Our Spilt Milk looks at our favorite things each week--this week, Samantha Bee, Band of Horses' new album, "The Lobster" comes to New Orleans and more.
A sign that we deal with too many mass shootings isn’t that President Obama has his day after speech grooved; it’s that the late night comedians have too. In recent nights, John Oliver, Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers each adopted similarly sombre tones to talk about how inappropriate comedy seems at the moment, expressed sympathy for those affected by the shooting, then turned their attention to the need for gun control. Each spot is worth seeing in part because we really can’t have enough people who reach large audiences argue against the madness that Americans need military weapons, and because each found a way to make the moment true to who he is. Still, you can’t watch them all and not notice the way piety creeps in.
On Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Bee saw the limits of that approach. “After a massacre, the standard operating procedure is that we stand onstage and deliver some well meaning words about how we’ll get through this together, how love wins, how love conquers hate, and that is great,” she began. “That is beautiful, but you know what? Fuck it! I am too angry for that. Love does not win unless we love each other enough to fix our fucking problems.” After a clip with a politician talking about how there was more than a mass shooting a day last year, Bee asked, “Hey, is it okay if instead of doing jokes, I just scream for seven minutes until we go to commercial?”
In many ways, it was the most Daily Show-like response, and it’s a reminder of what’s sadly missing from this year’s election coverage (Trevor Noah—you’re an immigrant. Step up!) Bee is laceratingly funny in the segment, using comedy as a weapon to highlight the inanity of political responses to gun violence among other things. Her response wasn’t a Jon Stewart response, though. Bee specifically made the moment go. She was alive with outrage, and not the poindexter-like outrage Facebook seems addicted to. Her physical presence said as much as her words, particularly next to the late night hosts and their unnatural composure. (Alex Rawls)
When I think of Band of Horses, I think of music for sad people who can only handle so much Bon Iver. Two weeks ago, Voodoo announced that Band of Horses will be a part of this year’s festival, and on Friday the band released Why Are You OK, a welcome return to the genuine emotion seemingly lost on 2012’s Mirage Rock. Mirage Rock was bubblegum pop compared with the rawness and low-fi style of their first few albums, and it made me wary when I heard about the new release.
Apparently, however, four years was enough time for Band of Horses to get its act back together. Why Are You OK retains the emotionality that drew me to the band, particularly in lead singer Ben Bridwell’s voice and guitar. Why Are You OK is an album from a band not trying as hard to prove itself, and its sounds freer to explore variations like the occasional country or folksy cadence or tone in a cohesive way. (Nicole Cohen)
The Lobster is finally showing in New Orleans. Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos' dystopian dark comedy is set in a society in which single people are sent to a resort hotel where they have 45 days to find a romantic partner. Those who fail to do so are turned into animals. David (Colin Farrell) is sent to the hotel after his wife leaves him, and he decides he will become a lobster if he doesn't find a match. He brings his brother (who has been turned into a dog) along with him.
At moments, The Lobster feels like the work of a hyperactive child, unable to hold a single train of thought for more than a few minutes at a time. The absurdity of the plot and the stilted, sparse dialogue take some getting used to, but Lanthimos pulls it all together, and the mind-bending bits and pieces mold into a single thematic unit. In his quirky way, Lanthimos uses the film as a vehicle to explore the nature of relationships and how society shapes them. It's an intense topic, but it's presented with enough deadpan, self-deprecating humor to avoid coming off as preachy or overly serious. (Raphael Helfand)
A guitar and a sitar walk into a bar and create Dawg Yawp. The band, made up of duo Tyler Randall and Rob Keenan, released their first EP, Two Headed Heart, this year. The album has a folk rock sound, but with a twist. Modern synth, hip electronica, and smooth vocals combine to produce groovy songs and a ‘60s atmosphere. Their song “I Wanna be a Dawg” best exemplifies their interdisciplinary style with a folky acoustic guitar and a sitar that nods to The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper days. With the current revival of Americana folk-rock (Dawes, Houndmouth, Blitzen Trapper) it is refreshing to hear a folk band inspired by non-Americana roots. (Jessie Rubini)