Choice Picks: Four New Record Releases Worth A Listen

first_imgLeon III (featured)Leon IIILeon III features familiar faces from the Americana underground. Andy Stepanian and Mason Brent are members of Wrinkle Neck Mules—the Virginia-born, earnest but edgy alt-country act that’s never quite gotten its rightful due. With their new project, Stepanian and Brent take twang on a detour into the psych-folk wilderness; the songs on this self-titled debut are full of southern comfort, but the musicians sound like they’re under the influence of shroom tea. The opening “Maybe I’m Immune?” is a sprawling, desolate slow-burner with some searching guitar licks that would make Jerry Garcia proud. “The Strongest Medicine” gets out there, too, but this time down the Crazy Horse path of wide-open distortion. The record was produced by Mark Nevers, who has a history of helping idiosyncratic folk explorers like Bonnie “Prince Billy” and Lambchop. His touch is felt most during the hypnotic haze of “Paper Eye” and a cosmically filtered cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Jesus,” which sounds like Drive-By Truckers on a Beatles bender. Stepanian’s husky voice is a steady spirit guide throughout the album; it particularly brings things back down to earth when accented by plaintive pedal steel in “Faded Mountain.” These guys took a chance to get weird, and it works.Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors and JOHNNYSWIMGoodbye RoadRoots contemporaries Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors and JOHNNYSWIM (the husband-and-wife folk duo featuring Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano) are skilled practitioners in crafting feel-good hooks and inspirational choruses. Here the two groups join forces for a brief five-song EP that offers a promising teaser for what will hopefully become a more-developed collaboration. Right out of the gate, gospel-rock opener “Ring the Bells” showcases impressive vocal interplay, as Holcomb’s sturdy Tennessee tenor holds its own with Ramirez and Sudano’s musical theater-ready pipes. The intertwined singing flows even more naturally on “Just Your Memory,” a delicate folk meditation with the building intensity characteristic of male-female groups like the Civil Wars and the Swell Season. Turning Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” into a ballad strips the dusty swagger from the original, but the version will still be a crowd favorite when the two groups support the effort with a brief summer tour. Southern stops include Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in Asheville, N.C. (July 6) and the Carpenter Theatre in Richmond, Va. (July 7).Twisted PineDreamsUp-and-coming string band Twisted Pine went viral last year when video surfaced of the group’s acoustic mash-up of indie funk band Vulfpeck’s “El Chepe” and Bill Monroe’s “The One I Love is Gone.” The combo tune leads off the quartet’s new Dreams, a seven-song, all-covers EP that reimagines songs from a range of genres through the primitive dynamics of wood and wire. In general, bluegrass reboots of pop songs can be hit or miss, but Twisted Pine isn’t just churning out boot-stomping exaggerations of familiar favorites. The group subscribes to the school of sophisticated string arrangements purveyed by predecessors the Punch Brothers and Crooked Still, and accordingly the covers are delivered with nuanced layers instead of overblown solos. The biggest winners are a sweetly patient reading of the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and the title track—a pastoral version of the Cranberries’ 90s hit that features vocalists Kathleen Parks and Rachel Sumner jointly nailing the late Dolores O’Riordan’s emotional lilt.American AquariumThings ChangeThings Change is an appropriate title for the seventh studio album from North Carolina alt-country act American Aquarium. After every member of the band quit last year, front man B.J. Barham recruited an entirely new crew to play behind him, but his blue-collar storyteller songwriting hasn’t lost its vigor. In fact Barham sounds ready to roll in the full-throttle bar rock of “Tough Folks,” an optimistic stomper written about the resilience of small-town farmers. Ditto in the rollicking “The World is On Fire,” a countrified positive protest anthem about feeling disillusioned by the country’s current political climate. In the latter, Barham sings, in a resolute cadence similar to that of activist folk bard Billy Bragg, the lines: “We can’t give in / We can’t give up / We must go boldly into the darkness / And be the light.” A great voice in Southern music has found a new spark.last_img read more

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NKT Victoria Gets Ship of the Year Accolade at Nor-Shipping

first_imgNKT ‘s new cable laying vessel – NKT Victoria – has won the Ship of the Year 2017 prize at the Nor-Shipping exhibition in Lillestrøm, Norway.On Tuesday, 30 May, Norway’s Labour and Social minister Anniken Haugli presented the award, in the presence of HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, to the vessel’s owner, the President and CEO of NKT Michael Lyng, the shipbuilder Kleven’s CEO Ståle Rasmussen, the design company Salt Ship Design’s CEO Arne Stenersen, and to the captain of the vessel, Svein Ole Sæter.“I am proud that NKT Victoria is awarded the Ship of the Year Prize. NKT Victoria is one-of-a-kind not only within this particular area of the shipping industry but also in the cable industry. With this vessel, we are now able to offer our customers complete cable solutions, from design and manufacture to installation and service – as one of a very few cable providers in the world,” said Michael Lyng, President and CEO of NKT.NKT Victoria was named in a ceremony held at NKT’s power cable plant in Karlskrona, Sweden, in early May.The vessel was part of NKT’s recently completed acquisition of ABB’s high voltage cable business.NKT Victoria is currently in Scotland where she is working on her first project ever – the installation of two subsea power cables connecting Caithness and Moray.last_img read more

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Family break no mistake

first_imgStuff 23 July 2014Work-life balance. It’s an interesting concept, and depending who you speak to, an important one for us all to be able to achieve.Not that we all have it sorted. Far from it.But it’s generally accepted that those of us fortunate enough to have jobs have the right to have lives as well. It’s a situation unions have fought to bring about over many decades in many countries, including this one. And one employers across the country would say they wholeheartedly support – in rare cases that might be lipservice, but I’d suggest the vast majority would be sincere.Given its union roots, it’s fair to assume that, even if it hasn’t been mentioned in its pre-election policy pronouncements this year, the concept of work-life balance is one the Labour Party is fully behind.So why, then, should the party’s leader not be afforded a little of that?I’m not for a moment suggesting David Cunliffe is an ordinary New Zealand worker, who could expect to work a 40-hour week, or that the 18-hour days he says he works as Labour leader are somehow out of order. For those who aspire to high public office, it comes with the territory, as he well knows. read more

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Hontiveros slams Chinese-run sex dens in POGO industry

first_img“Minsanpupunta kami sa condo, minsan sahotel tapos pagkatapos namin magmasahe,mag-ooffer kami ng extra service na ibigsabihin makikipagtalik kami,” said Carina. Hontiveros, who chairs the Senate Committee on Women, Children, FamilyRelations and Gender Equality, presented at a livestreamed Senate probe thefindings of her investigation on the rescues of sexual trafficking victimsin Metro Manila. Carina also said she has a co-worker,14-year-old Shaina, who is still being pimped by the massage parlor ownerdespite being sick forcing the latter to runaway from the parlor. “We need to suspend the Visa Upon Arrivalscheme for Chinese nationals,” Hontiveros said. “Security threat na kasi ito sa atin: To our women and toour girls. Pati ‘yung mga sarili natingkababaihan at kabataan, nabibiktima na.” Hontiveros is studying the suspension ofall POGO operations in the country, while reviewing the economic implicationsas well as ensuring that there are safety nets in place to protect our womenand children. “Pinagamotnaman po si Shaina pero tumakas na posiya kasi hindi na po kaya,” Carina said. “Kasi kahit po may sakit, nilalakad pa din po sa mga customer.” “Maymenu of services, parang restaurant,” said Hontiveros. “‘Yung mga babae, parang inoorderlang sa app ng mga Chinese members ngchatgroup. Parang Grabfood, may menu, may presyo, then darating na lang sa hotel o condo mo.” Hontiveros added that some offer Chinesewomen for P10,000 per hour and Russian or Korean women overnight for P32,000and P45,000, respectively, as revealed in the conversations in chat groups. She added that the customers, usuallyChinese, Japanese, Korean and Indian nationals, pay the girls between P3,000and P7,000, half of which will be given to the massage parlor owner. The senator also urged the NationalBureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police to conduct animmediate crackdown on POGO-related prostitution dens across the Philippines. “Hindipwedeng nagiging pugad tayo ng Chinese prostitution dens,” she added. “Pag nakikita ko sa TV ang mga babaeng nahuhuli sa raid na punong puno ng hiya at takot, isa langang tumatakbo sa isip ko: thisgirl is someone’s daughter. And we have failed her.” One of these victims shared heraffidavit at the probe under the alias Carina and via a video call fromelsewhere MANILA – Filipino girls, as well as traffickedChinese women, are being pimped like a food menu in prostitution densoften disguised as massage or spa facilities, Sen. Risa Hontiverosrevealed Tuesday. Sen. Risa Hontiveros In light of these revelations,Hontiveros called for the Bureau of Immigration to suspend its Visa UponArrival program for Chinese nationals, a scheme that has readily assisted therise of Chinese criminals in the country. Carina told the senators that a friendrecruited her to work as a masseuse in the massage parlor owned by a Chineseman and his Filipina wife before she was pimped to Chinese workers later on. Hontiveros said that there was a menu ofsex services catering to Chinese expatriates, who work mostly in offshoregaming operations, called POGOs by local authorities. She even claimed that some of the girlsare pimped on the Chinese super app WeChat using codes such as “new tea” forgirls and “fast food” for quickie sex. “Kailanganna nating umaksyon. We need to look into suspending POGO operations becausethey attract criminals into our country,” Hontiveros said./PNlast_img read more

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