2017 Music Revisited: Harmony of Difference

Kamasi Washington – Harmony of Difference

Kamasi Washington was one of those artists I’d always wanted check out, but like so many things, time was the thing holding me back. Much like Thundercat, Washington got a little bit of mainstream exposure from appearing on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, and adding to that record’s jazz-funk sound. However, it didn’t help that his most acclaimed album to date was 2015’s The Epic, which at a nearly 3-hour running time, might actually have been short-selling itself with that title. Continue reading

2017 Music Revisited: Turn Out The Lights

Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights

Unsurprisingly, this was a year where I was a little more prone to sad bastard music. Not because I necessarily found it good to wallow in some sort of depressive state. But more because, not unlike the feeling of listening to Vince Guaraldi around Christmas time, sometimes you need some contended “sad time”, and to remind yourself that music is a place where indulging life’s more morose feelings can be a source of comfort. Granted, it’s a little hard to pin down what Julien Baker, a supremely talented 22-year-old, would have to be sad about, but she sure has a way of expressing it in a very pure way. Continue reading

C.A.T.: A Charlie Brown Christmas

Vince Guaraldi – A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

In the nearly 10 years we’ve been doing this blog, usually looking for pop culture to write about tied to whatever season we’re going through, I’m not sure how I’ve never done a Classic Album Thursday for this album. But, maybe it’s just the nature of this particular season. You get caught up in end-of-year madness, trying to catch up with movies and music from the year’s past. Meanwhile, you end up scrambling to make sense of the holidays, busy trying to buy whatever things you can to make it seem like you hadn’t been neglecting the people around you the rest of the year. Continue reading

2017 Music Revisited: Soft Sounds From Another Planet

Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds From Another Planet

I’m noticing that a lot of the artists I’m writing about in these year-end music reviews seem to be indie artists so ubiquitous that I didn’t feel the need to comment on. Japanese Breakfast is not one of those artists, though this solo project of Michelle Zauner might put her on her way, after delivering one of the more aptly titled albums of 2017. Because there’s something quite otherworldly about these songs, yet they’re raw and human enough to cut towards something a little deeper, and a little more Earthly. Continue reading

2017 Music Revisited: A Deeper Understanding

The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

How is it that I never got around to reviewing this album? Was it because it came out during that two month period on the blog in between Criterion months, where we were all a bit too exhausted to write about anything? Was it because we talked about it on that end-of-summer wrap-up podcast, and that was review enough? Or was it because this album is ultimately an uninteresting one to write about, because it’s somehow great and unsurprising at the same time? Well, we’ll see about that last one, but I’m gonna say it’s probably a combination of all three. Continue reading

2017 Movie Wrap-Up: My Friend Dahmer

My Friend Dahmer

I saw My Friend Dammer on a rainy Sunday in Seattle last month. Appropriate weather for the dreary story of one of the most sadistic killers of the modern era. The usher tore my ticket, pointed me in the right direction and said “Have fun” before I made my way into the dim theater. They probably didn’t realize what film they had told me to “have fun” watching but it struck me. The printing on the ticket cutoff before Dammer. Meaning all the ticket said was “My Friend” which in a way helped put this film into perspective. This isn’t an effort to paint Jeffrey Dahmer as an antihero or a figure we should root for. It’s a film about somebody’s friend, somebody’s child, a student, a kid. Even monsters have to come from somewhere.

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2017 Movie Wrap-Up: The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

I’ve heard a lot of people attempt to label Yorgos Lanthimos. I’ve heard “Kubrick-esque” due to Lanthimos’ cold disposition toward humanity. Or the way he points a camera with wider shots than a museum diorama. I’ve also heard comparisons to Wes Anderson based on Lanthimos’ visual perfectionism and the way his characters act like props in a dollhouse as opposed to real people. I believe we’ve reached the point where we can say Lanthimos style is his own, as opposed to a mélange of his influences. And it’s a style that is rich with grandiose imagery, morbid humor, and pulsating with sinister intentions.

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