Dane wrote on January 5th at 9:53am:
Hey Major & Emily,
It didn't take long after New Year's Day for the soul-crushing dread of a whole new year (& how the winter officially starts to get so effing old after the holidays) to kick in. It was 7am on Jan 2nd when I already began to feel like "I hate this" and then it wasn't long after that (maybe 7:30am, 1/2/19) when I started turning that feeling inward and started hating myself for things mostly beyond my control (and then some things that totally are). This happens every year and no amount of planning/prepping for it has really helped so far.
One thing that DOES help a little bit though is trying to find reasons to get excited about the New Year. So I wanted to start an email thread where we can talk about the music, movies, books, whatever that we're excited about for 2019. In hopes that it will help keep my Seasonal Affective Disorder in check while also giving me something easy to focus on and accomplish every day.
I'll start with perhaps my most anticipated release of 2019: Phoenix, the new Pedro the Lion album coming out on Jan. 18th (which maybe it's a good thing to get my most anticipated thing so early in the year or maybe that's bad, we'll see).
We've gotten new David Bazan albums and projects almost every year since Pedro the Lion stopped releasing music with Achilles Heel in 2004, but still, with this new Pedro album it seems Bazan is really throwing all he has into it. The first two songs are magnificent. I'll leave the video for "Yellow Bike" right here:
How're you all feeling about a new Pedro album in just under two weeks? What else are you looking forward to?
Emily replied on January 5th at 7:07pm:
Nothing like coming out of the holidays to four consecutive days without sunlight, of course. I'm glad you asked, though, because I've been spending so much time and energy catching up on the things I missed in 2018 that I forgot to look forward for a bit.
I'm not as into Pedro/Bazan as you guys are, but I know if my favorite artist was releasing an album three weeks into January, I'd be over the moon. Your best dude making an early claim to Album of the Year is definitely something to look forward to.
Music-wise, I'd really only been thinking about the new Jenny Lewis album, On the Line, so I had to do some digging. As it turns out, while y'all are listening to Phoenix, I'll be checking out Sharon van Etten's Remind Me Tomorrow. Later in the year, I'll be stoked to hear full-length releases from Jade Bird, Honeymoan, Methyl Ethel, Julia Jacklin, and Cherry Glazzer, all bands I heard for the first time in 2018. Rumors surround releases by Sleater-Kinney, Solange, TV on the Radio, Noname, Missy Elliott, and SZA, so I can only hope for albums from them, though I'll settle for singles or festival appearances. Lizzo, Durand Jones and the Indications, Jon Fratelli (of the Fratellis!), Girlpool, and The Raconteurs all have confirmed releases that I'm looking forward to, as well. My biggest hope is for an LP from Samia sometime in 2019. Her single, 21, was my (third) favorite song of 2018 (Lucy Dacus is responsible for #1 and 1/3 of #2). Here's that song:
Like 2018, I do expect 2019 to be more about the live performances I'm able to sneak away to than album releases, as Mitski, Jay Som, the aforementioned Samia and Lucy Dacus, Dr. Dog, Interpol, and Jeff Tweedy have all already announced first quarter concerts near here.
I did see American Football and The 1975 have new releases coming out soon. Is it safe to say you'll be excited to hear those or am I mistaken?
Major wrote on January 6th at 10:38am:
I am interested in American Football's new record, but Dane is The 1975 guy. I will give it a try if he says it's good.
Pedro The Lion coming back, or David Bazan having a full time band around him again, is truly enough to keep me looking forward even after it comes out. It has created goodwill so strong I imagine everything that comes out after it for months will reap the benefits.
Emily had some great ones to look forward to, and I would add Chance The Rapper, Vampire Weekend, Vince Staples, Charly Bliss, Japanese Breakfast, Schoolboy Q, PUP, Girlpool, and The Hotelier. I love being surprised by albums though. So knowing there will be dozens of new records you two will share with me or I'll find nearly every Tuesday or Friday is what I'm looking forward to in music.
The 18th of January not only has our guy Pedro The Lion, but also Deerhunter and Maggie Rogers. Then the week after Say Anything has a new record, and FIDLAR has enough potential I'll give their new album a shot too. One of mine, Girlpool, and one of Emily's, Cherry Glazerr, come out on February 1st. There's actually a lot to get excited for just in January.
Emily added on January 6th at 10:49am:
I didn't realize Japanese Breakfast had a release this year! Glad to see that, for sure. And I'm glad you're willing to be the FIDLAR guy in this group. I would have done it if I had to, but I'm glad it never came to that.
Dane replied on January 7th at 10:54am:
Despite rocking a literal (& figurative) punk dad hat these days, I'm not all that into American Football. I mean yeah, of course, I like them fine, but I've never shouted along to "Never Meant" and I didn't give their second album much more than a cursory listen. With that said, I'll give their new album at least the same, and I'll hope it grabs me. Same for 1975, I can't really call myself a huge fan of theirs (which isn't to say it like "oh, let's just say I'm not a huge fan of that guy" or whatever), but I did dig their 2018 album with a long title that I don't care enough to look up right now and I will gladly check for whatever they do next.
But you both mentioned several albums I wasn't aware of and will not be checking for, most notably: Sharon van Etten, Schoolboy Q (mainly for Kendrick Lamar guest verses), and the Hotelier. Also, after listening to "21" and another song with the excellent title "The Night Josh Tillman Listened to My Song," I will join with hoping for a Samia album in 2019. Though I'll take the time now to catch up with music of hers I've missed.
And then for Vampire Weekend. Man, I hope their fourth album actually comes out this year. They're the kind of band that I never say I love their music, but when their music comes on, I'm always like, "Dang, I love this" ya know? I'm interested to see what they sound like with co-founding member/sometimes co-producer Rostam Batmanglij only providing "guest appearances" on the new album, which they've said is "done" yet no release date is set. Whenever it's released and whatever it's called (not Flower King anymore apparently) I expect I'll like it.
Shifting directions a bit, I set my DVR last night for my first show of 2019 that I will inevitably watch ten-fifteen minutes of and be incredibly disappointed in, Fox's The Passage, which is based on a really cool novel by Justin Cronin which is set in...sigh...a speculative dystopian future in which a vampiric like plague has ravaged the world, leaving society splintered off into factions. But, guys, trust me, the first novel was cool. It's a trilogy, so no the first novel wasn't "cool" enough to get me invest to take on two more 1000pg tomes, but still, that first novel was good enough to get me to check out this show and then yep, be disappointed by and cancel the remaining episodes. I hope not though!
What TV shows are you two excited for in 2019? Major, I would've set my DVR for I Am the Night too, but it wasn't on there yet!
Emily on January 7th at the Jay-Z hour, 4:44pm:
Vampire Weekend hasn't caught me since Contra, but if you're generous in spirit towards the new release, I'll give it a listen.
As far as television goes, I wrote down 23 off the dome I'm interested in, but since we all know I'll only start 10 and only finish 3 (NEW POPE! FLEABAG! THE END OF THE FUCKING WORLD!), I don't wanna take point on this. I might have some to add after Major hits his favorites though.
Major on January 7th at 5:40pm:
IF YOU DIDN'T RECORD I AM THE NIGHT, THE BEST CHRIS'S SHOW ABOUT MURDER IN LOS ANGE
Sorry, I started typing that as I finished your last message, Dane. And those are three great ones to keep tabs on from Emily.
But yes, I Am The Night on TNT. Let's all watch it.
If nothing else I am an FX Boi. We FX Boi's love our little comedies like Man Seeking Woman or It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. We love the dramas of The Americans and Justified. Or the strange mix of heartfelt and funny with Atlanta. But this year we get treated to even more good programming.
Fosse/Verdon is maybe the one I'm most excited about. It tells the story of the true life relationship of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. How their partnership created some of the best entertainment in the late 20th century. Sam Rockwell plays Fosse, and Michelle Williams plays Verdon. It's going to be an 8-hour movie spread out week by week and I'm so ready.
They also have Devs from Alex Garland, writer of Sunshine, director of Ex Machina, and Annihilation, which is a Sci-Fi thriller I believe. Then we have Y: The Last Man later in the year.
HBO has True Detective season 3 that is out on January 13th with a 2 episode premiere directed by the great Jeremy Saulnier, who made Blue Ruin, Green Room, and Hold the Dark. Black Monday is on Showtime starting January 20th and it looks good.
Then probably my number 1 is Watchmen from Damon Lindelof. Coming off of what was my favorite TV show in The Leftovers, he will be tackling something that could crush his reputation or make it as respected as it ever will be. I don't even care about Watchmen that much, but I do care about the way he tells stories and I know if nothing else it will be a fascinating watch.
Some others I know I'll at least try to watch are Catch-22 & The Act on Hulu, Snowpiercer on TNT, NOS4A2 on AMC, Living With Yourself & Ratched on Netflix, Big Little Lies on HBO, Good Omens on Amazon Prime.
I know there are some I am forgetting but that happens when there are over 400 shows each year. Sorry, this is a positive thread. Yay for peak TV!
Emily same day at 8:02pm:
Fosse/Verdon was the first I had written down that wasn't a second (or later) season. I've got such high hopes for that. Devs will also be excellent.
So I'll pick up the pieces.
Fleabag and Killing Eve, both written by the incomparable Phoebe Waller-Bridge should have second seasons this year. Lodge 49, The End of the Fucking World, Mindhunter, Barry, all have sophomore seasons to look forward to, as well. You're the Worst, missed by FXBOI up there is entering it's final season and is such a good dark rom-com I'll truly miss. Also ignored season 4 of Fargo, starring Chris Rock. Also also ignored What We Do In the Shadows, a half-hour sitcom featuring the characters from Taika Watiti's 2014 film of the same name.
As I reside in a Schitt's Creek household, I'd be remiss to ignore the fifth season premiering later this year. And I won't be the FIDLAR guy, because I knew I'd have to carry the cross that is being the Billions guy. The fourth season will begin March 17.
I haven't watched The Crown, but I keep avoiding it. I adore Peep Show and Broadchurch, though, so the chance I double down on Olivia Colman in television in 2019 (she's also in Fleabag) is very high.
Hulu's Shrill, an adaptation of the memoirs of Lindy West, is slated for 2019, starring Aidy Bryant, and though I've yet to be interested in any of Hulu's programming beyond a handful of episodes, I'm curious to see how this will shake out.
Netflix has three heretofore unmentioned, Russian Doll, Umbrella Academy, and Central Park Five. Russian Doll is a comedy produced by Amy Poehler, Leslye Headland, and Natasha Lyonne, the latter two of whom will also be writing the episodes. Natasha will star, and the listed recurring cast is great as well. The Umbrella Academy stars Ellen Page in a series based on Gerard Way's (yes, that Gerard Way) graphic novel of the same name. Ava DuVernay's The Central Park Five is a miniseries concerning the 1989 incident and its aftermath.
Again, I'll finish a half-dozen of these is past precedent is to be held, but it never hurts to have some goals.
Dane replied on January 10th at 3:39pm:
Wow wow wow, you both could've totally made up at least 75% of those and I wouldn't ever know any different.
Those do sound cool and per my usual, I will definitely be interested in most of those and have very strong intentions of starting them because God, I love starting shows so much but so rarely do I finish them unless they're really good.
What's most likely is that I will watch twenty mins of say Fosse/Verdon before turning on Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Hulu so I can complete my watch of the series.
I've been hearing of a Y: The Last Man series since I was but a wee college boi in a 2007 comic shop so I'll believe it when I see it. Also won't get my hopes up for Atlanta S3 to happen this year.
I'm in on True Detective S3, Killing Eve, Fargo, Watchmen, and Umbrella Academy though. Beyond that, I'll trust you both to tell me what's good and I'll check it out.
Now welcome to my world, because we're going to talk books.
Next week brings You Know You Want This, the debut collection of short stories from Kristen Roupenian. You may remember her story "Cat Person" from the New Yorker being quite the sensation last year for a week or two.
Hanif Abdurraqib's Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest will be released on February 1st. I loved his essay collection, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, and I dig A Tribe Called Quest enough that I plan to check this book out.
On February 5th, Marlon James is following up his 2015 Man Booker Award winning novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings with his sophomore novel, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, which is the first entry of his new fantasy trilogy.
For summer reads, I plan to pick up On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (June 4). This is poet Vuong's debut novel and I saw an excerpt someone posted online and it was sooo good. I don't know anything about this book beyond that, but that's all I need.
Then on July 16th, Colson Whitehead's The Nickel Boys will be out. Like 2016's The Underground Railroad, I'm expecting some layered, nuanced multi-POV characters weaving through overlapping storylines with some beautiful, heartbreaking prose. Though unlike The Underground Railroad, The Nickel Boys is only 224 pages long, so even better.
On August 27th, I'll be reading Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks' graphic novel, Pumpkinheads. Of course, I'll also be picking up Marvel's Runaways TPBs as they're released, also by Rowell.
Also, Major, I just found that Samanta Schweblin released a collection of short stories called Mouthful of Birds on January 8th. I loved her novel (Major's book club pick) Fever Dream so much, I'll order that soon.
Then for YA reads, I'm looking forward to The Hate U Give author, Angie Thomas' sophomore novel, On the Come Up (Feb 5th)
Jeff Zentner's Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee (Feb 26th)
Tomi Adeyemi's Children of Virtue & Vengeance on March 5th
Samira Ahmed's Internment on March 19th.
So even though there aren't any new books by my big three of Saunders, Darnielle, and Safran Foer this year, there will still be plenty to keep me busy.
Are there any books you two are looking forward to?
Emily wrote on January 10th at 5:07pm:
I like that the forward in the middle confirms I killed the thread by forgetting to hit "reply all." I was waiting to see the "FOLLOW UP?" prompt Gmail likes to throw at me when I fuck up to find out if I fucked up.
I was gonna look up some books to have something to say here but that's too disingenuous since I'll only read maybe 6 this year. I'm looking forward to the speculative fiction collection A People's Future of the United States and otherwise I'll stumble into others when one of you mentions them.
I yield the floor.
Major wrote on January 11th at 4:15pm:
Please remind me of Schweblin's release when it comes out.
After some research these are the books I'm interested in.
Aug 9 - Fog by Kathryn Scanlan out June 4th
The Silk Road by Kathryn Davis KATHRYN BOOKS BABY
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
Lost and Wanted by Nell Freudenberger
Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
Recursion by Blake Crouch
Dane got around to replying on Sunday, January 13th at 10:37am:
I like those book picks, Major. You always come up with some that wasn't on my radar. More often than not, it's better than anything I was thinking about reading, so please keep me up on how those are.
As I write this I'm listening to Phoenix by Pedro the Lion and it's everything I want it to be, THAT'S A POWERFUL TABOO but it also reminds me that perhaps I've stalled on this email thread for too long. So let's wrap it up:
I'm sure you each have more like thirty to fifty movies that you're looking forward to, but give me your top five. Since I depend on both of you to often keep me up on the good stuff, I yield the floor except to say in the luke-warmest take of all time, of course, I'm anticipating a new Star Wars movie and taking my kids to see Toy Story 4. Oh, I'm being sooooo lazy, okay here are my top 5 (since I don't know of indie stuff without you two, I'll keep it real with big studio movies that I think have a release date):
1. Unnamed Star Wars Movie: Episode IX
2. Spider-Man: Far From Home
3. Pet Sematary
4. The Curse of La Llorona
5. The World is a Detective Pickachu & I'm No Longer Afraid to Die
Also in your reply feel free to throw in any other extracurricular stuff you're looking forward to this year.
For example, the Rams are playing in the NFC Championship next week and I'm beyond stoked for that, but also it could completely set me up for a huge disappointment. So anything with high stakes for heartbreak is always welcome.
Major wrote on January 14th at 12:37pm:
My top 5 most anticipated movies for this year are
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino's ninth film and pairing up Leo and Brad Pitt as old Hollywood actor and stuntman during the Manson murders.
Martin Scorsese's reunion with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci telling the story of a mob hitman who claims to have killed Jimmy Hoffa
Director of The Lost City of Z James Gray has his space movie with Brad Pitt searching for his dad, Tommy Lee Jones.
Good Time directors the Safdie Brothers put Adam Sandler in a tracksuit and jewelry in an underground NYC crime story that also features Kevin Garnett
Rian Johnson, one of the best directors around before he did The Last Jedi, makes his one for him murder mystery before he goes off to make a trilogy of new Star Wars movie with a huge talented cast.
I'm excited about seeing some shows this year, Pedro The Lion, The Beths, so many more. I plan on taking another trip somewhere I haven't been before. I think this year will be better than 2018 in a lot of ways. I have hope despite my cynicism.
Emily closed it out on January 15th at 11:15am:
Like, top 5 documentaries about the plight of the midwestern farmworker? Top 5 erotic thrillers set in space? Top 5 films proving that the Twilight franchise was just an incubator for the best actors of our generation? Just...top 5?
Alright. In alphabetical order and of those not already mentioned (Once Upon a Time, Uncut Gems, Pikachu):
Crestone - Marnie Ellen Hertzler
A film about a post-apocalyptic pack of soundcloud rappers living in the Coloradoan desert.
First Cow - Kelly Reichardt
Kelly's follow up to 2017's (2016's?) excellent Certain Women. A get-rick quick scheme in the Oregon Territory in the 1820s leads a misfit pair to China and back again.
High Life - Claire Denis
Sci-fi horror that had weird reviews at TIFF and won out from my Twilight list (over The Lighthouse marks another Pattinson release, Stewart has three on the slate as well as working on her feature-length directorial debut, Kendrick two high-ticket releases. Will this be the year for a Jackson Rathbone resurgence?) and my erotic thrillers list (don't even get me started).
The Nightingale - Jennifer Kent
I might be the only person who wasn't bothered by The Babadook, but I admire the creativity and how it shook up the horror scene a little bit. Early reviews for The Nightingale make it seem far more up my alley as it's a tale of a young woman traveling across Tasmania, seeking vengeance against a man who destroyed her family.
Us - Jordan Peele
Get Out is one of the best films of the century and I'm fully ready for what he brings to the horror genre next.
I'm really sorry to bend (read: break) the rules here but I can't let these pass by: The Lodge, which uses Yorgos Lanthimos longtime collaborator Thimios Bakatakis as cinematographer and has an absolutely tops cast, has the potential to be terrifying and premieres at Sundance in a couple weeks. I'm Thinking of Ending Things starring all-time good folks Brie Larson and Jesse Plemons and directed by Charlie Kaufman is sure to destroy me and will debut on Netflix at an indeterminate date. And finally, All-Star Weekend, Jamie Foxx's basketball movie which has had Benicio del Toro attached for years is an important addition to my personal canon.
As far as other 2019 excitement, I'll be attending my tenth consecutive Bonnaroo. I'll probably try to fit a couple more festivals in and get back out to Utah. I'd like to attend a larger film festival but that may or may not happen. Dau, another film, but really more of an art project, comes out in Paris next month and has huge interactive presentations alongside it. If it comes stateside, I'll break my back trying to get there, but I'm not gonna stamp my passport for a movie (or am I?) (I am not). The psychic I switched to after my old psychic banned me said I'd get published this year, but I would have to actually write (among so many other things) for that to be the case. If my old psychic is right, I've got a lot to look forward to (or dread - depending on your perspective!) circling my 30th (THIRTIETH) birthday. Presumably after that I'll be a dyed-in-the-wool adult and maybe understand what a 401k is or if that rattle in my car is a concern and not just a stick that's been stuck for months. ANYONE ELSE LOOKING FORWARD TO THE IOWA STRAW POLL? HAHA NO? OKAY JUST ME. ALRIGHT. My only wish is that 2019 isn't 14 years long like 2018 was.
(Get a load of all those comma splices. Sorry Mom, Sorry Mrs. Brown.)