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by Timothy Ferris

27 Apr 2015


Excerpted from “Hubble’s Greatest Hits”, by Timothy Ferris. Full article in National Geographic, April 2015, on newsstands now. Copyright © 2015. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Photos courtesy of Zoltan Levay, the imaging team leader at Space Telescope Science Institute and National Geographic. See more photos for this article here on National Geographic.

It didn’t amount to much at first.

Credit: National Geographic

Credit: National Geographic

Launched into orbit aboard the space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990, amid flurries of hope and hype, the Hubble Space Telescope promptly faltered. Rather than remaining locked on its celestial targets, it trembled and shook, quaking like a photophobic vampire whenever sunlight struck its solar panels. Opening its protective front door to let starlight in perturbed the telescope so badly that it fell into an electronic coma. Worst of all, Hubble turned out to be myopic. Its primary light-gathering mirror, eight feet in diameter and said to be the smoothest large object ever fashioned by humans, had been figured perfectly wrong.

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.

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.

“Aileen,” calls out Nick Broomfield near the end of Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer, “I’m sorry.” At that moment, she’s being led away by two prison guards, following her final interview with the filmmaker. Apparently furious that the questions have veered toward the murders for which she’s on Florida’s death row, Wuornos has cut off the meeting, exercising the only control she has over her experience at that moment. She turns back to the camera one last time and raises her middle finger.



Danger in the Club is out on 5 May via Rough Trade.

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