Hot Tuna brings its time-tested acoustic blues to Spokane
When he picks up the phone to chat with the Inlander, Jack Casady is in the Japantown section of San Francisco, a city he moved away from more than 30 years ago. It still feels plenty familiar, however.
A Jimi Hendrix tribute brings the icon's old bass player and an amazing cast of guitarists to Spokane
Billy Cox heard Jimi Hendrix playing guitar before he ever laid eyes on the man who would go on to be one of the revolutionary forces of rock 'n' roll. Cox and Hendrix were both teenagers serving in the Army and stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in 1961.
Chad Ubovich's garage-rockin' Meatbodies are back with a new "loose concept" album
Chad Ubovich has an extensive and esoteric explanation ready to roll for when people ask him why the new Meatbodies album is named Alice. "Alice is not really intended to be a person or an allusion to a fictional character, but just kind of this representation of a kind of pagan view of Mother Earth, and how the world is turning away from that," he says by telephone from his home in Los Angeles.
Retro rocker Sallie Ford digs deep on Soul Sick
Sallie Ford pulls no punches on her new album Soul Sick. The Portland singer-songwriter has written and recorded a set of songs about struggling with insecurity, anxiety and depression.
Rising Seattle blues-rocker Ayron Jones returns to Spokane
As names go, Ayron Jones can drop some big ones. "I'm being well taken care of by the Seattle circle of royalty out here," he says by phone.
A new Smithsonian project paying tribute to Woody Guthrie's Pacific Northwest songs features some of the region's best musicians
Woody Guthrie is probably best known for his folk songs illustrating the life of America's rural working class, particularly the Okies he followed to California during the Great Depression. Songs like "This Land Is Your Land," "Do Re Mi" and "Dust Pneumonia Blues" earned Guthrie the sobriquet of "Dust Bowl Troubadour," and his dedication to speaking truth to power through song made him a hero to artists like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, The Clash's Joe Strummer and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy.
Bullets or Balloons takes aim at corrupt power and our "soundbite society"
"One must respect democracy despite its imperfections," bellows Bullets or Balloons frontman Chris Henderson in the opening seconds of the band's latest record, Binary Minds. "What?!" he exclaims in baffled hysteria moments later.
The Nixon Rodeo continues to gain fans and write more music, but they have no grand illusions regarding their local act
Some in the band call this "the shitty basement," but there's cushy carpet here and a fresh paint job. "Hey, this house is new," says Nixon Rodeo frontman Brent Forsyth, gathered in the basement with his band last week.
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Directed by comedian Jordan Peele, the thriller Get Out is scarily satirical
Get Out is a feature-length version of the not-quite-joking sentiment among African Americans that the suburbs, with their overwhelming whiteness and cultural homogeneity, are eerie twilight zones for black people. Far from being a one-joke movie, however, Jordan Peele's directorial debut is a clever, consistently funny racial satire and horror film mocking white liberal cluelessness and finding humor in (without dismissing) black people's fears.
The Fifty Shades sequel delivers even more boring eroticism than the original
There's something liberating about reviewing a film that is bulletproof. This franchise of novels that has struck a chord with the populace — and a thankfully waning punch line for late-night talk show hosts riffing on jokes about your mom reading bondage porn — is doing just fine, thank you very much.
A Cure for Wellness brings operatic craziness sure to irritate audiences
There's a temptation, for those who write about movies for a living, to anticipate the commercial prospects of movies before they are released. This is usually a fool's errand; anyone who believes they know exactly what will be a hit and what will be a flop should be in a far more lucrative career than film criticism.
A child's sense of goofy play reigns in The LEGO Batman Movie
In 2014, The LEGO Movie was the kind of experience which gives a film critic that elusive sense of home: Here was something that at first glance was simply a continuation of the movie industry's creatively bankrupt mining of familiar brand names and nostalgia, but instead turned out to be one of the year's best films. As written and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the improbably delightful animated feature found a brilliant game plan for turning this particular toy into a story: combining a child's anarchic sense of play with a savvy adult's perspective on how goofy yet inspired that play can look from a distance.
The "final chapter" in a dying franchise that just won't die
Alas, there is not much I can tell you about this ultimate entry in the video-game movie franchise Resident Evil. I apologize.
The universality of an acclaimed Iranian director's latest work transcends cultural barriers
In 2012, acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for his magnificent divorce drama A Separation. He was invited to join the Academy, and it is believed that he accepted (though, because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does not make its ranks public, this isn't certain).
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