Fans of The Venture Bros. are a diverse bunch, but at least two things unite us: a love of all things Venture, and patience. Though the show’s been around for 12 years now, it has yet to begin its sixth season. But unlike a lot of other animated television, particularly those in its Adult Swim family, The Venture Bros. has always displayed a high degree of polish in everything from the writing, voice acting, animation, and score.
What if I told you that you missed one of the best movies of 2014? What if I also told you that you never even heard of it? Luckily I didn’t make that mistake so I don’t want others to make it, either.
By Tyler Hodg
In their 15th year as a band, The Decemberists continue to release albums that sound nothing less than pure, and What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World is no exception. It’s modest. It’s relatable. It’s fantastic.
Elephant Micah’s (Joseph O’Connell) songs on Where In Our Woods sound archaic and primal, but in a quiet kind of way. They’re hushed and spare, connected to the earth and the air and the migratory patterns of birds. Where In Our Woods haunts and moves me, and I can’t stop thinking about it.
It’s difficult to describe the sound of the UK’s The Vagaband. They’re a little folky, with a dash of vaudeville, a generous dollop of rock, and a not fleeting resemblance to Pink Floyd. They traffic in pastoral sounds with interesting instrumentation. Their second album, Medicine For The Soul, is a pleasant surprise; it’s chock full of banjos and horns, jaw harps and fiddle, and charming, ear-wormy tunes, as well as a smart cover of a Ween song.
There’s only so much one can say about The Guest without starting to spoil the film’s many finely-crafted layers of plot revelation. But the setup in itself was intriguing enough for me to want to watch it, along with the knowledge that this comes to us from the extremely humorous, twisted, and subversive team of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett who also brought us the excellent You’re Next (review).
By Ben Van D
For many, Acid House is inextricably linked to a place and time—the dim, sometimes garish, and impossibly vibrant rave culture of the early ’90s. It harkens back to an intoxicated era of manic excess, quasi-spiritual tribe mentality, and devastatingly harsh comedowns. If you missed it, imagine Cirque de Soliel performing in 1960s revival costumes in an underground parking lot at twice the BPM through a set of broken speakers.
By Tyler Hodg
Thanks to Dan Mangan + Blacksmith’s new album Club Meds, the year 2015 has gotten off to an impressive start musically.
But before you listen to it, first thing’s first: grab your headphones, find an isolated area, and make sure to turn off all of the lights. Some albums deserve proper atmosphere for an optimal listening experience, and Club Meds is a prime example.
I liked Tony Lucca’s self-titled album better when I wasn’t paying full attention to it. Full of chunky guitar and “whoo”-ing backup singers, it’s decent, if pedestrian. The songwriting reflects nights out in California and frisky women, and Lucca’s voice is pretty swell; husky in the right places, soulful where it needs to be. The problem is listening to it closely. His voice deserves better than these songs. He can sing, and sing well, but the material isn’t strong enough.
By Tyler Hodg
A regrettable fact of music fandom is that it’s easy to come across inauthentic, materialistic garbage. Thankfully, the first offering from New York duo The Blancos—an EP titled Heartless Romantic—may be the most genuine collection of songs you will have the privilege of hearing. While their hip-hop/indie fusion sound includes familiar elements you may have heard before, Heartless Romantic is organically progressive and in a league of its own.