Monthly Archives

January 2015

#KickingtheCanon by Andrew Schenker Music

The Mekons | The Mekons Rock N’ Roll

January 30, 2015
mekons

Damning rock n’ roll for its racist and imperialist legacy while having the gall to simultaneously rock like hell, “Amnesia” stands at the thematic center of The Mekons most thematically compelling record. The ninth of the fourteen songs on The Mekons Rock N’ Roll (on the UK release, anyway; the band’s US label A&M trimmed two tracks against the group’s wishes), “Amnesia” traces the history of the eponymous genre from the slave ships that “brought rock n’ roll to America” to its…

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#KickingtheCanon by Carson Lund Film

A Summer’s Tale | Eric Rohmer

January 26, 2015
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Some of Eric Rohmer’s sharpest skewerings of male psychology take as their focus guys defined by disjunctions between appearance and intention — take, for instance, the exceedingly suave manipulator in Claire’s Knee, or the willfully standoffish oaf from La Collectionneuse who nonetheless craves affection. In this regard, Melvil Poupaud’s Gaspard, from A Summer’s Tale, is one of Rohmer’s most poignantly contradictory creations. “I don’t enjoy observing people,” he broods at one…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Blackhat | Michael Mann

January 25, 2015
blackhat

Blackhat opens with a CG-animated representation of a block of data infiltrating a computer network. A tiny glowing grid sliding along a superconducting surface with what seems very much to be purposeful intent. But in and of itself it has no autonomy. It is being directed, controlled by someone else. The film closes with an action sequence taking place in Jakarta, during a Hindu religious festival called Nyepi, a New Year’s celebration symbolizing a…

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#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Tangerine Dream | Phaedra

January 24, 2015
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The daughter of Minos and wife of Theseus has long fascinated many a romantic soul — Euripides, Racine, Swinburne, and Lee Hazlewood all wove the name of Phaedra into their offerings (Hazlewood via the 1967 Nancy Sinatra-aided schlock classic “Some Velvet Morning”). Edgar Froese’s reasons for naming West Berlin synth outfit Tangerine Dream’s fifth album after the Greek figure seem altogether casual: “We’ve always been interested in Greek mythology,” he shrugged, “and the titles on [Phaedra] come from there. Not just Greek, but…

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#KickingtheCanon by Jonathan Keefe Music

Trisha Yearwood | Hearts in Armor

January 23, 2015
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Her self-titled debut may have spawned four top-ten singles, but it was on Hearts in Armor that Trisha Yearwood properly announced herself as one of the finest country artists of her generation. Informed by the end of her first marriage, the album explores both the subtle and the dramatic ways that a relationship can dissolve, and it allows Yearwood to lay bare hard-earned truths that lesser vocalists might have left hidden. Though none of the songs are explicitly autobiographical,…

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#KickingtheCanon by Daniel Gorman Film

Heat | Michael Mann

January 19, 2015
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One is tempted to think of Heat as a culmination, a kind of halfway point in the career of its director, Michael Mann. This isn’t entirely accurate, since the crime genre has been a vested interest of Mann’s both before and after Heat; one could just as easily place a demarcation point in his career later, in his transition from film to digital. But Heat still feels like a magnum opus, from its huge cast of characters to its generous length (170 minutes, the longest of Mann’s…

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#KickingtheCanon by Sam C. Mac Music

Iris DeMent | My Life

January 16, 2015
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Defined by no genre so much as she is her deep roots in Arkansas, and an uneasiness toward her Pentecostal upbringing, Iris DeMent is still more-often-than-not filed under country, thanks to an affected twang (she left the south at age three) and to her music’s distinctly blue-collar themes. This under-appreciated giant of American song isn’t so easily pegged. Her modest discography — just five records in more than thirty years — includes a Protestant gospel collection, culled from memories of her mother “singing to the sky, as…

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#KickingtheCanon

The Film Canon (1960 – 1999)

January 15, 2015
French film director Jean-Luc Godard during the filming of 'Sympathy For the Devil' (aka 'One Plus One'), featuring the Rolling Stones.  Original Publication: People Disc - HF0546   (Photo by Larry Ellis/Getty Images)

A Note on Selection and Organization Criteria: The films in our canon were categorized according to the year of their U.S. theatrical release and the distributor behind it—except in cases where a.) the time between the film’s international release and its U.S. one exceeded five years, or b.) the film never received a U.S. theatrical release at all. Those films were instead categorized by the year of their earliest, at least semi-verifiable theatrical release, and the distributor behind it (if available). On the other hand, if a film never received…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

Bob Dylan | The Times They Are a-Changin’

January 13, 2015
Dylan 1964

If The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan proved that Bob Dylan could do anything and everything, The Times They Are a-Changin’ proved that he could hone in on doing one thing very well. It’s less about breadth than depth, in other words, with Dylan removing most of the humor, romance, absurdity, and goofy fun and doubling down on protest anthems,…

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#KickingtheCanon by Josh Hurst Music

Rod Stewart | Every Picture Tells a Story

January 9, 2015
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Though it’s a truth that’s now largely forgotten, at least among the young and the terminally hip, Rod Stewart was once a pretty righteous cat — foremost among interpretive singers and endowed with gangbuster rock and roll bonafides primarily, perhaps, from his role as frontman for the Faces, as gloriously disheveled, shambolic, and spirited a rock and roll band as has ever existed. The Faces’ greatness never quite gelled into a straight-up killer LP — not unless you care to count their…

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#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Art Pepper Quintet | Smack Up

January 2, 2015
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Alternate title: The Junkie Blues. Altoist Art Pepper only had a few sessions left before a lengthy stint for heroin in San Quentin loomed, and while all the gory details of that are available in his peerless autobiography Straight Life (jointly written with wife Laurie), what matters is that one of our most distinctive post-war saxophonists was about to split his legacy into two epochs. On one side, former Kenton ensemble player works his way up the 1950s cool/bop divide, comfortable in either…

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