Watch + Listen

Click here for pt. 1! #10: Mikal Cronin, “Weight” The opening track from Mikal Cronin’s essential MCII is a power pop gem, the likes of which can be hard to find in this decade. “Weight” seems stripped right from the heady college rock days of the late 80s and early 90s, and its hooks and melodies […] Read More >>

Well, it’s that time of year: the time when all the magazines, blogs, and podcasts start cobbling together their year-end lists. Last year, I put together a series of “lists,” generally unranked, that attempted to catalog everything I thought worthwhile about the year. And once again, the exhausting futility of list-making drove me this year, […] Read More >>

Tame Impala

Now that the favorite albums are out of the way, I wanted to wrap things up talking about some outliers and old favorites. This list shouldn’t be taken as a “best of”; rather, these are songs from albums that for one reason or another didn’t make my previous articles. While I might not wholly recommend […] Read More >>

I mentioned in an earlier article that this year I more actively sought out new music, doing my best to keep up with artists I already respected, new records from those I might have missed, and new acts worthy of attention. Even with Spotify, Rdio, YouTube, Grooveshark, and whatever else you might use to discover […] Read More >>

Spotify, the streaming music service that has completely revolutionized the way you listen to music or whatever, has compiled a list of the most streamed songs of the year, which you can check out here. As a public service and also perhaps out of some morbid curiosity, I decided to listen to this playlist, essentially to […] Read More >>

This year I plan to tackle the year in music a little differently. Tons of sites, blogs, and magazines are going to publish meticulously crafted lists, most of them ranked, and usually collaborative. I’m not really interested in ranked lists—quibbling over the placement of  #6 and #8 seems pointless when there is so much great […] Read More >>

  Unemployed is the follow up concept album to The Employee’s “See the Shadow.” On Unemployed, The Employee’s delve into the ideas of the death of the American dream and the corrupt and paranoid state of our country. While these are pretty heavy ideals to begin with, the band does a good job of blending […] Read More >>

And so it ends. Terra Nova wrapped up its first season last week, so while we wait for word from FOX on the show’s renewal for a second season—which we’re likely to get sometime in January—I wanted to spend a little time thinking about the season and where it went wrong. The biggest problem with […] Read More >>

We’ve come to FOX’s annual winter break, where they take a bunch of their shows off the air and run American Idol six nights a week. This season has been hit or miss so far, which is somewhat disappointing considering the terrific third season, but there have been some great moments, to be sure. Fringe […] Read More >>

The recent release of the generous, overwhelming, super-deluxe The SMiLE Sessions box set got me thinking about my relationship to Brian Wilson & Co. Collecting seemingly every possible version of every possible song from The Beach Boys’ 1966-67 sessions gives listeners an exhaustive set of tools with which eager fans might essentially build their own […] Read More >>

Click here for part 1 Every year I spend October (and much of September, for that matter) watching some of my favorite scary movies. I’ve written about a few of them, and we’ve talked about a few more, but there are dozens of great movies out there that aren’t as much a part of the […] Read More >>

Every year I spend October (and much of September, for that matter) watching some of my favorite scary movies. I’ve written about a few of them, and we’ve talked about a few more, but there are dozens of great movies out there that aren’t as much a part of the annual conversation for some as […] Read More >>

Horror Franchise Originals

by Kevin on October 14, 2011

I don’t care for slasher movies. Granted, that’s probably going to seem like a lie in a few minutes, because I’m about to spend them glorifying the original slasher movies. These are movies that pride themselves on not only their total body counts but in the increasingly ridiculous and occasionally graphic ways in which their […] Read More >>

This month I’m dedicating my column to talking horror movies, from the classics to the modern era. I’ve always been a horror fan, but I’ve noticed a shift in the genre over the years to include torture porn (the Saw movies, Captivity), awkward scares (The Grudge, The Haunting in Connecticut), remakes of horror classics (Halloween, […] Read More >>

The 25 Best Wilco Songs

by Kevin on September 23, 2011

In honor of next Tuesday’s release of Wilco’s excellent eighth studio album The Whole Love, I put together a list of my 25 favorite songs from the band’s career. What do you think? What are your favorites? 25. Hummingbird From A Ghost is Born, 2004 (Listen) While A Ghost is Born didn’t really work as […] Read More >>

Movie Trilogies Follow-Up

by Kevin on September 16, 2011

If you haven’t yet listened to the Planet Arbitrary Podcast #27 on Movie Trilogies, please do so, because this article assumes we’ve already made the points we made there. The problem with movie trilogies is figuring out which of them are legitimately trilogies. The assumption that I was making is that a trilogy should be […] Read More >>

OK, so I’m watching the throne. Now what? Read More >>

This week Sam Adams wrote an article for The AV Club called “The convenience trap: What the changes at Netflix reveal about an insidious trend.” In the article, Adams argues that with Netflix and its competitors going all in with instant streaming, many films are at risk for being left behind due to copyright restrictions, […] Read More >>

Last summer I was kicking around the idea for a column called “In Defense Of,” in which I would take up the cause of defending some of our (my) guilty pleasures that too often are the butt of jokes or relegated unjustly to the barrel marked “LAME.” Bands like Journey and ELO, for example, would […] Read More >>

With 2011 more than half over, I’ve been looking back at some of the albums I’ve listened to over the last 6 months and I’ve been a bit, well, disappointed. It’s probably my fault: I’ve been spending a lot of time listening to old records (that’s right kids, records) and haven’t been catching up on […] Read More >>

Click here for #50-31. Click here for #30-11. 10. “Homer the Heretic” (Season 4, Episode 3) My own views on religion notwithstanding, Homer’s struggles with his faith in “Homer the Heretic” are quintessentially American: it’s not so much belief in God that he finds difficult, just the part about getting out of bed on Sundays. […] Read More >>

Click here for Part 1. 30. “Bart the Genius” (Season 1, Episode 2) The first proper episode after the holiday special “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” finds Bart in over his head after cheating off Martin Prince and ending up in a post-hippie arts school surrounded by, well, geniuses. Despite the rough animation and […] Read More >>

I’m extremely excited to be launching my new column on Planet Arbitrary with a look at my favorite episodes of my favorite show. Growing up, The Simpsons was probably the one show I made it a point never to miss, and while the its quality isn’t near what it was in those first eight or […] Read More >>