Our comic book experts return with new graphic bounty! Alex Zalben recommends the new series Mind MGMT by Matt Kindt, who spins a tale of a plane crash, memory loss and psychic spies. The second issue in the series is out now. Brian Heater suggests you check out Angelman by Nicholas Mahler, which is a story of a man who has superpowers that might be milder or meeker than those of most heroes -- fighting figurative fire with qualities like being a "good listener".
You can find Alex Zalben writing for MTV Geek or co-hosting NYC's Comic Book Club Live. Brian Heater is a journalist and the Editor-In-Chief of The Daily Crosshatch, which highlights alternative comics.
Elvis Mitchell is a critic who's brought his insights on film to the pages of the New York Times and the L.A. Weekly; he's also interviewed scores of film industry writers, actors and directors over fifteen years of hosting the LA-based public radio show The Treatment. He's even ventured into filmmaking himself, producing a series of documentaries about race and success called The Black List.
But while he's been in the business of film criticism a long time, his manner or tastes can't be called conventional. Mitchell talks about his wide-ranging cultural appetite (which has room for well-executed films like Pootie Tang), the interplay between television and film, and how he got into the business of analyzing pop culture.
The brothers McElroy -- Travis, Griffin and Justin -- are in the business of giving advice, though they don't suggest you take it. This week, they answer listeners' queries about the collision of pop culture and personal relationships. The McElroy brothers host a weekly podcast called My Brother, My Brother, and Me.
Kevin Barnes founded the experimental pop group of Montreal over fifteen years ago, and the band's sound has morphed as often as (and alongside) Barnes' various stage personae and personal ups and downs. Of Montreal's original twee pop sensibility gave way to new sounds and increasingly complicated arrangements over the years, as the band experimented with electronic, R&B, funk, disco and psychedelic music within a pop framework.
Barnes discusses why he writes so much of the band's music on his own, the theatricality of the band's live performances (from elaborate costumes and skits, to a live horse), and more.
The band's latest release, Paralytic Stalks, is out now.
Jesse explains what makes David Letterman such an especially gifted late night host in a world of very good late night hosts.
Got a cultural gem of your own? Pick your own Outshot on the MaxFun Forum.>
John Darnielle began making music as the frontman of indie rock band The Mountain Goats in 1991. The band has since gained a cult following, and Darnielle has been hailed for his eloquent songwriting as one of indie rock's greatest lyricists. The Mountain Goats' newest release is All Eternals Deck, and you can see them on tour in the US and Europe this spring.
JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. My guest, John Darnielle, is both a member of and pretty much all of the band The Mountain Goats. For 20 years now he's been writing and recording intimate songs that are intimate in unusual ways for a singer/songwriter. Often written in the third person; often taking a form that's as much of a short story as a confessional. His dozens of albums have earned him a rabid following. His latest record is called All Eternals Deck. Let's hear a little bit of a song from that album, this is For Charles Bronson.
John Darnielle, welcome to The Sound of Young America.
JOHN DARNIELLE: Thank you so much.
The Sound of Young America was in Alberta, Canada for the Calgary Folk Music Festival, four days of performances and workshops from folk, indie, rock, country, and blues musicians.
The singer-songwriter Annie Clark, performing as St. Vincent, sat down with us before performing at the festival. She got her start playing guitar for The Polyphonic Spree and in Sufjan Stevens' touring band, then struck out on her own, playing almost every instrument on her debut album, Marry Me. In 2008, Clark won the PLUG Independent Music award for Female Artist of the Year.
Clark's most recent album, Actor, is a striking blend of beautiful vocals, orchestration, and distorted guitar.