SXSW 2022 – as we have established – was such a welcoming and wonderful experience. With 2020 being canceled and 2021 being an all-digital event, coming back into a hybrid in-person/digital setting was everything we could have hoped for. This year, the film/television panels and events were spread out further into the week than years past, and we were thrilled at the thought of trying to get a glimpse of Donald Glover and the Atlanta team on the red carpet on Saturday, March 19th, at the Paramount. Not expecting to get a chance to actually step foot into the theater, we were shocked when we got into the premiere with no issue as secondary music badge holders. Viewers were promised the first episode followed by an extended Q&A. We got that PLUS the second episode!
“We like to under promise and over deliver.” – Show creator, Donald Glover.
If you love Atlanta already? You will be pleased right out the gate. If you didn’t love Atlanta already? It’s absolutely time to give it a try!
Without any big spoilers: The first episode is a reimagining of real events. Because there are plenty of things that happen in this real world – in our individual lives – where you just think: that could have happened differently. One of the things the cast revealed in the Q&A was that, in putting together these final two seasons of Atlanta – If you didn’t know, now you know. Seasons 3 and 4 have been filmed, and they will be the show’s last – they spent a lot of time watching other amazing shows like Succession while asking themselves: What is something these shows CAN’T do that we can?
And with the preview of just the first two episodes? This team can do a LOT that others can’t!
During the first season, the writers and cast genuinely felt like they were trying too hard – and, upon reflection, they can still feel it in the work itself. During season 2, they were trying hard to prove that season one wasn’t a fluke. They earned that success, and they did a brilliant job. In these final two seasons? They’ve grown up, survived 2 years of a pandemic, some even have growing families that they didn’t have before. Admits Donald of how he writes post-children: “Kids make you soft as butt.”
The consensus this time around? “We’re just trying to have fun.”
And, when the Q&A host asked if some of the subject matters in the first two episodes were based in truth (including instances of black face and euthanasia), show writer (and show creator Donald Glover’s brother) Stephen Glover said: “That shit is just funny”.
“We’re just fucked up people,” Donald added. “It came from us.” He went on to explain the correlation between fear and comedy, which are both massively present in Atlanta. “Fear and comedy are closely related, they’re always touching each other. They’re very connected. That’s why we’re trying to do that.”
From a viewing perspective? This show has always hit the tough, societal, human notes right alongside the wacky, weird, hilarious, bizarre WTF moments.
The panelists revealed that their writer’s room has been a physical location – but also a group text thread filled with memes and videos. Which, in hindsight, is made crystal clear in season 2, episode 6 with the character of Teddy Perkins (IYKYK). Donald Glover revealed that the character and episode were inspired by a photo of Michael Jackson ducking and covering, and the follow-up question: “What if you were being chased by that version of Michael?”
After this theatre viewing, we can admit it’s OUTSTANDING to watch alongside other fans, but just as hilarious, poignant, and effective when watching alone. Starting this season, you can watch it on Hulu the day after the episode airs on FX. And if the rest of the series continues with the cadence of the first two episodes of the 3rd season? You will not want to miss a single second.
The insight during the panel revealed self-awareness and an all-encompassing relatability to the content. With everything I learned about the creative process behind Atlanta, with its text thread writer’s room, I am feeling inspired to start my own writer’s room text thread. Because, my friends and I are SURELY clever enough to create our own epic, highly anticipated show, right?
On second thought, I think I’ll leave it to the pros. I already miss you, Atlanta crew!
Episode 1 of the 3rd season drops tomorrow, March 24th on FX. (Available on Hulu starting March 25th!) Keep up with our continuing coverage of SXSW here.
Singer, songwriter, and healing artist Lauren Monroe is on a roll. On the heels of her new show announcements, she brings along her latest single release with the beautiful “Kiss Me Now.” Her first release of 2022, the song reminds us all to take life as it comes at us and, for a lack of better analogy, grab the bull by the horns. Explains Monroe:
[Kiss Me Now is] a reminder of the impermanence of life – a reminder to be grateful for who we have and the journey we have taken with loved ones. It’s about being happy and free, having fun but remembering it all ends one day. The pandemic challenged our ability to celebrate just being with people, and this song reminds us to celebrate the moments we do spend together.
While the pandemic still trudges on, this is a feeling we can all identify with. And this song is a beautiful testament to the humanness that brings us all together. Enjoy the track – and it’s gorgeously compiled lyric. video – below!
A meandering, beautiful piano intro? Check. An ethereal, intense voice dancing along staccato notes in an endearing and almost haunting way? Check! Teghan Devon has pulled out all the stops in new single “V.I.P.,” for which we have the exclusive premiere right here. Let yourself get lost in the building momentum of a song that feels like a warm hug. Singing of engaging with true, genuine friendship and “Good vibes only,” this is a song we can absolutely get on board with in 2022. Get your first listen below, and be sure to let Teghan know how much you love her over on Facebook!
Comprised of vocalist/guitarist Matt Connelly and bassist Will O Connor, Wilmah aims to make listeners think while simultaneously creating grooves to make them move. Blending blunt introspection in their approach to songwriting with some humor and multi-genre fusion, the band’s alt-pop sound attempts to make sense of life’s intricacies while retaining some uplifting vibes. Using the opportunity from the pandemic in creating new music, Wilmah returns with a growth in their sound that fully represents themselves as individuals. In succession to the romance and nostalgia based “Television ” and politically charged “Welcome to America”, their new single “Wait Until Tomorrow” aims to reach the psyche and spirits of their audience.
The track immediately hits with a burst of upbeat mix of acoustic and electric guitar licks with the rhythmic punch of 80s new wave-esque drums. The production of this song can automatically get one to think it is a breezy feel-good anthem, while the lyrics seem to tell a different story. As heard in the passionate hook “If you’re gonna break my heart, can it just wait until tomorrow”, Wilmah makes a plea to push off negativity for the time being to revel in temporary happiness. The juxtaposition of the single’s sonic bubbliness with its therapeutic subject matter makes for an interesting anthem that can comfort listeners while not sugarcoating their true feelings.
“Wait Until Tomorrow” drops on November 19th and check out Wilmah’s preceding singles.
The warm lighting found in a late-night destination illuminates Brian Straw’s face as the depth of his robust vocals fill the atmosphere. Emotionally charged single “Out of Doors” has been a long time coming, and today we have the pleasure of premiering its beautiful accompanying video.
Admits the artist of the song:
I carried “Out of Doors” around in my pocket for a couple years until I formed the band that ultimately helped me fully realize it. It was apparent to me after the first rehearsal that I had something special. It clicked. With the perfect combination of musicians the song just bloomed. I wanted the chorus to feel like a huge wave of intensity and for the verses to sit back and slowly unfold. I feel like we captured that by paying close attention to dynamics and flow. The words were a ton of work. I wanted the lyrics to emote the way the performance does. the words build along with the music and that was intentional. It was important to me that the music and words sit at the same table.
It turns out that “Out of Doors” takes you on an audible adventure in just the way he had imagined. The music video simply serves to amplify the emotional journey the song takes you on. A kaleidoscope of colors ensues, as we follow Straw on what would otherwise be considered an (often) rather lonely journey, that of the creative mind. Expanding into the way the music video unfolded, Straw explains:
The story for the video developed organically while we were shooting. I intentionally didn’t want to put a storyboard together so we wouldn’t be locked into any formulaic approach. We cultivated each scene with a blank slate. The director, Ryan Girard, brilliantly diagnosed the meaning of the song when I myself was struggling with what the song meant to me. He estimated that “Out of Doors” was all about the struggle of the creative process. He was dead on and that’s effectively what the video captures. It’s an abstract window into my creative mind.
We are thrilled to share a view into that creative mind. Get your first look at the incredibly thought-provoking video below.
Minneapolis-based rock band Hurrah a Bolt of Light returns with their new video for AN/ANIMAL 3, the single from their upcoming visual album AN/ANIMAL. With a style described as “pop music for sad people”, Hurrah blends rock, prog, ambient, and other genres to create a dense concept album in line as a return to form after the sugary polish of their last album. In a 16-minute music video spanning four tracks within segments, the album brings a cinematic experience combining atmospheric visuals with cryptic lyrics and a murky vibe. AN/ANIMAL 3 represents the darkest portion of the album’s narrative.
The track combines a visceral clash of garage-rock-inspired guitars with instrumental breaks reminiscent of progressive rock, spawning a beautiful yet eerie sound enhanced by its content centered on despair and death. The music video reflects its macabre vibe, featuring a man kidnapped and attempting to escape his captor, ultimately facing brutal consequences. The cinematography is a perfect complement to the song’s horror-esque tone with a sense of surrealism as the video’s events occur in a loop. Admits the artist of the track:
“An/Animal 3” is the third piece of the four part puzzle that is AN/ANIMAL. For this point in the story, I wanted to create a song that was frantic, frenetic, confrontational and wild. Key changes and mood shifts run amok, land, and then veer off elsewhere. The video mirrors those vibes as well and shows both the protagonist and antagonist in various states of distress and agitation that conclude with their violent meeting. The visuals only scratch the surface of what the story as a whole might mean. It’s a bit unclear on purpose.
I wrote the music and recorded nearly all the instruments for this song and AN/ANIMAL in general. Except for the drums and some keyboards because I am not that good at drums and some keyboards. This part of the movie was particularly difficult to film and execute because I had to a) be in my underwear for the majority of the film and b) be chased outside in late fall wearing said underwear. It was very cold.
Check out the premiere of the new video below and stay tuned for AN/ANIMAL, which is slated to drop in January 2022.