Welcome to the libraries’ News Blog! Here you’ll find reviews of new books, information about what’s happening at our libraries, and any breaking author news. We’ll also keep you up to date with exciting book award shortlists and prize announcements as they come to us, so check back often!

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Colouring-in for the weekend

Need a moment of relaxation? How about some colouring-in with these downloadable illustrations from 1920′s Bookman issues.

Download the illustrations here: Summer Reading & Children’s Books

Summer Reading2

children's books The Bookman 1929

New Computing books for February

With the New Year it’s good to see books about the new 2016 version of some of the most popular software together with Windows 10 and some other useful pieces of info. Come with me to find out more of what you need to know in 2016.

Syndetics book coverWindows 10 / Paul McFedries.
“Teach Yourself VISUALLY Windows 10 is the visual learner’s guide to the latest Windows upgrade. Using full color screen shots and clear instruction, you’ll learn your way around the interface, set up user accounts, and much more. If you want to get the most out of the latest Windows offering, Teach Yourself VISUALLY Windows 10 is the guide you need.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWindows 10 plain & simple / Nancy Muir Boysen.
“Learn the simplest ways to get things done with Windows 10. Follow easy steps and screenshots to see exactly what to do. Get handy tips for new techniques and shortcuts and exercises to apply what you learn right away” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOffice 2016 / Elaine Marmel.
“Quickly and efficiently learn the latest version of Office. Teach Yourself Visually Office offers you a straightforward, visual approach to making your work life more efficient and productive using the latest version of the Microsoft Office suite. Whether you′re looking to discover what′s new in the latest release of Microsoft Office or don′t know Access from Word, this visual guide makes learning easy!” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverExcel 2016 / by Paul McFedries.
“If you’re always hearing about the cool things Excel can do, here’s your chance to see how to do them! Teach Yourself Visually Excel is packed with visually rich tutorials and step-by-step instructions that will help you take your Excel skills to new heights, this friendly and approachable guide will have you creating, editing, and manipulating Excel spreadsheets in no time!” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPowerPoint 2016/ Barbara Boyd with Ray Anthony.
“The uncomplicated PowerPoint guide designed specifically for visual learners. Teach Yourself Visually PowerPoint offers you an effortless approach to creating winning presentations with the latest version of PowerPoint.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMy Excel 2016 / Tracy Syrstad.
My Excel 2016 is your must-have companion for getting most out of Excel 2016. This friendly, quick, full-color, 100% practical tutorial walks you through every task you’ll want to do with Excel 2016.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverComputer basics : absolute beginner’s guide / Michael Miller.
“Make the most of your new Windows® 10 notebook or desktop computer-without becoming a technical expert! This book is the fastest way to get comfortable, get productive, get online, get started with social networking, make more connections, and have more fun!” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMYOB Software For Dummies [electronic resource] / Veechi Curtis.
“MYOB(R) Software For Dummies walks you through everything you need to know, from starting your MYOB(R) file from scratch and recording payments and receipts, to tracking profit and analysing sales. This new edition includesall the information you need on the new generation of MYOB(R) Account Right software, including the new cloud computing features.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAutomate the boring stuff with Python : practical programming for total beginners / by Al Sweigart.
“If you’ve ever spent hours renaming files or updating hundreds of spreadsheet cells, you know how tedious tasks like these can be. In Automate the Boring Stuff with Python, you’ll learn how to use Python to write programs that do in minutes what would take you hours to do by hand. Once you’ve mastered the basics of programming, you’ll create Python programs that effortlessly perform useful and impressive feats of automation.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA beginner’s guide to coding on Android tablets and smartphones / Jim Gatenby.
Explains, at an elementary level, basic concepts of computers and computer coding using an Android tablet or smartphone. Also covers how to then transfer your program code to a desktop or laptop computer and vice versa.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTeach yourself visually iPhone 6s / by Guy Hart-Davis.
“A visual guide to the iPhone 6s now fully updated. Teach Yourself VISUALLY iPhone, 3rd Edition is the book for you with 500 full-color screenshots that clearly illustrate all the features your iPhone has to offer.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow software works : the magic behind encryption, CGI, search engines, and other everyday technologies / by V. Anton Spraul.
“We use software every day to perform all kinds of powerful tasks. It’s the force behind stunning CGI graphics, safe online shopping, and speedy Google searches. How Software Works explains how computers perform common-yet-amazing tasks that we take for granted every day. If you’ve ever wondered what really goes on behind your computer screen, How Software Works will give you fascinating look into the software all around you.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Beautiful projects to celebrate the New Year – New Craft books for February

Give your creativity a fresh start with inspiration from our latest craft books.

They are packed with ideas and tips to inspire and encourage you to develop your creative skills. From seasonal projects to make and give and pretty patterns for lace knitting to delightful crocheted cushions and smocking stitching for beginners. Have fun!

Syndetics book coverA year in crafts : 52 seasonal projects to make and give / Clare Youngs.
“Here are 52 beautifully simple step-by-step ideas to get you crafting throughout the year. Start in January by making a handmade diary so you can start the year fresh and organized, while in March you can revamp your home for the annual spring clean with a new chair seat or a vintage-inspired embroidered tablecloth. You’ll be inspired with Clare Youngs’ lovely projects, so whether you want to make each project as the year progresses, or dip in and out of the book, you’ll never be bored with A Year in Crafts.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnyone can knit : a step-by-step guide to essential knitting skills / Libby Summers.
“This title sets out to prove its claim with a treasury of know-how and ideas appealing to every skill level. This full colour title is packed with step-by-step instructions in essential knitting skills as well as stylish projects.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAran & Nordic knits for kids : 25 designs for babies and young children / Martin Storey ; photography by Steven Wooster.
“With 25 great knits for little girls and boys, this Scandinavian inspired collection of designs by Martin Storey has a range of delightful projects. Features Aran-style textures and cables and Nordic-inspired colourwork, incorporating traditional patterns with a contemporary twist. The designs include a range of garments, such as coats, jackets, cardigans, sweaters and slipovers, plus accessories. There are also knits for the nursery.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSock-yarn shawls II : 16 patterns for lace knitting / Jen Lucas.
“Following the overwhelming success of Sock-Yarn Shawls , Jen Lucas presents an all-new selection of striking patterns for luscious sock yarns. Discover designs for everyone from confident beginners to advanced knitters. Patterns range from small shawlettes to large circular shawls, and many are made from a single skein.
Pretty new patterns for single-colored and multicolored shawls – enjoy lots of options! Shawl constructions include top down, bottom up, crescent, short row, and circular
Begin with the basics and move on to create designs with attach-as-you-go lace borders” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCrocheted cushions / Susie Johns.
“With 26 modern, colourful and creative designs to choose from, this inspiring title is the only crocheted cushion book you’ll ever need. Featuring a vibrant range of designs with bobbles, ruffles, stripes and granny squares, in shapes ranging from circles and rectangles to hearts, owls and chickens, this book also contains wedding ring pillows and pin cushions. Written by longstanding and highly successful author Susie Johns, this book also includes a comprehensive techniques section at the beginning, ensuring that it is accessible to crafters of any ability.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverModern vintage gifts : over 20 pretty & nostalgic projects to sew & give / Helen Phillipps
“Sew a little love and give the gift of handmade with Vintage Modern Gifts! A bright contemporary collection of over 20 patchwork and sewn projects, designed to make readers smile and have fun with fabric from Helen Philipps – a popular craft designer whose highly desirable style is a cross between Cath Kidston and Tilda. The projects are all simple enough for beginners yet desirable enough for more experienced sewers, exploring different techniques including patchwork, quilting, paper piecing, appliqué, colour play, embroidery and embellishment. Projects include small quilts, dolls, bags, pillows, hearts, puppies, flowers, stars, angels and more – all in a gorgeous coordinating color palette, with charming hand-drawn illustrations and exquisite styled photography.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA-Z of smocking
“This book features every smocking stitch, clearly explained for beginners, but also has inspiring examples and new or little-known techniques to appeal to experienced smockers. It shows how to work the stitches, read graphs, and select colours, fabric and threads. It teaches how to pleat and block a garment, gives advice on different techniques such as ribbon weaving, counterchange, template and freeform smocking and much more. It is bursting with hints, ideas and inspirational photographs.There is full advice on the fabric, needles and thread needed and a glossary of smocking terms. Interspersed throughout the book there are helpful hints for all the stitches and techniques, and beautiful photographs of smocked garments to inspire the reader to pick up a needle.” (Syndetics summary)

The best of the best: must reads from January’s fiction selections

The following titles have been chosen from our monthly new fiction selections. They are all highly recommended for great reading.

Syndetics book coverI’m travelling alone / Samuel Bjork ; translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund.
“True to form this latest Norwegian mystery is a gripping page turner.”

Syndetics book coverThe long way to a small, angry planet / Becky Chambers.
“ A great science fiction epic, where the adventures and journeys of nine very different characters are set in distant worlds with very strange and different cultures.”

Syndetics book coverAnything for you / Kristan Higgins.
“A rather steamy, touching modern romance, guaranteed to have romance reader’s hearts fluttering.”

Syndetics book coverGrief is the thing with feathers / Max Porter.
“A wonderful debut novel, shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Awards and the Goldsmiths Prize. One of the best reads for 2015.”

Syndetics book coverBreaking connections : a novel / by Albert Wendt.
“This new novel from New Zealand’s wonderful veteran writer, portrays the startling reality of young Polynesian life in Auckland.”

Syndetics book coverEverything is teeth / Evie Wyld, Joe Sumner.
“From an award winning author, this autobiographical work, is a stunning story of a young Australian girl obsessed with sharks.”

Fashion and Beauty picks for February

This month’s fashion and beauty picks include Dita Von Teese’s long-awaited beauty guide and an up-close look at the modern dandy, as well as the historical concept of a dandy. We also have a new book on Ametora, which takes an interesting look at the relationship between Japanese and American fashion.

Syndetics book coverComing into fashion : a century of photography at Condé Nast / Nathalie Herschdorfer.
“This title, featuring the work of 85 great fashion photographers past and present, drawn from the Conde Nast archives in New York, Paris and Milan, illustrates the early work of such celebrated practitioners as Cecil Beaton, Irving Penn and David Bailey that have appeared in the pages of the company’s magazines.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYour beauty mark : the ultimate guide to eccentric glamour / Dita Von Teese with Rose Apodaca.
“In Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour, Dita and collaborator Rose Apodaca take you through every step of Dita’s glamour arsenal, and includes her confidantes–masters in makeup, hair, medicine, and exercise, as well as some of the world’s most eccentric beauties–for authoritative advice. Packed with sound nutrition and exercise guidance, skin care and scent insight, as well as accessible techniques for creating bombshell hairstyles and makeup looks and more, this inspiring resource shares the skills, history, and lessons you need to enhance your individual gifts and realize your own beauty mark.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverArtist, rebel, dandy : men of fashion / [edited by] Kate Irvin, Laurie Anne Brewer.
“Artist/Rebel/Dandy celebrates the pleasures of the sharp-dressed man. A series of fascinating essays traces the often contradictory definitions and images of the dandy, the history of young men and their clothes in the long 19th century, the exquisite fabrics and tailoring that play an important role in dandy style, and the relationship of black dandyism and hip-hop. In addition, this book features fifteen musings on notable dandies written by individuals who share a kinship with their subject, including Patti Smith considering Charles Baudelaire; a reflection on Oscar Wilde by his grandson, Merlin Holland; Daniela Morera, formerly part of Andy Warhol’s Factory crowd, reminiscing about the artist’s image; and writer Philip Hoare describing the “thrift-shop dandyism” of director John Waters.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFifty fashion designers that changed the world / Lauren Cochrane.
“In the world of fashion trends come and go, but the work of a small number of designers has survived to stand the test of time. From pioneers such as Coco Chanel and Christian Dior to the era-defining figures of Alexander McQueen and Paul Smith, explore the stories and examine the work of the 50 most ingenious and influential designers in fashion history. With stunning photography illustrating the seminal designers, Fifty Fashion Designers That Changed The World is a collection of the most illustrious, innovative tastemakers the fashion world has ever seen.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Biba years : 1963-1975 / Barbara Hulanicki and Martin Pel.
“A revealing look at the fashion revolution of the 1960s and ’70s through the groundbreaking hip and now-legendary London emporium Biba, this book looks at “the most beautiful store in the world.” Biba, founded in 1963 by designer Barbara Hulanicki, quickly gained cult status and outgrew several locations before the five-story “Big Biba” opened in 1973. More than a store, it was a haven of cool for artists, movie stars, and rock musicians. This book tells the story of the Biba decade, and how the label revolutionized retail and fashion culture. With a wealth of previously unpublished material, including full-color facsimiles of the six luxurious Biba catalogs and archival photographs, The Biba Decade looks at the first retailer to bring affordable fashion to young consumers. Stunning new photography documents the unique Biba look, and the designer and her contemporaries offer their personal insights.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAmetora : how Japan saved American style = Ametora : Nihon ga Amerika sutairu o sukutta monogatari / W. David Marx.
“Look closely at any typically “American” article of clothing these days, and you may be surprised to see a Japanese label inside. From high-end denim to oxford button-downs, Japanese designers have taken the classic American look–known as ametora , or “American traditional”–and turned it into a huge business for companies like Uniqlo, Kamakura Shirts, Evisu, and Kapital. In Ametora , cultural historian W. David Marx traces the Japanese assimilation of American fashion over the past hundred and fifty years, showing how Japanese trendsetters and entrepreneurs mimicked, adapted, imported, and ultimately perfected American style, dramatically reshaping not only Japan’s culture but also our own in the process.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEmerging fashion designers 5 / Sally Congdon-Martin.
“In this newest edition to a series, Emerging Fashion Designers 5 continues to be a platform for the next generation of young designers, exhibiting original designs by more than 50 recent graduates from 13 premier fashion design programs in the United States. More than 250 images showcase the designers’ fresh perspectives on lingerie, sportswear, menswear, children’s wear, evening wear, and more. The wide range of work in this anthology is augmented with a brief dossier on each young designer, including inspiration and materials. This easy to navigate resource has garments organized alphabetically by school and indexed graphically by designer. It is an essential reference to the newest talent and trends in fashion.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFashion’s who’s who show you how to make life beautiful / Camila Morton.
“Make biscuits with Manolo Blahnik or customise your bike with Paul Smith. Let Charlotte Olympia put a spring in your step and turn a magazine into a millinery with Stephen Jones. Fashion a Bella Freud jumper or a Topshop Tee, make a Faberge egg and dress up like Henry Holland. Let Michael Howells and Christian Lacroix help you create a drama and Nick Knight a cup of tea. Turn on your imagination and make life beautiful. Make Life Beautiful provides a unique glimpse into some of style’s most creative minds with full-colour pictures throughout and a personal introduction from the designers to each of the projects. Craft has never been so fashionable.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHollywood and the Ivy look / Graham Marsh and Tony Nourmand.
“Back by popular demand, this stunning new Evergreen Edition of the worldwide best-seller delivers a pictorial celebration of the look and attitude of ‘Ivy’. From the button-down hip of Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and Anthony Perkins to the preppy sensibilities of Woody Allen and Dustin Hoffman; the understated but carefully selected components of The Ivy Look didn’t shout ‘look at me’ but instead gave off an image of approachable correctness and laid back confidence. Exhaustively compiled, this coffee table volume takes an in-depth look at how ‘Ivy’ established itself.” (Syndetics summary)

Talking about the Treaty

Display stand at the Takapuna LibraryTalk Treaty : Kōrerotia Te Tiriti is a display which features series of short video clips of well-known New Zealanders sharing their views about the Treaty of Waitangi and its implications.
This will be available in the Central, Miramar and Tawa libraries from 1 February, and Cummings Park branch from 9th February. Those stands will then travel to Kaori, Johnsonville and Newtown libraries in Mid March.
Topics covered include identity, te reo, coming to a greater understanding (between Māori and Pakeha), and cultural differences.
More info.

Staff Pick CDs: The Best of 2015 – Part 2

The last round-up of Staff CD Picks that we enjoyed last year….

Shinji’s picks:
Cover imageComing forth by day.
Undoubtedly the prime jazz singer of today, Cassandra Wilson celebrates the centennial of Billie Holiday’s birth in style. Tackling Holiday’s repertoire is challenging but she ambitiously takes this on with a big production, inviting the producer Nick Launay who has worked with Talking Heads and Arcade Fire. A huge variety of the arrangements are applied here but Wilson colours everything in her one-and-only sophisticated deep blues feeling, showing tremendous presence. Rebirthing Holiday’s soul in the 21st century, this is a memorable achievement.

BestOf2015CDs56The best of Soapkills.
Emerging late 90s in Beirut, Soapkills, often labelled as ‘Arab’s Massive Attack’, was the very first trip hop group in Middle East and became the underground superstar there. They don’t offer Massive Attack-like gorgeous dynamism as their productions were much cheaper, but the dark seductive voice of Yasmine Hamadan (you may remember her performing in Jim Jarmusch’s film Only Lovers Left Alive) and the sensuous Arabic flavour take us somewhere we have never been. Take a mystifying musical journey.

Cover imageOnly sky.
One-of-a-kind guitarist David Torn is a multitalented artist. Along with making his own music, he has done a lot of mixing and mastering (mostly for forward-thinking jazz musicians) and composed soundtracks (Lars and the Real Girl, The Wackness etc). Every now and then, he has issued acclaimed albums from ECM and made a unique contribution to the label. Sonically inventive, his music is all about ‘texture’, and this solo project finds him in a very meditative mood. Using only his guitar and electric oud, it’s probably his darkest, most personal album, yet exquisitely elegant. This jazzy ambient music may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it is truly original.

Cover imageEpicenter / Chris Lightcap’s Bigmouth.
The bassist and the composer Chris Lightcap has worked with prominent jazz artists such as Marc Ribot, Mark Turner and Jason Moran as well as rock/folk musicians like Glen Hansard. He assembled ‘avant-garde jazz all-stars’ for his innovative quintet Bigmouth. West African influenced rhythm and the shadow of Ornette Coleman come together with urban New York essence; the band presents complex yet groovy, enigmatic hybrid jazz. The album ends with the cover of Velvet Underground’s All Tomorrow’s Parties (from their debut album), which is simply marvellous.

Cover imageStar wars.
Beirut, Sufjan Stevens, Beach House, Deerhunter, Kurt Vile, Joanna Newsom, to name but a few. In 2015, a lot of indie rock stars put out good albums and showed their mutuality. However, the biggest surprise came from this super group. Out of the blue, Wilco released a rather uneven, studio session-like new album. Surely they could have made a more organised, smooth-finish album, but after leaving the major label they seem to have rejuvenated themselves, and in fact, the songs and performance are of a top-notch quality which only this group can display. This album lasts only 34 minutes and is titled ‘Star Wars’ with a fluffy cat on the cover- it’s the best indie attitude of the year.

Cover imageSilver bullets / The Chills.
2015 was also a good year for Kiwi indie music. The likes of Phoenix Foundation, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Don McGlashan issued fantastic new albums, and the most exciting and welcoming one arrived later of the year. Silver Bullets, the first new full-length album in nearly two decades from Martin Phillipps’ The Chills, is a dazzling pop album, proving Phillipps’ pop craftsmanship is still up there. With bouncing melody and catchy guitar riff, it offers perfect balance of cheerfulness and melancholy, and you never get tired of listening. It’s an indie pop music as good as it gets.

Mark’s picks:
Cover imageSpirits.
First full album release from pianist Brooke Singer and guitarist John Fitzgerald after the 2012 EP ‘Claimed by the Sea. Full of dreamy, melancholic landscapes. Singer’s lovely delicate voice, glides ethereally over Fitzgerald’s sinuous guitar lines.

WellingtonMusicBlog12_Cthulhu rising.
Backed by Grammy-nominated American pianist Taylor Eigsti and NZ bassist Matt Penman, Bradley creates a series of original compositions based on Lovecraft’s work that are free and searching, yet also inherently melodic. There’s a dark sense of claustrophobia here, as well as a gentle playfulness.

Cover imageGive up your dreams / The Phoenix Foundation.
The synths are pushed to the front on the new album. Fun and playful, the sound feels contemporary on some tracks & nostalgic on others, with shimmering arrangements & propulsive rhythms. Plenty of dry humour undercuts the upbeat funky-space meandering.

Cover imageIn the shallows.
A Portland transplant who spent her time honing the lyrics & arrangements of her debut, until the beautifully rich piano driven songs really shine. Tori Amos is an obvious starting point but there’s a lot happening musically with many other guitar driven influences at play. Great songs, great arrangements, great singing. What else is there?

Cover imageĀiotanga.
Second Te Reo album from Kirsten Te Rito. Lush beats & smooth synths. Imagine the slinky, sensual sound of late night 90s club grooves/electronica reimagined for Te Reo.

Cover imageSun/son.
More Americana styled songs from this Wellington five-piece, helmed by the alternately crooning & dark hued vocals of Ebony Lamb. Atmospheric. Perhaps their best work yet.

Cover imageThe court of love.
Singer/songwriter Emma Davey has been around for a while, performing at both WOMAD and WOW as a member of The Balkanistas. Her first solo album ‘The Court of love’ is a lovely set of self-penned songs. Her voice finds its home in the slower ballads that really work.

Cover imageBays.
DJ/producer Chris Faiumu pushes the sound in a more processed & less organic direction, but there is till plenty of the classic FFD for old fans to enjoy here.

Cover imageDown to believing.
Now 5 years on from her last album she is separated from Steve Earle with a young son diagnosed with autism. This results, unsurprisingly, in an album that may be her most personal & accomplished yet with a set of songs that shift through themes of anger, despair, defiance and ultimately hope.

Cover imageVeruca Salt / Ghost notes.
Reuniting with the original line-up & original producer Brad Wood Louise Post & Nina Gordon deliver a new album that feels like a continuation of the music they were making previously; thrashy guitar pop with fierce harmonies, but welded to a deeper sense of the melancholy of regret and lost time. One of the rare reunions where the album doesn’t seem like a nostalgic cash-in, but forms a vital part of the bands discography.

Cover imageThe RCA Victor & T-Neck album masters (1959-1983) / The Isley Brothers.
Huge 23 disc journey through the various musical styles of the longest running & most influential R&B group in history. From Doo-wop, to rocking with Jimi Hendrix, to 70s funk & 80s smooth ballads. Includes plenty of bonus tracks, demos & a full unreleased live-in-studio album.

Axel’s Picks:
Cover imageHave you in my wilderness.
I will recommend watching the whole KEXP live session that Julia and Co. threw a couple of months ago. Their drums, double bass, viola, Nord, and 3 voices tightly presents us with a solid and beautiful sound which is a pleasure to see. The album gives us added layers of neatly crafted effects and edits, which elevate the audiophile experience. One of my favorite albums of the past years.

Cover imagePlatform.
I knew of Holly Herndon through her 2012 release Movement, one of my fondest albums of that year. Coming from a sonic arts background myself, I always enjoy seeing musicians on this field being popular and recognized for their expertise. ‘Platform’ offers a heavier and beat-driven flow that dances along Herndon’s main instrument; her voice. The climax arrives a little bit over the second half of the album with Lonely at the Top, one of the sexiest recordings of all time. I recommend headphones for a full-blown and intimate participation.

Cover imageDark energy.
‘I am NOT one of your FRIEEENNNDDDS!!!!! WHO do you think you’re TALKING TO?!?!?!’ *grind-core beat and bass follows* This is the opening to ‘Dark Energy’s’ last song, leaving a taste of what just happened 10 songs before. From a minimalist and low-fi midi-stringed beginning the suspense sets in straight away: this could have easily been a darker and concrète version to Darth Vader’s march. Enter the meat grinder: a schizophrenic Ghost Train ride enjoyed by the like of ‘Merzbow’, ‘Aphex Twin’, ‘Die Antwoord’, ‘Clap! Clap!’and ‘Napalm Death’. Adult admission only.

Cover imageDepression cherry.
Beach House have done it for me this year. ‘Depression Cherry’ finds them in different waters than they previously were with their much-hyped Bloom – album I did not at all clicked with. Looks like they dropped some heavy flower-power leaves on their tea, washing the melodies, tribalizing the beats, mellowing the voices, and detaining the whole thing. A perfect listen for a rainy day inside.

Cover imageB’lieve I’m goin down…
If there’s sonething like Shoegaze music, then this would be Stonergaze. If you want to see how that looks like check this out. Kurt has composed one of my favorite summer soundtracks ever, thank you!

Cover imageCarrie & Lowell.
Celestial is the best way I can describe the tunes of Carrie & Lowell. This is one of those albums you would put on in particular moments; to relax, to cry, to rejoice, to ponder, to love. I haven’t found much information about the production of it, but it is evident that tapes and analogue gear were key ingredients for the conception of this moody album. Beautiful.

Cover imageTo pimp a butterfly.
Something happened that evening I came across Good kid, m.A.A.d city, quite by accident, a bit over 3 years ago. I am by no means a hip-hop head, but I instantly felt there was something different in it. I had no idea who the album was by, or how old or how new… it didn’t matter. I played it several times before I bothered reading about this Kendrick Lamar – not that it changed anything at all, given that I was not worried about data; the music spoke for itself. There is little to say that isn’t being said about this release (which made it #1 to the majority of list I’ve seen around), but I thought I share the effect that this man can create in someone like me who feels very detached from the reality that’s portrayed alongside this conceptual album, built upon enough layers to make repeated listening an ever more enjoyable experience.

Cover imageFrom Kinshasa.
I’ve been pumping this on my show on RadioActive.fm on the past months. The album opens with Malukayi, a killer tune that gets us straight up into a cosmic afro-spacial trance trip. The video is as mesmerizing. Electronic and tribal, From Kinshasa will keep you dancing and wondering what’s on the dark side of the moon.

Cover imageSound & color.
Another much-hyped band whose 1st release (Boys & Girls) did not cut it for me. However, ‘Sound & Color’ finds lead singer and guitarist Brittany Howard taking her voice to new powerful levels. The rest of the band show the same confidence and hard rocking capabilities, delivering one solid tune after another. This is an album that also sounds great, so I’ve been enjoying it on my high-end setup at home.

Cover imageLateNightTales / [compiled by] Nils Frahm.
One of the best LNT to date. Nils takes us to a journey of Eno-esque landscapes, Cagean tangents, and electronic fields of Orb’s proportions. From the Amazon.uk product description:”I’ve really got off on working on compilations lately. It’s such a wonderful way to delve deep into your music collection. My flat is now crammed with music media of all stripes, from an old hand-cranked 78 phonograph player to 45s and albums on vinyl, my beloved old cassette tape collection, even mini-disks and, lately, WAV and MP3s. It’s all music to me. After spending hours recording from all of these diverse sources, I started to play around with the tunes, layering them, sampling, looping certain parts, extracting phrases and using all the freedom that this allowed me. If I got a little carried away or stepped on anyone’s toes in my quest to do something interesting and original, then I apologise. Some things may have accidentally landed on the wrong speed, while other spooky happening have occurred along the way, whether it’s ghostly additions of reverb and delay or simply subtle edits or reproductions, they’ve all gone into the magical stew I’ve tried to create for your pleasure and edification. I can’t tell you how much fun I’ve had creating this compilation for you but, suffice to say, I hope it will be a nice journey for your mind and heart.”

Monty’s picks:
Cover imageAnother one.
Break-up album with groove, style and Demarco’s understated baritone voice. Sad, tender and honest but Mac invites all to drop in at the end of album, so maybe he’s just fine now?

Cover imageBeat the champ / The Mountain Goats.
Lively concept album about professional wrestling that includes wrestling moves as titles(‘Foreign object’, ‘Choked out’), pop smarts and a real sense of warmth and connection to its damaged, bruised (and bruising) subjects.

Cover imageVulnicura.

Cover imageOnes and sixes.

Cover imageDivers.

Cover imageStuff like that there.

Cover imageSomething in the water.

Belinda’s pick:
Cover imageBlood to bone.
I am totally in love with Gin Wigmore’s ‘Blood to Bone’ cd. It’s a little bit gritty and has great hooks and melodies. Every song’s a winner and if you wait a while after the last track there’s a surprise track – sorry for just ruining the surprise.

Neil’s Picks:
Cover imageInsides.

Cover imageCosmic radio station / The Shifting Sands.

WellingtonMusicBlog12_Cthulhu rising.

Cover imageGolem.

Cover imageThe sovereign self.

BestOf2015CDs51The epic.

Cover imageShadow of the sun.

Cover imageFrom Sleep.

Cover imageProfessional rapper / David Burd aka ‘Lil Dicky’.

Jessica’s picks:
Cover imageDivers.

Cover imageI love you, honeybear.

Emma’s pick:
BestOf2015CDs4Jekyll + Hyde / Zac Brown Band.

Sound & Vision: New CDs

Check out some of these newly catalogued CDs in our AV collection. To reserve these items click on the title link below, and to find out a bit more about them click on the cover images…

Neil Young – Bluenote Café
Allman Brothers Band – 5 classic albums
LE1F – Riot boi

Cover imageCover imageCover image

New Cooking books

These recent selections feature a large variety of beverages — whisky, wine, beer, champagne and more. We also have books on making delicious sauces for your meals.

Syndetics book coverThe Humble Tumbler Presents Tipsy : the drinker’s guide to wine, beer, whisky, gin, sake and more / by Clare Burder.
“Have you ever been judged for drinking chardonnay with your roast lamb? Or caught out for not knowing that gin is a type of flavoured vodka? Have you ever been publicly beer shamed? We’re a picky bunch when it comes to booze these days, but in this world of boutique gin bars and microbreweries, forty-page wine lists and specially designed glassware, the sheer range of options can be overwhelming. But don’t worry – Tipsy is here to help.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverModern Sauces : more than 150 recipes for every cook, every day / Martha Holmberg ; photographs by Ellen Silverman.
“This is the book for cooks who want to take their cooking to a whole new level. Martha Holmberg was trained at La Varenne and is an award-winning food writer. Her look at this sometimes-intimidating genre-expressed in clear, short bites of information and through dozens of process photographs delivers the skill of great sauce-making to every kind of cook, from beginners to those more accomplished who wish to expand their repertoire. Modern Sauces is both an inspiration and a timeless reference on kitchen technique.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Champagne Guide 2016-2017 : the definitive guide to champagne / Tyson Stelzer.
The Champagne Guide celebrates the craft of Champagne creation and the people behind making the wine in your glass smell, taste, and bubble like no other. More than 400 Champagnes of the latest, freshest vintages have been tasted, reviewed and rated, and are assessed independently with honest, eloquent descriptions.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMastering Sauces : the home cook’s guide to new techniques for fresh flavors / Susan Volland ; photography by Angie Norwood Browne.
“Susan’s contribution to The Cooking Lab is invaluable, Now she’s written a comprehensive guide to learning the fundamentals of sauce-making, taking home cooks on a tour of versatile techniques and international flavors.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverSpirit of Place : whisky distilleries of Scotland / Charles MacLean ; photographs by Lara Platman and Allan MacDonald.
“A wide-ranging and evocative portrait of Scotland’s distilleries, with text by renowned whisky expert Charles MacLean. Treating Scotland as eight distinct regions, this fascinating book describes the ‘cultural terroir’ of the country’s fifty greatest distilleries; the ingredients, practices and traditions that result in such an exquisite range of whiskies. Specially commisioned photographs capture the texture of the surrounding landscapes and communities through the changing seasons, as well as portraits of those craftsmen who work there, and the fabric of the buildings themselves.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Bone Broth Secret : a culinary adventure in health, beauty, longevity / Louise Hay and Heather Dane.
“When a forgotten, time-honored traditional food is rediscovered for its health and beauty benefits, we all pay attention. In this one-of-a-kind culinary adventure, internationally renowned self-help pioneer Louise Hay and “21st-century medicine woman” Heather Dane join together to explore a fresh and fun take on the art of cooking with bone broth, as well as the science behind its impressive curative applications.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Thrifty Forager / Alys Fowler ; photography by Simon Wheeler.
“Alys Fowler takes a fresh look at foraging, encouraging you to look closer to home, from the weeds in your garden to the trees in your street, rather than the fields and hedgerows of the countryside. Alys showcases her favourite edibles with a plant directory packed with useful information.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWine Folly : the essential guide to wine / Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack.
“A hip, new guide to wine for the new generation of wine drinkers, from the sommelier creators of the award-winning site Wine Folly. Wine Folly is for anyone who loves great wine; pros and novices alike. With its candid and practical approach, it is the indispensable wine bible for the twenty-first century.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverHome-Brewed Gluten-free Beer : more than 75 craft beer recipes / Sara McGrath ; with a foreword by Joshua M. Bernstein.
“Gluten-free beer used to be something of a rarity, with a lack of styles and choice. Even for the do-it-yourselfer, there’s never been a book for the gluten-free home-brewer, until now. In Home-Brewed Gluten Free Beer, author Sara McGrath makes home-brewing wheat-free beers a snap. You’ll discover how to brew beer using ingredients like sorghum, rice, corn, saps and honey, brown sugar and molasses, without sacrificing flavor or your gluten-free lifestyle.” (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverBrodo : a bone broth cookbook / Marco Canora with Tammy Walker.
“Since chef Marco Canora opened Brodo, a takeout window at his East Village restaurant Hearth, he has been unable to keep up with the demand for his amazingly restorative and delicious bone broths. A cookbook and guidebook, this small format book will offer a cleanse regimen utilizing these healthier meal replacements, recipes, and how they can be used in a variety of healthy dishes and drinks.” (Provided by publisher)

New books on Movies & TV shows

New books on movies and TV shows include very popular Star Wars and Back to the future. Two books about James Bond and Woody Allen offer intriguing reads. If you are a fan of TV shows you won’t be disappointed. Check out comprehensive studies on Mad Men, Poldark and others.

Syndetics book coverThe art of Star Wars the force awakens / written by Phil Szostak ; foreword by Rick Carter.
“Step inside the Lucasfilm art departments for the creation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Exclusive interviews with the entire creative team impart fascinating insights in bringing director J.J. Abrams’s vision to life; unused “blue sky” concept art offers glimpses into roads not traveled. Bursting with hundreds of stunning works of art, including production paintings, concept sketches, storyboards, blueprints, and matte paintings, this visual feast will delight Star Wars fans and cineastes for decades to come.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBond by design / written by Meg Simmonds.
Bond By Design gives an exclusive tour through EON Productions’ James Bond archives – a treasure trove of set, storyboard, vehicle, gadget and costume designs, many of which have never been published before. The book provides a unique, spectacular and fascinating insight into the longest-running film franchise of all time. It reveals the craft behind the creation of famous sets, such as Stromberg’s Atlantis base in The Spy Who Loved Me and Drax’s shuttle launch site in Moonraker, as well as technical drawings of Bond’s gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5. Includes two exclusive, full-colour prints of Bond film designs.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBond vs. Bond : the many faces of 007 / Paul Simpson.
“Who is your favorite Bond? Whether you love Sean Connery, Roger Moore, or even Timothy Dalton, you are going to love Bond vs. Bond . A fully comprehensive guide, Bond vs. Bond compares and contrasts all of the various ways Ian Fleming’s iconic British Secret Service agent, code name 007, has been interpreted through the years, from the books and movies to the guns and gadgets. Spanning from Fleming’s 1953 book Casino Royale to Sam Mendes’ 2012 film Skyfall, Bond vs. Bond features every incarnation of 007. This is definitely a book that no Bond fan should be without!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBack to the Future : the ultimate visual history / written by Michael Klastorin.
“Great Scott! Go Back to the Future with Doc Brown and Marty McFly in this visually stunning look at the creation of one of the most beloved movie trilogies of all time. Few films have made an impact on popular culture like the Back to the Future trilogy. This deluxe, officially licensed book goes behind the scenes to tell the complete story of the making of these hugely popular movies and how the adventures of Marty McFly and Doc Brown became an international phenomenon. Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History is a stunning journey into the creation of this beloved time-traveling saga.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWoody Allen : a retrospective / Tom Shone.
“Woody Allen is a uniquely innovative performer, writer and director with nearly fifty movies to his credit, from cult slapstick films and romantic comedies to introspective character studies and crime thrillers. In this timely retrospective, Tom Shone reviews Woody Allen’s entire career, providing incisive commentary on his films and shedding light on this uniquely self-deprecating filmmaker, with the help of comments contributed by Allen himself. This is a fitting tribute to one of the masters of modern cinema, published to mark Woody Allen’s eightieth birthday.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWoody : the biography / David Evanier.
“In the first biography of Allen in over twenty years, David Evanier writes about Allen’s private life as well as his very public career. In fresh interviews with collaborators, boyhood pals, family and friends, Evanier fills in fascinating details about where Woody came from, how he got his start, and how he has been able to be moral in his business dealings and make exactly the movies that interest him most with the people who interest him most, from Diane Keaton to Cate Blanchett to Michael Caine. Woody is the biography of an artist who has never lost his passion, talent and capacity to break new artistic ground, who has always been swept up in the creative act of becoming.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe big bad book of Bill Murray : a critical appreciation of the world’s finest actor / by Robert Schnakenberg.
“The man. The movies. The life. The legend. He’s played a deranged groundskeeper, a bellowing lounge singer, a paranormal exterminator, and a grouchy weatherman. He is William James “Bill” Murray, America’s greatest national treasure. Part biography, part critical appreciation, part love letter, and all fun, this enormous full-color volume, packed with color film stills and behind-the-scenes photography, chronicles every Murray performance in loving detail, recounting all the milestones, legendary “Murray stories,” and controversies in the life of this enigmatic performer.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMad men carousel : the complete critical companion / Matt Zoller Seitz ; foreword by Megan Abbott ; illustrations by Max Dalton ; poems by Martha Orton ; with contributions by Deborah Lipp and Roberta Lipp.
Mad Men Carousel is an episode-by-episode guide to all seven seasons of AMC’s Mad Men. This book collects TV and movie critic Matt Zoller Seitz’s celebrated Mad Men recaps –as featured on New York magazine’s Vulture blog–for the first time, including never-before-published essays on the show’s first three seasons. Seitz’s writing digs deep into the show’s themes, performances, and filmmaking, examining complex and sometimes confounding aspects of the series.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe world of Poldark / Emma Marriott.
“Emma Marriott’s The World of Poldark explores the characters, the compelling stories and the era that Winston Graham – and the television series – set out to recreate, the England that Ross Poldark returned to from the American War of Independence. England, and especially Cornwall, was then marked by social unrest and a deep division between rich and poor. It was a place of tin mines and shipwrecks, of new money versus old, of harsh justice and great kindness. And, above all, it was a place that inspired Winston Graham’s beloved novels. The World of Poldark is the ultimate guide to the popular series.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDownton Abbey : a celebration / by Jessica Fellowes ; foreword by Julian Fellowes.
“Downton Abbey set a new standard, and it’s probable that in 20 or 50 years critics will look back and say that this was period drama at its very best, often imitated but never bettered. Alongside are in-depth interviews with the cast, who have worked on the show for six years and know it so well, as well as a complete episode guide for the first five seasons and a teaser for the sixth. Packed full of stunning location shots and stills from all six seasons of the show including exclusive behind-the-scenes photography, this celebratory book is the ultimate gift for Downton Abbey fans the world over.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe world of Vikings / by Justin Pollard ; foreword by Michael Hirst.
“MGM’s hit show Vikings on the History Channel has drawn millions of viewers into the fascinating and bloody world of legendary Norse hero Ragnar Lothbrok, who led Viking warriors to the British Isles and France. Covering the first three seasons of the series, this official companion book delves into the real history as well as the behind-the-scenes stories. This spectacular package is a must for fans of the show and history buffs alike.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBehind the illusion : unlocking the 9 types of magic / Darcy Oake.
“Darcy, a thrilling Canadian illusionist, won the coveted People’s Choice Award in Seattle and performed at the Magic Castle in Hollywood before he was legally of age. Aged 26, he dazzled the nation as a finalist on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent and on ITV special Edge of Reality. In Behind the Illusion, magician Darcy Oake takes you through the nine traditionally accepted forms of magic. He reveals the origins and science behind various illusions, and explains why there is a difference between what the eye sees and what is actually happening on stage; as well as giving famous examples from history, and his own personal twists on them.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStar trek costumes : five decades of fashion from the final frontier / Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann ; introduction by Robert Blackman.
“This deluxe book showcases the unique costumes of the Star Trek saga, taking in fifty years of iconic and hugely influential designs. Drawing on the entire franchise, including all twelve films and six TV series, Star Trek: Costumes explores the creation of some of the most memorable garb in the galaxy, telling the complete story of how Star Trek’s outlandishly chic wardrobe has been expanded in increasingly thrilling ways throughout the years. Star Trek: Costumes is the ultimate way to experience the incredible fashions of the Final Frontier.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThunderbirds : the vault / Marcus Hearn.
“On 30th September 1965, International Rescue successfully completed their first assignment, and the Tracy brothers imprinted themselves on a generation of captivated children. Thirty-two episodes, many repeats, sixty territories, two feature films, three albums, numerous comics, books, toys, videos and DVDs and five decades later, Thunderbirds are still saving the world from the brink of peril. Thunderbirds: The Vault will be the first ever lavishly illustrated, definitive, beautifully packaged, presentation hardback telling the story of this enduring cult phenomenon.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInvestigating Murdoch mysteries : the official companion to the series / Michelle Ricci with Mir Bahmanyar.
“Based on Maureen Jennings’ award-winning novels, at the end of the Victorian era, Toronto-based police detective William Murdoch uses radical forensic techniques, including fingerprinting and trace evidence, to solve some of the city’s most gruesome murders. This companion looks at every aspect of all 8 seasons of the show, from the regular characters and their relationships, to the history of the period, including figures Murdoch encounters, the forensic and scientific advances he utilises, and Murdoch’s most notable cases.” (Syndetics summary)

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