Electronic music is a huge tent with so many diverse approaches, and it's more international than ever with producers around the globe pushing music forward. The year's best albums featured returns from established talents, as well as ground-breaking newcomers, and a host of women changing the old boy's club of electronic music.
Fritz Lang's The Tiger of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb are hothouse flowers of cinema with gyrating dancers, man-eating tigers, pagan magic, groaning lepers, and mythic moments. Has Lang ever come up with more desperate, mad, or heroic symbols of futile struggle?
Benjamin John Power of Fuck Buttons fame takes his latest Blanck Mass record, Animated Violence Mild, to the stage, exposing the full blown brutality of his extravagant electronics.
Folk in 2019 is an image of inclusivity and unity in the face of international political upheaval. It's most captivating in its moments of sheer, heart-bearing authenticity and ensnares with new musical bearings introduced by some of its foremost innovators and newcomers to the scene.
Dustbowl Revival's "Runaway" is from their upcoming album, Is It You, Is It Me, releasing in January. "It feels like a movie song now, big and lush and searching, and I love that," says the band's Z Lupetin.
Flashmob Records boss finds the sweet spot between groove and melody on this quality, deep house mix of Juliet Sikora's "Beat Dancer".
From his latest album Higher Ground, "Hole in My Heart" reveals how easily Jon Regen traverses between idioms of pop, rock, and jazz. Regen talks with PopMatters about the song and working with Jamiroquai's Matt Johnson as producer.
Led by Chicago veteran Jam Alker, the Jab finds the sweet spot between blues and punk with "a response to inequality, addiction, consumerism, violence" on "Riot".
Steven Bingen's Easy Rider: 50 Years Looking for America makes clear that he thinks Dennis Hopper's Easy Rider is a great film and it's not for the critics to decide.
Documentary Murder in the Front Row examines the birth, wild life, and eventual plateau of thrash metal in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In Laura Taylor Namey's Library of Lost Things, teens find security and significance in themselves as works in progress.
The world always has a reason why sex is wrong, so perhaps the most subversive element in Jacqueline Audry's Olivia is its refusal to condemn.
Randall Bramblett reissues his acclaimed, quiet masterpiece, The Meantime in 2020. "This was not an easy record technically to make," he recalls. "We were vulnerable." Listen to "Vibrating Strings".
The Curmudgeonly King of Noir Chronicled in 'Notes From the Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed'
Howard Sounes' Notes From the Velvet Underground is a beautifully considered book, with enough detail about the life and career of Lou Reed for the geeks, enough context for the historians, and just enough juicy stuff for everyone else.
In an age when the personal is political feels as necessary as ever, we identify most with experimenters who transcend the throwing-shit-at-a-wall, banging-on-pots-and-cans approach. These artists occupy the earthly just as much as they occupy the mechanical and the celestial.
Set in 18th century France, Céline Sciamma's Portrait of a Lady on Fire applies ravishing historical details to the timeless poetry of forbidden love.
Who decides who gets to be famous? What does it mean to be famous? Sharon Marcus offers insight.
Although enjoyable in that sweeping big picture kind of way, there is nothing subversive to be found in Ted Gioia's Music: A Subversive History.
Sidney Olcott's silent film Little Old New York falls into a tradition of men who find themselves strangely attracted to boys that turn out to be girls in disguise.
Through a familial lens, Jami Attenberg offers a thoughtful and often darkly funny exploration of Trumpian patriarchy in All This Could Be Yours.