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Friday, Apr 24, 2015
Seattle quintet Ivan & Alyosha's "Modern Man" is a driving, earnest rock number that you can find on their forthcoming LP, It’s All Just Pretend.

It’s All Just Pretend finds the Seattle outfit Ivan & Alyosha expanding from a quartet to a quintet, with drummer Cole Mauro joining Pete Wilson (bass), Tim Kim (guitar) and founding members Tim Wilson (lead vox, guitar) and Ryan Carbary (guitar, piano). While the allusion to The Brothers Karamazov in the band’s name might suggest a certain highfalutin literary pretension about their music (a la the Decemberists), but such is not the case. Nor, however, is their music All Just Pretend. As the album cut “Modern Man” (stream it below) evinces, these five musicians are in the business of writing straightforward and honest music. It helps that it rocks, too, as the ‘70s classic rock tone on “Modern Man”‘s guitars evince.


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Friday, Apr 24, 2015
I can only agree with the title. I am astonished.

In 1977, director Hebert Ross captivated American moviegoers with The Turning Point. An inside look into the world of professional ballet, the film starred Anne Bancroft, Shirley Maclaine, Tom Skerritt, and a gorgeous young Russian named Mikhail Baryshnikov.


Based on Ross’s wife, ballerina Nora Kaye, and her friend and fellow dancer Isabel Mirrow Brown, The Turning Point incited a brief bout of American balletomania. Actresses Anne Bancroft and Shirley Maclaine were already superstars; Baryshnikov soon joined them. Co-stars Leslie and Ethan Brown, Mirrow’s children, enjoyed long dance careers.


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Friday, Apr 24, 2015
Liverpudlian singer/songwriter Rosenblume channels Greenwich Village and Laurel canyon folk in his latest EP, All Through the Fire, All Through the Rain.

After two years in the making, All Through the Fire, All Through the Rain EP, by the Liverpool-based Rosenblume, is now ready for the world to hear it. Although he hails from the city that wrought the Beatles, Rosenblume earnestly and successfully channels the multi-varied threads of ‘60s and ‘70s American folk, particularly the scenes in Greenwich Village and Laurel Canyon.


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Friday, Apr 24, 2015
You might not hear of bands talking about XTC as a big influence, but they were certainly in the mix that became the music that was to come.

Klinger: Sometimes sitting down to talk about an album is a daunting task. Sometimes that’s because an album just isn’t sparking a conversation in your head. But sometimes it’s because you quite simply have no idea where to begin talking. That’s the case for me with this week’s album, XTC’s 1986 masterpiece Skylarking. Arising from a series of difficult sessions with Todd Rundgren (“As if there were any other kind of sessions with Todd,” say the New York Dolls), Skylarking polishes up the group’s sometimes thorny pop and creates a shimmering, technicolor gem that I’m pretty sure every critic everywhere has called “pastoral”—and for good reason. Not only does it sound wholly organic with its lush strings and instrumentation, but it also conveys an almost spiritual quality in its underlying wisdom, “Dear God” notwithstanding. Skylarking is so nearly perfect to my way of thinking that it’s hard to actually pull it apart and turn it into words.


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Friday, Apr 24, 2015
Silent protagonists will always be awkward in video games, but there’s one easy way to avoid a lot of that awkwardness. Don’t make them a leader.

Much has been written about silent protagonists in games, and whether or not their silence really aids in our immersion. However, regardless of what you think of them, they almost always share a certain important personality trait. They’re followers. From Gordon Freeman to Link to the amnesiac hero of Bioshock, the silent protagonist is one who takes orders. They’re told what to do and how to do it. This makes perfect sense. If we can’t talk, we certainly can’t give orders, so we may as well be the one taking them instead.


Battlefield 4 breaks this mold, giving us a silent protagonist that others often turn to for advice. It’s awkward, bizarre, and unintentionally funny, but also kind of fascinating when you try to piece together what exactly makes it so awkward and bizarre and unintentionally funny.


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