Music

Russell Taylor Goes to "War" with New Video

New York City-based Russell Taylor previews new album with "War of Hearts" single and video.

It's a good time to be a "souljer". That's the name of Russell Taylor's ever-growing legion of listeners. The singer-songwriter recently premiered his video for "War of Hearts", the first single off his forthcoming album.

A few years have passed since Taylor's Confessional (2009) breathed fresh life into the independent soul music scene, but "War of Hearts" proves it's been worth the wait for new music from one of R&B's most gifted vocalists and songwriters. "I have been working on this CD for over a year, and 'War of Hearts' was the pivotal point for me," Taylor explains. "It was the genesis for the sound of the entire CD (War of Hearts)." Indeed, the title track is cushioned by an appealing sparseness that accentuates Taylor's strong vocals.

Similarly, the video for "War of Hearts" draws on subtleties yet is no less commanding in style or presentation. "I'm one of those crazy emotional artists that needs to feel something in order for it to work," Taylor laughs. "The video had to feel right. With that objective though, comes a lot of pressure. So, the first incarnation of the video was done in January just after the holiday. And after some edits, the first video didn't feel right. So we shot again in July. That felt right. Over the course of four twelve-eighteen hour days in LA, working with director Kai Morrison, we got it done. I'm in love with it."

Working towards a first quarter release for War of Hearts, Taylor might consider releasing a second single. "We will see how things are moving," he says. "I have a few spot dates between now and New Year's Eve. I come out of the box fighting in February of next year. I'm very excited to get back to performing. I'm just so lucky to do what I love, and looking forward to doing more of it!"

One thing is very certain: between now and February, Taylor will have some satisfied souljers standing by his side.

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

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

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"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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If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

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Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

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