Vague Visages Writers' Room

Vague Visages Writers’ Room: Weekend Vibes 3.30.18

Weekend Vibes is a Friday column about streaming recommendations, new release hype and entertainment events. 

Leslie Hatton (@popshifter)

The first song I ever heard by The Soft Moon was “Feel,” from Cleopatra Records’ excellent Occult Box release of 2015. As a fan of intensely catchy yet undeniably gloomy college radio songs from the mid-1980s, it ticked off a lot of boxes for me. “Feel” quickly became one of those songs that I had to hear at least twice in a row, the kind of track that ends up appearing on various mixtapes because it’s both propulsive (great for workouts!) and versatile (it always reminds me of a certain episode of NBC’s Hannibal). Not long afterwards, I consumed all of The Soft Moon’s albums, including their most recent, Criminal.

Encompassing post-punk, Goth, darkwave and several shades in between, The Soft Moon is the creation of Oakland’s Luis Vasquez, which is surprising considering the dense sonic textures he has conjured over the course of four albums. The Soft Moon is currently touring North America, arriving in Toronto on March 30. It will be interesting to see how Vasquez’ music translates to a live setting, especially when the band’s concerts are described as including light shows and other visual effects.

Toronto’s Longboat Hall is a cavernous, industrial venue whose weathered wood and sandstone brick walls feel perfect for the band’s jagged tonal palette. Massachusetts’ duo Boy Harsher will be opening; this band’s dark synthwave beats (courtesy of Augustus Muller) are offset by throaty vocals (Jae Matthews). If that’s not a match made in heaven, then it’s certainly a match for one of Dante’s nine circles.

Devika Girish (@devikagirgayi)

I recently saw Raoul Peck’s Lumumba (2000) on Fandor soon after rewatching Black Panther, and the films make one hell of a double feature. Check out Lumumba if you want to see the themes that Ryan Coogler’s movie touched upon play out in real life — such as anti-imperial resistance, radical Pan-Africanism and isolationist versus integrationist attitudes towards decolonization. It tells the rousing story of Patrice Lumumba, the charismatic, revolutionary leader of the Congolese liberation movement and the first Prime Minister of the DRC, who was assassinated in 1961 six months after his election. (Spoiler alert: the CIA comes off looking *much* worse that Martin Freeman’s clueless, friendly Everett Ross in Black Panther).

Bonus: You can follow up (or precede) Lumumba with Peck’s Lumumba: Death of a Prophet, a great documentary he made on the same subject seven years before the fiction film. It’s on Kanopy, which is free in many cities with a public library card.

Double Bonus: Then go and watch Peck’s latest feature The Young Karl Marx, playing in NYC at the Metrograph. Like Lumumba, it’s also a rousing portrait of a revolutionary told in Peck’s classic discursive style, although it has a much happier ending.

Colin Biggs (@wordsbycbiggs)

It’s not an Easter film or even a Good Friday film, but there’s no better streaming selection for this weekend than Martin Scorsese’s Silence. The adaptation of Shūsaku Endō‘s novel about wrestling with faith and obligation at the turn of 17th Century Japan is a methodical build-up, one that refuses to hand out easy answers. Silence marked a transition of sorts for the legendary director; where Kundun and The Last Temptation of Christ feature young men coming to terms with their divinity, Andrew Garfield’s Rodrigues must deal with his utter mediocrity. He’s a young man coming to grips with the many ways that conversation can change the world, and, conversely, fail to change anything. It took the better part of 25 years for Scorsese to get Silence off the ground, which may have been good fortune for the director as the film is a masterclass in the technical and emotive prowess of a mature, self-assured icon.

Silence is now available on Hulu and Amazon Prime.

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