The Arts Desks’ weekly picks for movies, books, music and television shows
Album: “Flow State” by Tash Sultana
Sultana’s hit song “Jungle” initially turned me on to the “one person band,” and since then, I haven’t been able to stop listening to their most recent album “Flow State.” The Australian singer-songwriter plays over 12 instruments, all of which they use to write and produce their own psychedelic-rock-blues-reggae sound. “Cigarettes” is a slow, sexy tune that picks up midway with an exciting guitar solo. “Big Smoke,” among others, features a long intro, which showcases the many instrumental skills they possess. I recommend checking out their YouTube channel and NPR Tiny Desk concert to see the method behind the masterpiece; they play and record the song live, giving their music a bubbling build. All this paired with a raspy indie voice and effortless steez makes Tash Sultana worth a listen.
Book: “Normal People” by Sally Rooney
Sally Rooney’s second novel was impossible to put down. I randomly picked it up on Christmas Eve and, on my flight the next night, I was sad to turn the last page so soon. “Normal People” follows a high school couple’s tumultuous relationship into college and adulthood. Although appearing to be an awkward teenage love story at first, Rooney’s spectacular writing and captivating character dynamic quickly prove she’s no Sarah Dessen (not a dig, I loved Sarah Dessen in middle school). Rooney touches on the beauty of long-term friendships and relationships and the complications of that intersection. More than that, she takes a look into the balance of wealth and happiness, the danger of assumption and the importance of one’s sense of self.
TV Show: “Broad City”
I was told to watch this several times before I finally watched the first episode with a friend. As is custom with many pilots, I wasn’t sold. It would be another year before this became one of my favorite series, when I watched episodes nightly with my first-year college roommate. The show, created by and starring Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, is a comical depiction of two women in their 20s in New York City, unsure of everything other than the strength of their friendship. They find themselves in the most ridiculous scenarios — often the source of humor — and both offer idiosyncratic personalities that can make just about anything funny. It’s heartfelt, it’s hilarious and it’s a must-see.
Movie: “Knives Out” dir. by Rian Johnson
This take on murder mystery brings a new possibility to the genre. The quirky nature of the film juxtaposes the fact that someone was (supposedly) murdered, balancing humor and suspense perfectly. The audience is entertained initially by the family dynamic and anticipating whodunnit, later to be the only ones who know what happened — or so they think. The cast is great, with some actors playing roles we haven’t seen them in before (Chris Evans is sardonic and bitter, Daniel Craig is a nonchalant southern investigator), making for a more exciting watch. The mystery is revealed in layers, with one plot twist after another and a gut-wrenching realization by the end.
Written by: Allie Bailey — firstname.lastname@example.org