Recent Features
Great Vibrations: An Interview with Gary Burton

Our jazz critic talks to Gary Burton about his reunion with Pat Metheny, about starting a "gentle" jazz-rock group, and that no one seems to know what a "vibraphone" really is.

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Wheat: Medeiros / Hope and Adams

It would be tremendously heartening to view the Rebel Group's reissues of these albums as a corrective measure to the attention and praise that eluded them at the time.

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The Best of the Basket Cases: Round 2

Ben bursts open the bubble mailers and announces this round of … winners (honoring the best and brightest of the many unsolicited CDs sent to him).

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9 Jun 2009 // 9:00 PM

Bob Dylan’s Late Style

Lateness, according to Edward Said, is characterized by a kind of artistic innovation in the midst of physical infirmity. Lateness is a denial of the unifying artistic gesture, the stubborn refusal to issue a final proclamation.

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Prince’s Paisley Pals

Minneapolis, Minnesota was the center of Prince's musical kingdom, but there were a lot of musicians associated with his purple music. Here's a short list, with a few ground rules.

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“I Might Have a Late Surge and Kick All Those Guys’ Asses”: An Interview with Rhett Miller

Rhett Miller has a newfound respect for Ryan Adams, some bones to pick with Malcolm Gladwell, and -- oh yeah -- a new solo album filled with heartbreak and communication breakdowns. Right on the cusp of turning 40, it seems that Rhett Miller has finally hit his stride ...

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Blood Meridian: The Last of the True

Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian has been called unfilmable, but that doesn't stop Ben Nichols from getting ahead of the game and crafting a worthy soundtrack.

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20 Questions: Nona Hendryx

In 1962, Nona Hendryx shared a bill with everyone from Bo Diddley to the Marvelettes. She took some time with PopMatters to talk about Buster Crabbe and her knack for fixing TVs.

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Inside Prince’s Revolution

Speaking exclusively to PopMatters, longtime Prince manager Alan Leeds and Revolution keyboardist Matt Fink speak candidly about their experiences recording, filming, and making Purple Rain, and what it was truly like being inside the Revolution.

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To Lefty to Willie to Phossy with Love

Even in railing against the influence of another, the musician must admit that influence and its inescapability. Like Br’er Rabbit and the tar baby, every blow struck just brings the two closer together.

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Prince’s Anxiety of Influence and ‘Purple Rain’ in the Context of ‘80s Pop Music

Harold Bloom's The Anxiety of Influence notes how that we often attribute artistic success to being able to reconstruct our influences to create something unique, yet, as we all know, it's much more complex than that. Analyzing similar conceptual ground covered by the Police and Michael Jackson prior to Purple Rain, James Fleming dissects Prince's reaction to these other artists landmark songs, and how he was able to manifest these other pop monoliths into his own, reactionary style.

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“The Minneapolis Sound”

Purple Rain showed "The Kid" and Morris Day fighting for control of the same club in Minneapolis, with artists like Dez Dickerson and Apollonia 6 trying to get their own share of stage time as well. The film perpetuated the notion of "the Minneapolis sound", synth-based funk workouts that featured artists like Vanity 6, The Family, The Time, and several more -- the irony, of course, being that all of their songs were written, performed, and produced by Prince.

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The Importance of Being Morris: Fop vs. Fop and Duality in Purple Rain

In both Purple Rain and Graffiti Bridge, "The Kid" is pitted against Morris Day in a battle for artistic and commercial supremacy in the Minneapolis club scene. Lana Cooper digs deeper than that, though, showing that the characters are not too dissimilar, examining the psychological implications of both leads actions in these films, rife with business-minded headgames and personal attacks through pop music.

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Songwriting and Social Activism: An Interview With Nellie McKay

"If you keep your opinions and knowledge to yourself, it doesn’t change anything." McKay talks to PopMatters about her current projects, social activism, and philosophy of life in general.

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Punk’s Purple Passion

Bill Gibron was a true-blooded punk-rocker, him and a group of friends scoring gigs at the WFSU radio station and blowing the minds of the squares who didn't know their Sex Pistols from their U2. Yet somehow, the music of a small soul artist from Minneapolis wound up not only changing their lives, but wound up being championed by them as well, climaxing in a fiery performance during the 1999 tour, when, in two swift hours, racial divides were completely eradicated by the all-knowing power of modern funk.

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Baby, He’s a Star: Prince’s Life in Film

Prince's films struggled with several issues, yet the most prominent theme with most of his work was walking that line between credibility and commercialism, turning away from greed in order to embrace his inner artist (which, in Purple Rain's case, is all the more ironic, given that it made him a commercial blockbuster).

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20 Questions: Dave Wakeling

Dave Wakeling, founding member, lead vocalist and songwriter for the legendary ska band, the English Beat, is recording and touring extensively these days. Catch up with Wakeling here on 20 Questions.

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The Beautiful One: Prince and the Fashion of Purple Rain

Some people say that Purple Rain cemented Prince's image because of its music. Christel Loar argues it was that ruffled white shirt. In a personal tale, Loar shows us just how the influential fashion of Purple Rain defined herself and her friends, and what lessons a piece of big mainstream entertainment can teach us all.

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A Track-by-Track Rundown of ‘Purple Rain’

Looking at Purple Rain one song at a time, we uncover a lot of what made this album tick, an expertly paced pop-music masterpiece about love, relationships, and voyeuristic women waiting in hotel lobbies ...

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Something Wrong with the Machinery: Prince’s Pop Paradox

When Jason Buel was in a rock-band called the Royals, he played some shows to metalheads and was met with indifference. When the band broke out a cover of "Computer Blue", however, everyone noticed. Here, Buel takes us on a journey into what precisely made Prince a figure that could transcend genres so easily, and why his songs are just so ripe for covering.

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Exposition Dumps Don't Need Dialogue in 'Virginia'

// Moving Pixels

"Virginia manages to have an exposition dump without wordy exposition.

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