Music

Spoonboy: The Papas

Folk-punk troubadour Spoonboy is mad at the world... and especially at his dad.


Spoonboy

The Papas

Label: Fuck You Is a Seven Letter Word / Discount Horse
US Release Date: 2011-05-01
UK Release Date: 2011-05-01
Amazon
iTunes

Surely it was recorded before the protests started, but there's an undeniable #OccupyWallStreet vibe running through David Combs' -- dba Spoonboy -- sophomore disc of thoughtful, wide-eyed, big-hearted, sometimes righteously angry acoustic-pop-folk-punk (with horns!), The Papas. Lines like "We are the victims of a culture that describes happiness in economics" and "If everyone's for themselves then there's no one for us all" are just begging to be tweeted from Zuccotti Park. Combs' other concern is far more personal. He's really mad -- like really mad -- at his absentee father. The raucous "Stab Your Dad" ("I thank goodness for the absence of a father") and the painful "The Mamas and the Papas" ("Sir, you've done nothing to earn it") veer perilously close to therapy sessions set to guitar, but no doubt there's dozens of kids out there who feel the same way. The "bad dad" trope pops up occasionally (see Everclear's Art Alexakis) and doesn't really speak to those of us who, ya know, love their dad, but fortunately, Combs isn't stuck solely navelgazing and hurling invectives at the man who upended his life. (The album also includes an acoustic version of the songs.)

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Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

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TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11
Amazon
iTunes

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

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To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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