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Blast beats, boy bands and boughatsa

Need some pop culture inspiration for your week? Keep your finger on the pulse of all things A&E with this week’s heat.
Image by Mary Ellen Ritter

As the semester’s finish line grows closer in view, so does the stress of finals. Here are some pop culture recommendations to take your mind off of the grind.

Something to watch:

Judas and the Black Messiah”: Both nominated for best supporting actor at the 2021 Academy Awards, Hollywood heavyweights LaKeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya deliver transcendent performances in “Judas and the Black Messiah.” The story centers around William O’Neal, played by Stanfield, an alleged car thief coerced by the FBI to act as an informant, infiltrating the Illinois Black Panther Party in the late 1960s. As he moves further into the organization, the FBI tasks him with reporting on the organization’s influential leader, Chairman Fred Hampton, played by Kaluuya. Powerful and poignant, both leads dive deep into their roles and help to tell the film’s remarkable story of injustice, redemption and revolution.

Sound of Metal”: A life of heavy music and gigging on the road is thrown spiraling as a metal drummer, Ruben, discovers his hearing is deteriorating. Forced to confront the dilemma of whether to continue playing, Ruben undergoes the many hurdles of hearing loss with the help and support of his partner and bandmate, Lou. While you might not expect the movie that opens with an avant-garde metal show to have you crying by the end, you just might surprise yourself. Deeply moving, “Sound of Metal” takes you through Rubens’ struggles and journey to understanding not only his condition but also himself. Lead actor Riz Ahmed gives a personal and inspiring performance.

Something to tap your foot to:

Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine” by Brockhampton: Returning to the scene for their sixth studio album, Kevin Abstract and company deliver a refreshing project that is a welcomed addition to the group’s discography. With members of the Texas rap collective offering some of their most conceptual tracks and quality lyrics to date, the album is everything we could want out of new Bockhampton music. Always pushing to be on the cutting edge, “Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine” keeps things interesting with dynamic production and fun samples. The feature list alone should be enough for you to give the album a chance with the likes of Danny Brown, A$AP Rocky and JPEGMAFIA offering verses across the track list.

Time Machine” by Cehryl: Hong Kong-born artist Cehryl dropped her first release since her debut album in 2019. Expanding on her indie singer-songwriter sound, “Time Machine” is a gorgeous collection of ambient, floaty tracks that are vulnerable in their tone and lyrics. The luscious acoustic guitars, meditative pianos and lo-fi drum sounds mix beautifully to give the project a very warm yet wistful feeling. Cehryl’s captivating voice fits perfectly in the mix. Reserved but rich, minimal but magnetic, she embodies her lyrics’ emotional complexity through her vocal performance.

Something to try:

Gardens of Salonica New Greek Cafe & Deli: Head over to Northeast and visit Gardens of Salonica, a family-run Greek cafe offering delicious food and a charming atmosphere. The traditional and contemporary dishes served at this spot are perfect for a meal out or a simple getaway from your room for a tasty beverage. From the delicious piaz to the homemade tzatziki, you can’t go wrong with any of the cafe’s tasty appetizers.

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