It’s been eight long years since fans have heard a proper studio album from Gillian Welch, but the sweet-tea serenity of “The Harrow and the Harvest” has surely made up for the wait.
Critics are downing the disc in leisurely, pleasing sips.
NPR’s The Arts Desk calls the album “a stunning piece of work” and coos that Welch and her musical partner David Rawlings “have pared down their sound to produce a purity of voice and tone which is languidly beautiful.”
Douglas Heselgraves of Paste Magazine rates the album “phenomenal,” saying it’s “simply one of the richest, most expansive roots albums to be released in some time.”
Swing over to NPR to give “The Harrow and the Harvest” a spin.
Also out this week:
» Rock ‘n’ roll icon Buddy Holly is lionized by a raft of superstars on “Rave On Buddy Holly.” The tribute album includes big names from Paul McCartney to Patti Smith, who “give this collection the sweetness its source material demands, without losing sight of the melancholy that lies beneath.”
Photo by Paxton X
Once upon a time, the world had a fascination with the loveliest princess in the land: Diana, Princess of Wales. Had she survived the car crash that killed her and her companion on Aug. 31, 1997, she would be celebrating her 50th birthday on July 1. As Amazon.com asks, “Who would the beloved icon be if she were alive today? What would she be doing? And where?”
In “Untold Story: A Novel,” Monica Ali attempts to answer that question. By weaving a tale of the world’s most famous woman seeking to escape the spotlight, Ali manages to transport readers into a realm of “what if?” Lydia, as the fictional heroine is known, flees to small-town America after staging her own death. There, she befriends an array of folks, including a “seedy paparazzo” who snakes his way into her life.
Fictionalizing the unlived life of a personality as known and beloved as Diana is no small feat, Joanna Briscoe writes in The Guardian: “Unremittingly silly, yet containing real pace, this is a ill-advised, debatably insensitive — indeed, almost unworkable — project, skillfully executed.”
Lady Antonia Fraser may have summed it up best: “Haunting and intensely readable, this is something between a thriller and a ghost story.”
Enjoy the thrill.
Also out this week:
» Dr. Joseph Chang “reveals that the destiny of your genes is not fixed — you can positively impact the way you age from this day forward” in: “The Aging Myth: Unlocking the Mysteries of Looking and Feeling Young,” available June 27.
» “The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong with America” by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch is “brimming with derision for the status quo and optimism for the future.” Available June 28.
Image via Getty Images
It’s been nearly two months since the wedding of Britain’s Prince William to his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton captivated television commentators, and, by extension, the world. But Trove users aren’t through with Wills and the Windsor clan — the British Royal Family channel was the site’s most visited during the past 24 hours. (Could it be because today’s Prince William’s birthday?)
Which channels with an international flavor have Trove users visited the most? Glad you asked. Here’s the top 10:
Photo via Getty Images
From cities to schools to companies to sports teams large and small, Trove’s editor-curated channels span a wide range of topics. So wide, in fact, that it’s tough to know what wonders sit on the site, waiting for you to discover them.
Wait no longer. For a dozen of them at least.
Below are just some of the channels that deserve some attention, but haven’t quite gotten it yet. Maybe they fit your interests?
(Are there channels we should add to Trove? What do you think about the channels we’ve got? Let us know.)
» Boeing: Good news and bad news for the aerospace giant — production is expected to rise, but a House panel is investigating a labor complaint.
» Fish: From how to catch them to where to eat them — and news on a U.S. city where buying goldfish could soon be illegal.
» Dubai: The fast-growing city in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates is facing, surprisingly, a fuel shortage.
» Florida Marlins: The bad-luck baseball team could use a shot in the arm. Maybe adding their channel will boost their spirits?
» Herman Cain: The businessman-turned-GOP presidential candidate turned heads with his debate performance — and he’s one of the most-searched-for 2012 contenders, Yahoo says.
» Landscape Architecture: Speaking of parks and recreation, this channel details how green spaces, public and private, are made.
» Plastic: From recycling to manufacturing, all about the omnipresent substance.
» Pentagon Papers: They were just declassified. Is there anything new to be learned from them?
» Sex Education: The curriculum and the debate, all in one place.
» The Book of Mormon: The Trey Parker/Matt Stone play has taken home a slew of Tonys. What’s next?
» Zoos: The best place to find stories and pictures about baby animals. And the non-baby ones, too.
What happens when you combine aliens, teenagers with machine guns, and Steven Spielberg? This Sunday at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central), viewers of “Falling Skies” are about to find out.
The eight-part TNT drama takes place in New England, six months after an alien invasion leaves most of the planet decimated. A small group of survivors is forced to band together for survival — civilian militias battle deadly robots and six-legged creatures, forage for food, and try to navigate what’s left of the lives they once knew.
Variety’s Brian Lowry describes the series’ premise as “mixing a strain of Tea Party nostalgia with a whole library of alien-invasion fiction.” In terms of predecessors, he explains, it lacks the subtlety of “Battlestar Galactica,” hewing “closer to ‘Independence Day,’ with a touch of ‘Red Dawn.’”
There are quite a few promising signs that “Falling Skies” will appeal to a broad audience — the executive producer is Steven Spielberg, who the New York Times’ Kristina Onstad calls “the strongest extraterrestrial brand in the world,” and the show’s format follows the “slow-reveal, mystery-upon-mystery template” perfected in “Lost” that keeps viewers guessing.
But will there be enough surprises from a post-apocalyptic, alien-invasion storyline to sustain the series? You’ll have to tune in to find out.
Also premiering soon:
» The hour-long, weeknight news and political commentary program “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” relaunches on Monday, June 20, on Current TV.
» “The Hot Zone,” “a fictional medical procedural set in 2006 at the only military hospital providing advanced surgical care in all of Southern Afghanistan,” debuts Tuesday, June 21, on ABC.
For more, check out Trove’s Falling Skies, Sci-Fi TV Shows, and Television channels. Image from ABC.
Which actors and directors are among Trove readers’ favorites? It’s a question that came to mind today for two reasons: 1) The channel for director J.J. Abrams was the most added over the past 24 hours, probably because of his upcoming film “Super 8,” and 2) this editor’s inner 13-year-old has been whipped into a geeky frenzy by the new X-Men movie.
So here they are on Trove’s stage, the most popular Hollywood types, ranked by channel adds.
In 1985, the teen wolf at the center of “Teen Wolf” was a young Michael J. Fox, bearing a distinct resemblance to Chewbacca, shooting hoops on his high school basketball team and tooling around in his “Wolfmobile.”
In 2011, the “Teen Wolf” is Tyler Posey, an asthmatic adolescent who plays lacrosse, reads Kafka, and, by the looks of it, spends a good deal of time doing sit-ups. He is, according to MTV programming director David Janollari, “not your father’s teen wolf.” Guess Michael J. Fox didn’t like sit-ups.
The new series, which premieres Sunday at 11 p.m. after the “MTV Movie Awards,” promises to deliver a “greater emphasis on romance, horror, and werewolf mythology” than its furry predecessor. But is a generation accustomed to “Teen Mom,” “Jersey Shore,” and “16 and Pregnant” (all current MTV shows) going to care about a fuzzy athlete who can hear cell phone conversations from far away?
The show’s creators are betting on yes.
“While real kids may not actually turn into werewolves, we all know that young people know what it’s like to discover new feelings that you can’t control,” Janollari told reporters last summer. “It’s puberty gone wild.”
Are you going to take a walk on the wild side with the new series, or do you prefer your werewolves involved in vampire love triangles or teaching at Hogwarts?
Other series premiering this week:
» “Love Bites”: A “romantic comedy anthology series featuring three loosely connected modern stories of love, sex, marriage, and dating.” Premieres tonight on NBC at 10/9c.
» “Finding Bigfoot”: Starring four “eccentric but passionate members of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO)” who search across America for the elusive creature. Premieres Sunday night on Animal Planet at 10e/p.
» “Switched at Birth”: A new drama about two teenage girls who were — you guessed it — switched at birth. Premieres Monday night on ABC Family at 9/8c.
» For more, check out Trove’s Teen Wolf and Television channels.
Photo courtesy MTV