Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What we're listening to: Circuital by My Morning Jacket

My Morning Jacket have recently released Circuital and it's a bit of a return to the sound that MMJ fans know and love (although, I will go on record as saying that I didn't have a problem with their last disc, Evil Urges). Upon first listen I was drawn to the title track Circuital. It has a good beat and builds slowly. Now, I'm in the midst of digging (and repeating) track four, Wonderful (The Way I Feel). The song features the MMJ tradition of infusing a bit of country sound into their rock and according to the A.V. Club the lyrics are "sweetly sappy," but I just plain like the sentiment:

I'm going where there ain't no fear
I'm going where the spirit is near
I'm going where the living is easy
And people are kind
A new state of mind

I'm going where there ain't no police
I'm going where there ain't no disease
I'm going where there ain't no need
To escape from what is
Only spirits at ease

Track five, Outta My System has a chorus that will get stuck in your head and Holdin' on to Black Metal (track six) has a rollicking feel, complete with a small backing chorus. Ultimately, I dig Jim James and his voice. His normal signing voice almost sounds lazy and a little disconnected, but his falsetto is just so careful and, well, soulful. I'm fascinated by the contrast and this disc showcases it once again.

Circuital by My Morning Jacket
Find it in the catalog!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Happy birthday, Natalie Portman!

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Oscar winning actress Natalie Portman celebrates her 30th birthday today. This past year has been a busy one in her career. Portman portrayed a ballet dancer consumed by the idea of perfection in Black Swan, for which she was nominated for and won countless awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actress. Portman also starred as a medical resident looking for only a physical relationship with friend Ashton Kutcher in the comedy No Strings Attached. And don't forget her role as a warrior who joins princes James Franco and Danny McBride in the David Gordon Green-directed tale of chivalry Your Highness (out on DVD in August). Or maybe you've watched her as Jane Foster in the summer blockbuster Thor.

Drama, comedy, superhero-action flick, she can do it all. But what about writing and directing, you say? Well, Portman did both for a segment in 2009's New York, I Love You. Okay. She sings, writes, and directs. But she doesn't sing, right? I don't know about singing, but she does rap; check out the track "Natalie's Rap" from The Lonely Island's 2008 album Incredibad and hear a completely different side of the actress. Portman has accomplished quite a bit for someone who has only just turned 30. I'm sure her career will become even more eclectic in the years to come.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fortress of Bookitude

In accordance of this year's summer reading theme, A Midsummer Knight's Read, two of our library's gentry, Sir Readsalot and Lady Lorelai, assembled a castle tower made of library books. Be sure to check it out in person and enter our contest to guess the number of books it contains! 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Second Annual Beardys: Hollywood edition

Last year, we compiled a list of the best facial hair in music.  While, the beard trend continues to grow, even invading the once clean cut J. Crew catalogs, the facial hair landscape in music hasn't really changed that much since last year (minus Dan Auerbach retiring the gingerbeard!).  So, instead this year's beardys will focus more on the bewhiskered in film and television.

First, we do have three musical award updates first though:

Best Ginger Beard (Issued in memory of Dan Auerbach's Beard): Robin Pecknold from the Fleet Foxes.
On a non-facial hair related note, I'm totally digging the Fleet Foxes' new album, Helplessness Blues

Best Creepy Uncle Mustache:  George Lewis Jr., Twin Shadow.  He also wins the Steven Patrick Morrissey Award for best pompadour in popular music.

Check out Twin Shadow's excellent debut album,  Forget!

Best Beard in Rap: Rick Ross
Check out one of his albums!

Fret not, for more discussion of beards in music, check out New York Mag's excellent Beard Symposium

Now, the Beardys go to Hollywood:

Most Swoon-worthy beard:  Ryan Gosling.
I'm not saying that Ryan Gosling has a face that launched a million beards, but how many dudes under the age of forty had a beard before Half Nelson?  And now every hipster in the city of Chicago is happily bewhiskered...hmmm... But Gosling does know how to wear a beard right.  Without a beard, he looks too clean-cut and boyish, but with stubble, he's just the right amount of rugged.
Check out the dreaminess in one of his films!

Best Brooding Beard: Michael Fassbender, Jane Eyre.
Most of the time, Rochester just rocks the mutton chops, but when the going gets tough, he channels his inner mountain man.  Sadly, I could not find a picture of Rochester with a beard, but below is my mock up. You'll have to see the movie to get the real deal:

Check out one of his films!