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Comics

Missed Directions: Going For Gold

He's the greatest superhero you've never heard of! Well, if you follow the DCU you've probably heard of him, but may not yet have embraced him. His name is Booster Gold. And now's the time to get to know him.

Booster Gold comes to us a failure from the future only to return to the past a hero to protect the timeline. His cover? An egocentric, media-hungry, JLA B-Lister named. . .Booster Gold. In fact, not only might he be the greatest superhero you've never heard of, but it's high time Booster Gold take his place among the pantheon of the greatest superheroes of all-time.

Here's why:

1) He takes the altruism of the hero to new levels. Not only do he and his flying robot companion Skeets travel throughout time to protect and serve, Booster Gold gets absolutely no credit for his good deeds. In fact, he is sometimes derided as the result of his superficial cover (which protects anyone from going back in time and killing him before he can begin his mission).

2) Not only does he not receive credit for his good deeds, but he's out there making sure that all the good work done by the rest of the JLA is not undone. Booster Gold is a superhero who protects not only regular folks, but other superheroes as well. He's a superhero's superhero.

3) He fights the good fight. Before realizing that some points in time are fixed and unchangeable, Booster Gold tried tirelessly to save Barbara Gordon from being shot by the Joker. That's a hero who can be trusted with epic responsibilities.

4) Finally, in the great heroic tradition, Booster Gold fights the good fight, breaks the rules when they need to be (or can be) broken to do what's right. In fact, this and all the above qualities are reasons we should all try to become a little more like Booster Gold.

With a compelling storyline by Dan Jurgens and art by Norm Rapmund, Booster Gold #28, “The Tomorrow Memory Part One” is the beginning of a new cycle. It is the perfect chance for those of you who haven't to make Booster Gold the greatest you HAVE heard of. To not do so would surely be a Missed Direction.

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

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From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

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Music

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

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It's ironic that by injecting a shot of cynicism into this glorified soap opera, Johnson provides the most satisfying explanation yet for the significance of The Force.

Despite J.J. Abrams successfully resuscitating the Star Wars franchise with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many fans were still left yearning for something new. It was comforting to see old familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away, but casual fans were unlikely to tolerate another greatest hits collection from a franchise already plagued by compositional overlap (to put it kindly).

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7

Yeah Yeah Yeahs played a few US shows to support the expanded reissue of their debut Fever to Tell.

Although they played a gig last year for an after-party for a Mick Rock doc, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hadn't played a proper NYC show in four years before their Kings Theatre gig on November 7th, 2017. It was the last of only a handful of gigs, and the only one on the East coast.

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