Music

Andrew Shapiro - "Bash Street Worlds" feat. Neil Gaiman (premiere)

Photo: Dorota Buncler

Classically trained composer Andrew Shapiro possesses a deep love for melodic pop alongside his more high brow pursuits and he has a real sweet spot for synthpop.

Classically trained composer Andrew Shapiro possesses a deep love for melodic pop alongside his more high brow classical pursuits and he has a real sweet spot for synthpop. Shapiro's new project is Pink Jean Mint Green, which releases June 24th and updates the classic '80s synthpop sound for the modern era. It's also his first time composing pop tunes. Shapiro says that he's "a child of both classical training -- and technique -- and ‘80s pop. And I think Pink Jean Mint Green is truly an offspring of the two. If one is thinking in a certain kind of way, it's not such a huge stretch to go from classical minimalism, like Philip Glass, to music like the Pet Shop Boys (who are a major influence on the album)."

Shapiro worked on the recordings for the new album over three years in New York and one of those new songs is "Bash Street Worlds", which he collaborated with Neil Gaiman on creating this ode to the UK comic The Beano that he loved when he was a child. It's a gloriously warm, bright and sunny song with a rich wall-of-sound synth song that recalls some of OMD's best work.

Shapiro says, "a few years ago I met Neil and his wife, Amanda [Palmer], through a mutual friend at a dinner after a Philip Glass concert in Edinburgh. And after that we started writing back and forth and he was very complimentary about my music, saying it was music he 'could imagine writing to'. So I was inspired to ask him if he ever wrote lyrics and told him about an idea I had for a song. When I was little, my nanny was Scottish and through her I read these two British comics called The Beano and The Dandy. They were a joy to read -- the British lingo and food and clothes and the sports the characters played and all that. It was unusual for an American kid to get their hands on them. Neil liked the idea of a kid who lives imaginatively inside of this sort of alien comic universe. The title comes from one of the comic strips called 'Bash Street Kids', which is about a gang of kids who wreak some serious mayhem."

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?
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-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

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Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

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-- Alan Partridge

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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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Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

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