Feb. 25, 2014
Beck – Morning Phase (Capitol)
It's been six years since Beck Hansen released an album (the Danger Mouse-helmed Modern Guilt), but that doesn't mean he wasn't channeling his musical creativity in other ways. He performed a live re-imagining of David Bowie's "Sound and Vision" with over 160 musicians; produced albums for Charlotte Gainsbourg, Thurston Moore and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks; put out a songbook in 2012 and three singles last year. He has finally fulfilled fans' hopes with the release of his 12th full-length today. Enlisting the same group of musicians – Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Joey Waronker, Smokey Hormel, Roger Joseph Manning Jr. and Jason Falkner – who played on one of my favorites of all his albums, Sea Change, Beck infuses the classic sound of his native Los Angeles, which permeated that 2002 release, with a sunnier outlook on Morning Phase's tracks like "Blue Moon" and "Waking Light."
Milagres – Violent Light (Kill Rock Stars)
The Brooklyn foursome follow up their critically acclaimed debut from 2011, Glowing Mouth, by showing a bit more of their darker, harder side on the aptly titled Violent Light. Culling from a wide range of influences that include Al Green, Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, the album deftly moves from dream pop to funky classic rock. The ethereal vocals and synths of opener "Perennial Bulb" immediately captivate before "Jeweled Cave" and "The Letterbomb" get you moving and "Sunburn" moves your soul. You're sure to have a good time if you join them at the Satellite on March 20.
Priscilla Ahn – This Is Where We Are (SQE)
I was fortunate enough to see some of Priscilla Ahn's first shows in Los Angeles after the singer-songwriter relocated from her native Pennsylvania. In the subsequent years, she has toured with Joshua Radin, Willie Nelson and Ray LaMontagne, released two albums (A Good Day, When You Grow Up) and had songs featured on shows such as "Grey's Anatomy" and in films like Bride Wars. She unveils her third full-length today, which opens with the grittier, more hard-hitting than she's ever been before "Diana." Ahn reverts to the more dreamy compositions she has come to be known for on songs like "Remember How I Broke Your Heart," "Home" and "In a Closet in the Middle of the Night," but also gets your heart pumping a bit faster with the album's title track, "Wedding March" and "You and Me."
Also available: Barzin's To Live Alone in That Long Summer; Bleeding Rainbow's Interrupt; Brandt Brauer Frick's DJ-Kicks; Carsick Cars' 3; Charlie Greene's self-titled; Creative Adult's Psychic Mess; Damaged Bug's Hubba Bubba; David T. Little's Haunt of Last Nightfall; Dierks Bentley's Riser; Doomsquad's Kalaboogie; Drekka's Ekki Gera Fikniefnum; The Fray's Helios; The Grouch & Eligh's The Tortoise and the Crow; Habits' Unselves in Arrival; InDirections' Clockworks; Kid Cudi's Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon; Lethal Dosage's Consume; Lo-Fang's Blue Film; Mainland's Shiner EP; Major Lazer's Apocalypse Soon; Mike Gordon's Overstep; Neil Davidge's Slo Light; Neneh Cherry's Blank Project; The Notwist's Close to the Glass; Patten's Estoile Naiant; Pillar Point's self-titled; Qui's Life, Water, Living…; Runaway Dorothy's The Wait; Scattered Bodies' Talking Songs; ScHoolboy Q's Oxymoron; Silversun Pickups' The Singles Collection; Son of God soundtrack; St. Vincent's self-titled; Sultan Bathery's self-titled; Twin Forks' self-titled; We Were Promised Jetpacks' E Rey - Live in Philadelphia; Wild Beasts' Present Tense; Yellow Ostrich's Cosmos
The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind by Michio Kaku (Doubleday)
I am always enthralled by the theoretical physicist, especially when the Science channel airs episodes of his "Sci Fi Science: Physics of the Impossible" series, which was based on his New York Times bestselling book Physics of the Impossible. Dr. Kaku also penned the bestselling Physics of the Future in 2011, and his latest book expands upon the possible roles of science and technology in the future, specifically in regards to unravelling the secrets of the human brain. From telepathy and telekinesis to mapping the brain and uploading memories, he explains how ideas once thought to only exist in sci-fi movies are now (and will be) realities.
Also available – The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus; Bark: Stories by Lorrie Moore; The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet by Mark Hyman M.D.; The Chance (Thunder Point) by Robyn Carr; The Chase (Fox and O'Hare) by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg; I Can See Clearly Now by Wayne W. Dyer; North to Alaska by Debbie Macomber; The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen; The Undead Pool (Hollows) by Kim Harrison
Film – Nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, Director (Alfonso Cuarón) and Actress (Sandra Bullock), Gravity centers around a woman lost in space; Blue Is the Warmest Color, a love story based on Julie Maroh's graphic novel, won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and stars Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulous; Another multiple Academy Award-nominee, Nebraska, is up six Oscars that include Best Picture, Director (Alexander Payne) and Actor for Bruce Dern, who plays a cantankerous father who thinks he's won a sweepstakes and wrangles his son (Will Forte) into a road trip to claim the prize; Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Tom Hiddleston reunite in Thor: The Dark World
Music – Celtic Woman's Emerald: Musical Gems - Live in Concert; Heart's Fanatic Life from Caesar's Colosseum; Muscle Shoals; Rock Candy Funk Party Takes New York: Live at the Iridium
TV – Adventure Time: The Complete Third Season; Ghost Adventures: Season 5; Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Season One; Law & Order: The 14th Year; Legit: Season 1; The Middle: Season Four; Monsters: The Complete Series; Scarecrow; Spiral: Season 3
Also available – Bullet; Crash Reel; Curse of the Dragon; Dark Tourist; Dead Like Me: Life After Death; Ice Soldiers; Narco Cultura; Pulling Strings; Sleepers Wake; Twice Born; The Wedding Pact; You Will Be My Son
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