Single Review: Sinai Vessel – “Swimming”

North Carolina rock trio Sinai Vessel are no stranger to doing a lot with a little. Last year’s excellent and understated Ground Aswim feels like a master class in the use of sparse instrumentation and minimal production to achieve an impactful sound. Track after track is carefully composed and executed beautifully, culminating in what is undoubtedly one of the best indie rock records of 2020. Great news: there’s more. 

Movie Review: Malcolm & Marie

By Ben Lindner, Staff Writer
[Little Lamb Productions; 2021]
Rating: 4/10
The first 10 minutes of Malcolm & Marie are pretty interesting. The two characters have a realistic argument with strong performances from Zendaya and John David Washington. The black and white cinematography is cool. The title card hits and I thought “maybe I’ll like this.” Then it was the same 10 minutes I had just watched over and over again for another hour and a half.

Movie Review: One Night in Miami…

By RJ Martin, Contributor
[Snoot Entertainment; 2020]
Rating: 8/10
One Night in Miami… is the newest film from director Regina King and writer Kemp Powers, finding both of them honing their craft. This is only Powers’ second big-screen feature after co-directing and writing Pixar’s acclaimed Soul from late last year. The film is adapted from his original 2013 stage play, and it recounts the events of a meeting between four titans in black history: Malcom X, Sam Cooke, Jim Brown and Cassius Clay (later to be Muhammad Ali). They met in celebration after Clay’s legendary victory over Sonny Liston in Miami, Florida. 

Movie Review: Zack Snyder’s Justice League

By Ben Lindner, Staff Writer
[Warner Bros.; 2021]
Rating: 8/10
The time has come. Zack Snyder’s behemoth, a 4-hour director’s cut of Justice League has arrived after over 3 years of calls from fans. After the immense hype and speculation, with the film being stitched together under the worst circumstances, Zack Snyder’s Justice League miraculously delivers a satisfying and engaging epic that is sure to be a hit for the fans who waited so long for it.

Album Review: Weezer – OK Human

By: RJ Martin
[Atlantic Records; 2021]
Rating: 6/10
Key tracks: “All My Favorite Songs”, “Here Comes The Rain”, “La Brea Tar Pits”
What if after Green Day proudly proclaimed their most recent album had “no features, no swedish songwriters, no trap beats, just 100% pure uncut rock” it actually turned out to be pretty decent despite the overwhelming snobbery? Well, you don’t have to imagine, because after a lackluster performance on their most recent records, Weezer seems to have done just that. A few weeks ago, ahead of the release of OK Human, the band took to Instagram to explain that the album was made with a time “when humans really mattered and when the dark tech-takeover fantasy didn’t exist” in mind. The album was made all analogue with a ’60s/’70s sound in mind, which isn’t a new concept. 

Movie Review: Soul

By RJ Martin, Contributor[Disney; 2020]Rating: 9/10 Over the last year, we’ve had our fair share of eyebrow-raises and eye-rolls at various media trying to make some sort of statement about society in the wake of the pandemic. Pixar’s Soul is a film that actually does it well without even trying to in the first place. …

Album Review: Black Country, New Road – For the first time

By Jonah Krueger, News Editor
[Ninja Tune; 2021]
Rating: 9/10
Key tracks: “Athens, France”, “Science Fair”, “Sunglasses”, “Opus”
Black Country, New Road accomplished something incredible—they released an album that got noticed. After forming from the ashes of a promising band ruined by the actions of a single member, the seven-piece’s trajectory seemed pretty straightforward. Gain a quick cult following off the basis of live performances, work out new material, put out a single or two, sign to a label, release a debut album—all the while remaining mysterious and developing an idiosyncratic aesthetic.

Movie Review: Pieces of a Woman

By Ben Lindner, Staff Writer
[Bron Studios; 2020]
Rating: 9/10
Empathy is hard to generate in a movie. It requires a perfect tone, rock-solid performance and brilliant direction to really get the viewer into the characters’ shoes. Luckily, Pieces of a Woman checks all of those boxes to create a fantastically devastating character piece.

Album Review: Xiu Xiu – OH NO

By Venus Rittenberg, Contributor
[Polyvinyl; 2021]
Rating: 8/10
Key tracks: “One Hundred Years”, “A Bottle of Rum”, “OH NO”
Xiu Xiu’s 15th album is an album of duets that sees them returning to the sounds that frequent their discography prior to 2019’s experimental Girl with Basket of Fruit. A perfect example of this return to the olden days of Xiu Xiu is the title track, which sounds like something from Xiu Xiu’s fifth album, The Air Force, but with a poppier hook.

Lobster Review: Shakey Graves — Roll the Bones X

By Ethan Bloomfield, Staff Writer
[Dualtone Music Group; 2021]
Rating: 8/10
Key tracks: “Unlucky Skin”, “Business Lunch”, “To Cure What Ails”
The lobster review is meant to bring albums from the past forward to celebrate their influence, their merit and their lasting relevance in music. That being said, how is an album released in April of 2021 qualifying? Roll the Bones X is the product of 10 years of Americana singer Shakey Graves’ first record, Roll the Bones, released for the first time on all streaming platforms and loaded with new content from the last decade. 

Album Review: toe – DOKU-EN-KAI

By Ethan Bloomfield, Staff Writer
[Topshelf; 2021]
Rating: 8.5/10
Math rock is, to many casual music fans, a mysterious genre. Reaching all the way back to the likes of King Crimson and Spiderland-era Slint, the genre has found itself nestled into many bands across borders and oceans and repackaged for style after style. The Illinois emo band American Football popularized math rock in the mainstream with its 1999 hit single “Never Meant” and has achieved both cult and meme status, acting as both a face of the genre for many that know it casually and as a sort of butt of music circle jokes. Looking deeper, though, the math rock genre has much more to offer than this. 

Album Review: Tigers Jaw – I Won’t Care How You Remember Me

By Ethan Bloomfield, Staff Writer
[Hopeless; 2021]
Rating: 7/10
Key tracks: “I Won’t Care How You Remember Me”, “Lemon Mouth”, “Anniversary”
In the past year, Indie rock and DIY music in general have taken a major hit, and much of the grassroots music industry appears to be in dire straits. Nevertheless, as this year-long catastrophe rages on, independent music has found a way to shine through. Whether that be Sinai Vessel’s excellent Ground Aswim last Halloween or The Mountain Goats’ lo-fi quarantine tape, Songs for Pierre Chuvin––the stripped-back, quarantine-inspired album is a growing musical trend––musicians have found a way to get their message to people regardless of restrictions and problems associated with COVID.