Monica: New Life

Imagine Monica in a convertible on a vast desert road, gazing in the rearview mirror with reflective eyes and airily singing, “Packing up my yesterdays and won’t look back / I know I’ve got to stay on track.” This mantra, threaded throughout “New Life” and the similarly titled new album,
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This Week in Arts

Our lead critics bring you the latest and greatest in Bay Area culture for this week. Film Our very own Pacific Film Archive mixes, as it were, sound and image in the next installment of its Cine/Spin series, where Cal DJs take on films from the PFA collection. On Thursday,
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Obie Trice: Bottoms Up

Sticking with his happy-hour inspired album titles, Obie Trice’s long-delayed Bottoms Up — the album was pushed back several times since its projected release in the summer of 2008 — leaves one wondering whether the glass has any potent potion left, and, if so, how much? The beat on “Bottoms
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Nicki Minaj: Roman Reloaded

Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded will propel Nicki Minaj further money-wise, but its factory-made, routine sound does not show her pushing for artistic growth. The sophomore album brings confusion to whether she strives to be a commercial success, an independent female rapper or a performance artist. Despite being part of the
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Counting Crows: Underwater Sunshine

Essentially, Underwater Sunshine is Counting Crows’ lead singer Adam Duritz’s love letter to the music world. Paying homage to the fifteen bands he lovingly plucked from within his musical covey, the new covers album consists of songs ranging from Dawes, the gem of music streaming site Daytrotter.com, to Bob Dylan.
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This Week in Arts

Film Peter Greenaway’s “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover” (1989) is not a movie that calls for popcorn, not only because of its twisted antics — running the gamut of blood, shit and piss — but because it is a bold, serious film. Michael Gambon plays Albert
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Oakland quartet Trails and Ways makes political dream pop

Keith Brown’s favorite novel is Greil Marcus’ “Lipstick Traces.” In the subdued, understated manner that is his hallmark, he claimed that it taught him to reject everything he had ever known and embrace the philosophy of punk rock at the age of 17. A rather odd statement, coming from a
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Zakir Hussain tells stories through classical Indian music

The fat underneath their chins sways, their heads wobble and bobble, their hands flit faster than hummingbird wings — these are men in a trance. They speak to each other without opening their mouths, but with looks and nods, with the subtle variations of the tones of their instruments. They
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The Shins: Port of Morrow

Intricately woven, The Shins’ new release, Port Of Morrow, is like the canvas of a cathartic dream. Lucid, colorful and delicate, it strips down inhibitions and holds the listener through a spine-tingling sequence of emotions. Displaying unparalleled songwriting and refined musicianship, this album is the band’s most enticing and poignant
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Daniel Rossen: Silent Hour/Golden Mile

There is bliss in this mess / There is madness all around,” Daniel Rossen utters in “Golden Mile,” off his first solo EP Silent Hour/Golden Mile. There is bliss with twangy acoustic guitar plucks that brighten the slow-treading melancholic piano riffs, while the tiers of symphonic instruments create an intricate
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