ASAP Mob shares new “RAF” video featuring ASAP Rocky, Quavo, and more: Watch

ASAP Mob and its members have been steadily rolling out the releases the last few months. There was “Wrong”, featuring both ASAP Rocky and ASAP Ferg, a string of solo cuts from Ferg, and late last year’s Cozy Tapes Vol. 1, which boasted cameo spots from Tyler, the Creator and Lil Yachty. In May, ASAP Mob also put out “RAF”, a track in which Rocky, Frank Ocean, Quavo, Lil Uzi Vert, and Playboi Carti joined forces.

Today, a music video for the single has been revealed, and it plays out like a fashion shoot filmed using a grainy VHS camcorder. Unfortunately, Ocean and Lil Uzi Vert don’t join in on the fun of playing dress-up. Check it out above.

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A Valley Son contemplate life’s variable meaning on new track “The World, It Moves”: Stream

Photo by Steve Bowen

It’s a question that’s dogged artists and philosophers for years, and no one has really come up with a worthy answer: What is the meaning of all this? No matter our path in life, we all feel that restless nagging for some sort of eternal truth as we seek some form of happiness. The deeper you explore this desire for a final verity, however, the closer you get to realizing there isn’t one.

At least, that’s the conclusion reached by Trey Powell of the New York City-based roots rock outfit A Valley Son. On the band’s new song “The World, It Moves”, Powell revisits different moments in his life where he thought he’d stumbled upon some sort of answer. There was that time he was playing carefree atop discarded home appliances in the woods, or the time he made love — true love — for the first time. As he looks at these different vignettes of his own life, he realizes that there is no definitive answer when the vantage point on the question keeps shifting. “And there’s infinite numbers between zero and one/ We all die chasin’ something,” he sings on the bridge. “But why am I so full of love, why am I so full?/ ‘Cause this all only means what we say it does.”

Explaining the song to Consequence of Sound, Powell says,

“About a year ago I had this super vivid flashback to being a kid and playing on top of rusted refrigerators and washer/dryer sets that someone had thrown out to rot in the woods near my house. It started me thinking about how long ago and far away that was, both literally and figuratively, and also got me thinking about how perspective/understanding of any situation is so malleable over time. As I dove into that idea, the song became my attempt come to terms with what anything means if you look at the world from the viewpoint that people are just constantly making everything up as they go along.”

Take a listen below.

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“The World, It Moves” is the latest single and semi-title track from A Valley Son’s debut album, But The World Moves, out September 8th. The band will celebrate the single’s release with a show at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 1) on July 28th. The show starts at 9:00 and you can find more info here.

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Purity Ring celebrate 5th anniversary of Shrines with new song “Asido”: Stream

Photo by Carson Davis Brown

Today marks the 5th anniversary of Purity Ring’s dreamy debut album, Shrines. In celebration, the synthpop duo has returned with a new song, “Asido”.

The ethereal track premiered on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show and is the Canadian group’s first original material in two years. Singer/lyricist Megan James’ vocals blend expertly with Corin Roddick’s twinkling, layered synths and throbbing bass, showing they haven’t missed a beat. According to a press release, the song is a “standalone gift” to fans while the band works on their upcoming album.

“It has astoundingly been a long and short 5 years since we released our debut album, Shrines,” Purity Ring further elaborated via Instagram. “As we work at our own pace on the third Purity Ring album, we wanted to celebrate with all of you this monument in time. And so, we share with you ‘Asido’, a parable that holds nothing before and nothing after. Thank you for both your kindness and your patience. Have a graceful outrageous day.”

Hear “Asido” below.

In April, Purity Ring announced they were taking a break from touring to work on new music. Recently, they tweeted out a photo taken in the studio, but haven’t shared any further information about their next album beyond the statement above.

Purity Ring’s most recent album was 2015’s Another Eternity. Since then, they’ve remixed songs by HEALTH, Katy Perry, and Mew. They also co-wrote and produced three songs on Perry’s latest album, Witness.

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Film Review: Atomic Blonde

The following review was originally published as part of our coverage of the 2017 South by Southwest Film Festival.

What is it with stairways and action films? They’ve worked for Brian De Palma, they’ve worked for Jason Bourne, they’ve worked for Daredevil, and now they’ve worked for Charlize Theron. Is it the depth? The number of angles? The tumbling? The way someone’s always going to have the upper hand? Who knows, but there’s a scene about 85% of the way through David Leitch’s Atomic Blonde that will one day be lumped into a video montage that some over-excited YouTube user will dub, “GREAT ACTION STAIRWAY COMPILATION!1!”, and it’s going to end with the Oscar-winning actress ripping through a baker’s dozen of Russian dudes like they’re a roll of pizza dough. It’s without a doubt The Scene in the film, and one of two takeaways that every genre fan will recall when its forthcoming neon-glazed poster pops up in future Netflix queues.

The other? That Theron is going down as this decade’s most iconic female action star. Granted, she already had the title after stealing the spotlight from the titular hero of Mad Max: Fury Road as the one-armed Furiosa, but her cutthroat heroics in Atomic Blonde — at one point, she uses a rope that’s tied to a a bad guy’s neck and swings out a window to a balcony below like Indiana Jones — is a further testament to the rigorous intensity she brings to every performance, both onscreen and behind the scenes. Did you know she broke her teeth for this one? Well, she did, and that fact is not at all surprising when you see how much Leitch puts her through the wringer. To be fair, Theron’s long been shepherding this project as a producer; in other words, she actually signed up for the chaos, and you have to appreciate that level of commitment.

But c’mon, what a role: Based on Antony Johnston’s graphic novel The Coldest City, Theron plays Agent Lorraine Broughton, the go-to spy of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, who enjoys ice cube baths, neo-futuristic bedrooms straight out of Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall, and killing her enemies in the most savage ways possible. It’s 1989 and the Berlin Wall is about to come down, a frantic backdrop that fuels much of the film’s politically-charged action. Broughton’s mission is to locate a priceless dossier — think the NOC list from 1996’s Mission: Impossible — before it falls into the wrong hands and every spy around the world is compromised. For the assist, she’s paired with Berlin station chief David Percival (James McAvoy), who chugs Jack Daniels, shares a hairstyle with Sinead O’Connor, and keeps Hustler in his library.

Story-wise, it’s not very compelling despite the history at hand, and it doesn’t help that screenwriter Kurt Johnstad tries to make everyone sound 1999 Cool and that the whole narrative is framed within a start-and-stop debriefing, which is always a red herring for twists, and turns, and would-be endings. Sadly, these tedious attributes keep Atomic Blonde from actually being as exceptional as it looks and sounds, but these sins are easier to forgive, and even overlook, when you’re staring at everything else that’s happening onscreen. When you’re not shaking your head at Theron’s glass-crunching gymnastics, you’re probably soaking up Leitch’s emerald-lensed atmospheres, Luhrmann-esque setpieces, and sensual lighting that could give Nicolas Winding Refn a seizure or two. That’s all without saying a single thing about its fabulous soundtrack.

Similar to Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver, which also premiered at this year’s South by Southwest, Atomic Blonde banks on a rich, flavorful soundtrack, only this one’s chock full of all those ’80s hits that make you say aloud, “Oh, I fucking love that song.” Stuff like New Order’s “Blue Monday”, David Bowie’s “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)”, Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power”, Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom”, George Michael’s “Father Figure”, Nena’s “99 Luftballons”, ‘Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry”, Depeche Mode’s “Behind the Wheel”, and the list goes on. There’s rarely a scene that doesn’t include one of these FM hits, and anyone who grew up watching Michael Mann’s Miami Vice will be on cloud nine reveling at how these New Wave classics turn the film’s feverish action into something of a cotton candy dream — sugary, weightless, creative, and beautiful.

Needless to say, Leitch, who co-directed John Wick with his pal Chad Stahelski, will have his own moment in the spotlight with Atomic Blonde, and there will likely be those who compare his strengths and/or weaknesses against Stahleski’s epic showing with John Wick: Chapter Two. That’s fine. That’s good. That’s exactly what these movies should do. And really, that’s exactly what these movies will do. Because who are we kidding; odds are we’re going to see many more of Ms. Broughton’s adventures, especially if we’re to take into account how much Theron enjoys stabbing bad guys in the throat, crashing cars into icy waters, and rolling around in bed with beautiful women.

Oh, did that last part go unmentioned? Yeah, that’s another facet of Atomic Blonde that sets it far apart from, well, everything else that’s out there right now. Some might argue the scene is a tasteless inclusion, that Hollywood would never be so bold to have a male hero do the same, and they’re certainly more than justified in those arguments. But perhaps some might come to see it as liberating? Whatever the outcome, it’s a total surprise, and if Leitch and Theron can keep those stray bullets coming, and continue to climb the right stairs, there’s no telling how long Atomic Blonde stays nuclear.

SXSW Red Carpet Gallery

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Film Review: Brigsby Bear

The following review is part of our coverage of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

“Quirky” has become such an exhausted shorthand for a certain kind of forcibly twee indie cinema that it’s sometimes hard to remember that good movies can still earn that description. But if “Sundance-friendly” low-budget comedies have become one of the more maligned subgenres of film in recent years, Brigsby Bear offers a touching and daringly unconventional reminder of how no approach to filmmaking is inherently bad with the right mind at the helm.

And as unorthodox comic minds go, few are more distinct than Kyle Mooney’s. The deadpan, earnest Good Neighbor and SNL alum is the heart of Brigsby Bear, built as a vehicle for the actor and co-written by Mooney and Kevin Costello. Its uniquely weird tone is set early, as James (Mooney) goes about his daily rounds in his family’s self-sustaining home. He does his chores, he attends his home-schooling classes, and he eats dinner around the table with his loving, awkward parents (Mark Hamill and Jane Adams). Mostly, though, James obsesses over Brigsby Bear Adventures, his all-time favorite television show. Brigsby teaches James about everything he could ever want to know, from the value of friendship to important lessons about how “prophecy is worthless, only trust your familial units.” James gets lonely sometimes with only his parents and his fellow Brigsby enthusiasts on the internet for company, but it’s never so bad. Brigsby always has his back, even when James goes out onto the house’s “pier” and gazes with longing at the larger world beyond his home.

It’s clear from early on that all is hardly well with James, and when he’s suddenly and abruptly ripped out of the existence he once knew, Brigsby Bear does away with convention in favor of a smarter kind of comedy about a man-child forced to confront the many, many things he doesn’t understand about the real world. First-time director Dave McCary (a fellow SNL name of recent seasons, behind the camera) metes out information about the nature of James’ upbringing in effectively small doses, allowing the film’s blending of dark humor and pathos to come through naturally, rather than through a series of comic setpieces. When James is returned to his actual parents (Matt Walsh and Michaela Watkins), after learning that his life up to this point hasn’t been what he thought it was, James is left to understand his new and terrifying future in the only way left that makes any sense to him: through Brigsby Bear Adventures and its lessons about heroism, loyalty, mathematics, and danger. And so James sets out to make a proper series finale for the show, and find some peace in the process.

It’s a measure of how confidently well-made Brigsby Bear is that it rarely gets bogged down in its high-concept setup. While some characters get lost in the shuffle as the film goes on (particularly Claire Danes as a barely-there therapist and Greg Kinnear as a kindhearted cop who’s delivered well but plays like an interloper from a broader comedy), James anchors the story as an innocent blank slate onto which other characters try and impose their wisdom, and instead offer their neuroses and hang-ups. His parents are at first ecstatic to have him home, but struggle to understand exactly how and why James turned out the way he did. His new friends, as his sister Aubrey (Ryan Simpkins) points out, are too young for him, for as kind as several of them are. And as Mooney’s cleverly stilted delivery suggests, it’s not necessarily that James can’t learn how to engage. It’s that he doesn’t want to, not when so little makes sense and nobody even knows who or what Brigsby Bear is. It’s hard to argue with a confused man who just wants to reclaim some semblance of normalcy.

Much of the pleasure of Brigsby Bear comes from the places the film goes with its seriocomic premise, so we’ll try to preserve those here as much as possible. That said, Mooney delivers a breakout performance as the maladroit, uncomprehending James. There’s a sincere yearning to his turn that distinguishes Brigsby Bear from so many indie comedies about young men coming of age, and that Mooney uses to moving effect. The revelations seem to burst out of him uncontrollably; when he awkwardly declares that “I made a friend!” upon connecting with Spence (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), it’s at one haphazardly dorky and sweetly unexpected. The idea of an underdeveloped young man finding himself is hardly new comic territory, but Brigsby Bear speaks to a more innate kind of need: for friendship, for love, for the chance to say something through art that will matter to someone else.

It’s also a well-considered comedy in its filmmaking. McCary lends a number of effective surrealist touches throughout, the most interesting of which are found in the Brigsby Bear Adventures episodes, which mine the grainy oversaturation of faded VHS tapes for both nostalgic chuckles and an understated, off-the-cuff menace that only continues to gather strength as the film goes on. (The episodes are both educational and littered with messages about the values of obedience and incuriousness.) And again, the film’s other (and best) comic weapon is Mooney, whose expressive performance is good for everything from uncomfortably lengthy cutaways to a welcome streak of downplayed physical comedy, mostly stemming from Mooney’s knack for finding small ways to fail at basic daily customs.

Brigsby Bear is the kind of comedy where the laughs sometimes sting, tinged with a melancholy that beautifully compliments James’ childlike sense of obsessive ambition. But it’s also frequently hilarious, in its warm eccentricity and in its sense of wonder about the practical aspects of making a low-budget movie with your friends and anyone else willing to lend their time for an afternoon. Brigsby avoids some the bleaker realities of its story; one late conversation between Mooney and Hamill, in particular, is both a fun nod to the latter actor’s filmography and a moment of catharsis for both men in wildly different ways. It’s the rare dramedy that ably speaks to both ends of that duality, as funny as it is touching, and it’s a reminder of how a great movie can emerge from even the most familiar places. It just needs the right idea, and maybe a talking bear suit.

Trailer:

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