Music

Manic Street Preachers - “(It's Not War) Just the End of Love” (Behind the Scenes Video)

The Welsh agitprop rockers release behind-the-scenes footage about their video for the first single promoting their softer tenth record.

At the start of August I blogged about the new single from Manic Street Preachers, the bouncy, populist rock of “(It's Not War) Just the End of Love”. Soon afterwards we learned that the song's video was to feature Michael Sheen -- he of playing-Tony-Blair fame -- and fellow thespian Anna Friel. Now that video has emerged and turns out to be a typically oblique entry to the Manics video canon, the two stars playing a chess pros locked into an intense match -- adjudicated by the band members -- during which they suddenly become very, very friendly. Unhelpfully the video itself can't be embedded but it can be found here.

All the “pawn” jokes have been made already, so don't even think about it. There is an interesting behind the scenes video doing the rounds which in which Nicky Wire, James Dean Bradfield and Sheen talk about the video and its “repressed communist sexual tension”; that old obligatory rock video chestnut. I've been fortunate enough to hear the full album Postcards From a Young Man for review elsewhere - no doubt PopMatters will bring an incisive critique of their own to the table before long. The single is released on September 13th; the album a week later.

'Psycho': The Mother of All Horrors

Psycho stands out not only for being one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films, it is also one of his most influential. It has been a template and source material for an almost endless succession of later horror films, making it appropriate to identify it as the mother of all horror films.

Francesc Quilis
Film

The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti (By the Book)

With discussions of characters like Leon Ray Livingston (a.k.a. "A-No. 1"), credited with consolidating the entire system of hobo communication in the 1910s, and Kathy Zuckerman, better known as the surf icon "Gidget", Susan A. Phillips' lavishly illustrated The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti, excerpted here from Yale University Press, tells stories of small moments that collectively build into broad statements about power, memory, landscape, and history itself.

Susan A. Phillips
Books

The 10 Best Indie Pop Albums of 2009

Indie pop in 2009 was about all young energy and autumnal melancholy, about the rush you feel when you first hear an exciting new band, and the bittersweet feeling you get when your favorite band calls it quits.

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