Music

Die Mannequin: Slaughter Daughter

Toronto's Die Mannequin has been the beneficiary of some tremendous major label hype in Canada.


Die Mannequin

Slaughter Daughter

Label: Warner Music Canada
US Release Date: 2007-10-02
UK Release Date: Available as import
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Led by 21-year-old firecracker Care Failure, Toronto's Die Mannequin has been the beneficiary of some tremendous major label hype in Canada, landing trendy electro producers MSTRKRFT for the debut How to Kill EP, not to mention some plum tours, opening for the likes of Guns N' Roses, Deftones, and Sum 41. With the follow-up EP Slaughter Daughter, Failure and her ferocious power trio tighten the screws considerably, which for all its bluntness, brings the rock like few ladies have done this year. Single "Do it or Die" is a scorcher, Failure spitting lines and spewing riffs that ought to embarrass the slickly-produced Donnas, the song launching into a dance-fueled breakdown midway through. Equally contagious, and following the lead of the MSTRKRFT-helmed "Autumn Cannibalist", "Saved by Strangers" doesn't really say much ("I need it, I need it, I need it," etc., etc.), but with its sampled rhythmic breaths, the song locks itself into one hell of a wicked groove. "Lonely of a Woman" is a straightforward chugger in the vein of fellow Canadian Danko Jones, but less effective are the melodramatic "Upside Down Cross" and the live recording of "Open Season". Three out of five is pretty damn good, though, and the way her songwriting is progressing, Failure will soon be known by name, and not by nature.



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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
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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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