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Pelican 'echoes' across genres

(11/10/08 5:00am)

Chicago instrumental icons Pelican often get filed under the post-metal genre, sharing the label with atmospheric forbearers like Isis and Neurosis. But 2007's "City of Echoes," the record the band stopped at the Black Cat in support of this past Wednesday, draws inspiration more from Midwestern shoegaze and the towering soundscapes of Mogwai than it does Metallica. Laurent Schroeder-Lebec, the band's guitarist, just calls it rock music.

Magnetic Fields span catalog at GWU

(10/30/08 4:00am)

Stephen Merritt has never been one to rest on his laurels. The pop virtuoso has added numerous side projects to the already impressive discography of his main group, indie rock darlings The Magnetic Fields. The band's performance Sunday night at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium was enough to leave the heads of Merritt's fans spinning for its career-spanning set list.

Yugoslav thriller hunts for answers

(09/20/07 4:00am)

On a sinister-looking mountain road on the border of Montenegro, Richard Gere sits brooding - his perpetually squinting eyes squinting over some deep truths about war. This is the description of most frames of Richard Shepard's latest film "The Hunting Party." Somewhere between a black comedy and a journalistic action flick, the kiddie coaster of a thrill ride tries to offer up a biting indictment of the international community's culpability in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. But what it underlines more effectively is the machismo ethic at work in war correspondence.

Guide To: Dinner and a Movie

(08/16/07 4:00am)

Memories of my first party at AU: "Hey, what's your major?" "Are you a freshman?" "I've got some great Dave bootlegs up in my room." There are better ways to spend your evenings with that cute new classmate you're looking to impress than at the party those weird dudes are offering you a ride to. Dinner and a movie may be outdated, but here are some fresh (and cheap) combinations that will take you out of Tenleytown and into the heart of your latest crush.

Slovenia gives EU conflicts, bad name

(03/05/07 5:00am)

One of the tough things about studying abroad in the former Yugoslavia is that every successor state uses its own currency. Every time I travel across borders, I need to get my money exchanged. Slovenia, the self-described "heart of Europe," switched over to the Euro on Jan. 1. For the Slovenian media, it seemed to symbolize even more than the 2004 ascension to the European Union. Membership in the EU was great, but the Euro was a physical manifestation. It was a little piece of Europe that Slovenes could hold in their hands, stuff in their pockets and pay for their groceries with. It was a message to the rest of the former Yugoslavia: We are Europe, and you are the Balkans. This "Balkanization" of the five other successor states has been standard operating procedure for Slovenia since independence in 1991.

Nerd rapper reboots genre

(11/06/06 5:00am)

If nerd rap has a spokesperson, it is reluctantly mc chris. The cough syrup-sipping, helium-voiced rapper, born Chris Ward, made a stop at the Rock and Roll Hotel last Monday to promote his new album, "Dungeon Master of Ceremonies." Though Ward's set was sprinkled with references to Star Wars and DQ Blizzards, he doesn't even see himself as part of the nerd rap scene, much less its leader.

'Father of Krump' uses dance to create peace

(10/12/06 4:00am)

Thomas Johnson, known internationally by stage name Tommy the Clown, is equal parts hip-hop hype man and street preacher. On Saturday, Johnson's competitive dance movement, known alternately as "krumping" and "clowning," was the subject of his performance with his troupe of Hip Hop Clowns at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda. Taking the stage in an oversized camouflage clown suit, the Father of Krump explained how his movement kept the 10 teenage clowns he'd brought with him out of L.A.'s violent gang culture.

New 'Massacre' heavy on gore, light on plot

(10/09/06 4:00am)

In the opening scene of the B-movie horror classic "Re-Animator," mad scientist Herbert West reanimates the corpse of his mentor with disastrous side effects. The lumbering corpse is just a zombie, nothing like the person that it used to be. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" has the same problem. Instead of living up to the gritty suspense of Tobe Hooper's original film, Jonathan Liebesman's prelude feels more like Marcus Nispel's 2003 remake: a flashy, bloodthirsty imitator.