Top Picks: 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi,' Snowpoet's 'Thought You Knew'

The NPR podcast 'Are We There Yet?,' hosted by Brendan Byrne, looks at what’s next for humans exploring space, indie rock group The Decemberists reaches past its roots toward modern synth-pop with its new album, 'I’ll Be Your Girl,' and more top picks.

Snowpoet’s cool sheen

Snowpoet is the alluring vocalist Lauren Kinsella and her composing partner (and keyboard wizard) Chris Hyson. The critically acclaimed London-based duo is ably supplemented by sax, guitar, bass, drums, and strings on their sophomore release, Thought You Knew. Their collective sound is contemporary with a Björk-like cool sheen, yet it’s warm and comforting. Snowpoet’s music is filed under jazz, but it has as much in common with Joni Mitchell as Diana Krall. Let’s just call it intriguing new music worth exploring.

Science guy

Go behind the scenes of beloved science educator Bill Nye’s life, from his first TV show to his latest experiments, with Bill Nye: Science Guy from PBS’s “POV.” It’s available on Digital HD April 19 and on Blu-ray and DVD April 24. The program is packed with intense debate, 1990s nostalgia, and inspiration. 

AP

Story of ‘Jedi’

The latest installment in the “Star Wars” saga, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, is available on DVD and Blu-ray. Jedi hopeful Rey (Daisy Ridley, pictured) is training with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), while Poe (Oscar Isaac) learns about leadership from Gen. Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Finn (John Boyega) sets off on a mission with mechanic Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), whom Monitor film critic Peter Rainer calls a “welcome new addition.” 

Destination space

What’s the latest on humans exploring space? The NPR podcast Are We There Yet?, hosted by Brendan Byrne, looks at what’s next, from efforts to go to Mars to the questions surrounding traveling to deep space. A particularly interesting episode looked at how mission patches are created and those who love collecting them. Find the podcast at http://bit.ly/arewethereyetpodcast.

New decemberists sound

Indie rock group The Decemberists reaches past its roots toward modern synth-pop with its new album, I’ll Be Your Girl. While the album has several stripped-down, up-tempo songs, a new sound doesn’t mean that lead singer/songwriter Colin Meloy’s folky, Southern Gothic-influenced lyric writing has left the building. Even with fewer familiar literati winks, the music feels grand, anthemic, and fresh for the ambitious band. 

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