tUnE-yArDs: w h o k i l l
You think the wonky capitalization of the project's name, and the awkward spacing of the album's title are strange; Wait to you actually hear what's on this thing. The solo-project of One Merrill Garbus, tUnE-yArDs has a sound that can prove a bit abrasive at first, but reveals itself to be deep, colorful, and intricate on multiple listens. w h o k i l l sounds as though Garbus and her backing band stuffed about Twelve musical genres into a blender, turned the thing onto full-blast, and stuck a microphone up to it. Yes, it's wacky stuff, but powerful and rousing as well, as on the punching, rolling Gangsta or the rat-tat-tat shuffle of Doorstep. Gerbus also happens to be armed with a miraculous voice, masculine and odd, but possessing limitless range and flair. Her lyrics, which often take on such sticky subjects as Violence, Nationalism, Sexuality, and Police Brutality, are a marvel as well, honest and stirring at every turn. It may take a few listens to realize, but w h o k i l l is One of the year's very best, and most undoubtably its craziest.
Washed Out: Life of Leisure EP and Within and Without
Yeah, I know, I'm a little late on this One. Washed Out's Life of Leisure EP was released near the end of 2009, drumming up feverish anticipation for the full-length that was only just released this last month. In truth, that's right about how long I've been onboard the bandwagon, but I am now openly inviting anyone who likes nostalgic, fuzzy, 80's-leaning bedroom electro-pop to hop on along side me. The solo-project of Ernest Greene, Washed Out has an uncanny ability to make the world feel as though it's moving in slow-motion, a quality that the IFC original series Portlandia utilized to ideal effect in using LOL's Feel it All Around as the backing for its opening credits. In truth, I'm much more found of the EP than I am the also-impressive LP, its lack of production fueling its yesteryear vibes. Plus, there's simply nothing on WAW that can match the sheer sunshine of New Theory or You'll See It. I'm sure that when I fully sink my teeth into their newest, I will hold it in much the same place as I do the EP, so you might as well beat me to it. If you haven't already, check this guy out.
Terri is One odd-duck of a movie, but not in the fashion that you might expect. Director Azazel Jacobs and Writer Patrick Dewitt have crafted a true original, a story about a misfit High Schooler that somehow miraculously manages to stand-out amidst the constant onslaught of similar genre offerings. Jacob Wysocki stars as the titular teen, an obese outsider who's taken to wearing pajamas to school everyday as an unstated pronouncement of his apathy. His home life isn't much better; His parents are no where to be found, and his caretaker, Uncle James (Creed Bratton), is slipping into dementia. Terri's sad, bullied existence catches the eye of Mr. Fitzgerald (John C. Reilly), an unpredictable mess of an Assistant Principal and Guidance Counselor who sees a similar lost soul. I know how it all reads: A gifted but different teen finds a way to be happy with the help of an adult that sees him for who he truly is. But Terri is much more thorny than all of that, slipping into cliche a bare minimum number of times, moving at a glacial pace that would scare most teen audiences right out of the theater. What makes Terri special, besides the captivating, convincing performances given by everyone onboard, is that it's impossible to tell how seriously you're supposed to take it. The thing is purely tragedy and wholly Napoleon Dynamite at the exact same time, a stomach-churning mixture that's hard to believe until you see it. Some will walk out thinking it was a riot; Others will struggle to find a single laugh within it. The beauty of the movie is that neither answer is wrong.