Best New Music At AADL

AADL is constantly adding to its diverse selection of new CDs. If you're seeking some great new tunes, consider the following must-hear material.

"Modern Creation," The Whigs: Hailing from Atlanta, the Whigs are one of the solidest rock bands working today. They didn't quite break the big time with their great 2010 release, "In the Dark," but they've gone right on cranking out fun and unfussy records. The Whigs used to have more punk-inspired fire in their blood, but the band has eased up its average tempo a little to create more laid-back hooks that make for perfect summer driving jams. This record's lead single, "Hit Me," is a standout example of that formula. And if you like this one, check out the band's excellent 2012 release, "Enjoy the Company," also recently added to AADL's catalog!

"Teeth Dreams," The Hold Steady: With their sixth LP, the Hold Steady continue to prove themselves America's most literary (and, perhaps, all-around best) bar band. The big guitars and catchy riffs are great, but if you're not paying attention they can also be deceptively simple. Frontman Craig Finn is a true poet, spinning incisive, wistful and funny tales of barflies, townies and scenesters. Dig the amusing portrait of a girl you just can't take seriously in "Big Cig," or the anthemic "Spinners," which exhorts the weary-hearted to "get back out there" and find love. The songs are great rockers at surface level, but they're shot through with a distinguishing sense of humanity and positivity.

"Tomorrow's Hits," The Men: The Men got their start about five years ago with some pretty wild punk records, but they've since refined their sound to incorporate poppier hooks and some elements of classic Americana. That's still not to say the group is particularly polished; drummer Rich Samis botches a fill within the record's first 30 seconds, and the production is far from slick. But the band makes up for technical precision with sheer energy, recalling Crazy Horse's thundering majesty on "Dark Waltz," the Band's Southern shuffle on "Sleepless" and the shaggy charm of the Replacements in pretty much every track. Behold the piano- and horn-led momentum of "Another Night," and just try to resist.

Find more great new CDs here.

New Self-Help Book: 10% Happier

Self-help stories, in my opinion, can be very inspiring. So how can I resist this new book: 10 % Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-help That Actually Works -- a True Story, by Dan Harris. From the AADL catalog book description: "After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists . . . " Currently there are 46 holds on one copy. Make that 47 -- I just placed mine.

Shirley Temple Black, America's Favorite Child Star, Dies at 85

Shirley Temple, Curly Girl

Shirley Temple sang and danced her precocious heart off for America in the 1930s and 40’s and is the single most popular child-star in film history. Shirley made 23 films during the Great Depression and made Americans smile through some very dark times.

She rose to international fame in 1934’s Bright Eyes and charmed the pants off audiences in a series of films where she was often an orphan with a plucky, “can-do” attitude about life. Shirley’s characters were always precocious with more common sense than any of the adults. Her most successful collaboration was with legendary African-American actor Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. They starred in four films together: The Little Colonel, The Littlest Rebel, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and Just Around the Corner. Their staircase dance number in “The Little Colonel” stands out as a classic musical moment in film history.

Best New Music At AADL

AADL is constantly adding to its diverse selection of new CDs. If you're seeking some great new tunes, consider the following must-hear material.

"You Were Right," Brendan Benson: You may already know Royal Oak native Brendan Benson from his work alongside Jack White in the Raconteurs. But Benson has been churning out terrific, twangy power-pop of his own since 1996, and his sixth solo full-length is another fine addition to his catalog. The record includes jammy earworms like "It's Your Choice" and "Long Term Goal," but Benson also proves his maturity as a songwriter. The bittersweet ballad "Oh My Love," describing a loving relationship that just doesn't have a future, is an affecting standout.

"Are We There Yet?," The Verve Pipe: Brendan Benson isn't the only Michigan star with a new record in the AADL catalog. East Lansing alt-rockers the Verve Pipe have returned with their second foray into the world of children's music. You may know them for radio hits like "The Freshmen," but their kids' tunes are just as listenable (if not more so). Parents are quite likely to find just as much entertainment and humor in tunes like "When Grandma Says No" and "My Principal Rocks" as the kids do. And catchy pop melodies recalling the hooky bombast of Weezer make this one of those rare children's albums that parents won't mind playing for the millionth time.

"Wig Out At Jagbags," Stephen Malkmus: Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus has had a robust solo career since Pavement parted ways in 1999, and his latest release is among his best. Clocking in at around 40 minutes, it's one of Malkmus' more focused sets of songs; there's more hooks, clearer songwriting, and less psychedelia here than anything he's done in a while. And while Malkmus may now be a dad pushing 50, he's got a great sense of humor about his aging hipsterdom; check out the tuneful and hilarious "Rumble At the Rainbo," where he cracks wise about "slam dancing with some ancient dudes."

Find more great new CDs here.

Arborwiki Edit Night At Arbor Brewing

Wednesday April 23, 2014: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm -- Arbor Brewing - 114 East Washington

What's ArborWiki? ArborWiki is the community generated source for details on everything from birthday deals to local history to the lowdown on local playgrounds.

Since it's a "civic wiki" it's created, edited and maintained by locals. Who are those locals? That could mean you! If you have an interest in any aspect of the Arbor/Ypsi area - parks, history, local happenings - you might be a perfect ArborWiki contributor or editor.

Come hang out and grab a frosty beverage at Arbor Brewing (114 East Washington in Ann Arbor), meet some of the current crew of editors, and hop in to edit or create entries about your community. Bring your laptop or use one one of ours!

Arborwiki Edit Night

Wednesday March 26, 2014: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm -- Downtown Library: aadlfreespace

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 9 and up

What’s ArborWiki? It’s the community generated source for details on everything from birthday deals to local history to the lowdown on volunteer opportunities for youth and teens. Since it’s a “civic wiki” it’s created, edited and maintained by locals. That could mean you!

If you have an interest in any aspect of the Arbor/Ypsi area—parks, history, local happenings—you might be a perfect ArborWiki contributor or editor. Meet some of the current crew of editors and hop in to edit/create entries about your community. Bring your laptop or use one of ours!

David Frost, journalist and broadcaster, has died

David Frost, a journalist and former BBC broadcaster, most famous for his interview with the newly resigned former President, Richard M. Nixon, died yesterday.

Frost, who was born in Tenterden, England, first came to the public eye with a poltical satire show that many felt was the forerunner of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. That Was the Week That Was (a.k.a TW3) only ran for two seasons. It was cancelled when worries increased that its pointed humor would influence an upcoming election. In 1964, the U.S. picked up TW3, and kept Mr. Frost as its host.

Mr. Frost conducted many interviews with well-known political figures but it was his 1977 marathon interviews with disgraced former President Richard Nixon which brought him front-and-center to international fame. Mr. Frost always referred to those interviews as the highlight of his career.

Seven years ago, Mr. Frost accepted a job with Al Jazeera America, hosting The Frost Interview. It was scheduled to run through mid-September 2013.

Sir David, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1993, was the only person to interview the seven U.S. Presidents before the 2008 election of President Obama -- Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush). He also was the only journalist to interview the eight British prime ministers between 1964 and 2010.

Known for his grace, intelligence, and gift for extracting newsmaking quotes from his subjects, Sir David received many awards, including two Emmys, a Royal Television Society Silver Medal, and a 2005 fellowship from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

Sir David, who was 74, died of a heart attack aboard the Queen Elizabeth, where he was to give a speech.

Helen Thomas, longtime White House journalist, has died

White House news correspondent, Helen Thomas, is dead at 92. Ms. Thomas will always be noteworthy in American journalism for having shattered the glass ceiling as the foremost White House correspondent of her generation. An iconic and prickly writer of conscience, she was always willing to speak her mind and was at her best when she once growled, Listen up, Mr. President. In 2009, we brought Ms. Thomas to Ann Arbor for a special event at the Michigan Theater cosponsored by Michigan Radio. We also had the good fortune to interview Ms. Thomas. We have both the video and interview available for streaming and downloading.

Dr. Joyce Brothers, the "mother of mass media psychology", has died

Dr. Joyce Brothers, whose soft voice, clear explanations, and preference for pastels calmed generations of anxious, questioning Americans, has died.

In 1955, Dr. Brothers was a wife and new mother. Her doctor husband was paid $50 a month as a resident. Looking for a way to pay the bills, Dr. Brothers studied the popular game show The $64,000 Question and realized that the most popular contestants were the ones with the most improbable interests. At 5', with delicate features, Brothers, who had a PhD from Columbia and a near-photographic memory, became a self-taught expert on boxing before becoming a contestant. The result of her astute analysis and hard-charging studying was that, after riveting weeks on the show, she became the first woman to win the big prize.

That national attention led to a multi-pronged media presence as a straight-shooting advice expert. She had several TV shows that bore her name, a call-in radio show, a column in Good Housekeeping magazine, and she enjoyed frequent guest appearances on television. She also authored several books, including the 1981 What Every Woman Should Know about Men.

Dr. Brothers, who was 85, died in Fort Lee, NY of respiratory failure.

Roger Ebert, beloved Chicago movie critic, has died

Just one day after announcing he was taking a 'leave of presence' from his 46-year gig as movie critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and his 31-year career on TV reviewing films, Roger Ebert lost his long public battle with salivary and thyroid cancer.

His announcement yesterday said he would just review the movies HE wanted to see and leave the rest of the reviews to his trusted colleagues at the paper. When he lost part of his jaw and thus his ability to eat or speak, he used his good humor and courage to write about his experience fighting, and often triumphing, against, his devastating illness.

Ebert's long career resulted in a 1975 Pulitzer Prize, the first movie critic to receive this honor. The Webby Awards named him their 2010 Person of the Year. And Hollywood, which lived and died by Ebert's laser-beam ethical demand for excellence in all things film, honored him with his own Walk of Fame star in 2005.

Ebert's career took off in a new direction when he and Chicago Tribune movie critic, Gene Siskel, took their 'point/counterpoint' routine to television in 1975. Originally titled Coming Soon to a Theater Near You, PBS picked it up and renamed it Sneak Previews three years later. There were two more name-changes: In 1981, it morphed into At the Movies. Five years later, accompanied by their signature 'thumbs up, thumbs down' rating system, it settled on Siskel & Ebert & the Movies.

Sadly, Siskel died in 1999. He had had brain surgery for brain cancer but it was complications from another surgery that ended his life.

Despite his long fight with illness, Ebert wrote almost seventeen books on movies, the internet, his life (Life Itself: A Memoir, 2011), and yes, even a cookbook for rice cookers (The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker, 2010).

Ebert, who was 70, died today in Chicago.

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