The ensemble pleasures of “Glow”: When the odds-on Emmy contenders include the grueling second season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and the viewer-testing puzzlebox that was the last season of “Westworld,” it’s a genuine treat to spend a half hour or so with each new episode of this Netflix series. Offering a welcome level of escapism with its era-perfect ’80s soundtrack and broad-shouldered costumes, the show rises on the strength of well-rounded characters and strong performances by Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Kate Nash and Britney Young, whose names should be remembered on awards nights as well.
Richard Swift: A multitalented, multitasking musician’s musician who served as a sort of connective tissue across the indie music scene, the occasionally L.A.-based Swift died recently due to illness at just 41. If you’ve heard albums or seen shows with the Black Keys, the Shins, Marco Benevento, Kevin Morby, Sharon Van Etten or the Pretenders, to name a few, you’ve heard Swift the musician or producer. But not to be forgotten either is his deft hand with his own music on albums like 2003’s “The Novelist,” which blended the cracked singer-songwriter intimacy of Elliott Smith with lush, DIY pop production.
The streaming launch of Drake’s “Scorpion”: In another testament to the importance of owning your music collection rather than paying a monthly fee to rent it, Spotify followed the footsteps of Apple and its unwanted “gift” of U2’s “Songs of Innocence” by transforming its site to an all-encompassing entry point into Drake’s latest with “Scorpion” on all its playlists. The album’s whopping 25 tracks inevitably earned big streaming numbers, and the service’s subscribers were reminded what happens when you rely on someone’s algorithm for musical “discovery.” Still, it’s depressing to see one of the most anticipated albums of the year reduced to a virus.
“Beach reads”: A sort of summertime cottage industry seems built around drawing lines around one kind of book versus another with this designation, which implies a sort of page-turning breeziness at best, a guilty pleasure at worst. Whether it’s a paperback that you’ve stapled another cover over so people don’t know you’re rereading “The Stand” for the fifth time or that dog-eared copy of “Infinite Jest” you’re finally, truly going to finish this year, reading any book — or, fine, a Kindle — at the beach makes something a beach read.
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