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Monday, Apr 5, 2010
The Indian Ocean movie -- Leaving Home -- tells the story of this glorious, path-breaking band. Despite the recent loss of it's vocalist, Indian Ocean seems determined to move ever forward and on.

Indian Ocean turns 20 this year. Leaving Home, releasing this April, celebrates the life and journey of one of India’s most iconic bands.

Indian Ocean is one of very few Indian bands as old as its most ardent fans, and it is a band that has defined a generation. Young urban India is as discerning a rock audience as can be found anywhere, and it was bands like Indian Ocean that blazed the trail of homegrown rock. The story that this movie tells is thus not only about the evolution of a band, it is about the evolution of a kind of music that is today taking India by storm.


Equally inspired by rock riffs and Hindustani tradition, Indian Ocean’s music is a medley of instruments, harmonies, and languages. “Kandisa”, for instance, is lifted from an ancient Aramaic prayer of the Syrian Christian community.“Maa Rewa” is a song dedicated to the contested Narmada river and the Narmada Bachao Andolan’s heroic effort to save it, and draws heavily on local folklore, both for lyrics and melody.  Indian Ocean is one of India’s most consistently political bands, and their music often reflects this. “Maa Rewa” is equal parts protest and elegy. The band’s willingness to stand by their convictions is exemplified by their decision to score Black Friday, a controversial 2004 movie about the 1993 Bombay riots.


“Bandeh”, the album’s chartbuster, is an angry, passionate lament about the folly of communal violence. It was perhaps the strongest condemnation of riots to emerge from the nascent rock scene, reaffirming the old compact between rock music and uncomfortable truths.



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Friday, Apr 2, 2010

Everyone’s heard of The Hunger Games, right? It’s the hot new young adult dystopia by debut author Suzanne Collins, about a world in which 24 kids are forced to fight to the death on live TV.


Part of The Hunger Games’ appeal is its originality—except that, uh, it’s not actually the first book about a reality show where teens fight to the death. Here’s the trailer for the movie adaptation of Battle Royale, a Japanese book in a similar vein published in 1999 by Koushun Takami.


Are you a fan of The Hunger Games? Battle Royale? Can you see any similarities?


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Wednesday, Mar 31, 2010

Apple’s latest gadget, the iPad, is set to hit shelves next week. There’s been a lot of talk about how the shiny new tech will affect the book world. Here’s mega-publisher Penguin’s take on the matter. Will Penguin’s iPad books still be books? Or is Penguin leaving books behind?


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Thursday, Mar 18, 2010

Lapham’s Quarterly shows how artists of all stripes reside pretty far down the wages totem pole. Great writers from the past like T.S. Eliot and William Faulkner would likely be double-timing as Starbucks baristas or selling paint at Home Depot in this day and age to pursue their craft. Just goes to show the vast lot of the artistic set is about as far removed from the Wall Street baron class as one can get. After you take a gander at the chart below, head on over to Lapham’s to check out their full Spring 2010 edition.


[via Lapham’s Quarterly]


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Tuesday, Jan 12, 2010
by PopMatters Staff

PopMatters sponsor: With the introduction of our Spring 2010 Season Starter Pack, Unbridled Books continues the longtime discussion about what allows a novel to touch our hearts and our minds… at once.  They want their readers, booksellers, and reviewers to trust that when they pick up an Unbridled book, they will enjoy that rarest of pleasures, a good read. Check out their new Season Starter Pack—then share in Unbridled enthusiasm. More to come.



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