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Monday, February 23 2015

Romare: Projections

How many modern electronic/downtempo acts take their primary inspiration from the Afrocentric American painter Romare Bearden? At least one.


Doe: First Four

London-based Doe resurrects '90s punk with a compilation of their First Four EPs.


Duane Eubanks Quintet: Things of That Particular Nature

The trumpeter, brother of guitarists Kevin and trombonist Robin, leads a sharp band of top players, and the result is a gem.


DMX: Redemption of the Beast

This year is barely eight weeks old, but Redemption of the Beast will likely be the worst rap album of the year.


Friday, February 20 2015

In ‘McFarland, USA’, Sports Victory Vanquishes Prejudice

Although the "Great White Hope" overtones are troubling, McFarland, USA trumps the racism of its antagonists with sports team-building.


‘Still Alice’ Is the Story of a Mind in Search for Words and Self

Julianne Moore's luminous performance as a woman with early onset Alzheimer's reveals how the disease makes it difficult to find oneself.


‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2’ Is an Exercise in Stunted Scatology

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 will be clever only to those who never outgrew hearing their first dirty joke at summer camp.


‘Dying Light’: The Terror and Triumph of Nightfall

The zombies here aren't monsters, they're just another kind of terrorist.


‘The Palm Beach Story’ and the Comedy of Patriarchy

In pure madcap fashion, Preston Sturges' wartime comedy depicts just how absurd the constraints on women are in a patriarchal society.


Sumac: The Deal

The latest project by metal titan Aaron Turner may be rough around the edges, but it's a thrilling enough ride to merit ignoring the bumps.


Phosphorescent: Live at the Music Hall

A sprawling, hits-heavy live album reminiscent of classic rock’s golden era, Phosphorescent’s Live at the Music Hall serves as a near-perfect introduction to this exceptional band.


JD McPherson: Let the Good Times Roll

Imagine rockabilly with punk overtones and you have this album, a foot-stomping, ass-shaking thing of beauty.


Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver: In Session

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver show how it's done with traditional bluegrass anthems on In Session.


Title Fight: Hyperview

Hyperview, the third studio album by the punk outfit Title Fight, finds the band wandering in a more melodious direction, for better or worse.


Thursday, February 19 2015

Mauritania’s First Academy Award Nominee ‘Timbuktu’ Examines Missing Motives

Timbuktu shows how the most intense religious conflicts are often fought without much reason or thought.


‘The Haunting of Black Wood’ Contains No Haunting Whatsoever

The issue with this ostensible haunting in Black Wood is not a paucity of dollars in the budget, but rather of tension, drama, and ideas.


Krill: A Distant Fist Unclenching

Boston's Krill gives us a healthy dose of existentialist objectivity masquerading in post-punk grit -- and maybe one of the most singular albums we'll see this year.


The Juliana Hatfield Three: Whatever, My Love

The first Juliana Hatfield Three album in over 21 years suggests a timelessness, a pop sensibility that forgets scene in favor of hitting you with pure hooks in the here and now.


Carl Barat and the Jackals: Let It Reign

Carl Barat, of Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things fame, blazes a furious, punk-inflected trail with a new band of sidemen.


Championing the Middle Ages as Innovative

Johannes Fried's erudite study traces our evolution towards reason, worldwide exploration, and rational procedures to a dynamic medieval period.


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