Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Music
In Defense Of ... Not Wanting to Hear Your Band Perform a Favorite Album Live
When a band performs its best album at shows, over and over, it's like they're admitting that they'll never achieve that particular level of greatness again. [24.Nov.14]
Flake Music: When You Land Here, It's Time to Return
The reissue of the debut album from the band that would become the Shins showcases a raw indie rock sound that bridges that gap between '90s alternative and poignant post-millennial indie pop. [24.Nov.14]
Ty Segall: $ingle$ 2
Segall's collection of cast-off numbers is a slow burn build to the single stand-out track. [24.Nov.14]
The Moody Blues: Masters of the Mini Epic
While so many of their progressive rock contemporaries were writing novels in the form of side-long suites, the Moody Blues were masters of the short story. [21.Nov.14]
Captain Beefheart: Sun Zoom Spark: 1970-1972
Sun Zoom Spark gives us a chance to re-evaluate the post Trout Mask Replica-era of the Captain Beefheart story. [21.Nov.14]
Reviews
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The reissue of the debut album from the band that would become the Shins showcases a raw indie rock sound that bridges that gap between '90s alternative and poignant post-millennial indie pop.
Segall's collection of cast-off numbers is a slow burn build to the single stand-out track.
Privacy is an album that makes us question our expectations of heavy music and, at the same time, our relationship to the scene around it, to social expectations, to people.
Future's latest mixtape proves to be the sonic equivalent of a 40-degree day.
The audio version of British producer Bonobo's latest concert video carries far less value than the DVD and fails to provide a worthwhile supplement to the studio albums.
Pinup banda provides forum for drinking stories and sex dreams; its brass lines tangle together like sweaty bodies.
Sun Zoom Spark gives us a chance to re-evaluate the post Trout Mask Replica-era of the Captain Beefheart story.
Angel Olsen expands her 2014 triumph with five bonus tracks that further exemplify her reliable talent for passionate, powerful songwriting.
Angaleena Presley steps away from the Pistol Annies for a solo album that cements her status as country music's great moralist.
It's not a perfect intro nor a set for the hardcore, but this anniversary set shows the Who are still vital after 50 years.
A rare saxophonist who is comfortable playing baritone, tenor and soprano records an album that is, simply, beautiful.
I Love You's... attempts at wedding theatrical, celestial rock with low-down, pulsing post-rock is a miss in many ways.
Bringing along a few old friends, Bryan Ferry returns to form, crafting a sophisti-pop masterpiece.
Sonic Highways is based around a high-concept idea, but the result is an affirmation of the Foo Fighters' core appeal.
Fistful of Hollow doesn't retread the ground laid out on past records, but instead offers a new path through genres Swingin' Utters continue to explore and, yet again, renders the band's sound fresh and dynamic.
These songs from New Zealand skim and dip, within waves of oceanic imagery, full of Pacific calm or pending storm.
In light of Christopher Owens' never-a-dull-moment backstory and back catalog, the last thing you'd expect is that A New Testament would be as monotonous as it is.
Jessie J fails to reach the glory of high-flying single "Bang Bang" on third album Sweet Talker.
The painful loss of their friend and collaborator haunts TV on the Radio's newest album. However, the tortured and torturous love of Seeds are all products of a grieving band refusing to recede into themselves, brazenly choosing to affirm life.
Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, Taylor Goldsmith, Jim James and Marcus Mumford add music to Bob Dylan’s lyrics for The New Basement Tapes: Lost on the River.
Though the individual tracks stand strong, The Hum's corner-cutting arrangement obscures and frustrates its most important asset: momentum.
Sam Hunt records his first full-length LP, makes an argument about genre, and is still problematic about women.
In lieu of issuing an album proper, Jens Lekman lovingly wraps three new compositions in a mixtape that plays like a gift to the listener, showing off his personal sources of inspiration.
NSYNC's songs never really defined their era so much as were merely a product of them.
pom pom is up there with Ariel Pink's very best work, even if there’s nothing as insanely hooky as “Round and Round".
Like George Harrison, whose career and influence only grew after his death, Gibb’s final efforts reveal that he too deserves a re-evaluation of his solo offerings.
When Hyponotized succeeds, it feels like a fresh start and a new direction that could worm its way into Mark Perro and Nick Chiericozzi's other band, the Men, or wander down its own weird path for quite a while.
A 1985 bestseller re-issue which fails miserably to stand the test of time to put it mildly.
With Motion, Calvin Harris delivers a pleasant album, not without flaws.
Some interesting questions, and some worthy answers from bluegrass country rockers Greensky.
Capsule Reviews
Events
Mixed Media
News
Features
In a rare interview, iamiwhoami's Jonna Lee opens up about the project's development, its future, and the two full-length albums she scrapped along the way to making the stunning blue. [19.Nov.14]
Soused’s trapped, bleating circus elephants are harbingers of the prison-planet drones and transhuman monstrosities yet to come. Prepare for heightened beatings, motherfuckers. [18.Nov.14]
Columns
In Defense Of…
When a band performs its best album at shows, over and over, it's like they're admitting that they'll never achieve that particular level of greatness again. [23.Nov.14]
The Amazing Pudding
While so many of their progressive rock contemporaries were writing novels in the form of side-long suites, the Moody Blues were masters of the short story. [20.Nov.14]
From The Blogs
When I'm a-walkin' I strut my stuff and I'm so strung out. I'm high as a kite and I just might stop to check out the 304th most acclaimed album of all time. A 1983 acoustopunk bellwether is this week's Counterbalance. [21.Nov.14]
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