Laura Burhenn’s syrupy vocals are the perfect balance between comforting and confrontational. The singer-songwriter of Nebraska band The Mynabirds is a pacifist who sings about politics, love and freedom in the band’s second album, Generals, released in June. Burhenn spent 2011 touring as keyboardist for Bright Eyes and recorded vocals on their album The People’s Key. Here, Burhenn’s voice mixes with indie pop sounds to create a mixture of upbeat and smooth tracks. The title track is essentially a call to war on war. “Body of Work” is a subtle celebration of existential freedom. The soothing lyrics on “Mightier Than the Sword” are set to minimal keyboard sounds backed with reassuring coos.
The buy-one-give-one philosophy has caught on. TOMS shoes could probably be credited with drawing the one-for-one movement into the public eye and even into department stores. But instead of shoes, this company is selling soap. MeSoap aims to save lives by promoting hygiene for those who don’t have the resources. But they don’t just hand a bar of soap to a child in a third-world country and expect the problem to be solved. MeSoap delivers soap when they can, but mostly they use the dollar amount from each bar purchased to fund hygiene education and provide sanitation supplies. The soap is mostly organic, vegan, handmade and all that good stuff.
Pop some popcorn, sit around on comfy couches with friends, watch a bunch of indie short films and play critic. Now that sounds like fun. The co-founder of IndieFlix, a film festival online viewing service, has created Film Festival in a Box. It’s an interactive movie game where you watch indie shorts and play trivia. Each DVD has four films and is divided by genre — dark comedies, fantastical, love, zombies, pottymouth comedies and powered by girls are just some of them. After you watch, decide on a winner, announce the top films from each category online and the filmmaker is notified. The money from every disc ($20-$59) supports the cast and crew of the films.