Podcast July 14 – War for the Planet of the Apes, Despicable Me 3 and The Lost City of Z

Cory was full of new releases this week as he managed to get into the theater not once, but thrice:

Despicable Me 3 : This third entry in the now Minion dominated universe has several plotlines, most notably one where Gru (Steve Carell) discovers a long-lost brother (also Steve Carell), and another where he must do battle with a nefarious ’80s-themed villian Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker).

The Lost City of Z : Robert Pattinson continues to shine in indie fare in this Fitzcarraldo-inspired adventure into the jungle, where Pattinson accompanies Charlie Hunnam into the wilds of the Amazon. Terrible fates await, but helmer James Grey has a deft hand at dark drama and adventure.

War of the Planet of the Apes : The third entry in the now Ape dominated universe has Caesar defending his people once again from a last ditch effort by humankind to eradicate, or at least seek vengeance on the monkeys who have overrun the Earth. The leader of the humans is Woody Harrelson, but Andy Serkis still steals the show in all his mo-cap glory.

Tristan, on the other hand, went old-school and had a trio of older films to talk about:

The In-Laws (1979) : Alan Arkin and Peter Falk star in this buddy comedy where Falk is an “FBI agent”, perhaps, or he may just be a crazy person that ropes his son’s new father-in-law into a madcap adventure down to Honduras to take out a dictator on the same weekend as their children’s wedding. A highlight in both actors’ careers.

Willard (1971) : Another film that was unfortunately remade in 2003, Bruce Davison finds that he has the power to control rats, namely Ben and Socrates, and forces them to attack people that piss him off, like Ernest Borgnine.

David and Lisa (1962): Before he couldn’t handle robots in space, Keir Dullea couldn’t handle people touching him. For that, he seeks refuge in an outpatient hospital outside of Philadelphia, under the watchful eye of future Ben Franklin Howard da Silva. While there, David (Dullea) meets a lovely young girl Lisa (Janet Margolin) who only communicates in rhymes.

Join us once again as we dive straight into the wonderful world of cinema, and remember – comment responsibly:

Music to Your Ears – HAIM, Wolf Alice and Kesha

Here we are, to start off the summer, and what a way to start – a whole slew of female-led bands, or singers to serenade us into the dead heat of July. We’ve got the newest from HAIM, Broken Social Scene, and three new tracks – a surprise from Kesha, and the latest from Wolf Alice and Cults!

HAIM – Something to Tell You

Four years ago, HAIM blew us away with their sensitive yet confident romance, their whimsical ’80s inspired pop telling us exactly what to expect: earnest yet endearing earworms for the forseeable future. In their second full-length album, the trio of sisters (their last name is the namesake) showcases their range, bringing several catchy tunes. In “You Never Knew” it appears that they branch out in to Fleetwood Mac standards, forcing a bit of a folk sound. They lyrics are at once both simplistic and complex, offering a vocabulary that belies their repetetive choruses. The true standout here is, and always has been, the girls’ vocals – Danielle leads the ship, while Este and Alana blend together like a Greek chorus of encouragement. While Danielle addresses the audience directly, her sisters are there to offer support when we fall off course, like sirens that mean to save us all.

Key Tracks: Right Now / Ready for You / Want You Back

Wolf Alice – “Don’t Delete the Kisses”

In a sort of understated version of HAIM, this mumblecore girl power group burst onto the scene around the same time, albeit in England. Several of their singles gained popularity across the pond on national public radio, where I managed to get my first wind of them. Since then, I’ve been eagerly anticipating a follow-up, one that can vault the band into a higher stratosphere. With “Don’t Delete the Kisses”, Wolf Alice has produced one of their sharpest songs yet, with a chorus that stabs you in the back, and then continues slicing its way through your insides. Singer Ellie Rowsell’s voice breaks as she, whispering, laments “And then I remember and I’m shy / That gossip’s eye will look too soon / And then I’m trapped, overthinking”. If HAIM is the subtly cheery answer to power pop, then Wolf Alice is their Negaduck.
Kesha – “Praying”

The past decade or so has been harrowing for Kesha Sebert, much more than many of us will ever realize. For the most part, the cherry on the sundae of her ordeals has been that the judge hearing her contract case ignored the fact that she wanted out of the deal with RCA because her producer Dr. Luke had also continually raped her. Just the idea that a victim would love to not be forced back together with such a monster was too much for the judge to comprehend, and thus we were helpless to watch one of our favorite artists stuck in a nightmare situation. Well, turning lemons into gold, Kesha has returned with one of her best songs to date.

Broken Social Scene – Hug of Thunder

Like a number of bands this year, it’s been a time of reunion. After seven years away from the Canadian pop world, the gang has returned to bestow upon us some more soothing protest pop. This time around, I think they’re the most fine-tuned I’ve heard an album. In the past, I feel some of their work was a tad disjointed, and I often found myself cherry picking different songs and placing them in various playlists, rather than listen the whole way here. Instead, after a majestic sunrise of an opening song in “Sol Luna”, the production in Hug of Thunder continues throughout, starting with with of the peppiest songs I’ve heard from Kevin Drew before, “Halfway Home”. There are certainly downtime songs, ones to chill out too, but there is an undercurrent of rage beneath the smooth tidings. Whether there’s something affecting them from south of the border or whether it’s just that age-old aging problem, this is definitively the most mature album from BSS, which is the most surprising thing of all after this much time.

Key Tracks: Stay Happy / Protest Song / Halfway Home

Cults“Offering”

One of my favorite bands of the past decade, I spent the latter part of 2011 heavily enamored with several tracks from Cults’ debut album, including “Go Outside”, “You Know What I Mean” and “Never Heal Myself”. Two years later, the duo debuted Static, which by any means would not be a sophomore slump (though critically it appeared so, and even by my high standards, it was not oft repeated). That underrated album deserves another listen, of course, and especially now that the band is preparing to send us another Offering. The title track is the first to be heard, and while it bares several hallmarks of that latter album, it’s always a good thing to see a band grow. “Offering” is fairly slow, but it illuminates singer Madeline Follin’s eerily soothing vocals. Rest assured, there will undoubtedly be more uptempo instrumentals to come, but I bet the pair just wanted to ease us back into their welcome arms.

 


Well, that’s all for now, folks. Looking ahead to next week, I may be taking another hiatus – as Cory and I will be traveling to the nordic wonderland that is Iceland. We’ll likely be at least slipping in a podcast this weekend before we go, but with only really one semi-interesting release this Friday (Coldplay’s Kaleidoscope EP) I plan on pushing Music to Your Ears back a week. That will find us with new releases from Lana Del Rey, Foster the People, and some likely surprises!

Podcast July 7 – The Beguiled, The Little Hours and Okja

After we all collectively celebrated the 241st birthday of our crumbling country, a handful of cinephiles convened on cinemas nationwide to see a film that showcased a time when the people of America were actually split apart.

We at Interjections saw The Beguiled, a remake of the Clint Eastwood Southern gothic film from 1971. Sofia Coppola guides this version with a steady hand, reimagining Colin Farrell in the role of the wounded Union soldier finds himself in a woman’s boarding school run by Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst. Elle Fanning contributes with another patent crazy vixen role.

Our special guest Kris joins Cory in his review of Cars 3 – waxing poetic about the majestic Pixar franchise as a whole. Here Lightning McQueen faces the most difficult challenge of his life – old age. Will Mater muck up the proceedings? Probably.

Speaking of old age, Tristan took in another recent indie film, the Jeff Baena helmed adaptation of The Decameron, The Little Hours, starring Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza and Kate Micucci as conflicted nuns living in a convent run by John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon. Dave Franco pulls his best Colin Farrell impression and hides in the convent as their gardener when he gets in trouble with his serf (Nick Offerman).

Kris brings us both a review of the Will Ferrell-Amy Poehler comedy The House, which has an amazing premise where the pair, finding themselves struggling to pay their daughter’s college tuition, naturally decide to open an underground casino in their basement. Will this redeem the surprisingly unfunny 2017 slate of comedies?

She also brings an overall review of the recent smash hit from Hulu, The Handmaid’s Tale, where Elisabeth Moss must discover what a woman’s true purpose is under the evil regime of Joseph Fiennes and other corrupt men.

Finally, Cory finishes off the week with the latest Netflix oddity – Bong Hoon-jo’s Okja, where Tilda Swinton pulls double-duty yet again as an evil capitalist attempting to turn a human-crafted giant pig into her newest bacon supply. ET be damned, the South Koreans really know how to tug at the heartstrings!

All this and some trailers, if you click on Aubrey Plaza below:

Remember, comment responsibly!

Music to Your Ears – ‘Murica Edition

All hail the stars and stripes – sorry to our international readers, but we’re all about America here today. Well, probably by the time I finish this write-up, it’ll be the 5th, a far more important holiday (Tristan’s birthday). However, we here at Interjections find music as American as apple pie, so without further adieu, we present you with our top four picks from the spring season, packaged and ready for the final sixteen at the end of the year:

In addition, I wanted to highlight the only new items worth mentioningfrom the past two weeks (besides the oft on repeat Baby Driver soundtrack):

Imagine Dragons – Evolve

With a solid following already devoted to the band, what more could we want to add to this already strikingly impressive band? Well first thing’s first, they want to provide us with a collection of catchy tunes to help us rock the warm nights away. What better than having Dolph Lundgren join you in your first music video from the album? There’s not much more to say, but this is definitely one of the most average rock albums of the year, and that’s saying a lot given the state of “rock” albums. A lot of the album sounds similar, and while I’m not sure it’s outstanding for any casual fans, there are some highlights here, and big fans of the band will be pleased.

Key Tracks: Believer / I Don’t Know Why / Whatever It Takes


Sorry for the delay, but we’re all ready to dive right into the summer, aren’t we? Next week there will be the second full HAIM album, as well as the comeback of Broken Social Scene, as well as some likely surprises!

Podcast June 30 – Baby Driver, GLOW and Spider-Man: Homecoming

So you thought we were a little light the last two weeks, did you? You were hoping for more content in the Interjections podcast? Well, buddy, we’ve got some relief for you, in the form of eleven new films and television shows. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Baby Driver – the lengthily developed heist film from Edgar Wright stars Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars) as a tinnitis-inflicted getaway driver who wrestles with morals and feelings amidst a catalogue of sketchy characters including Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eisa Gonzalez, Jon Bernthal and Flea. He’ll aim to survive and get to his new favorite waitress Lily James.
  • G.L.O.W. – Alison Brie follows Community alum Gillian Jacobs to Netflix with this semi-historical look at a strangely progressive time in wrestling’s history, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, an outlier cable show that premiered in the early 1980s. Marc Maron is the director of the outfit, and he and Brie must figure out how to get their gang of misfits into action.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming – Cory managed to sneak in a preview of next week’s massive Marvel blockbuster that sees Tom Holland take over everyone’s friendly neighborhood web-slinger. Here he’s under the guidance of OG Marvel elite Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) as the kid must handle double duty as a superhero and a regular teen, avoiding supervillian Vulture (Michael Keaton).
  • Transformers: The Last Knight – Somehow someone greenlight a fifth Transformers film, and not only are Michael Bay and Mark Wahlberg back, but Stanley Tucci shills by playing a drunk Merlin. Anthony Hopkins joins other actors like John Turturro, Jon Voight, Ken Jeong, Frances McDormand, Alan Tudyk, Jerrod Carmichael and Bernie Mac in embarassing himself by participating in this debacle.
  • The Belko Experiment – Earlier in the year, John C. McGinley, Tony Goldwyn and Michael Rooker were sent down to Columbia to participate in a Battle Royale style corporate free-for-all. Cory caught up with this one.
  • Wilson – Woody Harrelson shines in this indie adaptation of Daniel Clowe’s graphic novel, yet another story about a disaffected man-child that can’t adjust to real life, much like Clowes’ other work Ghost World and Art School Confidential.
  • The Neverending Story – Tristan at long last viewed this cult classic children’s fable that sees a young boy immersed in the strange world of Fantasia, where Bastian (Noah Hathaway) must save the world from a mysterious dark force overtaking the horizon. Dog-like dragon Falcor aids him as he traverses the land filled with sadness swamps and wolf-vampires.
  • 47 Meters Down – Mandy Moore rides on the slim coattails of last summer’s The Shallows by facing down a shark underwater.
  • Rough Night – The lady version of Very Bad Things finds a bachelorette party gone awry populated by Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Ilana Glazer, Zoe Kravitz and Jillian Bell.
  • Gifted – Chris Evans attempts to schmaltz up his image by taking on the role by mentoring a brilliant nephew who ends up in a nasty custody battle.
  • The Bad Batch – Ana Lily Aminpour’s sophomore film focuses on a strange apocalyptic landscape that former model Suki Waterhouse attempts to traverse, though she runs afoul of many an odd character, including Jason Momoa, Jim Carrey and Keanu Reeves.

All this and a ton of trailers below! Remember to comment responsibly:

Podcast June 23 – Once Upon a Time in Venice and Song to Song

It may not seem like it most of the time, but we here at Interjections work our darnedest to bring to you the hard-hitting news of our time.

This week finds us doing the Lord’s work by lowering ourselves in two dreadful directions: VOD, and Bruce Willis’ latest paycheck Once Upon a Time in Venice; and Terrence Malick’s latest opus Song to Song.

Those films may be some of the worst of the year, but that’s not the highlight of this week’s podcast – big news on the horizon came to us and the bulk of our discussion focuses on the upheaval on the Han Solo set, as directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were ousted in favor of everyone’s favorite Opie, Ron Howard.

Tune in below to hear Cory and Tristan discuss the latest developments and much more, remembering always to comment responsibly:

Music to Your Ears – Lorde, Fleet Foxes and Nickelback

Whew, after a week that saw very little in the way of worthwhile music, a flood of new tracks and albums came rushing down the pipeline for Father’s Day weekend. Some old favorites return, some new bands form their debuts and there may not even be enough space to talk about it all.

Lorde – Melodrama

Sophomore slumps can strike at any time. Luckily for Lorde, the Australian singer who vaulted to instant stardom amidst Grammy wins in 2013, she took enough time off that people forgot about her. Not that she minded, since the attention was a bit too much for the then sixteen years old. With her maturity comes a sense of relevance, which allows for a fine-tunes production this time around. The songs, all produced hand in hand with Bleachers creator Jack Antonoff, seem so polished that this can’t possibly be as good as we would have hoped for. But it is, seriously, so much so, that it rivals Bleachers, Spoon and The New Pornographers for album of the year so far. I may go on about this album towards the end of year, but suffice it to say the expected sophomore slump never settles in, as Lorde expands her horizons in ways we never expected. From the pain-filled ballad “Writer in the Dark” to the fun romp through “The Louvre” to an ode to late-night parties in “Homemade Dynamite” – the subjects aren’t too different from her teenage years, but her production has certainly stepped up its game.

Key Tracks: Supercut / Liability / The Louvre / Writer in the Dark

The Killers – The Man

The fear each time The Killers approach a new album is what sounds they’ll be attempting to evoke. It’s a long-standing open secret that frontman Brandon Flowers fancies himself a Bruce Springsteen, if born on the outskirts of Las Vegas. In that case, we sometimes get the worst of him – the posturing of Sam’s Town, a heavily divisive album that turned away many of the dance-pop youth that fell in love with them from their debut Hot Fuss. Luckily the die-hards found themselves in for treats with the next two solid, albeit dull efforts – Day & Age and Battle Born. The latter was more Springsteen, but more well done and less bombastic. Let’s say that was Flowers’ Nebraska, a dialed down love affair for the state of the band’s youth. From there Flowers’ embarked on a solo tour with two albums, one the worst of 2010, Flamingo and the other, 2015’s The Desired Effect, which at last had, well, the desired effect – Brandon Flowers had never sounded more like his hero. So, with all that in mind, we temper our expectations for a new song. Lucky for us, Flowers and the Killers have a ‘Wrecking Ball’ for us in the form of a rollicking new song that epitomizes the best qualities of the band’s history. You can dance, you can hear the masculinity oozing its way through the verses, and you can drive your way out of town to it. That’s all you need in a good Killers song.

Nickelback – Feed the Machine

Forgive me for not understanding the backlash to Nickelback all these years. I’ve always thought there were plenty more bands, mundane as all can be subjectively, that deserved harsher credit. For the Canadian outfit, it became particularly galling, and I think that influenced them even more as vocal cord surgeries and label changes attempted to derail the train. To call them mediocre is to do them an injustice, for if you listen to the lyrics, many are often more profound than any number of pop songs circulating constantly on the radio. Take “After the Rain”, a late entry in their newest album Feed the Machine where revitalized frontman Chad Kroeger yelps “The ticket to life as my mother once told me / Stick with your pride and you’re gonna be lonely”. I’m sorry, that’s better than their punk neighbor Justin Bieber begging for a second chance over and over again. To each his own, of course, but I’ve only ever slighted Nickelback in jest. Silver Side Up, easily their best entry, was the blueprint for the subsequent six albums – and now that they’ve proven their longevity, it’s clear that the band was ready to show off their best work. As a casual fan, I have to say that this is their best work in fifteen years. Rock on, you crazy diamonds.

Key Tracks: Feed the Machine / Must Be Nice / Silent Majority

Fleet Foxes – Crack-Up

Do not, and I repeat, do not attempt this album if you’re on the verge of slumber. It’s been a long time coming, especially for fans of the eloquent somnambulistic vocals emanating from lead singer Robin Peckold’s throat. However, this is not for the weak-hearted, or the coffee-deprived. While the writing and production value is through the roof, the mood is quite soft. Don’t get me wrong, Fleet Foxes is on top of the world here, coming out with an even more refined version of their previous album Helplessness Blues. If the direction they chose was one more in the vein of The Decemberists, where their folk tales are meant to lull rather than inspire, then they’re on the right track. I just think this is better background music than something for a group listen. Take care before sitting down with this, or worse – driving home at midnight to this. You’ll need a shot of Nodoz.

Key Tracks: Kept Woman / If You Need to, Keep Time on Me / Fool’s Errand

Queens of the Stone Age – The Way You Used to Do

Ever since I saw Josh Homme get super-pissed being played out during the credits for the 2014 Grammys, I knew he’d be back with a vengeance. Pure rock these days is a bit marginalized in popular culture, and there are enough thinkpieces out there that deny or confirm that thought, so I don’t need to go into it further. My standing is that with a dearth of rock stations, we’re sorely lacking a true rock band to unite behind. Take your Selena Gomez, your A$AP Rocky, your Beyonce – they’re all great, subjectively – there’s no one out there rocking like Queens of the Stone Age still do. You can’t pidgeonhole them in like Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters, who evolved with the times alongside Green Day, Blink-182 and even latter day Brit rock groups like The Strokes, The Kooks and Muse. Suffice it to say, other than those that evolved or dropped out, Queens of the Stone Age maintained that level we all wanted from rock – hard and loud, but with decipherable lyrics. We want to feel something from our music, not ironically, and Josh Homme has provided the 2017 version of that message: “If the world exploded behind us / I never noticed if it done / Let nobody dare confine us / I’ll bury anyone who does”. Just keep us up to date, Josh, and we’ll keep rocking along with you.

Hey Violet – From the Outside

I’ve got some odd feelings about this – it sounds like it’s of a place and time I’m no longer a part of, which I also feel makes me sound a bit old. If you recall the days when Paramoras starting out, about a decade ago, one of the most popular albums was Avril Lavigne’s The Best Damn Thing. Pink was still punk, having just released I’m Not Dead and yelled about fuckboys before we knew what they were. Now that time has passed, we’re on the lookout for the next group to take the charge – perhaps it could be Hey Violet, how about that? With songs like “O.D.D.” and “Hoodie”, they definitely might have the case for crowning a new queen of pop punk. Particularly evident of this women before men stage is “Guys My Age”, an anthem telling us all that nothing changes, dudes will always be complete oblivious jerks not worth your time. Here’s hoping they find a place to celebrate their riot grrrl status, like on a soundtrack similar to the one from 10 Things I Hate About You.

Key Tracks: Fuqboi / Guys My Age / Break My Heart / Unholy

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – The Nashville Sound

Two weeks ago I mentioned how much Dan Auerbach was channeling Van Morrison in his newest album. There’s a bigger contender for that sound later in June, in singer Jason Isbell. Heck, in the song “Molotov” Isbell even remarks that he ‘broke a promise to myself / Made a couple to a brown-eyed girl’ There’s also a bit of Ryan Adams’ voice in Isbell, the one-time singer as part of folk group Drive-By Truckers. In his fifth album with band “and the 400 Unit”, Isbell crafts new heart-fueled folk, a working-man’s thought-provoking ballad album. With songs like “Something to Love” and “Tupelo” Isbell is trying to overshadow his southern roots by evoking all his heroes, branching out across America. Truth is, you’re going to want that chicken-fried down home feeling by the end. He’s just welcoming you home to the Nashville sound.

Key Tracks: Cumberland Gap / Anxiety / Chaos and Clothes / Cumberland Gap

Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?

If you thought we were done with the Scissor Sisters style sound after the single by Queens of the Stone Age, then you were mistaken. Royal Blood is back, and thicker than ever. If you came to Music for Your Ears today hoping to get some dense rock, some pure drum and bass fuzz, then you came to the right place. What I’ve lamented has been missing from the rock scene is some British sensibility, and here, in lieu of a new Arctic Monkeys album, comes a pair of Brighton boys doing their damnedest to rock our socks off with beats like “Hole in Your Heart” and “She’s Creeping”. They’re at their best when they’re allowing their instruments to take over, but Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher can hold their own with the best of them, spouting lyrics like “Then she drags me by one finger / To her lips / Hook, line & sinker / Honey I’m a sucker when you linger” – oozing danger at every dropped chord. Take a listen, it won’t hurt.

Key Tracks: I Only Lie When I Love You / Hook, Line and Sinker / Don’t Tell


Alright. That enough for you? If you’re not exhausted from reading all of this and raring up to listen to it all yourself, then prepare for next week’s entries – good stuff from Cheap Trick, Portugal. the Man, Imagine Dragons, Coldplay, Beach House and more. We’ll also take amoment and reflect on the waning spring, warming up to summer by picking the best of the season – adding our choices to the end of the year battle.

Knowing the right time to talk about movies, music and television