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Books

Ninja Meets Navajo Code Talker

The YA collisions of Leza Lowitz and Shogo Oketani

Shojo and Leza, international authors of mystery
Shojo and Leza, international authors of mystery

I think maybe Leza Lowitz and Shogo Oketani have the coolest marriage ever. The pair not only travels back and forth between homes in Tokyo and Santa Fe, but they’re both writers and translators with a host of titles under their respective belts. I recently had the chance to chat with Leza via email about a new young adult novel she and her husband worked on together, Jet Black and the Ninja Wind (Tuttle, $17.99). The first in a planned trilogy, it’s both a balls-out adventure tale and an intriguing portrait of multiple cultures. It’s also the recent winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature, putting it in company with folks like Ruth Ozeki, whose A Tale for the Time Being won for Adult Fiction.

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Music

Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

Good news for good news lovers

King Tuff's Was Dead album was one of my favorites of 2013. Though it came out years ago, fan fervor over the original recordings made him reissue it last year, and rightfully so. It's a fantastic record. Now Tuff is gearing up to release another LP (Black Moon Spell), and he's giving a taste of what it'll entail with the album track “Eyes of the Muse.” That should tide you over 'til Sept. 23, but I'm sure he'll release more previews between then and now. Here's hoping.

Play Youtube Video
King Tuff - “Eyes of the Muse”

I've always liked Usher ... well, mostly. I've lost touch with a lot of his recent work, but “Confessions Part II,” “Nice and Slow” and “Yeah” are some good songs to dance, reflect or get in the mood to. Whatever your preference, the man knows what he's doing. Now Usher has made a track available that was produced by Pharrell and features Nicki Minaj. The slick, club-happy number will definitely be a crowdpleaser. Head to Hip-Hop Wired to hear it.

Coldplay and Cat Power? I'm sure some could have predicted it … probably not. Cat Power is ... well ... Cat Power. And Coldplay used to be good. Regardless, it's an interesting combination any way you squeeze it, and the song they've concocted together (written by Coldplay's Chris Martin, sung by Chan Marshall) is a contemplative little number. The track “Wish I Was Here” was written and recorded for Zach Braff's upcoming film of the same name. How that'll go is an entirely different thing. But check out the song below.

Play Youtube Video
Coldplay & Cat Power - “Wish I Was Here”

There's always dissension when a legendary rock group announces they've recorded new material. Some say it's going to be awful. Some say it's a new era, a new sound. Whatever your views, that still doesn't stop it from happening. Take Pink Floyd for instance. The group is coming out with a new record (The Endless River) in October, and according to the band's website, it's “an album of mainly ambient and instrumental music based on the 1993/4 Division Bell sessions which feature David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright.” So keep an eye out for that one … or don't … I mean I might not even remember … I probably will though.

I mentioned a few weeks back that Christopher Owens (former frontman from Girls) was coming out with his second solo album. Well, that's still happening. The record (A New Testament) hits the music-sphere on Sept. 30. And Owens shared a snippet in the form of “Nothing More Than Everything to Me,” which you can view below.

Play Youtube Video
Christopher Owens - “Nothing More Than Everything to Me”

It's happening. Beck is going to release a new album titled Song Reader. I know, I know, he already came out with a record called Song Reader (though it was a release of sheet music, made to be interpreted by skilled musicians). But Beck is going to release actual recordings of those songs, and each track is going to be done by a different artist. Among them are Laura Marling, Jack Black, Jarvis Cocker, Jack White and much more. Head to Pitchfork to get more deets on that. Oh, and it drops on July 29, which is hella soon!

Audio/Visual

Like most, I became familiar with The Vines at the turn of the millennium when they graced us with “Get Free.” Anyone else remember the Hives vs. Vines battle during MTV's Music Awards? Them's were the days. The band has been steadily releasing albums over the past decade, though none have found their way on my radar. Now, they're coming out with a new double LP (Wicked Nature). They're self-releasing it via PledgeMusic where fans donate funds and get free downloads of some of the album's tracks. So there ya go. Not sure when the record is coming out, but you can watch the video for their new song “Metal Zone” below.

Play Youtube Video
The Vines - “Metal Zone”

Out the left hangar

Taylor Swift is a writer? Well, duh, I know she writes her own songs, but an editorial? And for the Wall Street Journal? The country-pop sensation wrote a piece on the future of the music industry, speculating on where music will be in 30 or 40 years. Swift describes herself at the beginning of the piece as an “enthusiastic optimist.” (Go figure.) She does say some insightful things here and there, and whether you agree with her assertions, it's not as if she's the be-all-end-all authority on music entirely. But if you want her perspective, it's not a terrible read. See what she has to say here.

Fans of Death Proof are no strangers to Mary Elizabeth Winstead (you know, the one who was dressed like a cheerleader in the second half). 'Member the scene where she sits in the car and sings a lovely cover of Smith's “Baby It's You”? Good times. Well Winstead and Dan “The Automator” Nakamura have a music project together (Got A Girl), and they're getting ready to release a record on July 22. To give people a preview, they've made the track “There's a Revolution” available. Listen to the retro pop ditty below.

There are still moments when I get tears in my eyes at the thought that I will never see The White Stripes live in person. I think back to moments when I could have seen them had I driven 3 1/2 hours, changed highways, snacked on goodies, all while playing all six of their fantastic albums in chronological order. That is slightly remedied with the release of a live White Stripes album (Live Under the Lights of the Rising Sun). No release date on it yet, but the record will have 31 tracks, and it's taken from their first tour in Japan in 2000. So it'll probably have some good early stuff. Head to NME to read more 'bout it.

More Videos

V.23 No.21 | 5/22/2014

Odds & Ends

From Oregon to Japan, it’s funny because it happened to someone else.

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V.23 No.16 | 4/17/2014

Get Lit

On the Periphery

David Sylvian solo career bio proves exhaustive

Wherein August March reviews dancing about architecture, specifically On the Periphery, a complex, scholarly biography of David Sylvian’s post-Japan solo career.

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news

The Daily Word in mudslides, derailments and Gwar.

A Washington mudslide has claimed at least eight fatalities.

An O’Hare Airport train derailment has injured at least 32 people.

Rest in peace, James Rebhorn.

Rest in peace, Oderus Urungus.

Japanese manhole covers are cool.

Do you want to build a snowman?

There was a police shooting in Los Lunas.

A man was rescued from Rio Grande quicksand.

Check out Albuquerque’s future buses.

Happy birthday, Harry Houdini.

news

The Daily Word in New Mexico land, a general's court-martial and ninjas

CNM's getting a Downtown location, y'all.

Albuquerque is getting a “Living Cities” grant, which will help with Downtown revitalization, low-income residents and community improvement.

President Obama's budget proposal could result in more access to New Mexico public lands.

Three more accusers have come forward against Rusty Glanton, a tumbling coach who was accused of “criminal sexual contact of a minor” in January.

The court-martial is underway for a US general accused of sexually assault.

A transgender woman was told by CrossFit that she couldn't compete in the women's strength competition. Now she's suing them.

Brig. Gen. Peggy C. Combs is the first woman to take command of Fort Knox. Not bad.

An abortion clinic in McAllen, Texas closed its doors yesterday due to new state restrictions. The law is expected to be “fully implemented” in September, which will leave only six clinics in the state of Texas.

Wait … there's actual employment for ninjas? With no experience required? Guess I'm moving to Japan.

news

The Daily Word in John Mellencamp, Wayne Bent, Obama and Guillermo del Toro.

John Cougar’s sons were sucking on chili dogs behind the Tastee Freez.

Now Japan has Pepsi flavored Cheetos to go with their dirty underwear vending machines.

Obama played cards during the Osama bin Laden raid. The intern kept losing, but wouldn’t take her bra off.

A shark ate a lady’s arm in Maui.

Death came calling for both troubled sitcom star Lisa Robin Kelly and Spain’s wealthiest woman, Rosalia Mera.

Area 51 exists.

Take a peek at Guillermo del Toro’s sketchbook.

Google yanked YouTube access from Microsoft’s Windows Phone app.

Shittens are now available.

Enjoy these pictures of animals wearing clothes.

Albuquerque programmer Sean McCracken wrote the first game for Google Glass. The game involves killing aliens.

Wayne Bent will remain in prison. The Alibi covered Bent’s case extensively.

Happy birthday, Robert Culp. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned I’m related to Robert Culp. Or perhaps I have!

Music

I’m Happy When it’s Sad

Study concludes sad music evokes positive emotions

A group of researchers from Tokyo University of the Arts and RIKEN Brain Science Institute have decided to tackle an interesting subject: Why do we love sad songs? It's a valid question, considering many sad songs have entered the top-40 and kept listeners on their toes while belting out minor chords over hopeless lyrics. Adele's “Someone Like You” is one example that comes to mind. These researchers not only wanted to discuss the various reasons why people listen to sad music but also to see if they could pinpoint certain characteristics within the music that pique certain emotions.

They had 44 volunteers listen to two pieces of sad music and one piece of happy music, and they basically came to the conclusion that sad music actually made people feel more positive about their own lives. They concluded that while the volunteers listened to these despairing, emotionally-driven opuses, they found “sad music to be more tragic, less romantic, and less blithe than they felt themselves while listening to it,” according to an article in Science Daily. So maybe we do listen to sad music to realize how good we have it?

This got me thinking about what sad songs I enjoy listening to, or better yet, got me thinking what my favorite sad song is. As a music journalist, that's a hard question to answer because I like different things at different times. But one sad song that did come to mind was Joanna Newsom's “Go Long,” from her 2010 album Have One On Me. It's one of those songs that if you see her play it live, it utterly kills you. I witnessed the most rough-looking dudes crying like babies when the song was over. I don't cry when I hear it, but I do really enjoy it. It's a beautiful number that dissects the “Bluebeard” story in its most poetic, morbid sense. But now I'm curious … what's a notable sad song for you?

V.22 No.13 | 3/28/2013
They’re like Pokémon. You’ve got to collect ‘em all.

Film Review

Like Someone in Love

Minimalist drama finds Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami peeping on Tokyo trio

When we first meet fresh-faced, girl-next-door type Akiko (actress Takanashi Rin, who played the “pink” team member in several “Power Rangers”-esque TV shows), she’s sitting in a Tokyo cafe arguing with someone on her cell phone. As mere observers, we aren’t privy to the other side of the conversation, but we eventually figure out that Akiko is verbally fencing with her overly jealous boyfriend. This one-sided, information-light style of storytelling is part-and-parcel to Like Someone in Love, the low-key new drama from award-winning Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami (Close-Up, Taste of Cherry, The Wind Will Carry Us, Certified Copy).

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news

The Daily Word in a female president, Japan gun laws, APS suspensions

South Korea elects first female president, conservative Park Geun-hye.

The sky (of The Pit) is falling!

Penn State scandal voted top sports story of the year (again).

APD officer arrested and accused of theft.

Tebow’s sad, sad story.

American pastor imprisoned in Iran while visiting family.

Rumors of school violence lead to 7 suspensions at Manzano High School.

Those darn foxes getting their heads stuck in everything.

A menagerie of adorable things that happened in 2012.

Viral videos.

How gun control works for Japan.

news

The Daily Word in selling Twinkies, poop coffee and Grammy snubs

US job growth picked up in November.

Changes have been made to Bernalillo county animal law.

Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen welcome baby girl.

Who wants a a steaming hot cup of really expensive elephant poop coffee?

Man who lost $20,000 in drug money, asks police for excuse note to prevent the cartel from killing him.

In the spirit of Christmas, here are some tips to avoid giving a gift that will later be returned.

Grieving father writes 14-song tribute album for missing daughter.

High magnitude earthquake hits northeast Japan.

Following the demise of Hostess, Burque residents have started selling Twinkies on Craigslist.

The Biebs didn’t get a single Grammy nomination.

Nurse involved in Kate Middleton prank call found dead.

This years top most perfectly timed photos.

NEWS

The Daily Word in bubonic plague, human trafficking, deadly shootout, flesh-eating bacteria

What a terrible Monday

Couple from Santa Fe are writing a book about surviving the bubonic plague after a visit to New York. Apparently though, cases still pop up in New Mexico.

Heavy rains leave at least 28 dead on island in southern Japan.

Let the FBI know if you have any information that could help solve an armored van murder from 1994.

Albuquerque police arrest two people in human trafficking case.

Mom infected with flesh-eating bacteria seems to be on good road to recovery.

Violent police standoff in northern New Mexico leaves one man dead.

This Monday just keeps getting worse and worse: Gemini the two-faced kitten died.

Budget cuts in Oregon prison mean nearly 100 released inmates.

Everybody wants Jeremy Lin, but not everybody can afford him.

One does not simply cut off the power to Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen's microphones just as they are about to start a duet.

10 extremely absurd lawsuits.

Breaking Bad back for 5th (and final) season.

Rocking chair bed.

Food

Instant McDonalds in Japan (Just Add Water)

Play Youtube Video

Japan, as a nation, is filled with people doing incredibly brilliant and incomprehensively weird things. There may be no clearer proof of that than this video in which someone goes through the unbelievably labor intensive process of creating Japan’s hottest new snack food: a powdered McDonalds Happy Meal. This thing is as fascinating as it is repulsive. I’m craving one right now.

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NEWS

The Daily Word: extreme Nuge; low tolerance of nude public art or abortion in AZ; bikini guitars and the Whole Foods effect

[link]
Nathanial Hornblower

A fight broke out at the last Sunland Park council meeting, postponing the process of finding a suitable mayor.

Some people won't let this sculpture in Tempe be.

The trial of former APD officer Levi Chavez is delayed for at least a year.

Ted Nugent takes more dying boys and girls on last fishing trips than anyone else.

Russians invented everything.

This bee's nectar is your tears.

Albuquerque Public Access Television meeting this Monday May seventh at City Hall.

The Whole Foods effect.

The New York Times was able to claim a staggering 73 percent increase in circulation since last March. Here's the why.

Here's a Gretsch guitar catalogue from 1961.

Arizona Governor signs bill that would cut off any funding to Planned Parenthood and other health providers who perform abortions.

One can't expect the Olympics in London to go on without a Falkland Islands flap.

Fifty hottest female inmates, the webpage.

“If an act is designed to arouse or the result is arousal, than it’s adult entertainment.”

Notman's World.

Japan took the last of its fifty nuclear reactors offline.

Suit yourself.

Connecticut passed a medical marijuana bill.

On this day in 1943 Michael Palin was born.

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    Oct 12th @ The Launchpad
    Oct 12th @ The Launchpad10.12.2014