ALBUM | Looking for a positive to come out of the Trump administration is virtually impossible, but allow me to reach for one with the ongoing existence of Filthy Friends, a new-ish band revolving around Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker, R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and some other Northwest rock royalty. They started as a Bowie-covering lark, but joined in the "30 Days, 30 Songs" anti-Trump effort last fall and decided to make a real go of it. Now they have a killer full-length album, INVITATION, that includes some of the Tucker punk fury ("No Forgotten Son") and Buck garage-jangle ("Any Kind of Crowd") you'd expect, plus a few moves you wouldn't (the folky beauty of "Faded Afternoon"). It's a thrill to hear rock vets finding new things to say in such bewitching ways.
BOOK | I first saw Jessi Klein do stand-up probably 15 years ago, and she disappeared off my radar until reappearing as the Emmy-winning writer and executive producer of Inside Amy Schumer. Turns out she was mostly working behind the scenes, as a Saturday Night Live writer and development director at Comedy Central, and last year she released her first book. I grabbed YOU'LL GROW OUT OF IT after its paperback release this summer, and Klein's essays about growing into adulthood and navigating life as a woman in the entertainment business work in the same way Mindy Kaling's books do — equal parts hilarious jokes and revealing autobiography.
PODCAST | It took a show with a seriously geeked-out focus on music to get me to embrace the podcast art form. DISSECT presents itself as "long-form musical analysis broken into digestible bites," and its entire first season was dedicated to Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly album. I jumped in after hearing that the new season, launched in August, would focus on my favorite Kanye West album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Each episode of Dissect tackles a different song, using music and interview clips and host Cole Cuchna's analysis to put the album, songs and artist in historic and contemporary context. ♦