When it was announced that Mastodon and Clutch would be touring North America together, many of those familiar with both bands thought, Now that’s a perfect combination. Granted, those underground-oriented metal fans with nothing but disdain for anything that flirts with the mainstream, not to mention the fans both bands attracts, might’ve thought that in a negative way, but those who actually enjoy Clutch and Mastodon were elated at the thought of the two doing a co-headlining tour, yours truly included. It’s the kind of double-bill that makes you wonder why bands like those two have never done it before.
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As online streaming services continue to grow in developing original programming—Netflix (House of Cards, Orange is the New Black) and Amazon (Transparent) being two examples—other sites have taken on their lead. Vimeo is one such website; last year, the company produced a series called High Maintenance, which documents a pot dealer (Ben Sinclair, show creator along with Katja Blichfield) and the customers he encounters on a daily basis. After facing a surprising success given Vimeo’s status as a relatively underdeveloped player in the realm of original programming, many have taken notice. Enter: HBO.
When it was announced that a new novel by Harper Lee would be released this year, one that carries on the story of her classic work To Kill a Mockingbird, a wave of excitement erupted. Not long after that, however, some skepticism was raised. This had to do with a claim made by Lee’s sister, Alice, a lawyer who fiercely defended her sister’s estate, who said: “Harper can’t see and can’t hear and will sign anything put before her by anyone in whom she has confidence.” Because of this, many began speculating that the only reason the novel is being released now is that Alice passed away shortly ago, leaving Lee vulnerable to signing a potentially exploitative contract. Lee’s mental status is often referred to as “senile”, or at the very least seriously impaired.
Rarely one to break form, Woody Allen is releasing yet another film about the existential angst of the middle class’ oddballs. Irrational Man, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, and Parker Posey, tells the story of a philosophy professor (Phoenix) who, after falling into a slump in his personal life and career, finds inspiration in the buoyant presence of one of his students (Stone).
With psych and krautrock influences aplenty, Mondo Drag’s self-titled full-length, their first for the Los Angeles label RidingEasy Records, is one hazy good time. The band’s psychedelic bonafides, more than apparent in the music of Mondo Drag, has already been established through the music of the retro rock/metal outfit Blues Pills, which features many of the same band members. Swirling, mind-numbing textures meld with the swagger of classic rock—the Rolling Stones in particular—in this potent sonic brew.