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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Culture Corner

The Art Desk’s weekly picks for music, movies and more 

 

By SAVANNAH ANNO — arts@theaggie.org

 

Album: “Moveys” by Slow Pulp (2020)

 

With mellow instrumentals, smooth vocals and introspective lyrics, “Moveys” seems fitting for the start of winter quarter, offering listeners a moment of melodious reflection. Chicago-based band Slow Pulp formed the debut album while on tour with Alex G, and the influence of his hazy, magnetic sound can be heard in the album’s steady drums and strong guitar. The opening track, “New Horse,” sets the tone with a looping instrumental and dreamy singing that explores ideas of regret and self-growth. The band’s most popular song to date, “Falling Apart,” captures how easy it is to find yourself in cycles of failure, a moody message hidden in a catchy wave of sound. Each track is able to find the perfect balance between hard-hitting lyrics and an almost groovy, warm set of instruments. Put it on during your first study session of the quarter, while you’re walking to and from the bus stop or having a relaxed night in with friends. 

 

Book: “Greek Lessons” by Han Kang (2023)

 

My favorite read of 2023, “Greek Lessons” details the unique relationship formed by a woman who loses her ability to speak and her Greek language teacher who is losing his sight. As they connect, they each begin to learn more about the other’s past and, through this, gain a new understanding of life and intimacy. A winner of the Booker Prize for her novel “The Vegetarian,” Han Kang’s writing is overflowing with precise detail and sharp observation, especially as she explores the fascination the main character has with the ins and outs of language. This novel is perfect for anyone who needs a quick read that’s still able to carry an emotional punch highlighting the importance and beauty of human connection. 

 

Movie: “We the Animals” dir. by Jeremiah Zagar (2018) 

 

A sure hit with “The Florida Project” or “Moonlight” fans, “We the Animals” explores the complexities of familial relationships through the perspectives of the children rather than the adults. An adaptation of the 2011 semi-autobiographical novel by Justin Torres, the movie soars to new creative heights by including animated illustrations and surreal scenes taking place in the sky, referencing the book’s strong imagery and metaphorical language. The story follows three brothers as they fight to survive a dysfunctional household and closely focuses on the youngest brother, Jonah, as he comes to understand his sexuality. Each 16mm-shot scene is packed with raw emotion, bright colors and explosive dialogue that leaves you wishing for more. 

 

Song: “I Figured You Out” by Elliott Smith (2017)

 

It’s cold outside, meaning it’s time to start listening to Elliott Smith again, or maybe for the first time. A quintessential indie/folk songwriter of the 90s, Smith has been noted as a large influence on current artists like Phoebe Bridgers and Sufjan Stevens, pioneering the sad, wispy sound you can find all over the radio today. “I Figured You Out” is an acoustic track on the 2017 expanded edition of his third album, “Either/Or” (1997). Not making the cut for the record’s original edition, Smith gave the song to Mary Lou Lord, who released her version in 1997, two decades before his original demo was finally put out. While I enjoy both, Smith’s melancholy and almost bitter sound is unmatched, fitting the song’s lyrics about a bad romantic partner. I’d recommend it to anyone in need of a track that syncs the season’s chill. 

Written by: Savannah Anno — arts@theaggie.org

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