This is probably needless to say, but January 2017 has been… kind of awful. Some days it can be hard to differentiate the news from the Book of Revelations. But sometimes it’s just good to just take a second and focus on the positives. That being said, here’s a list of the best music, film, and industry events of 2017 so far:
David Bowie – No Plan
The latest posthumous release from the legendary rockstar contains the song “Lazarus” from “Blackstar”, as well as “No Plan”, “Killing a Little Time” and “When I Met You” from Bowie’s
Broadway musical “Lazarus.” Released on what would have been his 70th birthday, it serves as a good reminder of his legacy.
Flaming Lips – Oczy Mlody
This confusingly titled project is the first original studio album from the Flaming Lips since 2013’s “The Terror.” It’s a lot peppier than previous albums, and Miley Cyrus contributes some vocals. It’s not their best album, but it is a pretty good venture into synth-pop for the psych-rock group.
Wiley – Godfather
Grime continues its takeover of the mainstream with a new release by veteran MC Wiley. The beats are banging, the lyrics are vicious and grime superstar Skepta contributes a killer verse.
The XX – I See You
Returning for their third album, the XX bring the “Good Times” with a much brighter sound. After Jamie XX’s solo success, it seemed up in the air as to where the trio would go. It seems the group shifted their sound with him, as this album doesn’t make the listener want to cry alone in the dark, but rather dance (maybe still alone in the dark).
Arcade Fire (feat. Mavis Staples) – I Give You Power
The legendary group released a noise track, reminiscent of Kanye’s Yeezus, to coincide with the giant-toddler-man’s inauguration, with proceeds going to ACLU. It’s a good track with a good cause so buy it or stream it (maybe a couple of hundred times so they actually get a dollar).
Various Artists – Our First 100 Days
This thirty dollar project on bandcamp started on the first day after Obama stopped being our president, with one track being released every day for 100 days. There’s a rumour going around that a few really great bands from Durham are participating, so you should definitely check it out. Proceeds go to “organizations working on the front lines of climate, women’s rights, immigration and fairness.” Angel Olsen, PWR BTTM, and Avey Tare from Animal Collective are among the first to release tracks.
20th Century Women: Taking place in late 1970’s Santa Barbara California, Mike Mill’s latest film tells the story of three women experiencing life through romance, difficult decisions and punk music. Starring Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig and Billy Crudup, this film is both heartwarming and nostalgic, without pushing either on too hard.
The Founder: This film tells the story of Ray Kroc, a businessman who takes a quaint little restaurant called McDonalds and, spoiler alert, turned it into a multi-billion dollar business. Starring Michael Keaton and Nick Offerman, this is a must-see if you enjoy the delectable taste of the Big Mac.
Hidden Figures: Based on the true story of the team of African-american women who worked for NASA during the cold war. Janelle Monae, Octavia Spencer and Taraji P. Henson star as three woman team known as “human computers.”
The music technology convention was held this throughout month, showcasing the latest and greatest gear that the average college student wouldn’t be able to afford. Fender previewed a new limited line of exotic tonewood guitars. Teenage Engineering showed off the new pocket sized drum sample, the PO 32. Akai updated the MPC series with the powerhouse workstation, the MPCX. Bitwig Studio 2, the newest update to the DAW, was showcased heavily as a competitor to Ableton Live, sporting Modular synthesizer automation.
The annual film and television award show took place on January eighth. Moonlight took Best Drama Motion Picture, Atlanta took Best Musical or Comedy TV Series, Zootopia won Best Animated Feature Film, and La La Land set a record for winning seven awards, the most a single film has ever won.