An event is coming! Another event is coming! Summer is here and we all know what that means: Blockbuster movies. 2017 has more franchise and sequel flicks coming out than any other year in history, so we thought we’d celebrate that absolute glut of cinema by actually celebrating the highest achievers in the medium. So, this July, be on the lookout for 30 reviews of 30 films by 29 directors from the Criterion Collection. We’re so excited about the foreign, silent, and black and white films that will be dropping on you that we even had to do a draft so we could each claim the reviews we wanted to do. Check out the podcast, the tentative schedule is after the break.
Is it weird for a band’s so-called “comeback album” to be your favorite thing they’ve ever done? This is a question I find odd, because I don’t think it’s something I’ve ever been forced to seriously consider. I mean, yes, there have been albums by returning long-dormant bands that have been quite good in the past (Sleater-Kinney’s recent album comes to mind). But really the only example that’s coming to mind is when Superchunk came back in 2010 with Majesty Shredding, which I’m not entirely sure is my favorite Superchunk album, but might be my favorite Superchunk album.
Though to be fair, the only Slowdive album I’d heard previous to their 2017 release is their most acclaimed album, 1993’s Slouvaki, which is an album I like, though maybe I’ve never been enough of a hardcore shoegaze fan for it to really stick with me. Which is why it’s surprising that I’ve been digging this self-titled comeback album from Slowdive, their first in 22 years. But I think the reason why has to do with it transcending being a mere comeback album, because like any great late-career rock album, it dares to look not just backwards, but forward as well.
Well, not forwards per se (this isn’t future rock), but it certainly looks at the present. Meaning Slowdive sound quite contemporary here, with some amazingly atmospheric production and a scope that’s wide, but never loses sight of sharp songwriting. I suppose the easy modern band to compare this album to is Beach House. Though you can’t really accuse Slowdive of ripping off Beach House when I’m sure they (or at least their contemporaries) had a sizable influence on this younger band. But whatever the case is… much like Beach House, I have a hard time effectively writing about music of this sort, since it appeals more to a kind of sensuousness that’s hard to put into words. So I’ll just say it’s a very pretty album that shows a band sounding better than they ever have, even if you’re not a big enough Slowdive fan for that to mean anything.
Favorite Tracks: “Star Roving”, “Go Get It”, “Falling Ashes”
Powers Boothe has died and I’m sad I haven’t heard much about it. I get it, so many actors and musicians die so frequently. It’s impossible to properly honor them all. Therefore, I thought I’d try my best by talking about my favorite Powers Boothe performance in the grossly underrated 1981 survival thriller Southern Comfort.
I know, it’s clearly not Tuesday, but I figure at least the proper acronym will still be in place if I do a Classic Album Thursday. Because if I’m being honest, I’d feel a little phony doing a full-on eulogy for Chris Cornell, who passed away earlier today in perhaps the most heartbreaking way for a grunge superstar to pass away – suicide. No, this would ring a bit false because I’ve never quite loved Soundgarden. But I don’t think you have to love Soundgarden to enjoy Superunknown, because it’s arguably the best album the grunge era ever produced, and displays in mind-blowing fashion why Chris Cornell was perhaps the most gifted rock singer of that era. Continue reading
Out of all the Marvel movies, Guardians of the Galaxy may be the most un-Marvel. Don’t get me wrong, Kevin Feige and his buddies at Marvel have built a good foundation for storytelling. Marvel films are action packed, have great characters, big laughs, and bigger spectacle. They’ve taken classic storylines and timeless characters and made them shine on the big screen. What’s unique about the Guardians of the Galaxy characters is that before these movies they were nothing.
Who’s to say what makes a good year for music? After all, every year is just compiled of 365 days that will see a completely random assortment of independent artists making music that may or may not be good. Well, unless you’re talking about a year like 1967 or 1977, in which lots of scenes and genres, born of the turbulent eras they were made in, produced some of the most lasting music of the rock era. Now which year is better? Well, Colin and John didn’t really debate that. However, that did try to cram in as many shout-outs to great albums while trying not to leave any truly notable ones out (spoiler: they did leave some notable ones out). Continue reading