Music

New CDs This Week: Eminem, Tori Amos, Jarvis Cocker... (stream)

Sarah Zupko

Eminem - Relapse

To say the record industry is hoping for big things from Slim Shady is an understatement. The music biz is in freefall, rather like print media, and Eminem is one of the few bonafide platinum disc movers left these days. Undoubtedly this one will sell well, but the truth is Marshall Mathers’ routine is growing pretty stale. Relapse is full of more violent fantasies, drug tales and moping about his screwed up family. Eminem has one of the best flows in the game and it would be nice if he would start using it to actually say something beyond self-indulgent rhymes.

Tori Amos - Abnormally Attracted to Sin

Amos continues her multimedia approach to creativity with this compelling 17-track album, each song to be accompanied by a video "visualette" as something of a documentary accompaniment to the music. Amos still defiantly creates "albums", full works of art with strong conceptual underpinnings. This is not music for the easily distracted. Sit down with the headphones on and give a solid hour of your time and stay away from that "shuffle" button.

Manic Street Preachers - Journal for Plague Lovers (UK release)

Wembley Stadium huge in the UK, but club players in the US, the Welsh trio teams up with indie rock producer extraordinaire Steve Albini on their latest effort. Manic lyricist Richie Edwards disappeared back in 1995, but the band has soldiered on ever since with Nicky Wire taking over the word crafting duties. Journal for Plague Lovers is notable for being the first Manics record since Edwards' departure to utilize his old unused lyrics.

Jarvis Cocker - Further Complications

Steve Albini is also the hand behind the controls of former Pulp leader Jarvis Cocker's latest solo album. Cocker, now resident in France, found himself in Chicago last year for a music festival and hooked up with Albini to produce some of the most rocking music of his long career. Still, elements of Pulp remain, but how could they not as he was the dominant force in that exceptional group. Cocker retains his leering lyrics and glammy Bowie-esque presence, but with a stronger backbeat than ever before.

Jason Lytle - Yours Truly, The Commuter

Grandaddy was long a critically acclaimed indie rock fave with a career spanning 14 years. Fortunately, for those missing the lush orchestra pop of that late ensemble, Jason Lytle has returned with a solo album that is very much within the canon of Grandaddy stylings. Lytle has left California for the big skies of Montana and it suits the music well. He retains the sunny Cali vibe, but the vast spaces of Montana lend a tinge of melancholoy and an expansive feel to the tunes.

Other notable releases this week:

Apostle of Hustle - Eats Darkness

Au Revoir Simone - Still Night, Still Light

Zee Avi - Zee Avi

Busta Rhymes - Back on My B.S.

Faux Hoax - Your Friends Will Carry You Home

The Field - Yesterday & Today

IAMX - Kingdom of Welcome Addiction

Iron and Wine - Around the Well

Kronos Quartet - Floodplain

Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard - Em Are I

Method Man and Redman - Blackout 2

Miss Kittin and the Hacker - Two

Passion Pit - Manners

Polly Scattergood - Polly Scattergood

Dusty Rhodes and the River Band - Palace and Stage

Savath and Savalas - La Llama

John Vanderslice - Romanian Names

The Warlocks - The Mirror Explodes

White Rabbits - It's Frightening

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image