Music

Cool Uncle - "Break Away" (feat. Jessie Ware) (Singles Going Steady)

Simultaneously old and new, "Breakaway" manages to compress about 40 years of R&B history into four minutes.

Evan Sawdey: Oh, this is a wonderful piano-bounce that recalls the soul-pop singles sound of the late '70s/early '80s. In the pocket. Sleek. Inoffensive in the best of ways. Also, tapping in that strange allure of how Jessie Ware just nails her guest spots each and every time. But what drink shall I sip while listening to it with sunglasses on? Your recommendations, please. [7/10]

Paul Duffus: Simultaneously old and new, "Breakaway" manages to compress about 40 years of R&B history into four minutes. Hyperbole, yes, but make no mistake, the result is refreshing and likely to please classicists and populists alike. [8/10]

Kevin Korber: This sort of '70s throwback soul sound is the thing in R&B lately, but it’s nice to hear an old hand like Caldwell return to a sound that made him somewhat famous decades earlier. He meshes well with Jessie Ware, a fan who does well to hold her own with Caldwell. If there’s a problem, it’s with Jack Splash’s production; the man doesn’t have the magic touch for the era like Mark Ronson does with early '80s radio pop, and Ware’s voice sounds weirdly neutered on this recording. Still, new music from an underappreciated legend like Caldwell is definitely something to cherish. [6/10]

Dustin Ragucos: It's like someone must've scurried into my father's cassette collection, recorded themselves performing a cover of a low quality early '80s track, and then improved the production quality heavily. Lyrically, it's nothing special, but if you're feeling like stealthily escaping into the night while the party you've just left is still going on, then this track is fine material. [6/10]

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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