New Kind of Normal
Album by Cayetana
If Cayetana’s newest album had a tagline it would be “how to stop self-sabotaging and accept love.” Thematically, the Philadelphia indie rock three-piece – comprised of Augusta Koch, Allegra Anka and Kelly Olsen – has been exploring the delicate interplay of mental illness and wellness, since they began releasing music in 2014, but never so gracefully and poignantly as on New Kind of Normal. Although many of the songs were worked out at Koch’s barnyard studio in the Poconos, the band returned to Matt Schimelfenig at Philly’s Miner Street Studios to record the record. The collaboration resulted in a diverse output of expertly crafted, hooky pop songs like “Mesa” coupled with sparse, dark, and deeply emotional synth-laden tracks like “World.” Musically, the record captures the quiet moments of crushing vulnerability and the hardened highs of personal strength as expertly as Koch’s lyrical craft. (Plum Records)
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Film by Azazel Jacobs
Writer and director Azazel Jacobs’ new film The Lovers is a refreshing take on love, fidelity, and family, starring Debra Winger and Tracy Letts as a long-married and completely dispassionate husband and wife. Both are in the midst of serious affairs and are increasingly committed to their new partners. But on the brink of officially calling it quits, a spark between them suddenly and unexpectedly reignites, leading them into an impulsive romance that forces them to navigate the hilarious complications of “cheating” on their respective lovers. A mixture of humor and powerful emotion, the story is a uniquely honest take on modern marriage.(A24)
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Album by Fazerdaze
Named after the New Zealand suburb where Amelia Murray finally feels at home, Morningside plots its course carefully through the rocky terrain of finding place and peace in personal growth. Growing pains are central to Morningside and Murray’s meditations on the concurrent exhilaration and intimidation of an older kind of life and love never feel cloying. Instead, on every track, Murray builds an intimate relationship with the listener. Each song is personal but never isolating. The album is like reading someone’s journal with their express permission: at turns, it seems full of the most universal of feelings, as well as the kind of sensory and narrative details that make for the truest kind of memoir. (Flying Nun)
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EP by Ian William Craig
Vancouver-based vocalist/composer Ian William Craig returns with Slow Vessels, an album-length EP which both extends and radically re-imagines Centres, rendering six of its tracks in a stunning new light. While not quite an “unplugged” version, it is fundamentally stripped back, raw and predominantly acoustic. Slow Vessels sees Craig paring back the dense, billowing layers and heavily distressed textures that dominated the album and re-playing these tracks on a borrowed acoustic guitar and piano. Deeply affecting and almost devotional in character, this re-setting of the songs throws a brilliant new slant on Craig’s prodigious creativity. (FatCat Records)
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Album by Tall Juan
Argentinian-born Far Rockaway transplant Tall Juan has managed to evade labels and put out songs that only a Latin Elvis inspired by the Ramones could deliver: short, fast, and packed with attitude. Tall Juan’s lyrics are autobiographical nuggets about everything from drug addiction, the perils of dating, and living in Queens.
With only a handful of songs released, Juan has landed himself on the radars of many and has been touring the world constantly since 2014. (BUFU Records)
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Southern Poverty Law Center Benefit
EP by Various Artists
The End Of All Music record store in Oxford, MS is releasing a benefit record to support the Southern Poverty Law Center on May 5, 2017. The 12-inch EP features new songs from Patterson Hood (Drive-by Truckers), Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, William Tyler, and Adam Torres, while the record’s artwork is composed of photographs taken from Maude Schuyler Clay’s book, Mississippi History, which was published by Steidl in 2015. The record will contain four tracks on the A-side and a “Resist Fear. Assist Love” etching by artist Nathaniel Russell as the B-side, and is being pressed in a limited edition of 1,000 copies – with the first 500 copies on colored vinyl. It will only be available for purchase through The End Of All Music website and at the brick and mortar store in Oxford.
All profits from the sale of this record will go directly to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the donation period for this project will remain open until the record sells out.
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Book by Hala Alyan
In her debut novel, Palestinian-American writer Hala Alyan transforms the lyrical force of her poetry into a multi-generational story of a family displaced and dispersed across the globe. Salt Houses spans six decades, beginning with the Six-Day War of 1967 and the family’s resettlement in Kuwait. It follows through major Middle-Eastern conflicts, including Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the 2006 bombing of Lebanon. Each chapter is narrated by a new family member, young and old, united in their far-flung movements—from Palestine to Europe and America—as well as their assimilation into new lives and homes.
“I spent a lot of time around my grandparents growing up and have always loved listening to them, stories of how the world had changed in front of their eyes. It was always startling to hear my grandparents reference something I’d learned about in history class.” Alyan says. “I became really fascinated with the idea of what we inherit (emotionally, psychologically, etc.), as well as conceptualizing the same historical event from the perspective of different generations.” Drawing on her family’s own fractured history, Alyan reveals the intricate bonds behind war and displacement, trauma and resilience; how they live on, rich and heartbreaking and full of life, through the stories we tell one another.
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
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Models Matter: A Private Collection as a Fashion Hall of Fame
Book by Christopher Niquet
When French stylist Christopher Niquet spotted 1960s supermodel Peggy Moffitt in a Beverly Hills restaurant in 2008, he had never asked for a celebrity’s autograph before but felt compelled to ask for hers. The result of that crucial moment is a corporeal homage to legendary fashion muses in the form of Niquet’s Models Matter: A Private Collection as a Fashion Hall of Fame. Following his encounter with Moffitt, Niquet began contacting models he considered quintessential to the fashion industry, asking for their autographs. “My original purpose was to get beyond the abstract, incorporeal beauty of these icons and bring back a sense of their physicality,” Niquet remarks. Renowned fashion photographer Steve Meisel penned the preface to Models Matter, a collection of autographs from models such as Jean Shrimpton, Jerry Hall, Lauren Bacall, Isabella Rossellini and Naomi Campbell, muses to fashion giants like Meisel, Karl Lagerfeld, Diana Vreeland and Richard Avedon. (Damiani)
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