"Orphan Black" and "Orange is the New Black": 2 Bechdel overachievers

Ensemble shows "Orphan Black" and "Orange is the New Black" enter their second seasons this summer, just in time for those lazy days when you think, “Wow, all this time but nothing to do! Where is the next gripping, female-centered thriller to sustain me for the next eight hours of perfect sunshine and soothing breezes?”

"OITNB," set in Danbury Prison, chronicles the struggles of female prisoners, switching between their lives in prison and flashbacks that tell their background stories. Even though it occasionally veers into soap opera territory (but you have to have some escapism, right?), it’s grimly realistic about inequalities in the U.S. prison system. It also reflects the race and class privilege that allowed the real-life protagonist of "Orange is the New Black" to write a best-selling memoir about female bonding and solidarity behind bars.

Though "Orphan Black," a sci-fi thriller about the survivors of a human cloning experiment, seems converse in genre and tone, its characters’ struggles center likewise on autonomy, identity and freedom... Read more

Playlist, 7/1 - Stephanie

  1. 'Pocketful of Poetry' by Mindy Gledhill
  2. 'Glitter in the Air' by P!nk
  3. 'Avalanches' by A Fine Frenzy
  4. 'Strangely Dim' by Francesca Battistelli
  5. 'Lifesize' by A Fine Frenzy
  6. 'Give me your eyes' by Brandon Heath
  7. 'All of Me' by John Legend
  8. 'Undone' by Haley Reinhart
  9. 'Something Beautiful' by Needtobreathe
  10. 'Light Up My Room' by Barenaked Ladies
  11. 'Your Heart is an Empty Room' by Death Cab for Cutie
  12. 'The Sound of Silence' by Simon and Garfunkel
  13. 'Take Me Away' by Katy McAllister
  14. 'Nothing Ever' by Citizen Way
  15. 'Washed by the Water' by NeedtoBreathe
  16. 'What I Wouldn't Do' by A Fine Frenzy

Listen to Stephanie's playlist on her personal Spotify account!

Playlist, 7/1 - Megan

  1. 'Water Fountain' by Tune-Yards
  2. 'I Wanna Get Better' by Bleachers
  3. 'Miracle' by Ghost Beach
  4. 'Changing' by The Airborne Toxic Event
  5. 'Friday Night' by The Last Royals
  6. 'Anna Sun' by Walk the Moon
  7. 'Other Voices' by The Orwells
  8. 'Riptide' by Vance Joy
  9. 'Waves' by Blondfire
  10. 'Fifteen' by Goldroom
  11. 'You & I' by Crystal Fighters
  12. 'Perfect (In My Mind)' by Gold Motel
  13. 'A Little Opus' by Little Comets
  14. 'Into the Wild' by LP

Listen to Megan's playlist on her personal Spotify account!

Playlist, 7/1 - Katie

  1. ‘Lavender’ by Ray LaMontagne
  2. ‘Infernal Fantasy’ by Owen Pallett
  3. ‘Que Sera’ by Wax Tailor
  4. ‘Drops’ by Jungle
  5. ‘We Could Be Friends’ by Freelance Whales
  6. ‘Crime’ by Real Estate
  7. ‘Understand (feat. Dice Raw & Greg Porn)’ by The Roots
  8. ‘I Wanna Know Now (Bob Marley, MGMT)’ by Xaphoon Jones
  9. ‘Steal My Sunshine’ by Len
  10. ‘III. Telegraph Ave. (“Oakland” by Lloyd”)’ by Childish Gambino
  11. ‘Shangri-la’ by Yacht
  12. ‘Sweet Disarray’ by Dan Croll
  13. ‘Bittersweet Genesis for Him AND Her’ by Kishi Bashi
  14. ‘Brother’ by Mac Demarco
  15. ‘Things Are Changin’ (Live)’ by Gary Clark Jr.
  16. ‘You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio’ by Joni Mitchell
  17. ‘Working Titles’ by Damien Jurado
  18. ‘Hero’ by Frank Ocean + Mick Jones + Paul Simonon + Diplo
  19. ‘Rill Rill’ by Sleigh Bells
  20. ‘The Only Living Boy in New York’ by Simon & Garfunkel

Listen to Katie's playlist on her personal Spotify account!

Playlist, 7/1 - Gary

  1. 'Sunflower River Blues' by John Fahey
  2. 'Definition' by Black Star
  3. 'Gardening' by Dialtone
  4. 'Neverland' by The dB's
  5. 'Sound System' by Operation Ivy
  6. 'Keep on Knocking' by Death
  7. 'Natural's Not In It' by Gang of Four
  8. 'Hulahoop Wounds' by At the Drive-In
  9. 'Real Cool Time' covered by The Feelies
  10. 'Ceremony' covered by Radiohead
  11. 'Gift' by Sugar
  12. 'Had to Hear' by Real Estate
  13. '1983' by Flying Lotus
  14. 'Waves' by J Dilla
  15. 'Love Affair' by Mac Miller
  16. 'One Beer' by MF DOOM
  17. 'Apples for the Innocent' by Say Hi
  18. 'I Will Wait for You' by Astrud Gilberto
  19. 'Diamond Sea' covered by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  20. 'Drop Me Off in Harlem' by Duke Ellington

Listen to Gary's playlist on his personal Spotify account!

Walkmen Go On Hiatus, Release Solo Albums

The Walkmen have been a staple of the end of the year “Best Of” since 2000—but will not be in the near future. In November 2013, the critically and commercially successful Brooklyn-based band announced an indefinite hiatus, much to the disappointment of their fans.

The Walkmen have been playing together in some form since their high school days at St. Albans in Washington, D.C. Band member Peter Bauer said in a press release that “It’s been almost 14 years now. I think that’s enough, you know?” He further described playing shows with the other band members as “a really fun time seeing old friends” and “like going to Thanksgiving.” The band played their last show—for now—on December 4, 2013 in Philadelphia.

The Walkmen’s dissolution seems like a dark day for rock fans. Since their 2002 debut album “Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone,” the band has churned out some truly fantastic songs as ‘We’ve Been Had,’ ‘Heaven,’ ‘Angela Surf City,’ and their now-classic 2004 single ‘The Rat... Read more

Playlist, 7/1 - Drew

  1. ‘Solo Dancing’ by Indiana
  2. ‘Lost on the Way Home’ by Chromeo feat. Solange
  3. ‘My Silver Lining’ by First Aid Kit
  4. ‘Balada (Ao Vivo)’ by Gusttavo Lima
  5. ‘Gunshot’ by Lykke Li
  6. ‘Turn Blue’ by The Black Keys
  7. ‘Down on My Luck’ by Vic Mensa
  8. ‘Nije Monotonija’ by Ceca
  9. ‘Let Me Down Gently’ by La Roux
  10. ‘Water Fountain’ by tUnE-yArDs
  11. ‘Am I Wrong’ by Nico and Vinz
  12. ‘Good Kisser’ by Usher
  13. ‘Shades of Cool’ by Lana del Rey
  14. ‘Luz de Piedra de Luna’ by Javiera Mena
  15. ‘The Bay’ by Metronomy

Listen to Drew's playlist on his personal Spotify account!

Recess Summer Watchlist

Here’s a slice of what Recess is looking forward to this summer. Check out what we will be watching, listening to, reading, visiting and otherwise ingesting in the coming months.

1. “Life Itself,” film, out July 18

Steve James explores the life of Roger Ebert in this documentary based on the film critic’s autobiography. Using exclusive interviews conducted in the months leading up to Ebert’s death, James paints a portrait of one of the most important figures in cinema.

2. “Sharknado 2: The Second One," TV movie, airs July 30 on SyFy

The title says everything you need to know about this sequel to SyFy network’s 2013 “Sharknado,” a so-bad-it’s-good cult success about a tornado that sweeps up sharks out of the ocean and drops them into the streets of Los Angeles. We can probably expect more of the same from “The Second One,” but we can’t hide our excitement.

3... Read more

Neon Trees cruises into Raleigh Saturday

Neon Trees is riding its pop momentum into Raleigh this Saturday.

Having hit the mainstream more than four years ago, and Provo, Utah-based band dropped its third studio album Pop Psychology on April 22. Blending together the best qualities of both of its previous albums, the new set of glowy pop rock tracks is tightly cohesive inside a range of topics. What it lacks in an obvious outlier of a single it makes up for in being a supremely listenable album from start to finish, with arguably some of the best tracks saved for last. In the middle of a national tour, Neon Trees will have a chance to show off to the North Carolina crowd at Lincoln theater in Raleigh, May 24 at 8 p.m.

The obvious standout on the album is the single “Sleeping With A Friend,” whose opening starts out sounding like a CHVRCHES redo but quickly easily danceable and gives lead singer Tyler Glenn a chance to show some vocal skin... Read more

Recess Interviews: W. Kamau Bell

W. Kamau Bell, perhaps best known for his FXX series Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, is a standup comic based in New York City with strong ties to San Francisco. Bell performs Friday, April 4 as part of his Oh, Everything! Tour at DSI Comedy Theater in Chapel Hill. Tickets are available online. Recess online editor Prashanth Kamalakanthan spoke with Bell about the benefits of a TV-fueled childhood, the untouchability of Dave Chapelle, race of audiences and more.

The Chronicle: People call you a "political comedian," but you've said before that you don't really like that label. Are all comedians political? Do you think comedy can be used to further political goals, or is it sort of a separate thing?

W... Read more