Beatriz at Dinner

Film by Miguel Arteta

 

Salma Hayek plays opposite John Lithgow in Beatriz at Dinner, the newest film from the award-winning minds of director Miguel Arteta and screenwriter Mike White. Hayek portrays Beatriz, an immigrant from a poor town in Mexico who has built a life as a health practitioner and whose path crosses with the self-made billionaire Doug (Lithgow) at a swanky dinner party in the hills of Los Angeles. Exploring the widening gulf between the world’s haves and have-nots, Beatriz at Dinner offers shrewd insight into contemporary controversies, from economic polarities to the necessities of human kindness. The film garnered praise following its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in Utah and went on to launch the following Sundance festival in London.
(Film Nation Entertainment) (Roadside Attractions)

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Capacity

Album by Big Thief

 

The trails that Brooklyn’s Big Thief — Adrianne Lenker (guitar, vocals), Buck Meek (guitar), Max Oleartchik (bass), and James Krivchenia (drums) — take us down on Capacity, the band’s highly anticipated second record, are overgrown with the wilderness of pumping souls. After last year’s stunning Masterpiece, Capacity was recorded in a snowy winter nest in upstate New York at Outlier Studio with producer Andrew Sarlo.

The album jumps right into lives marked up and nipped in surprisingly swift fashion. Lenker’s songs introduce us to a gallery of multifaceted women and deal with the complicated matters of identity — at once dangerous and curious, though never unbelievable. Lenker shows us the gentle side of being ripped open. Tricked into love, done in and then witnessing the second act of pulling oneself back together to prepare for it to all happen again, but this time to a sturdier soul, one who is going to take the punches better than ever before and deal some jabs and roundhouses of their own. (Saddle Creek)

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Best of Crime Rock

Album by Chain and The Gang

 

American musician, singer, author and talk show host Ian Svenonius came to attention in 1990 with his highly influential punk band, Nation of Ulysses. Svenonius went on to lead the likewise significant group The Make-Up, then Weird War, as well as other lesser-known side projects. This summer’s Best of Crime Rock is a collection of newly recorded hits from Chain and the Gang—Sveononius’ latest and current band with bassist Anan Nasty, guitarist Francy Graham and drummer Mark Cisneros. The album includes two brand new songs and is easily the band’s best record since their 2006 birth, unleashing an arrow-sharp passion and accuracy that hits at the heart of who Chain and the Gang is. In their own words, “Chain & the Gang don’t care about grades, likes, traffic or hits… They want total destruction of the insipid rock ’n’ roll status quo and the foul system it purports to offer relief from—but in fact keeps afloat.” (In The Red Records)

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I’m Not Your Man

Album by Marika Hackman

 

English singer-songwriter and instrumentalist Marika Hackman has been making waves since she and Cara Delevingne briefly but enthusiastically formed a band as teenagers. Backed by her former schoolmate, folk artist Johnny Flynn, Hackman signed to Transgressive in 2012 and has opened for the likes of Laura Marling. I’m Not Your Man, Hackman’s second and latest album, delves into issues of sexual identity, millennial ennui, social media and being young in the creative industry and is meeting with rave reviews. The album is Hackman’s third project with award-winning producer Charlie Andrew, in addition to her EP and debut album. “The record’s all about female relationships, romance and breakdowns,” says Hackman, “but there’s also a dim worldview going on. I’m Not Your Man can either mean ‘I’m not your man, I’m your woman,’ or it can mean ‘I’m not a part of this.’ ” (Sub Pop)

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Witness

Album by Benjamin Booker

 

New Orleans songwriter Benjamin Booker showcases ambitious talent in his second album, Witness, delving deep into his love for eccentric soul, R&B and blues. Witness draws on a variety of influences— from William Onyeabor’s 70s African psych-rock to Freddie Gibbs and Pusha T—while still invoking the garage-punk intensity that marked his eponymous 2014 debut. The title track is Booker’s most pithy song to date and features guest vocals of Mavis Staples. As noted by NPR, “[Booker] — who’s favored a sound like the blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll mixed with gasoline and a lit cigarette — leans into more explicitly gospel territory here, letting his strepitous guitar take a backseat to an upright-piano melody and choral harmonies.” All ten of the album’s tracks were penned by Booker, produced by Sam Cohen (Kevin Morby) and mixed by Shawn Everett (Julian Casablancas, Alabama Shakes). (ATO Records)

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Like Art

Book by Glenn O'Brien

 

“‘Like Art’ was the title of my Artforum column that ran from 1985 to 1990, but it was also my philosophy of advertising. Advertising was like art, and more and more art was like advertising. Ideally the only difference would be the logo. Advertising could take up the former causes of art—philosophy, beauty, mystery, empire. We were clearly living in a time of extremist hypocrisy where various forms of creative work descried one another. Price-gouging painters looked down on lowly craftsmen and entertainment journeymen. Millionaire rock stars adopted a quasi-communist stance, emphasizing the anti-commercial aspect of their work.”— Glenn O’Brien

Influential writer, editor and creative director Glenn O’Brien built his life on a shrewd understanding of art as well as advertising. Beginning with his appointment by Andy Warhol as editor of Interview, O’Brien went on to become a social fixture in downtown Manhattan for the remainder of his life, wearing many hats including that of his Artforum column on advertising, which ran from 1984-90. Here, O’Brien covered a broad range of topics with perceptive gusto, including advertising in Japan, the Buy American campaign, Burger King, tobacco and alcohol ads, condoms, Max Headroom, computer games, the interplay of advertising and art, etc. Published just one month after his death, O’Brien’s book Like Art compiles all of his Artforum articles, as well as a preface by Jeffrey Deitch, an introduction by O’Brien himself and previously unpublished dialogue on consumer culture. (Karma) Images: Courtesy Karma, New York

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Alice Neel, Uptown

Book by Hilton Als

 

Fascinated by the diversity of mid-20th-century New York, renowned painter Alice Neels created portraits of people from all walks of life, including among her subjects a great number of African Americans, Latinos, Asians and other persons of color too often neglected in Western art. These portraits were candid, intimate, often humorous and by nature engaging with the political and social climate of her times. When author Hilton Als set out to gather Neel’s most poignant portraits of American minorities in his book Alice Neel, Uptown, it was in his words “an attempt to honor not only what Neel saw, but the generosity of her seeing.” Alice Neel, Uptown features both well known figures such as playwright, actress and author Alice Childress; sociologist Horace R. Clayton Jr.; and community activist Mercedes Arroyo, as well as anonymous individuals like children, families, a taxi driver, a ballet dancer, a nurse and a boy who ran errands for Neels. Als pairs each portrait with a history of its sitter, as well as his own extensive insight into Neels work. (David Zwirner Books)

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Rocket

Album by Alex G

 

Rocket, the most recent album by singer/songwriter (Sandy) Alex G offers 14 tracks of indie pop rock. Rocket is the Philadelphia-based artist’s eighth full-length release—an assured statement that follows a slate of humble masterpieces, many of them self-recorded and self-released, stretching from 2010’s RACE to his 2015 Domino debut, Beach Music. Rocket’s sessions began shortly after Beach Music’s ended, with Alex tracking songs at home, by himself and with friends, in the gaps between a hectic 2015 and 2016 touring schedule, on top of making time to contribute to Frank Ocean’s Endless and Blonde. Rocket was mixed by Jacob Portrait (Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Bass Drum of Death), who also lent his hand to Beach Music, giving the album a fine-tuning that retains the homespun personality of earlier efforts. (Domino Recording Co)

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