Silverstein: This Is How The Wind Shifts

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Post-hardcore has always been a genre that I have not really listened to.  Before I considered the screaming vocals a bit too much to sit down and listen to. I thought that I could never get into that music until recently.

After really listening to Brand New’s “Daisy”, I set out to indulge in this genre. I came across Silverstein and checked out their latest album “This Is How The Wind Shifts”. This was my first listen to anything from this band and now I am a fan.

The album opens with the heavy and fast “Stand Amid The Roar”. This song is one of the best tracks on the record. I instantly took a liking to the guitar work on this song with its crescendo-like chords. “On Brave Mountains We Conquer” is another standout track on the record with its strictly pop-punk sound.

“Hide Your Secrets” is a much slower song on the album with its quiet riffs. “Arrivals” is about the end of a relationship and is sung earnestly by Shane Todd. The album as a whole is quite absorbing and with its plaintive lyrics and constant aggression I couldn’t stop listening. I am now very interested in hearing the band’s earlier works.

Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus

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Sebastian Silva’s “Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus” is one of the funniest and weirdest movies I have seen this year. It stars Michael Cera as Jamie, an American whose in traveling in Chile. He enlists the help of his friend Champa and his brothers in obtaining a San Pedro cactus so that they could use it for hallucinogenic purposes.

Jamie meets a woman named Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffmann) at a party and in a moment of drunkenness he invites her to come with him and Champa (Juan Andres Silva) on a road trip. The following day when Jamie and Champa are heading out on the road he receives a phonecall from Crystal Fairy who tells him that she is waiting for him at the station he told her about the previous night. Both Jamie and Champa is surprised that she is actually coming along and her presence causes quite a discomfort for Jamie who wants to experience everything his own way. This friction leads to series of comic events and a revelation that changes their perspectives of one another.

I could not stop laughing while watching this movie. Both Michael Cera and Gaby Hoffmann were hilarious in their roles. Cera’s Jamie is a self-absorbed young man who cares only about doing things his own way. Crystal Fairy on the other hand is fun-loving and free-spirited. She tries several times to connect with Jamie who makes fun of her and does not take her seriously.

The movie becomes serious towards the end with a dark secret that is revealed that completely changes the entire film from then on. Sebastian Silva does a great job with his material at hand and trying to present the differences of people and the connections that come forth from random encounters. This movie is definitely worth watching.

90’s Nostalgia: Soundgarden- Fell On Black Days

I heard Soundgarden’s “Fell On Black Days” a few days ago and I completely forgot just how terrific this band is. I quickly set out to check out their entire discography and came to the conclusion that Chris Cornell is one of the greatest singers ever and has a magical touch with every song or band that he graces.

“Fell On Black Days” is a moody and dark song especially with its downbeat guitars and Cornell’s soulful voice. The aggressive chorus is provides an immediate contrast to the rest of the song. Check it out.

90’s Nostalgia: The House of Yes

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I have been on this binge of Parker Posey films after reading an article that described as the “Queen of Indies”. I set it upon myself to watch some of her films to get a better idea of her as an actress. The film “The House of Yes” definitely showcases her acting ability in a very disturbing but hilarious film.

“The House of Yes” is about a pair of siblings Jackie-O (Posey) and Marty Pascal (Josh Hamilton) who have a very complicated relationship. Jackie-O is a mentally unbalanced woman who thinks of herself as Jackie Kennedy. She emulates her mannerisms as well as the way that she dresses. Their younger brother Anthony (Freddy Prinze Jr.) spends his time trying to keep Jackie-O happy and calm especially after a horrible incident where she hurt Marty.

Marty who has been away from home for a while arrives with the news that he is engaged to Lesly (Tori Spelling). This causes disruption in the entire family especially for Jackie-O who is in love with Marty.

While watching this movie my eyes were glued to the screen. I was so hooked by the total ridiculousness of Jackie-O’s infatuation with her own brother as well as their dysfunctional family. The one irritating thing about the film was Tori Spelling whose performance was absolutely terrible. Spelling’s Lesly is so naive and accommodating that it is really sickening to see. The film could have been better without Spelling who hurts this film.

Otherwise “The House of Yes” is quite interesting and funny with its dark subject matter. Parker Posey’s performance alone is worth watching.

Sum 41: Fat Lip

Pop-punk has always been my favorite genre of music. So many bands exploded onto the scene in the late 90’s- early 2000’s that catered to this genre.  I spent my formative years scouring through all these bands and trying to pick out the best of the best. Sum 41 is one of the standout bands of this period.

“Fat Lip” is arguably one of their best songs with its catchy lyrics and rap verses. I spent many days listening to this song on repeat and wishing I knew how to play a guitar so I can play it. Instead I had to settle with air guitar which is the next best thing. Check it out.

90’s Nostalgia: Kicking and Screaming

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Noah Baumbach’s “Kicking and Screaming” is a fine example of the trials and inability to grow up. The film revolves around college graduates who are trying to figure out what to do with their lives after college. The prospects that they once thought was for them is now gone in the face of reality.

“Kicking and Screaming” stars Josh Hamilton as Grover, a college graduate whose girlfriend leaves him to go overseas to work. Grover finds himself as well as his friends trying to figure what to do with their lives now that their college days are over. He meets various girls while ignoring his girlfriend’s messages left on his answering machine. His friends also avoid responsibilities by spending their time drinking and wasting days doing nothing.

I really enjoyed this film’s portrayal of the fear of adulthood that the characters have. They each had several goals or aspirations for their lives after college but have chosen not to pursue them due to various reasons like fear of the unknown, changing and finding happiness independent of those that you are close to. Each character shuns a direct approach to life in favor of staying the same.

The ensemble cast of Parker Posey, Eric Stoltz, and Josh Hamilton due a tremendous job of showing that fear of moving out of your comfort zone and into the challenges of being an adult.

Drake: Days in the East

Over the past few years, it seems like Drake has been on a creative high. Last year’s “Nothing Was the Same” was a stellar album that showcased the different direction that Drake was going for. The album featured more downbeat and moody songs and also had few guest appearances by other artists.

The past few months Drake has released several new songs including ‘Days in the East’ which features him rapping and singing over a sparse and melancholic beat. With this new addition to an already remarkable discography it seems like there is nothing that Drake can do wrong.