Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesday (not so) Morning Playlist

Displaying IMG_3094.JPGDisplaying IMG_3094.JPGSo, things have finally started quieting down in the Reference Department at the DFL, now that school has been out for a week. And I can finally post a playlist now that things have quieted down. What's new in the world? Goth Taylor Swift has been replaced with my personal favorite Classic Swift version. President Obama is hilarious. I'm re-reading all of The Raven Cycle on audiobook. House Democrats hosted their own Occupy-esque sit-in. American Hogwarts is in Western Massachusetts. And I got engaged! So much in just a few short weeks.

On YouTube — Wednesday, June 29, 2016

1. Bombay Bicycle Club, Rinse Me Down
2. The Lower 48, Come Awake
3. Bastille, The Weight of Living Pt. 1
4. The Weepies, Never Let You Down
5. The Civil Wars, I've Got This Friend
6. José González, Heartbeats
7. Sufjan Stevens, To Be Alone With You
8. City and Colour, If I Should Go Before You
9. The Avett Brothers, Bring Your Love To Me
10. Punch Brothers, Don't Get Married Without Me

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wednesday Morning Playlist

I had a birthday this weekend! And as a present to myself, I bought one of my favorite albums on vinyl to add to the small (but growing) collection of records that my boyfriend and I have been cultivating. Gregory Alan Isakov is an amazing performer (if you have the chance to see him live, don't miss it) and a very nuanced storyteller. His songs are layered and evocative, pulling from themes of travel and journey and growth.

He is about to release a new album at the end of next week (June 10, 2016) that is a collection of his songs arranged with the accompaniment of the Colorado Symphony. He has performed with the Seattle Symphony in the past and due to the fulfilling nature of that endeavor has set out on a national tour with accompaniment from varying regional orchestras. This is so cool.

On YouTube — Wednesday AM Playlist: June 1, 2016

1. Big Black Car (from "This Empty Northern Hemisphere")
2. 3 a.m. (from "That Sea, The Gambler")
3. The Stable Song (from "That Sea, The Gambler")
4. Amsterdam (from "The Weatherman")
5. Dandelion Wine (from "This Empty Northern Hemisphere")
6. If I Go, I'm Goin (from "This Empty Northern Hemisphere")
7. Evelyn (from "This Empty Northern Hemisphere")
8. Suitcase Full of Sparks (from The "Weatherman")
9. Saint Valentine (from "The Weatherman")
10. Virginia May (from "This Empty Northern Hemisphere")

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wednesday Morning Playlist

I just got back from a day at our annual Massachusetts Library Association conference down Cape yesterday, so I'm trying to be good about putting up a post of good music today. I've also got a little bit in the works about Selma, which we watched last month for our Thursday Night Teen Movie. Aaaand I finally watched the New Girl finale, which kind of sort of inspired this list. At least the first and last songs.

1. Langhorne Slim & The Law, Changes
2. Ingrid Michaelson, Hell No
3. John the Ghost, The Whole of Your Heart
4. Ben Folds, The Luckiest
5. Death Cab for Cutie, Soul Meets Body
6. Regina Spektor, Us
7. St. Vincent, Oh My God
8. The Paper Kites, Bloom
9. John Mayer, Why Georgia
10. Seinabo Sey, Still

On YouTube - Wednesday AM Playlist: May 18, 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

"Cleopatra," The Lumineers

The 2016 follow-up, "Cleopatra," to The Lumineers' self-titled debut LP has arrived. The radio and mainstream success of the folk/soul-rock band has allowed them to remain relevant after four years of little in the ways of new music. The mainstream acceptance of the band seems to be because of instead of in spite of Wesley Schultz's oddly beautiful, intimate lead vocals. This intimacy comes through across "Cleopatra," and still remains bright and energetic.

I mentioned on my first Wednesday Morning Playlist that I've been craving upbeat music lately. "Cleopatra," for all of its simplicity and fun has been fulfilling this need for me. Yet the wistfulness and poeticism that draws me to quiet indie rock and folk never wavers. The radio-friendly "Ophelia" is just the tip of the iceberg.

Don't miss: "Sleep on the Floor," "Angela," and one of my all-time favorites, finally released, "Gun Song"

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wednesday Morning Playlist

I thought I'd continue Michael's habit of posting a playlist on Wednesdays. Mostly because he had already started it, and Wednesday is my morning on the Reference Desk. Which was probably why he also posted on Wednesdays. Anyways, it's felt particularly Spring-like over the last few days which has prompted a desire for upbeat music during my commute.
  1. Cold War Kids, Hospital Beds
  2. The Civil Wars, I've Got This Friend
  3. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Home
  4. Sia, Cheap Thrills
  5. Taylor Swift, Style
  6. The Weepies, Wild Boy
  7. Jimmy Eat World, The Middle*
  8. Alessia Cara, Wild Things
  9. The Lumineers, Angela
  10. Ben Gibbard, Carolina
*Because I, along with the rest of the internet, love Taylor's Apple Music ads. They've even made me consider subscribing to Apple Music. Almost, but not. I am a librarian after all.

On YouTube - Wednesday AM Playlist: April 20, 2016

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Hello (from the other side)

Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Mural of famous movie stars on building, Los Angeles, California
I'm Larissa and I've been the Teen Librarian at the DFL since the beginning of the year. It's been a great experience so far, and I'm looking forward to all of the new adventures I'll get to go on — like taking over this blog from Michael as he departs onto a new adventure of his own.

Music has always been a part of my life, between growing up with a musical grandmother, and later being a part of my high school band. Now, I've settled into certain sounds and writers that truly speak to me. Some of my favorite bands and performers are City and Colour, Gabrielle Aplin, The Avett Brothers, Gregory Alan Isakov, The Weepies, William Fitzsimmons, Sufjan Stevens, and The Head and the Heart.

One of my best friends once told me that she didn't trust people that only liked one kind of music. And this stuck with me, so I try not to close myself off to music. This is part of why I also enjoy Taylor Swift and Adele, Frank Ocean and Chance the Rapper, and all sorts of other seemingly random music.

Movies have also been a natural obsession for me. I love stories, and I love a well-scripted film or show just as much. This is part of why my boyfriend and I became friends a few years ago. He studied film at art school and together we just completed production on a full-length documentary last summer. This mostly means I've spent more time in the last year making a movie than watching movies, but I'm excited to have more time to indulge, and this blog is as good an excuse as any.

I hope you'll keep reading, because I'm going to keep updating this based on what's going on and hitting the shelves at the DFL. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

This is Ron Burgundy Signing Off...You Stay Classy San Diego

Dear loyal readers (of which I know there are thousands), it is with a heavy heart that I am relinquishing the reigns of Dive Deep Into Music and Movies.  I will be leaving the DFL and moving on to the Hingham Public Library as their Local History librarian.  Writing this blog has been an absolute treat and I will miss it dearly.  I hope that those of you who read it will continue to do so as our fabulous YA librarian Larissa takes over and brings her unique opinions to the ever growing collection of AV materials we have here at the DFL and beyond! Thank you to anyone who has ever read anything I've written.  I hope it inspired you to watch or listen to something new!  For now, I'll leave you with a final playlist...

1. Pill Popper - White Pages
2. Youth Decay - Sleater Kinney
3. Gloria - The Monsieurs
4. Cat and Mouse - Radkey
5. Good Times, Bad Times - Led Zeppelin
6. Dammit - Blink 182
7. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) - Green Day 
8. Goodbye Cruel World - Pink Floyd
9. Come Sail Away - Rush
10.Leaving on a Jet Plane - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Song's from this Morning

1. Life on Mars? - David Bowie
2. Caring is Creepy - The Shins
3. Teenage Superstars - The Vaselines
4. Porcelain - Moby
5. King of Kings - The Evens
6. Rats - Black Beach
7. Going Down - The Germs
8. Validation - Minutemen
9. Burnin' for You - Blue Oyster Cult
10. Keep on Knocking - Death

The Academy Awards: Better than Last Year...But Good?

The 88th Academy Awards have come and gone.  All I can say is PHEW...Mad Max Fury Road didn't win Best Picture.  All is right in the universe.  Though it did beat out some huge films and swept the technical categories taking home Best Production Design, Film Editing, Costume Design, Makeup, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing.  That being said, there were some pretty big upsets.  Ex Machina, one of my personal favorite films of the year took home Best Visual Effects over popular favorites like Star Wars and The Martian which was both surprising and well deserved.  Spotlight, a true underdog in my book, took home the most coveted award of Best Picture which was a delightful shock and Leo finally secured Best Actor for his role in The Revenant.  His acceptance speech was both humble and poignant as he used his time to talk about the problem of global warming and a variety of other world issues.  Brie Larson won Best Actress for her stunning role in the emotionally powerful Room which I'm still DYING to see.  Alejandro Inarritu secured Best Director for The Revenant, his second year in a row (last year he won for Birdman).  Final highlights included Ennio Morricone winning Best Score for his soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino's Hateful Eight and Pixar's Inside Out taking home Best Animated feature.  As anyone knows though, the awards are only half the night.  Chris Rock was a great host who kept things light but decidedly topical focusing almost entirely on the lack of diversity in this years nominees.  A speech by the head of the Academy on diversifying Hollywood added a seriousness to Rock's jokes as she addressed the audience directly and called for all involved in the process of making movies to try harder to include more people of color in the film industry.  Overall, the night was just what I've come to expect from the Academy Awards.  A few upsets, some hit and miss jokes, some long winded speeches, and some poor choices.  But hey, at least they raised over $65,000 for the Girl Scouts of America by selling cookies to tipsy celebrities.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Black Mass Could Have Been Way Bettah

Eh.  That sums it up.  The highly anticipated crime drama Black Mass directed by Scott Cooper was good but ultimately, could have been significantly better.  Living in the Boston area, everyone and their mothah was wicked excited about the movie about South Bawston’s own Whitey Bulgah.  Many in this area have vivid memories of the notorious crime boss and his penchant for violence.  After the media storm surrounding his capture and trial in 2011, it made sense for Hollywood to cash in and the result is a film that follows all the standard “mafia movie” tropes.  As a result, the movie comes across as an amalgam of themes, scenes, and dialog that feels straight out of BETTER organized crime dramas of the past.  That being said, the film is essentially a story about the character of Whitey Bulger – a man whose brutality has become myth.  In this respect, it was well done.  Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Bulger while over the top at times felt authentic and conveyed the deep seated madness behind the family man from Southie.  Regardless, you’re always aware that it’s Johnny Depp (the problem with such recognizable actors) and you’re even more aware that Depp’s accent is false.  Given, he does a pretty phenomenal job as fake Boston accents go but it’s still a hurdle to get over that distracts you from the dialog (which admittedly has its ups and downs).  Supporting actors Benedict Cumberbatch as Billy Bulger and Joel Edgerton as dirty cop John Connolly are shadowed by Depp and feel almost unnecessary.  It would have been nice to focus solely on Bulger himself and not get bogged down with the story of Connolly’s role in getting Bulger set up as an informant for the FBI.  Overall, the film was OK but disappointing in that it could have been great.

Today's Playlist

1. Coffee - Kal Marks
2. Walk on the Wild Side - Lou Reed
3. Blank Generation - Richard Hell and the Voidoids
4. The Weather Song - Ought
5. Jane - Barenaked Ladies
6. Nightswimming - REM
7. Where is My Mind? - Pixies
8. Future Police - Downtown Boys
9. Lemmings - Blink 182
10. Promises - Fugazi

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Daniel Craig's Time as James Bond Ends with A Flop

                James Bond is an icon; an eternal character too large for one man.  Thus every actor’s stint as the suave British agent with a license to kill must come to an end.  Connery, Dalton, Moore, Brosnan…their times have all come to a close and with the release of Spectre, Daniel Craig’s chapter as the tuxedo wearing, martini drinking, Astin Martin driving spy is now part of the pantheon of greats that have come before him.  But that’s the problem.  Throughout the course of Craig’s four Bond films the character has become a shadow of itself.  Maybe it was a Bond for a new generation; a Bond with an edge who sacrificed the debonair attitude for some grit and grime.  I’d be able to accept that if the films were any good.
                Now don’t get me wrong.  I enjoyed 2 out of 4 of the Craig films.  Casino Royale was based on the first Ian Fleming Bond novel and thus had most of the elements of what we’ve all come to expect in a 007 flick: the Astin Martin, the martinis, the sex on the beach.  Quantum of Solace was a miss in my book, a continuation of the events of Casino Royale in a way that DID NOT feel like a Bond film.  Part of that comes from the fact that they were forced to create a plot without the help of a Fleming novel.  They took this “new” Bond which Craig had helped create – the kind that rudely says “I don’t give a damn” instead of “shaken not stirred” to the bartender – and thrust him into a new world.  While Quantum fell flat, Craig and co. turned it around with Skyfall, a film that in every way felt like classic Bond.  Diving deep into James’ past as well as his lifelong personal relationship with Judy Dench’s M was spectacular.  Javier Bardem’s villain was superb.  He was the classy, sophisticated psychopath you expect to try and take over the world.  I was blown away and had such high hopes for the follow up; which brings us to Spectre.
                What happened??  The film fell flat and was not the “go out with a bang” I was hoping for for Craig’s last iteration of Bond.  While Ralph Fiennes is INCREDIBLE as M, Christopher Waltz’s rendition of classic Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld was bland and forgettable.  This is immensely disappointing as I’ve come to adore Waltz as an actor, particularly in the role of the villain and yet he is completely forgettable.  Gadgets are nowhere to be found and the sleek, bullet proof spy car only has a rear flamethrower...whoop dee doo.  The evil organization SPECTRE where the film gets it’s title does not come across as all powerful but instead a rather plain group of individuals ruled by…money? power? influence? force? It’s never abundantly clear leading you to not really believe the fact that they are “everywhere” so to speak.  Aspects of Bond’s character are almost non existent and make the film feel like a generic, run of the mill action movie with dark undertones.  If it weren’t for the Bond theme playing in the background, it would be possible to write off the film as just that.  Ultimately, it’s a poor and disappointing end to Craig’s time as the titular hero but ultimately, an accurate reflection of his version of the character from the beginning.
                Craig’s “rough around the edges” adaptation of 007 has never quite fit.  Something has always been a little off and Spectre seals the deal.  It reminds us that while his four films have elements and aspects of the classic Bond movies that came before, they never quite hit the mark.  Something was always missing.  Now that he’s moving on from the character the world will wait anxiously for a new Bond to take up the reigns.  Without the constraints of the Fleming novels the character could go in any direction.  But I’m holding out hope that after the raucous thrill ride that was the last four, we’ll see a return to form.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Hot New Movies!

The Duxbury Free Library carries the newest,
most popular films - typically right as they come out!
If you're a movie lover it's crucial you keep an eye on
our "NEW" section as it is updated regularly.  Get on
the hold list early for some of Hollywood's biggest flicks
by signing up for DVD bookletters!  We'll email you
when all the great new titles arrive in the catalog.
For now, check out some of these great new titles!

Poldark: Season One

This dark, Colonial period drama from the BBC stars Aidan Turner (The Hobbit) as Ross Poldark.  The shows 8 episodes chronicle his return to his small Cornish town after years away fighting in the American War for Independence.  If you're disappointed that there aren't more episodes, fret not! Season two is on its way.

Ted 2

Seth MacFarlane's sequel to his hysterical live action debut starring a crude stuffed bear magically brought to life by the love of his owner sees much of the same humor and jokes.  That being said, it's certainly got it's laugh out loud moments.  Mark Wahlberg is so unbelievable in comedic roles his time on screen is almost funny in and of itself.  If you're a Family Guy fan than odds are you enjoyed the first Ted and odds are you will enjoy the second.

Diary of a Teenage Girl

This fabulous coming of age drama is one part funny, two parts creepy, and three parts brilliantly emotional.  Based on the graphic novel memoir of the same name by Phoebe Gloeckner, the film stars Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), and introduces Bel Powley as protagonist Minnie Goetze.  Minnie's middle teen years and her sexual awakening at the hands of her mothers boyfriend (Skarsgard) paint an interesting portrait of mid-70's San Francisco in the wake of the hippie movement.

The 88th Annual Academy Awards Approaches!

It's February and that means one thing (besides Valentines Day)...the Academy Awards are approaching!!  I have high hopes for this year and maintain the belief that the Oscars is the LAST truly sensible award show.  After the farce that was this years Golden Globes (see my post on The Martian) I'm really hoping the Academy can pull it together to make some wise, multicultural, intelligent picks this year.  Though it seems popular opinion has continuously found it's way into the mix with movies like Mad Max Fury Road getting a nom for Best Picture....give me a break!! That being said there are some truly amazing films and actors up for awards this year.  Best Picture noms include Spielberg's Bridge of Spies and the Boston based Catholic Church drama Spotlight.  Leo is up for Best Actor again for his emotional role in The Revenant who's mastermind Alejandro Inarritu is also up for Best Director.  Jennifer Lawrence is quickly establishing herself as a core part of the next generation of iconic Hollywood actresses and is nominated for her role in Joy.  As far as animation goes, there is only one film in the category in my opinion; Pixar's fabulous Inside Out.  Other things to watch for include whether John Williams will take home his sixth Oscar for Best Original Score for his work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens and whether or not The Martian will win Best Adapted Screenplay (it should!).  In the weeks leading up to the film industries biggest night, stop by the DFL and pick up a Best Picture winner from years past!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Some Songs from this Morning

1. See More Glass - Total Control
2. In My Eyes - Minor Threat
3. Big Me - Foo Fighters
4. Everywhere I Go - Mini Dresses
5. Ironic - Alanis Morissette

I Should Have Paid More Attention to METZ

When Canadian noise punk trio METZ released their eponymous debut in 2012 I was indifferent.  I thought it was good, but never thought it was anything revolutionary or radical.  The albums 10 songs were straightforward grungy noise rock with a hardcore twist.  An amalgam of other Sub Pop releases from the last 20 years.  However, I recently gave their new LP simply called "II" a listen and I was floored.  The power and sincerity I never noticed on their first album was readily apparent on their sophomore effort.  Sharp, jagged opener "Acetate" sets the tone for the rest of the album with it's shaky vocals, whiny guitar strings, and a bass line that feels more like a kick to the face as it drives the music forward.  Other stand out moments include the adrenaline fueled "I.O.U" and the sporadic tempo shifts of "Spit You Out".  METZ finishes strong with "Kicking a Can of Worms"; a song that builds and builds before erupting like the violent volcano it is.  You're hypnotized by the repetitive droning noise as the band leaves you with a farewell letter that shows they are more than just your average rock band.  It ends up representing what makes METZ great.  Using a variety of musical building blocks, the band incorporates the influences of 90's Seattle in a way that doesn't sound forced or overexposed.  Their live show is supposed to be a smorgasbord of whipping hair, metal riffs, and a sludgy rhythm section which lets be real, is the perfect cocktail for mind altering rock and roll.  A recent stop in Boston at the Sinclair saw the band playing with 2015 breakout band Bully and up and coming Seattle rockers So Pitted.  Really wish I had been paying more attention to this band but they've certainly hooked me now.  It's what rock is supposed to sound like in 2015.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Today's Playlist

1. Psycho Killer - Talking Heads
2. Lazarus - David Bowie
3. Oh, Me - Nirvana
4. Sleep Talk - Diet Cig
5. Too Tough - Bully
6. I Hate the Weekend - Tacocat
7. Look Alive - Titus Andronicus
8. Paperback Writer - The Beatles
9. Carry On My Wayward Son - Kansas
10. Rock and Roll Forever With the Customer in Mind - Pile

The Martian Was Sci-Fi Perfection

      The Golden Globes died for me this year.  Science fiction director extraordinaire Ridley Scott's adapation of Andy Weir's critically acclaimed novel The Martian won Best Comedy.  BEST COMEDY!!! Are you kidding me??  Now, I never read the book...but any idiot with half a brain could tell you just from reading the back cover that it is decidedly NOT a comedy.  What it most certainly IS is a fabulously acted SCI-FI film with gorgeous environments, accurate science, and stunning visuals.
      Matt Damon plays protagonist Mark Watney, a botanist and mechanical engineer working on Mars as part of the Ares III mission to the red planet.  After a suprisingly violent sandstorm forces the crew to make an immediate departure from the planet's surface, Mark is struck by debris and believed dead.  The crew retreats to the Hermes orbital station and begins their return voyage to Earth.  Mark wakes up after the storm subsides and makes his way back to the HAB where the astronauts had been living on the surface.  Faced with immeasurable odds, Mark must overcome each obstacle one at a time if he ever hopes to survive long enough to make it home alive.
      Damon's portrayal of Watney is superb.  It's always dangerous when you put such a recognizable and iconic actor in such a role because it can be hard to immerse yourself in the film.  It's so important to be able to sympathize with the plight of the survivor in films such as this and the added variable of survival in space makes it all the more harrowing.  As such, prominant actors can often be more of a distraction than an enhancement and make it harder for the viewer to put themselves in the protaganists shoes.  This is not the case in The Martian.  Damon is superb.  Supporting actors were also on their game, most notably Jeff Daniels as the Director of NASA and Jessica Chastain as Ares III mission commander Melissa Lewis.
      While the film certainly utilizes a heavy amount of comedic relief, mostly from Watney as he talks to his video log, it is meant to help keep Mark and the viewer sane as the notion of years alone on the red planet begins to sink in.  It's important to make light of any dire situation to avoid panic and ultimately failure.  The fact that this sarcastic, comedic relief was misconstrued as outright comedy by the motion picture elite is downright embarrassing.  I'll leave it at that.
      The films visuals are brilliant and showcase the beauty of the Martian surface.  Large rock formations, sweeping dunes, and a glowing orange sky serve as the backdrop to Mark's survival activities.  They are a constant reminder of the perils and beauty of space.  While the film certainly had its pitfalls, overall I can't speak highly enough about the acting, script, and visuals.  When combined, they do exactly what science fiction is supposed to do: inspire, intrigue, and continually tempt humanity to open the Pandora's Box that is deep space travel.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Space Oddity Returns to the Stars: RIP David Bowie (1947 - 2016)

      Celebrities die all the time.  I'm sorry if that sounds morose but it's true.  They are just people like you and me and eventually, we all succumb to death's frigid grasp.  However, every once in awhile we lose a true icon; someone who is not a celebrity, but instead an immortal being whose presence on this planet shaped generations. They're more than just another "rock star" and leave us all in a state of cultural shock at the mere IDEA of their loss.  It's almost incomprehensible that they could be gone and yet we are all left in the wake, attempting to make sense of it all.  Such was the case this past weekend when the world lost a true social, musical, and cultural legend: David Bowie.
      To condense the life of such an incredible human being down into a few words hardly seems like an appropriate gesture.  Sure we all had a Bowie that meant something to each of us.  Some had Ziggy Stardust, some had the Duke and still others knew him only as Jareth the Goblin King.  The point is that David Bowie transcended his earthly shell and will join an elite group of people who have truly become immortal.  His music will continue to inspire, provoke, and mystify future generations with each and every listen.  His progressive beliefs on gender, fashion, art, film, and music are the stuff of legend.  Up until the very end, Bowie never stopped creating and in the days after his untimely death we're left with his final message - Blackstar.  An album whose meaning is now abundantly clear.  Faced with his imminent demise, Ziggy left us with a message of hope and of confidence.  He tells us not to be afraid, not to mourn, not to dwell on the sadness but instead embrace the future.  The release of his final record, accompanied by his final birthday, and followed by his crushing death lead us all to reevaluate his last words and listen closely as the man himself speaks to us about his final months - from whatever dimension he now calls home.
      People always look back on history, culture and particularly music and say man, I wish I could have been alive in the time of John Lennon, in the time of Jim Morrison, of Darby Crash, Kurt Cobain, Lou Reed...people who established themselves in the pantheon of human civilization as true musical trendsetters and revolutionaries.  As the dust settles around this terrible loss I'm left with a sense of pride... pride that I got to live in the time of David Bowie.