Photo: Nature Sounds

The Exciters, Caviar And Chitlins

Even if you’re not familiar with the name The Exciters, there’s a very good chance you know their 1962 pop hit “Tell Him,” given it’s been featured in roughly a thousand movies and TV shows in the intervening years. The group is a superb example of ’60s R&B pop mixed with girl group brio, the kind of soul music that conjures up a particular era and style, even as it continues to pack the same breezy charm, year after year. But the band’s third record, Caviar And Chitlins, has long been out of print, depriving completists like myself of the chance to compile the full discography. (Thanks a lot, RCA.) Happily, Nature Sounds has taken it upon itself to reissue the album, crisp and fresh off the presses, and the results are even better than I had anticipated. It’s a superb record, with groovy doo-wop flourishes and show-stopping ballads alike. For fans of the genre, it’s a necessity, but I would recommend this one to friends who are maybe dipping their toes into this era of music for the first time.

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[Alex McLevy]


Hollow Knight

My fellow A.V. Clubber William Hughes has been singing the praises of this game for a while, so I went and made it one of the two (and I swear, it will only be two) games I purchased during the Steam summer sale. As a big fan of both Dark Souls and Metroid, I’ve been elated with the purchase so far. It casts you as a little bug fella who delves into a sprawling, ruined world lying below a fading town. Its approach to exploration and mapping is ingeniously flexible and engrossing, forcing you to push yourself further into uncharted wastes and allowing you to forego a map entirely, if you really want to get lost. The Dark Souls influence is mostly a tonal one, as the game marries the oppressive gloom and head-scratching arcana of FromSoftware’s series with its cute but also a little creepy cartoon aesthetic. That combination of the unknowable and the adorable has made Hollow Knight’s world one that I’ve been so happy to get lost inside.

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[Matt Gerardi]


Carbon Klean

It seems that the population of people who wear glasses is split in two: those who keep their lenses clean and those who don’t. Maybe that’s an over-simplification, and the side that keeps their lenses clean needs to be further broken down into the people who can abide a smudge for a while and those who absolutely cannot tolerate a single blemish. I’m certainly in the most compulsive group, as I seem to notice an imperfection immediately and cannot concentrate on anything else until my frames are sparkling again. I have a lens cloth with me wherever I go, but my father recently introduced me to my new favorite lens-cleaning method: the Carbon Klean. Passing over that K in “clean,” this product is a godsend, because unlike the lens cloths that eventually get dirty, this little cleaner always stays fresh. I don’t know how it works, but it somehow uses carbon to recharge the pad that wipes smudges off the lenses. There’s also a retractable brush to dust off particles. The video is a wee bit over the top for a product that cleans off lenses and screens, but trust me that behind the hype is a truly great product for obsessive lens cleaners like myself.

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[Caitlin PenzeyMoog]