Belle & Sebastian
The Life Pursuit
Seventh studio album from Scottish septet includes more adventures in image-altering, twee-free pop.
Sun, Sun, Sun
Here we are, inside The Elected's idyllic world, where the song is the thing and the natural wonders of America are the backdrop.
Konono No. 1
Their music accepts the distortion, overtones, and surprising sonorities of contemporary life, but re-imagines instrumental power from the trash heap of modernity.
Monk's Music Trio
MMT delivers another solid batch of Monk's music, this time aided and abetted by the trombones of Max Perkoff and Roswell Rudd.
It's Called Life
Aware of the usual traps for women in hip-hop, Eternia tries to step back and play the game on her terms.
Black & White 050505
Cynics beware: this is not a band cashing in and checking out, or a band trying to recapture any past cultural significance; it's a band that still has something to say and a beautiful way of saying it.
They don't make records like the Whyte Boots' "Nightmare" anymore.
Sand & Steel: The Classic Sound of Jamaican Steel Drums
Two hours of the steel drum? Yes, but be careful not to indulge both discs at one sitting. A fine introduction to this often underappreciated instrument.
Medeski Martin & Wood
15.Jan.06: Boulder, CO
Weed-chaser or straight-lacer, these boys remain a group that Phish-heads and hardcore jazz fans agree on -- a crew as crowd-pleasing as they are experimental.
brief reviews of new releases and under-the-radar music
These artists deserve a closer look. So listen up.
Eyes Like Knives
The Living Blue
Gritty Soul Men: Remembering Lou Rawls and Wilson Pickett
By Mark Anthony Neal
[27.Jan.06] :. Grit was not just about the "sound" of soul, but also the grittier social and political realities that soul music offered transcendence from. The recent deaths of Lou Rawls and Wilson Pickett mark the passing of two of the grittiest Soul Men to walk the earth.
Less Smooch, More Dance: An Interview with The Clientele
BLOOD AND THUNDER: Sweet Relief
By Adrien Begrand
[27.Jan.06] :. What if you could have the majestic intensity of metal music without the overblown male bravado? One Dutch band's frontwoman sheds some light on goth-tinged rock and single-handedly alters the dimensions of doom.
PARIS NOIR: Public Figure Him Figurehead
:. Bookmarks: Brief reviews of new and overlooked books
This week: The Singing Fish by Peter Markus; The Travel Mom's Ultimate Book of Family Travel by Emily Kaufman; The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman.
:. The Quitter
This is the main crux of Pekar, at least as he depicts himself -- he's pissed because people don't recognize his talents, but he doesn't seem to believe he's that talented at anything.
Less experimental than contrary, Steven Soderbergh's Bubble offers up a series of sacrificial objects, with remarkably little sympathy for any of them.
Annapolis is straight-up male melodrama.
:. The Spirit of the Beehive
Víctor Erice 1973 film is about a child overcoming wonder.
:. Why We Fight
Eugene Jarecki's new documentary poses its title as a question.
The contrast between Kyle's multiple layers of loss and the flurry of life that goes on without her is briefly compelling.
Bring on the Major Leagues
MY FAVORITE THING
Giving It Back to the Kids: An Interview with Broken Social Scene
The Last Temptation of the Completist
Folk Explosion: An Interview with Rick Moody
The Chameleon's Journey: An Interview with Neil Jordan
Your Hair, Your Bassist, and Your Sense of Humor: An Interview with the Darkness
Write On! Musings on Music Journalism
It's Gotta Be the Dad: Blaming Black Fathers in the World of Sports
Slightly Bigger: Interview with James Blunt
Ritual Improvisation: An Interview with No-Neck Blues Band
PopMatters Picks: Slipped Discs
Kids' DVDS: January 2006
PopMatters Picks: The Best Film, TV and DVDs of 2005
Living the Martian Dream
Rainbow and Flower Talk: An Interview with Morcheeba
Next Phase, New Wave, or Still Rock 'n' Roll?: An Interview with Nouvelle Vague
Of Anger and Twitching: An Interview with John Cale
Things Living: Interview with Don McLean
Bookmarks For Everyone: The Best Books of 2005
PopMatters Picks: The Best Music of 2005
XXX Born to Lose, Live to Win
Getting Something Out
TO BE SEEN: Art and Artifice
LETTERS FROM A BROAD: Spies Like Us, or, Not Just Anyone Can Be a Dick
REDOTPOP: A Change in Seasons (Greetings)
DREAD RECKONING: A New Kind of Magic: Part I: The Power of Prestidigitation
FROM THE CHEAP SEATS: Where Have You Gone, J.D.?: Pro Sports Fans in a Pomo Flux
STALE POPCORN: Ladies' Plight
MIND OVER MATTERS: Meta-Bullshit: The Trouble with Sarah Silverman and the Fawning Cult of Meta-Bigotry
FOREIGN DEVIL: Post (Modern) Punk
POPSHOTS: SupraDeluxe Interactive Reader Edition
MIXTAPE CONFESSIONS: Roots of Creation
THE BOX OFFICE BELLETRIST: Love Is Risky Business
PEOPLE PERSON: A Pack of Pandas
TECHKNOW: The Year in Review
ALTERNATIVE ROCK CULTURES: Chuck Berry: A-Merry-Can Rebel
ARABESQUE: Cairo in Capetown
VARIATIONS ON A THEME: Songs Without Words, or So They Say: A Meditation on Titles
THE OUTRÉ OEUVRE: Trailer Fabulous
MARGINAL UTILITY: Information Whirlwind
THE LUMIERENARY: Black (and Blue) and White and Red All Over
NEGRITUDE 2.0: In the Time of B.K. (Before Kobe)
SHH... IT'S STARTING: Ain't 'IT' a Shame