Friday, April 28, 2017

April 2017 Pop Culture Roundup

Six items for April...

1. This month I read All About Love by bell hooks. It was my first encounter with her writing, which was a big reason why I picked it up. The subject of this work, as you might imagine, is love: hooks writes thoughtfully and wisely about different aspects of love including its relationship to justice, how we might reflect dysfunction from our families of origin in later relationships, how men are taught to be emotionally stunted and withholding, sex, and much more. It was a wonderful first experience of bell hooks, and I'll be seeking out more.

2. The second season of The Magicians wrapped up this month. The first season signaled what fans of the books would be in for by adapting or combining certain elements; the second veers off the path much more. The defeat of the first season's antagonist happened in the third or fourth episode in order to focus on a second enemy who was also introduced in the first season but is much less of a factor in the books. It was a strange pacing decision, as were several others, but all in all the season was able to weave together 3-4 stories rather well, and given that we were past the basic introductions of the characters in order to delve in, this season was much richer. I'll look forward to the next when it returns early next year.

3. A few weeks ago I decided that maybe I should see if the band Sleigh Bells had released any new music lately (you know, as one does). It turns out that they had just last year with an album called Jessica Rabbit. It features their signature grinding guitars over electronic beats, but maybe a little more polished than on Reign of Terror, which was my first taste of them a few years ago. Here's a single from their latest, "I Can Only Stare:"

4. I've also been enjoying an EP called Voices by artist Madame Gandhi, a drummer from LA who is striking out on her own after touring with rapper M.I.A. Her music is very chill, but with an edge to it both in the beats and in the lyrics. Here's a single from that EP called "Her:"

5. And I've also been listening to Sincerely by Dude York, their third album released just last year. This band has a fun pop-punk sort of sound reminiscent of Weezer. Here's the single for one of their singles, "Love Is:"

6. And finally, I've been listening to Bishop Briggs' self-titled EP, featuring several songs that I've been enjoying for the past year or two, "Wild Horses" and "River." Briggs has a soulful style that I've liked ever since I first heard her, and I'm glad she's finally putting out more than just singles. Here's her best-known song, "River:"