Depending on your point of view, 2020 is not necessarily being looked forward to with unmitigated glee. After all, by this time next year, we my be making like Offred, and heading for the Canadian border.
In the meantime, we’ll at least have Pussy Riot to deliver us from evil, if only temporarily. Indeed, the Russian seditionary collective has just announced a North American tour, which will take them from the 1720 in Los Angeles on March 13 to Phoenix on April 15, with stops at the Metro in Chicago and King’s Hall at Avant Gardner in Brooklyn, before they hit the North for one last gig in Toronto in May. We had planned to follow them to the ends of the earth – though this makes it considerably easier, obviously.
Get the full schedule of dates here, and while you’re picking a show, listen to the awesomeness of recently released single “1937.”
With music seemingly have backed down from its position at the front lines of the culture wars, comedy has been courageously storming the barricades in its place. And though speaking truth to power in a post-truth world may have a faint whiff of futility about it, doing nothing would hardly be an acceptable alternative.
Female voices are especially significant in a #MeToo era when even the President publicly sanctions sexual assault. And Michelle Wolf‘s unflinchingly fearless (and really bloody hilarious) performance at the 2018 White House Correspondents Dinner sent her rocketing to the front of the pack, after a notable run at The Daily Show. The hurt-feelings president later weighed in that, “So-called comedian Michelle Wolf bombed so badly”…which means she obviously did completely the opposite.
Now she’s back with a new Netflix special, pithily titled Joke Show, and the first trailer is out. For it, a very funny bit on otters “raping” baby seals is excerpted. And like all the best comedians do, she somehow makes a labradoodle breeding joke a metaphor for sexual consent. Even better, she sneaks in a potshot at Instagram. (“That’s how we prove life happens.”)
Joke Show debuts December 10 on Netflix. And if ever a year needed to end on a laugh, it was 2019. So, obviously, don’t miss it.
Thievery Corporation arguably sonically defined an era, cooly soundtracking the stylish goings on of those heady years between 2000 and 2009 (and even running D.C.’s 18th Street Lounge, one of the definitive nightclubs of that time), before our optimism all came crashing down in a landslide of banking scandals and subsequent recessions.
The exalted electronic duo of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton returned in 2017 with a successful tour and new album The Temple of I & I. And now Garza had gone solo, with the just released EP Where the Moon Hides, on Magnetic Moon Records. The title track is utterly stunning, a dreamy, ethereal synth-pop masterpiece, with a breathy, alluring vocal performance by budding young Providence singer Emeline.
“This EP and project started with the intent of writing for other artists,” Garza explains. “As it started to evolve, it grew into a collaborative experience, working with younger singers, writers and producers. Letting the music lead the way, it opened into different forms, genres and sounds, with a more modern electronic edge.”
Garza will also launch and 18-date North American tour in early February, which includes two nights at Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Music Hall.
It boggles the mind that 23 years has passed since a young Gwyneth Paltrow played the legendarily meddling, I-know-better-than-everyone-but-I-really-don’t character Emma Woodhouse in the 1996 (cringe) Miramax film, simply titled Emma. And charming as she was, as fans of the original Jane Austen novel of the same name, we always thought someone might come along and give the role a bit more panache and pizzaz.
Now comes that opportunity, with director Autumn de Wilde’s eagerly anticipated new update, due out (how appropriately) this coming Valentine’s Day, 2020, via Focus Features. Indeed, Emma is well-known for interfering in the love lives of everyone around her, while remaining completely clueless how to manage her own.
This time another American (born, at least), Anya-Taylor Joy, takes on the role – though she is hardly well known, save for a recent recurring turn in Netflix’ Peaky Blinders. And from the first trailer, which we are debuting here, she seems to play Emma with the expected level of naive cheek and self-satisfied sauciness.
The film also stars Johnny Flynn, the always magnificent Bill Nighy as Emma’s father, and period film mainstay Rupert Graves as Mr. Weston. De Wilde is mostly known as a music video director (Beck, Rilo Kiley, Florence & the Machine), so perhaps this Emma will have a bit of the postmodern rocker about her.
Just this week, the Irish band Inhaler passed through on their first tour of America – featuring none other than Eli Hewson, son of Bono.
So, yes, the children of post-punk are making their own musical waves now. And the same is very much true for hip-hop, apparently, with the first single by 2nd Generation Wu also just out this week. One doesn’t have to work hard to guess the parental lineage, of course – it’s right there in the name. Led by iNTeLL (son of U-God) and PXWER (son of Method Man), the new track also features raps by SUN GOD (son of Ghostface Killah) and Young Dirty Bastard (son of the late Old Dirty Bastard) – the Children of the Wu.
iNTeLL’s story is particularly inspiring: he was shot in the stomach at just two years of age, somehow survived, and has since gone on to be a successful video director. But he is fully committed to 2nd Generation Wu.
“I’m ridiculously excited,” he says of their single “7.O.D.” (out via Dock Street Records), “and I think it’s definitely in my top five favorites of songs I’ve made throughout my career.”
It comes just as Wu-Tang Clan are celebrating their 25th anniversary, so there is a special significance to the timing of the release. This is definitely not a one off, however.
As iNTeLL reveals, “The next phase is to deliver the album to the world in the beginning of 2020.”