DOPE Digest is a weekly roundup of pop culture miscellany, with succinct analysis from our contributors.
First Look – Guardians of the Galaxy Lineup
syvo: So far, I’ve severely tempered my expectations for Marvel’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. Although the studio appears unstoppable, I’ve had the feeling for a while now that the Marvel bubble, and the Golden Age of Big-Budget Superhero Cinema along with it, is set to burst in the near future. I mean, how much longer can they keep this up? Bringing an obscure and off-beat concept like this to the screen strikes me as a potentially devastating act of hubris.
That said, I’m feeling pretty psyched after the release of the above teaser image. It’s perfect. This movie is going to be awesome. In addition to the solid cast, including voice acting by Bradley cooper (center) and Vin Diesel (far right), the project is helmed by one James Gunn. Although completely untested as far as I can tell, he’s a Troma alum, which demands that I trust and respect him implicitly.
BK: You didn’t even mention the extremely awesome Chris Pratt at Star-Lord (the name could use some work). He established himself as hilarious bro Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation and has gone on to play likable supporting characters in Zero Dark Thirty (2012), The Five Year Engagement (2012), and of course baseball-legend Scott Hatteberg in Moneyball (2011).
Guardians is a calculated risk for Marvel, but I think they’ll pull it off. A Star Wars-scale space epic would be a nice addition to the Disney catalogue (oh, wait…), and this one looks to be quirky enough to separate itself from the rest of the Marvel Universe. I’m sold.
Game of Thrones Season 4 Trailer
syvo: We’ll all have plenty of time in the coming months to discuss GOT, so for now I’ll confine my comments to the trailer’s music, since it’s easy to miss. The ominous tones you’re hearing are from Chelsea Wolfe’s “Feral Love,” the lead single off of her most recent release Pain is Beauty. Chelsea Wolfe is an incredibly talented and thoughtful artist in the vein of Zola Jesus, but even more gothic and haunting. Check out her website HERE.
BK: I’m still recovering from the Red Wedding, but this trailer has me thinking we might be OK. The production value keeps getting better, and the story is still epic and complex. Peter Dinklage is once again the star of the show (even in this brief trailer), and I couldn’t be happier. It looks like there will be as much Daenerys Targaryen as ever, which is always welcome. And dragons, you guys. DRAGONS.
Shakira – Can’t Remember to Forget You ft. Rihanna
BK: I’m a sucker for Shakira. That crazy voice had me hooked since ‘Whenever, Wherever‘ dancing around in front of that Wayne’s World-esque green screen. Her latest track features Rihanna and has a very No Doubt feel. It will be interesting to see if they go ‘high concept’ for the video or if its mostly just Shakira and Rihanna dancing around. I wager on the latter, which is fine with me.
For the record, I’m ranking ‘Can’t Remember to Forget You’ above ‘She-Wolf’, but below ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ in the Shakira pantheon.
Archer – Season 5
BK: This is one of my three favorite shows on TV along with Mad Men and Always Sunny, and I am beyond excited for this season. Season 5, episode 1 premiered on Monday and it did away with the entire plot of the previous four years. Creator Adam Reed succinctly explained that he ‘got bored’ with the typical spy premise of the show and blew it up, exporting the whole team to Miami as they try to find a way to deal a metric-ton of cocaine. Hilarity ensues!
This is one of the most consistent and bizarre shows out there. The fact that it is a cartoon turns some people off, but don’t be fooled, this show is every bit as smart and intricate as Arrested Development in its prime (and it features a lot of the same people, too.)
Ella Eyre – All About You
BK: I know very little about this artist, but it only took one listen to her debut single to sell me. Ella Eyre is a new British vocalist who was featured Rudimental’s #1 UK song ‘Waiting All Night‘ in April 2013. That song offers a small preview of the smoky, soulful vocals vocals that she belts out on ‘All About You’. Her website offers a limited glimpse into her work, but I for one am hoping there is an album in the works sooner than later. She’s got the ideal voice to holdover Adele fans until her next album drops.
DOPE Digest Throwback: Lloyd Banks – On Fire
BK: Too soon, you say? Mr. Bank$’ debut album came out TEN years ago. This may not be the best track on the album, but it is the best known and it holds up. Lloyd Banks would go on the drop a terrible follow-up album (Rotten Apple) and a solid third album (Hunger for More 2), but his debut stands as the best work he’s ever done. If you’re like me, listening to this might pull you into a G-Unit spiral and bring you back to a time when 50 Cent was not only relevant but the biggest rapper alive. Enjoy.
syvo: As I’ve always said about G-Unit: 50 Cent is the smart one, Tony Yayo is the tough one, Young Buck is the irrelevant one, and Lloyd Banks is the talented one. By far my favorite member of the clique, I still listen to Hunger For More parts 1 and 2 all the time. They’re modern masterpieces. He’s gotta be the most underrated rapper of the last fifteen years.