Music to Your Ears – Nas, Dave Matthews Band, Christina Aguilera and Mike Shinoda

With the World Cup last week, it became apparent that I was only going to get one article done. I chose that timely sports highlight, and figured I could compound the last two weeks together. In fact, there was really enough from both weeks to fill one week, so it all worked out just fine. Here’s what we’re listening to for the dog days of summer:

Dave Matthews Band – Come Tomorrow

Our first stop, which came last week, was the highlight of my week for two reasons – I went to both of his Philly shows over the weekend! Truly I became immediately enraptured with this latest work from Dave Matthews and his band, and it is considerably well produced in light of following two lesser albums from the group. I wonder if there’s something to do with the bravado this band exudes in the face of darkness surrounding us in the outside world. For two nights in the BB&T Pavilion, it felt like Dave’s music could still save us and left us with hope for a better and more peaceful world, in spite of what was happening in the country around us. That’s what this album represents, and with intricately sublime guitar magic alongside his longtime fellow members Carter Beauford (drums), Stefan Lessard (bass) and Tim Reynolds (lead guitar). Dave stretches his voice in the remarkable “That Girl Is You” but he never overextends his welcome, easing back into the instrumentals on the intro to “Black and Blue Bird” – the incomprehensibly titled “bkdkdkdd”. Never doubt the fun this band has, even if it’s a language all their own.

Key Tracks: Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin) / That Girl Is You / Do You Remember

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Podcast June 15 – The Incredibles 2, Tag, Hereditary, First Reformed, Ocean’s 8 and Hotel Artemis

June is one hell of a month this year. On what is now the Interjections Third Anniversary podcast, Cory and Tristan discuss a mere thirteen films on the way to one of their biggest episodes yet.

That’s right, June 13th was the inception of the Interjections discussions (and it also happens to fall on Cory’s birthday). With that in mind, and a bit of busy work days last week, we decided to pack two weeks into one for a blockbuster conversation. On top of that, several films we’d been clamoring to see dropped all at once. In order, we cover:

1) Tag – Jeremy Renner and his team of pals have been playing a game of tag for thirty years in this comedy also starring Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson and Hannibal Buress.

2) The Incredibles 2 – The long-awaited sequel to what some say is Pixar’s greatest film. Was it worth the wait? Meet back up with the Parr family as they take on the last fifteen years of superhero films, and Mr. Mom.

3) Ocean’s 8 – Sandra Bullock recruits seven like-minded ladies for the perfect heist – a super-expensive diamond necklace at the Met Gala. She uses her genetic skills to craft the perfect crime (turns out, she’s Danny Ocean’s hereto unforeseen sister.)

4) Social Animals – an Austin set romantic comedy starring Noel Wells and Josh Radnor as they navigate how hard it is to actually make a good romantic comedy.

5) Ibiza – Netflix ponied up the money for Gillian Jacobs, Vanessa Bayer and Phoebe Robinson to take a vacation in Barcelona and the nearby island of Ibiza. They meet super-hunk DJ Richard Madden there.

6) Action Point – Jackass patriarch Johnny Knoxville pulls off some pranks in this loosely comedic romp in the fictional Action Point theme park, based on the shoddy Action Park from 1970’s northern NJ.

7) Book Club – The nonagenarian set will love this female-driven version of Last Vegas starring Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda and…Last Vegas star Mary Steenburgen.

8) Hotel Artemis – This zany action thriller stars Jodie Foster and Sterling K. Brown as they attempt to stave off mercenaries led by Jeff Goldblum. I was sold at zany.

9) 211 – Nicolas Cage gets roped into another half-baked straight-to-video thriller, this one about burglary or some such nonsense.

10) Blade Runner – Tristan finally watched the movie that launched a thousand director’s cuts! Harrison Ford might be a robot, or he might just have had a close shave at the barber! What did Tristan think?

11) Adrift – A surprisingly well crafted lost at sea picture starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin.

12) First Reformed – Ethan Hawke dazzles in this soft-spoken drama about the pastor in a pre-Revolutionary war church who must confront a member who is having second thoughts about bringing a child into the world. What follows is one of Hawke’s best performances.

13) Hereditary – The horror picture everyone’s talking about was Cory’s birthday film, so it’s fittingly final in our massive podcast. Is it worth seeing in person? Is it too scary to see alone? Is the ending too divisive to even bother? Let’s unpack this.

Last but not least, we dive into not just one, but 25 new trailers that debuted in the past week and a half. What, did they dump everything for the fall just now? Rapid fire suggestions ensue.

Without further adieu, here’s the podcast:

Don’t forget to comment responsibly!

Good Sports: World Cup 2018 Preview

Surprise, America! That’s right, the World Cup starts tomorrow. How did this pop up so quickly on us? The rest of the world has been hungrily anticipating this for some time now, but as the American national team is pretty much a garbage fire, it’s all but a footnote until the day comes to televise the event.

Without further adieu, let’s take a glance at the 24 teams vying for the title of greatest in the football world:

Group A – Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay

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The 2018 host nation has a much better chance of advancing to the second round than its predecessor South Africa (the first nation to fail in the group stage). Its opponents are a blooming Saudi Arabia, upstart Egypt and the ever underestimated Uruguay. If anything else, the host status may not help them overcome what appears to be more of an even group then earlier realized. My pick for the lead here is Uruguay, though I have a soft spot for underdogs like Saudi Arabia as well. Russia will have to win the opener tomorrow at 11am to prove they’re here to host like champions. Egypt, while somewhat considered an afterthought, could equally play spoiler if goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary stands on his head. Advances: Uruguay, Russia

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Music to Your Ears – Kanye West, Father John Misty and Gorillaz

Never mind, there was plenty to talk about this week! Owl City is joined by ye himself, in a self-titled personal memoir inscribed with the statement “I hate being bi-polar, it’s awesome”. There’s also new stuff from Gorillaz, Neko Case and a surprisingly deft cover of Toto’s “Africa” by everyone’s favorite California neverbloomers:

Kanye West – ye

A musician’s career is a strange beast. None have been scrutinized in the past decade, I believe, as America’s beloved Kanye West. With his latest album releasing this past Friday, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that he’s either aging out of his own genre or losing grip on reality itself. I know he’s capable of something artistically majestic; he gave us My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. By now, he’s reveling in his broken-ness. It’s somewhat a shame to watch Kanye go down this rabbit hole, as I think there’s still something left in the tank before he’s cast off to the elder statesman role. Maybe he’s just trolling us with the first few tracks, because the real meat of ye is in the second half, where Kid Cudi and Charlie Wilson drop in for “No Mistakes” and there are other uncredited guest spots from Cudi and a phenomenal find in 070 Shake, rescuing the lost cause in “Ghost Town”. I’m actually sort of disappointed that the last track, “Violent Crimes” ends so abruptly, as the album was starting to heat up right at the wrong moment.

Key Tracks: Ghost Town / No Mistakes / Violent Crimes

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Podcast June 2 – Upgrade, Gringo and The Vanishing of Sidney Hall

After the last few weekends of expectedly huge blockbusters, the cinemas took a rest considering they might be overdoing it a bit. In Solo’s stead, a trio of minor films released this weekend, and Cory managed to see the most intriguing: Upgrade, by Leigh Wannell and starring Logan Marshall-Green (Spider-Man: Homecoming).

Tristan found recent indie The Vanishing of Sidney Hall on Amazon Prime, while Cory saw early March release Gringo as the pair caught up on winter releases.

There’s not too much to this week’s edition of the Interjections podcast, just three simple film reviews. So sit back, put your headphones on and take a listen in:

As always, remember to comment responsibly.

Music to Your Ears – Chvrches, Snow Patrol and Courtney Barnett

Another week, another double dose forced because of busy work weekends. Actually, this weekend was our frequent podcast guest Jeff Seesselberg’s birthday – the big 3-0. So there was a pretty good reason I didn’t get a chance to slip this into the site, as I was working and helping to prep our big camping trip. Heck, I’m lucky I managed to see Solo at any point. As it is, last week was a bit slim with content (Now, Now and Courtney Barnett are our highlights). This week saw perhaps my favorite band releasing their third album (Chvrches – Love is Dead) and an old favorite, Snow Patrol, returning after a seven-year hiatus. Let’s check it all out:

Florence and the Machine – “Hunger”

The stark open, detailing an anorexia analogy for young love, positions Florence as the edgier version of Adele, the right shoulder devil to her left angel. She paints a feeling all too familiar, of unrequited adoration settled in past innocence. Ms Welch has grown considerably since the dog days of Kiss With a Fist, and this foretells a stellar record later this month. Her signature warble anchors us by the time the instrumentals strike up, otherwise we would sink underneath the weight of the metaphor. It’s a powerful punch, and one that will likely be bolstered by subsequent singles.

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Podcast May 28th – Solo

Not too much differentiates this week’s belated edition of the Interjections podcast, though the main featured film is the latest Star Wars epic puzzle piece: Solo, the origin story of everyone’s favorite smuggler.

A lot has been said about whether this was necessary, as the mystery and intrigue surrounding Princess Leia’s one-time paramour was one of the best parts of the original Star Wars tale, but what did Cory and Tristan think?

Listen in below as you digest your hot dogs and hamburgers, and never forget to comment responsibly:

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