Best Of February 2019

Every month we collect highlights in film and music, all in one place. Read full reviews by clicking the images or the links below.

LCD Soundsystem: Electric Lady Sessions

Though it could be called more of the same, LCD Soundsystem’s latest live recording is bright, energetic, and life-giving to the handful of American Dream tracks it reworks, as well as a reminder of how bombastic a live act LCD are.

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Ariana Grande: thank u, next

In her short career, Ariana Grande’s music has matured remarkably fast. She once sang a song on SNL about what her career-defining scandal would be; prophetic, childish, whatever you want to call it, Grande came out of 2018 sounding better than ever: older, wiser, in command. thank u, next is the evidence.

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Panda Bear: Buoys

Buoys was a mostly forgettable record. It indulged in slow song structures, bland instrumentation, and uninspired vocal manipulations, but there was one standout moment that deserves to be heard. “Inner Monologue” doesn’t save anything, but the limited set of tools Panda Bear was working with fit snuggly, in a song that sounds like it descended from the top of an unknown volcano.

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High Flying Bird

Dexterous, simple, and risk-taking: Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s 11) and Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight) teamed for a look into the managerial side of basketball. The foibles and inexplicable lexicon of the NBA are both praised and flailed, guided by a never-better Andre Holland. The film event of the month didn’t release in theatres, and we’ll never know how successful it was; it can’t be missed.

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Paddleton

Do not sleep on Paddleton. The indie heartbreaker from writers Mark Duplass and Alex Lehmann (Blue Jay) stars Duplass and Ray Romano as close-knit bros, each struggling with expectation when one learns he has cancer. It’s as funny as it is devastating, and a triumph in acting for Romano.

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