Early this year, in my write-up of the best albums of 2021, I wrote this about young hyperpop artists like Banoffee and Charli XCX, who are making some of my favorite sounds lately: “I’m a 51-year-old dad and house DJ and this music is not made for me; the target audience is decades younger, not … Continue reading Wet Leg’s debut LP is a raunchy, joyous treat and an instant rock & roll classic
You can tell that Meet Me in the Bathroom, the new documentary about New York’s explosive music scene of the early 2000s, is going to misfire from the very first sequence. A 1959 recording of actor Ed Begley reading “Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun,” Walt Whitman’s soaring tribute to New York from his masterwork … Continue reading New York’s postpunk revival deserves a better documentary than Meet Me in the Bathroom
Earlier this year, I had the honor of writing the program notes for Sydney Film Festival’s Satyajit Ray retrospective. My task was to watch and write up 10 classic Ray films selected by beloved Australian critic David Stratton for his annual retro program at the festival (and I got to talk to Stratton on the … Continue reading The exquisite films of Satyajit Ray, cinema’s great humanist
The latest season of Atlanta is weird. That may sound like stating the obvious. Atlanta is supposed to be weird. Its first two seasons, which aired in 2016 and 2018, established it as exceptionally inventive, unpredictable and adventurous television. And the weirdness is not the only thing, of course. Atlanta would have been essential viewing … Continue reading Atlanta season 3 is meandering, implosive and weird — and we need more TV like it
I couldn’t have picked a better time to watch LA 92, the 2017 documentary about the 1992 Los Angeles riots. I first watched it in July of 2020, as the U.S. was in the middle of being shaken by a summer-long rebellion against racism and police violence after the murder of George Floyd. LA 92 … Continue reading LA 92 triggered all my memories of witnessing a historic uprising
I saw Courtney Barnett at the Enmore Theatre here in Sydney at the end of last month. She was magnificent, even more than I was expecting. As I sit and type this a couple of weeks later, I’m thinking it’s one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. It was my first time seeing … Continue reading The catharsis and redemption of Courtney Barnett live
This is late, embarrassingly late. I made a draft list in January, but held off writing it up because I wanted to listen to a few more things and make some final decisions. Then for a bunch of reasons I couldn’t get around to it. My energy was consumed by my essays about Don’t Look … Continue reading A belated list of the best albums of 2021
Firenadoes, koala denialism and hanging loose: Australia’s apocalyptic bushfires prove Don’t Look Up isn’t exaggerating
This is intended as a companion piece to my recent essay about Don’t Look Up. It was originally meant to be a section of that essay, made up of no more than a few paragraphs, but as I wrote, it kept expanding. Eventually I realized I had so much to say about the bushfires here … Continue reading Firenadoes, koala denialism and hanging loose: Australia’s apocalyptic bushfires prove Don’t Look Up isn’t exaggerating
I went into Don’t Look Up, the new political satire on Netflix directed by Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice), expecting it to be heavy-handed. That was the verdict of many film critics and others I follow: that its dystopian spoof of climate politics is well-meaning but as subtle as sledgehammer. I was hoping to … Continue reading The power of Don’t Look Up is in the details
This essay is adapted from a presentation I gave at our Classic Album Sundays Sydney listening party celebrating Tame Impala’s Currents earlier this month. I’ve included a playlist, embedded below. There’s a paradox at the heart of the massive appeal of Tame Impala’s third album: it’s without a doubt a pop album, a conscious effort … Continue reading Tame Impala’s Currents: A contemporary classic of epic, obsessive psychedelic pop
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