The Whigs specialize in earnest, guitar-driven nuggets that
recall both their hometown’s jangle-laden roots and a variety of
old-school heavy-hitters, from Neil Young to The Replacements. Hey,
sometimes good taste and a rousing live show is more than enough.
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.