Current Playlist, Part Three

Hi friends!

How are you? Is your August going well? Mine has been nothing but lovely so far, allowing for time with family and friends, many a wonderful performance, and, of course, good books galore. I move back to Brown in just two short weeks, so I’m trying to soak up all the summertime that I can before the school year starts.

Looking over my summer, it’s been marked by excellent reads, but so too has it been marked by great music. I love crafting monthly playlists with new-to-me artists, so, as I’ve done before, I wanted to share a few of the albums I’ve been listening to as of late! Do you have any music recommendations to share?

HadestownTo start, it should come as no surprise that cast albums regularly top my playlists. A recent favorite? The live recording of Hadestown, the acclaimed musical adaptation of Orpheus and Eurydice. Pitched as a folk opera, it originates from artist Anais Mitchell’s equally inventive 2010 concept album of the same name. Both are well worth a listen (or two!).

favorite tracks: Way Down Hadestown, Chant

WetIf alternative music is more to your liking, let me recommend to you Wet, an indie duo whose dreamy blend of R+B and pop has created many a fan, myself included! In their sophomore album, Still Run, artists Kelly Zutrau and Joe Valle have crafted a record of melancholy, romance, and honesty through soft vocals and catchy beats. In short: I like.

favorite tracks: Still Run, Love is Not Enough

Natalie PrassIn a recent interview, singer-songwriter Natalie Prass noted that she wants her music “to be for everybody.” She’s already well on her way with her latest release, a punchy but powerful album titled The Future and the Past. Her songs are a response to and an anthem for the current political environment, demonstrating the strength found in standing together. I could listen for days.

favorite tracks: Hot for the Mountain, Sisters

I See RiversUK-based trio I See Rivers popped up in my Spotify Discover tab just under a year ago, and it took only that first listen to make me an avid fan. The group describes their work as “float folk,” a fitting name for music that flits between different genres with ease. And while the vocal harmonies of the three singers are reminiscent of another favorite of mine, The Staves, their warm, gentle sound is distinctly their own.

favorite tracks: Play It Cool, I Don’t Know

Ólafur ArnaldsWhen I came across the music of Icelandic musician Ólafur Arnalds, I was instantly taken with his experimental instrumentals. As a fan of Broadchurch, I shouldn’t have been surprised I so quickly fell in love, as he composed the show’s elegant and immersive score. I’ve used his album, Island Songs, as writing music throughout the summer, and I suspect I’ll listen to it just as much once the semester kicks off.

favorite tracks: 1995, Raddir

US GirlsLike Natalie Prass, artist Meg Remy has turned to music as a source of catharsis. I’m all for her disco-pop sound and pointed storytelling, and if the reviews are any indication, I’m not the only one. At Pitchforkher latest album is said to speak “to a unified vision, one of spit, fury, and chuckling to keep from crying.” Isn’t that what we all need?

favorite tracks: Rage of Plastics, M.A.H.

Dirty BirdDirty Bird may have formed in 2016, but the harmonies on their debut album, Still to Be Ours, sound as if they’ve been singing together for decades. As seems to be the pattern of my playlists, I’m easily won over by folk groups with a sense of intimacy, and Dirty Bird delivers: their songs are well-written gems that are perfect for lazy summer afternoons. I’m already hoping for a record number two!

favorite tracks: Portrait, Lulu

Moses SumneyFinally, Moses Sumney’s Aromanticism came out last September, but it is a record so strong, it deserves yet another round of recognition. Combining soul, R+B, and pop, Sumney offers a thoughtful mediation on vulnerability and isolation. Between the lush arrangements and his soothing voice, I myself can’t seem to get enough (fortunately for me, his latest set of singles are just as good).

favorite tracks: Plastic, Don’t Make Out in My Car

Have a terrific Thursday!
B

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Recent Reads / 04

Hi friends!

Happy Monday! How are you? Did you have a wonderful weekend? And perhaps most importantly: can you believe it’s already August? I certainly can’t – I’m home for just a few days before I return to the Cape for the last three weeks of my internship (!!!). We open our run of Sweeney Todd tomorrow before we round out the season with productions of Iolanthe and Cabaret. Needless to say, there’s a lot of fun ahead before the summer officially comes to a close – if quite a bit of packing too!

I’m also hoping to fit in a few more books before I head back to school at the end of the month. My July produced many a new favorite, so I have my fingers crossed August will be similarly successful (and while I’m home, you can be sure that a stop by my local library is on the agenda). In the meantime, however, I wanted to share the novels I’ve enjoyed most as of late. What are you reading?

Recent Reads 3[1] First, Everything All at Once is a book I have come to recommend time and time again since I devoured it last summer; author Katrina Leno won me over with her lyrical prose and skillful use of magical realism. Naturally, I was giddy with excitement when Summer of Salt, her latest book, came in at the library – and it didn’t disappoint. Following twin sisters Georgina and Mary during an unusual summer on their home island of By-the-Sea, it’s as empowering as it is atmospheric (and it deserves an extra kudos for its diverse cast of characters). It may be too early to say, but I have a feeling this will be topping my list of favorites at the end of the year.

 [2] Promises of a “fun, feminist, eccentric romp” had me delighted and so excited to finally get my hands on a copy of Everything Must Go, a 2017 debut by author Jenny Fran Davis. The contemporary epistolary novel chronicles the junior year of Flora Goldwasser as she transfers from her status-obsessed private school in NYC to the environmentally focused, Quaker-founded Quare Academy in the Hudson Valley. It took me a bit to settle into the novel’s sense of humor; if you run into the same problem, I urge you to continue with it, for you’ll be rewarded with a thought-provoking coming-of-age narrative. I’m itching to read it again, but until then, I have my fingers crossed that we’ll be hearing of the next Davis YA novel soon!

[3] I’ve enjoyed Kate Messner’s books in the past, but her most recent work, Breakout, absolutely blew me away. Another epistolary novel, it follows the lives of three middle school students after two inmates escape from their town’s prison. From the thoughtful attention to detail to the honest confessions of the characters, Messner leads readers through a tale of racial injustice, the acknowledgment of privilege, and the dimensions of trust. I suppose it’s no surprise that it comes from an author who is often considered a staple of middle-grade literature, as I imagine this will be finding a home on many classroom bookshelves in the fall. Needless to say, if there’s one MG book you read this summer, make it this.

[4] And finally, another author I adore is Morgan Matson, whose books have been consistent favorites of mine and hold a cherished spot on my bookshelf. It was no different with her latest release, Save the Date, an entertaining, family-centered romp that follows the ups – and downs! – of a wedding. While it wasn’t my favorite of her books, it still had all of the elements for which Matson is known best: an adorable, unexpected romance (it’s a relationship made for the movies), a plot chock-full of funny moments (there’s no shortage of potential disasters for the bride-to-be), and strong family and friend dynamics (can I be an honorary Grant?). In short: be sure to grab this one too!

Have a terrific start to your week!
B

Currently: July 2018

Hi friends!

How are you? How are things? I’m so happy to be blogging again. Ciao Bella has been quiet over the past few weeks, but I think for good reason: my summer is moving so quickly that I can hardly believe it’s almost August! Internship-wise, I’m having a blast; Friday is a show day at the box office, so this morning will have me busy printing and confirming ticket orders, taking calls from patrons, and preparing the theater for yet another performance of Pippin, our fourth production of the summer.

In the meantime, because it’s been about a month (!!) since I last posted here, I wanted to share a Currently post, my favorite way to recap the recent things – books, shows, music, and the like – that I have been enjoying. Lots to love, that’s for sure! How has your July been?

Lera LynnListening: Lera Lynn’s Plays Well with Others | To start, I’m late to the party, but I’ve fallen in love with the work of singer and songwriter Lera Lynn. You may know her from her 2011 album, Have You Met Lera Lynn, or from her role as a singer on True Detective, but I’ve only just discovered her music while reading a review of her latest album on NPR. Fittingly titled Plays Well with Others, Lynn collaborated with eight different artists to produce a set of dreamy and delicate duets that are reminiscent of Americana classics. It took only one listen through before I myself was hooked; I’ve already added “Same Old Song” to my August playlist and listened to “Crimson Underground” more times than I can count. Long story short? I can’t get enough – and I’m certain you’ll feel the same!

West Falmouth Public Library{one of my newfound favorite places to perch and read}

Reading: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo | I’m in the midst of four books at the moment – call it the summertime reading slump – but if the first few chapters are any indication, Maurene Goo’s The Way You Make Me Feel is just what I need to get out of it. With Goo’s trademark sense of humor, a memorable protagonist, and a food truck all involved, I have a feeling this will be a favorite of the summer, much like I Believe in a Thing Called Love was last year. Here’s hoping I can wrap it up on my next morning off, but in the meantime, I’m also hoping to dig into Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno (I’ll read anything she writes) and Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin (I like to support middle-grade debuts!). What are you currently reading?

Lulu and Bella at Tranquil Lake{one of our many snapshots}

Going: Tranquil Lake Nursery | While my dreams of living next to a flower-lined field won’t be coming true anytime soon, I had fun pretending when I visited Tranquil Lake Nursery! Located in Rehoboth, MA, Tranquil Lake is a farm that specializes in daylilies and irises; they have the flowers available for sale, but they also have their fields and gardens open for display. I visited on my last trip home, and it was an utter delight to browse in the summer sun. If you too stop by, be sure to purchase a few flowers for yourself and pack a camera – there are photo opportunities aplenty. Have you gone on any day trips recently?

The Durrells in CorfuWatching: The Durrells in Corfu | Between nightly shows, box office shifts, and errands around town, I return to the house ready for a quiet night. While reading is my go-to activity of choice, I have also really enjoyed making my way through The Durrells in Corfu, an engaging and heartfelt series that premiered on Masterpiece in 2016. Set in the 1930s, it follows a family of five as they move from England to the Greek island of Corfu. I’m about halfway through the first season, but I’m so in love that I’ve already added the memoir it is based on, My Family and Other Animals, to my TBR list. You can rarely go wrong with a British dramedy. (All credit to my sister, Lulu, for the initial suggestion).

The Brass SistersLoving: The Brass Sisters | Another show I’ve been enjoying in my down time? PBS’s The Food Flirts, starring home cooks and sisters Marilynn and Sheila Brass. Though brief at thirty minutes long, each episode manages to pack in a sweet and humorous punch as Marilynn and Sheila taste items from local restaurants and then whip up inspired dishes in their own kitchen with the advice of the chef. It’s fun, feel-good television at its finest, and it doesn’t hurt that you round out the half-hour with recipe recommendations galore. If you’re a fan of The Great British Baking Show, this will be right up your alley. (Love and hugs, again, to Lulu for sharing it with me!).

Joel Penkman Ice Cream{Artist Joel Penkman always manages to capture the perfect cone.}

Eating: Ghelfi’s | What is a summer without numerous ice cream stops? I’ve slowly but surely been taste-testing my way through the ice cream shops of the Cape, and one has emerged as a clear favorite: Ghelfi’s Candies and Ice Cream of Cape Cod. While they are best known for their fudge and other similarly tasty confections, I have found their ice cream to be just as delicious (my flavors of choice include their S’mores as well as Muddy Boots, a vanilla with fudge brownie mix-ins). National Ice Cream Day has already come and gone, but no matter: Ghelfi’s is worth a stop – or at least one scoop!

Bella and Em{thank you Em for the visit!]

Missing: Friends | And finally, while I don’t want to wish the summer away, I dearly miss my friends from home and at school! Fortunately, both FaceTime and phone calls make the distance seem shorter, and I’m grateful to already have had so many friends visit on my afternoons off (it helps that the beach is only a five-minutes walk from where I’m staying). Come fall, I’ll be catching up galore, but thankfully, with an exciting and interesting set of classes, a new apartment to decorate, and extracurriculars to dive right back into, I’m thinking that this next semester will be a good one.

Have a lovely Friday and an even better start to your weekend!

xx
B