Music

Ernest Hilbert - 'Elegies and Laments' (stream)

Philadelphia-based poet Ernest Hilbert has teamed up with musicians, Marc Hildenberger and Dave Young, to create an album that defies genre.

Elegies and Laments is part spoken word, part jazz/rock/indie musical composition, and part heartrending string orchestra (scored by composer, Christopher LaRossa). Hilbert narrates from his 2009 book Sixty Sonnets, transforming the poems into an audio experience that is both in-your-face and ethereal.

The tracks are bookended by short blends of radio static, guest vocals, and snippets of classic poets including Sylvia Plath and Walt Whitman. The extracts' chaotic effect underlines the multi-dimensional nature of the album. Jazz, blues, rock, indie, or classical compositions (or a combination of any or all) accompany Hilbert's stories of violent cityscapes, suburban apathy, the problems of modern life, and the fleeting and illusive nature of time. The crowning piece of the album is the last track, “Calavera for a Friend“. Backed by haunting strings, the track captures the inevitability of death with heartbreaking candor. Elegies and Laments is an imaginative hybrid that anyone who appreciates poetry and/or music should put their ears to.

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'Psycho': The Mother of All Horrors

Psycho stands out not only for being one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films, it is also one of his most influential. It has been a template and source material for an almost endless succession of later horror films, making it appropriate to identify it as the mother of all horror films.

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The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti (By the Book)

With discussions of characters like Leon Ray Livingston (a.k.a. "A-No. 1"), credited with consolidating the entire system of hobo communication in the 1910s, and Kathy Zuckerman, better known as the surf icon "Gidget", Susan A. Phillips' lavishly illustrated The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti, excerpted here from Yale University Press, tells stories of small moments that collectively build into broad statements about power, memory, landscape, and history itself.

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The 10 Best Indie Pop Albums of 2009

Indie pop in 2009 was about all young energy and autumnal melancholy, about the rush you feel when you first hear an exciting new band, and the bittersweet feeling you get when your favorite band calls it quits.

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