Field Mouse: music review

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Fitting for the album to open with “A Place You Return to in a Dream” because there’s a cool, effusive fuzzy guitar hook and then the entire album proceeds to put you in a blissful reverie state. Dreamy pop that I play again and again. It’s easy to get caught up in the mesmerizing shoegazing hazy chords with vocalist/guitarist Rachel Browne’s euphonious blurred vocals woven throughout.

Browne formed Field Mouse in 2010 as a duo with producer/guitarist Andrew Futral then they expanded into a four-piece with the addition of bassist Saysha Heinzman and drummer Tim McCoy. Field Mouse beautifully infuses edgy hooks with subtler elements. So there’s the darkness and light combination that’s so compelling if you think of bands like Lush, Curve or Swervedriver.

“Tomorrow is Yesterday” has a grooving bass riff. Browne’s vocals sound a bit like Letters to Cleo’s Kay Hanley, sweet yet storied. Staggering edgy guitar, blurrier lilting vocals and a hypnotic melody on “Two Ships.” Speed picks up on “Everyone but You.” This is a talented band creating indie pop deliciousness with near-perfection. Closing track “Water in the Valley” is bittersweet and lulling with guitar feedback. Spot-on. This is one of my favorite albums of the year.

Hold Still Life
Topshelf Records
release date: July 22, 2014

–review by Amy Steele

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purchase at Amazon: Hold Still Life

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IN THE REALM: BEST BOOKS of 2014 [SO FAR]

daring ladies of lowell

The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott
–Lowell mill girls. a murder. riveting historical fiction.

everything i never

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
–heartbreaking exploration on race and identity in the 1970s.

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My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff
–Rakoff makes her memoir about a year working at a literary agency in New York heartwarming, relatable and intriguing through exquisite writing.

fallout

Fallout by Sadie Jones
–fell in love with this book about a group of 20-somethings entangled with the theatre and each other’s lives in 1970s London.

boy snow bird

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
–stunning re-telling of a fairytale and examination of race.

visible city

Visible City by Tova Mirvis
–cool writing, intriguing premise. reflection on connectivity, relationships and urban dwelling.

pioneer girl

Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen
–another wonderful novel about race. this time a young woman’s connection to Laura Ingalls Wilder via Vietnam.

Cured

Cured by Nathalia Holt
–Berlin patients. painstakingly researched and explained.

fallen beauty

Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck
–Robuck imagines the connection between poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and a seamstress in her small town. Robuck conducted impeccable research and allowed Millay’s vibrant spirit, sensuality and creative force to come forth on the page.

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IN THE REALM: BEST MUSIC of 2014 [so far]

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Field Mouse, Hold Still Life
–dreamy pop that I play over and over.

morrissey.worldpeace

Morrissey, World Peace is None of Your Business
–every word. every note. every sentiment. all in.

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Lykke Li, I Never Learn
–beautiful, thoughtful.

Beck-Morning-Phase

Beck, Morning Phase
–I’m into mellow Beck.

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Damon Albarn, Everyday Robots
–I’ve adored every Damon Albarn project since I discovered Blur. this one’s personal and quite lovely.

LanaDelRey

Lana Del Rey, Ultraviolence
–didn’t expect to like this. what a talent. soulful, bluesy folk.

jack-white-lazaretto

Jack White, Lazaretto
–intriguing, sexy. amazing arrangements.

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Chrissie Hynde, Stockholm
–not even a Pretenders fan and this is aces. potent vocals. kicky beat.

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Dum Dum Girls, Too True
–dark gorgeousness.

Print

Shonen Knife, Overdrive
–energetic fun.

maximalist

Megafauna, Maximalist
–unique, edgy garage-rock.

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Snowbird, Moon
–swirly, magical.

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a primer: Project Runway Season 13

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The gang is back: host Heidi Klum, mentor Tim Gunn and judges Nina Garcia (Marie Claire) and designer Zac Posen. This season, fans got to vote through Instagram on the one past designer they wanted to see compete again. Fans voted through Instagram for either Ken Laurence (Season 12), Alexander Pope (Season 12) or Amanda Valentine (Season 11). The winning designer will be revealed in the premiere episode and will be competing against 18 Project Runway newbies.

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The Project Runway Season 13 Designers:

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Alexander Knox, 22
Hometown: Chicago
Resides in: Chicago

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Angela Sum, 32
Hometown: Toronto
Resides in: Los Angeles

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Carrie Sleutskaya, 24
Hometown: San Diego
Resides in: Los Angeles

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Charketa Glover, 37
Hometown: Detroit
Resides in: Detroit

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Emily Payne, 40
Hometown: Temple, Texas
Resides in: San Francisco

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Emmanuel Tobias, 29
Hometown: Dallas
Resides in: Dallas

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Fade zu grau, 45
Hometown: Coral Gables, Fla.
Resides in: Coral Gables, Fla.

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Hernan Lander, 33
Hometown: San Francisco De Macoris, Dominican Republic
Resides in: New York

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Jefferson Musanda, 25
Hometown: Lynn, Mass.
Resides in: Brooklyn

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Kiniokahokula Zamora, 30
Hometown: Kapolei, HI
Resides in: Honolulu, HI

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Korina Emmerich, 28
Hometown: Eugene, Ore.
Resides in: Brooklyn

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Kristine Guico, 26
Hometown: Naperville, Ill.
Resides in: Brooklyn

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Mitchell Perry, 25
Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla.
Resides in: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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Nzinga Knight, 33
Hometown: Brooklyn
Resides in: Brooklyn

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Samantha Plasencia, 27
Hometown: San Antonio
Resides in: San Antonio

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Sandhya Garg, 28
Hometown: Birmingham, Ala.
Resides in: Birmingham, Ala.

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Sean Kelly, 25
Hometown: Wellington, New Zealand
Resides in: Brooklyn

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Tim Navarro, 32
Hometown: Rochester, Minn.
Resides in: Minneapolis

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The winner of Project Runway Season 13 will receive: $100,000 from Red Robin to launch their own business, a sewing and crafting studio from Brother International Corporation, an entertainment center from Samsung, car from Lexus and a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine.

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Project Runway Season 13 airs Thursday, July 24 at 9pm ET/PT

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Feminist Videos: John Legend; Jenny Lewis

John Legend, “You and I”

Legend embraces all types of women from young to old. They’re looking at themselves in the mirror. At their imperfections, scars and wounds in this beautiful video that features his wife Chrissy Teigen as well as Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox. In the video it’s showing that every woman is beautiful as Legend croons: “If your mirror won’t make it any clearer, I’ll be the one to let you know. Out of all of the girls, you’re my one and only girl. aint nobody in the world tonight.” I’ve never paid much attention to John Legend but the more songs I hear from his latest album, the more impressed I am with his songwriting talent.

John Legend said this about feminism: “All men should be feminists. If men care about women’s rights the world will be a better place.”

Jenny Lewis, “Just One of the Guys”

Jenny Lewis has Kristen Stewart, Anne Hathaway and Brie Larson in her backing band and dressing in drag for this video. The song isn’t lyrically ground-breaking. it’s a catchy ditty about being yourself. a solid feminist message. And seeing these women having fun in drag is worth it.

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The Lottery: TV review

It’s 2025. No one’s reproducing and no one knows why. In this dystopian future, women are no longer giving birth to children. Scientists successfully fertilized 100 embryos and a national lottery will decide who will be the surrogates. It’s a bit creepy and a lot strange.

the lottery

Dr. Alison Lennon [Marley Shelton] is an intelligent, independent fertility specialist whose discovery may have life-and-death consequences. Michael Graziadei (American Horror Story) plays Kyle, a recovering alcoholic and single father of one of “the last six” the last biological children born in the country eight years ago. Since then he’s worked as a sperm donor having sex with ovulating women. Martin Donovan turns on the evil as a scheming government official willing to use any strategy to achieve his goals for what he considers the greater good.

When we first meet Dr. Lennon, she’s in a bar and picks up a guy and has sex with him. After he expresses his surprise at being picked up (she’d chosen him over a few better looking guys). She said that he was balding—a sign of high testosterone and also she suspected he had Somalian blood–also known for high fertility rates. He’s perplexed. She leaves.

The Lottery establishes a decent premise but could quickly get tired and cliché. The first episode proves quite compelling, promising. I’d like a more diverse cast for a futuristic and dystopian drama. The President is a white man in his 50s and the majority of the primary cast is white? Statistically, Caucasians will be the minority in the United States by 2025 and Latinos will be the majority. Where are the Latinos on this show?

The Lottery premieres Sunday, July 20, at 10pm ET/PT on Lifetime.

–review by Amy Steele

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NEW American Hi-Fi single: “Golden State”

lead singer/guitarist Stacy Jones says of the song: “Golden State is a song about starting over. It’s about learning from your past and using that information to forge a new path, a more enlightened perspective. It’s knowing that everything we do and experience, even the moments that seem tough, can ultimately lead us to a better place.”

The Boston-formed, Los Angeles-based pop-rock band American Hi-Fi will release Blood & Lemonade [Rude Records] on Sept 9. It will be the band’s fifth album and it’s also been five years since American Hi-Fi released any new material. Pre-order the album here.

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