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Books

The Kinks and Their Bad-Mannered English Decency

Mark Doyles biography of the Kinks might complement a seminar in British culture. Its tone and research prove its intent to articulate social critique through music for the masses.

Recent
Music

Slaves: Take Control

The English punk duo's bark lacks bite on this sophomore effort.

Film

In '45 Years' the Quiet Speaks Volumes

A film this quiet and understated needs every element to work in subtle harmony, and Haigh's work has 45 Years humming with dignified vitality.

Music

The Magnetic North: Prospect of Skelmersdale

It's a trip back home for singer Simon Tong as the Magnetic North paints a portrait of his hometown on their new album.

Music

Hangin' Loose: Exploring British Soul in the Music of Loose Ends

Loose Ends cultivated an art in supreme sophistication with their groundbreaking experiments in British soul and R&B during the '80s. Decades later, their music remains as potent as it was when it first graced the airwaves and clubs of both the UK and US.

Music

'A Town Called Malice': What's Happened to Working-Class Music?

Is it possible that the very idea of the working class doesn't exist in popular music today -- as if it's been erased?

Reviews

'H Is for Hawk' and for Healing

This book about grief and hawks and T.H. White is so beautifully written that even readers unable to tell robins from parakeets will be entranced.

Music

James Bay: Chaos and the Calm

On Chaos and the Calm,, singer/songwriter James Bay delivers a sound debut album that's never earth-shattering.

Music

Kate Tempest: Everybody Down

Confounding yet worthy of recognition, Everybody Down is a sound, if imperfect, effort.

Books

Nathan Wiseman-Trowse's Authorial Fancy About a Nick Drake Song

Speculation is interesting, but it seems that the best option for someone writing about Nick Drake's "Dreaming England" would be assertiveness, conclusiveness, and definition.

Music

Stornoway: You Don't Know Anything

Revisiting their newly found brand of folksy, space rock cooked up by the band on Tales from the Terra Firma, it’s anybody’s guess why these tracks were excluded from the final cut.

Books

'A Delicate Truth', An Ugly Business

The moral outrage felt by the Foreign Service whistleblowers in John le Carré's 23rd novel isn't matched by their corrupted superiors.

Film

Getting on With It in ’56 Up’

In the eighth installment of Michael Apted’s epochal documentary series, his aging participants (one of cinema’s greatest assemblage of living characters) provide not just a telescope into the past but also a kind of primer for how to live, even as the specter of mortality starts to cast its shadow.

Music

The Crookes: Hold Fast

First off, the Crookes are very good at what they do — crafting tight, catchy pop songs. Unfortunately, what they’re just as adept at doing is sounding very much like a variety of bands that came before them.

Film

What It Means to Be Human: 'Never Let Me Go''

The film, Never Let Me Go, follows the book relatively well, although it eliminates some of the story, and isn't able to mirror the novel's careful and timed revelations about the mystery of Hailsham's students.

Music

New Cassettes: Winterhead

On its sophomore album, New Cassettes outfits its slick emo pop and Britpop with post-punk affectations. It's almost enough to make you overlook some lyrical incoherence.

Music

Roots Manuva: 4everevolution

British rap elder statesman’s sixth proper album offers tight grooves, adequate rhymes, and inherent spottiness.

Music

Bombay Bicycle Club: A Different Kind of Fix

After 2010's acoustic-centered, Flaws, Bombay Bicycle Club return with another fantastic follow-up that threads the dance-pop of Passion Pit with the ambient intonations of Interpol.

Matt Edsall
Reviews

'Four Lions' With a Ridiculous Roar

Chris Morris transcends the obstacles of the delicate subject matter of suicide bombers and creates a sharp satire.

Books

Physical and Emotional Boundaries Crumble in 'Trespass'

In Rose Tremain's new novel about two pairs of siblings battling over past injustices and a stone farmhouse in the south of France, misery loves company to a fault.

Music

Slow Club: Yeah So

Moving folk-pop? Jangly rock? Sheffield duo Slow Club try their damndest to juggle both (while dodging comparisons to certain candy-coloured Detroiters) on their debut LP.

Film

He’s Lost Control

The kids who grew up in the '90s had the haunted Kurt Cobain; my generation had the tormented Ian Curtis.

Reviews

England, My England

As a biopic, it simply fails, but as a means of contemplating aspects of English history and the enigma of Purcell, this film has some intriguing moments intertwined with some glorious performances of the music of Purcell.


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