Music

Harp Samuels Blends Folk and Electronic Influences in the Plaintive and Sweet "Breathe" (premiere)

Meshing organic and electronic influences, Australian singer-songwriter Harp Samuels creates an atmospheric and emotional audiovisual experience with "Breathe".

Like Justin Vernon or Sigur Rós, Harp Samuels is not one to shy away from the more interpretive and ethereal side of modern day folk. While quiet ruminations and plaintive, haunting melodies remain at the center, Samuels finds instrumental innovation in his music more liberally than many of those also in his lane. The Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist values the creation of subtle, empathetic ambiance in his work, intrinsically tapping into a visceral, vulnerable place in his lyricism, but also in the individualistic qualities of his performance. Emotively, Samuels is inspired by the loss of his parents throughout his newest project, Breathe, an alphabetically-sorted musical dedication to the chaos and order inspired by life, loss, and eternity altogether.

Samuels' latest contribution to the project is titular single "Breathe", alongside an accompanying music video crafted by him alongside Harpy Creative. Featuring a broad stroke of autumnal colors and landscapes, the audiovisual performance put on by Samuels embraces a rawness and a sincerity in him that evokes a sense of bittersweet beauty. Musically, it is a wonder, composed of Samuels' own soft-spoken performance beside a swirl of organic and electronic instruments alike. It is a carefully crafted piece of work, each moment both deliberate and heartfelt.

'Psycho': The Mother of All Horrors

Psycho stands out not only for being one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest films, it is also one of his most influential. It has been a template and source material for an almost endless succession of later horror films, making it appropriate to identify it as the mother of all horror films.

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Film

The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti (By the Book)

With discussions of characters like Leon Ray Livingston (a.k.a. "A-No. 1"), credited with consolidating the entire system of hobo communication in the 1910s, and Kathy Zuckerman, better known as the surf icon "Gidget", Susan A. Phillips' lavishly illustrated The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti, excerpted here from Yale University Press, tells stories of small moments that collectively build into broad statements about power, memory, landscape, and history itself.

Susan A. Phillips
Books

The 10 Best Indie Pop Albums of 2009

Indie pop in 2009 was about all young energy and autumnal melancholy, about the rush you feel when you first hear an exciting new band, and the bittersweet feeling you get when your favorite band calls it quits.

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