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by Joseph Fisher

27 Aug 2010

It is mid-morning on August 23, 2010, and school bells all over the mid-Atlantic region are ringing once again. My academic year does not begin for another week, but, essentially, my summer is over as well. This week marks the beginning of my annual scramble to get prepared for the onslaught of the fall (and eventually spring) term. Finalizing my course syllabi, reading all the new books that I have assigned for the upcoming semester, triple checking the campus bookstore to ensure that all of those books have been ordered—all tasks that will keep my busy this week and that will bring my summer to a screeching halt.

Since I have been at this teaching thing for just about a decade now—and since I had a career as a student than spanned pretty much 2/3 of my life prior to purchasing large packets of red pens—I should not continue to be surprised when mid-August finds all manner of stress and trepidation bubbling to the surface of my consciousness. I have found that being “on the opposite side of the desk”, as the saying goes, does not make the beginning of any academic year significantly less anxiety-inducing than when I was searching for the latest Trapper Keeper design, or pair of Reebok Pump shoes, or copy of OK Computer, or edition of Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. Therefore, it never fails that the barrage of Back-to-School advertisements that flits across my television screen from roughly July 5 to about right now still causes me to cry out in anguish. (At the same time, snow days still bring me immeasurable amounts of giddy joy.)

Having said all that, I have to give credit to Brigham Young University, specifically the members of the Harold B. Lee Library Multimedia Production Crew, for producing what is probably the best Back-to-School ad this season. Riffing on the popular Old Spice campaign, Stephen Jones and co. make studying sound immensely more delicious than, say, the folks over at Ross do—despite the cotton candy:

Regardless of where and when you study, here’s to a great academic year for teachers and students alike. May the upcoming months bring all of us many celestial sandwiches. Oh, and a few A papers, too.

by PopMatters Staff

27 Aug 2010

Atlanta’s the Biters specialize in the catchy sort of guitar power pop that lit up AM radios in the ‘70s. Think Cheap Trick, the Knack, Big Star and T-Rex. Their infectious, punky tunes are being released through a series of EPs on the band’s own label, Underrated Records. “Melody For Lovers” will appear on an EP releasing next week and there will be yet another EP in the fall. The Biters are also big fans Motown, ‘60s pop and Stiff Records and believe in the power of the perfect three-minute pop single. As such, they have no immediate plans for a full length album and will be staying on the singles path, focusing their energies on nuggets of ear candy.

by John Bergstrom

26 Aug 2010

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) are set to release their first album in 14 years, History of Modern, on September 17 in Europe, September 20 in the UK, and September 28 in North America. In the meantime, here’s the video for the first single, the very OMD-ish “If You Want It”.

by Daniel Tebo

26 Aug 2010

The video for Twin Shadow’s “Slow” is tagged NSFW yet it’s nowhere near as creepy as the legendarily misbegotten Calvin Klein commercials it gently parodies. The Alex Markman-directed clip finds Twin Shadow loverman George Lewis Jr. fidgeting uncomfortably in front of the camera while an unseen interrogator asks Lewis for peek at his big… talents. The full spectrum of those formidable talents will be on display when Twin Shadow drops Forget, their stunner of a debut album, September 28th on Chris Taylor’s (Grizzly Bear) Terrible Records.

by PopMatters Staff

26 Aug 2010

British singer-songwriter Andreya Triana has been hailed by Gilles Peterson and he recently had her on a BBC Radio One program with him. Triana’s debut Lost Where I Belong, produced by none other than Bonobo, releases 7 September on Ninja Tune Records. Here’s a new remix to whet your appetite for the album and her upcoming November North American tour (dates after the jump).

//Mixed media

Marina and the Diamonds Wrap Up U.S. Tour at Terminal 5 (Photos)

// Notes from the Road

"Marina's star shines bright and her iridescent pop shines brighter. Froot is her most solid album yet. Her tour continues into the new year throughout Europe.

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