A comic strip documentary and two very different LPs
Art by Bill Watterson
Art by Bill Watterson

A comic strip documentary and two very different LPs

Three staffers, three unabashed recommendations

Stripped: The Comics Documentary 
I contributed to the newspaper comic strip documentary Stripped: The Comics Documentary on Kickstarter a while back, then mostly forgot about it (as I inevitably do when contributing to Kickstarter campaigns). But then the movie came back with that poster by Bill Watterson and some other good press, and I realized I had gotten a copy of it. Watching it, it’s everything I hoped it would be and more. I suspect that even if you don’t have an interest in the subject matter—the rise and fall of the newspaper comics section—you’re going to enjoy this documentary, because it’s breezily paced and filled with great moments and facts. The interviews span many of the industry’s best and brightest, and the film manages to present a fairly measured take on the current state of the business. Yes, it’s terrible if you want to launch a new newspaper strip (and, y’know, get paid for your efforts), but new opportunities abound online. And if you’re a geek for this kind of stuff like I am, then this movie is going to be manna from Heaven for you. It’s never stodgy or stuck-up, and it’s respectful of the past while not needlessly fetishistic about it. Good stuff. [Todd VanDerWerff]


Walter Martin, We’re All Young Together
Though I have a 4-year-old son, I’m blessed by the fact that he doesn’t have too much interest in children’s music. Sure, there are a few things that he likes to listen to, but he’s just as likely to request Lorde’s “Team” or Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” (both of which I like, for the record) as “The Wheels On The Bus.” I recently brought him home the debut solo disc by The Walkmen bassist Walter Martin, which is one of those kids’ records that’s half aimed at the parents: It features guest vocals by Matt Berninger of The National and Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, among others, and its songs are super sticky without being cloying. So far we’re most into “We Like The Zoo (‘Cause We’re Animals Too),” which has Berninger’s deep voice to offset the goofiness, and the sweet “Sing To Me,” with Karen O. [Josh Modell]


Curtis Harding, Soul Power
A glance at the cover art for Curtis Harding’s debut album, Soul Power, sets up a lot of expectations. It’s a black-and-white photo of a shirtless Harding taking a drag off a cigarette. That image, along with the LP’s title, practically scream “old-school soul man” à la Otis Redding and ’70s-era Al Green. While the album does have its classic-soul elements, the Atlanta singer-songwriter is doing so much more than that. As a former backup singer for CeeLo Green and one-quarter of the “garage soul” band Night Sun (which also features Black Lips’ Cole Alexander and Joe Bradley), Harding is no stranger to genre-hopping, and his solo music is all the better for it. “Keep On Shining” is reminiscent of early John Legend; the guitar on “I Don’t Wanna Go Home” is the jangly sort usually found in the latest indie-rock phenom; “Next Time” has an organ solo right out of the Billy Preston mode; and “Heaven’s On The Other Side” features guitar that owes a lot to Nile Rodgers’ licks on Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and horns that immediately put me in the mind of Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings. In the matter of a week, I’ve gone from having no idea who Curtis Harding is to being confident Soul Power will be one of my albums of the summer. It’s got a pretty chill vibe and is a great start-to-finish listen—more and more of a rarity these days. [Andrea Battleground]

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