Top Picks: Parquet Courts' 'Wide Awake,' the Smithsonian Channel's 'The Pacific War in Color,' and more

You can use the Ramblr app to share information about your outdoor sojourn, hear from those who are responsible for some of today’s most famous companies in NPR’s podcast How I Built This with Guy Raz, and more top picks.

Unique album

When did you last hear lyrics like these from a rock band? “Swapping parts and roles is not acting but rather emancipation from expectation/ Collectivism and autonomy are not mutually exclusive.” That manifesto, hoarsely hollered during “Total Football” by co-frontman/partymeister Andrew Savage, is from the unique and unhinged Parquet Courts release Wide Awake! Conceived as a “punk record that you could put on at a party,” it is simultaneously crude, beautiful, profound, and profoundly silly. But it is memorable, and, yes, danceable! It’s a welcome offering from an adventurous crew feeling their oats to music fans who’ve been hungry for something new and different.

Record of rambling

You can use the Ramblr app to share information about your outdoor sojourn, including adding your path. But you can also look at others’ journeys to get ideas for your next expedition. The app is free for iOS and Android.

Daymond John

How it was built

In NPR’s podcast How I Built This with Guy Raz, hear from those who are responsible for some of today’s most famous companies, including Ron Shaich of Au Bon Pain and Panera Bread, Steve Conine and Niraj Shah of Wayfair, and Daymond John of FUBU. A recent interview with Troy Carter of Atom Factory delved into Carter’s intriguing past work with singer Lady Gaga. You can find “How I Built This with Guy Raz” at

Acclaimed acting

In the film Hostiles, Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, and Ben Foster are part of the ensemble cast that Monitor film critic Peter Rainer calls “strikingly good.” The western centers on an Army captain (Bale) who is escorting a Cheyenne chief (Wes Studi) to the chief’s home. It’s available on DVD and Blu-ray.


History in color

We are used to seeing World War II photos and videos in black and white, but the Smithsonian Channel has lent color to these landmark images: The new program The Pacific War in Color educates viewers about World War II in the Pacific and provides a new perspective of that time period. The program airs June 24 at 8 p.m. Note: There’s occasional crude language.

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