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Tuesday, March 24 2015

Van Morrison: Duets: Re-Working The Back Catalogue

Forgoing the obvious hits and contemporary pop star collaborators, iconoclast Van Morrison raises the bar for what duet albums can and should be.


Nellie McKay: My Weekly Reader

The assortment of different tunes here suggests McKay understands the complexity of the past and reveals her empathy for a more hopeful time when love and peace were fresh thoughts rather than a debased slogan.


Damn Scandinavians! Why Are They Always So Almost Nearly Perfect?

Michael Booth sets out to investigate the mystery of Scandinavian perfection. He doesn’t find the answer, but what he does find is equally entertaining.


Erik Larson’s Latest Is a Gripping Tale of a Sinking Luxury Ship Not Named Titanic

Larson's description of the torpedoing of the Lusitania churns like an angry sea, full of detail gleaned from memoirs and letters of survivors and rescuers.


The Cribs: For All My Sisters

The Brothers Jarman maintain a taut, propulsive sound. There’s no let up at all, and even the more melodic entries maintain a considerable amount of swagger and sway.


BadBadNotGood and Ghostface Killah: Sour Soul

Does every album have to be a classic? Minor pleasures are still pleasures, at the end of the day.


The Popguns: Pop Fiction

The Popguns are an archetypal '80s/'90s Brit indie band who, although they can knock out a passable tune, lack the inspiration or adventure to stray any distance from their fixed musical roots.


Monday, March 23 2015

Revealing Strengths and Vulnerabilities

Superman reveals his identity and spends a day without his powers, but he still finds a way to be a heroic ideal.


‘Disorder’ Is Disordered All Right

Disorder doesn't know how to balance its gameplay with its story or its art with its gameplay. It's a game whose individual pieces work well on their own, but when mixed together, they only break what was in the beginning a pretty fun game.


‘A Bad Character’ Is Courageous in Its Realism and the Many Chances Its Author Has Taken

This is Deepti Kapoor’s time to paint a picture of India that no one has the nerve to do anymore.


‘Unbroken’ Is a Merely Adequate Biopic

For every powerful moment, there is a scene that lacks force and overstays its welcome.


‘The Identical’ Is So Bad It’s Not Even Hate-Watchable

The Identical is as egregious a cinematic misfire as could be imagined, bumbling its message, its music, and even in its spiritual intent during its ingratiating 107 minutes.


Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

Even though Courtney Barnett has tightened and punched up her sound, her songwriting still gets stuck in your head because she gets lost in her own imagination.


Happyness: Weird Little Birthday

UK Next Big Indie Thing loves Pavement, whispering, on US reissue of 2014 debut.


Wonder of Wonders: A New/Old Anthology From Teffi

The stories in Subtly Worded are lost gems from Russia's wacky past.


Jack DeJohnette: Made in Chicago

Modern jazz's legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette assembles a post-bop dream team from hell.


Shakey Graves: Nobody’s Fool

Americana cult favorite Shakey Graves whets the appetite of his fans with the pleasantly surprising release of the Nobody's Fool EP.


Damon and Naomi: Fortune

Another confident expression of this couple's quiet command of music and lyrics, Fortune wins us over again.


Friday, March 20 2015

‘The Divergent Series: Insurgent’ Is Borderline Insufferable

If gobbledygook was gold, Insurgent would be Ft. Knox.


‘The Gunman’ Loves Nicotine More Than Non-Stop Action

Sean Penn tries to better Liam Neeson in the middle-aged ass-kicker action film genre, and fails miserably.


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