Test Spin: The Raconteurs

In the frustrating search for contemporary bands that possess classic rock ’n roll cool on top of serious musical merit, The Raconteurs rank as one the most fly and happening alternative sensations since their debut album, Broken Boy Soldier, hit stores in 2006. Living up to the proclamatory title, The Raconteurs’ new album, Consolers of the Lonely spins inventive and original rock yarns about love lost and delivers a few “fuck-yous.”

Endless and Bleak

Charles Ferguson’s No End In Sight, a documentary chronicling the war in Iraq, ponders precisely where blame is due in the “quagmire” that has erupted since the United States invaded the country in 2003. Both an infuriating and necessary film, No End In Sight does not dwell on nor aim to understand the visceral — and imprudent — associations between Iraq, 9/11, and the general global threat of terrorism. A truly sobering and well-supported approach to the much-criticized war, No End in Sight seeks specifically to penetrate and understand the colossal failings of George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz in the war in Iraq.

Looking ahead

Provost Biddy Martin delivers her second annnual Academic State of the University Address yesterday in Call Auditorium.

Persepolis: Animated Identity Crisis

Persepolis, taking its name from the ancient Persian capital, is Marjane Satrapi’s charming — though tormented — search for self and home amidst Iran’s troubled political and social past. Illustrated and narrated by Satrapi herself, Persepolis is the touching autobiography of both an Iranian and Western identity.

Discovering Jon and Wendy

Simply looking at the movie poster for The Savages conjures up a profound sense of tragedy, isolation and melancholy. Designed by Daniel Clowes, a graphic novelist best known for the book Ghost World, the movie poster illustrates the lost brother and sister Jon Savage and Wendy Savage standing solemnly and rejected in the snow. Jon and Wendy are not the fairytale children of Peter Pan — rather, they are drifting individuals brought together by tragedy. How does unimaginable tragedy — the very things we never suspect will actually come to fruition — remake the self-absorbed and pathetic? The Savages is a touching and original introspection on inescapable tragedy and compromise.

Mahjongg Test Spin

Mahjongg, and their latest album Kontpab, is without a genre, without a category, without a pigeonhole for the skinny-jeans-wearing hipster to shove them into — Kontpab is a frenzied, energetic and loud farrago of imaginative distortion and percussion sequences against a backdrop of experimental vocals. Commanding traditional indie sounds as well as raging dance tunes, Kontpab is an awesome contribution to the recent indie-dance-electronic scene. And the few who attended Mahjongg’s surprise show at No Radio Records earlier this year, discovered a refreshing and hypnotic — though small — dance party. Kontpab’s rawness is the precise dosage of noise-rock for the indie-dance-electronic scene.

Hatred, Thy Name Is Plainview

Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood is, on the surface, an acidic and harrowing narrative about merciless and greed-soaked oil prospecting in the deserted turn-of-the-century western frontier.

Earning eight Oscar nominations — including Best Picture, Best Direction and Best Actor — There Will Be Blood has unquestionably commanded attention and interest this winter season.