Leila Janah has leveled the playing field by making digital work available across the world. She got her first tattoo, her company name, with heidiminx in Dharamsala, India while they worked together to bring SamaSource to the local community.
It took nearly four years to develop the latest Final Fantasy game, and to answer fanboys everywhere: Yes, it’s worth the wait. This time, the role-playing juggernaut introduces a fresh set of spiky-haired, androgynous protagonists in whose hands the fate of the world balances. To get the job done, players must skillfully employ the improved Active Time Battle system, which now allows you to chain together attacks for a combo bonus. Balancing tactics with the new Role and Paradigm systems, players can fine-tune their party to unleash deadly barrages on enemies and alter strategies on the fly. You’ll come for the fantastic creature summoning sequences, marvel at the unparalleled cinematic presentation, stay to unlock new abilities, and remember the flat-ironed hair and leather jackets.
Dr. Dog have always prided themselves on their lo-fi aesthetic, so it’s slightly odd that they worked with producer Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, The Vines) on their latest. Thankfully, the improved production enhances the band’s sound on harmony-rich songs like “Shadow People.” While Shame, Shame still teems with the band’s brand of psychedelia, confessional songs like “I Only Wear Blue” showcase a darker side, proving there is real emotion beneath the atonal guitar solos and space-age effects. “You could say that we’re alone but we’re lonely together,” the band intones on the unsettling “Jackie Wants a Black Eye”—and that sentiment is far more embracing than it is alienating.
Since passing away in 2003, Johnny Cash has become the 2Pac of country music, pumping out posthumous albums from his now legendary sessions with Rick Rubin. If American VI: Ain’t No Grave is the final installment, it’s a fitting way to go out. Comprising cover songs ranging from Sheryl Crow’s foreboding “Redemption Day” to the Ed McCurdy classic “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream,” the album reaffirms the fact that Cash could effortlessly create lasting music with his signature tenor and minimalist instrumentation. The standout track on the album is the previously unreleased Cash original “I Corinthians 15:55,” a redemptive song that sees Cash making peace with his own passing.
As you can tell by the title, the latest effort from experimental indie rock act Xiu Xiu isn’t going be 2010’s most uplifting album, but it may be one of the most sonically satisfying. Produced by Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier, Dear God, I Hate Myself sees Xiu Xiu mastermind Jamie Stewart fully realizing his band’s sound on the swirling, orchestral opener “Gray Death” and skewed, symphonic “The Fabrizio Palumbo Retaliation.” Oh, and if that weren’t impressive enough, the haunting, Morrissey-esque title track is just one of four songs that was composed primarily on a Nintendo DS, proving that if you’re driven enough, then 64 bits is all you need to craft the soundtrack to your own personal catharsis.
When you’re named after a Shakespeare play and you have a song that’s named after a Civil War–era naval battle (“The Battle Of Hampton Roads”), chances are someone in your band went to grad school. However, instead of being plodding and pretentious, Titus Andronicus’s second album sounds like a collaboration between The Hold Steady and Conor Oberst. What separates them from other acts currently fogging up Pitchfork editors’ bifocals is that these guys can actually play. The band pull off everything from twangy barroom sing-alongs, such as “Theme From ‘Cheers,’” to fist-pumping ragers like “A More Perfect Union,” and show that an ounce of energy outweighs a lifetime of irony.
Heidi Minx interviews the founder and President of In 2 It Media, which produces celebrity charity events.
Alyssa Milano follows George Harrison’s footsteps, and is asking you to as well.