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Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Back in the late ‘40s, as America was emerging from World War II, the Walt Disney company decided to do something daring. In deference to their fans who loved the fluffy fun animated efforts, the House of Mouse experimented, sending filmmakers out into the wild to capture nature as it was (or at the very least, how it was before it was cinematically shifted and manipulated). The films, beginning with Seal Island, were a massive success, and soon Buena Vista International’s True-Life Adventures brand became synonymous with high quality documentaries. The studio would even go on to win several Oscars for such subjects as The Living Desert, The Vanishing Prairie, and The White Wilderness and create dozens of educational shorts to use in classroom and other instructional settings (like NBC’s Sunday Night tradition, The Wonderful World of Disney).


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Friday, Apr 18, 2014
Cloud Nothings helped Connecticut let loose some angst at a wild-all ages show.

Cloud Nothings fourth album Here and Nowhere Else is a barn-burner. This band, with Dylan Baldi on guitar and vocals, TJ Duke on bass and Jayson Gerycz behind the drums, has been moving up in the music scene quickly, having started out as a quieter indie rock outfit in 2009 but now unleashing their energy via frantic noise-rock, verging on punk. I decided to see the band perform in Connecticut rather than either of their New York City shows because this one, put on by Manic Productions the go-to guy for music, was all-ages and at The Space in Hamden, a basement-like venue that can be pretty dark and since CT has had a burgeoning local punk scene. New Yorkers may crowd surf at Death By Audio but I can’t imagine they would at Bowery Ballroom or Music Hall of Williamsburg. The Space was the place to watch people give themselves whiplash.


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Friday, Apr 18, 2014
Reading “Being Thrown Under the Syllabus, Dept.” in the upcoming MAD #48 is reading classic MAD.

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW


It doesn’t take much to realize that the schooling system is broken. Sir Ken Robinson makes a very compelling argument in his 2011 talk at the Royal Society for the Arts. But for every education theorist who looks to the breakdown coming from dated systems attempting to engage a technologically-enhanced world, how many look to the Shakespearean option of the fault lying not so much in our systems, but in ourselves?


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Friday, Apr 18, 2014
by PopMatters Staff
British singer Shirin brings glampop back front and center, but she can rock too and sounds like the next in the line of great UK dancepop divas.

Shirin‘s debut release is the EP Good Girls Always Surrender and “Take a Bullet” is the first single. The tune is a real dancefloor filler with bangin’ beats and powerful vocals.


Shirin says, “the writing process for ‘Take a Bullet’ happened so quickly for me. I remember sitting in the studio with Michael Stockwell and he had this guitar riff playing round and round, which is the opening riff for the song, and I was thinking ‘this feels like a real movie soundtrack song.’ I had all these images playing out in my mind like I was in a Western film sitting in a saloon, and then the chorus kicks in and it’s like a brawl is happening. It felt really epic and the first like that came to me was “Bang, Bang, Bang Honey, shot you down, down.”


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Friday, Apr 18, 2014
When a fire starts to burn, right? And it starts to spread, right? Then it's time for another edition of Counterbalance. This week it's electronic time with a critically acclaimed UK hit from 2013.

Mendelsohn: I’ve often complained that electronic music receives the short-shrift when it comes to the Great List. Oddly enough, that isn’t necessarily true. Electronic music has a strong presence on the list — if you manage to make it into the depths, far removed from the top 200 (or 500 for that matter). In reality, there is typically one electronic album that hits in the top ten each year and as a result, there is a decent amount of electronic music scattered throughout the list. Last year was a good year for electronic music to gain critical mass. There were four electronic albums in the top 25 from the Acclaimed Music website — Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories (5), Disclosure’s Settle (10), the Knife’s Shaking the Habitual (12), and Boards of Canada’s Tomorrow’s Harvest (19). The only new name on that list was Disclosure so that’s the record I picked, hoping that it wasn’t going to be an hour of static bursts and the digital renderings of robot copulation.


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