james debate
james debate

Sunday 25 February 2024

Hello and welcome back to 2024'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 2024, after the cutoff point for this year's awards season.

ephemeric hot list most best hottest anticipated new movies films 2024 exciting


Cinema is a funny medium. More so than with other forms of art, you can predict with surprising accuracy how good a particular project is likely to be, sometimes even before a single frame has been seen. Take my 2023 Hot List, for example. Oppenheimer, Killers of the Flower Moon, Maestro, Rustin, Spiderverse, Past Lives, The Killer, The Holdovers, all movies contesting awards this year. This wasn't an aberration, you can see this in any of my previous previews. Why is this the case? Perhaps due to the collaborative nature of the medium. A good novelist or songwriter can sometimes have an off-day, but for a film to fail requires the director, writer, producer and cast to all have off-days, which is much less likely where good talent is involved.

But 2024 is looking to be an unpredictable year. Unlike in previous years, the big hitters are less obvious (with one clear exception). There are a great many projects that on paper look like they could be a hit, but few with the kind of ironclad proven pedigree that I would go so far as to call them a sure thing. That's not to say that this is not going to be a good year in film. On the contrary, it means the year is wide open for new filmmakers and risk-takers to make their mark. There are a number of projects for which I am very excited, and I am thrilled to share those with you now.

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. Bird

bird andrea arnold barry keoghan best most anticipated film movie 2024First up we have Bird, the upcoming drama film directed by Andrea Arnold, marking her first narrative feature since 2016's American Honey, having more recently worked on the acclaimed TV series Transparent and Big Little Lies

This film stars Barry Keoghan, one of the industry's most buzzworthy actors today. Keoghan is on an incredible run these past few years, having delivered awards-contesting roles in The Banshees of Inisherin and Saltburn. Could Bird be the film that bags Keoghan the big prize?

The film explores themes resonant with Arnold's signature focus on the fringes of society, shot across various locations in the south of England, including Gravesend, Dartford, Ashford, Bean, Kent, and the Isle of Sheppey. The plot remains under wraps, but the combination of Arnold's celebrated directorial approach and the leading actors' rising profiles promises a compelling cinematic experience. A release date has yet to be announced, but this is expected to hit the festival circuit later in 2024.

Release Date: TBA 2024


14. Joker: Folie à Deux

joker 2 folie deux sequel joaquin phoenix lady gaga best movies films 2024
The first Joker film was something of an odd concept. A classic, comic book villain origin story, presented in a style more reminiscent of a gritty Scorsese psychological crime thriller. It's fair to say it was met with a polarizing response. People either loved it or hated it, perhaps best illustrated by the fact that the film would go on to garner an astonishing 11 Academy Award nominations (and 2 wins), despite a meagre 69% Rotten Tomatoes score. 

It was also supposed to be a one-off experiment, with no connection to a broader cinematic universe (as was the style at the time) or sequel. Yet here we are, 2024, and an unlikely sequel, Joker: Folie à Deux is incoming. Joaquin Phoenix reprises his Oscar winning role, joined by Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn, as well as the greats Steve Coogan and Brendan Gleeson. It's also apparently a musical... yeah.

If you enjoyed the first Joker and its bizarre combination of genres and sensibilities, then this looks to be right up your alley. But if you were one of those who didn't quite know what to make of the original, it's safe to say this won't convert you.

Release Date: October 2024


13. Gladiator II

gladiator 2 II sequel russell crowe ridley scott paul mescal best films movies 2024
On the subject of unexpected sequels, Gladiator II. Yes, you heard that right, Ridley Scott has decided to make a sequel to his 24 year old classic, despite the notable handicap of everyone in the first film being dead by the ending credits. But don't worry, this isn't a Roman zombie apocalypse (although I'd watch that), it's a tale of the hitherto unknown illegitimate son of the first film's protagonist, on a journey to learn the truth about his biological father. 

It sounds like a terrible idea, but the return of Ridley brings legitimacy, as does the casting of Paul Mescal, one of Hollywood's most exciting young actors. Mescal is joined by an excellent cast that includes Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, and Derek Jacobi.

The studios clearly have high hopes for this continuation of the Gladiator saga, and have chosen a plum November release date, with the clear intention of mounting an awards campaign.

Release Date: November 2024


12. Civil War

civil war alex garland beach ex machina 28 days later best films movies 2024 kirsten dunst
Alex Garland is a name that demands attention. The acclaimed speculative fiction author of The BeachThe Tesseract, 28 Days Later, more recently turned successful film director with Ex Machina and Annihilation. His newest film, Civil War, hits a little closer to home.

This is a dystopian action film starring Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Nick Offerman. Set in a near-future America engulfed by a Second Civil War, the film follows journalists navigating through a nation divided between the government and separatist "Western Forces." 

Civil War is slated for a premiere at South by Southwest on March 14, 2024, and a theatrical release on April 12, 2024

Release Date: April 2024


11. Conclave

conclave edward berger western front ralph fiennes john lithgow stanley tucci pope best films movies 2024
Here's one with some real award winning potential. Conclave is the latest from German-Austrian filmmaker Edward Berger, who took the industry by storm in 2022 with All Quiet on the Western Front. That film was met with widespread critical acclaim, but came a little bit too much out of nowhere to really contend for the big prizes. Now Berger is no longer an unknown quantity, and the expectation will be there.

Based on the Robert Harris novel of the same name, this film follows Cardinal Lomeli, played by Ralph Fiennes, as he seeks a successor for the deceased Pope, uncovering a secret in the process. The cast includes John Lithgow, Stanley Tucci, and Isabella Rossellini.

Release date is still TBA, with distribution rights only having been confirmed at the end of 2023. But this is expected to release during the peak awards season of 2024.

Release Date: TBA 2024


10. We Live in Time

we live in time john crowley nick payne florence pugh andrew garfield best films movies 2024
We Live in Time is an upcoming romantic film from director John Crowley, best known as the award winning director of Brooklyn. His latest is a collaboration with writer Nick Payne, one of the great playwrights of the past ten years, known particularly for the brilliant, award-nominated productions Constellations and Elegy.

Little is known of the plot, other than this is a love story featuring a strong cast headed by Florence Pugh and Andrew Garfield. This is one of those projects where the sheer weight of talent tells you that it will be something worth watching. In particular, seeing Payne continue to expand his work in cinema makes for a tantalising prospect.

Release date is to be announced, but it is expected that this will be hitting the various film festivals this summer, with a wider release in the second half of the year.

Release Date: TBA 2024


9. Inside Out 2

inside out 2 sequel pixar best films movies 2024
Something a bit on the lighter side, we have a sequel to what is perhaps Pixar's greatest film, Inside Out 2. The first film was a brilliant, funny, deceptively insightful metaphor for the internal struggle of growing up, acclaimed by many to be among the greatest animated films ever made. The sequel will follow where that film left off, charting the next stage in life, with whole new emotions and struggles to master. 

The cast sees Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, and Lewis Black return, while Tony Hale and Maya Hawke join the crew. Pete Docter no longer directs, but is replaced by newcomer Kelsey Mann. Pixar has an excellent track record of giving directorial debuts to its behind the scenes crew, we'll see if Mann marks the next of these success stories.

Inside Out 2 will release this summer.

Release Date: June 2024
Unexpected sequels seems to be a bit of a recurring theme in 2024 (who says originality is dead?). Next on this list we have Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F, a long-awaited fourth entry in the classic Beverly Hills Cop franchise, last seen some thirty years ago in 1994.

Eddie Murphy, of course, returns in the title role. He is joined by previous co-stars Judge Reinhold and Paul Reiser, while Taylor Paige and Joseph Gordon Levitt join the cast as newcomers.

While it would be easy to be dismissive of this project, especially after Murphy's recent lacklustre return to Coming to America, who cares. Beverly Hills Cop is awesome, and I'm looking forward to seeing this.

Release Date: July 2024


7. Dune: Part Two

dune part two timothee chalamet best movies films 2024
A more expected sequel. The sprawling literary series of Dune has long held a reputation as unfilmable, at least over the duration of a film (a miniseries came pretty close). So when Legendary Studios committed the cash for a big budget, multi-part epic adaptation that may never have even seen completion had the first installment not been a success, it was one heck of a gamble.

Yet, against the odds and under the expert stewardship of Denis VilleneuveDune: Part One was a critical and commercial success. Its success means that we will get that second half to the story, with Dune: Part Two

Dune: Part Two will feature the same creative team and cast of the first film, following Timothée Chalamet's Atreides' thirst for revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family, and a greater focus on Zendaya's Chani, seen only briefly in the first film, as her group of Fremen collaborate with Atreides in this quest

The first film was an epic adventure that I can't wait to see concluded. Who knows where the series will go from there. There have been rumours of a third film and Legendary is said to be working on a TV spin off.

Release Date: March 2024


6. The Apprentice

the apprentice trump ali abbasi sebastian stan jeremy strong gabriel sherman best films movies 2024This next one is tasty, for a number of reasons. The Apprentice is a biographical film about Donald Trump. But, wisely, it avoids his recent political history, focusing instead on a young Trump, his relationship with his father, and his burgeoning career in the 1970s and 1980s.  

Sebastian Stan will portray Trump, joined by Jeremy Strong and Academy Award nominee Maria Bakalova.

I am generally wary of films with a political connection released during an election year. What makes this one stand out is the creative talent behind it. This is the debut western production of director Ali Abbasi, a hotly tipped Iranian filmmaker whose filmography to date has garnered numerous awards on the international films circuit, including Cannes, Palm Springs and the European Film Awards. It's being written by Gabriel Sherman, the writer behind the brilliant Roger Ailes expose and its Golden Globe winning miniseries, The Loudest Voice.

The concept and cast is strong, but the talent behind this hints at a genuinely hard-hitting political film. One that is likely to generate a lot of buzz when it releases.

Release Date: TBA 2024


5. Nosferatu

nosferatu dracula vampire bill skarsgard robert eggers willem dafoe best films movies 2024Nosferatu is a gothic horror film directed by Robert Eggers, featuring Bill Skarsgård as Count Orlok. This American production, a remake of the 1922 German Expressionist classic, itself an unofficial adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula.

As with the original film, Nosferatu explores a tale of obsession and horror between a young woman and a vampire. The cast includes Nicholas Hoult, Lily-Rose Depp, and Willem Dafoe

Eggers has been quietly building a track record for edgy, critically acclaimed films, with the likes of The Witch, The Lighthouse and The Northman to his name. Nosferatu marks his biggest production to date, one with the potential to take his star to the next level.

Filming took place in Prague and Romania, capturing the film's 19th-century Romanticism. It's set for release on December 25, 2024, by Focus Features in the US and Universal Pictures internationally.

Release Date: December 2024


4. Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

ghostbusters 4 sequel frozen empire paul rudd finn wolfhard bill murray dan aykroyd  rick moranis sigourney weaver grace mckenna best films movies 2024Ghostbusters fans are eating good. After a few decades of waiting for a true sequel to 1989's Ghostbusters II, we are getting a fourth entry in the series just three years after the excellent Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

This new entry, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire appears to be swinging for the fences. Its predecessor seemed to be testing the waters, trying out a new cast of characters, while retaining enough of the old and enough (in truth, gratuitous) nods to nostalgia to ensure a profitable return. Following the commercial and critical success of Afterlife, it now seems that the studio has the confidence to go big.

The cast of Afterlife returns, but so too are members of the original film cast. These classic characters appear set for a larger role this time around, having been given more of a surprise cameo role in Afterlife. What follows is, otherwise, a wholly original story, as opposed to Afterlife's rehash of old villains and plotlines. I don't know how they finally convinced Bill Murray to do this, but I am very excited about it.

Release Date: March 2024


3. Here

here robert zemeckis tom hanks eric roth best film movie 2024
An adaptation of the Richard McGuire graphic novel, Here is an upcoming drama directed by Robert Zemeckis, covering the events of a single room and its inhabitants over many years, from the past to the distant future.

Here reunites the creative team behind classic film Forrest Gump, with writer Eric Roth and stars Tom Hanks and Robin Wright all on board. The wider cast also includes the likes of Paul Bettany. The film is said to use new generative artificial intelligence to face-swap and de-age actors.

Scheduled for a 2024 release by Sony Pictures Releasing. Zemeckis is generally good value, even if it's been a while since he has blown us away with one of his films. Perhaps Here will mark his return to form​.

Release Date: TBA 2024


2. Kinds of Kindness

kinds of kindness emma stone jesse plemons willem dafoe yorgos lanthimos best films movies 2024
This one is pretty simple. The Academy loves Yorgos Lanthimos. His last two films, The Favourite and Poor Things were up for, and won, Academy Awards, yet the biggest prizes have so far alluded him. Expect a narrative to form that Kinds of Kindness could be the one that finally gets his due. 

As for the film itself. Much of the plot is under wraps, but is said to be an anthology of stories set in contemporary America. It features an ensemble cast that includes Lanthimos frequent collaborator (and congratulations on your next Oscar, Emma) Emma Stone, along with Jesse Plemons and Willem Dafoe, evidently very busy actors who have already been featured on this list. 

An exact release date is yet to be revealed, but this is in late post-production and expected to release sometime in 2024.

Release Date: TBA 2024


1. Blitz

best films movies 2024 blitz steve mcqueen saoirse ronanBut my number one pick for the year is the upcoming World War II drama, Blitz by Steve McQueen. Hollywood loves a good World War II drama, and Steve McQueen is one of the darlings of the industry, having previously won the Best Director Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, becoming the first black filmmaker ever to do so. 

As the name suggests, his latest is about Londoners during the Blitz, with an ensemble cast that features Saoirse Ronan, Harris Dickinson, Stephen Graham, and, interestingly, musicians Paul Weller and Benjamin Clementine.

This is an Apple production, a studio with some pedigree now, and a burgeoning reputation for delivering awards calibre films. The release date is to be confirmed, but expected to be in the latter half of the year when the awards season gets underway.

Release Date: TBA 2024


So there you have it folks: The 2024 Hot List. I will be back with many more articles in due course, but for now let's make 2024 a great year together.







Wednesday 14 February 2024

Welcome back to The Ephemeric's 2024 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 2024 albums hot list

Join us as we embark on a journey through the most anticipated releases that will shape the soundtrack of our lives in the months ahead. Whether you're a die-hard fan, a casual listener, or somewhere in between, prepare to be inspired, surprised, and moved by the power of music in its ever-evolving glory. Tastes may differ, but if you start your 2024 musical adventure off here, you won't go far wrong.

So without further ado, here is our list of the top albums to keep an eye on in 2024, starting with number 15:


15. "Light Verse" by Iron and Wine

iron and wine new album 2024 best most anticipated music
Starting off easy for 2023, Iron & Wine's eagerly awaited seventh studio album, Light Verse, marks the artist's first full-length release in over seven years. 

The album, which follows two back-to-back Grammy-nominated works, is a testament to Sam Beam's enduring prowess in crafting lyrical narratives that weave together both fictional and personal insights, illustrated by tracks such as Flightless Bird, American Mouth and Tree By the River

Described as equal parts elegy, kaleidoscope, truth, and dare, the album promises to be a comprehensive journey through the intricate and emotive landscapes that have long defined Iron & Wine's music. One track has so far been released, You Never Know, and if it's any indication we've got a real tour de force coming our way when this releases in April.

Release Date: April 2024


14. Kenya Grace (New band)

kenya grace 2024 debut album best most anticipated new music
Kenya Grace, a rising talent with a background that spans continents from South Africa to Southampton, has made waves with her unique blend of music. She began writing music at the age of 10 and has since developed a sound that incorporates elements of dance music, dubstep, and more, showcasing her versatility as an artist. 

Her biggest hit to date has got to be Strangers, emphasising her mastery of disparate genres, taking electronic influences and crafting it into something with lyrical depth and worldwide appeal.

While specific details about a debut album are not available, it is expected to arrive in 2024. Her track record suggests that any such project would reflect her eclectic musical influences and her journey through the musical landscape.

Release Date: TBD 2024


13. "Ohio Players" by The Black Keys

black keys ohio players new album 2024 best most anticipated music
With their newest album, Ohio rock duo The Black Keys are looking back to where it all began. The title, Ohio Players, pays homage to the legendary funk band of the same name from Dayton, Ohio, and signifies the Black Keys' connection to their roots while exploring new musical territories.

The album is introduced by the lead single Beautiful People (Stay High), a bold, retro-infused proclamation of a track that celebrates the rich and diverse musical heritage of their greatest influences. The rest of the album is said to include a wide array of collaborators, including Beck, Dan the Automator, Noel Gallagher and more, inspired by dance parties and "record hangs" the band hosted around the world, aiming to capture the energetic spirit of these gatherings. 

Carney and Auerbach have described the work as their best record yet, reflecting a significant evolution in their sound and artistic approach. No small amount of hype, then, when the album drops in April.

Release Date: April 2024


12. "People Who Aren't There Anymore" by Future Islands

future islands people who aren't there anymore new album 2024 best most anticipated music
Sticking to the rock and roll genre, we have the seventh studio album from Future Islands. People Who Aren't There Anymore marks a continuation of the band's exploration into the realms of synth-pop, described as a blend of '80s pop and arena rock. 

The early released tracks include King of Sweden and The Tower, delivering on the band's signature sound of melancholic yearning blended with full-throated passion.

Future Islands are always good value. You can always depend on this band to put all of themselves into their music, and we won't have long to wait until this newest release drops in February.

Release Date: February 2024


11. Jamie xx

jamie xx 2024 avalanches new album best most anticipated new music
Jamie xx, the renowned English musician and producer, is finalizing his eagerly awaited, as yet untitled new album. Best known for being one third of indie rock maestros The xx (who, incidentally, are also allegedly in the studio cooking something up), this new release will mark his first solo project since the widely acclaimed 2015 album In Colour. 

The biggest hits in his discography include the likes of Loud Places and I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times), timeless, retro-infused classics. But his repertoire also includes significant electronic influences, and from the sounds of the new album's initial track It's So Good, it seems likely that this is the direction the new album will take. 

Although specific details about the album remain under wraps, it's known that the album will feature contributions from The Avalanches, hinting at a potentially eclectic and rich sonic landscape. This collaboration promises to blend Jamie xx's signature electronic and dance music influences with The Avalanches' knack for inventive sample-based music, creating an exciting prospect for fans of both artists.

Release Date: TBD 2024


10. "The Mess We Seem to Make" by Crawlers (New band)

crawlers mess we seem to make best new most anticipated debut album 2024
While I am inherently skeptical of bands that go viral online, I will make an exception for Liverpudlian rock band Crawlers, who are set to cap two years of building hype with a full LP release in 2024.

The track that originally launched the group to fame, Come Over (Again) is just pure gold, but there is plenty else to admire with tracks like I Can't Drive released last year to similar praise, showcasing their range and exploration of eclectic alt-rock sounds, delving into topics like trauma, sexual politics, and mental health. 

This has all resulted in Crawlers being one of the more hyped bands of 2024, included in many of the industry's one-to-watch lists. That debut album finally drops in February and it is one to be excited for.

Release Date: February 2024


9. "Book 1" by Grimes

grimes book 1 new album 2024 best most anticipated music
Bizarre, baffling, and uniquely brilliant. Grimes has come a long way from her humble electro-pop beginnings. Her last album, Miss Anthropocene, ended up being one of the musical highlights of 2020 with some astonishing tracks including Violence and 4ÆM. Her latest, Book 1, has been described as a complex, sci-fi influenced concept record, promising to be her most ambitious project yet.

With a narrative that seems to delve into futuristic themes, the album has already teased collaborations with notable artists like The Weeknd, hinting at its potential to blend different musical styles from electronic-pop to EDM. Grimes has involved her fans in the creative process, seeking their input on choosing between two distinct options for the album cover. 

So far we have two tracks that are said to be part of this new album, Player of Games and Shinigami Eyes. As one would expect, they largely defy any kind of classification. Suffice it to say, this is going to be "something", and that something could end up being brilliant.

Release Date: TBD 2024


8. "Moon Music" by Coldplay

coldplay moon music new album best new anticipated music 2024
One of those bands that can't be ignored. Coldplay have a new album releasing in 2024. The band's forthcoming tenth studio album, Moon Music, is a highly unusual sequel to their 2021 release, Music of the Spheres. 

In interviews, frontman Chris Martin has hinted at the album's continuation of the band's foray into universal and celestial themes, promising a collection of songs that build upon their established sound while venturing into new creative territories. Moon Music is not just a follow-up but an extension of the narrative and musical ideas introduced in Music of the Spheres, promising to captivate listeners with its innovative production and collaborative efforts.

And... that's about all we know. I don't think I need to link any old tracks, we all know who these guys are. The album is said to be releasing early this year.

Release Date: Early 2024


7. Tommy Lefroy 
(New band)

tommy lefroy debut album best new anticipated music 2024
Next up, another exciting new artist in Tommy Lefroy, a London-based folk duo inspired by Jane Austen and musicians such as First Aid Kit and Phoebe Bridgers. 

Tommy Lefroy followed up their well received 2021 EP with a series of tours through Europe and America in 2022. Now they are hard at work at putting out their debut album, which is expected to release in 2024.

Folk duos are a dime a dozen, but Tommy Lefroy stand out for their lush instrumentals and impeccable production, with some superb tracks released with their EP, notably The Cause and Shoot. They have just put out the first track from their upcoming debut, Worst Case, and it is a gem of a track. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

Release Date: TBD 2024


6. Sam Fender

sam fender 2024 new album best most anticipated new music
One of the brightest lights in British music today, Sam Fender's first two albums have received widespread acclaim and seen him rise to the very heights of the musical firmament. Now a bonafide superstar, his third, as yet unnamed, studio album is set for release in 2024.

Tipped as a British Bruce Springsteen, Fender has made his name for his massive,  anthemic songs, praised for his lyrical depth and societal commentary that shines a spotlight onto the state of the modern British working class. His last album's title track Seventeen Going Under ranks as one of the finest rock songs of the 2020s so far, and there's very much the belief that his story is just beginning.

No details available as of yet, but the expectation is for this to release a the conclusion of Fender's big homecoming tour this year.

Release Date: TBD 2024


5. "Pratts and Pain" by Royel Otis (New band)

pratts and pain royel otis debut new album 2024 best most anticipated music
The fresh faced band you'll fall in love with. Royel Otis are an Australian indie duo consisting of Royel Madell and Otis Pavlovic. This is one of those bands that has been doing the rounds building hype with a series of exciting singles and a well received EP last year. In 2024, the band is releasing debut album Pratts and Pain.

Named after a south London pub, Pratts and Pain aims to capture the exuberance and woes of youth, with music that is at once introspective and whimsical. Oysters in My Pocket is absolutely essential listening, and from the sounds of new single Fried Rice, we could be in for a very tasty album when this drops in early 2024.

Release Date: Early 2024


4. Braxe + Falcon (New band)

braxe falcon new debut album best most anticipated music 2024
One of the most exciting new projects in music. Braxe + Falcon is a new collaboration of legendary French producers Alan Braxe and DJ Falcon

Their work, deeply rooted in '70s disco and pioneering production techniques, showcases a reverence for classic sounds while embracing modernity. 2022 saw the release of the duo's first EP, Step By Step, a fantastic that reflects a seamless blend of timeless music and contemporary flair, featuring the unmistakable vocals of Panda Bear, lead vocalist of Animal Collective and highly successful solo artist in his own right.

The EP was well received, generating hype for what was to come next. A smattering of additional singles and remixes have followed to similar praise, but we're all really just waiting now for the inevitable full blown LP, confirmed recently to exist in a Reddit AMA. If, as expected, this sees the light of day in 2024, it will be one of the biggest releases in electronic music for the year.

Release Date: TBD 2024


3. "Only God Was Above Us" by Vampire Weekend

vampire weekend new album 2024 only god was above us best new anticipated musicOne of 2024's biggest upcoming releases, Vampire Weekend is set to return with their fifth studio album, Only God Was Above Us.

Vampire Weekend are one of those bands that have been around forever, yet they seem to get bigger and better with each release. Their last album, 2019's Father of the Bride, was a critically acclaimed hit, with great tracks like Harmony Hall and This Life.

This latest LP marks the band's first project in five years and draws inspiration from 20th-century New York City. Recorded globally in cities like Manhattan, Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo, the album promises a blend of stark grit and complex beauty. No tracks have been released at the time of writing, but we don't have long to wait, with the release scheduled for April.

Release Date: April 2024


2. "Loss of Life" by MGMT

mgmt kids time to pretend new album loss of life 2024 best most anticipated music
Once the hottest thing in music, MGMT famously followed up their world-conquering debut LP by leaning ever further into obtuse, arguably inaccessible work, earning themselves plenty of critical praise and the following of a diehard set of fans, but nowhere near the commercial success of that first record and its smash hit singles Kids and Time to Pretend

That changed with the release of their fourth album, 2018's Little Dark Age, seen by many as a return to form and a return to prominence. Now their fifth album, Loss of Life is nearing release, the big question is can they build on this?

Christine and the Queens is said to be collaborating on at least one track, marking a first for the notoriously protective band. Legendary producer Danger Mouse is also taking the reins on production, his first collaboration with MGMT.

We've had just a few brief glimpses into the musical direction of the album thus far, and so far it is difficult to pin down exactly where this is going. Nothing to Declare seems to suggest at a rather folksier, more sophisticated direction, perhaps in the vein of their sophomore LP, Congratulations. Then there is Mother Nature, which seems to be more of a departure into an almost grungy, Oasis-tinged flavour. Well, we will soon know the result, with Loss of Life due to release in February.

Release Date: February 2024


1. "Gangbusters Melody Club" by Caravan Palace

gangbusters melody club caravan palace new album best most anticipated music 2024
But this year's number one most hotly anticipated album is Gangbusters Melody Club from the French monarchs of the electro-swing genre, Caravan Palace.

Undisputed titans of the genre, Caravan Palace are heavily influenced by classical swing and jazz, fusing this retro style with the modern electronic beats of French House. The result is music that is frequently out of this world, with tracks like Lone Digger, Plume, and Rock it For Me to their name.

This newest album looks like more of the same, perhaps with an additional emphasis on the electronic dance elements, and that is no bad thing. The tracks we have heard so far, including MirrorsReverse, and MAD all sound outstanding, and I for one can't wait for the rest of this album to release in March.

Release Date: March 2024


So there you have it folks: 2024 in music. Tune in next week for this year's final Hot List, where we look at the most exciting new movies in 2024.





Sunday 28 January 2024

Welcome back to The Ephemeric's 2024 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 2024 hot list

As many of my most loyal readers will know, I have recently relocated to Zurich. This presents a challenge for this particular Hot List, as Zurich does not have much of a theatre scene compared to London. What it does have, is a beautiful opera house. So don't be surprised if this list takes a more international and opera-tinged flavour going forward. I am nothing, if not open-minded!  

So here it is, our list of the top 10 theatrical productions to keep an eye on in 2024, perhaps with a slight London and Zurich bias, starting with number 10:


10. "Opening Night" by Ivo Van Hove and Rufus Wainwright, at the Gielgud Theatre

london best theatre 2024 opening night john cassavetes ivo van hove rufus wainwright annie lennox
Starting with a bang, we have Opening Night, a bold musical adaptation of the 1977 psychological drama by John Cassavetes. The plot follows a stage actress who, after witnessing the death of a fan, is haunted their recurring apparition, leading to a nervous breakdown as she prepares for a big curtain on Broadway.

This new adaptation is penned by the prolific Belgian director Ivo Van Hove, with music and lyrics from prominent songwriter Rufus Wainwright. The cast is led by Sheridan Smith and Hadley Fraser.

Opening Night begins previews at the Gielgud Theatre in March, and will run until the end of July.


9. "The Hot Wing King" by Katori Hall, at the National Theatre

london best theatre 2024 hot wing king national katori hall
Coming late in the 2024 season, we have the London premier of The Hot Wing King, a 2020 comedy by Katori Hall that follows a group of friends in Memphis Tennessee as they prepare for an annual hot wing festival. 

Despite its original off-Broadway run being cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hall did end up winning the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for this work, earning praise for its humour and sensitive consideration of issues of race and masculinity. 

A full length run on a major stage could bring a new lease of life to a production whose initial release was so tragically curtailed. The Hot Wing King opens in July and runs until mid September.


8. "Carmen" by Georges Bizet, at Opernhaus Zürich

best theatre 2024 zurich opera opernhaus carmen bizet
As long as I am living La Vida Swizzera here in Zurich, I might as well give some love to my new adopted home. 

Zurich is, of course, home to the famous opera house, and their tentpole production in 2024 will be a new production of Georges Bizet's Carmen, a classic opera famed for its passionate melodies and intense drama. 

This new production features the star tenor Saimir Pirgu, known for his close association with the Zurich Opera House, as well as Marina Viotti in the title role. Carmen opens in April and will run through the summer.


7. 
"Nye" by Tim Price, at the National Theatre

london 2024 best theatre nye national michael sheen
Heading back to London's National Theatre, Nye is a new play by Tim Price, directed by Rufus Norris delving into the life and legacy of Aneurin 'Nye' Bevan, a monumental figure in British history renowned for his pivotal role in establishing the National Health Service (NHS). 

Michael Sheen will bring Nye Bevan to life, portraying him in a surreal and mesmerizing journey that spans his early days campaigning at the coalfield to his monumental battle to create the NHS. Nye is a co-production between the National Theatre and Wales Millennium Centre, and it promises to be both an epic and deeply personal Welsh fantasia, offering audiences a unique insight into the man who transformed Britain's welfare state.

Nye opens in February and will run until the end of May


6. "Dr. Strangelove" by Armando Iannucci at the Noel Coward Theatre

best theatre london 2024 dr strangelove stanley kubrick armando iannucci noel coward steve cooganShould this be higher up the list? Probably. The London stage is set to witness the theatrical debut of Stanley Kubrick's iconic Cold War satire, Dr. Strangelove, in a highly anticipated adaptation by the acclaimed Armando Iannucci

The production, marking the first-ever stage version of a Kubrick film, will star comedian Steve Coogan, a seven-time BAFTA award winner, who is set to embody several characters. The play, co-adapted and directed by the Olivier Award winner Sean Foley, is expected to be an explosively funny satire that delves into the absurdities and fears of the nuclear age, resonating with the original film’s dark humor and sharp critique of mutually assured destruction.

Dr. Strangelove will play at the Noel Coward Theatre and opens in October.


5. "The Cherry Orchard" by Anton Chekhov, at the Donmar Warehouse

best theatre 2024 london cherry orchard anton chekhov donmar
It seems the London stage will never tire of a good Anton Chekhov production. The Cherry Orchard stands among the most enduring and beloved of these works. The last of Chekhov's plays, The Cherry Orchard is renowned for its exploration of the changing social landscape in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, and the decline of the aristocracy.

This latest production comes from the Donmar Warehouse and Benedict Andrews, a director with a formidable track record of adapting Chekhov, following his recent successful adaptations of The Seagull and Three Sisters. The cast features some recognisable faces in Adeel Akhtar and Nina Hoss

The Cherry Orchard opens in April and will run until June.


4. "My Neighbour Totoro" by Joe Hisaishi and RSC, at the Barbican

london best theatre 2024 neighbour totoro miyazaki barbican rsc
In case you missed it back in its original 2022 run, not to worry, My Neighbour Totoro is making a return to the London stage. This is the Barbican's highly acclaimed stage adaptation of the classic Ghibli film, a magical exploration of the bond between humans and nature, told through the adventures of sisters Satsuki and Mei.

In its initial run, the production was widely praises for creating an innovative visual and aural experience, boasting life-sized puppets to bring the iconic Totoro and other forest spirits to life, set against a backdrop of a lush and immersive scenic design.

Totoro will run at the Barbican until the end of March.


3. "The Hills of California" by Jez Butterworth, at the Harold Pinter Theatre

london best theatre 2024 hills of california jez butterworth sam mendes harold pinter
In the London theatre scene, Jez Butterworth is one of those names that demands your immediate attention. The award winning playwright has produced some extraordinary theatre (and more recently, film and television) including Jerusalem and The Ferryman

In The Hills of California, Butterworth teams up again with his collaborator on The Ferryman, Sam Mendes. Mendes is, of course, the world famous film and theatre director, best known for American Beauty and the recent James Bond films. This new drama unfolds in the sweltering summer of 1976 in Blackpool, the driest in 200 years. Amidst packed beaches and bustling hotels, the narrative delves into the intense, hidden lives of the Webb Sisters in the sweltering backstreets, far from the seaside frivolity.

The Hills of California opens in January and will run until June. Expect this to be one of the hottest tickets of the year.


2. "Mnemonic" by Simon McBurney, at the National Theatre

mnemonic complicite simon mcburney national london best theatre 2023
The National Theatre welcomes back Simon McBurney and his legendary Complicité production company, with this revival of Mnemonic, 25 years after its initial staging. 

Running on the Olivier stage, this production weaves together narratives of personal and historical discovery, including the search for a lost father and a lover, and the intriguing tale of Ötzi the Iceman, a 5,000-year-old body found preserved in ice. Complicité are known for their experimental and immersive storytelling, making this a must see experience.

Mnemonic will open in June and run until mid October.


1. "Stranger Things: The First Shadow" by Jack Thorne, at the Phoenix Theatre

london best theatre 2024 stranger things first shadow phoenix jack thorne harry potter
It would be easy to dismiss Stranger Things: The First Shadow as a bit of an easy money-grab, but the more you look into the work that was done here, the more apparent it is that this is a very ambitious and substantial production.

A prequel to the hit Netflix series, this production is set in 1950s Hawkins and follows a (attempting to avoid spoilers) very prominent character featured in the most recent series, as well as younger versions of the adult characters from the show.

But it's the creative talent behind this show that really stands out. This is an original story written by the show's writers, The Duffer Brothers in collaboration with Jack Thorne, a very accomplished writer best known in the theatre world for creating the Olivier award winning Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Direction comes from Stephen Daldry, the Olivier, Tony and BAFTA winning director known for Billy Elliott, The Crown, The Inheritance, and numerous other works. An outstandingly exciting production for new and old fans alike, one which is hotly tipped for awards this year. 



So there you have it folks: 2024 in theatre. Tune in soon for our next instalment of the Hot List, covering the essential new music coming this year!






Sunday 21 January 2024

Welcome back to The Ephemeric's 2024 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 2024 hot list
Best advice I ever received: you can't read too much. If you can find the time, reading a book can offer greater enrichment than any other activity. But time is precious. There's only so many books one can reasonably find time to read. 2024 is shaping up to be another year blessed with an abundance of tantalizing new stories and perspectives, and here I am going to try and whittle that long list down to just the very best.


So here it is: your reading list for 2024, 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. "Anita de Monte Laughs Last" by Xóchitl González

best literature 2024 novel book anita de monte laughs last xochitl gonzalez
When Anita de Monte, a rising star in the art world, is found dead in 1985 New York City, her death becomes the talk of the town. But by 1998 her work and legacy are all but forgotten. That is until Raquel, a third year art history student, stumbles upon Anita's story and begins to notice eerie parallels with her own life.

Anita de Monte Laughs Last is the second novel of Xóchitl González. A story of art, power, and legacy told from dual perspectives across time that is being tipped as one of the essential reads of early 2024.

Anita de Monte Laughs Last releases in March.


9. "You Like it Darker" by Stephen King

best literature 2024 novel book you like it darker stephen king
The latest work from horror maestro Stephen King, You Like it Darker is a compelling collection of twelve short stories, showcasing the legendary author's expertise in the realms of horror, suspense, and the supernatural. 

Published by Scribner in May 2024, this 512-page anthology delves into the darker aspects of life, both metaphorically and literally, and includes many stories that have never been published before. 

This collection is a testament to King's ability to weave tales that are rich, riveting, and thematically weighty, offering readers a mix of thrills, joys, and mysteries.


8. "The Demon of Unrest" by Erik Larson

best literature 2024 novel book demon of unrest erik larson lincoln
The Demon of Unrest by Erik Larson is a historical narrative that captures the tumultuous five months between Abraham Lincoln's election in November 1860 and the onset of the Civil War. 

Larson, known for his mastery in blending historical detail with compelling storytelling, brings to life this critical period marked by political strife, division, and a nation on the brink of collapse. The book focuses on several key figures: Major Robert Anderson, the commander of Fort Sumter; Edmund Ruffin, a radical secessionist; Mary Boykin Chesnut, a planter's wife conflicted over marriage and slavery; and Abraham Lincoln himself, struggling with a duplicitous Secretary of State, William Seward, and the looming threat of war. 

The Demon of Unrest releases in April.


7. "The Cautious Traveller's Guide to the Wastelands" by Sarah Brooks

best literature 2024 novel book cautious traveller guide to wasteland sarah brooks
It is the end of the 19th Century and the world is awash with marvels. But there is nothing so marvellous as the Wastelands: a terrain of terrible miracles that lies between Beijing and Moscow. Nothing touches this abandoned wilderness except the Great Trans-Siberian Express: an impenetrable train built to carry cargo across continents, but which now transports anyone who dares to cross the shadowy Wastelands.

The Cautious Traveller's Guide to the Wastelands by Sarah Brooks is a historical fantasy novel set on the grand Trans-Siberian Express. It portrays a group of passengers embarking on a perilous journey across a magical landscape. 

Set for release in June, this novel explores themes of humanity, nature, capitalism, and empire


6.  "Godwin" by Joseph O'Neill

best literature 2024 novel book godwin joseph o'neill
Mark Wolfe is a technically gifted but self-sabotaging writer living in Pittsburgh with his wife and daughter, and his half-brother Geoff, a young, desperate soccer agent from the UK. Godwin by Joseph O’Neill follows the odyssey of these two brothers on a global journey in pursuit of an African soccer prodigy named "Godwin," believed to be the next big thing. 

The narrative, alternating between the perspectives of Mark and his work colleague Lakesha Williams, weaves together themes of family, migration, and the entwining beauty and darkness of soccer. The brothers' adventure implicates them in the complexities of international business, revealing the perils and promises of the global capitalist system and the lingering shadows of colonialism. 

Joseph O’Neill began his career in non-fiction, but is building a reputation for incisive writing on the subjects of capitalism and the colonial legacy, set here against a humanist backdrop of familial love and the highest aspirations. Godwin releases in June.


5. "The Last Murder at the End of the World" by Stuart Turton

best literature 2024 novel book last murder at the end of the world stuart turton
A high-concept murder mystery set in a post-apocalyptic world, The Last Murder at the End of the World by Stuart Turton depicts an idyllic island, home to 122 villagers and 3 scientists, which represents the last bastion of humanity after the rest of the world is destroyed by a deadly fog. The tranquility of the island is shattered when one of the beloved scientists is brutally murdered, triggering a security system failure that threatens to expose the island to the lethal fog. 

This blend of mystery, suspense, and science fiction, coming from the author of the acclaimed The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, promises a story full of twists and ingenuity, exploring themes of survival, memory, and human nature under extreme circumstances. This novel releases in May.


4. "I Cheerfully Refuse" by Leif Enger

best literature 2024 novel book i cheerfully refuse leif enger
I Cheerfully Refuse by Leif Enger revolves around Rainy, a bereaved musician, as he embarks on a surreal journey across a sentient Lake Superior in search of his lost, deeply beloved bookselling wife. 

What follows is a narrative rich with elements of adventure and exploration, as Rainy navigates through harrowing storms and finds a land rife with desperation, illiteracy, and a ruling malignant billionaire class. 

The novel, described as a symphony against despair and a rallying cry for the future, combines lyrical prose with a reflection on love, loss, and resilience in a world grappling with profound transformations​.


3. "James" by Percival Everett

best literature 2024 novel book james percival everett huckleberry finn
Certainly one of the major literary events of 2024, James is a provocative and inventive reimagining of Mark Twain's classic Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, told from the perspective of the enslaved character Jim, more commonly known under a name now considered too offensive to use.

Percival Everett's narrative retains many of Twain’s original set pieces but grapples with the prejudices of the time to recast Jim as a character of profound agency, intelligence, and compassion. The novel is both a gripping adventure and a deep exploration of themes like freedom, identity, and the human spirit. 

James is being tipped as one of the most significant releases in recent years, offering a fresh and critical perspective on a classic tale​. James releases in March.


2. "Evenings and Weekends" by Oisín McKenna

best literature 2024 novel book evenings and weekends oisin mckenna
Described as a Richard Curtis movie in novel-form (with a hint of Sally Rooney), Oisín McKenna's debut novel, Evenings and Weekends, follows three young adults through a sweltering London heatwave, weaving their interconnected lives as heat and tensions rise.

This heartfelt, sexually charged, and humorously disarming narrative offers a mesmerizing dive into the soul of a city and examines the challenges facing young adults in contemporary urban life.

McKenna has received a great deal of buzz with this first novel, which releases in April.


1. "The Life Impossible" by Matt Haig

best literature 2024 novel book life impossible matt haig
Matt Haig achieved global success and recognition with his last novel, The Midnight Library. His newest work, The Life Impossible, follows Grace Winters, a widow and retired math teacher. Grace's life, which revolves around solitude, bird watching, and crossword puzzles, takes an unexpected turn when a long-lost friend passes away under mysterious circumstances, leaving her a house on the Spanish island of Ibiza. This unexpected inheritance marks the beginning of a wild adventure and a profound transformation for Grace. 

The novel promises to be a heartwarming narrative filled with colourful characters, showing how a sudden change in perspective can dramatically alter one's life. Expect a heart-warming narrative, demonstrating how a new outlook can emerge at any moment and change everything


So there you have it folks: 2024 in literature. Tune in soon for our next instalment of the Hot List, covering the essential new theatre coming up in 2024!






Older Posts