Emmy Nominated and Golden Globe® Award-winning actress Tracee Ellis Ross has released the official music video to “Love Myself”. This is the first single to the upcoming film The High Note in which Tracee Ellis Ross stars in as recording artist “Grace Davis.”

Last week, Tracee Ellis Ross debuted “Love Myself” on Instagram Live to fans and friends including, Michelle Obama, Janelle Monáe, Lena Waithe, Sarah Paulson, Kerry Washington and her incredible mother Diana Ross.

Written by Australian Sarah Aarons [Alessia Cara, John Legend, Khalid] and Greg Kurstin [Paul McCartney, P!nk, Céline Dion], “Love Myself” is a pivotal song in the movie performed by Tracee Ellis Ross as “Grace Davis.” This notably marks the first time the actress has released a song, which highlights her dynamic voice as “Grace Davis” and sets the stage for both the record and the upcoming film. 

 Produced by GRAMMY® Award-winner Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins [Michael Jackson, Beyoncé], the 15-song Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features new recordings by cast members Ross and Kelvin Harrison, Jr. Beyond “Love Myself,” Ross delivers stunning performances of “Bad Girl, “Stop For A Minute,” “New To Me,” and a duet with Harrison, Jr. on “Like I Do.” Additionally, classics from Donny HathawayMaxine Brown, and Aretha Franklin as well as the single “Mind Over Matter” by Anthony Ramos round out the tracklisting.

The High Note, coming to Australian cinema soon, is set in the dazzling world of the LA music scene comes the story of Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross), a superstar whose talent, and ego, have reached unbelievable heights, and Maggie (Dakota Johnson), her overworked personal assistant.  While stuck running errands, Maggie still aspires to her childhood dream of becoming a music producer. When Grace’s manager (Ice Cube) presents her with a choice that could alter the course of her career, Maggie and Grace come up with a plan that could change their lives forever.

 

One of the things I have noticed while still interviewing artists during this Covid-19 lockdown is that they seem to have very wide reactions to the lockdown. Either they have found themselves to be in a very creative space or have found that creativity has completely dried up and they have concentrated on re-charging their batteries so they can hit the road running when the lockdown is finally over.

One of the bands that have been most creative during this time though have been Italian heavy metal band Secret Rule who fuelled by requests from fans have delivered an album of covers during the lockdown. With the band covering the likes of Ozzy Osbourne through to Placebo I decided to sit down and have a chat with front woman Angela Di Vincenzo.

“We just wanted to challenge ourselves,” says Di Vencenzo laughing when I ask her where the idea for Quarantine: The Other Side of Us came from. “Everything really started from requests. During the pandemic we thought about releasing something new and we thought about covering the Ozzy Osbourne song “Get Me Through.” That was a song that we had already played live three years ago when we were touring in the UK, so it was more or less ready.”

“After the release of that we thought about doing another cover,” she goes onto explain. “We thought about doing the Placebo song “Bitter End” which had already been on my mind for a long, long time. We had a very positive response to those with some of the comments on the music videos. Some people said it would be great if we recorded a whole album with cover songs so we decided to think about what songs could work for us and in only two weeks the album was ready.”

With such a wide variety of artists covered on the album I ask Di Vencenzo how the band decided on which tracks would be covered. “It was actually quite simple,” she says. “Everyone has a very different background so during the choosing stage we had a very long list of songs then we tried to keep those that we thought were morning interesting and ones that we could record in our style of course. In any case we would never have done cover songs similar to the originals, we hate that way of approaching songs. We think if a listener wants to listen to a cover song they will expect to listen to something different and new otherwise it is better to just listen to the original version.”

Of course the secret to creating a great cover song is to make it sound like it is your own so I asked Di Vencenzo how Secret Rule went about making sure that is what happened. “We started with the melodies,” she explains. “Then we worked on the arrangements without even considering the original songs – that was very important. In that way we were not influenced by the original songs, but at the same time the songs didn’t lose their essence.

“We set out to record the album in just two weeks,” she says laughing loudly. “We did that because we didn’t know when the quarantine would end. But it was very important for us to do it before the quarantine ended otherwise the title would not have made sense. No doubt the biggest challenge was to work on so many different songs that all required very different approaches. But working with Andy is always full of so many surprises because you will never know what he is going to create in a song.”

“For example it was crazy for me to sing an Eminem song,” she explains again laughing. “It was a real tongue-twister especially when it wasn’t in my native language. I remember when Andy sent through the arrangements I said ‘and who is going to sing this song?’ then with some help from some dirty words I succeeded in singing it. It was a great challenge for me that song.”

 

Quarantine: The Other Side Of Us is out now.

 

 

Summary: Set in a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot, go on an journey to discover if there is still a little magic left out there in order to spend one last day with their father, who died when they were too young to remember him.

Year: 2020

Australian Cinema Release Date: TBA

Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian Home Entertainment Release Date: 1st May 2020

Country: United States

Director: Dan Scanlon

Screenwriter: Dan Scanlon, Jason Headley, Keith Bunin

Cast: Kyle Bornheimer (Wilden Lightfoot (Dad)(voice)), Grey Griffin (Dewdrop (voice)), Tom Holland (Ian Lightfoot (voice)), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Laurel Lightfoot (voice)), Chris Pratt (Barley Lightfoot (voice)), George Psarras (Officer Avel (voice)), John Ratzenberger (Construction Worker Fenwick (voice)),  Mel Rodriguez (Colt Bronco (voice)), Octavia Spencer (The Manticore (voice)), Tracey Ullman (Grecklin (voice)), Wilmer Valderrama (Gaxton (voice)), Lena Waithe (Officer Spector (voice)), Ali Wong (Officer Gore (voice))

Running Time: 102 mins

Classification: PG (Australia) TBC (Thailand)

 

 

OUR ONWARD REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths’ Onward Review:

Twelve months ago if you asked any film fan if they were excited about any animation films that were set to be released the answer most likely would have been a resounding ‘no.’  Hollywood was getting slammed from pillar to post because it felt that the animated films that it was producing where all mirror images of each other or just another instalment in what were becoming tired franchises.

Even the animation leaders Pixar were not immune from the backlash with many believing that films like Toy Story 4 and The Incredibles 2 were inferior films in what had once been brilliant film universes. The question seemed to be ‘why can’t Hollywood be making animated movies with the creativity being shown by their Asian counterparts?’

Well it seems like the Hollywood filmmakers were listening. Earlier this year we had the surprisingly creative Spies In Disguise starring Will Smith and Tom Holland and now Pixar has just released one of the most intriguing films of the year – the very creative Onward which again stars Tom Holland (Spider-Man: From Far Home) this time alongside his Marvel universe co-star Chris Pratt (Guardians Of The Galaxy).

Together they voice Ian (Holland) and Barley Lightfoot (Pratt). Two teenage elf brothers growing up in a land that resembles The Shire from Lord Of The Rings but also contains all the modern day suburban comforts that you and I are used to in everyday life. It is those modern day comforts that have led to serious issues though for the inhabitants of the land that the Lightfoot’s call home. Technology means that the ancient magic of the wizards of that has been long forgotten, while characters like pixies and fairies have even forgotten what their wings are for.

Some people live in hope though. Barley preciously lives the lives of his ancestors through this dungeon and dragons style role-playing games while at the same time trying to look after Ian and their mother Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus The Seinfeld) who was left a widow after the death of her husband shortly after the birth of Ian.

The two boys have always wondered what their father may have been like but nothing prepares them for what happens on Ian’s sixteenth birthday when Laurel gives them a gift their father had prepared before he passed away. The staff that he leaves them tells them he was in fact a wizard and the spell that goes with it allows them the opportunity to bring their father back for a day. However, when Ian only manages to bring back half of their father (his legs) he is forced to team up with Barley to go on an odyssey that will see them have to revert back to the ways of their ancestors before them.

Onward is like nothing Pixar has ever created before. Director/screenwriter Dan Scanlon (Monsters University) has delved deep into his creative bank to create what could be loosely described as a ‘stoner’ film for families. While the film’s plot does at times feel a little light on you can’t help but fall in love with it as it introduces you to characters and a world that you simply just want to know more about.

While they are elves most audience members will find themselves drawn to Ian and Barley from the very beginning. There is something so natural about Ian – a young boy who feels that part of his identity is missing because he never knew his father and Barley – an almost lost teenager who society frowns up because of the energy that he puts into his faithful van and his path of discovering the lost arts of those that came before him.

As a filmmaker Scanlon doesn’t allow Onward to become a lazy film because of its supernatural elements either. No amount of great visual effects can ever make up for the connection that an audience can get from well-rounded characters. Here that connection is made straight away and throughout the film Scanlon plays on that garnishing suspense from putting the loved characters in peril  while also allowing a more emotionally touching side of the film to shine through as the characters learn some valuable morals revolving around what they are going through as a family. Scanlon also weaves some true comedic moments into the film with some great sequences featuring Ian and Barley’s battle with the biker pixies and their distrust of their mother’s boyfriend Officer Colt Bronco (Mel Rodriguez – Little Miss Sunshine).

Perhaps the biggest weakness of Onward is the fact that Scanlon at times seems to make the brother’s quests just a little too easy to overcome, something that seems to be highlighted even more so due to the fact that the world the boys live in is so interesting that you can’t help but feel you want to see more of it and know more about it.

Still at the end of the day this is the kind of animated film that audiences have been waiting for. To be honest it is kind of unexpected that Pixar would deliver a film that seems to have a Gothic edge while embracing the quirkiness of a film like Planet 51, but they have and it works wonderfully well. Many asked for more creativity when it comes to the kind of animated films that we are singing in cinemas and if a film is like Onward is anything to go back it looks like that request has well and truly be delivered. Onward is the kind of film that can be enjoyed by family members of all ages – so sit back and enjoy a little bit of Pixar magic.

 

 

 

 

Kyle McGrath’s Onward Review

 

 

 

 

 

Average Subculture Rating:

 

 

IMDB Rating:  Onward (2020) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Onward Reviews:

Our Onward review that appeared in ‘The Phuket News’ can be read at this link – https://www.thephuketnews.com/onward-puts-animated-movies-back-on-track-75875.php

Trailer:

 

The past couple of years have seen some major changes for Japanese hardcore outfit Crossfaith. While the band has continues to build a strong fanbase they decided to leave the label that they had been with for a number of years and set up their own label in Japan. While that kind of decision sounds like it would lead to great stress I recently found out while chatting to the band’s front-man Kenta Kole that it has made them feel like they were working with a blank canvas as they prepared to work on their new Species EP which is out this week.

“We didn’t have any concept at all with this album,” he says with a happy tone in his voice. “We just decided to make every song stronger than anything we had ever done in the past. That was our only mindset. We had also started our own label and this is the very first record from the label so it felt like a new beginning and working on this EP felt like it brought us right back to the very start. That was a really great feeling and it seemed to give us a really strong confidence with this album.”

As our discussion goes on we talk more about the band’s decision to start their own label and what it means for them now. “We had been with Sony with five years I think,” says Kole. “They were a great partner but we needed to make a decision and we made the decision to start our own label. That gave us the chance to go out by ourselves and that was one of the main reasons why we decided to start the new label. And yeah it is tough but we needed to make the decision and we decided that we just had to do it. We now have to make all the decisions ourselves.”

The move also means that Kole and the rest of his band mates now feel a more sense of freedom with their work. “That is exactly right,” he agrees when I ask him whether they feel freer now. “Sony is also a major label, they are one of the biggest in the world and sometimes label like that can ask you do to stuff or ask stupid questions. We were lucky that we had some good guys at Sony and we never got any stupid questions, but now we feel like we are freer although we do have more responsibility aside from our music. That means we are free but at the same time we do have major responsibilities… I think that is the major difference.”

With that decision giving them a blank canvas to work on with this album I ask Kole what kind of things that meant for them as they started to work on the Species EP. “With this EP we used some different things that were inspired by 90s culture. I was born in 1988 so the 1990s in our generation. I looked back at the 90s and I felt that the 90s vibe has more excitement compared to right now so i wanted to use the 90s vibe and the 90s style.”

“We were looking at the movies… movies like The Matrix,” explains Kole when I ask him what kinds of things from the 90s did the band use for inspiration for the album. “I think that came out in 1997 or 1998 and when it came out it was like it blew my mind with the movie. I had never seen that kind of movie before when I was young… I got so many shocks. And that music at that time, there was Nu-Metal was so big. Back in the 90s rock bands were the kings but at the moment I would say that rock bands are getting weaker so it was good for me to go back and take a look at those movements because I still think that rock music is one of the most exciting kinds of music in the world. But yeah the 1990s had so many great cultures especially when you think of things like movies and like PlayStation, there was so many new things, it wasn’t just improving the 1990s had so many new things, so many cool new things. So we wanted this EP to be like that, and we had that idea before we even started out with the EP.”

 

Species EP is out on May 22nd through UNFD.

 

Brisbane based rapper Tu P has just released his powerful new single and video ‘Coronavirus Brings Out The Worst (And Best) Of Us’.
 
Tu P (AKA Tu Pham) works as a doctor in family and mental health and has composed a track commenting on the COVID-19 pandemic, touching on cover-ups, political inaction and the human spirit. 
 
He debuted in 2012 with the release of his album ‘Made Of Jade’
 
In his career to date he has performed multiple shows in Brisbane, Sydney, London and New York. He has headlined Rhyme, Rhythm and Reason and has been a panel member at the Pho’nomenal BrisAsia Festival and Inter-Asia Pop Studies conference at Monash University.
 
Tu P released his single and video ‘Save Our Seas’ featuring Mark SickmindMei Lee and Petrofsky late last year. The video gained over 1.5 million views on Facebook and was aired on radio across Australia.
 
A shortened version of the new single is available for download exclusively on Triple J Unearthed. This version of the track highlights the ‘best’ aspects of humanity throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.