"Singles:" Future Islands
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"Singles:" Future Islands
Philly’s Chinatown is a great destination no matter the time of day, but many of its delights stay open long into the evening. So, hop on the Market–Frankford line, hop off at 11th, and head to 10th and Arch to be in the thick of it. It’s time for a treat.
I want my nostrils to burn. I want my eyes to water. I want my mouth constantly salivating because the smell and thoughts associated with it are so strong. I want the Sriracha factory to move to Philadelphia.
Treason is a serious charge. It refers to the highest crimes against a nation—say, supporting the secession of a territory or speaking out too publicly about the past. Consider becoming the citizen of another country and chances are no one will call you a traitor. They might criticize your lack of patriotism, but either way you can still maintain your American citizenship. If you’re Chinese, the situation is a little bit different, especially if you choose to leave home and venture west for college. At Penn, native Chinese students are a large, if quiet, presence on campus. Though they may be from a country considered America’s “rival,” some of these students are drawn to a life outside of China after studying abroad, wishing to continue their international experience after graduation. For that, they may need a U.S. (or other) passport, and for them, it involves a more difficult choice than many other international students face.
Tennis, like its namesake game, is easy to follow. Any release by the gentle pop group tends to hinge upon relatively simple vocal harmonies and twee lyrics marred by a twinge of longing. “Small Sound,” the trio’s latest release, doesn’t stray far from this formula, though, ultimately, the EP proves satsifying. While Tennis may be simple, its music tends to elicit thoughts of sepia–tinged fall, providing an easy–listening experience. “Small Sound” does mix things up a little bit, adding an edgier, jazzy vibe to its final three tracks—even faintly evoking the sound of a peppier “Veckatimest”–era Grizzly Bear on “Dimming Light.” Tennis succeeds most when it builds upon its established formula, particularly with the closing track, “100 Lovers.” Simultaneously bouncy, harmonious and (almost painfully) sepia–stained, “100 Lovers” is a saccharine triumph. The song is almost too cloyingly sweet for the eardrums, yet manages to catch itself before it ventures into unpleasantness. Tennis has produced a conflicting EP; “Small Sounds” switches up the stale formula that Tennis relies on, but only just enough to whet the listener’s appetite in wait for the band’s next LP. “Small Sounds” is a good step, but hopefully Tennis’ next effort offers up something a little more exploratory.
We get it, Wes Anderson, you’re quirky. Your movies have a distinctive style. You pull talent from both the most obscure and most recognizable places and you’re a sucker for chase scenes set to wacky music. I like you, Wes. I like that style; I like your actors, and I even like the use of pastels from time to time. I like the trailer for your newest offering, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Unfortunately, in some ways, I also hate it.
It’s winter of 2009. Billy Mays has died, Penn 2014 is about to finish high school and Ed, Edd and Eddy is off the air. All of these landmark events pale in comparison to one of my personal discoveries that year—a small, indie band from Florida named Surfer Blood that released its first LP, Astro Coast, in that same year.
Absolute decay is both physical and moral. Taking us through each remaining character's rapid disintegration, “Granite State” emphasized this above all else. Almost every scene is intentionally reminiscent of the pilot, giving the impression that Vince Gilligan’s work truly has been crafted from beginning to end, despite claims otherwise.
Tap photo: mutual friends, mutual interests—swipe right. Tap photo: no friends, no interests—swipe left. Unless I slip, rarely do I swipe left on Tinder.
Last night’s “Ozymandias” opened with a stunning aside from season one, which transported us back to one of Walt and Jesse’s first cooks. In this sweet time, Walt was still relatively naïve, covering his tracks in a more believable manner because of lack of practice, and showing genuine love for his Skyler, Jr. and the as–of–then unborn Holly. Of course, this entire segment functioned as a surreal foreshadowing of the episode’s later events, as the camera panned slightly too long over the Whites’ knife block, and as the married couple discussed Holly. The gradual fade out of this scene was jarring and presumably intentional, a grim reminder to the audience that though Walt’s old practice of cooking in his skivvies may have seemed like a low point, those days were shockingly innocent.
Vince Gilligan has once again proven that “Breaking Bad” substantially increases with quality in every season. Picking up just a few minutes before “Rabid Dog” ended, “To’hajiilee” commences with a serious sense of foreboding before careening into what is surely the most exciting episode (and subsequent cliffhanger) of the season.
Jesse Pinkman has been in high demand recently, probably because he’s been MIA (but not AT MIA) most of the season. After all, he’s been spiraling downwards ever since the events of last season’s “Gliding Over All." So, it was definitely nice to catch up with America’s favorite meth–cooking sweetheart, even if he has gone rogue.
City Rain wants to know: is there an optimist in you? Last week, Philadelphia native Ben Runyan released the video for his new single as City Rain, "The Optimist," following shorty after the electronic duo's last effort, 2012's "Montage" EP. Simultaneously joyous and somewhat regretful, "The Optimist" features beautiful shots of Philadelphia and an abstract tale of love and the pains it brings. The smokey, often heavily filtered visuals mesh brilliantly with the gruffness of Runyan's voice and twang of the guitar, showcasing an evolved, more mature sound from the duo. Currently, City Rain consists of Ben Runyan and Scott Cumpstone, and their next video should be dropping in a few weeks. For now, check out "The Optimist" below.
David Bowie’s “The Next Day” has proven problematic to discuss. With so much esteem for the album floating around already, the words do not come easily. “The Next Day” is something of a culmination, both literal and figurative proof that the Thin White Duke may have aged, but he hasn’t lost any of his rock, soul or morphological mysticism. Rather, Bowie’s age factors into the album as he allows himself a higher vantage point—one overlooking his career, his relationships and his existence. Though each track may not immediately flow into the next, they all offer a window into Bowie’s varying stylistic prowess, jumping in flavor from the hyper–kinetic, titular song to the lurching “Dirty Boys,” before closing on the morose, pondering “Heat.” Perhaps “The Next Day” may be disjointed between tracks, but its overall thematic cohesion overcomes the melodic disparity, resulting in an extremely important album that may, bittersweetly, be the last Bowie we can bow before.
Fresh from his interview on Thursday, kechPhrase has linked Street with one of his new tracks, "Anything," featuring producer Kool AD (formerly of Das Racist). Not only does kech utilize his guest stars to their fullest ability, his deftly weaves his own words into a paradoxically staccato flow — but one that works. Lyrically, kechPhrase evokes at times a less–pretentious Childish Gambino, yet also lacks the same degree of personality as Gambino or Kendrick Lamaar. Undeniably catchy and beautifully produced, kechPhrase may want to consider lowering down some walls for his next move, creating a walked walk behind his talked talk.
Bowie is back, bros. With a style and finesse that seem to transcend time and age, David Bowie just released the first single from his first album in ten years, "The Next Day." Bowie builds a beautiful crescendo throughout the track as he opens on a relatively mellow, lounge–like note before transitioning to a militant beat towards the close. Lyrically, Bowie evokes some of his best work, deftly weaving English and German together, though he falls prey to the latter’s garbled nature. Despite lyrical depth, keep a look out for all the possible Bowie translations, especially when it comes to Crossburs and Books, eh?
Whenever I watch Lord of the Rings, all I can do fidget anxiously until Ian McKellan gets on screen and starts denying everyone their passage. Whenever I listen to OK Go’s “This Too Shall Pass,” I yearn for the moment when they finally decide that none shall pass. They never do, but that all changes now. Thanks to Aesop Rock and some enterprising Internet–folk, I can inspire myself to not–pass all I want.
World Cafe Live
A–Space (4722 Baltimore Ave.) A self–titled “anarchist community space,” A–Space is run by a group of anarchists who collectively run every aspect of its business. As such, it hosts weekly community service projects, art shows and interest meetings. Perhaps one of Philly’s most curious locations, A–Space is an experiment in anarchy for the public good — one which seems to work for the most part.
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