Trying to describe the monumental achievement that Swift’s team has accomplished with the Reputation Stadium Tour would be a nearly impossible trick to pull off.
On August 7, Stone Temple Pilots, BUSH and Tesla, brought The Revolution Summer Tour 2018 to State Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain
TAM Photographer Chuck Holloway was on hand to capture the evening.
Stone Temple Pilot’s – Chastain Amphitheater – 2018
BUSH – Chastain Amphitheater – 2018
Hereditary has garnered a lot of hype on its way to movie theaters, drawing comparisons to such scary stalwarts as The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, or Repulsion. And while those comparisons may be somewhat misleading in terms of what to expect, Hereditary is certainly worthy of occupying a space next to those films in the hallowed halls of horror. It’s sophisticated, dark, uncomfortable, challenging, and it may leave some rank and file jump scare seekers confounded, but certainly not empty-handed.
The level of craft on display would be impressive for a seasoned director, but this is Ari Aster’s first film. His nimble use of cinematography and editing is clever and jarring. From the opening scene, Aster uses some cinematic sleight of hand to seamlessly drop actors Alex Wolff and Gabriel Byrne into a miniature diorama. Static exterior shots abruptly jump from night to day, bolstering the sense of turmoil and disorientation that pervades the film. Colin Stetson’s score supplements that mood, creating an oozing pulse accentuated with industrial rattles and clicks and a scraping, screeching arrangement of atonal strings.
The story centers around artist Annie Graham (Toni Colette) whose name betrays her enigmatic nature. Colette delivers an amazing performance as Annie, coping with the recent loss of her abusive mother while struggling to be attentive to her aloof children and increasingly beleaguered spouse. The strain is coupled with anxiety over the veritable minefield of her gene pool, a family curse that includes everything from dissociative identity disorder, dementia, depression, and schizophrenia, to sleepwalking and food allergies.
Like A24’s other critical horror darling, The Witch, Hereditary is an unnervingly voyeuristic experience. Audiences are forced to witness some of the most private and tense moments of family life, like dinners and bedtime confessions filled with blame, bitterness, and regret. These moments are completely relatable but so personal in nature that it feels as if you shouldn’t be seeing them. The film derives some of its most horrific and squirm-inducing moments not from ghosts and gore but from the quiet oppression of parental hell.
That’s not to suggest that this is entirely a psychological drama. There are plenty of ghosts and demons stalking the shadows. As with other recent arthouse horror flicks like The Babadook and It Follows, the bogeymen are metaphorical but provide a very real and visceral onscreen threat. They also provide a fairly graphic supply of gore. Aster has no qualms about lingering on scenes from which other directors would have quickly cut away or omitted altogether. It’s this penchant for reveling in distress that leads to a gobsmacking first act break that’s on par with Hitchcock’s Psycho.
Hereditary’s intellectual plotting and occasional scenery chewing may alienate some moviegoers, but this is a definite must-see for cinephiles and hardcore horror fans. The film itself isn’t easily accessible for everyone, especially the surrealistic pandemonium of the film’s fever-pitched third act, but its fears are universal. There’s nothing quite as horrifying as becoming your parents.
A Perfect Circle hasn’t had a new album for 14 years, despite promising one for the last ten. Between other projects and creative squabbles, it felt like the super group might be finished until a steady trickle of singles started showing up ahead of the release. What those singles hinted at was a very different kind of album.
It’s hard to write about Eat the Elephant without leaning on words like “matured” and “unexpected.’ A Perfect Circle has always been the gentler and more polished of vocalist Maynard James Keenan’s cavalcade of bands. And Eat the Elephant still fits that description, but it also distinguishes itself in tone. It’s slower and softer, subdued and experimental. It’s heavy on despair and light on anger.
It can’t be mere coincidence that the single “TalkTalk” shares its name with a British art rock band whose albums, Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock, bears much in common with A Perfect Circle’s new direction. Jazzy rhythms, cowed vocals and the use of silence as an instrument are all shared hallmarks between the two. The first three tracks of Eat the Elephant form a minimalist trilogy of quiet desperation that could almost live on a Talk Talk album.
“The Doomed” and “By and Down the River” are the most familiar tracks. “The Doomed” is the only song to bring out the fiery and raspy growls you might expect from Keenan, although its marching rhythm and foreboding fanfare still maintain a stillness that’s of a piece with the rest of Eat the Elephant. Elsewhere Keenan experiments with his vocal register, utilizing whispered falsettos that are simultaneously serene, intense and dripping with anxiety. These strained moments form the soul of the album. However, his electronic dabblings are easily the album’s low point. Luckily there are only two instances, “Hourglass” and “Get the Lead Out,” and both toward the end of the album, but the effect is jarring. This delicate, morose album is suddenly preempted by a trip hop dance party.
A Perfect Circle starts strong but loses its momentum at the end, as if the band got cold feet about going the moody/low key route and tried to overcompensate. But the final tally is still favorable, offering: two cringey tracks, two throw away tracks and eight really solid, surprising songs. Eat the Elephant comes frustratingly close to being a masterpiece, and while it falls short of that mark, there’s still plenty of material here to keep fans happy until Tool gets off its laurels.
The seminal stoner metal band Sleep has been dormant nearly 20 years while the side projects of guitarist Matt Pike (High on Fire) and vocalist/bassist Al Cisneros (Om) took the spotlight. There had been rumors and rumblings, the occasional tour and a new single, but year after year no album materialized. Some Sleep fans were skeptical, but it’s not out of character for the band to move at sloth’s pace. It’s also not out of character for the band to eschew a Record Store Day release in favor of a surprise “4/20” release date.
Thankfully, the wait wasn’t wasted. The Sciences is a behemoth of an album. It’s crushingly heavy and glacially slow but maintains the band’s meditative aesthetic. The riffs are hypnotic in their repetitive lumbering, each built on a strong foundation of psychedelic blues. New drummer Jason Roeder (Neurosis) adds a percussive stride that goads Pike and Cisneros into bolder experimentation on tracks like “The Botanist” and “Antarticans Thawed” and drives the aggressive riffs of “Giza Butler.”
The writing on the album is heavily focused on the music over the lyrics which, when present, are delivered with Cisneros’s mantra-like chanting. But like Jerusalem, there is a sort of story underlying the album. What lyrics there are expand on the band’s existing mythology, calling back references to the holy mountain, marijuanauts, and the sonic titan. There’s also a lot of Sabbath worship, A LOT of Sabbath worship. This is a narrative where Tony Iommi is the namesake of a religion, a planet and a layer of atmosphere (it’s safe to guess what that atmosphere consists of). Such slavish idolatry would be cringe worthy if the album was taking itself seriously, but this is an album about a marijuana-powered astronaut who may or may not actually just be a stoned-off-his-ass hippy living under an overpass.
The Sciences might be Sleep’s strongest effort. The music is nothing short of trance-inducing and the album itself is rife with codes and hidden references that might lead fans down a conspiracy laden rabbit hole but are never actually meaningful. It’s the sonic equivalent of getting high and that, perhaps, is the highest praise that can be offered a Sleep album.
After a five-year hiatus, New York noise trio Unsane returns to its roots on its eighth album. The dour disposition of the band’s previous release (Wreck) is long gone. Sterilize is raw and angry and relentless. It sounds like a band that’s young and hungry, not a band with 30 years and a healthy discography under its belt.
The album is lean. Every song feels essential and connected to the whole. Unsane oscillates between ranting ragers like “The Grind” and “Distance” and a seething southern-groove swagger on tracks like “Aberration” and “We’re Fucked.” The result is a staggered tempo that periodically pumps the brakes but never loses momentum. The tempo is so compelling that long stretches of instrumental noodling sneak past largely unnoticed.
Sterilize is a politically charged tempest of droning, squelching and clanking, a controlled chaos on the verge of breakdown. Chris Spencer’s vocals are panicked and angst-ridden, screeching desperate lines like “We’re going to run out of time.” But he finds opportune moments to trade off his soapbox punk vocals for melodic bits of chorus that offer a nice dynamism. There’s a definite craftsmanship guiding this chaos. Unsane knows when to let a riff sit and stew a few extra measures and when to launch head long into a feral cacophony.
This album is, without a doubt, a crowd pleaser. Fans are sure to find it refreshing to see Unsane stripping down and resetting. It’s harsh, but entirely accessible and an easy entry point for newcomers. Sterilize may not be the most innovative or the most experimental album in the band’s oeuvre, but it might just be the heaviest.