Welcome to Culture Hound, InsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important (pop) cultural happenings.
Great artists challenge.
Star Wars, The X-Files, even Kanye — pop culture comforts we’ve recently welcomed back.
All well and good, but this month, we’re tackling wonderfully unfamiliar territory.
• The Prettiots: Provocative, poppy, ukulele-driven (!) punk
• A pirate Super Bowl broadcast MCed by Key and Peele
• The author who outsmarts (and out-Gladwells) Malcolm Gladwell
And the year’s scariest film — set in 1630.
Time was, you could take a chance.
STREAM (DURING THE SUPER BOWL): Key and Peele
Look, nobody seems to love the idea of Phil Simms calling the Super Bowl. Worthy alternative: website DIY-ers Squarespace are allowing comedians Key and Peele to provide live commentary during game...as Real Talk, or “Lee and Morris, aspiring sportscasters from Atlanta.” Now, they won’t talk about the actual game—a pesky rights issue—but they will improv the hell out of the night. As Morris says, “My father may not love me, but he taught me everything about football.” (Feb. 7)
LISTEN: The Prettiots
On their debut Funs Cool, the fetching NY duo melds pop harmonizing, ukulele (!) and punk rock aesthetics. Result? Haim by way of the Misfits. Boy crush songs (including an ode to Law & Order’s Elliot Stabler) with dark undercurrents and cool tattoos. And all fun and decidedly cool: as singer Kay Kasparhauser notes about her band’s lyrics, “I like to talk about Werner Herzog and sex.” (Feb. 5)
WATCH: The VVitch
And you thought The Revenant was bleak. Try this haunting tale from 1630s New England, where a Puritan family deals with black magic, a disappearing child and possible possession. Neither CGI-laden nor doomed by found footage, The VVitch is a slow burn in horror. And the year’s creepiest trailer. (Feb. 19)
READ: Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
Author/professor Adam Grant (Give and Take), a favorite of Malcolm Gladwell and Richard Branson and more ridiculously smart than you and me combined, tackles the idea of originality, exploring how and when to act on a good, non-groupthink idea and utilizing real-world examples, from challenging Steve Jobs to what saved Seinfeld. Read it before it becomes a must-watch TED Talk. (Feb. 2)
LISTEN: The 15 best songs of the month
Our monthly playlist highlights the best 60 minutes of new music for February, featuring a bevy of young talent (Wild Nothing, Anderson Paak), returning favorites (St. Lucia, Santigold) and, with the passing of David Bowie, a welcome new track from his friend and compatriot Iggy Pop—now working with Queens of the Stone Age mastermind Josh Homme.
Also out this month: For a 90s superhero, Deadpool is the foul-mouthed, hyper-meta, hilariously violent superhero we deserve today (Feb. 12) ... Triple 9 (pictured above, Feb. 26) might be the coolest heist movie of the year (Feb. 26) ... 70s rock’n’roll gets its due from Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger in HBO’s Vinyl (Feb. 14) ... Judd Apatow hits Netflix, searches for Love (Feb. 19) ... Former Daily Show reporter Samantha Bee crashes the male late night scene with Full Frontal (Feb. 8) ... And finally, a welcome return of John Oliver (Feb. 14), The Walking Dead (Feb. 14), Better Call Saul (Feb. 15) and Broad City (Feb. 17).