james debate
james debate

Sunday, 27 March 2022

  

oscars 86th academy awards 2014
Welcome back to The Ephemeric. It's that time of year again where this blog astounds you with its super accurate Oscar predictions. Ideally I would have liked to post this last week, but unfortunately it has been about four months since I have been able to get away from work. Instead, we will need to make do with what is a very last minute effort! Think I'm exaggerating? Look up last year's post, this paragraph was copied word for word. It's not laziness, that's how short of time I am!

This year I find myself in the unfamiliar position of actually agreeing with most of the likely winners. Looking at the predictions below, it's only the two big ones with which I take issue. Whether that is a sign of one or two particularly strong frontrunners or a generally weak roster I will leave for interpretation. So take a gander at the list below, an idea perhaps of who is likely to come away with a statue from this year's ceremony.


Best Picture

Nominations:
  • Belfast – Laura Berwick, Kenneth Branagh, Becca Kovacik and Tamar Thomas
  • CODA – Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi and Patrick Wachsberger
  • Don't Look Up – Adam McKay and Kevin Messick
  • Drive My Car – Teruhisa Yamamoto
  • Dune – Mary Parent, Denis Villeneuve and Cale Boyter
  • King Richard – Tim White, Trevor White and Will Smith
  • Licorice Pizza – Sara Murphy, Adam Somner and Paul Thomas Anderson
  • Nightmare Alley – Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale and Bradley Cooper
  • The Power of the Dog – Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Roger Frappier
  • West Side Story – Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger
And the winner: CODA
Who should really win: Belfast
Explanation: This awards season has shaped up to be a two-horse race between CODA and The Power of the Dog, the latter of which had generally been considered the presumptive favourite. There are many reasons to think that CODA will fall short: the lack of below-the-line nominations, (a travesty in and of itself) its early 2021 release date, the lack of a big name filmmaker and its relatively modest awards-season campaign efforts. Despite this, CODA has gone to pick up two of the three biggest and most predictive pre-Oscar awards, the Producers' Guild Award for best film and Screen-Actors Guild Award for best cast (the other major award, the Directors' Guild Award for best director, went to The Power of the Dog). For this reason, plus the fact that, you know, CODA is a vastly superior film to The Power of the Dog, I am going to go with CODA for the win. As to which film should win. CODA is an excellent film and a deserved winner, but I still contend that the peak of 2021 cinema was Belfast, an absolutely masterful and impeccably produced picture.


Best Director

Nominations:
  • Kenneth Branagh – Belfast
  • Ryusuke Hamaguchi – Drive My Car
  • Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza
  • Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog
  • Steven Spielberg – West Side Story
And the winner: Jane Campion - The Power of the Dog
Who should really win: Kenneth Branagh - Belfast
Explanation: Jane Campion was always going to be a strong contender for this prize. She is one of those beloved and highly technically adept filmmakers that the Academy loves to celebrate. Having already won the DGA award for best director, she is basically a lock here. But I think there's more to directing than just slick cinematography (after all, that is why there is a separate award for best cinematography). The handiwork of a great director can be seen in everything, from the staging, the attention to background detail, to the choreography of the actors. I think you rarely see a film where every detail has been so masterfully crafted as with Kenneth Branagh's Belfast. He would be my pick for this prize.


Best Actor

Nominations:
  • Javier Bardem – Being the Ricardos as Desi Arnaz
  • Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog as Phil Burbank
  • Andrew Garfield – Tick, Tick... Boom! as Jonathan Larson
  • Will Smith – King Richard as Richard Williams
  • Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth as Lord Macbeth
And the winner: Will Smith - King Richard as Richard Williams
Who should really win: Will Smith - King Richard as Richard Williams
Explanation: I feel bad for Andrew Garfield, who in any other year would have been in with a good shout for his musical-biographical turn in Tick, Tick... Boom! But this year it was only ever going to go to one person. Hollywood loves to reward lifetime achievement with its acting prizes. Will Smith has been around forever and has a number of nominations to his name at this point, there was always going to be a sense of "maybe it's his turn". But this is not some DiCaprio-esque coronation, Smith's performance in a complex and tonally challenging role is undoubtedly excellent. For my money, he just about edges it.


Best Actress

Nominations:
  • Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye as Tammy Faye Bakker
  • Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter as Leda Caruso
  • Penélope Cruz – Parallel Mothers as Janis Martínez Moreno
  • Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos as Lucille Ball
  • Kristen Stewart – Spencer as Diana, Princess of Wales
And the winner: Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye as Tammy Faye Bakker
Who should really win: Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye as Tammy Faye Bakker
Explanation: Best actress is always a tricky one to call. The bigger films of the year still tend to focus on male protagonists (or perhaps those with male protagonists get better traction with the Academy, make of that what you will) and so these nominations tend to come from less widely distributed pictures. Nevertheless, the usual factors apply. Jessica Chastain now has three unsuccessful Oscar nominations to her name and has collected several of the big acting prizes already this year. I expect this will be her year.


Best Supporting Actor

Nominations:
  • Ciarán Hinds – Belfast as Pop
  • Troy Kotsur – CODA as Frank Rossi
  • Jesse Plemons – The Power of the Dog as George Burbank
  • J. K. Simmons – Being the Ricardos as William Frawley
  • Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog as Peter Gordon
And the winnerTroy Kotsur – CODA as Frank Rossi
Who should really win: Troy Kotsur – CODA as Frank Rossi
Explanation: The main tools of an actor are his face and his voice. Conveying emotion without one of the two requires extraordinary skill and that is precisely what Troy Kotsur has demonstrated in CODA. Ciarán Hinds comes close, but it's difficult to see this award not going to Kotsur, especially if CODA ends up having a good night.


Best Supporting Actress

Nominations:
  • Jessie Buckley – The Lost Daughter as Young Leda Caruso
  • Ariana DeBose – West Side Story as Anita
  • Judi Dench – Belfast as Granny
  • Kirsten Dunst – The Power of the Dog as Rose Gordon
  • Aunjanue Ellis – King Richard as Oracene "Brandy" Price 
And the winnerAriana DeBose – West Side Story as Anita
Who should really win: Ariana DeBose – West Side Story as Anita
Explanation: Ariana DeBose is having a bit of a moment. From bit-part player in Hamilton to a starring turn in AppleTV+'s hit musical series Schmigadoon, and now headlining a Spielberg picture. West Side Story may have been a qualified success, but one thing it did not lack was charisma in its second lead actress. DeBose is no longer just a star in the making and it seems to only be a matter of time before she becomes a household name.


Best Original Screenplay

Nominations:
  • Belfast – Kenneth Branagh
  • Don't Look Up – Screenplay by Adam McKay; Story by Adam McKay and David Sirota
  • King Richard – Zach Baylin
  • Licorice Pizza – Paul Thomas Anderson
  • The Worst Person in the World – Eskil Vogt and Joachim Trier
And the winnerDon't Look Up – Screenplay by Adam McKay; Story by Adam McKay and David Sirota
Who should really win: Don't Look Up – Screenplay by Adam McKay; Story by Adam McKay and David Sirota
Explanation: It may not have been especially subtle, but Don't Look Up is still clever, entertaining and deeply poignant, anchored by some very underrated performances (DiCaprio and Rylance in particular). This is one of those films that grows on you over time, and should be considered required watching in today's world.


Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominations:
  • CODA – Sian Heder; based on the original motion picture screenplay La Famille Bélier written by Victoria Bedos, Thomas Bidegain, Stanislas Carré de Malberg and Éric Lartigau
  • Drive My Car – Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe; based on the short story by Haruki Murakami
  • Dune – Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth; based on the novel by Frank Herbert
  • The Lost Daughter – Maggie Gyllenhaal; based on the novel by Elena Ferrante
  • The Power of the Dog – Jane Campion; based on the novel by Thomas Savage
And the winner: CODA – Sian Heder; based on the original motion picture screenplay La Famille Bélier written by Victoria Bedos, Thomas Bidegain, Stanislas Carré de Malberg and Éric Lartigau
Who should really win: CODA – Sian Heder; based on the original motion picture screenplay La Famille Bélier written by Victoria Bedos, Thomas Bidegain, Stanislas Carré de Malberg and Éric Lartigau
Explanation: A lock if CODA has a good night, and perhaps even if it doesn't. Telling a story without words (for large portions of the film anyway), in a way that is compelling to audiences, is a remarkable accomplishment and a fine example of the artistry behind good screenwriting. CODA deserves this prize perhaps more than any other.


So there you have it, The Ephemeric's picks for the year. Enjoy the Oscars tonight, and when the results go as predicted, remember that you heard it here first! 




Saturday, 5 March 2022

Hello and welcome back to 2022's final post from the Hot List. This week we will be looking at the most exciting new movies set to hit the big screen in 2022 from March onwards, after the cutoff point for this year's awards season.

ephemeric hot list most best hottest anticipated new movies films 2021 exciting


2022 is looking to be a very well stocked year of cinema. Hollywood (and esteemed foreign equivalents) appear to be back in full swing with film productions proceeding apace. On top of this, we still have a number of very promising pandemic-delayed projects that look set for release over the next 12 months, promising a year that is stacked with quality. 

In particular, the 2022-2023 awards season is looking to be highly competitive. Spielberg, Chazelle, O'Russell, Scorsese, Cameron, Mendes, Iñárritu... name a great filmmaker and chances are they have a film coming out this year. A Baz Luhrmann biopic of legendary musician Elvis, a new project from renowned auteur Wes Anderson, these are among the films that did not make final cut, so you can imagine how exciting the remaining projects on this list must be.

So without further delay, the key films to keep an eye on in the coming year (trailers linked in the title where available), starting with number 15:


15. Men

men alex garland beach ex machina 28 days later best most anticipated film movie 2022First up is Men, the latest from noted author turned director Alex Garland

Garland will be best known to most for his writing, which includes novels such as The Beach (as well as the screenplay for the film adaptation) and The Tesseract, as well as the screenplays for 28 Days Later and Sunshine. More recently, he has moved into filmmaking and earned great acclaim for his debut Ex Machina and follow up Annihilation

His latest is a horror drama starring Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear, centred around a young woman who goes on a solo vacation in the English countryside after the death of her ex-husband.

Little else is known of the plot, but filming is confirmed to have wrapped last summer. Men releases in May 2022.

Release Date: May 2022


14. Canterbury Glass

canterbury glass david russel best movies films 2022 christian bale margot robbie
For a while, filmmaker David O'Russell was considered one of the darlings of prestige filmmaking in Hollywood, earning four Oscar nominations for his work on The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle. But between sexual misconduct allegations and a tepid response to his last film, Joy, the last few years have seen the director go quiet. That changes in 2022, which will see the release of O'Russell's newest film, Canterbury Glass

Described as a period film in which a doctor and a lawyer form an unlikely partnership, Canterbury Glass features an all-star cast of frequent O'Russell collaborators including Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Robert De Niro, Taylor Swift and several others. O'Russell will also collaborate for the first time with the great Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, best known for his Oscar winning work on Gravity, Birdman, and The Revenant.

This is due for release in the awards season friendly month of November and will likely be one of the year's big hitters when it comes to the 2023 Oscars.

Release Date: November 2022


13. Killers of the Flower Moon

killers of the flower moon scorsese dicaprio best films movies 2022
Martin Scorsese's long-gestating adaptation of Killers of the Flower Moon will finally see release in 2022. 

Based on the non-fiction book of David Grann, this is the story of a series of murders in 1920s Oklahoma following the discovery of oil on local tribal lands. A core cast of Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Jesse Plemons, with smaller roles for Brendan Fraser and John Lithgow

This will mark the most ambitious foray into feature films yet by AppleTV+, whose success in TV productions has yet to see similar consistency on the big screen. Killers of the Flower Moon is targeting a November release date.

Release Date: November 2022


12. Wendell and Wild

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To say this one has been in the works for a long time would be an understatement. The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline are such beloved films, and yet for some inexplicable reason no studio ever seems to want to give their director Henry Selick work.

Well, Netflix finally seem to have seen the vast opportunity in embracing that fanbase and will produce his next feature film Wendell and Wild. Selick will be supported by Hollwood man of the moment Jordan Peele and Peele's long-time collaborator Keegan-Michael Key who will write and star in the film.

Release date is still very much up in the air, but I for one am very excited to see more of this man's unique vision come to the screen, and let's hope it leads to a long and fruitful relationship with Netflix.

Release Date: TBA 2022


11. Nope

nope get out us jordan peele best films movies 2022
The exciting nascent filmmaking career of Jordan Peele continues. The comedian turned horror maestro has earned massive plaudits and Academy Awards for his early directorial output with Get Out and Us

His latest, Nope, remains shrouded in mystery. Focused on a small town in America that bears witness to a mysterious and abnormal event. The trailer doesn't give much away either, although there's plenty of imagery there to suggest aliens.

The cast sees Peele reunite with Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya, and Emmy award winning actress Keke Palmer, who has worked with Peele on some of his TV projects. The addition of Swedish cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, known for his work on Let the Right One In and his collaborations with Christopher Nolan on Interstellar and Dunkirk is also quite exciting. Whatever else comes of this, Nope will certainly look a treat.

Nope releases in July.

Release Date: July 2022


10. Next Goal Wins

next goal wins taika waititi best films movies 2022 michael fassbender elisabeth mossTaika Waititi is having something of a moment, the New Zealand filmmaker and actor has come a long way from indie comedy hits like Flight of the Conchords and What We Do in the Shadows to running the Thor franchise for Disney and, of course, his Oscar winning success with Jojo Rabbit.

His next film, Next Goal Wins, is based on the true story of Dutch football coach Thomas Rongen and his efforts to take the American-Samoa national team, then considered the worst in the world, to the 2014 World Cup.

Michael Fassbender stars as Rongen, and he will be joined by Elisabeth MossArmie Hammer, and long-time Waititi collaborator Rhys Darby.

Release date is still TBA, but after a number of delays filming is said to be complete and should see release in 2022.

Release Date: TBA 2022


9. Avatar 2    

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Whatever you may think of the original film, it is impossible to do this list without mentioning the sequel to a film that, more than a decade later and even without adjusting for inflation, is still the highest grossing worldwide.

Avatar 2 was announced almost immediately after the first film in the series released, along with an improbably large number of sequels. Despite this, the project has never seen the light of day and has barely leaked any details through the veil of secrecy. 

I'll be honest, I thought the first movie was perfectly fine. Nothing amazing. I am bemused that such a great filmmaker has deigned to devote the latter portion of his career solely to this franchise (if it can even yet be called such), much less that a further four sequels are said to already be greenlit. But clearly Cameron sees something in Avatar that makes it worthy of such attention. This will either be one of the most high profile flops of all time, or the birth of something major.

Release Date: December 2022


8. Bardo

bardo alejandro gonzalez inarritu best films movies 2022
It seems that Alejandro González Iñárritu is going the Alfonso Cuarón route for his next film and returning to his roots in Mexican cinema for Bardo, a nostalgic comedy about a journalist and documentarian who returns home to Mexico City to face the problems of family, his memories, and changes in his home country.

Iñárritu, of course, is best known for his back-to-back Oscar wins with Birdman and The Revenant. Bardo will mark his first production in the seven years following the latter of those.

While it may seem like a surprising move, turning back from success in Hollywood to work on something more low-key and local, it is worth remembering that when Cuarón pulled the same trick with Roma it ended up being one of his more acclaimed and decorated films to date.

Release Date: TBA 2022


7. Lightyear

buzz lightyear pixar toy story best films movies 2022 docter chris evansLightyear looks set to be one of Pixar's strangest ideas to date and also one of its most ambitious.

While on the surface this would seem to just be another film in the Toy Story universe, this is not the case. Lightyear is actually a film based on the in-fiction character on which the toy in Toy Story is based. Slightly confusing, sure, but the rub of it is that there are no toys here, just a good old fashioned sci-fi adventure the likes of which, certainly, Pixar have never attempted. The result is something that looks closer to Interstellar or Star Wars than a typical Pixar movie, and that is quite exciting.

Directed by Pete Docter, arguably the best in the business as the only man to win the Best Animated Feature Oscar three times. Chris Evans, Keke Palmer and Taika Waititi star.

Release Date: June 2022


6. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One)

spiderman spiderverse sequel 2 spidergwen across part one spider-verse spider-man best films movies 2022 miles moralesPixar have typically been considered the animation kings in recent years, and to a lesser extent Disney. So you can imagine the surprise when this unassuming Spider-Man animation from Sony managed to beat both (and Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs to boot) to win the Best Animated Feature Oscar back in 2019. It was deserved, Into the Spider-Verse was an outstanding film. 

In 2022, we will see the sequel: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One). The title itself is interesting, indicating not just some sequel but the start of a new series. This is in addition to potential film and television spin-offs in discussion. 

This sequel will see Mile Morales traveling across the Spider-Verse, teaming up with an array of alternate Spider-Men to take on a new enemy. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller return as writers. The main cast of the original returns, Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, and Hailee Steinfeld. They will be joined by Oscar Isaac, who made a brief appearance in a post-credits scene in the first movie.

Spider-Verse 2 releases in October. I'll tell you one thing, the Best Animated Feature category this year is going to be competitive.

Release Date: October 2022


5. The Banshees of Inisherin

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Now we're getting into the real cream of the crop when it comes to this year's awards calibre films. The Banshees of Inisherin is the latest from Martin McDonagh, writer/director of pitch black comedies In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths and, most recently, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri.

Starring Colin Farrell, Barry Keoghan, Brendan Gleeson, and Kerry Condon, Inisherin follows a pair of lifelong friends on a remote Irish island who find themselves at an awkward time in their relationship when one of them no longer wants to be friends.

McDonagh is one of those artists you can't ignore. His work shocks as much as it entertains and it generally enjoys great commercial and critical success. McDonagh already has an Oscar to his name for short film Six Shooter. Nominated twice for Three Billboards, but ultimately missing out. Could Inisherin be his turn for the biggest prize?

Release Date: October 2022


4. Empire of Light

empire of light sam mendes best films movies 2022 olivia colman colin firthSam Mendes' career in film has been a bit hit and miss, starting brightly with American Beauty and Road to Perdition, but generally delivering one dud for every gem in the decade that followed. An ill-advised foray into the world of James Bond occupied much of his 2010s, although he did end the decade with arguably a career highpoint in 1917.

If he is currently on a good run of form, then his next project sounds positively delightful. Empire of Light is a period romantic comedy set in an English coastal cinema in the 1980s. The cast includes Olivia Colman, Colin Firth, Michael Ward, and Toby Jones. The almighty Roger Deakins is on as cinematographer. This is, notably, Mendes' first solo screenplay, having co-written 1917 previously.

Filming is apparently still in progress, but this is nevertheless scheduled for a release towards the end of the year.

Release Date: TBA 2022


3. The Fabelmans

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A semi-autobiographical coming of age period film from Steven Spielberg, penned by the Tony, Pulitzer, Emmy, Olivier Award winning writer Tony Kushner? Sign me up.

The Fabelmans is loosely based on Spielberg's childhood in Arizona and features a cast of Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, and Seth Rogen. An all-star behind the camera team of Janusz Kaminski (Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan) as cinematographer and the great John Williams scoring. 

Yes to all of this. It's hard to think of a film that looks better on paper. The Fabelmans releases in November and I will eat my hat if it is not one of the big awards season contenders next year.

Release Date: November 2022


2. She Said

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I suspect She Said is going to be some essential watching in 2022. Penned by noted playwright Rebecca Lenkiewicz, She Said is the story of how journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey brought down Harvey Weinstein. This is also the first major Hollywood project of award winning German actress and director Maria Schrader

The duo will be played by Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan. Mulligan currently has two Oscar nominations to her name but zero wins, despite being widely regarded as one of the finest actors of her generation. Could this finally be her year? 

This is another November release. Its timely subject matter and strong talent throughout should make this one of 2022's most notable films.

Release Date: November 2022


1. Babylon

best films movies 2022 babylon damien chazelle la la land whiplash brad pitt margot robbieBut my number one pick for the year is the latest from writer/director Damien Chazelle, best known for La La Land and Whiplash, Babylon.

Still young by Hollywood standards at 37, Chazelle already has three Oscar nominations and one win to his name, and is considered one of the most exciting filmmakers in the world. His latest is a period drama set in 1920s Hollywood, with a cast that features Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. Babylon once again sees Chazelle team up with composer Justin Hurwitz, the Oscar winning magician behind the music of La La Land, and cinematographer Linus Sandgren, who also won an Oscar for La La Land.

Chazelle is on something of a hot streak. His three last films all won Oscars, and if there's one thing the Academy loves, it's films about Hollywood. This releases in December and is my most hotly anticipated film of 2022.

Release Date: December 2022


So there you have it folks: The 2022 Hot List. I will be back with many more articles in due course, but for now stay safe and let's make 2022 a great year together.







Sunday, 20 February 2022

Welcome back to The Ephemeric's 2022 Hot List. This week we will be having a look at the most exciting new music due for release in the coming year.

best anticipated new music 2022 albums hot list
Music is always the most difficult list to compile. Every year the volume of new content seems to increase, doubly so over the pandemic years. On top of which, the advent of digital self-publishing through services like Spotify has made it more difficult to keep tabs on all the promising new talent in the industry, and resulted in release schedules that are less formalised and harder to predict.


But an abundance of options can hardly be a bad thing and while many exciting artists were axed in the process of whittling down to this short list, those that remain are very promising indeed, encompassing a healthy mix of old returning favourites and newcomers.

So without further ado, here is our list of the top albums to keep an eye on in 2022, starting with number 15:


15. Arctic Monkeys

arctic monkeys alex turner last shadow puppets new album 2022 best most anticipated musicAlex Turner has become something of an icon in the British music scene in recent years, but it is still his first vehicle, Arctic Monkeys that represents his most successful outlet to date. In 2022, AM is returning with their 7th, as yet unnamed, LP.

Currently little is known about the upcoming album other than that it is essentially complete at this point and will release this year. What little information is out there has been leaking out at a drip-feed via social media and word of mouth. By all accounts it appears to be a spiritual continuation of their last album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, an exploration of modern consumer culture most successfully conveyed in the lead single from that album, Four Out of Five

Given the lack of a formal release date, yet the apparent completeness of the record, I would expect this one to drop on short notice. Potentially in the spring, but more likely a summer release.

Release Date: Summer 2022


14. Sarah Kinsley (New band)

sarah kinsley 2022 debut album king best most anticipated new music
The "new band" label here would identify Sarah Kinsley as an upcoming star of the future, but in truth this is a tad misleading given the massive success she has already seen with her EP The King

Kinsley is widely seen as one of the next big things in music and a debut LP is expected to release in the near future. Her sound strikes that magic balance of big, catchy hooks and relatable vulnerability that the most successful pop acts strive for, and will certainly be one to watch.

A release date has yet to be confirmed, but this is expected to be a 2022 release.

Release Date: TBA 2022


13. Gabriels (New band)

gabriels debut new album 2022 best most anticipated musicAnother exciting newcomer in the form of LA's Gabriels. This soul-singing trio has been hotly tipped for success by many pundits in the industry and attracted glowing endorsements from heavy hitters like Elton John, who described last year's EP release as one of the most seminal releases of the past 10 years.

Gabriels' sound builds on the entire history of Black American music, with influences in gospel, soul and blues. A smattering of EP and single releases to date have earned hype reviews, most notably 2021's Love and Hate in a Different Time.

A full LP release is due to follow and will make for a refreshingly different sound in the modern music landscape.

Release Date: TBA 2022


12. "The Tipping Point" by Tears for Fears

tears for fears comeback new album tipping point best most anticipated new music 2022
Here's one I did not see coming. Tears for Fears are among the most iconic British bands of the 1980s, with well-worn hits such as Everybody Wants to Rule the WorldMad World, and Head Over Heels. Songs that most everyone will be familiar with and are likely to grace any best of the 80s playlist. 

It's thirty years past their heyday, and twenty since their last album. Yet, following a successful spell of touring in recent years, 2022 will see a comeback in the form of new album The Tipping Point. At the time of writing, the band has released a lead single of The Tipping Point, and it's more or less what you would expect from the band. The far more stripped down No Small Thing seems more interesting to my ears and suggests at something of a new direction.

Cash grab or return to form? Comebacks are difficult to pull off, but even if they aren't able to add to their stable of genre classics it will be interesting to see what fresh ideas they might have.

Release Date: February 2022


11. "Time Skiffs" by Animal Collective

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Animal Collective are one of those marmite bands. You either love them or hate them. The experimental Baltimore band have baffled and delighted music lovers for a good twenty years now (feel old yet?) and spawned a highly successful spin-off career for founding member Panda Bear. A new album, Time Skiffs, will release in 2022.

Their experimental nature makes this a difficult band to predict. Theirs is a sound that can range from the bafflingly mesmerising to the bafflingly unhinged to the actually kinda mainstream. Lead single from the new album, Prester John (loving the historic mythology reference), suggests a neat balance between their typical edge and commercial appeal, with something approaching a more breezy rock and roll sound.

Always intriguing, Animal Collective's latest will launch in February.

Release Date: February 2022


10. "As I Try Not to Fall Apart" by White Lies

white lies as i try not to fall apart new album 2022 best most anticipated musicAn underrated part of the British music landscape, White Lies have been putting out consistently solid music a number of years now. New album As I Try Not to Fall Apart releases in 2022.

Still best known for their chart-topping 2009 debut, featuring hit single Death, theirs is a sound heavily influenced by "big" rock of the 1970s and 1980s, bands like The Doors, Talking Heads and Tears for Fears. If new lead single Am I Really Going to Die is any indication, it seems like they have nailed the genre. If the album lives up to this quality then it will definitely be one to keep an eye on.

As I Try Not to Fall Apart releases in March.

Release Date: March 2022


9. "Once Twice Melody" by Beach House

beach house once twice melody album best new anticipated music 2022
Baltimore (seriously what is it with Baltimore and music?) dream pop duo Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, known by their band name Beach House, have made a name for themselves with their lush, intimate music, perhaps best typified by 2015's Space Song.

But while they have had plenty of success over the past decade, there's always been the impression of more to come. Each album has seen their sprawling stream of consciousness finessed into increasingly fine-tuned productions, and with their new album Once Twice Melody there is the sense that this may be the moment where they really hit their stride. If title track Once Twice Melody and early single New Romance are anything to go by, this could be a pretty spectacular album.

Once Twice Melody will release in February.

Release Date: February 2022


8. Toledo (New band)

toledo debut new album best new anticipated music 2022New York-based indie due Toledo have been quietly building a reputation with a string of well-received single and EP releases over the past two years. 2021's return to the touring circuit saw them partner up with a number of well-known artists including Julien Baker and Dirty Projectors. With work now underway for an unnamed debut LP, many are tipping the band for success.

Theirs is a fuzzy, indie folk sound in the style of bands like The Fray and Fountains of Wayne (RIP Adam Schlesinger). It may be the 2020 release of single FOMO that first brought them to mainstream attention, but it's last year's Sunday Funday that most impresses as a polished piece of music. We will watch their career with great interest.

Release Date: TBA 2022


7. "Unlimited Love" by Red Hot Chili Peppers

red hot chili peppers 2022 unlimited love album best most anticipated new musicI do not think it would be controversial of me to say that the legendary California rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers have recently been punching somewhere below the peak of their heyday. But they are far from the spent force that some would suggest. There is a reason that the band has enjoyed the remarkable longevity of a nearly forty year career, during which time they have crafted an enviable discography.

As they approach studio album number 12, there is particular cause for excitement with the return of longtime guitarist John Frusciante, who had sat out the last two albums. For many, Frusciante's sound is key to the band's identity, and his return bodes well for what could be a major return to form.

The newest album Unlimited Love is said to be in the late stages of production, with a release expected this spring. So far, we have heard just the one single Black Summer, an introspective track with gorgeous guitar-work reminiscent of the Californication era. Looking forward to this.

Release Date: April 2022


6. Skullcrusher (New band)

skullcrusher debut new album 2022 best most anticipated musicA name like Skullcrusher evokes the blackest of heavy metal, but this couldn't be further from the reality of Helen Ballentine's music. This is some delicately crafted multi-instrumental folk pop. Tranquil, lush, and grounded with some deft lyrical work.

Skullcrusher spent 2021 testing the waters with EPs and singles, a productive output that saw the release of some wonderful early tracks in Storm in Summer and Song for Nick Drake. It's all sounding great so far and bodes well for the eventual LP debut that is expected to happen at some point in 2022.

No firm release date has been provided at the time of writing, but this is expected later in 2022.

Release Date: TBA 2022


5. "From Capelton Hill" by Stars

stars from capelton hill new album best most anticipated music 2022
Canadian band Stars are an iconic name in the indie music scene for many of my generation. A soundtrack to many a coming of age story and a consistent purveyor of gorgeous music over many years and nine albums. Album number 10, From Capelton Hill releases in 2022.

The band has many classic tracks to their name, including Your Ex-Lover is DeadAgeless Beauty and so many other near flawless tracks. If early single Pretenders is any indication, then the band finds themselves in fine, if familiar form.

From Capelton Hill releases in May and I personally am looking forward to it with great relish.

Release Date: May 2022


4. Aloboi (New band)

aloboi new debut album 2022 best new anticipated musicAnother year gone with no LP, but still Aloboi remains one of the most exciting new artists in electronic music. The Berlin-based composer has continued to release new tracks at a steady clip, each highlighting the artists flair for dreamy soundscapes and eclectic influences.

Aloboi's work-to-date has been highly impressive. From the retro chill out vibes of A Pleasing Smile, to the more danceable electronic stylings of Want To Love, the classical remix of Night Train (Claire de Lune), or the dazzling genre mash up of Somebody Feel, it's a very impressive array of work for a newcomer that is fast establishing Aloboi as one of the more exciting talents in the industry.

As we await a debut album, one gets the impression that there is a lot more to come from this artist, whether its in 2022 or beyond, Aloboi is definitely one to keep an eye on.

Release Date: TBA 2022


3. "Chloe and the Next 20th Century" by Father John Misty

father john misty fleet foxes chloe next 20 twentieth century 2022 new album best new anticipated music
The godfather of hipster folk, Josh Tillman may have started life as the drummer of outstanding Seattle band Fleet Foxes, but has since gone on to forge his own career under the stage name Father John Misty and achieve remarkable success. New album Chloe and the Next 20th Century drops in 2022.

Perhaps best known for tracks Real Love Baby and Chateau Lobby #4 (or my own personal favourite So I'm Growing Old on Magic Mountain). A new album is on the way, with early single Funny Girl suggesting a move into something a bit more classical and nostalgic. Could this be indicative of the direction for the new album? 

In any case, we won't have long to wait with a release set for April. This won't be one to miss.

Release Date: April 2022


2. The xx

the xx jamie new album 2022 best new anticipated music
Just over a decade on from The xx's debut and the former indie darlings and firmly embedded themselves as global superstars, with three chart topping albums (more if you count the outstanding solo work of Jamie xx) that seem to get better and better with each release. 

Despite this success, it has now been five years since the London trio last released an album. But that could be about to change, with frontman Jamie xx revealing last year that a fourth LP was near completion and due for release in 2022 (as well as a third Jamie xx solo album at some point, apparently).

We don't have an album name or release date, so I will just leave you with their best track, On Hold, as a reminder for how good these guys can be. I can't wait for this comeback.

Release Date: Summer 2022


1. "Reborn" by Kavinsky

kavinsky reborn renegade zenith nightcall new album best most anticipated music 2022
French house artist Kavinsky spent much of the 2000s developing his signature synthwave sound, inspired by the cinema and pop culture of the 1980s. That process culminated in his debut, and so far only studio album, OutRun.

An ambitious concept album, complete with its own mythology and distinct artwork. But it's the great singles we care about, including his most famous tracks Nightcall, and Odd Look. Indeed OutRun was so successful that it is considered among some internet subcultures to have created its own aesthetic genre, and is now an umbrella term used to describe any form of neo-futuristic 1980s revival.

Yet despite the success, there has been almost complete radio silence since that album's release in 2013. Until now. A follow up album, Reborn, is finally on the way and we have the first two singles. If Renegade makes for a delightfully funky, over-the-top slice of nostalgia, the second release Zenith is an absolute masterpiece. Oozing with atmosphere, melancholy, and even a twist of irresistible saxophone goodness. This is as close to an "event" album as it gets.

Release Date: March 2022


So there you have it folks: 2022 in music. Tune in next week for this year's final Hot List, where we look at the most exciting new movies in 2022.





Sunday, 13 February 2022

Welcome back to The Ephemeric's 2022 Hot List. This week we will be having a look at the most exciting theatrical productions coming to the stage in the coming year.

best anticipated new theatre theatrical production 2022 hot list
The last two years have not been kind to theatre, with pandemics, lockdowns, and tight restrictions on when and how you can congregate indoors. So much so, that this blog skipped the Theatre list entirely in its 2021 preview. But in 2022, theatre makes a comeback. The playhouses are reopening, the great thespians of the world are returning to the stage, and the pent-up creative output of two years is ready to be unleashed.


Make no mistake, we are still not back at 100%. I hold tickets for several 2020 productions that have still yet to be rescheduled and there is no guarantee that conditions won't worsen once again. For this reason, this year's list will be reduced from 15 to 10.

So without further ado here's our list of the top 10 theatrical productions to keep an eye on in 2022, starting with number 10:


10. "Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams, at Duke of York's Theatre

london best theatre 2022 glass menagerie tennessee williams duke of york london amy adams
Tennessee Williams' celebrated "memory play" is well-trodden ground for the theatre. In fact this is not even the first time in recent years that it has graced the Duke of York Theatre's stage. Still, this is a production of Glass Menagerie that could well stand out.

One of the great draws of British theatre is its ability to attract the most celebrated names in acting. Glass Menagerie has a real superstar waiting in the wings in Amy Adams. The six-time Academy Award nominee has been cast as Amanda Wingfield. A less flashy, but no less important addition is in director Jeremy Herrin, a master of the stage who in recent years has worked on some top productions in This House and Wolf Hall Trilogy.

Glass Menagerie will begin previews in May.


9. "Marys Seacole" by Jackie Sibblies Drury, at the Donmar Warehouse

london 2022 best theatre marys seacole jackie drury donmar A new play about the pioneering Jamaican nurse who braved the battlefield to heal soldiers in the Crimean war. Billed as a metafictional biography, Marys Seacole is a story about what it means to be a woman who is paid to care, and how, ultimately, no one is in charge of their own story.  

This is the centrepiece of a new programme to mark the reopening of Covent Garden's cherished Donmar Warehouse. It is the latest work from the mind of the Pulitzer Prize winning Jackie Sibblies Drury and reunites the creative team behind her critically acclaimed Fairview.

Marys Seacole will run from April until the end of June.


8. "4000 Miles" by Amy Herzog, at the Old Vic

best theatre london 2022 4000 four thousand miles amy herzog old vic eileen atkins timothee chalamet A dramatic comedy and Pulitzer Prize finalist when it launched on Broadway, Amy Herzog's 4000 Miles is one of several delayed 2020 productions looking to make its long-awaited curtain-fall this year. 

21-year-old Leo set out from the West Coast cycling across America with his best friend. After weeks of radio silence, no one is more surprised than his 91-year-old grandmother, Vera, when Leo turns up on her Manhattan doorstep in the middle of the night. A tale of grief and friendship in New York City, this production at The Old Vic is blessed with a cast of stars that includes Dame Eileen Atkins and Hollywood wunderkind Timothée Chalamet.

The exact date of this launch has yet to be confirmed, but is said to be sometime in the summer.


7. "The House of Shades" by Beth Steel, at the Almeida

best theatre 2022 london house of shades almeida beth steelAnother rescheduled 2020 production, The House of Shades promises a working class epic, told over five generations of a family struggling through the industrial landscape of 20th Century Britain.

This world premiere at the Almeida comes courtesy of Hampstead Theatre regular Beth Steel, best known for her productions of Wonderland and Labyrinth on that stage. Here, she collaborates with director Blanche McIntyre, a familiar face for patrons of the Almeida following her star studded production of The Writer.

The House of Shades will run over the summer, with previews commencing in May this year.


6. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Aaron Sorkin and Harper Lee, at the Gielgud Theatre

london best theatre 2022 to kill a mockingbird harper lee aaron sorkin rafe spall gielgudBut not all of 2020's rescheduled productions have re-emerged unscathed. The Gielgud's production of the classic Harper Lee novel To Kill a Mockingbird will finally see the light of day in 2022, albeit with a notable casting change.

This is a production of the adaptation by legendary screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, previously a mega-hit on Broadway that has earned rave reviews from the critics. The London production had originally been cast with Rhys Ifans, but following a two year delay, he has been replaced by Rafe Spall. Ifans is one of the greats, but in Spall we have a very capable replacement. It will be interesting to see how he fares.

It is sad that in 2022, the 60th anniversary of the novel's original publication, its themes of racial injustice remain so pertinent, hopefully this production can serve as a timely reminder, and stir some fresh impetus into solving some of the problems that we still face as a society.


5. "The 47th" by Mike Bartlett, at the Old Vic

london best theatre 2022 47th president election trump biden charles iii bartlett carvel old vicMike Bartlett is one of those playwrights that merits attention any time he puts out new work. His plays have drawn critical acclaim and big budget adaptations. 

The 47th sees him tread the familiarly political ground of King Charles III and Albion, with a new darkly comedic script that imagines the hypothetical 2024 Presidential campaign of Donald Trump. Exciting casting news sees the highly accomplished Bertie Carvel in the starring role, seen recently in his Olivier award winning turn as Ruper Murdoch in the excellent Almeida production of Ink.

The 47th will run from the end of March until the end of May at the Old Vic.


4. "The Father and the Assassin" by Anupama Chandrasekhar, at the National Theatre

best theatre 2022 london the father and assassin anupama chandrasekhar national One of the main tentpoles of their summer line up, The Father and the Assassin is the National Theatre debut of acclaimed Indian playwright Anupama Chandrasekhar

A dramatic epic about the man who would become Mahatma Gandhi's assassin, The Father and the Assassin traces the life of Nathuram Godse over thirty years during India's fight for independence.

The Father and the Assassin opens in May and will run through the summer on the National's Olivier stage.


3. "The Pillowman" by Martin McDonagh, at Duke of York's Theatre

london best theatre 2022 pillowman martin mcdonagh duke of yorkOne of the most celebrated works of the multi award winning playwright, screenwriter and director Martin McDonagh, best known for his work in Hollywood that includes In Bruges, Seven Psycopaths, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. The Pillowman made its debut at the National Theatre back in 2003. Now, some 19 years later, it returns to the stage at Duke of York's Theatre.

The Pillowman is the story of Katurian, an author living in a police state whose work comes under scrutiny when it becomes apparent that the violence depicted in his writing bears striking similarities to a series of gruesome child murders that take place. This West-End revival comes with a fairly prominent star in Aaron Taylor Johnson, and a dark turn for comedian Steve Pemberton

This was one of those productions originally slated for 2020 before the pandemic hit. While a new release has yet to be confirmed, it is expected to hit the stage later in 2022.


2. "Jerusalem" by Jez Butterworth, at the Apollo Theatre

jerusalem jez butterworth apollo mark rylance london best theatre 2022 One of the most unmissable pieces of theatre to come along in a long while, yet unfortunately also one of the easiest to miss due to the high demand for tickets.

Jerusalem is a revival of the 2009 Jez Butterworth play, previously at the Royal Court Theatre. But the main attraction is its world-renowned star Mark Rylance, whose starring turn in the original production is commonly viewed as one of the all time great theatre performances. Rylance, incredibly, returns to the role some twelve years later, offering a new opportunity to witness this great piece of theatre.

This new production comes courtesy of the Apollo Theatre and begins its run in March. Tickets are going fast.


1. "The Burnt City" by Punchdrunk Theatre

london best theatre 2022 burnt city punchdrunk drowned man sleep no more immersive interactive woolwichBut our number 1 play to see in 2022 is the latest from hugely ambitious immersive theatre maestros Punchdrunk, The Burnt City. While Sleep No More continues to run strong in New York some six years later, and now also in Shanghai, this marks their first London production since 2013's The Drowned Man.

A loose adaptation of Greek tragedies Agamemnon and Hecuba, The Burnt City will be another immersive showcase, taking place in not one, but two former military arsenal buildings in Woolwich. Attendees will be free to explore these sprawling, immaculately detailed environments while actors perform the rather loose narratives around them. 

A Punchdrunk theatre production is an experience like few other. An extraordinary mix of theatre, open-world videogame and hallucinogenic waking dream. Many others have since followed to try and do what they do, but none have pulled it off so convincingly. This will be a must-see event, possibly even multiple times..



So there you have it folks: 2022 in theatre. Tune in soon for our next instalment of the Hot List, covering the essential new music coming this year!






Saturday, 29 January 2022

Welcome back to The Ephemeric's 2022 Hot List. This week we will have a look at the most exciting new literature and novels you'll be reading in the coming year.

best anticipated new novels literature 2022 hot list
Some good news, book sales have soared over the past couple of years. People of all ages are getting back into reading, which is just as well because there has never been more content more readily available. Meanwhile the newest range of digital devices and subscription services allow for essentially unlimited reading without having to worry about the cost or storage. Get yourself into reading and you will suddenly find yourself open to countless new stories and adventures.

So here it is: your reading list for 2022, our list of the top 10 upcoming releases from the world of literature to keep an eye on this year, starting, as always, with number 10:



10. "Black Cake" by Charmaine Wilkerson

best literature 2022 novel book black cake charmaine wilkerson

We start with Black Cake, the debut novel of Charmaine Wilkerson, a former journalist and short story author with roots in the Caribbean, now based in Italy.

In present day California, two siblings must respond to the sudden death of their mother, and the two unusual items bequeathed to them in her will: a Caribbean black cake, and a mysterious audio message. What ensues is a winding tale of secrets, betrayal and murder.

Black Cake finds itself on the reading list of many a literature pundit as we head into 2022 and has benefited from plugs by some very influential boosters. This seems set to be one of the bigger book releases of the year. 


9. "Glory" by NoViolet Bulawayo

best literature 2022 novel book glory noviolet bulawayo
The sophomore novel to a well received, award nominated debut is always a tricky beast. But you wouldn't know it from the looks of Noviolet Bulawayo's ambitious new novel, Glory.

Based on the real life events following the fall of Mugabe, Glory is set in a fantastical nation populated by intelligent animals. A ruthless, charismatic leader is deposed, leading to a scramble for power. Basically, Animal Farm in Africa.

It's certainly a passionate and ambitious piece of commentary, one which presents a perspective on a part of the world of which we ordinarily see very little. I imagine it could make quite an impact when it releases in March.


8. "The Perfect Golden Circle" by Ben Myers

best literature 2022 novel book perfect golden circle ben myers
Another sophomore novel, this time for Ben Myers, known for his well received debut The Offing

The Perfect Golden Circle is set in 1980s England, a time of economic hardship, class war and austerity for many. Over the course of a very strange summer, two rural outcasts set out in an old campervan to perpetrate an elaborate act of rebellion, forming ever more complex crop circles, and in the process spawning a cultural phenomenon.

This sounds like it will be a delight. A rural setting, UFO culture, 1980s nostalgia, all mixed in with intelligent and exhilarating historical perspective. This is coming out in May.


7. "The Anomaly" by Hervé Le Tellier

best literature 2022 novel book the anomaly herve le tellier
The only reason this one is lower down the list is that it is technically not a new novel. Hervé Le Tellier's million selling novel The Anomaly originally launched in its native French back at the tail end of 2020, but it is only now that an English translation is hitting the bookshelves.

An ambitious and original piece of work, The Anomaly is a high concept work of science fiction. An airplane full of passengers inexplicably duplicates, resulting in hundreds of people now with an identical double living the same lives as them.

It's a highly philosophical work that asks questions of the nature of identity and reality. The original French release went on to win the Prix Goncourt.


6. "Yerba Buena" by Nina LaCour

best literature 2022 novel book yerba buena nina lacour
Young girl arrives in the big city of Los Angeles looking to make it, working as a mixologist in a high-end restaurant. She meets and falls for a floral designer. It's all going so well, until the sketchy histories of both characters begin to catch up with them, and chaos ensues.

This is the plot of Yerba Buena, new novel and first foray into adult literature from Nina LaCour, an author until now best known for her work in YA fiction.

Yerba Buena promises a bit of escapism at a time when we all really need it. The food and drinks, the southern California coastline, and the dramatic, twisty narrative. This is out in May and will make for some ideal summer reading.


5. "The Candy House" by Jennifer Egan

best literature 2022 novel book candy house jennifer egan
Certainly one of the more hyped releases of 2022. The Candy House is the new novel from the Pulitzer Prize winning author Jennifer Egan

This is best kind of science fiction, the kind that is disturbingly plausible and forces you to ask questions of your values. Told in a series of interconnected stories, The Candy House imagines a world where the technology exists to record and store memories, and all the benefits and potential risks such a concept brings.

Coming out in April, The Candy House promises a very current subject matter with observations on social media, technology and our own insecurities.


4. "The Premonitions Bureau" by Sam Knight

best literature 2022 novel book premonitions bureau aberfan sam knightThe somewhat true story of a Government investigation into apparent psychic premonitions leading up to the Aberfan disaster of 1966. The Premonitions Bureau is the debut work of journalist Sam Knight.

This is the story of John Barker, the psychiatrist tasked with running this investigation, who would go on to interview hundreds who had shown apparent abilities, and attempt to determine if there was any truth to these supernatural claims.

It's one of those so crazy you can't believe it's true stories, and a must-read when it releases in May.


3. "Illuminations" by Alan Moore

best literature 2022 novel book illuminations alan moore watchmen
A rare foray into non-graphic literature from legendary comic book artist Alan MooreIlluminations is a collection of short stories, all charged with the wild imagination of one of the literary world's true originals.

Moore is best known for his work with graphic novels, notably Watchmen, V for Vendetta and, arguably the best of all Batman novels, The Killing Joke. But the quality of his writing shouldn't be underrated. Moore has often garnered acclaim on the basis of his craft, and Watchmen was even named by Time Magazine among the 100 greatest novels of the 20th Century.

When it comes to Alan Moore, you're never quite sure what to expect. What we can safely say is that it will be unique when it releases this October.


2. "How High We Go in the Dark" by Sequoia Nagamatsu

best literature 2022 novel book how high we go in the dark sequoia nagamatsuThink Cloud Atlas mixed with Station Eleven and it will give you some idea of what to expect from Sequoia Nagamatsu's debut novel. An ambitious sci-fi depiction of a world where global warming has unleashed a catastrophic ancient virus, the events of How High We Go in the Dark unfold over hundreds of years, featuring multiple characters and perspectives.

Perhaps you will feel you've had enough of virus stories? This may actually be exactly what you need. A rich vision full of hope, compassion and humanity. If How High We Go in the Dark touches a little close to home at times, it does so for the right reasons and provides reason to be inspired.

Nagamatus's debut is considered by many to be one of the year's hottest releases. It is out end of January.


1. "Sea of Tranquility" by Emily St. John Mandel

best literature 2022 novel book sea of tranquility emily st john mandel station eleven And finally, our number one most hotly anticipated novel of 2022 is Sea of Tranquility, the new novel of Emily St. John Mandel, the award winning author of Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel.

This is about as close to an "event" novel as it can get. Mandel's latest is a hugely ambitious time-hopping odyssey that explores locations as disparate as 1912 British Columbia, a black-skied cityscape of the future, and the Moon. Sea of Tranquility ponders the nature of reality, the passage of time, art, love and everything in between. 

Not to be missed, Mandel's latest novel will release April of this year.



So there you have it folks: 2022 in literature. Tune in soon for our next instalment of the Hot List, covering the essential new theatre coming up in 2022!






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