The Long Weekend

Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride

I wasn’t expecting it, but my first listen to the new Vampire Weekend album was an emotional one, though it’s hard for me to pin down exactly what that emotion was. I suppose the closest thing I can compare it to is the feeling of seeing an old friend getting married. Of having this punch to the gut reminder that yes, we’re all getting older, but isn’t that kind of beautiful and mysterious in a way?

I know it’s always a bit strange to have this deep of a bond with a mere band, but blame it on Vampire Weekend’s trajectory lining up almost perfectly with my early adulthood. That first album came out when I was in college, while the band was still making sense of their recent college years. And here we are with the band firmly in their thirties, while I also made that leap a few months ago. In retrospect, the first three albums clearly formed a sort of trilogy about the restlessness that comes with young adulthood, while this new album has the same acuteness and adventurousness applied to a new chapter in the band’s life. Continue reading

Rokk Talk Ep. 19: Unbearably White

Love ’em or hate ’em, Vampire Weekend have gone the distance and continued to reinvent themselves like few bands of their generation. On this episode of Rokk Talk, John and Colin break down Vampire Weekend’s entire discography, album-by-album. They also give their first impressions of V-Dub’s new album, Father of the Bride, just for those of you looking for a rare hot take on a podcast usually dedicated to music from 30 years ago. Ya hey!

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Some Kind of Movie – Ep. 10: America’s Ass

Good storytelling does not rely on twists. It needs to be more than “what’s going to happen next?” If you’ve done it well, your story should stand up to a second viewing. Case in point: I’m desperate to see Avengers: Endgame again, but in no hurry to revisit Sunday’s genuinely thrilling, climactic episode of Game of Thrones any time soon. But don’t ignore the value of being surprised. That is a fun part of the experience too, and one of the reasons a trip to the cinema is still something special. All of this is to say, we’ve got a four-man spoiler-filled discussion of Endgame for you right here, ready to go. You should probably see the movie first. Everybody else did.

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The Juice Is Loose

Lizzo – Cuz I Love You

What is one supposed to make of a force of nature like Lizzo? It’s hard to think of anything other than pure enjoyment, and perhaps Lizzo is well aware of this. Which would explain her recent (sort of) beef with Pitchfork for giving this album a somewhat mixed review. Because come on, what’s not to like?

That said, “likeable” pop stars aren’t typically the kind of singers I go out of my way to listen to (the number of Beyonce and Taylor Swift albums I’ve listened to is not high). But Lizzo seems like something else entirely, considering nothing about her feels particularly calculated (exhibit #1 being her impressive flute skills). However, I would say it’s reasonable to argue that Cuz I Love You might be a little too slick for its own good, but there are just so many bangers here that its hard to complain. Continue reading

I Like This One

Avengers: Endgame

It’s Kill Bill: Volume 2. That’s the least spoilery way I can sum up Avengers: Endgame. Infinity War was about building up the mystique of its villain and showcasing all the best fights. Its second part and conclusion decides not to really try to one-up that movie’s greatest strengths, and instead focuses on pathos and catharsis. But that’s not to say it’s not self-contained, Endgame is a complete story told in three distinct parts: the aftermath of The Snap, a celebration of the whole MCU, and a riveting, fan service-driven conclusion. Unless you’re someone who is only interested in the action, I’m sure you’ll be happy to have seen it. And if you have seen it, join me after the jump for some more details.

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MCU Retrospecticus: Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Original Review: n/a

One thing I didn’t mention in my Ant-Man review is how it parallels the first Iron Man so well. You could describe Tony Stark or Hank Pym’s arc as the story of a guy recovering from a trauma and standing up to the evil dude who took over his company. The big difference being that Hank Pym is not the main character of Ant-Man, Scott Lang is, so they came up with a contrived reason for Hank and Hope to have to rely on Scott to help them. The smartest thing Ant-Man and the Wasp does is lean back the other way, letting the film become the story of a super hero father and daughter, and this other guy who wants to help but mostly wants to take care of his own daughter.

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The Vault: The Abominable Dr. Phibes

The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)

This is part 2 in a 300 part series of Fangoria Magazine’s “Top 300 Horror Movies”. Here we go!

Why is it so damn hard to find a copy of The Abominable Dr. Phibes? For anyone who’s not a horror fan I’m sure the answer is “Because it’s called The Abominable Dr. Phibes.” Fair enough. It is a title that invokes the worst of b-movie shlock. Maybe a film you’d catch at 2:00 AM on a nostalgia channel or featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Yet there is a “Je ne sais quoi” to Phibes that is memorable. Or maybe it’s the fact that Phibes laid the groundwork for an iconic horror franchise and nobody talks about it.

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