Last Friday, faithful fans of NBC’s Hannibal were glued to the screen for the premiere of the show’s highly anticipated second season. The first season of producer Brian Fuller’s take on the novels of Thomas Harris garnered critical praise and audience appreciation for everything from the masterful performances to the elaborate gourmet dishes prepared by the title character. One thing that stood out for me, however, was the way in which Will Graham, the protagonist and point-of-view character of the first season, undermines an increasingly common trope on television.
By Martin Hollis
Literature had it lucky. Good old Willie Shakespeare knocked out many a soliloquy in his time, not through choice, but necessity. Standing in the bare rooms of The Globe, it was a must for actors to explain in detail to the audience the location, color, and décor of the room, which had now become Denmark, Verona, wherever.
Given 500 years, it’s no surprise then that Nabokov, Danielewski, and even JJ Abrams in his authorial capacity, have all manipulated and played with the concept of the fourth wall, obfuscating, elaborating, or messing with readers’ expectations. Even Alan Moore’s Watchmen played with the fourth wall, using framing, captions, and font among others in order to play with the form.
There’s a delightful ramshackle quality to the newest album by Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs. All Her Fault has a spontaneous, lively sound, and wickedly witty lyrics. It’s the kind of album that is not only instantly engaging, but also gets better with each listen.
Morning Phase, Beck’s newest album and his first on Capitol Records, has been described as a companion piece to 2002′s Sea Change. Since I hadn’t heard Sea Change in a while, I thought I’d compare the two albums. What I discovered surprised me.
Present Tense, the latest album from Wild Beasts, is like the feeling of holding your breath and fighting back tears while watching an emotionally distressing movie in a quiet theater. You want to give in to your emotions, but the strain has a profoundly exquisite painfulness. Present Tense is darker and more somber than the band’s previous two albums and features far less florid prose. This doesn’t mean the lyrics are any less insightful; it simply means listeners must work harder to decipher them and reveal the beauty within. There’s nothing that’s not beautiful about Present Tense, even when it paints unpleasant portraits.
After a 25-year recording hiatus, The Woodentops have reappeared with Granular Tales, a pleasing return to form. The amazing thing? They don’t sound at all like a band that’s not recorded in a quarter of a century. Granular Tales is, for the most part, vital and alive and inventive.
By Luke Shaw
I’m increasingly wary of new TV recommendations, especially after the all that post-meth cook smoke was blown up so many collective asses that it got tiresome to even be involved in the show’s culture (Disclaimer: I like Breaking Bad but it isn’t the be all and end all of TV drama). It’s also because to even participate in conversations around that show without either being buffeted by so much screeching enthusiasm or labeled a disgruntled naysayer for having one bad word to say about any of its many elements was an absolute impossibility. So I tend to try and distance myself from the new stuff.
However, HBO have gone and put out something that piqued my intrigue so much that I just couldn’t stay away. So I am going to spend the next couple of hundred words blowing smoke up the collective asses of those of you who read this. I love the series format on TV, though I often regret the time investment, especially considering the way it’s frequently so reliant on commissioning and meeting episode quotas. It often feels like creators are wrestling with network and fan expectations and thus things pan out in uneven and bizarre ways. Sometimes this is good (it was great to see Jesse’s character evolved into a fuller role in Breaking Bad than showrunner Vince Gilligan had intended) and sometimes this is bad (cancellation of shows like Deadwood, shows being dragged on past their sell by date like The X-Files and many others). It’s an obstacle that few shows can guarantee that they can surmount.
True Detective is a familiar beast, but of different breeding. It has this prestigious idea of “authorship” behind it. It has a fixed writer with novelist Nic Pizzolatto and a fixed director in Cary Joji Fukunaga. It has brevity, with the first season being only eight episodes long, It has closure and finality; the show adheres to the anthology format so each season will be about a different scenario, with new faces, possible new locations. None of these are entirely new ideas, but the combination of all of these elements into one show is novel, to me at least. I may have missed a show; with millions of hours of TV it is entirely possible that I have, but that’s a task I can set myself later, with American Horror Story looking like an admirable starting point.
Dark Entries has quickly become one of my favorite labels, via both their new releases as well as their reissues of more obscure New Wave and dance music from the ’70s and ’80s. Their most recent reissues are from Big Ben Tribe, Lè Travo, and Victrola.
When the time comes move with the feeling,
Lend your young ears to the sound of day.
—Temples, “Move With The Season”
Upon a first listen to Sun Structures, the debut album from Temples, it’s tempting to wonder if they’re time travelers. Sun Structures is drenched in late ’60s and early ’70s psychedelia, full of fuzzy, chiming guitars, phase shifters, mellotrons, faux sitars, and harps. Certainly there are curmudgeons out there who would roll their eyes at “England’s premier retro-futurists,” sputtering the names of a long list of bands from whom these four young men are blatantly stealing. Yet Temples cheerfully admits to their influences, with dozens of YouTube clips posted on their Facebook page indicating who has provided inspiration.
Matters Of Mind, Body And Soul is the first Clan of Xymox studio album in several years, since 2012′s cover album Kindred Spirits. Because of this, and their sudden and short recent return to L.A., there has been some tradgoth excitement about this release. The result is safe but not boring: on the one hand, this album sounds like their music has always sounded; on the other, it’s new and varied.