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by Evan Sawdey and Brice Ezell

18 May 2015


Face/Off (1997, dir. John Woo)

Theoretically, if a work of art is bad, we will view or listen to it only once and never return to it again; after all, if it is truly bad, why would anyone want to spend additional time with it? Yet dozens of films fall under the umbrella of “so-bad-it’s-good”, where a film’s badness becomes the very reason why we enjoy it. From the terrible direction, performances, and editing of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room to the apocalyptic nonsense of Southland Tales, so-bad-it’s-good cinema offers moviegoers the chance to have fun at the expense of itself.

by Brice Ezell

15 May 2015


Photo: Susan Leach

With the compilation LP Bocce & Bourbon: The Comfortable Songs of Chandler Travis & David Greenberger, the two eponymous songwriters look back at a life’s legacy of making music, both together and with their many side projects. Travis alone has an almost impossible amount of bands he’s involved in addition to his solo career, including the Chandler Travis Three-O, the Catbirds, the Chandler Travis Philharmonic, and the Incredible Casuals, in addition to his work with Rabbit Rabbit. Featuring seven previously unreleased songs, one radical rearrangement, and 11 tunes that span the breadth of the aformentioned Travis projects, Bocce & Bourbon is a vivid catalogue of two impressively storied careers in music.

Below you can stream “Air, Running Backwards”, a tune by Travis’ the Chandler Travis Three-O, which received a special new version for this compilation.

by Brice Ezell

15 May 2015


Run the Jewels 2, which we here at PopMatters gave the top spot on our Best Albums of 2014 list, is a triumph and a breakthrough for the creative force that is the duo of Killer Mike and El-P. The record saw Run the Jewels receive their widest acclaim to date.

by Brice Ezell

15 May 2015


Comprised of Marshall Gallagher (Swing Hero), Kamtin Mohager (Chain Gang of 1974), and Anthony Salazar, Teenage Wrist is an up-and-coming side project that’s already got an EP of tunes ready to share. That EP, Dazed will be out next week; it features six songs, one of which you can stream exclusively here at PopMatters.

“Summer” may seem straightforward on the surface, but it has multiple different components that elevate it from its ostensible indie rock surface. Although the guitars bring mid-‘00s alt-rock to mind, when paired with the vocals—whose layered production brings shoegaze to mind—there’s a nice textural juxtaposition between smoothness and harshness. There’s also a nice and brief clean guitar break mid-way through the tune, whose tone brings to mind the post-rock of Explosions in the Sky.

by Brice Ezell

15 May 2015


If Valentina sounds terribly familiar, don’t worry—it’s supposed to. David Gedge, known best for his work with the Leeds, UK-based indie rockers the Wedding Present, is also responsible for the Cinerama project, where he explores more traditional pop songwriting. Thus, it’s no coincidence that the latter project is now releasing an album called Valentina, when the former did the same in 2012.

With the new Valentina, Gedge takes the Wedding Present’s original LP and re-interprets it through the lens of the Cinerama sonic—and the results are astonishing. Heavy on swanky jazz orchestrations, smooth pop vocals, and Brian Wilson-esque arrangements, Cinerama’s Valentina is a lush pop confection. The electric guitars of the Wedding Present have been traded in for liberally used string sections, Vegas lounge pianos, and an overall air of sophistication that’s infectiously fun. This Valentina may have its roots in a previous recording, but it stands on its own as a fine orchestral pop album that hearkens back to the ‘60s without getting drunk on its own nostalgia.

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Double Take: 'Fantasia' Muses on Music

// Short Ends and Leader

"Fantasia stands alone as a virtuoso tribute to the virtuosity of its music.

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