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Speed the Plough - 'Now' (album stream)

The longtime New Jersey indie band returns with a spellbinding eighth album.

Veteran New Jersey band Speed the Plough are set to release their diverse and spellbinding eighth album Now this month, and in advance of its release it can be heard in its entirety below. Joining founding members John and Toni Baumgartner on this album are their son Mike on guitar, Cindi Merklee on bass and vocals, Ed Seifert on guitar and vocals, and John Demeski, son of Feelies drummer and Speed the Plough alumnus Stan Demeski.

"It’s been a pretty organic development," John Baumgartner tells PopMatters. "Michael contributed songs to our last two albums, including a few we co-wrote, which has been pretty special. So it seemed like a natural progression to ask Cindi and Ed if they’d like to add something to the mix and they really delivered. It’s a trend I’d like to see continue in the future.

"While I’ve been the band’s primary songwriter since we started some 30 years ago, I’ve always enjoyed working as a sideman (Yung Wu, the Glenn Mercer Band, The Thousand Pities) or session player (Yo La Tengo, Luna) with a bunch of my favorite bands over the years. It’s nice now to be able to play a similar role in my own band, where sometimes the mission is to help someone else realize their vision on a particular piece of music.

"Personally, it’s helped me to grow as a musician. And as a band, I think it’s brought us closer together. You always feel pretty vulnerable when you’re introducing the band to a new song. But I think the collaboration that results can be very unifying. Now we have that four-fold."

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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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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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