Tagged: new discoveries

The North

The descriptor “easy listening” connotes saccharine elevator music, and “goes down easy” suggests diluted medicine. The debut album from The North, a Brooklyn-based piano trio, is called “Slow Down, This Isn’t the Mainland,” and the entire recording is indeed easy like Sunday morning and smooth as a polished seashell. But there’s nothing insipid or cloying;...

Winner-Take-All Politics

The grave necessity of Paul Pierson and Jacob Hacker’s book, Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer–and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class, was never clearer than the 2012 elections, in which citizens were presented with a “choice” between two competitie sub-brands of The Money Party monopoly. If you’re pro-war, pro-assassination, pro-bribery and...

Risk of Ruin

Arnold Snyder’s new novel Risk of Ruin is set in the biker, blackjack, and body-ink subcultures and features as one of the main characters God Almighty — in the form of a 15-year-old runaway Vegas stripper. In other words, our kind of book! The beauty of RoR is how elegantly the author entwines some sensationally subversive...

Set List

How does the comic mind work? Where does the funny come from? These and many other vital questions get answered every time Set List comes to town. It works like this: Some of the best comics on the scene are supplied with their “set list” — the topics they’ll cover — when they arrive on stage. Since these lists...

Harana Kings

In the old Philippines, before text messaging and Facebook, a gentleman courted a lady by serenading her at night beneath her window, a tradition called harana. Like Cuba’s “Buena Vista Social Club,” the new Harana Kings album joins seasoned veterans with young interpreters, creating music that’s simultaneously a cultrural remembrance and a fresh discovery. Guitars, light...

Pete Holmes

His prepared material, showcased on “Conan” and “Fallon” and an hour-long Comedy Central special, is sensationally smart and wildly funny. But to see Pete Holmes live, improvising and riffing and creating comedy in the moment, is to experience the kind of alchemical magic one associates with the best jazz musicians. In a town full of funny...

Sam Lipsyte

Lovable losers. Pathetic bumblers. Lost souls who haven’t yet given up, even when abdication looks like the best move. These are the inhabitants of Sam Lipsyte’s comic imagination. To say the novelist and short-story author is funny would be obvious and true, but a disservice to his talent. Lipsyte is a brilliant prose stylist who exhibits...

Madikwe Safari Lodge

There may be places in South Africa that offer a higher density of game than the Madikwe reserve, near Botswana. But few offer as low of a humans-to-wild-animals ratio as you’ll find at Madikwe Safari Lodge. This sense of solitude helps connect visitors to the rhythms of the bush — that and a terrific staff...

Entangled

Quantum physics and String Theory are difficult concepts to grasp, even for adults. So how to explain the mysteries of the universe to a child? Kevin Zarem, a father of two girls, makes a stellar attempt in his book Entangled: A Father’s Spiritual Quest through the Mysteries of the Mind. Simultaneously scientific and lyrical, anecdotal and...

POEMJAZZ

Poet Robert Pinsky. Pianist Laurence Hobgood. Text, music, and the moment — what we hear on the new POEMJAZZ recording is two giant artists making something greater than the sum of its parts. While Pinsky recites his lovely words with his unlovely (but weirdly attractive) voice, Hobgood, the longtime arranger and accompanist for Kurt Elling,...