Monday, June 17 2013
deepsouth and The New Black both explore American social and political history, but they take different approaches to addressing GLBT rights in America.
Although its references to the 2012 political seasons will be as dated as Murphy Brown's Dan Quayle references, 30 Rock, against all odds, goes out on a perfect note.
Investigative reporter and Detroit native Steve Miller takes us from the glory days of Grande Ballroom to the time when Kid Rock rapped -- and beyond. Wayne Kramer, Jack White, Violent J, and others appear.
PopMatters is pleased to premiere Singles by North Carolina underground heroes Spider Bags.
Writer Zeb Wells takes Wolverine down the road less taken as he develops the plot without relying on the gimmick of a love interest in Savage Wolverine…
The variety of music to absorb on Friday posed formidable challenges, and navigating from one stage to the next all day is a good way to lay waste to your body, which happens to be one of Bonnaroo’s most-popular pastimes.
As Cognition hurtles towards its final episode, I cannot wait to see if the team can maintain its momentum.
Terence Blanchard is more than a brilliant jazz trumpeter. His long-standing quintet is one of the most flexible groups in jazz, and his work as a composer of film soundtracks is distinctive.
As part of our 20 Feet from Stardom, today we explore the gospel of legendary chanteuse Merry Clayton. Our interview discusses friendship, faith, and fearlessness, principles by which this diva passionately abides.
HBO is to be commended for risking such an undertaking; it could have sailed along on another few seasons of Game of Thrones, etc. But it is programs like Witness that may prove the more enduring legacy.
Yep, it's here. It may not change the game like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy did, but there's still plenty to keep your attention on album that, of course, has to be called Yeezus.
With a songwriter of Fogerty’s calibre, you want him to keep going. Wrote a Song for Everyone certainly convinced me that he has, but more than that, it made me eager to hear him continue to do so.
This collection of short stories is a sharp, seductive venture into the foibles of marriage, infidelity and friendship among today's 30- and 40-somethings, with echoes of Updike, Freudenberger and Noah Baumbach.
Beach Day will not win any awards for being the most original band in the universe with their '60s girl group, surf rock and garage sounds, but the group is competent enough to provide a somewhat winning formula.
While there's nothing wrong with an artist exploring new avenues and using diverse styles, it seems Benga is possibly being carried by the tide and not forging his own paths and directions.
Even if the Elvis by way of trip-hop premise of Here’s Willy Moon is a gimmick, who cares when it’s this fun?
Flag-bearing Flying Nun group and New Zealand mainstays the Bats balance pop grace and idiosyncrasy on By Night, their debut EP from 1984.
Friday, June 14 2013
Typically a warm-up bonus day before the headliners kick in on Friday, this Thursday was full-bore Bonnaroo mayhem, with bigger-than-ever crowds doubling the capacity of the tents, where buzz acts like Django Django, Purity Ring, and Alt-J played hour-long sets.
Two stirring documentaries show the consequences of inhumane systems, namely, criminal justice and financial industry corruption.
The familiarity of this story cuts at least two ways in this decidedly not-new version. It means the film will rehearse and reinforce the grandly mythic saga of Superman, and provide rationales for his eyeglasses and his cape.
Torrential rains on the first day caused Friday to end early and left the Governors Ball grounds very very muddy. But throughout the weekend, music from Kanye, Cut Copy and several other bands made trudging through the sloppy field worthwhile.
The aughts are in desperate need of a new action hero. In his upcoming film, Mad Max: Fury Road, here's how director George Miller can make Tom Hardy be the new Mel Gibson (you know, in a good way).
Who are the Mythbusters? Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman take time off the set of Mythbusters to answer Gillette's challenge of "How Does He Shave?" And in a discussion with PopMatters, the Mythbusters get to the heart of why they make popular culture, and why it matters.
The story reaches new levels of dumb for the franchise and not the campy fun dumb that defined Resident Evil in the past. This is just dumb.
What does it mean to be a revolutionary leftist today?There is still that tapping at your shoulder, that whisper in your ear that you once knew, when you were young, idealistic, in college -- Marx was right and you know it.
In time for the 75th anniversary of the Man of Steel comes the first comprehensive literary biography of Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, creators of the DC Comics superhero Superman.
Attempts to update horror icons by recasting them as mere 'mistreated monsters' risk bringing them too far out of the paradoxical isolation that fuels their monstrosity.
Rouch and Morin's engrossing and powerful French sociological documentary is a fine example of cinéma vérité, and it changed the course of non-fiction filmmaking forever.
Thirty-five years after its last Ozzy Osbourne-fronted album, Black Sabbath return with 13. With career re-energising producer Rick Rubin on board, and Sabbath promising a return to its roots, expectations are understandably high. Best prepare to be disappointed.
Camped out in the Rock 'n' Roll Hotel at the corner of Sex Boulevard and Drugs Avenue, this is a record that wallows in its own filthy sweat and is an honest distillation of just about every excess known to mankind.
Diverse and daring modern jazz from a fine trumpeter and composer.
Catchy and light, Pete Yorn’s latest retro experiment finds him mining through the sounds of the mid-to-late ‘60’s accompanied by commercial artist/musician J.D. King. The result is easy-breezy fun, if ephemeral.
Afro-pop dance sampler offers up many more hits than misses.
The most beautiful, soulful and operatic female voice you're likely to hear this year comes from a large, burly, bearded man in a bear mask.
Even if we don't know the person behind Sally Shapiro, Somewhere Else proves there's still quite a musical identity to live up to and maintain.
Thursday, June 13 2013
Perfect Understanding presages romantic comedies like Four Weddings and a Funeral and Friends with Benefits.
This substantial anthology memorializes the work of one the 20th century's greatest political thinkers, for better or worse (depending upon your politics).
In Sofia Coppola's weirdly fascinating, beautifully composed film, stolen stuff doesn't feel owned or stolen, exactly, but more endlessly transferred, from one briefly desirous individual to another.
What hath Bendis wrought?! In unravelling the traditional structure of the Avengers nearly a decade ago, writer Brian Michael Bendis lay the groundwork for something truly unimaginable at the time. Something both Joss Whedon with the 2012 blockbuster, and current writer Jonathan Hickman are heirs to.
The over-the-top gore might be the true surprise of Hansel & Gretel. Shoulders are little more than golf-tees for doomed skulls.
Primavera's certainly evolved from where it started out early last decade, but it hasn't lost its special vibe that's unmatched by most of its competition.
A survey of Sherlock fans supports what broadcasters have long suspected: international viewers won't wait for new episodes on cable when the Internet is oh, so close to home.
Netflix is such a beautiful service that it’s terrifying. It’s given us everything we ever wanted, and one day we’ll look back on what a tragedy that was.
Top Gear is not really a show about cars. It's a show about masculinity.
Through comedy, the members of the Lonely Island provide another direct criticism on American subcultures and flaunt their knowledge and reverence of rap and hip hop with The Wack Album.
Super Collider is a contender for the worst metal album of 2013, and worst Megadeth album of the band's near 30-year existence.
Words that float off the page and the magic of memory, cartwheels, and family make The Witch of Little Italy a wonderful summer read.
Jesse Lortz is at his best when he assesses the damage, rather than splitting it sideways.
After two decades, the New Orleans trumpeter finally figures out how to bring his live energy into a studio setting. The result is one of the best jazz releases of the year to date.
This River was unlikely to be a radical departure from Grey's signature style, and longtime fans will be pleased that he is still ploughing the same fruitful furrow.
Benoît Pioulard frames his fourth record as a sort of meditation on faith vs. society, as though they are opposing forces, and how devotion provides succor in an uncertain and discomfiting world.
Wednesday, June 12 2013
Like the '80s movies The Internship references, it's easy to imagine catching this one on cable in a few years, and giving in to its watchable, goodhearted charms.
For fans of the stars, the fun of the opening scenes is watching them riff on the trappings of fame and particularly the personae that have been created for them in their movies and in the press.
What a savagely genius move, using an unconnected genre to examine the sociocultural impact of post-apocalyptic scifi.
Over the last few years, Primavera Sound has separated itself from other festivals that are similar on the surface by booking consistently interesting lineups highlighted by a handful of acts that don't just play anywhere.
The Aussie Wilfred fleshes out its sitcom universe with impressive worldbuilding and genuine heart amongst the weed smoke and scatological humor.
Kate Atkinson’s emphasis here lay not with romantic love but with war, and she uses this book as an opportunity to stay, if only in imagination, some of the hands that killed millions.
Interestingly, and likely due to the limitations of the system, the game flattens the presentation of Lords of Shadow back down to two dimensions. In other words, after many lackluster attempts to make a 3D Castlevania, the developers of arguably the first truly successful one chose to step back for the title directly following it.
For the past three years, Arab world dictators have been confronted by a new generation of tech savvy youth armed with hip-hop and Twitter.
Following his time with the legendary Drive-By Truckers and garnering huge accolades for his last effort, Jason Isbell decided to strip things down on his dark, personal new album, and tells PopMatters about its creation and what it's like to have that "hit" everyone wants you to play.
Eddie Cantor is a trickster who trades race, ethnicity and gender at the drop of a schtick.
Unpretentious, rich, and emotionally devastating, Sunbather is a marvel of an album that sounds like the product of a band far beyond Deafheaven’s years.
While the tracks do expand, growing before your ears from what you first think they are about to much more, they also are small, in the best of ways.
Three lives—a mother, a daughter, and a fashion designer—in exquisite miniature.
Not necessarily cute; more weird and mysterious like the person who wants to mature but cannot due to some grotesque condition.
The New Orleans trumpeter and singer tackles traditional jazz with a loose, deriviative ebullience.
Patchy, but with moments of brilliance.
Working in a genre of one poses all sorts of risks for musicians; for now, at least, Lilacs & Champagne continues to impress in a way few of its peers are able to. Their sophomore outing, Danish & Blue, modifies the mood-heavy psychedelic sonic of their debut, with the tasteful addition of piano samples throughout.
Tuesday, June 11 2013
Twisted challenges typical representations of delinquent teens early, when Danny, Jo, and their classmates discuss what it means to be a "sociopath" in their psychology class.
A long-lost brother's return sets up the film's central conflict, as well as the premise that people are trying to get away from the land instead of claiming it.
The twister that removes Oz from Kansas, with its speediness and slapstick, is quite possibly the Raimi-est act of severe weather ever brought to screen.
A Taiwan McDonalds, an Ohio mansion, a Brooklyn bookstore, and a pit of existential despair: Lin's third novel will certainly take you places.
Spinning off from The Closer could not have been easy. It sure doesn't look that way in season one of Major Crimes.
After reading the last few months of Superior Spider-Man, and especially after last week's issue #11, one question must be asked: Has Dan Slott ever watched Fringe?
With a sound and light show tailor made for the historic venue, this might be the best place in the country to see the Black Angels.
Though the medium hasn't enjoyed the success some hoped it would, podcasting has become news radio for a new generation, taking the marriage between information and entertainment to a completely new level.
George R.R. Martin's series looks and feels like a historical drama, except the audience doesn't know how the story will turn out. Martin's 'fantasy' is preoccupied with power -- its relations, differentials and dynamics -- because he's interested in the way 'history' is really made.
The Collection 1967-1970 is a brilliant set that allows us to look at Scott Walker's early years as a solo artist. But none of this clarifies our understanding of him. Instead, it confirms the big questions of identity his music has always posed.
The writers were able to keep the Perry Mason formula fresh by varying the settings in which it was applied, and coming up with new ways to deliver the twist that was a necessary feature of each episode.
In the world of the Beady Eyed man, the Partially Deaf man may be King.
Raymond Sokolov details the history of contemporary cuisine over the past 40 years. But while to him best dishes are the simplest ones, his simplistic approach to memoir writing could use more 'salt'.
Pythons is a fine slice of punchy garage pop, the kind to be blared from car stereos on sun-fueled, summer road trips that would coincide with the album’s June release.
My Gift to You serves as a sincere, brilliant ode to Crawford’s illustrious hometown.
This isn't an album that tops its predecessor, because it really has no true predecessor. One Kiss Ends It All succeeds on its own terms, and despite the finality of its title, feels open-ended, like it could lead to anything.
The Ocean journey to the depths of their namesake, and return with one of this year's best albums.
Implodes have eschewed the "addition by subtraction" mantra opting instead to force a few crooked melody lines and some stale recurring guitar riffs.
Monday, June 10 2013
With the release of last week's Green Arrow #21, the concluding chapter to "The Kill Machine" storyarc, writer Jeff Lemire proves himself to be the Isaac Newton of comics storytelling.
Somehow, Los Angeles is so bereft of crime that one captain, two senior lieutenants, and three detectives can all work one murder case.
Jeremy Irons seems to be in a constant audition to play Liberace here, his Macon a severe symbol of power who has no trouble prancing around in brightly colored gowns and jewelry
On a beach in southern Alabama, Stevie Wonder delivered a historic performance that moved the crowd's feet and their hearts.
The Pastor of Westboro Baptist Church is one of the most hated men in the US. That's OK with him, because he thinks that God hates you more than you hate Fred Phelps.
"There are things known. There are things unknown. And in between are the Doors."
The best-written book of Neil Gaiman’s career is focused, lyrical, and profoundly perceptive in its exploration of childhood and memory, and it’s also quite frightening—like one of Truman Capote’s holiday stories by way of Stephen King.
You'll kick yourself for not blasting these prog masterpieces sooner. These pieces represent their creators' highest level of artistic ambition and self-indulgence, and they're often declared the group's best composition.
In her first feature film, Aurora Guerrero introduces us to a pair of Chicana teens who develop intense feelings for one another. By telling the story of Mosquita y Mari, Guerrero crosses a new frontier in Chicano cinema.
Returning after almost an eight-year absence, Boards of Canada release an album that is an excellent springboard for new initiates as well as giving longtime fans an album worthy of their previous artistic peaks.
Despite the good work Mojo Hand does putting his life and work in historical context, the picture we get of Sam Hopkins the man is fractured and hazy.
On the one hand, Partygoing is refreshingly in sync with the group’s first two albums. On the other, each feels like its own concept album of sorts.
Four (Acts of Love) is a bit like a love affair that didn’t quite live up to its potential.
This New Mexico duo's latest is another strong collection of strange and hypnotic Americana music.