March 2022 Featured Image

March 2022 Playlist + Retrospective

March was one of our most productive months in our short, two-month history. We’ve listened to a lot of music. The playlist we’ve compiled is, this time around, featuring only sounds we haven’t managed to write about, mainly due to lack of time. Here it is, and below it you can find the March retrospective, with extra categories (best music video and live performances).

Best March Song : Let’s Eat Grandma – Levitation

This was a tough call. There were so many choices to go with (Rone could’ve simply dominated all categories with his “Ghosts” video), but this one just became more visible in the final days of March. We’ve simply come to realize that Let’s Eat Grandma has delivered yet another glorious synth-pop tune to go with our favorite, “Happy New Year.” Now we just can’t wait to hear the full album, “Two Ribbons,” once it drops in April!

Best March album release: Luna Li – Duality/ Vitesse X – Us Ephemeral

One of the more complex releases from a rising musician (one we’ve featured in our SXSW showcase), Luna Li’s Duality combines soul, funk, R&B, spaced-out synths, and a kind of star-pop beaming with joie de vivre. Equally sunny and nocturnal, “Duality” is our favorite March album, reminding us of Tei Shi and Japanese Breakfast [EDIT: and Stereolab, so much Stereolab].

Fans of the ’90s are in for a major surprise – combining every possible sound of that era (including shoegaze, jungle, breakbeat, trance) into auditory heaven, “Us Ephemeral” is a simultaneous blast to the past and forward to an undefined future, and doubles as our other favorite March release. Owing a lot to musicians like Magdalena Bay and HANA, Vitesse X feels like a bold step forward for DIY electronic music.

Biggest March Surprise : Banks – I Still Love You

Jillian Banks has dropped a new single off her upcoming album, “Serpentine,” following “Skinnydipped” and the massive “Holding Back” (our favorite so far). The list of producers for this album include Tālā and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, and I Still Love You is a stripped-down piano track overflowing with emotion, growing into a more complex affair towards the end. After a three-year absence, Banks seems revitalized and set to capture the hearts and minds of listeners once more.

Favorite artist we discovered in March: Haru Nemuri

Out of all the earworms and new acts we’ve come across this month, it is Haru Nemuri (also discovered via SXSW), the Japanese artist blending J-pop, a novel style of hip-hop and performance art who made the biggest impression. Her delivery is raw and soulful, and listening to her complex, infectious and motivating art is, as one Youtube user puts it, reality-shattering.

Best March music-related movie: I’m Gonna Get Married/ Quinn Thomas/ Paris, 13th District

We chose two short films and one feature film to highlight in March. Wendy McColm’s I’m Gonna Get Married is a laugh-out-loud DIY musical, one which wastes no frames and throws everything at you. Part Southern Gothic, part punk-rock anthem, it is wryly satirical and packs a punch. Featuring a killer performance from Elisa Victoria holding an electric guitar in a wedding dress and launching into a dreamy ode to Jim Carrey, someone better make this into a full-length feature ASAP!

We didn’t give Quinn Thomas enough credit when we referenced the film in our Hayden Dunham post. Let’s rectify that: a brilliant example of the “contemplative satire” genre that has been growing lately (“Clairevoyant” and “The Florist” being perfect examples), it’s the sequel to a viral hyperpop video/song/performance art project – “Hey QT” – from 2014. Almost a philosophical essay on how spirituality and passion are cannibalized by capitalism, doubling as a huge potential nightmare for art critics, it depicts art that repurposes itself with the help of AI. Funny and smart, it features an intro to mukbang, stunning music by A.G. Cook, and one of the scariest lines of dialogue delivered in a deadpan manner (“I consume food and they (the viewers) consume me”).

Featuring a game-changing soundtrack by Rone – Jacques Audiard’s Paris, 13th District is our must-see March movie: flawless filmmaking, even if it might be infuriating to those looking for more emotional storytelling. Its structure makes one important statement about modern friendships and the way people connect – or fail to connect – to one another: most of the time, we connect through other people. The real pleasure in P13D is figuring out which character is acting as liaison and for which purpose, and whose life is going to get better and at what expense. It also shows how, by liberating oneself from some aspects of life, one can come off as too chaotic, (or too boring) and become jealous of other people for their lifestyle choices, as if it were all a giant competition.

In that regard, why this film is named “Les Olympiades” in French becomes apparent. All of these characters, except for Amber, compete in the dating scene and in their lives, prisoners of their own choices – always desiring more, but hardly able to change themselves. However, a simpler explanation of the title is that Olympiades also happens to be the name of an area in Paris. Les Olympiades is also a dual love story, featuring a superb performance from Noemie Merlant and a script by Celine Sciamma.

Best March tv show: Bridgerton

There is a simple reason for why we’re going with the obvious choice for “most memorable March tv show”: Bridgerton‘s string quartet reinterpretations of the past decade’s mainstream pop are back in full force. Highlighting tension, desire, boundless passion, and – of course – being a bold, outrageous, anachronistic statement about Victorian-era oppression, the music and the show remind us of one of our favorite YA books of the past decade, “That Inevitable Victorian Thing” by E.K. Johnston. It also marks another win for Shondaland, after “Inventing Anna” was our best February show. This is a series that, in our opinion, deserves its popularity, and we estimate that 25 March 2022 was an off day for a lot of Bridgerton fans.

Best March Visual Artists: Absolutely Everyone Featured in the Creatives for Ukraine Gallery

Leva Gasianek – Stand With Ukraine

As we’re typing this, Russia is still waging war in the Ukraine, and it’s unfair, maddening and a sign that we must support the people and artists of Ukraine however we can – through donations, shelter, kind words and promotion. Our Ukrainian electronic music playlist is still here for you to enjoy, and you might consider buying some of the full albums on Bandcamp, donating for a Ukrainian cause, or sharing some of the anti-war art you find on the Creatives for Ukraine website on social media to help stop the war. The transformative power of art might be a requirement in today’s world, joining coordinated, bold actions from ordinary people and leaders in order to stop Putin.

Best March Performance Art/ Best Music Video: Sarah Abicht & The Ballet National de Marseille/ Rone x (LA)HORDE – Ghosts

Watching Ghosts‘s lonely security guard get introduced to a world of emotion, art and freedom of expression due to the collective effort of Sarah Abicht’s eerie museum inhabitant/tour-guide and an assorted host of quirky characters is one of the most mindblowing things we’ve ever seen. Words are not enough to describe this maddeningly beautiful collaboration, one which might repeatedly bring you to tears with its sheer power and scope.

Best March Live Performance: Pom Pom Squad live at Paste x Women That Rock

Mia Berrin blasting out “Head Cheerleader” has to count as one of March’s best moments, and Paste had a series of great live performances celebrating Women’s History Month, one which also included Ian Sweet, Moon Kissed and Sunflower Bean.

Best (non-March) live performance we’ve seen in March: Let’s Eat Grandma – Live at Ypsigrock 2019

A perfect live performance if – like us – you were delighted by the band’s recent releases and want to check out their older material. Let’s Eat Grandma is a diverse band: starting out with a minimal setup (synth/keyboards, drums and vocals), the duo introduce several more instruments along the way and manage to create an atmosphere that is part psychedelic rock, part art-pop, while remaining true to their unique approach to songwriting. Expect wild keyboard, guitar solos and an explosive finish.

Best non-March Songs: Now Now – Enda / Phoebe Bridgers – I Know The End

In terms of musical explosions, nothing beats Enda’s second half… just like nothing beats the accumulation of emotion starting in “I Know The End” around the 2:20 mark, one which brings this author to hold back tears absolutely every time. The feeling of hearing dozens of voices (just read the song credits in order to see how many vocalists there actually are on it & why it’s so hard to get right in a live performance) and the exquisite lyrics about death and anxiety, together with one of the best music videos ever made sum up to a truly unforgettable experience.

Either way, we’re not alone
I’ll find a new place to be from
A haunted house with a picket fence
To float around and ghost my friends
No, I’m not afraid to disappear
The billboard said, “The end is near”
I turned around, there was nothing there
Yeah, I guess the end is here

The end is here

The end is here

The end is here

The end is here

*

Featured Image is A Promise of Spring (Painted by Hester Coetzee)

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