TUESDAY TASTE: Arcade Fire sidekick steps out, Madonna's return and more
By Dan Nailen
on Tue, Mar 10, 2015 at 11:55 AM
Every week we scour the new releases from the music and home-video folks to see what's great, not-so-great and downright awful that's being foisted on the public. No need to thank us, just take a look at our Tuesday Taste to find out if you need to start shopping.
Will Butler, Policy. You might only consider Butler a sideman to his frontman brother in Arcade Fire, but his solo debut proves him to be both a savvy songwriter and an incredibly talented instrumentalist with a wide-ranging sonic palette. There's a bit of garage-rock, some retro electro-pop, some gorgeous piano-driven balladry on this impressive first effort. Here's a taste: Joe Pug, Windfall. Pug is a criminally under-rated songwriter with a weathered-to-perfection voice and knack for great, roots-based hooks in his tunes. If simple and stirring folk is your bag, Pug is your man. He's playing in Spokane March 29. Here's a bit of his new album:
And of course we have to mention: Madonna, Rebel Heart. Madonna's latesthas a little bit of everything we've come to expect from the modern pop pioneer in her later years. There are some genuinely engaging dance tunes, decent ballads, and collaborations with younger tastemakers that feel totally out of place — the reviews are mixed, as you'd expect. Considering Madonna was only good for a couple of strong tunes per album even at her best moments, not a bad ratio all around for her 13th set. And it gives her an excuse to tour this year.
MOVIES & TV
The big mainstream release of the week is the latest in an inexplicably long line of Night at the Museum movies. If you're watching to get one last glimpse of Robin Williams, fine. Otherwise, if you need something that will appeal to a lot of different folks, maybe stick with the 30th anniversary edition of The Breakfast Club or the 50th anniversary DVD release of The Sound of Music.
If something a little off-kilter or thought-provoking is more your speed, though, consider these new releases:
Happy Valley is a harsh documentary about the pedophilia scandal at Penn State University, and the way it shocked the academic, sports and community cultures in the college town. The reviews, including our own, were solid all around. Here's a look: Listen Up Philip features Jason Schwartzman as a writer in search of some sanity just as his second novel is about to be releases, causing him to flee to his idol's summer retreat. A well-received dark comedy about the artistic mind is the deal here. Check out a peek: