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Absolutely Not are absolutely fab. After a few promising EPs of glammed-up garage-punk, the Chicago band is set to release Errors, its spastic and ridiculously fun debut full-length. This is a punk record dialed into an alien frequency with a heavy production that makes the spare instrumentation (guitar, keyboards, drums) sound like a spaceship crashing into Earth.

Nick Lowe has always been something of a prankster. The guy who called his first album Jesus Of Cool and once notoriously rhymed "Rick Astley" with "ghastly" always loved to give people's expectations a bit of a tweak. So in retrospect it's not surprising that his 1984 album Nick Lowe And His Cowboy Outfit featured only one actual country tune, a cover of the Faron Young hit "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young," buried at the end of the LP's second side.

Reading The Game: Witcher 3

May 25, 2017

For years now, some of the best, wildest, most moving or revealing stories we've been telling ourselves have come not from books, movies or TV, but from video games. So we're running an occasional series, Reading The Game, in which we take a look at some of these games from a literary perspective.

If the word "aura" is defined as a pervasive atmosphere, then it's a perfect title for this piece by Anna Thorvaldsdottir, who has a knack for creating vivid sonic environments.

One of President Trump's boldest, most ambitious proposals on the campaign trail was to build a wall along the Southern border and get Mexico to pay for it. Amid the tumult of Trump's first few months in office, the border wall hasn't gotten as much attention as some other things. But new legislation has been introduced in Congress to help fund it.

It's called the Border Wall Funding Act of 2017, introduced on March 30 by Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala.

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In her autobiography, My Life, the legendary American dancer Isadora Duncan wrote, "The finest inheritance you can give to a child is to allow it to make its own way, completely on its own feet." She would never have the chance to give any kind of inheritance to her three children; they all died before she was killed in a freak accident in 1927. She was either 49 or 50.

When Amber Coffman left Dirty Projectors, the split was acrimonious enough to inspire the band's first song since 2012.

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It was not uncommon, in the mid-20th century, for black American artists and writers to take up more-or-less permanent residence in Europe. Jazz musicians like Bud Powell and Dexter Gordon spent years living in Paris and Copenhagen, enticed by the artistic respect and comparative lack of racial discrimination they found while touring the Continent.

Most musicians who achieve a certain amount of acclaim only to disappear from the public eye get cast as reclusive. The baggage that label carries has never quite fit Cody ChesnuTT. Even if you tried to pin it on him, he'd no doubt shake himself free. In between the release of his sprawling 2002 lo-fi debut, The Headphone Masterpiece, and the 2012 studio follow-up, Landing On A Hundred, the soul conjurer's mystique only grew.

There's a perception these days (not entirely unfounded) that country music rewards its male performers for following a particular formula. The combination of gleaming, rhythmic Top 40 hooks, flirtatious frat-party swagger and small-town backdrops has served as a pattern in the industry, largely because it works., and artists who helped lay out the template, like Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt, have contributed mightily to the growth of country's millennial fanbase.

Oil producers across the country are watching to see what OPEC does at its meeting in Vienna this week, since the cartel of oil-exporting countries has recently played a big role in turning around a two-year U.S. slump.

There are more than twice as many U.S. rigs drilling for oil as a year ago, a turnaround that's felt keenly in places like the Bakken oil patch in North Dakota. Cigarettes and chewing tobacco are flying off the shelves of the gas station Angela Neuman manages in the town of Williston.

There's a rich body of evidence that links chocolate to heart health.

Now comes a new study that finds people who consume small amounts of chocolate each week have a lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation, a heart condition characterized by a rapid or irregular heartbeat.

When President Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, unveiled the administration's budget blueprint earlier this week, which calls for significant cuts to food stamps, he noted that the aim of the budget was to get people working.

"If you're on food stamps and you're able-bodied, we need you to go to work. If you're on disability insurance and you're not supposed to be — if you're not truly disabled, we need you to go back to work," Mulvaney said Tuesday.

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Between books and movies, you probably have a general idea of what a criminal psychopath looks like.

BARBARA BRADLEY HAGERTY: Psychopaths tend to be people who show no remorse, no empathy. They're very manipulative. Often they're very charming.

Let's look at some of the buzziest shows on television in the past year or so, shall we? What do House of Cards, Girls, I Love Dick, Orphan Black, Transparent and The Magicians have in common?

Every one of them has featured unconventional romantic or sexual relationships involving more than two people.

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Now we're going to have the time of our lives.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DIRTY DANCING")

COLT PRATTES: (As Johnny Castle) What's your name?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: (As Baby Houseman) Baby.

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Oh, yes. Get out.

Mac DeMarco On World Cafe

May 24, 2017

Mac DeMarco is just turning 27, but his new album, This Old Dog, seems to represent a more mature persona than he's projected in the past. Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, DeMarco has always been known for bringing the party — and then taking it over the top. But when his father (with whom he's had a difficult relationship for most of his life) became ill, DeMarco wrote the more sober "My Old Man" for him, thinking he was not going to recover.

Early Tuesday morning I awoke to the horrific news of the Manchester terror attack. A suspected suicide bomber killed at least 22 people and injured dozens more at an Ariana Grande concert.

I must admit that I don't know Ariana Grande or her music, but since then I have learned that she has a large fan base of female teens and tweens. So I now wonder: Was this attack a deliberate attempt to silence those young women and girls enjoying themselves at a concert?

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