” observes Dr. Bahram Mir-Jalali. “Why do they then give permission to transsexuals?” Certainly, gender and politics are complicated here, as revealed in Be Like Others, which begins airing on ITVS’ Global Voices 14 August. The rationale, says Cleric Kariminiaya, a theological expert on transsexuality, is found in Islamic law. For those who are transsexual, or “those that have two genders,” he says, “They need surgery. They are allowed via a sex change operation to become either a male or a female.” The problem with homosexuality is its violation of this one-or-the-other order. Homosexuals are evil; transsexuals merely need to adjust themselves to fit the established order, to “be like others.” The gender opposition that drives such efforts to conform is hardly unique to Iran or Islam. It is, after all, the ground for sex change in all cultures, that a “wrong body” can be fixed to match a soul or being trapped inside it. The premise allows no ambiguities, no mixing of male and female characteristics within one body. Tanaz Eshaghian’s excellent documentary explores the struggle such opposition poses for two young men as they “operate,” that is, prepare for and have the reassignment surgery. As they look forward to lives that seem more “natural,” they also accept the social restrictions on women: as long as they cover and submit (and carry their legal papers with them at all times), they can walk the streets in Tehran without fear of being picked up by the morality police.

See PopMattersreview.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

The Specter of Multiplayer Hangs Over 'Door Kickers'

// Moving Pixels

"Door Kickers is not a multiplayer game, but for a while there, I couldn’t tell the difference.

READ the article