Music

Friday’s media round-up

childishgambino

Joe Anderson
This a remix of a video review for a terrible Kinect game where you learn how to kick people in the groin. I’ve been listening to this for extended periods every day. It’s surprisingly soulful. Don’t worry; it loops.

John Franklin Dandridge
Thom Yorke composed runway music for Rag & Bone’s fashion show – via Pitchfork.

Kyle Thacker
So this past week I’ve been borderline obsessed with FX’s dude-friendly show, The League. Like most folks, I had a post-holiday crash. Money was tight, my BAC was descending from orbit, and the couch was my best friend. In short, it was the perfect time to binge on a TV show. I chose The League. I had been hearing scattered praise about it for some time now, and finally got a chance to check it out for myself. I devoured both seasons. The humor is heavy on insults, escalating situations of one-up-manship, and treating your friends worse than your enemies. The League is centered on one group of friends and their fantasy football league. They’re competitive and derisive towards one another, without pity, and also extremely hilarious. The show is partly improvised and the unexpected moments add sincerity to each character’s relationship. Though at times the humor is something you might expect from a funny frat dude, the cast is a collection of actors who eschew that motif. Oddball comedian and Human Giant alumn, Paul Scheer, plays a fashion-plagued plastic surgeon, Andre, who’s attempt to add the phrase “Child, please” into his repertoire is shot down by everyone he tries it on. Mark Duplass, writer of the recent John C. Reilly/Jonah Hill flick, Cyrus and front man the band of Volcano, I’m Still Excited!!, plays recently divorced fantasy football guru Pete. The show is fun and light, with solid writing, and deserved of a spot in your Netflix instant-queue.

Dominick Mayer
Despite a lot of haterade being imbibed in his direction (and one wonderfully indignant Pitchfork review), Donald Glover’s hip-hop alter ego Childish Gambino is one of my favorite MCs currently emerging. Being a huge Kanye West fan, I appreciate when hard flow meets mile-a-minute punchlines, and Gambino delivers this in spades. He’s already sold out the Riviera here in Chicago come March 30, a show I can only wish I was attending. My favorite track by far, and one I’ve been bumping for weeks now, is “Freaks and Geeks,” a great example of what Gambino does so well and a damned fine Lil’ Wayne impression to boot.

Shelby Shaw
I read reviews on it. I watched behind-the-scenes footage. I heard other people’s defenses and gushes. And then I finally Netflixed (before it went streaming) the first season. And I watched all of it. All six episodes of Portlandia in one sitting, and I must say, I couldn’t imagine watching it in six parts where I needed to wait seven days in between. I guess this is how these television enterprises work. It also works by having awesome new content – Portlandia, created by and starring Fred Armisen (SNL) and Carrie Brownstein (Wild Flag, Sleater-Kinney), is a personal homage to the city and all it represents both inside its Northwestern corner of the US and outside. Just think of one cliche. Yeah, that one has it’s own skit. Fred and Carrie play a series of duos, from couples to more ambiguous couples, even changing up genders frequently. What’s best is that the city of Portland, presented as somewhat too dreamily-fictional through fictional characters, becomes more realistic as characters from one sketch appear in other characters’ sketches. As director Jonathon Krisel said, the city of Portland is like a utopia – in Portlandia you are in utopia. Just maybe not the vision of a perfect society you personally have in mind. Today starts season two on IFC, continuing on Fridays at 10/9c at which point, by the end of the season, you’ll probably have an Etsy shop and be eating vegan macaroons while reading feminist books in your spare time from freeing dogs on leashes everywhere.