Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Photo: Geneviève Elverum

The album to listen to

Mount Eerie, Now Only

“Any chance that Phil Elverum might be through using music to make sense of the tragedy that’s swallowed his life evaporates within the opening seconds of the new Mount Eerie album. He’s still “living in the blast zone” created by the loss of his wife, cartoonist Geneviève Castrée, whose death inspired the minimalist dirges on last year’s heart-wrenching A Crow Looked At Me. Now Only is just as devastatingly direct, but there are glimmers of catharsis—of light gleaming in tears, as Elverum puts it. Where Crow occupied a numb, purgatorial present tense, the new record leaps around like a wandering mind, to vivid anecdotes from the singer-songwriter’s past. Now Only also hesitantly reintroduces some sonic variety, augmenting Crow’s stark, plainspoken folk; in this context, the crunch of doom-metal guitar on “Distortion” sounds almost hopeful, to say nothing of the hint of humor—and the presence of an actual, ironically catchy chorus—on the title track. Elverum may spend the rest of his career grappling with his grief. It’s a tough, beautiful privilege to be invited along on that journey.”
Read our Now Only review and more in this week’s album reviews.


The movie to watch

The Strangers: Prey At Night

“Once the stabbing and chasing begins, [Johannes] Roberts, the British director behind such low-budget horror items as 47 Meters Down and The Other Side Of The Door, delivers variations on every cliché and trope of movie scares—the creaking door, the creepy children’s toy, the crashing car—as he makes kickingly effective use of the camera know-how that felt so misplaced in Prey At Night’s opening stretch. But just as the movie seems to have exhausted its supply of generic guilty pleasures, it ascends to some more operatic and mordant plane of slasher-dom in a wacko sequence that involves the aforementioned “Total Eclipse Of The Heart,” a swimming pool, and a perfectly timed smash zoom.”
Read the rest of our The Strangers review.

The comic to read

Josh Trujillo, Cara McGee, and Brittany Peer, Dodge City #1


Dodge City is cute in a way that fans of manga like Princess Jellyfish or comics like Squirrel Girl will appreciate: It’s smart and motivated, driven by distinct characters who all have their own nuanced needs. [Dodge City is about] competitive dodgeball: More Whip It than the Ben Stiller vehicle, the comic follows perpetual underdogs the Jazz Pandas as they struggle to win at least one game before ending their season.”
Read the rest of our Dodge City #1 review.

The podcast to listen to

Generation Why
Abraham Shakespeare


“Winning the lottery can overwhelm anyone, but it hit Abraham Shakespeare harder than most. A 40-year-old trucker’s assistant at the time of his $30 million windfall in 2006, Shakespeare was besieged by both strangers and acquaintances looking for handouts. After Shakespeare went missing in 2009, police started to question if some of the shadowy figures that emerged from the woodwork were capable of more than begging.”
Read the rest of our review and get more podcast recommendations on Podmass.

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