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Books

'Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar' (excerpt)

Ravi Shankar was bemused by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds and other bands using the sitar in rock music. Enjoy this excerpt from biography Indian Sun, by Oliver Craske (who worked with Shankar on his 1997 autobiography), courtesy of Hachette Books.

Oliver Craske
Recent
Books

Flip It Over: An Ode to the B-Side

We determine what song is worthy of the "A" or "B" side -- not the music industry. On Will Stockton and D. Gilson's 33 1/3 B-Sides.

Music

Peering Through the Hazy Past: Floyd Patterson and Fats Domino

Even as Black America continues to battle crime, violence, death, and a hostile political and economic policy, it can be soothing to peer through the haze and marvel at the richness of Black American stories. Two such stories: Floyd Patterson and Fats Domino.

Books

Irving Berlin: New York Genius (By the Book)

Exploring the interplay of Irving Berlin's life with the life of New York City, noted biographer James Kaplan offers a visceral narrative of Berlin as self-made man and witty, wily, tough Jewish immigrant. Enjoy this excerpt of Kaplan's book, Irving Berlin: New York Genius.

James Kaplan
Film

Rupert Goold's 'Judy' and the Queer-ing of the Biopic

Recent queer icon films Judy, Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman tease their key audience while keeping one foot solidly in straight land. Is this progress?

Books

Ted Gioia's 'Music: A Subversive History' (By the Book)

"Sound," writes musician, author, and historian Ted Gioia in Music: A Subversive History, "is the ultimate source of genesis... A song can contain a cataclysm." In this beguiling excerpt, Gioia leads us to the sound of the universe itself.

Ted Gioia
Books

'The Poetry of Pop', Stretches the Definition of Pop Generously

Adam Bradley's The Poetry of Pop works for what it obviously wants to be, a primer on American popular music.

Music

Jenny Hval's 'The Practice of Love' Is Brainy, Conceptual, and Hugely Entertaining

Jenny Hval's The Practice of Love is a playful, conceptual pop record that makes sorting through its heady themes as fun as listening to it.

Books

By the Book: I'd Fight the World: A Political History of Old-Time, Hillbilly, and Country Music

I'd Fight the World explores the connection between country music and electoral politics, giving us a glimpse into how politicians used celebrity long before the rise of the "movie-actor president" and the "Twitter president".

Film

A Private Revolution: Jean-Luc Godard's Second Wave

Jean-Luc Godard's cinematic oddities First Name: Carmen, Détective, and Hélas pour moi, newly released on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber, embody the vast landscape of possibilities open to the director during the '80s and '90s.

Music

Beth Bombara's 'Evergreen' Shines with Vintage Americana Vibes and Sincere Songwriting

Evergreen comes together so well because Beth Bombara's songwriting chops are so mature, her band is so seasoned, and she has something honest to say.

Film

How Bruce Springsteen-Inspired Film, 'Blinded by the Light', Came to Light

Director Gurinder Chadha and author/journalist Sarfraz Manzoor discuss the culture clash that inspired their film, Blinded by the Light, based on Manzoor's cross-cultural memoir, Greetings from Bury Park.

Books

Chris Schwartz's Memoir on Founding Ruffhouse Records Gleans but Doesn't Illuminate

Chris Schwartz's memoir on founding Ruffhouse Records attempts to be many things but doesn't fully deliver on any of them, making for a conventionally-structured memoir that often reads as slapdash and dry.

Books

By the Book: 'An Encyclopedia of Political Record Labels'

Focusing on vinyl records and the labels that released them, An Encyclopedia of Political Record Labels traces the parallel rise of social movements in the second half of the twentieth century and the vinyl record as the dominant form of music distribution.

Books

On Warren Zevon, the "Kurt Vonnegut of Rock Music"

Author C. M. Kushins talks with PopMatters about the complicated legacy of Warren Zevon, from crack-up to recovery and back again, and his research for Nothing's Bad Luck: The Lives of Warren Zevon.

Books

'Pick Up the Pieces' Is a Primer in Music as Cultural Memory

John Corbett's writing is often poetic in Pick Up the Pieces: Excursions in Seventies Music, with each essay being a resonant reflection on the music, artists, scenes, and memories seemingly etched deeply in his being.

Music

Go Inside 'The Pink Chateau': An Interview with In the Valley Below

In the Valley Below return for their first full-length album in five years, while adding a provocative film to enhance the sights and sounds of their heightened double vision.

Film

'Her Smell' Is a Rollicking Fever Dream of Abuse and Redemption

Director Alex Ross Perry, a master of acidic comedy, continues his stellar partnership with Elisabeth Moss in Her Smell, a fast-burning rock drama that takes place mostly behind-the-scenes.

Books

A Troubled Sound Rings on in Danny Goldberg's 'In Search of the Lost Chord'

Danny Goldberg's In Search of The Lost Chord: 1967 and The Hippie Idea resonates with today's activist readers.

Music

Wanderwild Goes "Platinum" on New Single (premiere)

"Platinum's" crisp, punchy guitars and soaring, wide-ranging vocals bring to mind familiar Wanderwild touchstone bands like Interpol and the Strokes and act as an insistent and catchy calling card for their upcoming release.

Film

Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Is a Lustrous, Slyly Subversive Melodrama

Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski's Cold War, a sweeping romance, is equally indebted to grand spectacle and the practical compromises of wartime Europe.

Music

Track By Track: Thomas Giles (Between the Buried and Me) - 'Don't Touch the Outside'

Between the Buried and Me vocalist Thomas Giles recently released a new solo album and in this video, he takes us through each track.

Film

'Vox Lux' Is an Oblique Meditation on Innocence, Celebrity and Trauma

Brady Corbet's second film, Vox Lux, has a chaotic relationship with celebrity and carries a heavy — some might say overloaded — symbolic heft. How is it that it's still so fun?

Books

So Long to All That: Jeff Tweedy Tells His Story

Wilco founder Jeff Tweedy creates a frank, plain-spoken tale of love, perseverance, and recovery in his memoir, Let's Go (So We Can Get Back).

Film

'Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.' Is a Studied but Incomplete Portrait of the Artist and Activist

The new documentary by Steven Loveridge, Matangi/Maya/M.I.A., is an imperfect homage to the talents of its star, albeit with brief moments of fascinating inquiry at its center.

Film

On Susan Seidelman's Film of Aimless Desire, 'Smithereens'

The experiences you have in NYC are not the best experiences to be had, the sex you have is not the best sex, the friends you make are not the best of all possible friends—but they ought to be.

Books

'Novel Sounds' and the Southern Institution’s Rock 'n' Roll Problem

In Novel Sounds, scholar Florence Dore is interested in how a mass cultural phenomenon like rock 'n' roll can help illuminate realities about institutionalized high culture.

Film

TIFF 2018: Teen Spirit

Max Minghella's first feature film, Teen Spirit, has two really good music videos -- and some confused ideas about mentorship.

Film

'What Price Hollywood?' and the Birth of the 'Star Is Born' Films

The A Star is Born films have been born, re-born, and born again for almost a century, making them part of America's cultural fabric. Here's a look at how it all started.

Film

Formulaic 'A Star Is Born' Doesn't Hit Many High Notes

A Star Is Born traffics in the sort of superficial emotion that fades faster than the ringing in your ears after a concert.

Film

Ethan Hawke's Gaze in 'Blaze' Foley Biography Is Quite Clear

Blaze is the sort of film that takes the piss out of the legend, showing a life that's sadder for the wasted talent and what could have been.

Music

The Drunken Hearts at Grandoozy: Colorado-Based Band Continues Prime Climb to Top

After the unexpected death of his drummer, Drunken Hearts frontman Andrew McConathy renewed his commitment to music with four fellow outsiders who found a home in Denver while becoming one of the best little bands in Colorado. Now it's time for the rest of America to listen up.

Music

Ashleigh Flynn & the Riveters Get the Job Done With "This Love" (premiere + interview)

After years of working as a solo artist, Ashleigh Flynn had every reason to find strength in numbers and form a rock band with determined women who want to play by their rules.

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