Hooked On Booksmart

Booksmart

At this point, in the pantheon of teenage coming of age movies, it’s hard to stand out. Not only because there has been a pretty steady stream of great teenage movies ever since American Graffiti really kicked started the genre back in the ’70s. But also because the past few years have seen some really strong teen movies that managed to avoid being mired clichés, such as last year’s Eight Grade, or the year before’s Lady Bird. Yet, somehow, despite abiding by some fairly well-worn teen movie tropes, Booksmart manages to feel very fresh while being perhaps the funniest teen comedy since Superbad. Continue reading

Rokk Talk Ep. 20: Fake Empire

…And Rokk Talk is back again! This episode, we’re doing the same format as last – going through a band’s entire discography album-by-album (while joined by Sean Lemme). This time, we’re doing The National, those dapper boys from Brooklyn via Ohio now residing all over the globe apparently. We’ll also talk a little about the band’s latest, I Am Easy To Find, but mostly we’ll talk about their slow rise to indie rock ubiquity. We’ll also discuss what you’ve all tuned in to hear about – their graphic design background.

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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