Well, the days have officially gotten shorter, and we can't say that we're fans of less sunlight. One way to make the most of these long nights? Great movies and new music. This week's Friday Five has heavy doses of both, with an emphasis on tunes you can enjoy as the weather gets colder. Plus, there's a surprise entrant, with an athlete doing things you have to see to believe. Grab a blanket, pour a drink, and enjoy!
The Harder They Fall
Looking for a fast-paced, highly-stylized action movie that you can watch from the comfort of your couch? Netflix has you covered this week with the release of The Harder They Fall, the much-anticipated western from Jeymes Samuel. Everything about this movie piques our interest. The cast is absolutely loaded, starring Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, Lakeith Stanfield, Delroy Lindo, and more. That is just an absolute murderer’s row of acting talent. Jay-Z is a producer on the film, along with Will Smith’s company Overbrook Entertainment, so we know the soundtrack will be excellent. We love to see an alternative take on a Western (or really any Western), so we’ve had this release circled on our calendars for a while. Break out the popcorn, put on some comfy clothes, and turn the volume on your TV all the way up -- it’s time for Movie Night.
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats - The Future
What a run of new releases for us. It feels like every week, another one of our favorite bands puts out a new album -- and we’ve got another one for you this week. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats finally released The Future, and it lived up to our expectations. We’ve already highlighted a single off of the album, but we felt obligated to draw your attention to the release of the whole project. It’s a great fall/winter/cold weather album, as the grittiness of the vocals and the instrumentals pair nicely with a fire and a glass of whiskey. The title track “Future,” which leads off the album, captures the overall sound of the album off the top. There’s a great change of pace throughout, with upbeat tracks to get you up and moving, and slower songs to calm you back down. But no matter the tempo, it all has a nice, easygoing vibe that is pretty synonymous with the band’s overall sound. We’ve had this one on repeat all week, and probably will keep it in the rotation for the foreseeable future.
The War on Drugs NPR Tiny Desk Concert
Speaking of artists with new releases -- The War on Drugs played a few songs off their new album for NPR in a very entertaining Tiny Desk set. It’s always cool to get a bit of behind the scenes content with some of our favorite current artists, and this was no exception. You can get a real sense of how the album came together, with the whole band jamming in their studio. There’s also a fun bit between songs when they lower an actual tiny desk down for frontman Adam Granduciel to grab a capo. It seems like the band is just having so much fun together in the studio, and it definitely reflects in the quality of the album. With a band like The War on Drugs, it’s also just awesome to see where the little intricacies in their sound come from, as you get to watch each musician add their influence to the track in a small, intimate setting. If you’re looking for a quick 20-minute burst of entertainment, the Tiny Desk segment is for you.
Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free
We kept going even further behind the scenes into music we love for our doc choice. The YouTube original documentary Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free was released this week, chronicling the making of Petty’s masterpiece Wildflowers. There’s a ton of never-before-seen archival footage, which is always so cool to look back at, especially around rock projects. Of course, the doc also features interviews, live performance clips, and some great graphic work and animation. Wildflowers was a momentous turning point in Tom Petty’s career, and now we get to see the full story behind the massive solo album, including the influence of music legend Rick Rubin. Petty’s death was so tragic, and we’ll take full advantage of anything that allows his memory and influence to live on even further.
Matt Araiza: Star Punter
San Diego State’s punter Matt Araiza might be having the greatest kicking season ever, and he has quickly become the newest viral sensation in college football. Just this past weekend, Araiza punted a ball almost 90 yards in the air… and that’s not even that unusual. His left leg is already prolific, as he routinely punts balls over 60 yards, and he is redefining the type of impact a punter can have on a football game. It’s really fun to watch someone who has worked so hard to perfect such a specific craft, and stories on The Ringer and ESPN have aptly profiled how his competitive nature and work ethic help Araiza to stand out. It takes a level of boldness to do what he’s doing that we have to respect. He sells out on every kick, and is changing the perspective people have about special teamers, one booming punt after another.