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Thursday, September 23, 2021

This week in new releases

MUSIC
1. April 16: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mosquito
Removed from both the garage-rock revivalism of their early work and the electropop revelry of 2009’s It’s Blitz, Mosquito, is a stranger, more eclectic venture into darker themes. Murky dub, subway-car samples and bossa nova funk-organ percussion characterize the album’s more adventurous offerings, and fans of the classic YYY’s will be satisfied by the presence of punk jam “Area 52” and moving indie ballad “Despair.”

2. April 16: Tera Melos – X’ed Out
Sacramento-based math rockers Tera Melos have constructed a fully-realized combination of technical rock exercise with tuneful songwriting and smooth vocals. X’ed Out is then a hybrid creature, an appealing indie rock album with the DNA strands of Prog and Experimental which colored their earlier works.

3. April 23: Lilacs and Champagne – Danish and Blue
Sophomore album from sonic shapeshifters Lilacs & Champagne, whose blend of soul, psychedelic, hip-hop and downtempo electronica evokes a sensual nocturnal world of lawlessness, dimly lit cities and enigmatic intrigue. 2013’s definitive headphone-trip album to date.

4. April 16: The Flaming Lips – The Terror
The ‘Lips have achieved a credible longevity, mostly because they have kept their style flexible. After four years or so of unhinged, celebratory psychedelia and abrasive experimentation, they have shed some of the heartfelt optimism that has become central to their style to evoke a chilling sonic dystopia, with the best songs resembling the spacier work of the Gorillaz and Radiohead. The title refers to the fear that life goes on, even in the absence of love; however, after thirty years as a band, the Flaming Lips seem to have lost none of their sincerity and love for adventure.

5. April 16: Major Lazer – Free the Universe
Diplo’s global-mashing production at times seems less transgressive and cutting edge as it did on Major Lazer’s 2009 debut, but the dancehall/electro project still provides a feast for the ears. The guest musicians are legion and varied, from Ezra Koenig to Santigold to Bruno Mars, and while Free the Universe has unfortunately soaked up some of the more vanilla tendencies of mainstream EDM, the reggae and dub-influenced tracks are top-notch.

FILM
1. The Place Beyond the Pines (April 12 at Varsity)
Those who saw director Derek Cianfrance’s 2010 film Blue Valentine will
find his second film unmissable. Ryan Gosling stars as lead character Luke Glanton, a stunt cyclist who begins using his skills to rob banks in order to provide for his wife and child. Bradley Cooper portrays the cop determined to capture him, while the plot follows the detrimental effects of the investigation on the families of both men.

2. Herman’s House (April 19)
Herman’s House is a documentary following the correspondence between young artist Jackie Sumell and Angola Prison inmate Herman Wallace, who has been imprisoned in solitary confinement for over four decades. Sumell’ simple question, “What kind of house does a man in solitary confinement dream about?” becomes an ongoing effort to help Wallace imagine a better existence, as well as attempt realizing the actual construction of his dream house in the hope that more attention will be brought to his plight.

3. In the House (April 19)
A French school teacher is impressed by a star pupil’s insightful essays. After the student’s latest paper is written in secret about the home-life of a fellow classmate and his family, the teacher finds himself in a moral dilemma, and is drawn further into the highly personal information the boy is divulging.

4. Errors of the Human Body (April 19)
A drama with high emotional stakes as well as a scientific thriller, Errors
concerns an American geneticist obsessed with finding a cure for the disease which killed his infant son many years prior. After traveling to Germany to work in an isolated clinic, he and his colleagues stumble across a promising discovery that may also have dire consequences for the world population.

5. Burn (April 16 at The Crest)
This documentary follows several firefighters who work in Detroit, Michigan and shows their utmost commitment to their profession in the midst of their cities advanced urban decay and rampant arson. Although the film itself is a personal character study, it reveals many hard truths about a metropolis in crisis.

ANDREW RUSSELL can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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