A Late Quartet. Out in limited release as of November 2nd (out in Philly Nov 9th). Think: beautiful chamber music, excellent acting performances, and a peek into a slice of New York City’s fine arts subculture. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, and Catherine Keener star this engaging film centered on the relationships of a world-renowned string quartet. As their 25th Anniversary concert draws near, the ensemble’s lives and future plans are thrown into turmoil after their venerated cellist receives some devastating news. Written and directed by Yaron Zilberman, the film is centered on and inspired by Beethoven’s Opus 131 String Quartet in C-sharp minor.
Lincoln. Daniel Day Lewis; Directed by Steven Spielberg. The pairing of Oscar winners Daniel Day-Lewis and Steven Spielberg recreating the events leading up to our 16th President’s shocking death has epic written all over it. Lewis amazingly brings Lincoln to life and reaffirms his standing as one of the best actors of this, or any generation. The extraordinary cast includes Oscar winners Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones; former Academy Award nominees David Strathairn, Jackie Earle Haley, Hal Holbrook; future leading man Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the red hot character actor John Hawkes. Lincoln and his legacy has been approached on numerous occasions, but under Spielberg’s expert direction, this takes it up a notch. Way up. It’s going to a heavy favorite come Oscar time. Lincoln opens in New York and Los Angeles tomorrow and rolls out nationwide on November 16th.
Lyrics & Prose by Ric Ocasek. For all of the great work he’s done with The Cars, a solo artist and as a producer (Weezer, Bad Brains, Guided By Voices), we’re a bit surprised it has taken this long for him to release something for the written page. Lyrics & Prose Cars covers his entire Cars output, his six solo albums, along with individual poems and photographs. Its a cool way to get into The Cars or rediscover a great American rock band. Lyrics & Prose is available now through Amazon and all book outlets.
Who Am I by Pete Townshend. The creative force of The Who leaves no subject untouched in this decades in the making autobiography. Townshend goes into extensive detail about growing up in post-World War II England, musical upbringing, and, of course, his days with The Who. Townshend also opens up on how being a victim of childhood sexual abuse (which he channelled into the rock opera Tommy); his reactions to the death of bandmates Keith Moon and John Entwistle, his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction and his place in the rock pantheon. It’s also loaded with stories of destruction (self-inflicted, on stage and off), and how life as a rock star conflicted with his roles as a husband and father. He also details how all of these factors became the basis of some of the best songs in rock history. Pete Townshend was always been one of rock n roll’s finest songwriters. Now he can add author to that title. Who I Am is available through Amazon and all major book retailers.
2 BY Mac DeMarco. If you didn’t take notice when Montreal’s Mac DeMarco released his debut EP Rock and Roll Night Club earlier this year, you’re excused. That lo-fi effort, complete with tape tricks and radio IDs, served more as an odd curio than a proper introduction to DeMarco. Now he’s back with a full-length release that demonstrates that he’s quite a good songwriter and guitar player. Some of the quirks remain — think Jonathan Richman meets Pavement — but balances it well with some growth and sincerity. Recommended tracks include Ode to Viceroy and Cooking up Something Good.
Hands of Glory by Andrew Bird. Earlier this year, we told you about Andrew Bird’s Break it Yourself and called it one if the best albums of the year. In an embarrassment of riches, Bird has released Hands of Glory as a companion piece to Break it Yourself. On Hands of Glory, Bird takes his sound in a different direction. While lush violins characterized Break it Yourself, it’s the fiddle that’s the focus here. The spirit and songwriting remains the same, and Bird releases yet another excellent collection of songs this year.