Recent Features
The Sounds of Upwardly Mobile Africa

While Sub-Saharan Africa is not the first place associated with cutting edge innovation, its people have a long history of adapting, adopting, and re-imagining ideas from abroad.

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Selling Japan: How Much Is a Nation’s Culture Worth?

Via the billion-dollar Cool Japan Fund Inc, Japan is aiming to become one of the world's dominant culture forces. But can a national culture be commodified so easily?

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How Can a Listener Ignore the Influence of the Market on the Beautiful Art of Jazz?

Some will tar a record with being “commercial” due to preset notions of what one might think an artist should be doing, rather than listening for what he actually is doing.

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31 Jan 2014 // 3:14 AM

Listening Ahead: Upcoming Music Releases for February 2014

Catch an early glimpse at some of February's standout releases, including new albums from St. Vincent, Neneh Cherry, and the Notwist.

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Soul Train: The Hippest Nostalgia Trip in America

Soul Train was more than entertainment for black America. It was inspiration and validation. Questlove gives us another ride.

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No Medicine for Regret: An Interview with Mogwai

One of the most compelling indie-rock titans out there today, the intriguingly-titled Rave Tapes proves to be yet another fascinating red herring, and the band tells us about the album's development, running a label with a cadre of artists, and oh so much more ...

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What Will We Become? R.E.M.‘s “Driver 8”

In 2008 Michael Stipe introduced "Driver 8" as "a song that represents the dream of the United States of America and what it may become in the next three days." What did he mean, and has that dream come true?

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Eastern Dragons Meet Western Tigers: Wu-Tang Clan’s Debut Helped Asian Films Find a New Audience

Quentin Tarantino himself arguably wouldn’t have been so emboldened to make the Kill Bill films without that fire set forth by the Wu’s debut.

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“I Feel Like I’m Going to Be Able to Do Everything”: An Interview with Sharon Jones

Following some high-profile collaborations and soundtrack features, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings suffered through two deaths and a devastating cancer diagnosis. Jones talks about surviving such hardships and now, her most anticipated album to date.

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Beware Soaring Yarmulkes! Jon Madof and Zion8 Are Making World Music for a New World

With Zion80, Jon Madof is not making a departure so much as a logical, if inspired, continuation of the ground he’s covered the past decade.

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‘This Crisis Has Given Us Power… It’s Time To Use It’: An Interview with Savages

We speak with the intellectually-minded Jehnny Beth of Savages about gigs and the use of phones, while also discussing Throbbing Gristle, Alan Moore and Surrealist Manifestos.

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Is He a Friend of Dorothy? Is She a Dragzilla?

Who knew that every time I mowed the yard and stuck a Kelly green bandana in my back left pocket to wipe my sweaty brow, I was also advertising that I'm a male prostitute for hire?

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How Live-Streaming Social Media Websites Complicate the Male Gaze

Teenagers use social media to escape the control of authority figures, engage in sexual behavior with peers, and entertain anonymous strangers. Is this a problem?

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3 Jan 2014 // 2:59 AM

The 75 Best Songs of 2013

From the electro-dance of Daft Punk, Disclosure and Rudimental and the boundary-pushing R&B of Janelle Monae and John Newman to the warm sounds of Americana blossoming into the hippest sounds in American music and the always-compelling Kanye West, PopMatters counts down 2013's 75 best songs.

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How the Paparazzi Everyman Is Failing Our Entertainers, Failing Ourselves

Negative encounters with the media, which play out in the media, are the highly visible effects of broader cultural shifts that are occurring regardless of celebrity status.

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Can an Afghanistan Songbird Be Forever Outlawed?

Afghan musicians have always been adept at finding ways to preserve and advance their music regardless of the political or economic climate.

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No Place to Live if You’re Gay

We Americans may get disapproving looks for our "I'm not gay but my girlfriend is" t-shirts, but we don't worry that we'll be thrown in jail and tortured. Yet, in 76 countries in the world, that's a real possibility.

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10 Dec 2013 // 8:25 AM

The Best Country Music of 2013

What's going to be most often said or written about the year in country music, 2013? That it was the "year of the woman" in a Nashville that's still a man's world after all.

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10 Dec 2013 // 3:14 AM

The Best Hip-Hop of 2013

Jewel running, megalomania, acid rap, and sasquatches -- hip-hop continues to surprise in 2013.

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The Punishment Imperative: The Rise and Failure of Mass Incarceration in America

Eminent criminologists make a compelling case for why America's 40 year embrace of the punitive spirit has been morally bankrupt and endangered public safety.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Perspectives on Death in 'Game of Thrones - A Nest of Vipers'

// Moving Pixels

"How do you decide who lives and who dies?

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