Jukebox

Chan Marshall, who records as Cat Power, followed her 2006 album, The Greatest, with a prompt breakdown, canceling tour dates and costing her record label, Matador, a boatload of cash. But the album was a triumph, and by the end of the year, a newly sober Marshall played the best shows of her career. Technically, there are only two original songs on Jukebox, but Marshall again proves -- as she did on The Covers Record -- that anything she touches becomes wholly her own. Backed by the Dirty Delta Blues Band, Marshall dips into the catalog that made possible her own Memphis soul. Radical reconstructions are everywhere: Sinatra's "New York, New York" becomes a slinky, down-tempo paean to restlessness, more cautionary tale than celebration, and a Hank Williams classic becomes "Ramblin' (Wo)man." Dylan is reworked, too (and not for the first time), with "I Believe in You," from his Christian phase. And the sole new song on the album, "Song for Bobby," addresses the man directly, as Marshall writes about discovering his music as a young teenager, and later, catching his ear with her own work. Recalling the view of her icon from her perspective as an audience member, she asks, "Oh my god, can you tell me who you were singing to?" One answer is certainly Chan Marshall, who returns the favor in song. -

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.