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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.
Polymath Girolamo Cardano was beaten, imprisoned, survived a plague, and was banned by the church. Yet his work in medicine, engineering, mathematics and more is present in our lives today.
Hip-hop, the most lasting and revolutionary contribution to popular music in the post-War period, does not exist without the Last Poets Umar Bin Hassan's work.
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.
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.
Recent queer icon films Judy, Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman tease their key audience while keeping one foot solidly in straight land. Is this progress?
"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.
Adam Bradley's The Poetry of Pop works for what it obviously wants to be, a primer on American popular music.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Marissa Nadler and Stephen Brodsky find common ground in the shadows on the unpredictable Droneflower.
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.
Danny Goldberg's In Search of The Lost Chord: 1967 and The Hippie Idea resonates with today's activist readers.
"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.
Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski's Cold War, a sweeping romance, is equally indebted to grand spectacle and the practical compromises of wartime Europe.
Between the Buried and Me vocalist Thomas Giles recently released a new solo album and in this video, he takes us through each track.
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?
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.
Versatile percussionist Subhasis Bhattacharya steps into the spotlight with masterful Tablananda.
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.
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.
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.
A Star Is Born traffics in the sort of superficial emotion that fades faster than the ringing in your ears after a concert.
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.