The garish, densely layered cover art for Animal Collective’s latest album, Centipede Hz,
is just the first sign that the Baltimore-bred Psych Pop crew was
intent on shifting creative gears this time out.
In cinematic terms — and Mountains is as cinematic as any
musical outfit currently crafting soundscapes — it’s as if David Lynch
and his longtime composer Angelo Badalamenti wrestled the eternally
ethereal Tree of Life away from Terence Malick and injected a serious dose of mood-altering menace into its penultimate scene.
Marjorie Celona’s Y and Leah Stewart’s The History of Us
are more than just novels by writers who happen to be female; they’re
sensitive, psychologically complex works that deal the nature of
identity in ways both singular and incisive.
It’s a frigid weekday afternoon in early February, less
than three weeks after the publication of Leah Stewart’s fourth novel, The History of Us,
a Cincinnati-set coming-of-age tale marked by psychological insight, a
sneakily addictive narrative thrust and a deft use of dialogue.
Published to wide acclaim in early January, the affecting Y
is a novel of myriad pleasures, the most obvious being Celona’s
sensitive, psychologically complex conception of Shannon, a character
who refuses to leave one’s consciousness.
The photos included within the liner notes for 1997’s Too Far to Care, the Old 97’s’ third album, make the band members look like fresh-faced geeks, but the opening guitar riff to “Timebomb,” a jolt of
jagged, countrified Rockabilly, obliterates whatever image the photos
might conjure almost immediately.