Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

A nostalgic Nickelodeon LP, some Mitski, and everything Oliver Jeffers

Various artists, The Best Of Nicktoons

As the staff’s resident Nickelodeon nerd, I was beyond elated when, earlier this year, I heard about the LP reissue of The Best Of Nicktoons. Now in its second green-and-orange-splattered pressing on Enjoy The Ride records, the record is a 41-track tribute to everything animated on Nickelodeon. From interstitial cuts like “Nick Nick Nick” to the themes for shows like Rugrats and The Ren & Stimpy Show, the album is a welcome and quick blast from the past. Given its slightly herky-jerky nature, I don’t know that the LP will earn a spot in my “frequently listened” stack, but either way, it’s become one of my prized possessions. Play it back to back with the companion Songs From Bluffington 7-inch, which is all songs from Doug, and I’m a happy (Anawanna) camper. [Marah Eakin]


Mitski, Bury Me At Makeout Creek

I can’t stop listening to Mitski’s Bury Me At Makeout Creek, an album I first read about in the comments section of another A.V. Club music review. (Thanks, commentariat!) The song that first got me was the fuzzed-out masochist’s anthem “I Don’t Smoke,” then the crashing “Townie” conjured up memories of driving through the woods in cars with blown-out speakers, and the stripped-down bass line and aching vocals that propel “I Will” have honestly made me tear up a time or two. Mitski’s devastatingly personal lyrics evoke the feeling of being in love so bad that it physically hurts, which along with the haunting spareness of the production—the record sounds lonely, even when there’s a full band—recalls the lo-fi indie pop that I loved in the late ’90s and early ’00s. RIYL: Mirah, Angel Olsen, tape fuzz, smoking cigarettes in the rain. [Katie Rife]

The work of Oliver Jeffers

Oliver Jeffers, Lost And Found

Ever since my little girl brought home a book from the library called Stuck last year, I’ve become an evangelist about the work of writer-artist Oliver Jeffers. Everyone knows it’s a struggle to find kids entertainment that appeals to adults, and in the case of Jeffers’ wonderful books, I’m probably more into them than my daughter. The language has an elegant simplicity, speaking to kids in a way they understand but treating them respectfully, and Jeffers’ artwork is whimsical but not cutesy. He tends to illustrate his characters from the waist up, giving them stick-figure lines for legs, or he’ll draw on found materials give the backgrounds more character. (Check out the pages in The Incredible Book Eating Boy.) The stories are also typically simple, like in Stuck, where a boy tries to knock his kite out of a tree by throwing things at it, or Lost And Found, when another boy is perplexed when a penguin shows up at his door. The Heart And The Bottle is a sweet, moving story about loss and moving on, but manages to address those ideas with a subtle grace you won’t find in many kids’ books. If you’re a parent and a friend of mine, expect one of his books for your kid’s next birthday. [Kyle Ryan]

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