Music

Matt Jaffe and the Distractions - "Plastic Tears" (audio) (premiere)

The young prodigy rocks like it's 1978 on his new track.

Earlier this summer we premiered a track from young San Francisco phenom Matt Jaffe in which I compared the youngster to Nick Lowe, and you hear that old Stiff Records sound even more vividly on the taut new rocker "Plastic Tears". Full of tense energy and a contagious hook, Jaffe and his band tear through the track with superbly controlled intensity.

Not only that, though, Jaffe possesses some refreshing dark humour on the track. "Plastic Tears is a song about hearing too many sob story ballads at open mics," he explains. "I don't doubt that people have genuine emotion, but too many dirges in a row starts to wear. I love a bunch of mellow singer/songwriters, but this song is a stance against over indulgence in sentimentality."

Short Stories: Animals

Animals of all kinds have featured in fiction for as long as we have produced fiction. Here are five engaging stories about cats, dogs, herons, and cows by Sarah Orne Jewett, P. G. Wodehouse, R. L. Maizes, Parashar Kulkarni, and R. O. Kwon.

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