BOOK | Long before he was the assistant (to) the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin for nine glorious seasons of The Office as Dwight Schrute, Rainn Wilson was a chess-playing, orchestra and marching band member nerding his way through adolescence in the Seattle suburbs. He discusses this and much, much more in his new memoir THE BASSOON KING. If you know about his website and media company SoulPancake, you're aware that Wilson is a deep individual with a lot on his mind. He opens that brain here, touching on everything from his Baha'i faith to his days as a struggling actor.
TV | I was nervous that Aziz Ansari's career wouldn't be able to overcome his Tom Haverford character from Parks and Recreation. Come to think of it, I had the same concern for Wilson. I was clearly wrong on both fronts. Ansari's new Netflix series MASTER OF NONE has Ansari playing Dev, a character very much modeled after himself (à la Seinfeld), and the results are incredible. Not only do Ansari and co-stars like Eric Wareheim and Lena Waithe fire mile-a-minute zingers, but the stories in each episode meditate on real-life worries, like fear of potential parenthood, dealing with family and loneliness. Ansari, in case you didn't know, is the complete package.
ALBUM | Givers, the Lafayette, Louisiana, band that broke out with the 2011 record In Light and then proceeded to light the stage aflame at damn near every major music festival in North America, seemed like they might have disappeared in recent years. But finally the act, known for incorporating a multitude of influences, including from their Cajun home, is back with NEW KINGDOM, which dropped last week. The record includes a lot more electronic feel — albeit via live instruments — than you'd expect from the deft musicians, but tracks like "Record High, Record Low" are replete with complex instrumentation, topped with Tiffany Lamson's booming vocals. ♦