I have been a fan of director Steve McQueen after watching his 2011 film “Shame”. The movie which stars Michael Fassbender as a man with a sexual addiction instantly captivated me with its moving portrayal of a man who is unable to confront his demons. I watched McQueen’s first film “Hunger” a short while after and was also impressed. The movie also stars Fassbender.
It took me some time to watch “12 Years A Slave”, a lot of it had to do with the publicity surrounding it and McQueen branching out to a major studio film production. I guess I wanted him to stay low-key which is selfish of me to say but I didn’t want him to become roped into Hollywood movies.
After watching this film however, I am still reminded why I admire McQueen. His ability to draw forth intense performances from his actors as well as emotional vulnerabilities is quite fascinating. Lead actor Chiwetel Ejiofor holds nothing back as Solomon Northup a free man who is sold into slavery and endures countless brutalities until his eventual release from slavery’s hold.
I have to say the best part of this film would have to be Michael Fassbender’s performance as the evil plantation owner Edward Epps. This was the first time I saw Fassbender play the main villain and I have to say he does a tremendous job portraying a man without any humanity. The overall movie is beautifully shot and showcases amazing performances by the cast and I am anxiously awaiting what McQueen will do next.
Australian indie rock band High Highs released their debut album “Open Season” last year. The album features a low-key folk rock/indie rock sound with a gradually building atmosphere. Vocalist and guitarist Jack Milas’ voice swirls around the softly chiming guitars.
“Bridge” is one of the best tracks on the album. It is one of the most reflective songs on the record with its slow tempo and gentle vocals. Check it out.
When Miguel released his debut album “All I Want is You” in 2010, the record seemed to disappear as quickly as it came out. The title track which featured rapper J. Cole was a modest hit and that was as far as the singles from the album went. This lack of attention seemed to fuel a fire in Miguel who completely changed his sound as well as his appearance. He opted for a more experimental sound with his music which produced the critically acclaimed album “Kaleidoscope Dream”.
In this video Miguel does a live acoustic session for NPR music. Check out why he is now getting the attention he deserves.
A Tribe Called Quest is one of the best rap groups when it comes to taking it easy and unwinding. Their laid-back flow and jazzy beats always does the trick. No matter how annoyed or agitated you may be, their music instantly calms you down and puts things into perspective.
Their discography is definitely a treasure to behold with countless songs that have become classics. One of their outstanding tracks from the plenty is “Phony Rappers”. On this song the group goes for a darker sound and speaking heavily on what they perceive to be the detriment of hip hop music. Check it out.
Cymbals Eat Guitars are releasing their third album “Lose” tomorrow and the singles they have released in support of the album have been absolutely amazing. “Warning” is one of those great tracks that still showcases the band’s noise rock influences. It is loud and abrasive but also reflective. Check it out.
Spike Jonze has become an auteur in film-making for his unique and interesting films. All of his films have been met with critical acclaim and have topped critics best films lists. In 2010 he made a short film called “I’m Here” which was based upon the book “The Giving Tree”. Andrew Garfield and Sienna Guillory star as robots who live in a futuristic Los Angeles where humans and robots co-exist. A relationship blossoms between the two robots as they get to know each other.
Bloc Party frontman and house producer Kele is releasing his new album “Trick” this October. The teaser suggests that the album is going to have a UK garage feel which will fit well with Kele’s vocals. Check it out.