Music

Porter Block: Off Our Shoulders

If the teen-mystery series Veronica Mars was ever dusted off for another season, the producers need look no further for a soundtrack.


Porter Block

Off Our Shoulders

Label: Engine Room
US Release Date: 2008-06-10
UK Release Date: Available as import
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With 2006's Suburban Sprawl, New-York-City-based duo Porter Block produced a solid debut album that teased at the angular edges of guitar-fueled indie-pop, while delivering a record with a warm rootsy core that used stand-up bass, mandolin and dobro to good effect. For their follow-up, Off Our Shoulders, Peter Block and Caleb Sherman have opted for a more radio-friendly approach that has them ease back on the richly resonating country twang and focus instead on finger-popping harmonies, staccato riffs and driving power-pop beats. The result is a pleasantly infectious 36-minute spread of over 10 catchy pop missives that wash over you like a cool summer breeze without ever outstaying their welcome. Among the highlights are opener "Second Wind", a Petty-esque rocker, confessional ballad "All of Who I Am" about one man's love for his Martin guitar, and the polished strut and strum of "What the Future Holds" featuring a pulsating performance from guest drummer Steve Holly. Let's just say -- if the teen-mystery series Veronica Mars was ever dusted off for another season, the producers need look no further for a soundtrack.

6

Over the Rainbow: An Interview With Herb Alpert

Music legend Herb Alpert discusses his new album, Over the Rainbow, maintaining his artistic drive, and his place in music history. "If we tried to start A&M in today's environment, we'd have no chance. I don't know if I'd get a start as a trumpet player. But I keep doing this because I'm having fun."

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Music

The Cigarette: A Political History (By the Book)

Sarah Milov's The Cigarette restores politics to its rightful place in the tale of tobacco's rise and fall, illustrating America's continuing battles over corporate influence, individual responsibility, collective choice, and the scope of governmental power. Enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 5. "Inventing the Nonsmoker".

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