2017 Summer Movie Triple Feature

It’s been kind of a weird summer here at Mildly Pleased, as we had our most post-filled month of 2017 in July, due in no small part to our deep dive into the Criterion catalog. But I think also due to Criterion month, June was kind of a dead zone due to our preparation, while August has also been similarly dead due to us being burned out on talking about movies.

Which is a bit of a shame, because by all accounts 2017 has been one of the best summers for movies that I’ve seen in a while. Sure, there have been some clunkers like the obligatory Transformers or The Emoji Movie, which apparently was underwhelming, even by the extremely low expectations one would set out for a movie called The Emoji Movie. But here I offer a review of three of the better high profile movies I saw this summer, because I’m sure you haven’t already heard people talk about them enough already, right? Continue reading

C.A.T.: Dirt

Alice in Chains – Dirt (1992)

Today marks the 50th birthday of grunge icon Layne Staley. A mighty presence in the 90s Seattle grunge scene, Staley tragically died from a heroine/cocaine speedball in his University District Seattle apartment on April 5, 2002 and yet the man and his music live on.

I’ve never been a big fan of grunge outside of Nirvana, but over the years (particularly this year) I’ve found a greater admiration. Chris Cornell’s death was a big part of that revelation. To see another Seattle icon befall such a tragic fate well before his time helped put everything in perspective. It was people like Staley and Cornell that gave the city I live in and love an identity, a pulse. Before grunge, Seattle was a sleepy fishing town. After grunge, people finally saw Seattle for what it was, a rainy, over-caffeinated hub of angst and alienation. A place of beauty and introspection but also pain. And we had the best spokesmen; Cobain, Cornell, Staley, all taken too soon.

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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