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TEST SPIN | Fleet Foxes — Crack-Up

A lot has happened during Fleet Foxes’ six year hiatus — just ask former drummer Josh Tillman, who split from the band shortly after the band’s second LP, Helplessness Blues, with time to release three records of his signature brand of misanthropic folk rock before the remaining Fleet Foxes produced one. Not to say the other members of the band were lazy on their time off — lead singer Robin Pecknold was pursuing academia at Columbia University and guitarist Skyler Skjelset spent time touring with dream pop duo Beach House. Well finally, the Fleet Foxes long anticipated third album, Crack-Up, has come, and while this new LP certainly reflects a band that has changed since their last record, everything that defined the Fleet Foxes on their previous two albums — nonlinear song structure, reverb-soaked vocal harmonies, layered instrumentation — is all very much there. This album still certainly evokes the rustic respite of a backcountry sojourn, but it is also processed enough to remind you of the smartphone you rely on to take pictures when the landscape most precisely captivates you. Crack-Up serves as loosely defined concept album that explores the theme that “no man is an island” to varying degrees.

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GUEST ROOM | Stay Cool, Stanley Uris

On Sept. 8, The Forward published a column by Noah Berlatsky titled “Stephen King’s ‘It’ Shows Hollywood Still Has a Jewish Problem.” You don’t have to tell me twice that anti-Semitic tropes still run rampant in Hollywood. But I was surprised that Berlatsky argued that It proved this point. In It, Pennywise the Clown faces off against a ragtag band of lovable outcasts — the fittingly named “Losers Club.” Among the misfits stands Stanley Uris, a Jewish tween in what seemed to be an almost entirely Christian town. I could relate.

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Salvation For Whom? Student Documentary Coming to Cornell Cinema

I sat down with Lorenzo Benitez ’19, who is a staff writer for The Sun, on an unusually bright Sunday morning to talk about his documentary, Six Months to Salvation. His directorial debut follows seven young Australian volunteers, including Benitez himself, throughout their volunteering experience as English teachers in rural Thailand. The film was initially envisioned in October 2014, when Benitez and a couple of his friends decided to take a gap year after high school. At the time, criticisms around “voluntourism” were starting to surface and he figured that a journalistic piece of evidence could only serve to clarify and enlighten. The spread of English in developing countries often raises questions about westernization and colonialism.

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Citizen Jane: Battle for the City at Cornell Cinema

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City relayed a narrative of civil disobedience, the destructive uprooting and displacement of black communities, and a constant fight to bring the city back to its people. The 2016 documentary, directed by Matt Tyrnauer and featuring Prof. Thomas Campanella, premiered in Ithaca at Willard Straight Theater this past Wednesday. The documentary delves into the life of Jane Jacobs’, recounting her fervent campaign to save New York City from attempts to pave over its existing social fabric. Author of the influential book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, grassroots activist Jacobs advocated for “eyes on the street” as a force for safety, providing for vital and prosperous city streets. In an hour and a half the film provided a critique of urban renewal and the ideals of modernism driving New York City’s planning commissioner Robert Moses to clear out the suffering cities through demolition and the complete remodeling of its infrastructure.

Megan Nielson as Nedda in Opera Ithaca's Pagliacci

Opera Ithaca Brings Pagliacci to Ithaca

Opera Ithaca flaunted a raw and striking sold out performance of Pagliacci Saturday night. The site-specific production housed in Ithaca’s very own Circus School remained authentic to the Ithacan aesthetic — small and impactful. The show, directed by Zachary James, tells the story of an ensemble of circus performers trapped in a dramatic love triangle. The company, already embraced and well loved by the Ithaca community, is entering its fourth season. Though Ithaca Opera has finished its final performance of Pagliacci, the company has five remaining shows lined up for their 2017/18 season including The Mystery of the Magic Flute, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, and Carmen.

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TEST SPIN | Coast Modern — Coast Modern

Fifty years ago, people from across the country gathered in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to celebrate music. The Summer of Love hosted music from many different genres, both mainstream and underground, but the highlight of the festival was the new genre, born in California’s Bay Area and brought to life by bands such as Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead. 1967 was the year of psychedelic rock. Despite its immense influence on the 1960s and 1970s counter-cultural movement, psychedelic rock has largely disappeared from the limelight. Those, like myself, who still crave the unorthodox guitar riffs and new chord progressions, must plop down an ancient record onto a turntable for a chance to listen to the wild sounds of the genre.

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TEST SPIN | Matt Cameron — Cavedweller

After nearly 30 years of working alongside the likes of Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder, Matt Cameron has decided to venture out as a solo artist. Cameron rose to fame in the early 90s as the lead drummer for both Soundgarden and the grunge supergroup Temple of Dog. He continued on with Soundgarden through their 1996 release of Down on The Upside and the group’s dissolution soon after. He was picked up by Pearl Jam to sign on as their new drummer, a gig he holds to this day. Throughout the years, Cameron always focused heavily on songwriting, despite being overshadowed by two of the greatest singers of all time — Cornell and Vedder.

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TEST SPIN | Miley Cyrus — Younger Now

I’d like to invite you to take a moment and really reflect on what you think of when you first hear the words “Miley Cyrus.”

I’ll tell you what comes to my mind — of course Hannah Montana is up there, along with twerking, smoking pot, Liam Hemsworth and a collection of iconic hits. And really everyone knows what songs I’m talking about. They range as far back to her Disney days, all the way up to the more recent “Wrecking Ball.”

But as I was sitting in the TCAT yesterday getting ready to stream her new album, Younger Now, I realized something about our beloved ex-role model. Miley Cyrus doesn’t have a sound. She’s no riffing goddess like Ariana Grande, and she’s not the queen of candy-pop like Katy Perry; Cyrus just lacks musical identity, which is an amazing feat considering that throughout her career she has never NOT been associated with music.

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SUN SONGS | 9/29/17

This week’s playlist features music by artists A Boogie, Demi Lovato, Echosmith, Ibeyi and Miley Cyrus, among others. A Boogie Wit da Hoodie’s music stands out from the rest of this week’s playlist due to its bold, raw energy, unique even to hip hop or trap music. Demi Lovato’s new album has been highly anticipated and does not disappoint. Echosmith had not released an album since 2012, from which the vastly popular track “Cool Kids” came, but they have kept their ambient, indie sounds in their new EP Inside a Dream. French-Cuban duo Ibeyi has a unique fusion of styles consisting of jazz, Cuban beats and traditional instruments and rhythms. They sing in English, Spanish, French and Yoruba.

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Sherman | Absurd, Radical, Fancy: on Avant-Gnar and the Right Way to Move

More than three years after the Vice article which put them on the map (and almost two years after the next Vice article which let everyone know that, yea, they’re still hanging around somewhere on that map), skateboarding’s least reverent crew, Fancy Lad, released their fourth full-length movie one week ago to much… acclaim? The Fancy Lads are are an amorphous collection of giddily impoverished and moderately talented skate-rats from Boston, whose main schticks include (but God knows are not limited to) inventing vaguely skateboard-related four-wheeled contraptions, not landing their tricks, splicing forgotten VHS clips into their edits, shaky camera-hands and yelling. FL4: The Final Chapter, this most recent opus of theirs, brings all of these “techniques” (and so many more) to a sort of inglorious and completely captivating fixation. The movie’s “frame story” revolves around a bunch of (literal) Craigslist actors at an audition for FL4 itself, where the lines they (poorly) recite are just variations on the Lads’ ad-libs throughout the actual video.