Retrospecticus: Neko Case

Neko Case is un-fucking-stoppable. In fact, I’m not sure there’s any person in the past 20 years who’s been involved with as much great music as Neko Case. Not only has she had one of the most fruitful, consistently rewarding discographies of any singer-songwriter in recent memory. But in addition, she has been an integral part of Canadian power-pop supergroup, The New Pornographers, who’ve been just as consistent as Case has been in her solo work. Then on top of that, you have projects like 2016’s excellent Case/Lang/Veirs collaboration, as well as the fact that she’s appeared on underrated Northwest classics like Cub’s Betti-Cola or Visqueen’s Message To Garcia.

So needless to say, looking at Case’s discography is not going to be filled with the kinds of weird peaks and valleys that one looks for in a retrospecticus. As I’ve said, she’s been very consistent, an attribute not typically valued in rock and roll, but one that makes sense for an artist that really didn’t come into her own until she was in her thirties. That said, I think despite the fact that most of these albums will hover around 4-stars ratings-wise, each album provides something new about Case’s personality and her music that revels in its bittersweetness. Which I can only assume will continue on her latest album Hell-On, which comes out this week. Continue reading

Pitching Tents 19: Star Wars Spin-offs

Hey everybody, there’s a Star Wars a-comin’! I don’t know if there’s as much excitement for the Solo: A Star Wars Story as there has been for the past few Star Wars movies. But well, I think Star Wars fatigue was somewhat inevitable. Still, from the TV promos I’ve seen, critics supposedly think Solo is “fun” and “exciting”, so I guess there’s that to look forward to. Also, what I’ve kind of gleaned from reviews so far is that it’s inoffensively passable. In other words, it’s a Ron Howard film. On this episode of Pitching Tents, the boys try to buck the trend of bland fan service-y Star Wars spin-offs and pitch something truly daring. But you know, also won’t piss off fans as much as an actual good Star Wars movie like The Last Jedi did.

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Who’s That Girl?

New Girl is a show that I’ve consistently found myself being surprised by, despite the fact that I’ve never had particularly high expectations for it. After all, the show’s premise was as basic as sitcom premises get – a newly single girl moves in with a bunch of single dudes and they like, get into hijinks and stuff. Yet the basic-ness of that premise is what allowed its writers the freedom to go in so many delightful directions. And in the process made me keep watching in an era where it’s become increasingly hard to stick with a show for more than the first three seasons or so. Continue reading

DirtySexyCool

Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer

Upon hearing the first single from Janelle Monáe’s latest album, “Make Me Feel”, my first reaction was, “wow, that sounds a lot like Prince”. Which shouldn’t be surprising, considering Prince came up the last time I reviewed a Janelle Monáe album, which Prince actually appeared on. So it’s not a stretch to assume that since The Purple One’s passing, he’s been on the minds of a lot of R&B/pop artists of Monáe’s sensibilities, which kind of brings up an interesting idea. Continue reading

The Second Annual Mildly Pleased Criterion Draft

Didn’t get enough of Colin, Sean, and John talking about snooty arthouse movies in the dead of blockbuster season last year? Well, have we got a treat for you! Once, again these three lads will embark on another July filled with nothing but reviews of movies that have been put out by the fine folks at Criterion. And because the NFL draft just ended (or maybe it’s still going, I don’t know…) it’s time for the drafting of which films will be watched over the course of said month. And because it’s just the way we roll, we took an entire podcast to figure out who gets to review what movies. See you (and by you, I mean literally that one snob out there who’ll actually be interested in these reviews) in July! Continue reading

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Rokk Talk Ep. 15: Cover Me

You can’t judge an album by its cover. But you can judge an album cover by its album cover. This episode, John and Colin count down some of their favorite rock album covers ever while posing the question of how well an album cover can stand on its own. As well as whether a great album cover requires an abundance of warrior dudes on it to be truly great. Also, on the flipside, they take a brief tour through some of the worst album covers by a few of their favorite artists. Continue reading

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Some Kind of Movie – Ep. 9: Why is Gamora?

When the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War came out, on top of my excitement I had one nagging thought: “This looks like the biggest movie ever… Until the next one.” Six years ago, when the first Avengers movie came out, it felt like a culmination of years of movies – all that lead-up was finally paying off. It was an experiment in blockbuster moviemaking hitherto undreamt of, and it was amazing. But then it kept going. Phase 2 came and went, with its Avengers movie not seeming nearly the same event, especially since the Guardians of the Galaxy was a more exciting team. It seemed like things could go on forever. But Marvel is smart, and now that we’re here again, they’re playing for keeps.

It’s comforting and exciting that Avengers: Infinity War positions itself as the setup for the grand finale of the MCU next year. It’s a movie that tries to pull in just about every character, weapon, and setting that’s still standing in this massive universe. With a scope this vast, you can’t help but marvel at how well everything turned out. It has to be seen to be believed. So do that, then join us on a spoiler-filled discussion of what is destined to be one of the biggest movies of ever. And yet, I still worry, what’s next?

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