Category Archives: Pop Culture

On Second Thought

A while back I expressed some cynicism regarding JRR Tolkien’s son’s decision to publish his father’s never-before-seen translation of Beowulf: When I hear that an author’s estate is about to publish a work that the author never considered publishing, I … Continue reading

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Please let the answer be yes

Grantland asks “Are We at Peak Superhero?“: Even as they dominate the box office, comic-book movies are approaching a moment fraught with peril. If one definition of a bubble is that everybody with an investment to protect insists that it … Continue reading

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Busy Earnin’

This is pretty damn catchy:

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Late Greats

Bob Dylan covering Frank Sinatra I saw him perform last summer and he seemed incapable of registering anything more than a whispery growl. Apparently he can still sing when he wants to (although presumably with the assistance of some studio … Continue reading

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Musical hurdles

There are musicians and bands that seem to deliberately place disruptive (and generally unpleasant) interludes, which I have termed hurdles, in their songs. A generous view of this tendency is that it is designed to encourage active rather than passive … Continue reading

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Spring Mix

Jessica – The Allman Brothers On the Sunny Side of the Street – Ella Fitzgerald Spring – Bill Callahan When the Roses Bloom Again – Wilco and Billy Bragg China Cat Sunflower – The Grateful Dead Classic Rock in Spring/Freeway … Continue reading

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I’m still waiting…

for Sorkin to apologize for The West Wing, but I suppose it’s good that he has finally recognized he has a problem: At Tribeca Film Festival on Monday, April 21, Aaron Sorkin apologized for trying to teach us a bunch … Continue reading

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How do I set my DVR to record 48 straight hours of television?

I’m guessing about 90% of my favorite episodes will fall in the first two days of this twelve-day marathon: This summer, the FXX network will launch “The Simpsons” in style with a 12 day marathon, showing all 552 episodes consecutively. … Continue reading

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Canola Oil, Maybe?

How genuine do we want our folk music? That’s the question posed in Jeff Tweedy’s guest appearance on the most recent episode of Portlandia, with some pretty hilarious results:

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I want all you people to listen to my song

“Mr. Johnson’s Blues No 2″ is one of my all-time favorite blues songs. Take a listen and note in particular all the tone and tempo shifts in the first 25 seconds of the song as it hits its groove. Johnson … Continue reading

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The guys who were left behind

From time to time, I’ve posted videos and links for music by Kurt Vile. His former band, The War on Drugs, has continued making music, and their new album is especially good. Here are two songs from the album. The … Continue reading

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“snuffling in baffled rage”

To buy or not to buy? Almost 90 years after JRR Tolkien translated the 11th-century poem Beowulf, The Lord of the Rings author’s version of the epic story is to be published for the first time in an edition which … Continue reading

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Settle Me Down

A song from The Men’s new album, Tomorrow’s Hits:

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they spit white noise

I’d been wondering when Stereogum would get around to doing a Hold Steady Top Ten list. Here it is at long last. Here’s one that wouldn’t make my top ten but that I still think is pretty great:

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On the Real Estate Bandwagon

As much as I wanted to like Real Estate, given their New Jersey origins, I just didn’t enjoy their first few albums. The new one, however, is fantastic.

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The Original Simpsons

Everyone except for Marge, that is: Fans of The Simpsons will enjoy “The Story,” a sweet short film made by Homer Groening in 1969. With a young Matt Groening and co-starring his sister Lisa, in “The Story,” a bedtime tale … Continue reading

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Music Detective

I’ve started watching True Detective on HBO. I’m not convinced it deserves all the praise* it’s gotten, but it’s certainly entertaining. One of the best aspects of the show, to me at least, is its effective use of music (chosen … Continue reading

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Will You Think of Me When I’m Gone?

Stereogum has a nice rundown on the quick rise and even quicker fall of The Beta Band in the late 90’s/early 00’s, as well as a list of their top ten songs. If you’re unfamiliar with the band, listening to … Continue reading

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