Music

Violent Mae: Debut Album Stream and Video for "Man in the Country"

Photo credit: Rory Larson

Lo-fi Violent Mae were voted best new band in Connecticut last year. Stream their self-titled debut here.

As the bio for Violent Mae states, the duo of Becky Kessler and Floyd Kellogg "never intended to be a band. Becky asked Floyd to record and produce her first solo album, and as soon as they hit the studio, chemistry and dynamics between the two sparked the evolution of an artistic partnership." Their meeting must have been kismet given that their collaboration resulted in a solid debut, the self-titled album Violent Mae, a shout-out from Paste as a Connecticut band to know and an award for best new band in the Connecticut music scene from CTNow.com.

Comparisons are inevitable for new bands -- Violent Mae have a retro lo-fi sound similar to earlier Best Coast or to Tennis. The album's atmosphere has a darker sheen to it than much of the songs from either of those bands, one that is more brooding and not quiet as menacing as Valleys song "Hounds" for example. The first two singles from the album are the poppy "Hole In My Heart" and the sparse, folksy "Worn Out My Welcome" but the entire album is enjoyable and have contrasts elements. "Any Time You Fall" plays out like a shadowy dream while "Mother's Song" is the brightest slice with a head-bopping percussive beat.

Both musicians played all the instruments on the recorded album but it is just Kessler who provides the vocals. In a live setting, Kessler sings and plays guitar with Kellogg backing her on drums. The band's next Connecticut show on Thursday the 13th is presented by Manic Productions and sees Violent Mae opening for Moonface at The Outer Space in Hamden.


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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