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A welcome return, monstrous comic and disastrous novel

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MUSIC | Fans have been aching for a follow-up for years now, but the long wait is almost over. Later this summer, LOCAL NATIVES is releasing its third studio album, following up on the success of 2013's Hummingbird. To tide us over until that date (it drops on Sept. 9) the effervescent, L.A.-based five-piece has released three singles off the forthcoming record, titled Sunlit Youth. While the first track "Past Lives" — which encapsulates all of what we love about the band; its thundering drum lines and soaring vocal harmonies — dropped back in April, the newest song to arrive came out weeks ago. "Fountain of Youth" starts off with an almost ballad-like pace before rising to the soaring chorus: "we can do whatever we want / we can say whatever we mean."

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COMIC BOOK | Since MONSTRESS debuted last fall, it has been raking in acclaimed reviews for its artwork, depth of story and masterfully detailed worldbuilding. Created and written by Marjorie Liu and illustrated by Sana Takeda, Monstress is set in a Art Deco/Steampunk-style fantasy world ruled by a matriarchal society. Readers explore this world through Maika Halfwolf, a former slave following a major race war who struggles to cope with the past and to understand the monster that's using her body as its host. On the run from a powerful class of witches who seek to destroy her and gain control of the monster inside of her, Maika learns powerful things about her past that hint toward her destiny. The first collected volume, issues 1-6, of Monstress was released this month.

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BOOK | We've all been hearing about the "big one," a massive earthquake that would change the landscape of the Pacific Northwest as we know it, taking thousands of lives along with it. Exploring what life might be like in the aftermath of a major West Coast quake is the theme of Portland author Alexis M. Smith's latest novel, MARROW ISLAND. (This fall, Smith is coming to Eastern Washington University as a visiting writer instructor.) From the perspective of former island resident, journalist Lucie Bowen, readers visit a hippie-like colony who believe they've reawoken the San Juan island that was all but uninhabitable in the quake's aftermath. To repress an oil refinery fire there post-quake, Marrow was doused with a lethal concoction of chemicals. Twenty years later, as Lucie learns of the colony's remarkable work, their secrets begin to unfold in thriller-like fashion. ♦

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