Music

The Late Call: Pale Morning Light

Pretty though it may be, Pale Morning Light does little to rise above boilerplate indie.


The Late Call

Pale Morning Light

Label: Tapete
US Release Date: 2012-09-25
UK Release Date: 2012-09-24
Amazon
iTunes

In many ways, the lonely white guy strumming a guitar over spare arrangements has become the Boy Band craze of our time. Sure, there isn't a lot of money and sold out arenas in that particular sonic, but just as the Backstreet Boys had a slew of clones back then, Bon Iver has his imitators now. It's amongst this proliferation of indie that Johannes Mayer, the man behind the Late Call moniker, finds himself. He's an undoubtedly talented singer/songwriter, with a voice that's three parts Chris Martin and one part Jannis Makrigiannis (of Coldplay and Choir of Young Believers fame, respectively). Everything on his third LP, Pale Morning Light, would find a comfortable, albeit overfamiliar, home in an indie connoisseur's vinyl record stack. Despite the beauty of a few of these songs ("No Easy Way Out" and "Heavy Heart" being the best of a lot), as a whole, the album is near indistinguishable from any other like-minded LP you'd pull from a record store shelf. As great of a track as "No Easy Way Out" is, its chord progression bears a marked similarity to Bon Iver's "Towers".

Lyrically, heavy emphasis is on naturalistic imagery which then ties to emotional states; musically, organic instrumentation is at the forefront. If this is bringing to mind any of the other introspective, folky indie albums you've ever heard, you're probably dead on. Still, despite the generic sound that plagues Pale Morning Light, it can be a pleasant, even beautiful listen in its own way.

5

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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8

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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