Violent Mae - "Birthday" (audio) (premiere)

The guitar/drums duo add bass to their sound courtesy a bass guitar owned by a late legend.

Connecticut duo Violent Mae recently released their new album Kid, but have also recorded an alternate version of that album's closing track "Birthday", which features Chris Ballew (of the Presidents of the United States of America) playing the distinct two-string bass that belonged to the late, great Mark Sandman of Morphine, who was a major influence on the band's sound.

"'Birthday' is one of the most intimate songs for me," explains singer/guitarist Becky Kessler. "It’s about growing up and finding out you have the same needs, challenges and fears as an adult that you had as a kid, like you never really grow up or out of it. And sometimes hard times make you weaker, not stronger. There’s this lyric: 'You’re all grown up for years now, it hasn’t killed you yet, but it’s made you weaker.'"

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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