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by PopMatters Staff

12 Mar 2012


Beach House
Bloom
(Sub Pop)
Releasing 15 May

The duo of Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand, otherwise known as Beach House, return with their latest album Bloom in May and are previewing the work with an MP3 for “Myth”. Beach House conceived of the work as an Album, in the truest sense of the word, a cohesive, longform artistic statement. “Many songs were omitted or dropped because they lacked a place within our vision for this album,” says Scally.

by PopMatters Staff

12 Mar 2012


Bobby Womack
The Bravest Man in the Universe
(XL)
Releasing 12 June

June 12th brings a new album from legendary singer-songwriter Bobby Womack, The Bravest Man in the Universe, intriguingly produced by Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) and Richard Russell (XL Records label head). Womack previously worked with Gorillaz on both record and live performance and now Albarn is returning the favor on Womack’s first record since 2000. Track list after the jump.

by PopMatters Staff

12 Mar 2012


Saint Etienne releases their latest album on May 21st and are previewing their new long-player with the single “Tonight”. Both a video and remix of the tune by Two Bears have hit the Internet. Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley says that Words and Music is about “how music affects your life. How it defines the way you see the world as a child, how it can get you through bad times in unexpected ways, and how songs you’ve known all your life can suddenly develop a new attachment, and hurt every time you hear them. More than how it affects and reflects your life though…. the album is about believing in music, living your life by its rules.” Check out the remix below and the video and track list after the jump.

by Elena Razlogova

9 Mar 2012


Winner of the Best Screenplay Award in Cannes 2011 and Israel’s entry for Best Foreign Film at the 2012 Academy Awards, Joseph Cedar’s Footnote (Hearat Shulayim) is tightly focused on the internal experience of the morose scholar Eliezer (Shlomo Bar Aba). He has dedicated his life to a philological study of medieval Talmudic manuscripts aiming to prove that another, more authentic version of the “Jerusalem Bible” once existed, only to have his work rendered useless when his academic rival, Yehuda (Micah Lewesohn), found the original manuscript in an archive. Now Eliezer’s only claim to fame is a mention in a footnote (“The only living scholar mentioned by name!”). He has mixed feelings that his son, Uriel (Lior Ashkenazi), also a Talmudic scholar, has received more recognition, for his analysis of medieval marriage practices and his crowd-pleasing lectures. Opening in select theaters on 9 March, the movie is traditional in more senses than one. Yet it doesn’t mention that most controversies related to the Israel Prize have to do not with its scholarly judgments, but with its political contexts. Many potential recipients, such as philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz, were denied or had to decline the prize because of their sympathy for Palestinians. Hearat Shulayim‘s consideration of Jewish intellectual debates brackets that larger issue, but it is difficult to edit out entirely.

See PopMattersreview.

by Chris Barsanti

9 Mar 2012


Alex Rotaru’s fun, shamelessly heart-wrenching documentary Shakespeare High follows a group of high school thespians who put their all into preparing for the annual Drama Teachers Association of Southern California Shakespeare Festival (DTASC). For the competition, each school presents a short take on three different plays (Othello, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in this case), which can be either original interpretations or straight-from-the-text renditions. The film, which opens in limited release 9 March, underscores its pitch for increased funding for public school arts education by showcasing the talent of those competitors from unprivileged backgrounds, holding their own against those from the right side of the tracks. One former gang member from a charter school in a poor, mostly Hispanic area takes the reins as director. As he puts it, “Just because we’re not rich and white” doesn’t mean they can’t win. The film follows their tests and their triumphs, and pushes too hard its message about the importance of the arts in schools. But Shakespeare High is undeniably moving when it focuses on the young actors’ dedication and joy, as they work through their scenes and begin to sort out their lives in the process.

See PopMattersreview.

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