Singer-songwriter Manic After Midnite, or M.A.M for short, has a sound that can only be described as warm. You want to strip down to your tank top, take off your shoes, and kick back in front of a fan when you listen to it. And no, I’m not talking about in a “hot and steamy” kind of way but in a relaxing, inviting way. M.A.M.’s Soundcloud is mostly full of acoustic covers and a few original tracks that show off a more icy, celestial sound. But “The Chase,” her newest single, shows off a more fully evolved sound, one that belongs on radios, not sitting idly by in a Soundcloud playlist. With breathy soft vocals reminiscent of Janet Jackson’s Velvet Rope era, M.A.M. has captured a song that’s both familiar yet original. On Soundcloud the song is tagged as “planetary,” and to be honest, that explains it far better than I can.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Friday, February 5th, 2016||No Comments »|
Menna van Praag’s stories, The House at the End of Hope Street, The Dress Shop of Dreams, and her newest novel, The Witches of Cambridge, all invite readers to a Cambridge where magic lurks around every historical corner. These three novels are not a series, although it makes perfect sense that an enchanted bakery, dress shop, and rooming house would all coexist perfectly with the tourists and academics of Cambridge, so readers can start with any book without confusion.
The House At The End of Hope Street might be my favorite. This is the story (or rather, one chapter of a long history) of a Cambridge boarding house that takes in women who need ninety days to transform their lives. When Alba, a brokenhearted and disgraced academic, becomes the newest resident, the house creates a library of fiction and perfect reading spots to take her mind away from her failed research. For Greer, a struggling actress, the house creates a costume closet for her, nudging her away from giving up hope and becoming a waitress. With the comfort of a snarkily magical home behind them, all the women of Hope Street begin to make changes in their lives. But, as the resident housemother warns, the house also has some terrible failures…
|Recommended by Meg Stivison||Thursday, February 4th, 2016||No Comments »|
The signs were clear; everyone tried to warn us. Whether it was our friendly game show host Bob Barker telling us to neuter our pets, or Mickey Rourke telling us to “have the cojones” to fix our dog. Overpopulation of pets has been a problem in the U.S., but in the world of Animal Inspector it is a problem that is easily fixed with a stamp.
Welcome to your first day as an animal inspector! The institution was started for the surveillance of domestic pets in homes because it is much easier to remove animals in an isolated environment. Many of us love pets though, and we would hate to see them taken away. That’s where the new jobs comes into play. As the main character, you have a dog who has been with you through thick and thin, and the only way to make sure your pal isn’t taken away is to slip into the system. So, it becomes your job to rummage through inspection cards and determine if the pets are worthy to continue their loyal lives or if they would be better off in “the cages.”
|Recommended by Kieffer Wilson||Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016||No Comments »|
It’s been eight years since The Wire ended and, fortunately, the show has not soured its iconic reputation. In a pop culture climate over-saturated with hype and critical darlings that are forgotten about within months, The Wire has maintained its footing as one of the important TV shows ever made. Illustrator Elliot Lim pays tribute to the show with this animated homage to the movers, shakers, cops, and thieves of Baltimore. Using a clean graphic style, he simplifies the familiar imagery of the show into sleek, recognizable profiles any fan of the show can identify. If this video doesn’t make you want to rewatch the entire series again, nothing will.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016||No Comments »|
We know how most stories are supposed to start. A child is given a choice to leave their home in favor of a fantastical journey that will forever change them. This is known as the “call to adventure.”
In Sarah Jolley’s The Property of Hate, that call is made by a sardonic carnival barker with a television set for a head. Still with me? Good.
The Property of Hate, like many adventure stories, features a vibrant and imaginative world full of wondrous creatures and characters. But unlike most adventure stories, our protagonist, a child known only as “The Hero,” has no idea what she’s doing there or why. Blithely following her guide (the aforementioned TV-headed man named RGB) into a realm where existence is literally dictated by thought and imagination, The Hero soon comes to realize that she is trapped in a place where ideas can actually kill you. On top of all this, it appears that this magical world is on the verge of collapsing, with The Hero trapped inside.
|Recommended by Marie Anello||Monday, February 1st, 2016||No Comments »|
Monument Valley. Are you playing this? You probably should be.
This mobile game from ustwo has been out for a while, but the description of it as a casual puzzler kept me expecting yet another underwhelming freemium click-and-wait game. I missed out on months and months I could be playing Princess Ida on her beautiful puzzle path!
In each level, players are tasked with helping Princess Ida through a strange and gorgeous world towards her goal. Over time, she’ll have friends to help her and obstacles to overcome. Ida’s paths have a dreamlike, Escher quality to them, creating such pretty scenes that iam8bit has art prints based on Monument Valley levels, but they also make perfect sense as gameplay.
|Recommended by Meg Stivison||Friday, January 29th, 2016||No Comments »|
In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the main villain of the film is Han Solo and Leia Organa’s child Ben, who was seduced to the Dark Side by Supreme Leader Snoke and took the name Kylo Ren.
However, Kylo is a complex character that defies the stereotype of previous villains in movies, such as Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and Saruman in Lord of The Rings.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, January 28th, 2016||No Comments »|