Music

Tree - "The King" (MP3/stream)

Chicago rapper/producer Tree flips a sample of the Elvis classic "Can't Help Falling in Love" and makes the track his own with his gruff, elastic vocal delivery and alternately tough and clever lyricism.

An Elvis song, let alone the schmaltzy classic "Can't Help Falling in Love", seems an odd choice at best for a rap sample (at worst, we're talking Dipset "Built This City" territory). But Chicago rapper/producer Tree manages to flip the sample into a soul-trap hybrid that, I don't know, just works. He spits gruff, elastic, occasionally pinch-voiced tough-talk and hippie street guru bars, slipping in affecting lyrics like "Drunk as hell, man / I probably shouldn't have a pistol." As much as the drill scene has dominated its recent rap coverage, Chicago is a city of many voices just like any other, and Tree happens to be, along with steadily rising Chance the Rapper, one of its more interesting and talented.

Director Spotlight: Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock helped to create the modern horror genre, the modern thriller, and the modern black comedy. He changed film, even as he was inventing new ways to approach it. Stay tuned through October as we present our collection of essays on the Master of Suspense.

Film

'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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