It’s hard to imagine a better name for a kid’s music bluegrass band than Astrograss, and Astrograss delivers on the promise of their name on their new album The Colored Pencil Factory. From the first song, “Make It Up”, Astrograss launches into an upbeat jam of bluegrass fun, encouraging kids to use their imaginations. The genius of Astrograss is how they use bluegrass to create fun songs since bluegrass, at least played up tempo, is inherently active and fun music with fiddle, picked guitar and banjo giving the music a jumping quality that makes you want to move. Equally impressive are the lyrics and vocals, such as on the title track, where kids are told how life can be fun seeing the world in terms of colors, mixing them up for an explosion of saturation. Or on “Freak Out” where Astrograss sings “just bust out a move and play”. It also speaks to Astrograss’s understanding of the traditions of bluegrass and how they incorporate those traditions in their vocal approach, with ensemble singing and the utilization of call and response.
Even when the pace slows on songs such as “Brand New Nose”, which is a ballad of being sick and dreaming of being better, there is an element of fun in the plea for dreams to deliver a new nose so the protagonist can breathe. And that is one other aspect of The Colored Pencil Factory which works, a blend of points of view: some songs like “Make It Up” are from the point of view of an adult talking to kids in a way that encourages them, while other songs such as “Minutes Into Flowers” are expressed from the child’s voice, doing well to see the world in terms that a child might, especially in this song where the passing of time cannot go fast enough, “when will we get there/I would like to know/I don’t care where we are going/but let’s not go so slow”. In the end, The Colored Pencil Factory by Astrograss is a great album for kids, introducing them to the delights of bluegrass in fun songs that engage kids imaginatively and physically.
You feel a moment. I’m not certain if it’s a second lost or a second gained, but in that moment the Earth stops. It’s the moment you watch a child, a young girl in purple shoes, pull a loaded AK-47 assault rifle from the cab of a pick-up truck.
The child, 9-year-old Brianna, had no ill intentions with the weapon of course. She was simply retrieving the gun for a man she affectionately calls “Uncle Jim”.
He is Jim Foster, a 57-year-old former police officer and the leader of the North Florida Survival Group. The organization teaches children and adults alike to handle weapons, and Jim refers to it as a ‘militia”.
They Might Be Giants return, irresistibly fun pop prowess intact. “You’re On Fire” bops its way into listeners’ (combustible) heads with a goofy grin, ever-endearing sincerity, and a hook with a mighty smart spring in its step. In the eternal battle for swinging moods one way or another, the Midwest’s morning snowfall stood no chance against these 2+ minutes, the brightest spot in anyone’s day. The band’s sixteenth album, Nanobots, comes out March 5 on the band’s Idlewild Recordings, accompanying an extensive tour.
This is truly like a miracle in a bottle. The Love Life Skin line was developed with the skin care needs of those undergoing chemotherapy & radiation, but they are really wonderful prducts for anyone whose skins has special needs (think aging, dryness, sensitivity, weather abuse, you name it). I have a daily moisturizer that I love, but when it gets really cold or I get really tired (think when my skins needs me the most), I get lazy and my skin pays for it. We are again going through another week of single digit wind chills and because I’m oh so chilly, I just cannot be bothered to slather on any sort of anything in the morning, much less cold moisturizer, no matter how much I love it. After our first week of freezing weather and daily drop offs & picks ups at school, I was a mess. One night of Love Life Skin Intensive Recovery Serum and you’d never know’d I’d even been out of the house- face & hands immediately recovered. It was amazing. And just a few nights of this lovely Serum and my face is easily making it through a whole ‘nother week of abuse without incident. This is an expensive product, at $150, but if you really needs help, it’s just so worth it. Love Life Skin Intensive Recovery Serum ( and you’d never know’d I’d even been out of the house- face & hands immediately recovered. It was truly astonishing. And just a few nights of this lovely Serum and my face is easily making it through a whole ‘nother week of frigid, wind battered abuse without incident. This is an expensive product, at $150, but if you really needs help, it’s just so worth it. Read more about it (and the 3 other Love Life Skin products) here.
Scheduled for a March 1st release, Stoker, the new thriller from Park Chan-wook stars Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode. This is the Korean filmaker’s first US film and it looks to be quite the attention grabber. Watch a clip below.
Here’s Palma Violets’ upcoming album, 180, which will be released by Rough Trade this coming Monday, February 25 in the UK, (preorder now at Rough Trade) and in the US in March (pre-order through iTunes or Amazon). It’s fab, but if you listen, you’ll know just how fabulous it is.
And yes, I’ve been way too busy to even think about London or Milan fashion weeks (see it all here on Style.com, I just managed to shoot through Prada myself), but I cannot allow the Burberry Prorsum show to go by without so much as a mention. So, here it is, in video. Perfectly suitable following to the Palma Violets I think because it absolutely rocks. It’s even better full screen on the Burberry site.