New on Netflix in May

New on Netflix in May

Enjoying nice weather is so overrated. Who needs a picnic in the park, fresh air, or sunshine when you’ve got hours upon hours of binge-worthy shows to watch? With the return of several Netflix Original fan favorites and a slew of brand new, promising shows and movies, in the month of May, Netflix is certainly testing the limits on how long it’s viewers can go without putting pants on and leaving the house (or at least, putting us all at risk for a severe Vitamin D deficiency). Here are the reasons why we’re canceling all of our plans next month:

On May 5, make sure to check out the Netflix original film, “Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie” starring Jeff Garlin (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) as Los Angeles homicide detective, Gene Handsome. This offbeat comedy follows Detective Handsome as he attempts to solve a murder and make sense of his own life’s problems. The film also stars Natasha Lyonne, Amy Sedaris, and Steven Weber.

Also on May 5, Netflix will begin streaming the documentary, “The Mars Generation,” which takes an in-depth look at the future of space exploration, in both the public and private sectors, and the teens who are training at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center to be the first to, one day, set foot on Mars. Sounds stellar.

The 1908 novel, “Anne of Green Gables” comes to life in the new series, “Anne,” out May 12. This classic coming-of-age story follows a young, orphaned girl who accidentally gets sent to live with an elderly brother and sister on Prince Edward Island. An outsider and free spirit with a stunning imagination, Anne learns to fight for who she is and what she believes in, transforming the lives of her adopted family, and their community.

On May 19, Kimmy, Titus Andromedon, Lillian, and Jacqueline White are all back “in formation” for season three of the hugely popular, overly optimistic, and immensely hilarious “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” co-created by Tina Fey (“30 Rock”). After being kidnapped and forced to live in an underground cult for 15 years, Kimmy decides to move to New York City and take control of her life once again, which turns out, is easier said than done. Kimmy’s contagious positivity catches on, and those close to her begin to feel the mighty effects of self-worth and a sunny disposition.

 

And finally, after an excruciating delay, Netflix’s, first Original show, and most critically acclaimed, “House of Cards,” returns on May 30. Season Five will pick up right where the show left off, with the aftermath of Tom Hammerschmidt’s article exposing the Underwood’s in the Washington Herald and the terrorist execution of an American hostage. Throughout season four, Frank and Claire Underwood’s relationship showed signs of severe fracturing. Will they continue to re-strengthen their relationship as running mates, or will this be the year Frank’s delicate house of cards finally comes crumbling down? We’ll have to wait and find out.

Featured Music Friday: Heartworms

Featured Music Friday: Heartworms

The Shins frontman, James Mercer, is last man standing. With the ousting of his onstage sidekick, Marty Crandall, Mercer accepts the responsibility of carrying on the band’s indie rock legacy. At the height of their early 00’s popularity, The Shins were everywhere: from car commercials to major motion pictures – their sound was fresh for the new millennium and perfectly tailored for a generation that embraced, with enthusiasm, the iPod and the rise of digital music downloading. Ten years after the release of their most commercially successful album, “Wincing The Night Away,” The Shins still sound pretty much the same. On Heartworms, their latest LP, Mercer’s buoyant intonation is just as delightful as it was a decade ago. The main difference, then, between “Heartworms” and past albums, is content. This time around, Mercer is the only major player, and the album’s lyrics now reflect that of a solo act. In “Name For You,” Mercer sings to his young daughters, while on “Mildenhall,” he recounts his first musical transcendency. Mercer has always been seen as The Captain of The Shins, but now, he’s learning to steer the ship all on his own. Besides more tailored, personalized lyrics on this latest endeavour, you’d never recognize the absence of his former bandmates. Mercer stays the course. Featured Music Friday is brought to you by Blackfire Research.

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On this Day in Music History: April 20, 1959

On this Day in Music History: April 20, 1959

Brought to you by Blackfire Research….On this day in 1959, a thirteen year old Dolly Parton released her first single, “Puppy Love,” with Goldband Records. Dolly and her grandmother endured a 30 hour bus ride from Tennessee to Louisiana so the young, aspiring singer could record the song at the Goldband studio. “Puppy Love,” which was written when Parton was just eleven years old, was commercially unsuccessful, but did provide her with enough confidence to set her on course to becoming a country music sensation. In 1967, Parton released her debut full-length album, “Hello, I’m Dolly.” Soon after, she was invited to be on Porter Wagoner’s television show as a singer and performer, gaining even more country notoriety, eventually signing a record deal with RCA Victor. In 2005, Parton was awarded with The National Medal of Arts, and in 2006, she received the Kennedy Center Honors for her lifetime of contributions to the arts.

The Art of Listening – Movie Review

The Art of Listening – Movie Review

Michael Coleman and Emmanuel Moran’s thought provoking documentary, “The Art of Listening,” was made available for free viewing on YouTube in early March. Beautifully shot and painstakingly recorded – as befits the subject matter – the documentary explores the ways in which music is created and enjoyed. Blending art and science, the documentary unveils the nuances and detail that musicians, instrument makers, recording engineers and music lovers put into the creation of music.

Standout interviews from the film include: Jean Larrivee, founder and CEO of his eponymous guitar company, explaining why he spends five months a year travelling the world to select tone woods; virtuoso drummer, Antonio Sanchez, talking about his transition from Rock Drummer to tone-chaser; studio architect, John Storyk, explaining why musicians put so much effort into music that gets played back through cheap, white earbuds; and producer, Gabe Roth, urging viewers to put down their plethora of electronic devices in order to truly experience and enjoy the quality of modern music – “love it more; not just love more of it.”

The documentary ends with a call to action: invest in audio playback devices, such as high quality speakers, headphones, and receivers that can capture the studio quality of your music. The technology exists, but the audio market is overwhelmed by mediocre products. Mixing Engineer, Andrew Scheps, suggests that “for people who want to connect directly with the artist…the more you give them the better chance they have of connecting to the actual performance…and the more compressed the audio gets, the less of that intimacy is left in the audio itself.”

According to Shunsuke Shiomi, headphone engineer at Sony, high resolution files provide music lovers with the best listening experience. “Simply put, the recording contains every detail from the space where it was captured. That’s what high resolution delivers. But it’s also important that the equipment you use to play these files is capable of playing back every detail.”

I enjoyed this documentary immensely, and I highly recommend you take the time to dim the lights and watch. And listen.

Check out the movie here.

 

Featured Music Friday: Semper Femina

Featured Music Friday: Semper Femina

In her sixth studio album, British Folk singer, Laura Marling, delves into the complexities of femininity and female relationships. The album title, Semper Femina, a term borrowed from Latin, translates to “always a woman.” The phrase, popularized by a misogynistic line in Virgil’s “The Aeneid” – “A woman is an ever fickle and changeable thing,” is reclaimed and used as a tool of empowerment by Marling on the track, “Nouel.” Marling’s soft demeanor demands attention from the listener: from the the jagged baseline of the opener, “Soothing,” to the closing track’s somber refrain (“once it’s gone, it’s gone,”) Marling’s latest LP is a quiet, commanding force to be reckoned with. Featured Music Friday is brought to you by Blackfire Research.

 

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