BRANDON, Man. (CUP) — Here are a three items that you should be wasting your time on this week. An Aussie folk album, a comedy-music act and a new Canadian fantasy novel.

Kim Churchill

By Brad Denbow — The Quill

Australian folk singer-songwriter Kim Churchill has just released his self-titled debut album via Canada’s Indica Records/Outside Music. In support of his new release, Curchill will be mounting a month long cross-Canada tour.

This 20-year-old Aussie first picked up a guitar at the age of four. He found inspiration in the sounds of Bob Dylan, Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd. Since then refined his own personal sound into a one-man orchestra, manning not only the vocals and guitar, but harmonica, stomp box, drums and percussion.

Churchill’s music is pretty straight forward, made up of soft, droning melodies laden with sometimes intricate acoustic styling. Although, I would have to say what set his music apart from so many others in the same genera would be his unique vocals. Kim Churchill is easy to digest and is going to appeal to pretty much all of you out there that just want to hear mild background music that has no oomph. This is the kind of music I would listen to if I came home drunk and sad after a fight with the ol’ lady and just wanted to think and drink beer alone.

IAmDonald

By Richard Wong — The Quill

His name is Donald Glover, and some of you might know him from his role on the under watched, but critically acclaimed NBC TV show Community; or perhaps from his time spent as a writer for the hit comedy 30 Rock. Currently on Community, Donald plays Troy Barnes, the slightly dense former high school jock with a heart of gold, and he is flat out one of the funniest characters on TV.

Turns out that along with being a successful screenwriter, actor and stand-up comedian, Glover is a legitimate hip-hop artist who writes and produces a lot of his own music under the moniker Childish Gambino.

While he has been making his music available for free on his own website for some time, Gambino is on the verge of releasing his first heavy exposure EP and will be featured on the IAmDonald tour, a show which will be headlined by both Glover’s stand-up comedy and musical personas.

The untitled EP is a five-track showcase of Glover’s wide array of talents that dropped March 8. From the hypnotizing melody of “Be Alone” to the banger “Freaks and Geeks,” the New York University graduate displays a versatile skill set that is sure to make a fan out of most hip-hop aficionados.

The tracks are infused with Glover’s aggressive, raspy delivery and speedy flawless flow. While the subject of one or two of the songs is a bit passé as far as hip hop goes, the songs themselves are loaded with the sensational wordplay that could be expected of someone who has written at a high level across many different genres. On top of all that, it may be even more surprising still, to learn that Glover also acts as a DJ under the name mcDJ, and his experience in this field has allowed him to create many of his own beats. With an impressive ear for production, he provides some outstanding beats that are bound to keep heads nodding and toes tapping for days.

Although it is not a major label release, this EP serves notice to the stale hip hop landscape that there is still talent and ingenuity waiting in the wings and it will leave many fans in eager anticipation of Glover’s next full album.

The Darkness That Comes Before

By Alexander R. Essery — The Quill

I’m a nerd; it’s no secret to anyone who knows me. Like many nerds, I love fantasy. But I find that the older I get, the harder it is to find books within the genre that truly excite me. It’s often a tedious process simply trying to wade through the shelves of a book store to find things that are not part of huge mass produced series now numbering in the hundreds or part of the new trend of novelizing every major video game that comes out.

I do occasionally find a truly spectacular series every so often and The Darkness that Comes Before by R. Scott Baker is one of these books. It’s part of the larger Prince of Nothing series, and it’s fantastic. It has a depth that I hadn’t found in a fantasy novel for some time. It takes place in the world of “Eärwa”, a place that strongly resembles Greece and the Byzantine Empire around the time of the first crusade. But the world is large, sweeping and feels fully fleshed out without going too far into world building minutiae. It is high fantasy in many respects, namely there are warriors, magicians and a looming apocalypse. It differs however in the complexity of the plot.

This is not a book for the faint of heart. In many ways, it is a critique on modern fantasy’s tendency to show worlds of easy black and white morals. Shining heroes, exemplars of all that is good and pure, are entirely absent from the book; instead, we get world-weary men and women. The magician is an aging, old spymaster who has grown bitter and jaded because of his cause. The love of his life is a prostitute, and the prophet coming to save them all may be as damning as the apocalypse. The series is not for everyone, but I urge people who love the genre to give the first book a try. The author is Canadian, and it’s always good to see someone new on the scene, even if their work isn’t something you enjoy.

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