Staff Picks: Moody Brews, Frank Ocean, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Tokyo true crime and more | Rock Candy

Friday, January 30, 2015

Staff Picks: Moody Brews, Frank Ocean, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Tokyo true crime and more

Posted By , , , and on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 4:21 PM

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  • Lunchbreath

Arkansas Times Recommends is a weekly series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.

I recommend getting familiar with many of today's "value-creating" career titles through the illustrations of Lunchbreath (twitter) though his site Business Town. His Flickr page is also quite fun. — Bryan Moats

Three or four different times I've been out at a bar or restaurant and happened upon a beer from Moody Brews, the Little Rock brewery started by Josiah Moody, formerly of Vino's. Every time: outstanding. From my days writing blurbs for the Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival, I've used up every clever adjective or way of talking about how beer is tasty so let me just say that all of their beer is fucking tasty. In particular, I had gotten kind of tired of IPAs but Moody's version, called Half Seas Over, is dynamite. I told the waiter, wherever I was: keep those coming. Please do, Moody. — David Ramsey 

Last weekend I finished reading the book "People Who Eat Darkness,"  by the journalist Richard Lloyd Parry. I picked it for its black metal title, and because I'd really liked an article Parry had written about the 2011 Tohoku tsunami for the London Review of Books. "Darkness" is about a British woman named Lucie Blackman who disappeared in Tokyo in the summer of 2000, a case that was all over the news in the U.K. for several years but which I either hadn't heard about or didn't remember. Parry covered her disappearance and the aftermath at the time, then spent 10 years writing this very cold and strange and fascinating true crime book. "It was like the key to a trapdoor in a familiar room," he says of the case, "a trapdoor concealing secrets — frightening, violent, monstrous existences to which I had been oblivious. This new knowledge made me feel obscurely embarrassed and naive. It was as if I, the experienced reporter, had been missing something extraordinary in a city that it was professional pride to know intimately." — Will Stephenson

I'm going to recommend this new Frank Ocean track, which is a cover of "At Your Best (You are Love)" by the Isley Brothers. I'm not sure what else to say beyond that. "Frank Ocean makes me feel many emotions"? Or, "Frank Ocean remains his own blah blah while remaining faithful to blah blah but somehow not derivative of blah blah warmth, cold blah blah healing collective wounds"? Or, "it's, gosh, really something, Frank Ocean's voice. I'll say one thing — he's really got a great voice, that guy"? God, just listen to it, OK? — Benji Hardy

Sometimes I read something on the internet, and I'm shocked they give it away for free. Such is the case with my current favorite columnist/blogger, The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates. He's also a fantastic person to follow on Twitter if you do that sort of thing (and Coates' Twitter feed is worth making an account for alone). There's probably not a writer around today who approaches the subject of race relations with as much verve, humor, and insight, and he isn't afraid to go up against establishment ideas on either side of the black/white divide. If you want to start somewhere with Coates, read his take-down of  The New Republic, a subject that caused much weeping and gnashing of teeth in some journalistic quarters — and provided Coates ample ammunition to thoroughly take down a former bastion of mush-mouth center-left hoo-ha. It just gets better from there. — Michael Roberts

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