Inventions Band Interview
Having culminated in a house on the Oregon coast, Inventions' self-titled debut may not be a psychedelic record in any traditional sense, but set and setting seemed to have definitely had an effect on the outcome. The endless shimmering slate, the breeze-tussled grass, the stoic stone behemoths wading in the tide: against this backdrop, Matthew Cooper of Eluvium and Mark T. Smith of Explosions in the Sky coalesced their energies into eight songs that bring something unexpected out of each of their established sensibilities. Invigorated by a vibe of spontaneity, Inventions unveils subtle surprises over time. Floating and fluttering amid the vapor trails of keyboard and guitar are intriguing sounds and tics not tethered to either Cooper or Smith's main projects. Unique to the album as well are the dominant beats on "Peaceable Child" and "Recipient", neither resembling the cacophonous live drumming of Explosions nor the pulse-tapping undercurrent of Eluvium. Where both of those bands' work can often present like complete statements, Inventions also sets itself apart in how open-ended it feels; a breathing, growing, glowing thing. A natural thing. So natural feeling, in fact, that it's almost surprising how long it took Cooper and Smith to decide to work together...

Sunbathing Animal, for everyone who went mental over Light Up Gold: it doesn't cohere as well as its predecessor, in which all the songs flowed naturally and felt of a piece. Parquet Courts have been touring endlessly, and Sunbathing Animal often gives off the feel that the band has made songwriting less of a priority, and/or they had more than a few also-rans from the Light Up Gold sessions. Their 2013 EP, Tally All the Things That You Broke, was a mixed bag as well, but it had two of the most memorable songs of their career: "You've Got Me Wonderin' Now" and "The More It Works." If they'd been patient and held off until Sunbathing Animal's release to show those tracks the light of day, we might have a stronger album. The rave-up songs, seemingly inspired by the punk energy of their live shows, don't have as much personality as Light Up Gold, and hearken back to the lack of definition on their debut LP, American Specialties. Of the fast songs, "Vienna II" shows the most promise, taut and swaggering like Pink Flag-era Wire. It's also only a blink-and-you'll-miss-it length, at 1:02. Similarly, the instrumental "Up All Night" posits an alternate-universe Parquet Courts that grew up on Love Tractor and mid-period Feelies instead of early Pavement and 1970s downtown touchstones.

Owen Pallett - In Conflict Album Review
As lovely as the writing, playing, and production touches are on Owen Pallett's latest, In Conflict, it's his voice that may be the album's most striking feature. It's studied in the best way; the most accomplished singers, like the best figure skaters, can make an on-the-fly series of decisions seem natural, not hammy. Take Pallett's vowel sounds: where many North American singers nasalize the "ee," Pallett (a Canadian) is almost halfway to a resonant "ih," with some weight in the jaw and roundedness to the lips. Similarly, he backs out of his ending "r" sounds gracefully, not with the melodrama of a Broadway singer (who would finish the "or" more as "aw") but with just enough of the consonant to punctuate the word and let it go. His vocal phrasing is smart -- from his shaping of individual notes to the way he accentuates certain words or syllables in a passage to voice them like the natural flow of speech. Many contemporary pop artists, and even songwriters, don't have much regard for conversational lilts in lyrics -- not in the meanings of the words, but in in making those word-sounds more than just notes. Katy Perry probably wouldn't say "un-CON-di-SHUN-uh-LEE," so why would she sing it with the emphasis on those syllables?

Folklorists like to romanticize blues music as being a pure expression of culture, but recorded blues music was carefully marketed to its intended audience from its very beginning. As early as the 1920s, music aimed at African-Americans was labeled as "race music", and the best way to advertise it was in the pages of African-American newspapers. These newspapers had a wide circulation among urban African-Americans and even in parts of the South, where they were treated as contraband and discretely shared. While living in Arkansas, the singer Big Bill Broonzy recalled furtively reading the most famous of these newspapers, The Chicago Defender, and he made the move to Chicago in part because of what he had learned in the newspaper. Broonzy said that Black readers of the Defender were seen as brave, as it was a newspaper that promoted Black migration to the North, criticized racism in the South, and pushed for social change.1

Class Enemy Film Review
Nusa (Masa Derganc), every student's favorite teacher, goes on maternity leave and is replaced by Robert. Robert is everything that Nusa isn't -- a man who believes in rigid authority and an older style of teaching. A private meeting with a struggling Sabina (Dasa Cupevski) sends her out of Robert's office in tears, and it is the last memory her classmates have of her. Sabina later commits suicide, and the class, left struggling to comprehend their own emotions, squarely places the blame on Robert. Rok Bicek's debut feature-length film, Class Enemy, is an interesting exercise in grief, and Bicek undertakes the painstaking task of showcasing how it hits the cast of characters differently. Luka (Voranc Boh), who has just lost his mother, uses Sabina's death as a way to shield himself from his own pain. Mojca (Doroteja Nadrah), Sabina's best friend, blames Robert as a way to avoid the reality she had no idea her friend was in such a spot. Spela (Spela Novak), sees Sabina's death as a symbol of everything that is wrong with the school. As pressure starts to mount from his rebelling class, Robert has to wishstand even more from the school's administration, who feel that he is losing control of the people he doesn't really know in the first place.

Four Corners Film ReviewFour Corners Film
The narrative of Four Corners is equal parts Tsotsi and City of God, set in the sprawling South African ghetto of Cape Flats and following the people that struggle to survive it. At times, the dialogue is sparse and the acting is relatively wooden, but the overall message, and the despair of the situation, makes it an engaging film worth noting. Selected as the official South African submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, Four Corners missed out on a nomination, but remains a bold undertaking by director Ian Gabriel, who chose to tell the story in Sabela, the secret language of certain gangs in South Africa), Tsotsi taal and Afrikaans.

Four Corners Theatrical Trailer

When asked about the influence of late '70s and early '80s electronic music on his own record, A Period of Review, Seattle ambient pioneer and head of the Palace Of Lights label Kerry Leimer told The Ransom Note:
What interests me most about "A Period of Review" is the sense that it really is that period now in review. So many years on, in the constant rush and search for something "new" there's plenty of evidence that alot can be overlooked and never fully comprehended. Especially now, when more work is published than any one individual could ever hope to have even a passing familiarity with, it's always helpful to at least understand the way ideas and aesthetics about expression originate and evolve."
A Period In Review (Original Recordings 1975-1983), a lavishly packaged document for RVNG Intl.'s stunning archival series, rewinds the clock to investigate this period through the works of the under-known/under-appreciated luminary, K. Leimer.