BY RELEVANT MUSIC June 22, 2017

A few nights ago, the Fleet Foxes performed “Third of May” on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

The single peaked at No. 26 on Billboard.

The song is from their new album, Crack Up, which is their first in six years.

BY JESSE CAREY TV June 22, 2017

This week, Daily Show host Trevor Noah addressed the recent verdict in the case of Philando Castile.

The shooting has drawn international outrage, after an officer was found not guilty in the shocking killing of Castile in front of his young daughter and his girlfriend.

After being pulled over, he informed the officer that he was legally caring a firearm. Seconds later, Castile was shot multiple times.

Noah’s commentary about police violence against black people in America, video taped interactions with the police and the criminal justice system is powerful, poignant and totally heartbreaking.

BY RELEVANT CULTURE June 20, 2017

Jeff Tweedy has entered the elder statesman portion of his career, which means fans of Wilco (and other, less famous Tweedy projects like Loose Fur) can get hyped for a lot of special, deluxe b-sides, rarities and alternate takes.

And if you know Wilco fans—and everyone knows at least one Wilco fan—you know they live for stunts like this. Tweedy dished out just one such reinterpretation last night on Late Night With Seth Meyers with an acoustic spin on one of Wilco’s finest songs: “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.”

It’s from Together at Last, a new Tweedy solo project featuring different takes on a lot of classics from over the course of his career. The album releases this week, on June 23.

BY RELEVANT CULTURE June 15, 2017

Kathryn Bigelow is on a rarified hot streak these days, with both Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker solidifying her as one of the modern era’s great action directors.

Her next movie, Detroit, is about the 1967 riots that brought Motor City to a halt and stars John Boyega (The Force Awakens), John Krasinski (The Office), Anthony Mackie (Falcon in the Avengers movies) and Will Poulter (The Revenant).

The new trailer is excruciatingly tense, as is Bigelow’s trademark, and if legacy is anything to go by, will be getting a lot of chatter come award season.

BY JESSE CAREY MUSIC June 15, 2017

Recently, Sufjan Stevens teamed with classical music composer Nico Muhly and  The National’s Bryce Dessner to create an album inspired by the Solar System.

The resulting record Planetarium is pretty incredible, but this live performance from NPR is downright breathtaking.

BY JESSE CAREY MUSIC June 14, 2017

The War on Drugs is preparing to release the follow-up to their incredible Lost in the Dream, and have just dropped a video for their single “Holding On.”

Not only is it a great song, it’s a genuinely touching video.

Go ahead and grab some tissues and watch until the end.

A Deeper Understanding releases on Aug. 16.

BY RELEVANT CULTURE June 13, 2017

Kyle Mooney has been quietly building a name for himself as one SNL‘s weirder, more idiosyncratic talents. He doesn’t have Kate McKinnon’s scene-stealing charisma or Kenan Thompson’s gung-ho energy, but Mooney infects every character with his own, slightly bizarre energy. Even when he’s playing Random Bystander #1, he adds kooky wrinkles that makes them far funnier than they should be. And apparently, he’s got grander designs. He’s written and directed a movie that made waves at Sundance, and looks to be cut from the same odd charm that Mooney brings to his SNL characters.

We don’t know much about the plot, though it apparently involves some sort of faux children’s show that may or may not actually exist, and also stars Claire Danes, Greg Kinnear, Matt Walsh (the Veep comedian, not The Blaze guy) and Mark Hamill himself. No firm release date yet but if early word is anything to go by, it’ll be one to watch.

BY RELEVANT CURRENT June 13, 2017

Stephen Colbert might just be the sharpest interviewer on late night television, a canny master of conversation who knows how to steer dialogue from behind, and can come off delightfully charming while still holding his subjects’ feet to the fire. That’s made for a lot of interesting chats on his show, but very few have ever been as jaw dropping as Monday night’s talk with director Oliver Stone.

Stone, the infamous director of movies like Wall Street and JFK, was on the show to talk about his upcoming four-part Showtime documentary on Vladimir Putin. Stone handled nearly 20 hours of conversations with Putin for the project, and Colbert was clearly interested in figuring out just how those conversations went. Early word on the project is that Stone was awfully chummy with Putin—a man who has arrested his political opponents and sent them off to Siberia, jailed political dissidents, supported the murderous regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and, of course, attempted to interfere with the U.S. presidential election.

Stone may be accused of going easy on Putin, but Colbert had no intentions of doing the same in his own interview.

Colbert: Do you like Vladimir Putin? After spending 20 hours with the guy, do you trust him?

Stone: I think you should see the film for yourself.

Colbert: I’m just asking you a question. Do you trust him after spending 20 hours with him? I’d like to see the film, I haven’t had a chance to see it yet.

Stone: He’s a head of state, he has Russian—he has his own interests in Russia. I respect him for that, I understand why he’s doing it. He’s a strong nationalist …

Things only get more awkward from there, as Colbert continues to ask simple, straightforward questions, and Stone dances around the answers. The audience is audibly laughing in shock and disbelief at Stone’s refusal to say a negative word about Putin, and Colbert—usually unflappable—seems a little dumbfounded himself. Asking, ““Anything about him negative you found?” he asked as a follow-up, to laughter and applause. “Anything? Anything? Or does he have your dog in a cage somewhere?”

Stone tried to save face, but remained awfully cagey with his answers.

Stone: Well, you know I’ve always been for free speech.

Colbert: Yes, and it doesn’t seem like he would be a hero of that.

Stone: Listen, no question he’s a social conservative in that way, he believes that [audience laughter] I don’t know why you’re laughing, but it’s—he believes strongly that—

Colbert: Because it seems like a mild description of his behavior. That’s why they’re laughing.

It’s a great interview, but it’s not one that does Stone any favors. By refusing to answer any questions about Putin’s abysmal track record on human rights, he ends up implicating himself as not really caring. That doesn’t necessarily mean Stone himself doesn’t care about Putin’s human rights violations, but if his big documentary doesn’t tackle those in a straightforward way, than how interesting could the documentary really be?

BY JESSE CAREY CULTURE June 12, 2017

Actor Brad Pitt recently made a cameo appearance on The Jim Jefferies Show to issue a darkly funny warning about climate change in light of the U.S. pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Sure, the “no future” prediction is a little dire, but we will agree with Jefferies that we can all do better.

To learn about climate change and its connection to extreme poverty, be sure to listen our interview with Micah Challenge’s Jason Fileta on this week’s RELEVANT Podcast.

BY JESSE CAREY CULTURE June 12, 2017

As you may have seen over the weekend, the trailer for Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther movie dropped on Friday night during Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Even if you’ve already watched it a dozen times over the weekend, it’s worth another view.

The trailer was so popular, that soon, more people were talking about it than the actual game—a game that featured several of the NBA’s biggest stars in a do-or-die shootout. It soon topped LeBron James and all NBA-related tweets as the No. 1 trending topic. 

And, as CNBC notes, the tweets were 86 percent positive.

Just look at the insane number of breakdowns and think pieces that are already being written about a trailer for a movie that doesn’t come out until 2018, and then, watch the trailer again for yourself.