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Monday, April 14 2014

Making Sense of Nonsense and ‘Assembling Flann O’Brien’

Given Brian O'Nolan and his sly guises, one must wonder what this erudite satirist makes of this posthumous tribute to his tetchy talents.


Tony Molina: Dissed and Dismissed

This 12-song, 11-minute album from 2013, now reissued by Slumberland Records, is a quick blast of power-pop in which brief songs become representative but not reflective. They twist or deny our expectations, and are all the stronger for that denial.


Cynic: Kindly Bent to Free Us

Cynic makes technical, progressive sounding music sound fun and emotional. These guys are masterful technical musicians, but more importantly, they are great song writers.


Meridiem: A Scattering Time

A Scattering Time plays like an emblem of a different era because it is an emblem of no era, a haunting and formless musical work full of pitch-dark textural turns, proggy rhythmic tremors, and a wailing vocal thrust.


Friday, April 11 2014

Lots of Dads in the NFL in ‘Draft Day’

The good dads theme culminates in the image of the biggest, bestest dad of all, Roger Goodell on the stage, calling out the names of hopeful young men whose lives are changed forever by his pronouncement.


Nicolas Cage Is Jolted Back to Life in ‘Joe’

Nicolas Cage jolts back to life for David Gordon Green's Joe, a Southern thriller and character study that asks more of him than grimacing or wigging out.


The Jen Chapin Trio Live at the Bohemian Caverns

The wonderful folk-soul-jazz singer plays a classic jazz club at the start of her tour. If only more people were hearing this music!


Off Course by Michelle Huneven

If you haven't yet read a Michelle Huneven novel, what are you waiting for?


The Bad Plus: The Rite of Spring

The "power jazz" trio reinvents Stravinsky's avant-garde classic in a wholly new way. And darn if it doesn't sound fresh!


Before ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ Begins, Flicker Alley Is Delivering the Goods

The greatness of Flicker Alley’s 2014 Blu-ray release of the 1923 film The Hunchback of Notre Dame is evident even before the disc is slid into the player.


Joan Osborne: Love and Hate

Love and Hate offers songs that are mature, but not aged, worldly, but not cynical, in a soundscape that flows with no forcing and no faltering.


Nine Inch Nails and Coil: Recoiled

This merger of two industrial pioneers can be impressive, but never quite matches the original versions.


Rufus Wainwright: Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright

Some questionable choices, but otherwise a good place to start in the man's discography.


Wild Moccasins: 88 92

Wild Moccasins spend half of their debut slavishly recreating early '80s pop, but don't really come to life until they stop doing that later in the album.


Thursday, April 10 2014

Colin Firth Is a Haunted WWII Veteran in ‘The Railway Man’

As the torture scenes in The Railway Man focus on waterboarding, you're reminded that Japanese waterboarders were executed by Allied victors, and may pause to ponder the current debate over American waterboarders.


Kenneth Calhoun’s ‘Black Moon’ Will Keep You Awake

At first glance, Black Moon might appear to be just another variation of the zombie theme, but it isn't: this novel is written for adults.


A General, a Princess and Two Greedy, Dim-Witted Peasants

The Hidden Fortress is more "accessible" and "entertaining" than Rashômon, but Kurosawa's artistry is ever present.


Caetano Veloso: Abraçaço

The final recording of a collaborative trilogy, Abraçaço sees the seemingly ageless septuagenarian inventively fusing the Tropicália style with an indie pop sensibility.


OFF!: Wasted Years

No longer an event, a new record from this hardcore revival act won’t turn the tide for punk rock. While the rest of the band bashes away, veteran Keith Morris prattles on about what we already know.


Loss of Faith But Not Loss of Interest in God: ‘The Theology of Samuel Beckett’

In his publisher John Calder's view, Samuel Beckett retreats in his later texts, as did God from Genesis.


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