Blood Orange: Sandra’s Smile

Check out Blood Orange’s music video for “Sandra’s Smile” a song that Dev Hynes wrote about in protest of police brutality and its victims.

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The Lives of Others

I like to constantly harp upon to everyone I know about serious movies that are worth watching over the drivel that is coming out of Hollywood. One of those serious movies that I saw recently was “The Lives of Others”. This film has been circling around my head for a while until I finally had the chance to watch it and I must say it is one of the best films I have ever seen.

“The Lives of Others” is about Gerd Weisler a Stasi captain in East Germany during the year 1984. He is a great interrogator who prides himself on always finding spies or traitors who are working in support of West Germany. One day he takes it upon himself to spy upon Georg Dreyman, a playwright, who he believes is working for the West. However Weisler begins to develop mixed feelings about Dreyman and his girlfriend after listening in on their intimate conversations. His actions lead to dire consequences that affect everyone in involved.

“The Lives of Others” completely moved me with its absorbing plot and superb acting by its cast. The characters are all wrestling with morality ad doing the right thing even it costs them heavily. No one leaves unscathed.

This film had me thinking for days about how these types of films would fare in today’s world. It probably would not receive any attention and would not be seen by contemporary moviegoers but for few that actually seek it out. It is a shame but hopefully a return to meaningful films will come forth.

Generationals: Carrying the Torch

Indie pop band Generationals specializes in upbeat and simple songs that feature interesting guitar riffs. “Carrying the Torch” is one of their many catchy songs that you can’t help but feel positive and relaxed while listening to it. Check it out above.

James Hunter: Watch & Chain

James Hunter is one of those unique soul singers who is constantly flying under the radar. His music is rooted in 60’s soul with a modern twist that has many followers traveling the same path including Leon Bridges.  Hunter has not gained much mainstream attention but manages to churn out amazing music continuously while touring the U.K.

“Watch & Chain” is a song reminiscent of James Brown’s earnest and pleading voice. Hunter’s vocals blends naturally with the slow musical arrangement.

Lucero: Anjalee

I had the opportunity to see Lucero live for the first time last week. I caught a snippet of them back in 2011 at Warped Tour but I ignored them in favor of Hellogoodbye. Now that I know better I hope to see them whenever they come into town.

“Anjalee” is one of the band’s more punk rock sounding songs with its distorted guitars and fast pace. Ben Nichol’s gravely voice only adds to the song’s rough and ruggedness. Check it out above.

Shakey Graves: If Not For You

I first heard about Shakey Graves last year and have been following him ever since. His music is in the same vein as Two Gallants and Benjamin Booker with its folk blues influences. Shakey’s guitar playing is absolutely impeccable especially on “If Not For You”. Check it out above.

Radiohead: All I Need (live)

I have been revisiting Radiohead’s discography the past few days and I am discovering just how much I love their music. Each record a complete opposite of the one before it. Always experimental and pushing the limits of what they create it is not hard to see why Radiohead is the best band in the world.

“All I Need” is one of the first tracks that I completely latched on when I heard their album “In Rainbows”. It is both melancholy and hopeful as the songs builds to the end. This live version is so amazing that you feel as if you are listening to the record; Thom Yorke’s vocals are spot-on. Check it out above.

The Piano Teacher

I had heard about Michael Haneke’s “The Piano Teacher” many years ago and finally had a chance to watch it. The movie turned out to be more than what I expected. I thought the movie was going to be a chore to get through and would move at a glacial pace but man was I surprised.

“The Piano Teacher” is about Erika Kohut (Isabelle Huppert) a piano professor who teaches in Vienna. She is hard, cold and does not hold back when trying to get more out of her students. Erika lives with her domineering and controlling mother who intervenes in every aspect of Erika’s life. Erika’s only release is in the form of pornography and self-mutilation until she meets Walter Klemmer.

Walter is a young pianist who takes an instant liking to Erika after hearing her play at a recital. Walter and Erika engage in a relationship where Erika attempts to control it by teasing and depriving Walter of any affection. Things become even more heightened when Erika gives Walter a list of things she wants him to do to her which leads to a dramatic conclusion.

Michael Haneke specializes in uncomfortability and this movie is that. The audience feels sympathy for Erika’s repressed life and can understand her sexual leanings. She is socially inept when it comes to relationships and goes about it in an unconventional way which throws Walter off-balance.

The movie’s ending also seems to provide further understanding to just how dissociated Erika is from the people around her. Overall “The Piano Teacher” is an interesting depiction of a woman’s need to feel and experience more than what her static life provides.

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