Today the smartphone comes pre-installed with the music player of the manufacturer running exclusively under Android OS. But not every one of us is very happy with these stock music applications. They are great for listening and organizing music, but that’s just it – basic options with skinned versions. This is where different music playing apps for Android come to the rescue. So, in this article we are going to cover the best Apps for music player that you can actually play.
The MX player is mostly known as a video player but not many people know that it is also a very powerful music player. This is the app for you with advanced hardware acceleration and subtitles. With powerful multicore decoding, it has been tested and proved that dual-core devices perform better than single-core ones. There is also a special Kids Lock feature that you can use for your children without worrying about whether the child can close the app or use another app.
BlackPlayer is another popular music player app for Android to get a better music experience. It comes with an easy to use, but good-looking UI with enhanced features. Dark and minimum themes look good, but you can also customize the look and feel to suit your interest. It supports many music formats and comes with a built-in equalizer.
Musicolet Music Player
With no advertisements or in-app purchases and no need to connect to the Internet, Musicolet is one of the most honest music player apps for Android. It’s great, as well, with the usual scent of features including leveling, a sleep timer, embedded lyrics, and full granular folder browsing. Its UI is nice and simple, and instead of dabbling with silly things like themes, it gives you widgets and drum roll multiple listening queues.
Google Play Music
A unique feature of the music app is the upload manager. This feature allows you to upload 50,000 songs from many different sources such as iTunes or any other program where all your songs are stored in the current time. In addition, if you wish to select a subscription to their premium plan by paying $ 9.99 per month, you will be given access to the full collection of Google Play. Not only this, you will also get the facility of YouTube Red. This, in turn, lets you watch all the videos that are in its collection without interruption of advertisements. Furthermore, you are going to get additional access to the programming that is developed keeping in mind only YouTube Red subscribers.
iTube is a beautiful Android app that can play YouTube videos without any ads, background play support thus acts as a music player app for Android. This app can be the best YouTube option on your phone. It is the best YouTube music app option for Android that turns YouTube into a powerful music repository that acts as an actual music player.
Hip-hop supergroup Spillage Village have reunited after four years for the release of a new album called Spilligion. As a preview, the Atlanta artists have shared the first single, “Baptize”, featuring group members EarthGang and J.I.D.
Spilligion is the collective’s fourth album overall, following on the ursine trilogy Bears Like This (2014), Bears Like This Too (2015), and Bears Like This Too Much (2016). By the time the latter record was released, the Village had grown to include EarthGang, J.I.D., 6LACK, Mereba, JurdanBryant, Hollywood JB, and Benji. They were bearly barely getting started when, in late 2016, 6LACK broke out with the single “Prblms”, followed by EarthGang and J.I.D. signing to J. Cole’s Dreamville label the next year. The group was breaking apart because their dreams were coming true, and there’s no use crying over Spillage milk.
Now, though, the old friends have reassembled in a changed world. While Spilligion was begun before the coronavirus pandemic overran the United States, it was mostly recorded within the pressure of lockdown. As new single “Baptize” would seem to demonstrate, the group is also very aware of the summer’s protests against police brutality.
Produced by Johnny Venus, Christo, and Hollywood JB, “Baptize” finds EarthGang and J.I.D. in the role of outcast preachers — although their messages are more soul-stirring than overtly religious. EarthGang’s Johnny Venus leads things off with a staccato verse on state-sanctioned violence. “Police, they beat me, we storm the same streets/ We storm the same block, won’t stop ’til we free.”
J.I.D.’s spirituality is a bit more materialistic, though he does find time to mediate on all the “Blah, blah blah, sinnin’ and shit/ Adam and Eve dumb ass/ Apple eatin’ dumb ass.” Doctor Dot takes the closing verse, and he draws funny comparisons between himself and a biblical life, claiming he was “Made in his image, okay? I even work in mysterious ways,” and adding that he’s been “Burnin’ that bush like Moses.” The accompanying music video shows the rappers preaching to three different congregations, with some parishioners more sinfully dressed than others. Check out “Baptize” below.
Spilligion arrives September 25th and pre-orders are ongoing. The tracklist remains a mystery, but in June Spillage Village shared the lead single “End of Daze”.
Emotions are high for the Supernatural family. Today, The CW series reached its final day of shooting, concluding an epic run that spans 15 years and 15 seasons. Not surprisingly, the cast, the crew, and the fans reflected on the momentous occasion, so much so that #ThankYouSupernatural became the No. 1 trend on Twitter.
Series creator Eric Kripke, who served as showrunner for the first five seasons, more or less kicked off the odes early Thursday morning. He shared a GIF of stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, adding: “This was the first #Supernatural scene we shot. Today will be the last. I’m grateful & love you all beyond words. But it’s only over when you say it is, #SPNFamily. In the words of Kim Manners (RIP): Kick It In The Ass.”
“Woke up at 6am this morning. That alarm went off with a heavy tone. Today is the final day of a 15 year journey. One that has changed my life forever. To those I have worked with on this journey and to those who have watched and supported…you will never understand my great appreciation for you. ‘Thank you’ doesn’t cover it. There just aren’t words. I’m so grateful for these memories that I will carry with me forever. What a ride it has been. And what a run. #spnfamilyforever here are a few shots from our final days…including today. I’ll try and send more later, but in true SPN form…we are in the middle of “nowhere” and have zero service. Go figure. Stay tuned.”
His co-star Padalecki echoed those sentiments:
Well, here goes… I write this as I head to my last day of #Supernatural. My last day with #SamWinchester. Obviously, my head is spinning and my emotions are stratospheric, but there’s still a bit of time left on the clock. Thank y’all SO MUCH for the incredible amount of love and support that’s been headed our way, in these final hours. It’s definitely been felt. I’ll check in soon, but, for now, #WeHaveWorkToDo.
Misha Collins, who plays the ever-hilarious Castiel, retweeted Kripke’s previous comments, adding: “#ThankYouSupernatural. You’ve changed my life in so many ways and you changed the world for the better.”
Those are only a few pieces of the bittersweet pie. Pretty much everyone shared their sentiments, from Jim Beaver to Mark Sheppard, Felicia Day to Mark Pellegrino. Hell, even Kansas, whose “Carry On My Wayward Son” has become the show’s de facto spiritual theme, expressed their appreciation. We’ve rounded up as many as we could find, and collected them for your perusal below.
Supernatural returns on October 8th via The CW and wraps up with a series finale on November 19th. A retrospective special will precede the final episode, giving everyone a little more time with the SPN Family. However, don’t cry too hard; after all, Ackles himself hasn’t ruled out a reunion for the Winchesters down the road.
So it’s here. Last day of principal photography on Supernatural, my home for 15 years. Getting ready to go to work on it for the final time. Deep feelings. Very deep. I love these people. Okay. Let’s go kick it in the ass one last time. pic.twitter.com/oRlalucX3h
To the cast, crew, writers and all my friends drawing a magnificent 15 seasons to a close…. thank you. So much of my life is entwined in this show. Sorry I couldn’t be there to say my farewells in person, but you… https://t.co/tj0GDqi9NK
It’s the last day of filming on the set of #Supernatural. Even from afar, didn’t know I’d feel all these feelings. Thank you for 8 years of playing an amazing character. Nothing else will match being a part of the #SPN family <3 pic.twitter.com/yNoalyuMHA
My son Steve when I did my 1st episode of #Supernatural in 2007 & today on the show’s last day of shooting. What a long & amazing ride. From janitor to director, I’ll never have another experience like I’ve had on this show. Or a better TV family. Cheers to you all. ❤️ #SPNFamilypic.twitter.com/zOR5nEPzZs
It is impossible to contain the depth and breadth of my feelings for #Supernatural, and everything it stands for, into one tweet. For the crew, the cast, the fans, and everyone who has ever worked on it, I will always love you. Thanks for changing my life, Show. #CarryOn
When Warner Bros. finally agreed to let Zack Snyder finish his director’s cut of Justice League, they were pretty clear that there would be no reshoots. After all, they were dumping some $30 million into the project just for re-editing and special effects work alone. However, it now seems the studio has reversed course, as The Hollywood Reporter has it that a “week- or so- long” shoot to capture new footage is set to take place next month.
According to THR, much of the principal cast is expected to return for Snyder’s new shoot. That includes Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and — most surprising of all — Ray Fisher as Cyborg.
Fisher had a large portion of his character’s story excised when Joss Whedon took over directing and rewriting duties from Snyder following a family tragedy. The actor has since called out WB for the studio’s handling of that transition, claiming Whedon was abusive on set and executives Jon Berg and Geoff Johns allowed the misconduct to persist.
While Berg and Johns left the studio following the massive failure of the theatrical Justice League, Fisher’s grievances only came to light over the summer. He tweeted out a series of statements accusing Whedon of “gross, abusive, unprofessional and completely unacceptable” behavior. WB began investigating the claims in August, but even that has led to a heated back-and-forth between Fisher and the studio.
Throughout the month of September, Warners and Fisher have traded barbs about the latter’s cooperation with the investigation. When the former released a statement claiming the actor refused to meet with their investigator, Fisher retorted with a screenshot of an email seemingly proving he had “just got off the line with the investigator.” “@wbpictureshas escalated this to an entirely different level, but I’m ready to meet the challenge,” he added.
Since then, Aquaman actor Jason Momoa has backed up his co-star, sharing an Instagram message just last week that read, “@ray8fisher AND EVERYONE ELSE WHO EXPERIENCED WHAT HAPPEN UNDER THE WATCH OF @wbpictures NEEDS PROPER INVESTIGATION.”
Further complicating Fisher’s involvement in any Justice League reshoots is his position in the star-studded Flash film. Cyborg was originally expected to play a large role in that movie, but the part has shrunk with further rewrites. Warner Bros. exercised Fisher’s contract option to have him appear in The Flash, though Cyborg would be limited to, apparently, just three scenes. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that despite the smaller role, WB upped the previously negotiated fee. Fisher’s side reportedly countered with a request to double that offer, and talks have since stalled.
All that is to say Fisher’s return for more JusticeLeague filming is certainly a surprise. It’s speculative but likely safe to say his willingness to partake in the October reshoots has more to do with Snyder than it does WB.
The Lowdown: Looking back now, it feels safe to say that the ’10s represent something of a lost decade in the long, strange journey of The Flaming Lips. After ushering in the new millennium with a pair of unlikely mid-career classics (1999’s The Soft Bulletin and 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots) and closing out the ’00s with unexpectedly muscular rock fanfare (2009’s Embryonic), Wayne Coyne and his merrymakers spent most of the next 10 years getting into tabloid feuds, recording scattershot side projects, and cosplaying as Miley Cyrus’ acid-casualty uncles.
The Flaming Lips records they did manage felt like dispatches relayed from a derelict space station, about sonic landscapes too grim (2013’s The Terror) or fried (2017’s Oczy Mlody) or daft (2019’s The King’s Mouth) to warrant revisiting. With all of that in mind, it’s easy to see why this quote from frontman Wayne Coyne in American Head’s press materials warranted intrigue: “For the first time in our musical life, we began to think of ourselves as ‘an American band.’” After a decade lost in space, The Flaming Lips were headed back to Earth. How would they feel about what they found?
The Good: If you’re looking for a record that sums up the state of the American Dream in 2020, you could do worse than American Head, which finds The Flaming Lips energized by elegies inspired by Coyne’s teen years in Oklahoma with “[his] older brothers and their drug-dealing biker friends.” Across the record’s 13 tracks, Coyne relives these times and, in the process, tackles the lure of nostalgia, the longing for escape, and the inevitability of aging and its effect on relationships with the fresh-eyed wonder of a man just awoken from a long, long slumber.
This rediscovery begins with the gentle repeated question that forms the title of opener “Will You Return / When You Come Down”. The song captures the sense of fragile mortality at the heart of Yoshimi and Soft Bulletin, this time made all the more powerful by the sense of lonesome aftermath that accompanies it. “All your friends are dead/ And they’re ghosts floating ’round your bed,” Coyne croons, his voice descending through a swirl of bittersweet keys and chimes and backing vox like distant radios. It’s the kind of devastation you want to experience again and again.
From there, American Head unfolds as a record about consequences, with Coyne offering a guide for living out the long years after a misspent youth. The results are intermittently breathtaking: “Dinosaurs on the Mountains” turns a half-remembered night on a family road trip into a mournful meditation on childhood innocence, “At the Movies on Quaaludes” reconstructs the warped sense of youthful possibility that fades with age and choices, and “Brother Eye” writes a devastating plea to a troubled sibling anchored by gut-wrenchingly desperate lines like “You were born/ And the dark was changed.” Throughout, Coyne resists drawing easy conclusions, content to remember, report, and wonder what it all meant right along with us.
Coyne’s revitalized confessional lyricism is matched and then some by the inventive, inviting arrangements from masterminds Steven Drozd, Dave Friedmann, and Scott Booker. American Head shimmers with sonic touches that often seem to mimic the natural world; you’ll catch the pulsing of fireflies on “Watching the Lightbugs Glow”, the concentric waves of raindrops in “God and the Policeman”, and even the subtle inhalations and exhalations of the lovers at the heart of “You n Me Sellin’ Weed”. They not only make the record feel like its own living entity, but heighten the tension of inorganic moments like the post-radioactive Morse code beeps that add sickbed sorrow to “Brother Eye” or the dayglo Four Horsemen gallop that revs up the early section of “Assassins of Youth”.
The Bad: Ear-catching production flourishes aside, American Head is a record defined and dominated by mid-tempo balladry. While that stripped-down foundation suits the material well in most cases, the uniformity of that relatively languid pace sometimes leaves the record feeling stretched past its 50-minute runtime. It also opens up the temptation to slide into mawkishness; neo-murder ballad “Mother, Please Don’t Be Sad” aspires to the same kind of profundity of classics like “Waiting on Superman” and “Do You Realize??” but instead gets lost in its own anodyne sentimentality. Coyne’s told this song’s story before (it’s sourced from the fateful armed robbery he experienced as a teen fry cook at Long John Silver’s) and in better ways than this.
The Verdict: The best records in The Flaming Lips catalog are the ones that find the balance between the band’s penchant for fried psychedelic whimsy and the uncanny tenderness that underpins Coyne’s songwriting. For the first time in nearly two decades, they’ve rediscovered this winning formula. As a result, American Head stands alongside The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots as one of the very best records The Flaming Lips have recorded and should be required listening for anyone who’s gone on their own quarantine-induced walk down memory lane in search of a way to survive this year.
Essential Tracks: “Will You Return / When You Come Down”, “Dinosaurs on the Mountain”, and “Brother Eye”
Pick up a copy of The Flaming Lips’ American Head here.
“Treat Her Right” was a sensation upon its release in 1965, reaching number two on the Billboard Hot 100, while boasting sales that would have made it number one at just about any other time — except that The Beatles had recently released “Yesterday”. The song has been a pop culture mainstay ever since, appearing over the opening credits of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and popping up in the 1991 film The Commitments.
Head was born in Three Rivers, TX, on January 9th, 1941. His father was a sharecropper, and his love of music came from listening to Black sharecroppers singing in the field. “The melodic flow they had, it sounded like a lone wolf at night,” he told The Houston Chronicle. “They sang about pain and hurt, all that sort of stuff.”
After serving in the Army, Head joined up with a group of musicians who would soon be known as the Traits. While playing small venues in Texas, Roy Head & the Traits developed a reputation as a powerhouse live act led by their dancing, cartwheeling frontman. Head modeled himself after James Brown, and would pepper his performances with gravity-defying backbends and the occasional jump into the splits.
He continued putting out new music in the ’70s and ’80s, eventually transitioning from rock and R&B to country. To hear him tell it, his professional career was constantly beset by bad contracts and even worse drunken decisions. He claims that he once bit Elvis Presley on the ankle, and had to be forcibly dragged away by bodyguards. His son, Sundance Head, said of these stories, “I take what he says and divide by two. Then maybe something’s right with it.”
Head experienced a resurgence of popularity over the last 15 years, especially as Sundance booked spots on musical reality competitions. In 2007, Sundance was a semi-finalist on American Idol, and in 2016 he won The Voice outright. That winning run included a performance with coach Blake Shelton of “Treat Her Right”.
Sundance announced his father’s passing on social media. He wrote, “My old dad Roy Head has went to be with the lord this morning he was an amazing person and a wonderful dad. He slept away in the arms of my mother at home. I am in shock and also confused. He was a giant to me. I don’t know what else to say right now. Please keep my mother in your prayers and our family.”
Neil Young has officially detailed his long-awaited Archives Vol. 2 box set. Arriving just in time for the holiday season on November 20th, the collection contains 10 discs chock-full of recordings from 1972 through 1976. According to a post on his Neil Young Archives website, twelve of these tracks have never been released in any format. There are also 50 alternate, previously unreleased versions of Young originals.
The first four discs are taken from the period of 1972 and 1973 following the release of Harvest. Disc 1, titled Everybody’s Alone, boasts the most goodies, as it features four never-before-released tracks: “Letter From ‘Nam”, “Come Along and Say You Will”, “Goodbye Christmas on the Shore”, and “Sweet Joni”. Disc 3, Tonight’s the Night, also contains a recently unearthed cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Raised on Robbery”.
Discs 5, 6, and 7 capture Young’s prolific streak in 1974. Among the highlights here are previously unreleased versions of “Bad Fog of Loneliness”, “Traces”, “Love Art Blues”, “Through My Sails”, “Pardon My Heart”, “One More Sign”, “Bad News Comes to Town”, and so much more. This grouping also includes a handful of songs that will be new to even the most diehard Young fan, such as tracks titled “Homefires”, “Frozen Man”, “Daughters”, and what appears to be his cover of “Greensleeves”.
Dume is the title of Disc 8 and it focuses on the 1975 sessions for Zuma. Here, fans will find a never-before-released song (and not a cover) called “Born to Run”,” as well as previously unheard takes on “Powderfinger”, “Ride My Llama”, and “Too Far Gone”.
Finally, 1976 is represented on both Disc 9 (Look Out for My Love) and Disc 10 (Odeon Budokan). The former includes previously unreleased song “Mediterranean” and alternate versions of “Ocean Girl”, “Midnight on the Bay”, and “Human Highway”. As Rolling Stone points out, the material found on Love Out For My Love was originally recorded around the time of an aborted Crosby Stills Nash & Young reunion album.
The latter disc, meanwhile, is a live album that chronicles Young and Crazy Horse’s tour through Asia and Europe. Specifically recorded at Tokyo’s Budokan Hall and London’s Hammersmith, it features extended versions of songs like “Down by the River”, in addition to “Too Far Gone”, “Cortez the Killer”, and “The Old Laughing Lady”.
Check out the massive tracklist for Archives Vol. 2 down below. Pre-orderswill be available beginning October 16th.
Young’s Archives Vol. 1: 1963-1972, also spread across 10 discs, was released back in 2009.
In case that’s not enough archival Young content, the legendary songwriter recently announced a number of additional releases on the horizon. Return to Greendale, a live set from his 2003 tour with Crazy Horse, is due out in November. The following month will bring Way Down in the Rust Bucket, another Crazy Horse concert recorded in 1990. The Timeless Orpheum, said to be a “concert film with a lot of twists and turns, telling my story and yours, our history together”, is also nearing completion.
Disc 1 (1972-1973) Everybody’s Alone 01. Letter From ‘Nam * 02. Monday Morning # 03. The Bridge # 04. Time Fades Away # 05. Come Along and Say You Will * 06. Goodbye Christmas on the Shore * 07. Last Trip to Tulsa 08. The Loner # 09. Sweet Joni * 10. Yonder Stands the Sinner 11. L.A. (Story) 12. LA. # 13. Human Highway
Disc 2 (1973) Tuscaloosa 01. Here We Go in the Years 02. After the Gold Rush 03. Out on the Weekend 04. Harvest 05. Old Man 06. Heart of Gold 07. Time Fades Away 08. Lookout Joe 09. New Mama 10. Alabama 11. Don’t Be Denied
Disc 3 (1973) Tonight’s the Night 01. Speakin’ Out Jam * 02. Everybody’s Alone # 03. Tired Eyes 04. Tonight’s the Night 05. Mellow My Mind 06. World on a String 07. Speakin’ Out 08. Raised on Robbery (Joni Mitchell song) * 09. Roll Another Number 10. New Mama 11. Albuquerque 12. Tonight’s the Night Part II
Disc 4 (1973) Roxy: Tonight’s the Night Live 01. Tonight’s the Night 02. Mellow My Mind 03. World on a String 04. Speakin’ Out 05. Albuquerque 06. New Mama 07. Roll Another Number 08. Tired Eyes 09. Tonight’s the Night Part II 10. Walk On 11. The Losing End #
Disc 5 (1974) Walk On 01. Winterlong 02. Walk On 03. Bad Fog of Loneliness # 04. Borrowed Tune 05. Traces # 06. For the Turnstiles 07. Ambulance Blues 08. Motion Pictures 09. On the Beach 10. Revolution Blues 11. Vampire Blues 12. Greensleeves *
Disc 6 (1974) The Old Homestead 01. Love/Art Blues # 02. Through My Sails # 03. Homefires 04. Pardon My Heart # 05. Hawaiian Sunrise # 06. LA Girls and Ocean Boys * 07. Pushed It Over the End # 08. On the Beach # 09. Vacancy # 10. One More Sign # 11. Frozen Man * 12. Give Me Strength * 13. Bad News Comes to Town # 14. Changing Highways # 15. Love/Art Blues # 16. The Old Homestead 17. Daughters * 18. Deep Forbidden Lake 19. Love/Art Blues #
Disc 7 (1974) Homegrown 01. Separate Ways 02. Try 03. Mexico 04. Love Is a Rose 05. Homegrown 06. Florida 07. Kansas 08. We Don’t Smoke It No More 09. White Line 10. Vacancy 11. Little Wing 12. Star of Bethlehem
Disc 8 (1975) Dume 01. Ride My Llama # 02. Cortez the Killer 03. Don’t Cry No Tears 04. Born to Run * 05. Barstool Blues 06. Danger Bird 07. Stupid Girl 08. Kansas # 09. Powderfinger # 10. Hawaii # 11. Drive Back 12. Lookin’ for a Love 13. Pardon My Heart 14. Too Far Gone # 15. Pocahontas # 16. No One Seems to Know #
Disc 9 (1976) Look Out for My Love 01. Like a Hurricane 02. Lotta Love 03. Lookin’ for a Love 04. Separate Ways # 05. Let It Shine # 06. Long May You Run 07. Fontainebleau 08. Traces # 09. Mellow My Mind # 10. Midnight on the Bay # 11. Stringman # 12. Mediterranean * 13. Ocean Girl # 14. Midnight on the Bay # 15. Human Highway #
Disc 10 (1976) Odeon Budokan 01. The Old Laughing Lady # 02. After the Gold Rush # 03. Too For Gone # 04. Old Man # 05. Stringinan # 06. Don’t Cry No Tears # 07. Cowgirl in the Sand # 08. Lotto Love # 09. Drive Back # 10. Cortez the Killer #
* = previously unreleased song # = new unreleased version
Dolly Parton, Pearl Jam, Hayley Williams of Paramore, Margo Price, and several other musicians have joined Stevie Nicks in paying tribute to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“She was small in stature but even the tallest looked up to her,” Parton said in a statement post to social media. “Her voice was soft but her message rang loud and clear and will echo forever. Thank you, RBG. Rest In Peace. Respectfully, Dolly Parton.”
“A life that was the very definition of service,” wrote the members of Pearl Jam. “May she rest now in peace and may we not rest until we have carried her legacy forward.”
“Major thanks to this badass,” remarked Williams. “Rest in peace & power #RBG now, let’s all PLEASE just fucking vote! I feel especially inclined to mention how much our reproductive rights are at stake – please excuse me for the dramatics but i don’t want to be a handmaid in this lifetime. LET’S VOTE.”
Price struck a similar tone to Williams, writing: “We have lost a feminist icon and a just and historical leader. Thank you Ruth Bader Ginsburg for your passion and your fight to hang on for us all… Let’s rise against anyone trying to fuck with our democracy in her name.”
Find these tributes and more below.
Ginsburg passed away Friday, September 19th, at the age of 87 from pancreatic cancer. When it came to music, Ginsburg was an avid fan of the opera and even had a small speaking part in a 2016 production of La Fille du Régiment at the Washington Opera. In light of her passing, the New York Times spoke to opera director Francesca Zambello, who called Ginsburg “our greatest advocate and our greatest spokesperson.”
A life that was the very definition of service.
May she rest now in peace and may we not rest until we have carried her legacy forward. #RBG
major thanks to this badass. rest in peace & power #RBG now, let’s all PLEASE just fucking vote! i feel especially inclined to mention how much our reproductive rights are at stake – please excuse me for the dramatics but i don’t want to be a handmaid in this lifetime. LET’S VOTE pic.twitter.com/vp6Ykfzv26
we have lost a feminist icon and a just and historical leader. thank you Ruth Bader Ginsburg for your passion and your fight to hang on for us all… let’s rise against anyone trying to fuck with our democracy in her name https://t.co/KdeSCXAtwF
The Lowdown: Anjimile Chithambo might be new to the spotlight, but he’s been paying attention for a long time. His debut album, Giver Taker, carries a wide variety of influences — among them church choirs, ’80s pop, African music, and indie-folk — and melds them together as if they were born for this, born to flow into one another. The Boston-based trans musician wrote much of Giver Taker while in treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, and many of the songs are also concerned with his experiences coming out as trans and non-binary. As such, the entire album is papered with transformation, but through lenses of tenderness: the love implicit in confessions and the awe of one’s own resilience in the face of socialization and struggle.
The Good: Would that I could just plop every single lyric from this album on here and let that be the review. Alas, I can’t — but they really are that beautiful, from end to end. Calming and profound, the lyricism throughout Giver Taker speaks to the divinity of connection, the search for self-comprehension, and the discovery of holiness therein. Anjimile’s keen instinct for poetry arises in the heartrending lullaby “Not Another Word”, in verses like, “I came howling after God/ Won’t you set things right/ Mend my mind, untie my knot/ Calm me through the night,” and, “To the sky I raise my head/ Won’t you set me straight/ Will I live to shake the dead/ Will I crumble from the weight.” “Giver Taker” offers another shrewd poetic moment with, “As you rest/ May you find/ Peace of heart/ Peace of mind/ Mine is yours/ Yours is mine/ Or divine/ Or design.”
This observation of holy experience breathes well in the lyrics, but it isn’t confined to them. The entire album benefits from church-like atmospherics that speak to Anjimile’s past as a choir singer as well as his love for acoustic, soft-spoken folk. From the winds and strings intertwined in its opening notes all the way through to the end, the makeup of Giver Taker is one of careful brushstrokes of indie guitars and blooming backgrounds, sweeping from song to song and anchored by deliberate points of clarity throughout. “Baby No More” brings a welcome old-timey feeling in its lounging jauntiness, its refrain of “Am I/ Not supposed to hurt you?/ Am I/ Not supposed to make you cry?” subtly recalling Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”. In keeping with the themes of fluidity, change, and self-definition being sacred concepts, all of the songs feel guided by their own innate rhythms — like the soft percussion on “1978” or the subdued but striking conga pattern that takes over from the consistent guitar plucks in “To Meet You There”.
The Bad: Comparisons to Sufjan Stevens are already aplenty and earned — the style in Giver Taker’s arrangements, with melodic vocals punctuating a percussive, folksy undertone, will feel quickly familiar to Sufjan fans. This doesn’t feel like a strictly negative thing because Anjimile does achieve the effect so well and so organically — it’s more that Anjimile’s own unique voice in some places risks being surfaced by the recognizability of his influences. He is already an artist well posed to be, himself, an inspiration and an influence to many others, by virtue of both his musical styles and his compassionate candor — Giver Taker offers a stunning glimpse at what this influence will look like, but hasn’t quite reached the finish line of having its own singular sound. Then again, with the album itself being so crucially about growth and the feeling of standing at a juncture, maybe the snapshot of a journey not quite finished is the whole point.
The Verdict: A debut album can often feel like an announcement or an artist statement: something that says, This is me, and this is my music. Anjimile unites that self-consciousness with an exploratory intention — one that asserts that to be lost isn’t the same thing as to be aimless, and to be questioning of something isn’t to not also be sure and steady. He is already in a place of growth from one self into the next, and he’s not afraid for us to meet him there.
Essential Tracks: “1978”, “Not Another Word”, and “To Meet You There”
The Pitch: In Viggo Mortensen’s directorial debut, gay Air Force pilot John (Mortensen) struggles to care for his ailing conservative father, Willis (Lance Henriksen). Malcontent and never afraid to shy away from a racist, homophobic or sexist rant, Willis offends everyone from John’s husband Eric (Terry Chen) to his daughter Sarah (Laura Linney), all while he slips in and out of flashbacks, including his two marriages to wives Gwen (Hannah Gross) and Jill (Bracken Burns).
Grumpy Old Man: Early in Falling, as the relationship between John and Willis is being established, it’s clear that Henriksen is exceptional in the role. Willis is the kind of curmudgeonly character whose edges are too often softened in Hollywood dramas and the elder genre vet clearly relishes the opportunity to take on the role of despicable old crank.
Everyone and everything is fair game to Willis, whose mean streak extends into flashbacks from the children’s life on the farm. It’s immediately evident that Willis (Sverrir Gudnason) raised his children and treated his wife in very specific, hyper-masculine ways: boys wake up early and go hunting; women prepare the food and clean up the dirt tracked in from outdoors.
In one memorable moment, Willis’ first wife Gwen asks him to put out his cigarette and help her cut John’s 10th birthday cake and he spews a litany of expletives at her – and their living room full of guests – before stomping out. These scenes clarify that Willis’ disease isn’t to blame for his abrasive behavior. He’s always been this way…it’s just that now he’s dying.
Old & Tired: The main argument against Falling is that its central character is an unlikeable dinosaur whose dementia ensures he will never change. Willis isn’t just frustrating for his family, he’s also a chore for the audience watching the film. What begins as an intriguing character study and a strong role for Henriksen quickly becomes shrill and one-note because Willis can’t evolve. There’s nothing here except Willis’ incessant hate-fuelled rants, which quickly become repetitive and increasingly more frustrating to watch.
Willis is clearly an ill-man and the moments where he forgets what he has already asked — or demanded – is a telling portrait of an elderly man losing his faculties. The issue is that Falling never expands to elaborate why its audience should care, or even to elaborate why John is making the effort. Mortensen’s script simply repeats the same abusive interactions, defined by John’s refusal to take the bait while the supporting characters get angry, sullen or crack jokes to break the tension.
But repeating the same scene in different settings with rotating supporting characters for two-hours merits some kind of emotional payoff or catharsis and Falling never delivers on that front.
Falling (Modern Films)
Back To Nature: Thankfully Falling is shot and edited exceptionally well. This is particularly evident in the idyllic way that nature is visually represented, particularly Willis’ flashbacks to life on the farm. Close-ups of wheat, running water, and wide-open spaces capture the nostalgic, idealistic yearning for “simpler times”. This provides a nice juxtaposition to Willis’ perceived (and ill-informed) notions about life in the city, and more specifically his son and daughter’s liberal California lifestyle.
In one scene at a family brunch in John’s backyard, Sarah comments on John’s landscaping work, reflecting on its transition to something beautiful from the original barren lot. Intriguingly, Mortensen’s camera never reveals more than the table where everyone sits, resolutely refusing to confirm Sarah’s claim. The only true nature shot in present-day occurs when Willis sneaks away from another lunch to visit the beach, where he wades into the waist high water, caught somewhere between dementia and euphoria.
What’s ironic, then, is when the action relocates to Willis’ beloved farm for the last act those warm, welcoming flashback memories are contrasted by the cold present day reality. The farm isn’t vibrant and nostalgic; it has a water-stained roof and unwelcoming animal pens. The disconnect between memory and reality is just another example of how Willis has become unmoored from the world around him, in addition to foreshadowing his impending death.
The Verdict: Despite great direction by Mortensen, who also delivers a strong performance alongside Henriksen and (briefly) Linney, Falling is a repetitive and exhausting exercise that never gets around to unpacking why the audience should care about its ailing patriarch character. It’s too long and too one note for too little pay-off.
Where’s It Playing? Falling tumbles into theaters on December 4th.