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Music

The Ruthie Foster Big Band Swings the Best Live Record of the Year So Far

Featuring several originals paired with timeless covers, Live at the Paramount finds the Ruthie Foster Big Band bringing the house down.

Books

Schisms and Connections in Sahar Mustafah's 'The Beauty of Your Face'

With The Beauty of Your Face, Sahar Mustafah pens an emotional and rich journey, laden with awareness and intrigue.

Reviews

Sylvain Chauveau's 'Life Without Machines' Is an Indictment of How External Forces Falsely Shape Humanity

Whereas so many contemporary albums are created to harness flash and consumption, Life Without Machines allays bedazzlement. Sylvain Chauveau advocates for unplugging and disconnecting, and only then will we truly live.

Business

J.M. Coetzee's 'The Death of Jesus'Uses Cervantes' 'Don Quixote' as Subtext

Whereas J.M. Coetzee's writing regularly utilizes parables, The Death of Jesus purposely destabilizes. It dazzles in its ability to present profound questions while challenging the reader to remain critical and question the meaning derived from any and all parables.

Books

'F*ckface' Sums It Up in 12 Short Stories

F*ckface finds its power in the depiction of Appalachia and its inhabitants. Leah Hampton produces a piercing, debut collection of stories.

Music

John Prine's 'The Missing Years' Showcases His Penchant for Storytelling

The Missing Years reveals John Prine's ability to embolden the amusing and touching despite the underlying strife.

Music

Parsonsfield Add Indie Pop to Their Folk on 'Happy Hour on the Floor'

Happy Hour on the Floor is a considerable departure from Parsonsfield's acclaimed rustic folk sound signaling their indie-pop orientation. Parsonsfield remind their audience to bestow gratitude and practice happiness: a truly welcomed exaltation.

Music

Country's Ruthie Collins Finds 'Cold Comfort'

Ruthie Collins' Cold Comfort is devoid of glittery instrumentation and mellifluous lyrics. Instead, the music is raw, sometimes bitter yet earning for optimism. Collins' grittiness is measured and her anguish certain.

Books

Memoir 'Scratched' Seeks Beauty in the Flawed

Scratched: A Memoir of Perfectionism is a staggering depiction of the impact of psychological trauma written with breathless intensity.

Music

Sea Wolf's 'Through a Dark Wood' Is an Honest Portrayal of Emotional Struggle

Sea Wolf's Through the Dark Wood holds space for psychological transformation. Alex Brown Church's masterful illustrations of vulnerability and adversity affirm grief as a step towards growth.

Music

Childish Gambino's '3.15.20' Captures the Tumultuous Contemporary Moment

As society contends with sickness, anger, and fear, Donald Glover remedies the malignancy while fueling the anguish. 3.15.20 signals an important shift for Childish Gambino and secures the album's spot as one of the best of the year.

Music

Esmé Patterson Goes Dream Pop on 'There Will Come Soft Rains'

Working with indie pop's Tennis, There Will Come Soft Rains moves Esmé Patterson away from her folk music proclivities towards a more dream-pop vibe, and uses the album to musically capture the emotionally unspeakable.

Music

Grrrl Gang's 'Here to Stay!' Is a Tremendous Rejection of Cultural Conformity

While Here to Stay! points to their Riot Grrrl and indie-pop influences, Grrrl Gang methodically transcend redundancy to chisel a concrete space for themselves.

Books

Racism's Trauma Reverberates Across Generations in 'Your House Will Pay'

Steph Cha's depiction of systematic racism in Your House Will Pay is compelling, attesting to the complicated social structures at play.

Books

Black. Queer. Southern. Women.

Conveyed with urgency and mindfulness, Johnson's Black. Queer. Southern. Women. creates a space for revisioning critical race and sexual ideologies while affirming the voices of queer black women.

Books

Reflections and Refractions: 'Apple, Tree: Writers on Their Parents'

The contributors to Apple, Tree: Writers on Their Parents identify nuance; frequently framing themselves and their parents through multiple lenses.

Music

Dustbowl Revival Explore the Personal and Political on 'Is It You, Is It Me'

Dustbowl Revival's Is It You, Is It Me undertakes the personal and political. The Americana ensemble are candid in their responses to divisive political conversations all the while setting their missives to masterful instrumentation.

Music

The Wood Brothers' 'Kingdom in My Mind' Features Freewheeling Experimentation

Kingdom in My Mind captures the energy of the Wood Brothers' live performances, and it invites listeners to come jam-out, as long as the lyrics aren't carefully scrutinized.

Music

Kacy & Clayton's 'Carrying On' Is a Profound Meditation on Geographic Connection

Folk duo Kacy & Clayton explore the power of geographic connection and the awareness they develop when separated from their roots on Carrying On, their Jeff Tweedy-produced sixth studio album.

Music

Poppy Expands Her Musicality and Challenges Genre Conventions on 'I Disagree'

Poppy lays bare a necessary reminder to reject conformity and encircle empowerment. Whereas I Disagree explores what is confining and liberating - the latter is the album's unequivocal focal point.

Music

The 20 Best Folk Albums of 2019

Folk in 2019 is an image of inclusivity and unity in the face of international political upheaval. It's most captivating in its moments of sheer, heart-bearing authenticity and ensnares with new musical bearings introduced by some of its foremost innovators and newcomers to the scene.

Music

Rachael & Vilray Update Swing-Era Music on Their Debut

Rachael & Vilray is an absolute reflection of the jazz era while also firmly integrating the sound and energy into the contemporary moment.

Music

The Lumineers Get Cerebral on 'III'

Gone are the days of the Lumineers' pop-standards and monosyllabic earworms. III is a cerebral and disquieting portrait of addiction.

Books

Chavisa Woods: 100 Times (A Memoir of Sexism)

Chavis Woods' 100 Times (A Memoir of Sexism) is the ideal tool for inciting the collective rage needed to subvert gender-based harassment and violence.

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