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New Music: James Blake

By Thomas Johnson, February 1 2019 — Until James Blake’s self-titled debut album, it would have been easy to assume his definitive work would remain the triumvirate of EPs that ushered him into the 2010s. The 11 songs divided between The Bells Sketch, CMYK and Klavierwerke offered an introductory glimpse into Blake’s world, a nocturne that captured…

New Music: Deerhunter

By Troy Hasselman, January 21 2019 — Deerhunter’s music is typically characterized by its erratic nature. Throughout their career, the Atlanta-based outfit has combined elements of post-punk, noise, shoegaze, ambient and psychedelia to create a sound that has consistently evolved while remaining tethered by the uncompromising nature of frontman Bradford Cox. The band’s introverted music operates…

New Music: Earl Sweatshirt

By Troy Hasselman, January 18 2019 — The first voice you hear on Some Rap Songs, the new album from Odd Future alumni Earl Sweatshirt, doesn’t belong to Earl. Instead, you hear a brief snippet of a 1962 speech from author and civil rights activist James Baldwin called “The Artists Struggle for Integrity.” In the speech,…

New Music: Curren$y, Freddie Gibbs & Alchemist

By Troy Hasselman, November 29 2018 — There was no way this project wasn’t going to be good. In Freddie Gibbs and Curren$y, you have two veteran MC’s who have made and maintained a name for themselves with both their hard-hitting subject matter and virtuosic technique. The pairing is anchored by beats courtesy of the Alchemist,…

Calgary Film 2018: Under the Silver Lake

By Thomas Johnson, October 7 2018 — Under the Silver Lake, a Calgary Film entry by director David Robert Mitchell (It Follows), takes place in a version of Los Angeles that seems surreal through outsider eyes. Sam, an easily distracted, chain-smoking somnambulist played by Andrew Garfield, wanders the city’s hills, valleys and bomb-shelters on a bleary-eyed quest…

Calgary Film 2018: Shoplifters

By Jocelyn Illing, October 6 2018 — Walking into the ice-box theatre, I wondered to myself if the film I was about to watch was going to be worth the bitter cold. A few friends had seen it the previous night and had nothing but praise for Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters (2018). Eventually, I found my…

Calgary Film 2018: Pity

By Thomas Johnson, October 3 2018 — The premise of Babis Makridis’s Pity, at its shallowest depth, is one of an otherwise successful man, known as The Lawyer, coping with a wife-shaped hole in his life that’s newly depressed every morning when he wakes up feeling as empty as his bed. However, the deeper you fall into…

New Music: Mac Miller

By Thomas Johnson, September 13 2018 — Mac Miller played a show at MacHall in 2013. I was in first year and living in residence. Waking up to “Best Day Ever” or “Nikes On My Feet” or “Kool-Aid & Frozen Pizza” rattling through the cinder block walls was a simple fact of life, despite the fact that…

New Music: Armand Hammer

By Thomas Johnson, September 7 2018 — Rome, last year’s collaboration between Brooklyn-based underground stalwarts billy woods and Elucid, was the densest hip-hop record in recent memory. Under the Armand Hammer moniker, the duo has been responsible for some of the most caustic dismantling of modern elitism and status division since Karl Marx wrote his manifesto. Paraffin,…

New Music: Deafheaven

By Thomas Johnson, July 17 2018 — Deafheaven’s discography — as a radical outlier in a staunchly traditional metal scene and the larger conversation of independent rock — has taken an unpredictable trajectory, but a sensible one if considered chronologically. Roads To Judah (2011) was the experiment, Sunbather (2013) was the breakthrough mission statement and New Bermuda…

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