National Book Award winner, Neil Gaiman, has a new picture book this week. Instructions, illustrated by long-time Gaiman collaborator Charles Vess, is a splendiferous, practical guide to the fairy tale world, with much real-world wisdom to boot. Hear Gaiman read the whole story, and follow along with Vess’ gorgeous illustrations.
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Sadly, we must report that Lala.com will end its service of streaming gazillions of albums and songs on 31 May. This follows in the wake of its December 2009 purchase by Apple.
Touch Reviews speculates that this may well mean that we see streaming from iTunes in the future as Apple integrates Lala’s talented tech team into their product mix. Nothing along those lines has been confirmed as of yet.
Lala never quite found a strong revenue model and it’s too bad because the product was superb. PopMatters and thousands of other websites also embedded Lala content in their articles and blogs.
Will there be a similar offering down the road by Apple itself or some new partner? Will the Spotify partnership with Facebook and iTunes satisfy the demand of US listeners? Can Soundclound grow into a true Lala replacement? As of 31 May, there will be a void in the streaming music space and we all know that generally, businesses crowd in to fill a void. Ultimately, the biggest question is: Can a free, membership- driven streaming music service ever be a profitable proposition?
DJ and world-music enthusiast Gilles Peterson takes record-collecting to another level when he visits Havana, Cuba to check out a local record shop. He made a video of his visit to this “goldmine” to help support his upcoming album of Cuban-urban music. Watch it to learn a pro-tip or two from this über-crate-digger, or to see him act like an (adorably nerdy) kid in a candy-shop.
(Hidden Shoal Recordings)
Releasing: Out now
Boxharp are Scott Solter (producer/engineer for the likes of Spoon, the Mountain Goats, John Vanderslice, and St. Vincent) and Wendy Allen (Tarentel, the Ballustrade Ensemble). Their latest release, Loam Arcane, is an EP of two halves. The hallucinogenic pop of the first half springs to vivid life with opener “FanFin”, which ricochets with disorientating beats and refracted vocal melodies as if some sort of life-sized zoetrope. Sparkling single “Rainbirds” follows, interweaving ambient textures with Wendy Allen’s pure vocals, giving way to a harmonised middle eight. The melodies return, crested by sparkling, wavering tones –- and then it’s over.
In the second, more abstract and haunting, half of the EP, the stunning “The Postcard” slowly dissolves the floor from under your feet. The track plays out like a consoling friend who turns into gas just as you need them most. And finale “Who Are Your People (South Shoal)” is a marriage of rhythmic bark, distant ghosted fauna and warm, flowing synths—slow motion tribal music for electric ghosts.
03 The Postcard
04 Who Are Your People
If television has taught us anything, it’s that teen angst is about as enduring a theme as police corruption and overbearing in-laws. Just ask Ryan Murphy, who has seemed to make a nice career out of it, with his bygone WB series Popular and his current Sue Sylvester-ific Glee. Yet, with so many high school shows out there, is there still room for innovation? MTV thinks so and it seems to be ripping a page from one of HBO’s newest dramedies.
The Hard Times of RJ Berger, premiering in June, follows the life of its protagonist, RJ, an awkward, pale guy with glasses who’s just trying to get by in high school. Sexually adventurous parents, bullying jocks, cougar moms with hidden agendas, and rigged school elections are just some of the obstacles he must face. It all sounds pretty typical high school fare, except for the fact that RJ happens to be particularly well-endowed and that seems to be one of his defining characteristics. If the trailer is any indicator, the show has some promise.