Music

Destroyer - "Tinseltown Swimming in Blood" (Singles Going Steady)

Dan Bejar slips away from the New Pornographers and grabs a bunch of early New Order records on his way out.

Tristan Kneschke: Destroyer has updated the film school classic La Jetée by Chris Marker, a bold move that captures what made the French original so arresting. For those who have never seen the short film, the sci-fi dystopia is remarkable for its visual style consisting of only still images captured in stark monochrome film. Often, the photographs capture several moments taken mere seconds from each other, creating a surreal middle ground between film and slideshow. Singer-songwriter Dan Bejar is clearly a fan, and faithfully recaptures the film's iconic moments, including the odd eye guard sequences, the bit with the blinking woman, and the pivotal scene at the end from where the film takes its name. [8/10]


Adriane Pontecorvo: With lyrics as poetic and fascinating as ever, Destroyer puts together a repetitive synthpop song that lasts about two minutes too long. With the exception of the flurry of horn ornamentation in the last few seconds, nothing needs to happen once the Dan Bejar stops singing. This was never going to be a terribly interesting tune, and drawing it out doesn't help. [3/10]

Ian Rushbury: Dan Bejar slips away from the New Pornographers and grabs a bunch of early New Order records on his way out. The tune pulses along nicely and Dan gives it his best Lou Reed stylings. Not even a weird skipping beat in the refrain can derail what we used to call, a very danceable groove. It's got a hypnotic drive that after a minute or two, is curiously appealing. Gets better every time you hear it. [8/10]

William Nesbitt: I'm hitting that point in my life when everything starts me remind me of something else I've already seen or heard. These vocals sound like Bowie and the music sounds like something from the 1980s -- all good things. The synthesizer and bass lock up well. What takes the tune to the next level is the second half, which begins with the lyrics “I was a dreamer / Watch me leave", which are the final words of the song. From here we get some moody guitar, an elegant horn that later breaks apart, and bass that could come straight from a Cure song. All of this just rides out in a long, dreamy jam. The sound of being lost in the city and loving it. [8/10]

SCORE: 6.75

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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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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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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