J.u.D., from Montreal, blesses us with a mix from his ongoing party Moonshine. Check for his new EP St. Flower coming out on Foreseen this Winter!
Torey Lanez live in Philly December 11th…
ENTER HERE for a chance to win 2 free tix via @215mag:
Winners (chosen randomly) will be notified via email Wednesday December 9th (two days before the show) by NOON. Submit your first and last name and email by December 7th at 11:00am ET for your chance to win.
** (Winners will be listed at will call)
Check more from Tory Lanez with the links provided down below:
215mag RATING: 8.0/10
After months and months of anticipation, Lil Uzi Vert’s, Luv Is Rage, mix-tape/album is finally here:
You can also download at Datpiff.com. Luv Is Rage hosts guest appearances from Young Thug, Wiz Khalifa and a host of industry-elite producers who are running the game currently.
Lil Uzi Vert has been capturing and holding our interest for years now. After years of show appearances, track leaks, and guest features, Lil Uzi finally delivers the crème de la crème that Philly has long been waiting for after a summer of proclaimed L’s [a la Meek, Wale, Drake chatter / twitter].
The mixtape/album takes us through a story of love lost — and found — through reflection and assessment. The production choice is right on point with skits of nostalgia and points of view from Uzi.
Guest Contribution by Curran Lewis.
Liverpool quartet Circa Waves recently released their debut album titled Young Chasers which features their lead single, “T-Shirt Weather,” which has over 10 million streams on Spotify. They are currently on a U.S. tour run before heading back to the UK for a string of sold out shows across Europe. Over the past few months, Circa Waves has performed at Glastonbury, Lollapalooza and on Conan as well. Recently, guest contributor Ryan Quint sat down with the group at their show with MS MR at Union Transfer to discuss the future of releasing music, their musical influences, touring and much more.
Back in March we had interviewed Circa Waves, just a few days before their debut album release, click here to read up on it.
Circa Waves are: Kieran Shudall (guitar / vocals), Joe Falconer (guitar), Sam Rourke (bass) & Colin Jones (drums).
Ryan: Last time we spoke was about 7 months, you guys only had the EP out. Now we have a full-length album. Young Chasers was just released a few weeks ago on September 18. So I’d first like to congratulate you on of all of the recent success.
Kieran: Thank you very much.
Ryan: Speaking of EPs and Albums, I heard an interview you guys recently did where Kieran said that he felt that with how the music industry is going, artists are going to only drop EPs and give out “little bursts of ideas” instead of full-length albums. Can you explain that thought process and why you feel you that way?
Kieran: I mean the album thing will always exist for certain artists but just because of how fast everything moves; I think that EP’s are a more efficient way of releasing music.
Sam: I can see that happening. Albums, as a concept, came around because of the technology. From vinyl. That’s how many songs you could fill on a record so they would. I think that right now technology is changing and people’s listening habits are changing as well. Maybe the regular format of releasing music won’t be albums anymore. I still love albums. We buy vinyl all the time but I could definitely see artists just releasing 1 or 2 EP’s every year instead.
Kieran: It’s quicker. It’s more efficient. Kind of like a half album.
Sam: It also allows for more freedom as well. 2 EP’s can be completely different but if you’re doing a bunch of tracks under 1 large umbrella of an album, it has to be a lot more consistent. It may be good for artists to challenge themselves on a more regular basis by releasing more projects.
Ryan: I think its really cool that each of you have sort of your own musical style whether its Kieran with the indie rock and old folk sound or Sam with Hip-Hop. How do these different styles help create the Circa Waves sound we hear on Young Chasers?
Kieran: It definitely influences the way we play our music or how we approach certain parts of songs. I’m not going to write a guitar part from a Dr. Dre record, I’ll write it to a sound that better pleases me. It just works in that way.
Sam: I definitely agree. Part of the sounds of how things worked out relate to our personal styles of music. Joe has this scrappy guitar style which comes from what he listens to.
Ryan: (to Sam) And would you be the Dr. Dre listener?
Sam: I don’t condone or endorse Dr. Dre but I suppose some of the bass lines that I’ve written have a Hip-Hop sensibility in some ways. It’s definitely an influence but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where it is.
Ryan: LA Daily News had very high praise for the album. Do you ever read reviews and see how the critics feel about your music or is it mainly your fans reaction and opinion that you care about?
Kieran: I read some reviews. If it’s a good review, I’ll read it. I don’t tend to go out of my way to read reviews anymore. Not because we get loads of bad reviews its just that there’s almost no point. We play shows in front of loads of people every night and that’s enough gratification for us.
Sam: It can go down two roads. You can either become incredibly self-obsessed because you have a larger world of things relating to you or you can go down the route of completely shutting it off and think that’s what we’ve done.
Kieran: Also, the more successful you get, the more people are going to dislike you. It’s fine with me. Music is made to separate people.
Ryan: Kieran, you mentioned that a lot of the album is inspired by early adolescence. Can you explain this more in-depth and did you have any specific moments that you recalled when creating this album?
Kieran: I’ve always wanted to capture that moment and period of time in my life and other people’s lives when I was writing. I just think it’s really interesting. That part from 16 to 25 is just so fucking mental.
Ryan: I’m smack in the middle of that right now.
Kieran: Yeah. It’s fucking weird right? I always loved the first Arctic Monkeys record, the first Strokes record. They’re all talking about their experiences of growing up and you can’t write about that forever. The 2nd record won’t be about that. It was just something I wanted to get out of my system.
Ryan: And its still fresh in your memory
Kieran: Yeah, it’s still fresh. I’m not that old yet. I’m getting further away from that time but it’s cool to think about it like a diary of what happened during those years of my life.
Ryan: I saw you were in Philadelphia yesterday morning. Did you spend a full off day here?
Kieran: We did the Radio 104.5 thing in the morning then we had to drive up to Albany for a show. It would’ve been nice if we had a day off here though. We were supposed to have a day off but as usual, it got cancelled.
Ryan: How was Albany then?
Kieran: It was great. Very good show.
Ryan: Was it your first time to upstate New York?
Kieran: Yeah. Not that we actually saw any of Albany but the venue was really cool. The drive up was very nice. We also just discovered Serial Podcast. It’s massive but it completely blew past us but it’s this woman investigating a murder case and each episode is her digging further into the case. So we just smashed through that the whole drive. It’s based on a real murder that happened in Baltimore and we drove past Baltimore while we were listening to it and I wanted to hide.
Ryan: Do you guys know The Wire? That will make you want to hide even more.
Sam: Yeah, it’s amazing. That was the first thing I thought of when we drove past Baltimore.
Ryan: Moving on, your current US Tour is coming to a close. You’re about head back to the UK and the rest of Europe. What has been the most enjoyable part about tour so far?
Kieran: It’s been really good. I’d say the highlight would be the day we were in LA. We did Conan in the morning and then went straight to The Troubadour and did an amazing show. That was a fucking great day.
Sam: Very stressful day.
Kieran: We also went through the Gilmore Girls town on the Warner Bros lot. Three great things that happened in one day.
Sam: and the Batman steps as well. It was a good day. We got to do the biggest TV show we’ve ever done.
Kieran: Also, America doesn’t feel like one country, it feels like 50 different little countries. We’ve seen bits of Seattle, bits of San Fran and just getting a little bit of the culture from everywhere is very enjoyable. It’s cool seeing how different each place is and how everywhere has its own proper identity.
Ryan: You guys were doing Festivals all summer, including Glastonbury and Lollapalooza, now that you’re back in clubs and theaters, which do you prefer?
Sam: I really like the way that it all works out. By the end of summer, we’re really ready to do the headline tour and then towards March we’re anxious to start festival season again. What I love is the balance between the two. We did about 30 festivals this year and by the end it’s just tiring.
Kieran: Festivals are also very low pressure. They have a party vibe and there’s shit loads of bands, people aren’t there to just see us. People are going to have a good time regardless. The pressure is off but you also try to win over a crowd. Where as headline shows, you’ve won straight away. The crowd has come to see you. You get applauded just from walking on the stage. That doesn’t happen at many festivals.
Ryan: I heard you guys had one of the best sets at Glastonbury
Sam: Apparently. According the polls. Was it the best set ever?
Kieran: Yeah we had the best set ever.
Ryan: I’m not sure but we’ll call it that.
Kieran: Just kidding but that was nice. We had played Glastonbury the year before but we were just starting out so no one knew who we were. It was good to be there but this year was our “arrival” at Glastonbury.
Ryan: I saw you were recently out at a karaoke bar with Ms. Mr recently – it seems like you guys are getting along on these run of shows.
Kieran: Yeah. We just met on this tour. They’ve been one of the most welcoming bands we’ve ever toured with. They give us free shit and they’re just really nice.
Ryan: Free shit is always a good thing. Last time we spoke, “Stuck in My Teeth” was your favorite song from the new album to play live, has that changed at all?
Kieran: It’s not. I fucking hate it (laughs). No, I don’t mind playing it. It is quite difficult for me to sing it though. But in the UK it’s always a big shout moment. The kids love that line in it (“I’m a little too young with not enough time”). Right now I really enjoy playing this track called “Talking Out Loud.” People don’t lose their shit to it but they do really so to enjoy it.
Sam: It’s a great break in the set.
Kieran: If it were the 80’s, we’d all light up cigarettes and play while smoking. It gives us a chance to regroup.
Ryan: You guys played “Stuck in My Teeth” as well as “T-Shirt Weather” on Conan. How was that experience?
Sam: It was really cool. I really enjoyed it. I didn’t realize how long the day was though. I just thought you rock’ed up and played and then left but we were there for about 7 hours. It was amazing though. We love Conan and his work on The Simpsons.
Ryan: He’s tall isn’t he?
Sam: He’s fucking huge. Normally, I feel out of place in photographs for being the tall one but not this time.
Kieran: He seems like this huge giant but he was really nice to us. You never really know with those people because they have to have that personality all the time. I would really love to just have a cup of tea with him but it was good. Doing Conan felt like one of those landmarks in this lifestyle where it’s something terrifying but then you overcome it and, to me, it was the most terrifying thing we’ve done. I’m not sure what will be next, hopefully something bigger but that was a huge achievement for us.
Ryan: Speaking of T-Shirt Weather, it has over 10 million streams on Spotify. Why do you think fans have connected most with that song so far?
Kieran: It’s quite hard to pinpoint why certain songs get a reaction like that because I would try to make more if I knew the answer. Maybe because people can relate to it because the content is about things that everyone remembers like what it was like when you were younger. It’s also one of the catchiest songs I’ve ever written so maybe its just that and the fact that it’s just “T-Shirt Weather” it’s a title that can easily stick in people’s minds. Who knows?
Sam: (to Kieran) You should get Owen Pallett to do a musical review of it. From Arcade Fire. He did a few pieces analyzing Beyoncé songs and it was really cool.
Kieran: For me, it’s all better to not break songs down too much. Otherwise, I’ll try and make some formula every time I write a new song.
Ryan: Lastly, you guys are nominated for Best New Act at this years Q Awards. Former winners of that award include Sam Smith, Django Django & Corinne Bailey Rae among many others. Are you honored knowing that you were just nominated for that award or are accolades only important to you if you win them?
Kieran: I already feel quite satisfied. I think that we’re the best out of all of the people on there but I don’t know if everyone does. It’s up to the people to decide. It is good to know that we’re on that level of the artists nominated though.
Sam: Is it cash if we win? Because if it is then I’m well up for it. If we did win it would be our first accolade ever, alongside the apparent “Best Act at Glastonbury” (Laughs)
Ryan: Thank you guys. Good luck with the rest of your tour.
Catch more of Circa Waves through their social media accounts.
Dir. Gus Van Sant
As it was the film that truly cemented the late River Phoenix’ sterling legacy as a formidable actor of his generation, it’s understandable that Gus Van Sant’s serio-comic, surrealist story of a pair of homeless cats trying to hardscrabble their way in the world, would be best remembered for his performance, which is startling in its naked immediacy, but there’s a lot more here to treasure than just Phoenix’ considerable talent. Van Sant, who built an oeuvre of curious indie outliers – Drugstore Cowboy gave way to Idaho, which lead to To Die For) before turning towards more mainstream material, had a kind of kitchen-sink approach to his storytelling (hence a propensity for fanciful comic flights here, such as a discussion by the male models as they appear on magazine covers, and a Shakespearean bent to his plot), which, when it worked in harmony with his material, lead to wonderfully droll observations.
As the soulful, doomed Mike, Phoenix is certainly the star of the film, but don’t totally underestimate Keanu Reeves’ Scott, a trust-fund kid who’s enjoying the lowlife a bit before embracing his financially superior destiny. Van Sant, who often worked with homeless youth in his spare time, has a way with the world they inhabit and genuine warmth and sympathy for what they must endure on a day-to-day basis. In this, Phoenix, who fully inhabited the role much as his brother Joaquin has done throughout his career, was the perfect muse with whom Van Sant could focus his considerable creative energies.
This beautiful Criterion BD release also includes interviews, a making of doc (from 2005), deleted scenes, and an illustrated conversation between Van Sant and Todd Haynes, among other goodies.
Dir. Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
The best film of 2014, and it wasn’t terribly close. It comes from the brilliant Belgian directing team, the Dardenne brothers (Jean-Pierre & Luc), whose work has long shimmered with plainspoken elemental human truths. This film is a brilliant addition to their oeuvre. It stars the mesmerizing Marion Cotillard as a working-class mother, just returning to work after a bout with depression, only to find her boss has held a vote with her co-workers to keep their bonuses at the expense of her job. She is given one weekend to change their minds or be laid off. Deceptively simple in its execution, but positively stunning in its effect: It’s as honest and insightful about the human condition as Bicycle Thieves, an assertion I by no means make lightly. In the end, it’s an example of one of the rarest and best forms of morality cinema: It makes no demands, and grinds no axes, but makes its powerful statement in absolute service to its characters. A triumph.
This gorgeous Criterion blu-ray edition also features interviews with the Dardenne brothers, as well as Cotillard and co-star Fabrizio Rongione, a tour of the film’s locations, and When Léon M.’s Boot Went Down the Meuse for the First Time, a Dardenne doc from 1979, among other goodies.
Dir. Alain Resnais
Famously in my family, my parents went to see this Alain Resnais classic when it first came out in 1959. One of them loved it, one of them hated it, and they debated its merits in the days afterward – and for years after that (when the title ever came up in conversation, my sister and I knew what was coming). Delicately directed by Resnais, working from an intricate screenplay by novelist Margaurite Duras, the film is ostensibly about a French actress (Emmanuelle Riva), in Hiroshima to make a decidedly anti-war film, who has an affair with a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada), as they debate their philosophy on war. What it’s really concerning though is what we talk about when we talk about war, an observation on the ways in which we communicate with each other, as humans, combatants, and doomed lovers (a Duras specialty).
Similarly hypnotic and trance inducing as Resnais later masterpiece, Last Year at Marienbad, the film is little more than an extended, slightly existential conversation between two soulful people (perhaps an inspiration to Richard Linklater for his excellent Before series), that is always fascinating and engaging. It might not have the same shock-value it did when it was first released, but it remains every bit as vital. As it happens, I can never seem to remember which of my parents liked it and which one hated it, but, given the film’s circumstances, that feels strangely appropriate.
This handsome Criterion BD release also is laden with extras, including a commentary by film historian Peter Cowie, interviews with Resnais and Riva, and a mini-doc on the film’s arduous restoration.
Dir. Michael Mann
Trust empty-headed stylist Michael Mann to create a cyber-thriller in which he attempts to dramatize the actual macro insertion of a virus through a mainframe. The camera swoops on the microcircuit boards like Luke’s X-Wing approaching the Death Star, then travels up through flashing impulses, triggering the lite-brite-like wave of virus. It’s the kind of gesture that Mann, who increasingly over the years, has given up his dogged pursuit of auteur status and just embraced his brand of cutting edge, flashy ’80s TV roots, finds himself making these days. If anything, given the ham-handed nature of Morgan Davis Foehl’s blithely idiotic script, he might just have figured he had very little to lose.
Sadly, he was probably right. The international, jet-setting nature of the plot, which sets off with the lone virus causing a near nuclear catastrophe in China, before spinning through Wall Street, Hong Kong, and, ultimately Jakarta, barely holds our attention, as the witless characters — a collection of multi-cultural cyber-sleuths, FBI operatives, a former convict hacker, sprung from the can in order to help catch the culprit, and the U.S. Marshall assigned to follow him — spring from unlikely scenarios in rapid-fire succession in order to make their quarry
The convict, Nick Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth, with an improbable slicked back quasi-pompadour) happens to be best friends and former MIT roomies with Dawai (Leehom Wang), the Chinese representative on the task force, whose comely sister, Lien (Wei Tang), instantly and regrettably becomes Hathaway’s love interest. Rounding out the somewhat rag-tag crew, Carol (Viola Davis), the FBI agent, who more or less acts as the den mother for the others, and Jessup (Holt McCallany), the taciturn Marshall, whose expression never seems to change through the course of the film.
As they go through their wearying paces, from country to country, eventually lighting upon Kassar (Ritchie Coster), the goateed bag-man for the actual criminal kingpin, and Hathaway and Lien fall ever deeply more in banal love (as neither has a personality to speak of, we can imagine they fall at least partially for each other’s richly swank designer shades), the film sort of lurches along, propelled with ridiculous bits of revelation, all leading up to its thoroughly ludicrous climax, in which one, severely undertrained ex-con singlehandedly takes on a squadron of highly trained mercenaries, armed only with a selection of sharpened hand tools, and a protective vest of books and magazines taped to his impressive midriff (which suggests, if nothing else, Hathaway was at least able to watch “The Wire” while in the joint). Who knew prison-life could properly train you to become a skilled assassin?
To be fair, I’ve never particularly been a Mann devotee, finding the vast majority of his work (with the notable exception of The Informer) an extended exercise of slick stylistics, excusing pretty tepid films, but his previous films at least never seemed quite as empty and craven as this one. He mixes in his usual blend of jumpy, hand-held work, especially during the film’s few hand-to-hand combat scenes, a tired effect that has more than worn out its welcome, and stacks the film with an assortment of striking backdrops (one gets the feeling his location scout does more than half of his work for him), not to mention the good looks of the two leads, who nevertheless shun anything of what you might call chemistry in favor of mewling looks and gentle hand stroking.
Mann never much had the goods to back it up, but his films — by dint of their self-importance and their A-list casts, at least had the sheen of an event. This little thriller, stuck out in the no man’s land of January releases, feels like an afterthought, something between more impressive-seeming projects in development that one imagines aren’t coming down the pipeway any time soon.
Dir. Clint Eastwood
If you had somehow been tasked with creating an iron-clad, true-blue American war hero, you would likely have conjured up something quite along the lines of Chris Kyle, a Texas-born former rodeo cowboy, who watched 9/11 in horror and enlisted for the Navy SEALS shortly thereafter in order to make a difference and help protect the country he loved. Big and barrel chested, with a loving wife and family at home, Kyle was also almost alarmingly effective as a Sniper, recording an astounding 160 kills during his four tours of duty in Iraq. Such a hero that he was dubbed “the Legend” by his fellow soldiers, and had earned the highest pay-out for his head from Al Qaeda, a twisted kind of homage to his effectiveness.
A man this dedicated to his country — not to mention this bloody effective in neutralizing the enemy, and saving untold lives of the soldiers he was protecting from his perch on the arid rooftops — and seemingly for all the best and most agreeable reasons would not only be the military’s PR department’s wet dream, he would be so bulletproof, even those pesky liberals and gun-control reformers would have to grudgingly acknowledge the heroic nature of the man. To create a film celebrating his military experience, then, it would stand to reason, Clint Eastwood — he of the steely glare, right-wing politics, and storied film-making career — would be the perfect choice to craft a fable that sounded too damn good to be true, even if it were.
Unfortunately, though, Eastwood and screenwriter Jason Hall — working from a memoir by Kyle, Scott McEwen, and James Defelice — have chosen to only tell the part of his story that makes his heroism seem larger than life: He starts out a reckless cowboy, enlists when he feels needed, leads an exemplary military record over the course of four grueling tours of duty, finally comes home and after some rough patches, re-engages into civilian life and works with other damaged soldiers to give them support and care, even as their lives are crumbling around them. What the film curiously chooses to essentially ignore, except for a jarringly quick post-script, is that Kyle was eventually murdered at a shooting range by a particularly deranged former soldier suffering from severe PTSD.
What the film has to offer instead, is a rousing bit of American military agitprop, with a beefed-up Bradley Cooper in the lead role, and Sienna Miller as Taya, his long-suffering but intensely strong wife, celebrating the American spirit of bootstrap politics and a quixotic sense of justice-serving to those “savages” in the Middle East with a face-full of patriotic, expertly fired, lead.
Indeed, one of the film’s central (and completely fictional) antagonists is the Iraqi equivalent of Kyle, a former Olympic Syrian sharp-shooter named Mustafa (Sammy Sheik), quick and agile as a jungle cat, who prowls the rooftops and takes out dozens of Americans without leaving a trace. For all we know, he is exactly as revered and elevated as Kyle for his country, but the film takes special care not to give him — or any of the enemy — a moment of sympathetic recognition. And when Kyle finally does take him on directly, leading to perhaps the shot of a lifetime in the sniper business, we are lead to be relieved that this “savage” (as Kyle and his fellow comrades refer) has finally been vanquished.
If there is any irony abounding, it would appear to be lost on the 84-year-old Eastwood, who, one imagines, is quite happy to play this one straight as an Indiana highway. The thing is, as depicted, Kyle is perfectly decent and honorable kind of soldier: He laments that his first confirmed kills involved a woman and a small boy who were attempting to toss a grenade at a group of marines, despite the American lives he knows he saved. He’s hardly a thoughtless, gun-toting good ol’ boy, even though he is highly revered by them. It’s certainly his other qualities that attract Taya when they first meet in a bar, and the hook of the film’s last act, wherein Kyle finally returns from his fourth tour of duty and has clearly come back a (mildly) damaged man, unable to connect with his family, paranoid, and ready to take violent action in a moment’s notice.
Naturally, this too, is something the film chooses not to dwell upon terribly much. He eventually speaks to a therapist, who advises him to go and aid other, far more physically and emotionally stricken veterans and he and his family move back down to Texas, which seems to put him back in the picture of health in virtually no time. The film’s suggestion is that Kyle is not so deeply and badly damaged because of his superior moral fiber — he didn’t just think he was doing the right thing, he felt his correctness burning in the core of his being — and, in keeping with the perfect soldier treatment, even the horrors of PTSD become just one more minor obstacle for his celebration.
This is to take nothing away from the main source of the film’s appeal, which is the generous and unflinching work put in by Cooper, who seems to have breathed the character into his very DNA. Like George Clooney, Cooper has always been able to win over his roles with his natural charm, but here, he puts it in service to a far more impressive portrait. Even if the film, like his fellow soldiers, continually wants to shine the medals of “the Legend” to a gleaming polish, Cooper downplays his character’s ego. He never wants to be above the grunts working the far more dangerous door-to-door missions, which is why he constantly volunteers to work with them, sharing the risk and in the process, offering them some of the best practices gleaned from his superior training as a SEAL.
Cooper has never been better, but one wishes the filmmakers could have ratcheted down the churning apparatus of Kyle’s constant lionization and taken their cues from the apparent humility of the man himself — even if his as-told-to memoir is being strongly questioned in the wake of the film’s release — and been brave enough to show an inkling of the complexity involved in a military-trained, highly decorated professional assassin coming home to lead a normal life, rather than place him on a raging bonfire of martyrdom upon which one imagines he never would have signed off.