Monthly Archives

January 2019

#ObscureObject by Will Rivitz Music

Kid Koala | Music to Draw To: Io

January 29, 2019
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Music to Draw To: Io is an hour-plus of carefully wrought, beat-light technical wizardry; it’s an album devoted to childlike wonder, so much so that it practically tells you as much in its title: “music to draw to.” As opposed to the more mature connotations of phrases like ‘making art,’ or even ‘to sketch,’ for these compositions, Koala wants you to know that he’s less concerned about rigid construction than he is interested in being exploratory.…

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#PopRocks by M.G. Mailloux Music

Future | Future Hndrxx Presents: The Wizrd

January 28, 2019
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As far as contemporary pop stars go, Future was always somehow simultaneously the surest, and the least sure, bet: In the context of current rap, his success makes perfect sense, fitting right alongside Drake’s and Kanye West’s, two artist’s who’ve nimbly adapted to the shifting aesthetic trends in their genre. But Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn’s persona is different, and odd to evaluate — marked, on the one hand, by a sedated anti-charisma, and on the other, by a commitment to documenting his own life in such a way as…

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#ObscureObject by Michael Doub Music

James Blake | Assume Form

January 28, 2019
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James Blake sings the quiet parts loud; now a decade into his career, his arc is best charted through the evolution, and presentation, of his own introversion. Blake’s early EPs operated as soundtracks for solo clubbing, while his subsequent reinvention into a singer-producer captured conflicted internal monologues and ruminated on self-confessions.…

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#KickingtheCanon by Paul Attard Music

Green Day | Dookie

January 27, 2019
Green Day

Before the eye paint, the brain-dead political anthems, and their embrace of radio-friendly sensibilities, Green Day was a raggedy assembled trio of stoner misfits with rockstar ambitions, similar to Hüsker Dü, and a sound in line with the Replacements. (Though lead vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong is more willing to credit Operation Ivy for their inspiration, a decidedly punk move if there ever was one.) Originally named Sweet Children, the group eventually known as Green Day formed when Armstrong and bassist…

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#KickingtheCanon by Sam Thomas-Redfern Film

Cockfighter | Monte Hellman

January 26, 2019
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Any talk of this film would be remiss without mention of its legendary tagline: “He came into town with his cock in his hand, and what he did with it was illegal in 49 states.” Notwithstanding this audacious piece of marketing, Cockfighter was a failure, and the only Roger Corman production of the ’70s that lost the producer money. Monte Hellman had been one of many hired by Corman’s Filmgroup company who was offered the chance to break into cinema; he…

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#ObscureObject by Tanner Stechnij Music

The Delines | The Imperial

January 25, 2019
The Delines in their rehearsal studio, Sept 2018. Photo by Jason Quigley

A rundown old car in a parking lot and two apartment complexes — one white, one a pale pink — are backdropped by an overcast sky. A rickety-looking telephone pole stands between them. This is the image used as the cover photo for retro-soul country outfit the Delines’ sophomore album, The Imperial, and it evokes the kind of melancholic nostalgia that the band summon here, conjuring images associated with eras passed but engaging in storytelling that’s refreshingly contemporary. The lyrics for this set come from…

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#StreamingScene by Daniel Gorman Film

Revenger | Seung-Won Lee

January 25, 2019
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Through its ongoing effort to inundate viewers with as much content as possible, Netflix presents Revenger, a mostly boring action movie starring Bruce Khan, a stunt man and former Jackie Chan double who hasn’t had an IMDb credit since 2005. Khan plays Kim, a former cop or agent or whatever who gets himself transported to a prison island to hunt down Kuhn (Park Hee-soon), the man who killed his wife and daughter. Once on the island, Kim finds himself in the middle of a battle…

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#StreamingScene by Alex Engquist Film

Hanagatami | Nobuhiko Obayashi

January 24, 2019
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“Seen through the wrong end of a telescope, an ordinary scene becomes an ancient story. No, it’s not nostalgia! It’s heartache for all that’s lost.” This quote from Kazuo Dan’s 1937 novel Hanagatami, a coming-of-age story set in a coastal village during Japan’s pre-WWII invasions of Manchuria and China, appears onscreen at the beginning of Nobuhiko Obayashi’s film adaptation, both as an introduction to the themes of the story and a guide to the viewer. An irised, black-and-white image of…

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#KickingtheCanon by Greg Cwik Music

Pavement | Slanted and Enchanted

January 20, 2019

Pavement’s debut album, a sui generis cornucopia of fuzz-box riffs and unwonted lyrics, opens with the best song the band ever recorded, maybe the best debut single of the decade: a three-minute, lo-fi emission of buzzsaw guitar and Dadaist lyrics (“My eyes stick to all those shiny robes / You wear on the protein delta strip”), a bold and…

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#KickingtheCanon by Lawrence Garcia Film

All That Jazz | Bob Fosse

January 19, 2019
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“This is the feverish, painful expression of a man who lives in mortal fear of his own mediocrity,” concludes Dave Kehr’s negative Chicago Reader review of All That Jazz, Bob Fosse’s penultimate directorial feature. And it certainly is — that’s what makes it so glorious. Indeed, the film (which would go on to win the Palme d’Or in 1980, after opening theatrically in December of 1979) is easily identified as Fosse’s reworking of his experience editing 1974’s Lenny while simultaneously staging a Broadway…

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#StreamingScene by Tony G. Huang Feature Articles Film

Soft to the Touch: Radiance and a Decade of Naomi Kawase

January 18, 2019
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In the U.S., the films of Japanese director Naomi Kawase have often been met with apprehension, not accorded the same respect as other celebrated works from the European film festival circuit. Perhaps this is because it’s hard to formulate an academic assessment of films that unabashedly invite intimacy: Kawase evokes sensuous experience more directly than, say, Claire Denis, who prefers to circumscribe her imagery with intellectual frameworks; and she attends to form less rigorously than Michael Haneke, who often uses his cinema explicitly as a…

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#BlockbusterBeat by Matt Lynch Film

Glass | M. Night Shyamalan

January 17, 2019
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There’s a lengthy, terrific scene in Glass, in which the protagonists — three people with extraordinary abilities — are confronted both by each other and by a psychologist who is determined to prove to them that they aren’t superheroes, that they’re merely insane.…

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