Music

The Roadside Graves: What Happened to Him Could Happen to Anyone

Aarik Danielsen

This seven-song EP aptly conveys the band's synthesis of shuffling guitars, robust harmonies, and instrumental flourishes that nod to artists like Dylan, Springsteen, and the Band.


The Roadside Graves

What Happened to Him Could Happen to Anyone

Label: Kill Buffalo
US Release Date: 2007-01-30
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

Forming a band to tell tales marked by barroom revelation, intense relational dynamics, and religious imagery was likely the furthest thought from John Gleason and Jeremy Benson's minds when they started a cross country journey looking for elusive clarity. An auspicious stop in a small Utah town provided the inspiration that caused the duo to return to their native New Jersey and combine with fellow musicians to form the Roadside Graves. Composed of home recordings, previously released material, and tracks that preview their second full-length scheduled for release this spring, this seven-song EP aptly conveys the band's synthesis of shuffling guitars, robust harmonies, and instrumental flourishes that nod to artists like Dylan, Springsteen, and the Band, while retaining a free and fresh spirit. Tracks like "West Coast" and "Song for a Dry State" (which relates that fateful Utah experience) simultaneously possess melodic shine and raucous energy, suggesting the band would be equally at home on the stage of a trendy big city venue or the sawdust covered floors of a local tavern. With the potential momentum created by the special creative spark displayed here, the Roadside Graves should attract much interest in their upcoming release.

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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.

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-- 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.

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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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Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

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