Hey, friends! So April was a pretty outstanding month for good entertainment. I’ve often mentioned how killer 2013 was in terms of, well, everything. And 2014 hasn’t had the best of starts. But my outlook has brightened after April. So let’s get to it.
Best of: Film
HA, just kidding. I didn’t see any movies this month. I did, however, see The Grand Budapest Hotel for a second and third time. It’s still really awesome. Check it out.
Best of: Music
Last month, I predicted that April would be a pretty solid month for what has been a year lacking in really great music. And it delivered. Way to go, April. Aside from the fact that there were several very good albums released (Mac Demarco’s Salad Days, Cloud Nothings’ Here and Nowhere Else), there were some excellent pieces as well.
The first I want to hit is S. Carey’s Range of Light. I’m starting to think that Bon Iver might have been a super group that we’re only going to miss more and more as time goes on. While Justin Vernon is off doing his thing with Volcano Choir (whose album landed on my Top 25 list last year), S. Carey is dropping under-appreciated gems like Range of Light. It’s very easy to see how both men contributed to the distinctive sound of Bon Iver. Specifically, Carey’s ear for texture and ambiance is incredible. Think of it as Bon Iver sound with more palatable vocals. Except Carey keeps going bigger and wider with his sound. It’s not only beautiful work, but it’s exciting to think how much farther he can go. Still, this is one of the best of the year so far.
Also of note: needtobreathe’s Rivers In The Wasteland. It’s not really surprising that NTB would release another excellent album. But it is fun to see how different their last three releases have been. They’ve long since fine-tuned their sound and are now in the experimental phase of their career. And while The Reckoning played as more of a heavy narrative, Rivers is outright joyful, a declaration of fulfillment and praise. “Multiplied” may be my favorite song of the year. For fans of the band, it’s “Something Beautiful” with a more anthem-y feel.
And a bonus paragraph, because I didn’t have anything to offer in the film department: Judah Akers (known as Judah Lee) of Judah & The Lion released a worship EP a few days ago, and it’s transcendent. I’ve often thought that he could change the way Christian worship music is viewed. Hopefully this is the moment that is realized.
Best of: TV
I was really pessimistic about the television outlook after Psych and The Walking Dead finished their series and seasonal runs, respectively. But I shouldn’t have been. After all, this is the Golden Age of Television, isn’t it? And with another month comes an established powerhouse and a refreshing newcomer.
The powerhouse appears in the form of Game of Thrones, the fantasy epic to end all fantasy epics. Coming off of last season’s Red Wedding, show-runners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff had entered dangerous, Walking Dead-esque territory: this exists when major plot points become so pronounced that the in between feels boring and unimportant. So what better way to start your season with the Purple Wedding, right? (No spoilers. You’re welcome.) But the show continues to thrive on the strength of its story/writing. Even when George Martin isn’t bumping off major characters, Game of Thrones remains a complex and muddled morality play. I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about most of the characters three and a half seasons into the show. That’s pretty cool, in my opinion.
The newcomer would be FX’s Fargo, the television adaption of really the only other piece of entertainment that’s ever been tied to Fargo. But for those who aren’t familiar with the Coen brother’s 1996 black comedy, Fargo combines the driest of humor with the bloodiest of violence to teach us something about the nature of man. I have to admit, the antihero shtick is getting a little old, but it’s hard not to be fascinated with the new twist on it, even if it isn’t technically new. And besides, Martin Freeman is in it, and who can say no to John Watson/Bilbo Baggins?
That’s all I’ve got for April. May is here, and we should start seeing some good summer blockbusters soon. Thanks for reading!