February is flying by, and another week down means another edition of the Friday Five. Looking for an Oscar-worthy feature? Some perfect music to blast in the sunshine? How about a playlist to totally zone out to? We've got all your potential weekend needs covered with this week's selections, so just pick a vibe and dig in.
Judas and the Black Messiah
If you don’t already have HBO Max, it’s time to sign up for your free trial, because Judas and the Black Messiah lives up to the hype. Shaka King’s new film just dropped on the streaming service (as well as in limited theaters), and it is astonishing. Daniel Kaluuya should win an Oscar for his portrayal of Fred Hampton, and Lakeith Stanfield matches him pretty much punch-for-punch as FBI-Informant Bill O’Neal. Add in a supporting cast headlined by Jesse Plemons, and you’ve got the recipe for a blockbuster. This was a story that needed to be told, and King delivered on a biopic that is thrilling, emotional, and informative. JATBM was meant to be seen on the big screen, as it’s full of electrifying speeches, tense action scenes, and just raw energy and emotion. But until that’s possible -- we’d move this to the top of your streaming queue.
Hilltop Hoods - “Be Yourself”
Maybe it was the LA sun finally coming out, but for one reason or another, we went down the rabbithole of Australian hip-hop this week. Specifically, we were digging the Hilltop Hoods’ “Be Yourself,” off of their album The Great Expanse. The album as a whole is upbeat and genre-bending, with lots of funk and some great features and hooks. They bring in cool basslines, guitar and piano parts, and strings to really differentiate their sound. “Be Yourself” exemplifies this perfectly, with a bassline that feels straight out of the 70’s and interesting vocals to accompany the group’s rapping. As the title suggests, the song is all about not caring what other people think, feeling comfortable in your own skin, and learning to “be the best version of me,” which is always a good message to get across. “Be Yourself,” and really the whole album, feels like it’s designed to be played while you’re out sitting in the sun, or driving with the windows down, and that’s exactly the vibe we were looking for this week.
Phoenix Suns “The Valley” Jerseys
At long last, the Phoenix Suns are putting on a show that their fans can be excited about. And now, with their bold new City Edition jerseys and court, they look good while they’re doing it. For their City Edition look, the Suns chose to honor the traditions of their local area by representing “The Valley.” The fan base encompasses more than just downtown Phoenix, and the team felt like it was time to show it on their jerseys. Stylistically, the uniforms feature pixelated sunset colors that pop off of a black base, which is a really cool look. They still prominently feature purple and the old Suns logo, mixing the new with the old. Phoenix’s purple and orange color scheme hasn’t always made for the most fan-friendly jerseys, but we can’t imagine how many Steve Nash “Valley” jerseys we would’ve seen during the heyday of the 7-Seconds-Or-Less Suns. Deion Sanders once said, “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good.” Lucky for Phoenix fans, the Suns new jerseys look pretty good.
Speaking of colorful, pixelated design work, we couldn’t get enough of Felipe Pantone’s Instagram this week. The Suns’ jersey design reminded us a lot of Pantone’s work, and once we saw Phoenix rocking their new unis, we had to take a deep dive on his account. Pantone’s designs are incredibly colorful and kind of trippy, and utilize cool geometric features to stand out. He’s worked on buildings, race cars, installations, and murals, and all of them really pop. His artwork looks impressive enough hanging on a wall, much less covering an entire building. The account also features behind the scenes looks at the creative process, as well as videos of his work “in the wild.” Maybe one day we’ll be able to catch a glimpse of Pantone’s stuff in person, but for now, we’ll just have to daydream about his IG feed.
In addition to our normal listening habits, we’ve also been digging deep into “8D Music,” and it’s a pretty trippy experience. Instead of equalizing the audio, in “8D” the track pans to specific points so that you feel like the music is all around you. Technically there are still only three dimensions, not eight, but 8D sounds cooler and is catchier than something like “spatial sound.” The playlists on Spotify feature some chill house remixes of pop songs, which also adds to the vibe. Youtube has even more songs and sounds, but we’ve mostly stuck with the production value that is streaming. There’s probably a scientific explanation for it, but it seems impossible to not feel good while you’re seemingly in the middle of the music. So put on some headphones and get ready to be transported to a different world.