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Anticipated: August 2014

Every month brings new pop culture goodies to enjoy. Here is what I'm most looking forward to this month...

The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman (8/5) - This is the final book in Grossman's Magicians trilogy. I liked The Magicians and loved The Magician King the first time around...that's right, I've decided to reread this series in anticipation of the new volume. I don't reread very often; in fact, the last time I reread a series like this was right before the final Harry Potter book was published 7 years ago. I'm finding my reading of the first book has changed my perception of it but that's probably a different post.

Spoon/They Want My Soul (8/5) - Spoon is one of my favorite bands, so it's not a surprise I'm excited to listen to this album (you can stream it on iTunes right now but that's not my favorite option). I've liked the 3 songs that have surfaced so far - the classic stomp of "Rent I Pay," the sunny pop of "Do You," and the cool drone of "Inside Out" - and have high hopes for the rest.

Garfunkel & Oates (8/7) - I feel like Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci have taken the idea of a singing comedy duo ala Tenacious D and Flight of the Conchords and made it completely into their own thing. Now, like those other groups, they will have their own TV show (on IFC). The few clips I've seen have made me laugh and I'm hoping that will continue.

Let's Be Cops (8/15) - Yes, I realize this movie could be terrible. Really really terrible. And yet. I like Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson (who are both on New Girl). The premise of the movie is so simple it could work with the right approach (and jokes). Maybe we'll get lucky and it will turn out to be as entertaining as Hot Tub Time Machine and The Other Guys, for which I once had the same hopes. We shall see.

The Multiversity (8/20) - Grant Morrison has been working on this comic, which will present many alternate realities of the DC Universe. It predates the "new 52" continuity that DC has been under the last three years and goes completely outside of it. I have always been a fan of alternate realities and of Morrison, so this is a must-buy even before I factor in such artists as Cameron Stewart, Frank Quitely, and Chris Sprouse.

Doctor Who (8/23) - The new iteration of the Doctor, Peter Capaldi, makes his debut in a few weeks. I think we're going to see a completely different tone to the show with this change and embracing these changes are what the series has been about since it came back (he's already our 4th Doctor after Eccleston, Tenant, and Smith). Jenna Coleman stays on as Clara, the Doctor's companion, and I imagine will be tracking the changes in the Doctor's personality through her eyes.

New Pornographers/Brill Bruisers (8/26) - Hard to believe it's been 4 years since we've had a new album from this band (same as Spoon, come to think of it). They are a band you can enjoy on first listen but I think true appreciation comes after several spins. Case in point is "War on the East Coast," the second song released ahead of the time (after the title track). It's a Dan Bejar tune and upon first listen I thought it was decent. Now I've listened to it five or six times and it has its hooks into me. The video is pretty cool too.

Lock In by John Scalzi (8/26) - I read and enjoyed the heck out of Scalzi's Redshirts when it came out two summers ago and since that time, I've read every book in his Old Man's War series (including last year's The Human Division). He writes SF that makes you page-turn but doesn't sacrifice character and ideas. This novel is a stand-alone about a virus that "locks" people into their bodies. Sounds interesting.


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8. Evergreen/Matthew Sweet (1) - played countless times on CD
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Sunday Shuffle #448

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2. Bechamel/Pernice Brothers (16) - last played on 5/15/15
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6. Late-Century Dream/Superchunk (18) - last played on 11/18/15
8. Your Weather/Dinosaur Jr. (19) - last played on 8/3/16
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5 X 10

I've recently found myself listening to albums that came out 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 years ago. Here are some thoughts...

The Broken West/I Can't Go On I'll Go On (2007) - "Down in the Valley" hooked me the first time I heard it streaming on KEXP. At the time, the band was still called The Brokedown, but that would soon change to due copyright issues; that's okay, I like The Broken West as a name better anyway. To get back to "Down in the Valley," what grabbed me were the ringing guitars, layered harmonies, and the organ that weaved in and out. And the lyrics, of course - "I had my feelings like the Dutchman has his gold/Deep in the canyon by the river that runs cold." Speaking of The Dutchman's Gold, that was the name of the EP that I learned had already been out and used my eMusic credits to grab it. "Down in the Valley" was the lead-off track, but there were six other great power pop songs and I was both in love and even mor…