Category: New Discoveries

Sara Serpa & Andre Matos: All the Dreams

The Portuguese duo of Sara Serpa (vocals) and Andre Matos (guitar), make music that invites a torrent of adjectives: ethereal, shimmering, poetic, hypnotic, and, yes, dreamy. Imagine if J.S. Bach and Joao Gilberto collaborated — while tripping on opium. “All the Dreams” is an album that invites repeated listening. (Our household has enjoyed the record...

Thomas Frank’s “Swat Team”

If you don’t subscribe to Harper’s magazine, you might have missed Thomas Frank’s must-read essay, “Swat Team: The media’s extermination of Bernie Sanders, and real reform.” After our nation has gone to the polls, “choosing” between two horrible candidates that represent nothing remotely salutary, it’s important to remember that once, not long ago, we had a...

Ricardo Grilli: 1954

The Brazilian-born, New York-based guitarist Ricardo Grilli’s new album, 1954, is a kind of inter-stellar journey through the cosmos. With our without a high concept to cohere the tracks, 1954 is one the best jazz records we’ve heard this year. Featuring cats like Aaron Parks (piano), Joe Martin (bass) and the magnificent drummer Eric Harland, you know the...

Bo Burnham: Make Happy

To call “Make Happy,” the genius comedian Bo Burnham’s current one-hour show, “modern stand-up” is like calling the Super Bowl “a football game”: true, but only to a point. There’s singing, dancing, rapping, philosophizing and miming.  There’s crowd work. There’s jokes. With complicated light and sound cues, it feels more like a rock-and-roll concert, and Burnham...

Oddsong: “Jailhouse Doc with Holes in Her Socks”

Esteemed jazz composer Darrell Katz has a new ensemble called “Oddsong,” which is how many first-time listeners might describe every track on “Jailhouse Doc with Holes in Her Socks.” No drums. No bass. No piano. Instead, a chamber music melange of strings, saxophones, marimba and voice (the elegant Rebecca Shrimpton). Most of the arrangements are...

Tenth of December

George Saunders writes stories about regular people who aspire to be better. Better fathers, better husbands, better achievers. They almost never succeed. Their heartbreak, their delusions — this is the crux of Saunders’ work, and although his stories are laugh-out-loud funny, they’re never cruel. He writes about America — about us — with unwavering compassion....

Andrew Cockburn on America’s Role in Yemeni Slaughter

It’s not a fun read. Most will avert their eyes, as we tend to do when confronted with imagery and information that contradicts the comforting stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what we stand for. But Andrew Cockburn’s “Acceptable Losses” article in Harper’s magazine should be mandatory for all American citizens, especially those...

Francisco Pais: Verde

Guitarist Francisco Pais comes from a small town in Portugal where every shade of green seems to burst forth from the land. On his new album “Verde,” numerous threads from guitar history comprise the compositions, weaving an aural quilt of engaging sounds. You hear shades of Hendrix, Waters, Clapton — and all the jazz titans...

Finders Keepers

Sometimes one craves unmitigated weirdness. Not much we’ve encountered lately is quite as weird as the story told in the finely-made film “Finders Keepers.” A man loses his leg in an accident and receives a prostheses. The man (weirdly) gets to keep his amputated leg and (even weirder) decides to stash the mummified limb in a small...

Lady Dynamite

The new comedy series “Lady Dynamite,” now streaming, has much to recommend it: a loose, quasi-meta narrative structure that delivers unexpected delights; stellar cameos from giants of the “alt” comedy world (Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, Judd Apatow); and recurring characters you look forward to seeing frequently, notably the foul-mouthed super-agent Karen Grisham (Ana Gastyer). Even...