Love Gun

Sheer Mag – Need To Feel Your Love

Times are tough, shit is rough, and Sheer Mag feel like the perfect band to rock us into the apocalypse. Which isn’t to say there’s anything particularly doomy and gloomy about this band’s bubble-gummy amalgam of both punk and classic rock. And that’s not even to say that I actually think we’re careening towards some sort of global endgame in the near future. Though maybe that’s just the way I feel every time I listen to Need To Feel Your Love, and try to convince myself that the warring factions of the world could be united under the almighty power of rock and roll. Continue reading

Out And About

Waxahatchee – Out In The Storm

Waxahatchee is an artist that I’ve paid just enough attention to write about occasionally on this blog, but without really having a ton to say about. Which is to say that pretty much any album I go to the trouble of reviewing is most likely something I like. But then again, sometimes I just need something to write about, so why not write about a new Waxahatchee record? Well, I’m happy to say this isn’t one of those times, since this is probably my favorite batch of songs from Katie Crutchfield yet, and proof that she’s just a really fantastic songwriter who’s probably gonna be sticking around for a while. Hmmm… actually, that was pretty vague and non-specific, so maybe I won’t have anything insightful to say about Out In The Storm. Continue reading

Poplife Crisis

Does maturity have any place in pop music? As someone who doesn’t listen to a lot of contemporary music that would be considered “pop”, I don’t know that I’d be the one to answer that. But I want to say the answer is “yes”, and especially in regard to the current generation of pop music that not only has the potential to achieve cultural ubiquity, but critical ubiquity as well.

I’m not exactly sure when this shift happened, where pop artist started being taken seriously as just that – artists. But you could make the case that it happened around 2013, when Haim released their supremely awesome debut Days Are Gone, while that year also saw the release of Lorde’s Pure Heroine. This shift probably has something to do with us millennials having less discriminatory taste, and a general willingness to embrace any and all things, whether they’re massively popular or not. Also, I will admit that talking about “millenials” as a thing in general makes me feel about a million years old, but just stick with me here. Continue reading

Criterion Month Day 30: Yi Yi

Yi Yi (2000)

So here we are, at the end of this long journey that was Criterion month, and staring down the barrel of 21st-century filmmaking. Over the course of these 30 days, we ventured through a wide variety of different genres, but I suppose it’s apt that we end with a film entrenched in the kind of stripped down realism often equated with the kinds of art house cinema Criterion has made their name on distributing. The genre I would ascribe Yi Yi to is the “real fucking life” genre, which isn’t really a genre per se. Basically because these kinds of films are inherently anti-genre in their desire to paint an honest picture of how people live their small, modest lives with dignity and grace, which this film is full of. Continue reading

Criterion Month Day 28: Three Colors: Red

Three Colors: Red

Though this didn’t quite seem to be the case for Sean, for me, The Three Colors trilogy was just another one of the cinematic revelations that make this whole Criterion month worthwhile. Because I honestly don’t how long it would’ve taken me to actually sit down and watch a film made by Polish master Krzysztof Kieślowski (let alone learn to spell his name correctly without googling it). But after watching Blue, White, and Red, which are all pretty great in their own ways, I more than feel compelled to seek out other films in the director’s cannon. Though it almost feels like he was just getting started when he retired from filmmaking after completing Red, which unfortunately happened just two years before his death at the age of 56.

It’s debatable what of the three films in this trilogy are the best. I think I liked Blue a bit more than Sean did, possibly because I found its detachment to be kind of intoxicating. White I liked quite a bit too, even if it’s probably the weakest for me, just because its satirical slant didn’t quite resonate emotionally as much as the other two. That said, I realize none of these three films are intending to be tearjerkers or anything, or at least not on the surface. But whatever your preference, Red seemed to garner the most praise at the time of its release (it was nominated for best screenplay and best director at the 1994 Academy Awards), while much like its namesake, Red is definitely the warmest color of the three. Continue reading

Criterion Month Day 27: Three Colors: Blue

Three Colours: Blue (1993)

I had assumed that the Three Colours trilogy, being based on the ideals represented in the French flag (liberty, equality, fraternity), would be inspiring, moving stories about each of those themes. I just took that for granted, even when I read brief synopses of each film and couldn’t mentally map them with the themes very well. It wasn’t until I actually read about director Krzysztof Kieślowski that I realized what his point of view was. He grew up in Soviet Poland, and many of his films were censored and subject to forced re-shoots. By the time he was making the Three Colours films, Kieślowski had to rely on foreign investors just to keep making movies. He described himself as having “one good characteristic, I am a pessimist. I always imagine the worst. To me the future is a black hole.” And that is why I had trouble with this series.
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