An Introduction to Arthur Russell’s Weird, Wonderful World

Disco producer, avant-garde experimentalist, classically trained cellist, visionary: there are few artists who’ve been both as under-appreciated and as influential as Arthur Russell. Over the course of his career, spanning the early ’70s until his AIDS-related death in 1992, Russell’s work encompassed a bewildering variety of projects, many of which never saw the light of day until after his death. With the all-star tribute album Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell out this week (and featuring Robyn, Hot Chip, Phosphorescent, Blood Orange, and many more), it seems like a fine time to look back at the great man’s remarkably diverse and innovative discography. If you’ve always wondered just where to start with Russell, wonder no longer! … Read More

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Damon Albarn: The Essential Career-Spanning Playlist

Things are coming full circle for Damon Albarn this week, as Blur’s Parklife celebrates its 20th anniversary and his first proper solo album, Everyday Robots, makes its way into the world. The sonically eclectic and emotionally wistful album, produced by Albarn and XL Records, makes reference to its creator’s lengthy past, present, and future: Britpop posterboy, puppeteer behind pop’s greatest cartoon band, supergroup collector, world music activist and curator, producer of forgotten legends, soundtrack creep, opera experimenter, rap hook dude, electronic remixer, guy standing in the background playing keyboard on a Gil-Scott Heron record, or really anything you need from him. … Read More

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Video Essay: “How Time Travel Works”

About halfway through Looper, Rian Johnson’s electrifying new time travel actioner, Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who play the same man thirty years apart, sit at a diner and try to hash out their situation. The younger version of “Joe” starts asking questions about how his actions will affect his elder version, particularly now that they’re both in the same place, but before that conversation can get anywhere, Willis shuts it down: “If we start talking about it, we’re gonna be here all day, talking about it, makin’ diagrams with straws.”

It’s a fair point: it seems like every time travel movie — and there are plenty of them — is required to throw in a scene where some egghead tosses around a lot of jargon about the “space-time continuum” or something in order to explain how time travel works. Other movies keep it simpler: “This is what makes time travel possible: the flux capacitor!” Whatever your preference, we’ve pulled clips from over two dozen time travel movies to present this month’s video essay, “How Time Travel Works.” Check it out after the jump. … Read More

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An Introduction to the Works of H.P. Lovecraft

Howard Philips Lovecraft was born at home on August 20th, 1890, at 454 Angell Street in Providence, Rhode Island. He was a lanky, lonely child who suffered from a family history of depression, resulting in a nervous breakdown as a teenager. He never completed high school, though he was an incredible autodidact in the years to come, and was able to write some of the most bizarre and enduring “cosmic horror” novels in history that influenced a slew of writers as well as musicians like Mark E. Smith from the Fall and the guys from Rudimentary Peni (unsavory Brits apparently love the stuff). We’ve taken a few of his books from the pile in order to introduce you to the man that Stephen King called “the 20th century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.” So read on, dear readers, and tell us what Lovecraft novels you love the most. … Read More

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