Mildly Pleased Hall of Fame: Vampire Weekend by Vampire Weekend

We introduced this new feature, The Mildly Pleased Hall of Fame, back when we were celebrating our 10th anniversary in February, and I’ve long wanted to contribute to it. But it’s been hard to think of something worthy, especially in the realm of music. Because there seem to only be so many artists and albums that me, Sean, and John all have affection for. Though this one jumped out to me for many reasons, considering it celebrated its tenth anniversary around the same time our blog did. Also, I can’t speak for my colleagues, but to me, Vampire Weekend’s self-titled debut was such a potent snapshot of where the blog’s music tastes were at in 2008. Yet is also an album that still sounds great now. Continue reading

Cheddar Goblin


The first question I had walking out of Mandy at the SIFF Cinema Uptown was “What does this remind me of… if anything?” I still ponder this because Mandy is so weird the only way I can make sense of it is to try to recognize any similarities it has with other weird films. The best I could come up with is a kinship with the 1981 adult animated cult classic Heavy Metal. Both films contain a great deal of fantasy and sci-fi imagery, explicit violence, and a heavy metal soundtrack.Yet Mandy feels weirder. Yes, I’m saying a film about flying cars and zombie pilots is less weird than the latest Nic Cage movie.

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Shocktober 2018 Draft

It may be another year, another Shocktober. But this year we decided to do something different, by recording a draft of our picks for this year’s monthlong ode to horror movies. Granted, it’s not that new, since this is just the same thing we do to divvy out our Criterion month picks. But nonetheless, here’s a fun little thing to listen to while waiting for the most spookiest of seasons to begin. See you in Shocktober! Continue reading


Even Cowboys Get The Blues

Mitski – Be The Cowboy

If there’s a moment from Mitski’s new album that seems the most indicative of where she’s currently at musically, it’s the one that happens about 40 seconds in. If you’ve heard Be The Cowboy, you probably know what I’m talking about. It’s the moment in opening track “Geyser”, where Mitski sings the line “you’re the one I want” over a delicate keyboard instrumental, and we hear this electronic “EEHHRR” blast into your eardrums for all but a second. Which, freaked the fuck out of me about the first 5 times I listened to it, but now I’m comfortably expecting with each new listen. The moment seems emblematic since the album is noticeably more polished than Mitski’s 2016 breakout Puberty 2, yet is still just as raw and vulnerable, and still ready to surprise you when you least expect it. Continue reading

2018 Mildly Pleased Summercast

Well, now the summer is over. It’s still warm out, but the kids are back in school and the smog has cleared (for the time being), so we’re calling it. Here’s a podcast where we briefly talk about some of our favorite summer media and also the main thing that happened, Criterion Month. I say briefly sarcastically, because this is pretty long for a mostly directionless podcast. Maybe you wanted to hear from us, though? Methinks that might be the case. In which case, hear away!


Anything But Phoning It In

BlacKkKlansman / Sorry To Bother You

Prior to seeing BlacKkKlansman, I thought about comparing and contrasting it with another somewhat widely released movie from earlier this summer, Sorry To Bother You. But, as basically every Compare/Contrast has, it felt a little reductive to compare two movies so full of social complexities. But then I saw BlacKkKlansman, and remembered that it does share one big plot similarity with Sorry To Bother You – in that it is also about a black male trying to do his job, and then attempts to get ahead in his job by using his “white voice” while talking into a telephone. Then there’s also the fact that Sorry To Bother You director Boots Riley got into a bit of a kerfuffle with Spike Lee about BlacKkKlansman on Twitter. So here I am, talking about two of the more memorable movies of the summer in the same light. Continue reading

RIP Aretha Franklin

It’s always hard being on the road when a pop culture figure who was important to you dies. The last time I remember this happening to me was when James Gandolfini died. Though, I suppose it’s easier with a musician. Since it made it pretty easy to decide what I’d be listening to in the car yesterday, even if the occasion was less than ideal. Because even if it’s a busy day, you always want to be able to take the time and stop to appreciate the figure in question’s importance and the work they left behind, and its hard to think of many singers who left more great music behind than Aretha Franklin. Continue reading