The Pop Aesthetic

The Pop Aesthetic Artists on Art and Whatever

The graphic novel debut of Anthony Bourdain is equal parts Goodfellas, Tarantino, and food porn. It's also fantastic! Ch...
07/30/2012
Required Reading: Get Jiro!

The graphic novel debut of Anthony Bourdain is equal parts Goodfellas, Tarantino, and food porn. It's also fantastic! Check out our review.

Anthony Bourdain’s profile certainly has raised over the past dozen years. 2000′s Kitchen Confidential made him an instant buzzworthy star of the budding celebrity chef scene and led directly to similar books of essays. A Cook’s Tour—the written travelogue of his debut television series—begat the wi...

Our most anticipated movie of Summer 2012 stars Frank Lengella and a robot. Guess what it's called!
07/10/2012
Trailer Review: Robot & Frank

Our most anticipated movie of Summer 2012 stars Frank Lengella and a robot. Guess what it's called!

Summer 2012 has only just begun and it’s already been a fantastic season for cinema. We’ve been at the movie theater more often in the past couple months than ever before, and when you see a lot of movies, you see a whole lot more trailers. Some have been fun…

Hot new summer jamz! Sweet new tunes from Breakbot, Cat Power, Slime Girls and Ventla!
06/29/2012
The Playlist: June

Hot new summer jamz! Sweet new tunes from Breakbot, Cat Power, Slime Girls and Ventla!

It’s hot out! How does this always happen? Yes, Summer begins the third week of June, but we always expect a more steady increase in temperature with the blazing days in July, not this sudden ramp up to boiling the last week of Spring. NOT A RACE, EARTH!

06/11/2012
Record Review: Japandroids' "Celebration Rock"

The aptly-titled Celebration Rock is "the greatest rock achievement of 2012."

Let’s talk about Japandroids for a minute, shall we? Odds are that if you already have an opinion on Japandroids, it’s enthusiastically positive. The Vancouver duo exploded onto the scene in 2009 and brought with them a wave of unprecedented noise that was absolutely lacking in the landscape of cont...

05/28/2012
The Playlist: May

Hey, kids! We heard you like new music! So here are some sweet tunes from The Hive, Fang Island, and our favorite act from Blip Festival 2012 NY, Omodaka! Hot music for you Memorial Day barbecue!

We've been waiting over three years for The Unfinished Swan, but it's looking better than ever in this new trailer!
05/22/2012
Trailer Review: The Unfinished Swan

We've been waiting over three years for The Unfinished Swan, but it's looking better than ever in this new trailer!

With the onset of 3D graphics in computer games of the 1990s, the dominant perspective of mainstream gaming steadily transitioned from side-scrolling to first-person. Point-and-click adventures like Myst were early successes, but shooters like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Marathon challenged the entire ...

FANTASTIC new music from Andy Dixon (Secret Mommy), Xiu Xiu, Infinity Shred (formerly Starscream) and Muscles. Pop on yo...
04/30/2012
The Playlist: April

FANTASTIC new music from Andy Dixon (Secret Mommy), Xiu Xiu, Infinity Shred (formerly Starscream) and Muscles. Pop on your headphones and enjoy!

So much good music! No time to chat about it! Look down, listen up, and go outside because the weather (here in New York, at least) has been nonstop delightful for weeks! Go, go, live!

Like Picross, but wish it had a bit more tongue-in-cheek Bible humor? Then you're gonna love NoNoSparks Genesis!
04/27/2012
Indie Game Spotlight: NoNoSparks Genesis

Like Picross, but wish it had a bit more tongue-in-cheek Bible humor? Then you're gonna love NoNoSparks Genesis!

Nonograms are a niche form of logic puzzle that, remarkably, still haven’t found the sort of widespread mainstream embrace that sudoku and kenken puzzles have. We say “remarkably” because, as those who’ve been exposed to nonograms are well aware, nonograms are awesome. The majority of gamers who’ve ...

Ah, sci-fi action blockbusters... you are completely rife with ridiculously awful clichés. I love you so.
04/20/2012
Trailer Review: You Say You Want Some Action Movie Clichés?

Ah, sci-fi action blockbusters... you are completely rife with ridiculously awful clichés. I love you so.

The problem with revamps is that they are invariably compared to their earlier incarnations, which is, to a degree, unfair to the vision of the new project and the creative people involved. So, for the sake of objectivity, let’s forget all about Total Recall, the 1990 Paul Verhoeven blockbuster that...

Our two favorite comic books right now are two brand-new high-concept science fiction books, both from critically-belove...
04/10/2012
First Impressions: Image's Nouveau Science-Fiction

Our two favorite comic books right now are two brand-new high-concept science fiction books, both from critically-beloved writers at Image Comics!

Image Comics is currently in the midst of a year-long celebration of the publisher’s twentieth anniversary. Founded by seven artists sick of the rigid structure and lack of creative control of their properties at Marvel and DC, Image has seen a number of success stories over the years that have allo...

The Pop Aesthetic's cover photo
03/31/2012

The Pop Aesthetic's cover photo

We couldn't possibly think of a reasonable way to review the videogame "Journey" without gushing endlessly, so instead m...
03/20/2012
Carnet de Voyage: Journey

We couldn't possibly think of a reasonable way to review the videogame "Journey" without gushing endlessly, so instead me made a travel journal!

thatgamecompany have rapidly driven to the forefront of the games-as-art movement. Jenova Chen and company produced impressive and unique PC games in the form of Cloud and fl0w before being picked up by Sony for a three-game exclusive contract for the Playstation 3, a mutually-beneficial relationshi...

"So good to have another Magnetic Fields album to stand out from the monotony of commercial pop and angst-filled rock."
03/13/2012
Record Review: The Magnetic Fields' "Love at the Bottom of the Sea"

"So good to have another Magnetic Fields album to stand out from the monotony of commercial pop and angst-filled rock."

There are several entire generations of snarky hipster snobs who can identify the exact moment they became aware of the Magnetic Fields—and, by association, songsmith Stephin Merritt. Some were drawn to the instrumentals used throughout Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete & Pete. Some were wooed by...

What would you do if the world were to end in three weeks? That's the question in this new Steve Carell/Keira Knightley ...
03/06/2012
Trailer Review: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

What would you do if the world were to end in three weeks? That's the question in this new Steve Carell/Keira Knightley diaster rom-com from the screenwriter of "Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist."

An asteroid is careening towards the Earth. Efforts to stop it—which we can only imagine being of the 1998 Bruce Willis/Ben Affleck feature Armageddon variety—have failed. The end is nigh. Everybody on the planet knows they only have three weeks left to live, so what do they do with their last days?...

"Wubbadubbadub, is that true?" It's a new entry in Nintendo's zany music-based minigame series!
03/01/2012
Game Review: Rhythm Heaven Fever

"Wubbadubbadub, is that true?" It's a new entry in Nintendo's zany music-based minigame series!

You are a boy meeting up with a cute girl after school. Maybe she likes you. Oh wait, there’s a boy gopher hanging out nearby and he’s trying to impress a lady gopher! Oh no, all the afterschool sports teams are playing now, too, and they keep kicking their balls near your double date! You’d better ...

Sizzling hot new tracks from Selebrities, Santigold, Ugly Kids Club and Kupek made this February one of the sultriest in...
02/27/2012
The Playlist: February

Sizzling hot new tracks from Selebrities, Santigold, Ugly Kids Club and Kupek made this February one of the sultriest in our recent memory.

February is not a month particularly associated with increased humidity—at least, not around here in New York. Nonetheless, these four tracks all slid their way under our headphones this month and steamed things up for us all February long. We’re thankful it’s the shortest month of the year, we’re n...

The second volume of chiptune tributes to Daft Punk veers into dubstep and grime. It's also thoroughly bouncy and fun!
02/23/2012
Hey! Listen! "Da Chip vol. II"

The second volume of chiptune tributes to Daft Punk veers into dubstep and grime. It's also thoroughly bouncy and fun!

Daft Punk changed the landscape of electronic music so drastically that it’s hard to imagine modern dance music or club culture without Daft Punk. Everything that came after the debut of Daft Punk has been in some way indebted to the robotic French duo of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem Chr...

"Reign of Terror is an album that is designed to be listened to at a degree of loudness that would be classified as incr...
02/20/2012
Record Review: Sleigh Bells' "Reign of Terror"

"Reign of Terror is an album that is designed to be listened to at a degree of loudness that would be classified as incredulous. It doesn’t always carry the appropriate degree of swagger, but oh my holy flippin’ glob is it still a tremendous amount of swagger."

The raucous and exuberant explosion of guitar thrash and sweet pop vocals scored Brooklyn duo Sleigh Bells cavalcades of street cred and blog buzz when their self-titled EP was released in 2009. Their sound was unmistakable for anybody else at the time and seemed custom-tailored for commercial licen...

"Paralytic Stalks is unlikely to be anybody’s favorite of Montreal album, but it is unmistakably an of Montreal album."
02/06/2012
Record Review: of Montreal's "Paralytic Stalks"

"Paralytic Stalks is unlikely to be anybody’s favorite of Montreal album, but it is unmistakably an of Montreal album."

Not counting compilations, demos, EPs, remixes and the like, Paralytic Stalks is of Montreal’s eleventh studio album. As such, it’s only safe to assume that most people who had any interest in Kevin Barnes’ unique brand of psychedelic pop would’ve generated an opinion on the band by now, and the ban...

New music from Sleigh Bells, Xiu Xiu, and... did somebody say something about Blue Man Group? Oh man, this is awesome!
01/30/2012
The Playlist: January

New music from Sleigh Bells, Xiu Xiu, and... did somebody say something about Blue Man Group? Oh man, this is awesome!

It’s a whole new year, kids. New opportunities, new ambitions, new music. If these four selections from the past month are any indicator, 2012 is going to be a fantastically exciting year for all of us. Let’s get things started with a bang!

"Avatar: The Last Airbender" is back! In comic book form! This new story picks up where the show left off, and we can't ...
01/27/2012
Required Reading: Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Promise, Part 1

"Avatar: The Last Airbender" is back! In comic book form! This new story picks up where the show left off, and we can't wait to see more!

Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender was the rare sort of cult phenomenon embraced by fans and the parent company. While never being the biggest ratings smash for the children’s television network nor garnering much success in the ever-necessary merchandising department, Nickelodeon continued to...

Having made our year-end top 10 lists two years in a row, Cloud Nothings return with an aggressive and raw record that p...
01/23/2012
Record Review: Cloud Nothings' "Attack on Memory"

Having made our year-end top 10 lists two years in a row, Cloud Nothings return with an aggressive and raw record that positively seethes with discomfort and completely rocks out in the process.

It’s difficult to accept, at times, that Steve Albini exerts little to no influence on the albums he engineers. Albini famously refuses the “producer” credit on the thousands of records he’s worked on, but it’s hard not to acknowledge the enthrallingly raw voice of so many of the albums he’s had his...

The Aye-Ayes have steadily built a solid fanbase in Manhattan over the past few years. We almost don't want them to get ...
01/20/2012
Hey! Listen! — It's Immediate

The Aye-Ayes have steadily built a solid fanbase in Manhattan over the past few years. We almost don't want them to get any bigger. Almost. Songs like "Every Mile," "Find Pete A Woman," and "It's Immediate" are just too catchy to not share.

There are precious few things like a good ol’ fashioned local band. The Aye-Ayes are one of those best-kept-secret sort of bands that have been steadily gigging all over Manhattan for the past several years, ranging their shows from unglamorous house parties and dive bars to beloved scene establishm...

The trailer for the new Wes Anderson film is the most Wes Anderson piece of cinema ever to not be an art school parody o...
01/17/2012
Trailer Review: Moonrise Kingdom

The trailer for the new Wes Anderson film is the most Wes Anderson piece of cinema ever to not be an art school parody of Wes Anderson. It's amazing. You've got to see this.

The New York Times said of Wes Anderson—around the release of his fourth film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou—that he was one of the only American filmmakers with a distinctive visual style, putting the relatively young and niche director in the ridiculously small and enviable company of Quentin...

01/11/2012
First Impressions: Sound Shapes

We went hands-on with the PS Vita title where sound design IS level design, and we loved it!

On a superficial level, Sound Shapes is another platformer. You begin on the left-hand side of the screen and roll and jump your way to the right-hand side of the screen, avoiding obstacles and hazards (which are all conveniently the color red. Don’t touch red things, okay?).

As one of the first original downloadable titles for the 3DS, does Pushmo pull it off, or is this cute puzzle game a pus...
01/06/2012
Game Review: Pushmo

As one of the first original downloadable titles for the 3DS, does Pushmo pull it off, or is this cute puzzle game a pushover?

Nintendo had a bit of a tough time in 2011. Having absolutely redefined what it meant to be a “gamer” with the crossover mega-sensations of the DS and Wii, both platforms were clearly on their last legs and first-party software development had moved along to their successors, causing a drought of wo...

Better late than never! Our top 10 albums of 2011! Did you favorites make the cut?
01/03/2012
The Top 10 Albums of 2011

Better late than never! Our top 10 albums of 2011! Did you favorites make the cut?

Self-respecting media nerds with fondness for lists we are, our countdown of our favorite albums of 2011 was finished weeks ago. Technical difficulties and server errors, though, prevented that list from being published at the predetermined time and date, though, so here we are, in the year 2012, wi...

A holiday mixtape! Probably not safe-for-work/family unless your work/family is pretty cool.
12/21/2011
Christmas is Getting Dark

A holiday mixtape! Probably not safe-for-work/family unless your work/family is pretty cool.

We wanted to leave you with a little something this holiday weekend, and there are more than enough resources for the more traditional holiday music, especially the poppy indie tunes all over the internet. Instead, we opted for something a bit… darker…

After much debate, we've finally come up with our list of our favorite videogames of 2011. These ten games combined game...
12/16/2011
The Top 10 Videogames of 2011

After much debate, we've finally come up with our list of our favorite videogames of 2011. These ten games combined gameplay and presentation in ways that kept us coming back for more and telling all our friends.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember all the things that happen in a set period of time. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when we started discussing nominees for our top videogames of the year list that we and our colleagues realized that 2011 was a ridiculous year for games. Big action AAA gamers had new...

Holy cow, Future of the Left have a new EP! It's almost as long as their albums! Socially-aware post-punk from Wales liv...
12/09/2011
Record Review: Future of the Left's "Polymers are Forever"

Holy cow, Future of the Left have a new EP! It's almost as long as their albums! Socially-aware post-punk from Wales lives on!

Typically, rockers grow mature over time and lose their rebellious edge. In some cases, rockers fear losing their edge or the notion that they may have never had an edge at all and put on the air of rebellion in order to remain relevant after their breakout success. Andy Falkous is the rare breed of...

Our favorite surprise endings of 2011! Why we kept talking about Super 8, Portal 2, Fringe and Ghost Trick for months!
12/05/2011
Spoiler Alert

Our favorite surprise endings of 2011! Why we kept talking about Super 8, Portal 2, Fringe and Ghost Trick for months!

More often than not these days, excellent media is defined by the surprises packed along the way, most commonly as twist endings. Let’s blame Shyamalan. Not all of them are good (let’s once again blame Shyamalan), but some of them are absolutely jaw-droppingly wild. Here are the surprise endings of ...

Print's not dead, it's just become niche. And now there are inexpensive ways to print your own books on demand and repla...
12/02/2011
Big Ideas, Small Printers

Print's not dead, it's just become niche. And now there are inexpensive ways to print your own books on demand and replace your daily newspaper with a personalized slip of receipt paper!

The combination of electronic media and a continuously poor economy have slowly suffered large chunks of the once-omnipotent print media to their unforeseen deaths. Newspapers are being replaced by blogs, books by e-readers even printed instruction manuals for videogames have been replaced by tediou...

Shoegaze, electronic pop and dancehall classics. It's the Playlist for November, and dang is it catchy!
11/28/2011
The Playlist: November

Shoegaze, electronic pop and dancehall classics. It's the Playlist for November, and dang is it catchy!

We honestly believed, deep down in the cockles of our hearts, that November would be a cold month of somber introspection leading into the holidays. Then the internet had to come along and decide that November was a month for flippin’ awesome music. Prepare to rock your gloom away and then dance you...

Just a few of the things we're thankful for this holiday. Mostly Muppets. Because we love Muppets.
11/23/2011
Giving Thanks

Just a few of the things we're thankful for this holiday. Mostly Muppets. Because we love Muppets.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, that most revered of distinctly American holidays when we celebrate warmth and gluttony, coupled with the tradition of announcing the things we are most thankful for. Of course we at The Pop Aesthetic are thankful for our friends and our continued health and opportunity...

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