Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Some sad music, a Second City revue, and a game about shipbuilding

A screencap from You Must Build A Boat

Soak, Before We Forgot How To Dream

I’m a sucker for sad, simple music played from the heart. I’m adding Irish singer-songwriter Soak—a.k.a. 19-year-old Bridie Monds-Watson—to the section of my heart where I keep Cat Power and Julie Doiron. The songs on her debut, the perfectly titled Before We Forgot How To Dream, are dark and melancholy and kind of ridiculously well reasoned for someone so young. Sometimes thing go pop, as on “Garden,” and sometimes Monds-Watson even sounds a bit like Jónsi Birgisson from Sigur Rós, as on the ghostly “Shuvels.” The La Blogothèque “Take Away Show” above is a good place to start. [Josh Modell]


You Must Build A Boat

It’s been a while since I last found myself in the grasp of a solid mobile game, but leave it to the creator of 10000000 to break through the App Store noise and drag me back in. Luca Redwood’s latest is called You Must Build A Boat, and as the title suggests, you’re trying to build and man a boat. To do that, your ersatz Indiana Jones plunders dungeons and pyramids and the like for money while you match the appropriate tiles to help him deal with whatever blocks his path—swords and staves to attack monsters, keys to open chests. There’s no time limit or end to an individual run, but once he’s overcome by the void at the left of the screen—which usually takes a minute or two—your run is over and he’s sent back to the boat, where you’ll build up a crew of merchants and upgrade your abilities. So it’s pretty much the same as 10000000, but Redwood has added clever tweaks that keep this follow-up moving quickly and feeling fresh, like the option to increase the difficulty in exchange for better prizes. It’s a perfect mobile game—speedy, simple, and innocuous—but besides Android and iOS, there’s also a version for PC and Mac on Steam. [Matt Gerardi]

Soul Brother, Where Art Thou?

This Second City revue hilariously exaggerates our day-to-day lives—from mourning the loss of a cell phone with a jazz funeral, to expressing unconditional love by prioritizing a partner over Netflix—allowing the performers to pick at the scabs of our modern-day existence. Sketches take the sad and make it silly, like the one about 9/11 that has each cast member misremembering where they were at the time of the event, before someone finally makes the necessary comment that their whereabouts don’t matter; what matters is the people who were actually there. Other punchlines are much less pointed, but still poignant—an especially enjoyable segment gets the crowd in on the action, proving just how easy it is to dig up dirt on anyone in the audience with a simple internet search. Carried by the consistent energy of the six-person cast, the pace is perfect, packing the two-hour revue with a real punch. If you’re in Chicago this year, check it out. [Becca James]


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