NEW MUSIC: Sylvan Esso “Coffee”

shot in slow-mo, the intriguing, fitting video for the trance-pop “Coffee” is combination house party, couples dance class.

based in Durham, NC, Sylvan Esso is singer Amelia Meath and electronic producer Nick Sanborn. Together they create engulfing, trippy, unusual, trance-pop songs. Meath’s unique vocals combined with daring arrangements make the duo a stand-out. Folky, futuristic, old-fashioned, strange, comforting, jolting and hypnotic. It’s all that.

Sylvan Esso out May 13, 2014 [Partisan Records]

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U.S. Tour Dates with tUnE-yArDs

5/26 Boise, ID – Knitting Factory Concert House *
5/27 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge *
5/28 Englewood, CO – Gothic Theatre *
5/30 Dallas, TX – Granada Theater *
6/3 Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom *
6/5 Los Angeles, CA – The Fonda Theatre *
6/7 San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore *
6/13 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club *
6/15 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer *
6/16 Boston, MA – Royale Boston *
6/18 Montreal, QC – La Tulipe *
6/22 New York, NY – Webster Hall *
6/23 New York, NY – Webster Hall *

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Visible City: book review

visible city

Visible City by Tova Mirvis. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (March 2014). Contemporary fiction. Hardcover. 256 pages. ISBN13: 9780544047747.

In Visible City, Author Tova Mirvis writes with a melancholy gorgeousness about connectivity and disparity. When we imagine others’ lives we never expect what we eventually discover to be true. Perfection masks insecurities. Contentment hides dissatisfaction. What is happiness? Our ideal is never another’s ideal. How something looks from afar rarely looks as virtuous once you start to delve into the grit and imperfections.

The lives of three couples unexpectedly intersect in New York City.A young mother, Nina, watches the neighbors with her young son’s Fisher-Price binoculars. She imagines their perfect lives and how different they are from hers. As she gazes upon the older couple in the building across from hers she’s jealous at their seemingly contented existence as they read together on the couch. Another night she see a young couple engaging in passionate sex. Who are these people she wonders? As the weeks pass she ends up meeting her neighbors out on the streets in the neighborhood. Boundaries get crossed, intimacies shared and nothing’s the same again. No longer able to hide in their respective apartments, these people begin to reveal their true selves to varying degrees. Veneers stripped away, insecurities magnified and they all begin questioning their life choices.

Nina gave up being a lawyer when she had children but she never particularly enjoyed being an attorney. Her husband’s also an attorney. They met in law school. Lately he’s been interested in anything but the law. They rarely talk about it. Claudia’s been working on a book about a little-known stained glass artist for years. [“For years after, she had floated from college to college, holding various adjunct positions, always carrying with her the taste of failure.”] Her daughter Emma doesn’t think she wants to be in grad school anymore but is afraid to disappoint her mother. [“In the past, she had flitted from one passion to another; she might not have known what she wanted to do, but she hadn’t worried about it. The world was filled with possibilities, especially when you had parents who trusted every decision you made and were willing to support you through any adventure.”] Claudia’s husband and Emma’s father Leon is a therapist but can talk to his patients better than to his own wife and daughter.

Mirvis describes New York in wide angles and intricate details with a vibrant palate and consideration for its nuances. Exemplary writing. Lovely turns of phrases that make you pause to appreciate certain sentences such as: “He would live as most people did, perched between acceptance and resignation.” She writes fascinating, memorable (not always likeable) characters. She doesn’t seem compelled to write merely about the contented, satisfied and faultless. She can write beautifully about failures, near misses, regrets and second choices. Truly a wonderful novel.

RATING: *****/5

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from HMH.

purchase at Amazon:

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Megafauna: music review

maximalist

Guitarist/vocalist Dani Neff, drummer Zack Humphrey and bassist Greg Yancey recorded an impressive, spectacular album filled with garage-rock, metallic edginess and aggressive, fast-paced songs. Generally heavier rock than I’d listen to but I’ve fallen in love with Dani Neff’s vocals and feminist spirit.
Neff possesses a potent, versatile voice which reminds me of Garbage’s Shirley Manson. She’s phenomenally talented and expressive through her vocals and guitar shredding. Dani Neff was named Austin’s Best Electric Guitarist by the Austin Chronicle. She’s also a lawyer, feminist, dancer, musician, painter, reiki practitioner. What’s there not to like?

Dani’s voice expresses so many distinct emotions and provides lightness to the darker music that the band pieces together. Generous riffs and heavy drums carry you through “Hug from a Robot” in which Dani sings sweetly. “Time to Go” opens with catchy arrangements and lovely lyrics. There are so many layers to this album. “Haunted Factory” is a bit of an anthem. Thing get a bit twangy on “This Town,” a fun, quick, sultry song. Ending with “Chromatic Fantasy,” a rip-roaring beautiful mediation on goals, pulls everything together. You’ll get something different out of it after every listen–peeling yet another layer from the complex compositions. This is a superbly gifted band and its sophomore album Maximalist showcases those inherent talents.

Maximalist
Label: Danimal Kingdom
Release Date: April 15th, 2014

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MEGAFAUNA LIVE:

04/19 Austin, TX @ Mohawk Outside – Album release party/SXSWcares Fundraiser
04/23 New Orleans, LA @ Hi Ho
04/24 Atlanta, GA @ Mammal Gallery
04/25 Athens, GA @ Go Bar
04/26 Raleigh, NC @ Slim’s
04/27 Durham, NC @ Motorco
04/30 Philadelphia, PA @ North Star Bar
05/01 New York, NY @ Knitting Factory
05/02 Boston, MA @ Allston Rock City Hall
05/03 Providence, RI @ Columbus Theatre
05/07 Toronto, ON, Canada Music Week @ Hard Luck Bar
05/08 Toronto, ON, Canada Music Week @ Bovine Sex Club
05/11 Ferndale, MI @ The New Way
05/13 Chicago, IL @ The Burlington
05/14 Indianapolis, IN @ Melody Inn
05/15 St. Louis, MO @ The Demo
05/16 Hot Springs, AR @ Maxine’s Live
05/17 Denton, TX @ Dan’s Silverleaf
05/28 El Paso, TX @ Low Brow
05/29 Tuscon, AZ @ Sky Bar
05/30 Los Angeles, CA @ Casey’s Irish Pub
06/04 Costa Mesa, CA @ Casa
06/06 Los Angeles, CA @ Los Globos
06/08 Long Beach, CA @ Alex’s Bar
06/11 San Francisco, CA @ Brick and Mortar
06/14 Seattle, WA @ The Sunset
06/18 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
06/19 Denver, CO @ Marquis Theatre
06/20 Boulder, CO @ Illegal Pete’s
06/21 Albuquerque, NM @ Sister Bar

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NEW MUSIC VIDEOS: Field Mouse; Dances; Chris Garneau

Field Mouse, “Tomorrow is Yesterday”

–Brooklyn’s indie pop band Field Mouse have a new blurry cool video

Field Mouse is:
vocalist/guitarist Rachel Browne
producer/guitarist Andrew Futral
bassist Saysha Heinzman
drummer Tim McCoy

new release July 22 [Topshelf Records]

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Dances, “Rat”

–angry, loner garage-rock

Whiter Sands EP out April 22 [Black Bell]

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Chris Garneau, “Our Man”

–surreal video for a electronically-infused pop song with unusual composition and vocal arrangement

Winter Games out NOW [Private Friend]

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FILM: Wesley Snipes in Expendables 3

I had a major crush on Wesley Snipes back in the day. So I’m happy to hear that he’ll be in the latest sequel to this successful franchise. This is Wesley’s first major film role since he served a 3-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania for tax evasion. He’ll star alongside Harrison Ford, Kelsey Grammer, Mel Gibson and regulars Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Jason Statham.

The film doesn’t premiere in theaters until August 15.

wesley snipes in expendables 3

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Choice Quote: Derek

derek_hannah

Hannah: Do you read?
Victoria: Yeah.
Hannah: What do you read?
Victoria: Twitter.

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TRUST TOUR DATES

TRUST is the darkly addictive synthpop project of Toronto-based Robert Alfons.

Apr 10 New York, NY | Le Poisson Rouge
Apr 11 Boston, MA | Great Scott
Apr 12 Philadelphia, PA | Voyeur
Apr 13 Washington DC | Black Cat Backstage
Apr 15 Durham, NC | Pinhook
Apr 16 Atlanta, GA | Drunken Unicorn
Apr 18 Dallas, TX | Club Dada
Apr 19 Austin, TX | Red 7
Apr 22 Phoenix, AZ | Rhythm Room
Apr 23 San Diego, CA | Soda Bar
Apr 24 Los Angeles, CA | Los Globos
Apr 25 San Francisco, CA | Popscene
Apr 27 Portland, OR | Doug Fir Lounge
Apr 28 Seattle, WA | Barboza
Apr 29 Vancouver, BC | Electric Owl
May 2 Minneapolis, MN | 7th St Entry
May 3 Madison, IL | The Frequency
May 4 Chicago, IL | Empty Bottle

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