RSVP HERE: SUO Bartends Listen Bar’s Virtual Happy Hour + MORE

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE. Due to live show cancellations we will be covering virtual live music events and festivals.

SUO is the solo project of artist and musician Saara Untracht-Oakner that came to fruition after 15 years of songwriting and a decade of touring. SUO’s retro-inspired debut Dancing Spots and Dungeons was released October 2019 via Stolen Body Records and was followed up with a European tour with dates supporting The Growlers in February. Soon after that tour ended Saara quarantined in Brooklyn with her roommate Lorelei Bandrovschi, the founder of the NYC booze-free bar Listen Bar. What makes Listen Bar special is that their bartenders are exclusively musicians that curate great playlists that are played during their shifts. On 4/11 you can tune in to see Saara and Lorelei demonstrate how to make Listen Bar’s signature cocktails during their virtual happy hour. It is now a FREE event thanks to support from Lyre’s Spirit Co., but when you RSVP you can make a donation for Listen Bar’s staff that has been effected by the covid-19 closures. We chatted with Saara about her favorite Listen Bar cocktails, what will be on her playlist, and her favorite European cities…

AF: What Listen Bar cocktails will you be making for the virtual happy hour? Which is your favorite?

SUO: This time around we’re going to be making “Smoked with Snoop,” “Because The Night,” and “Spritz Lyfe.” All are made with Lyre’s brand spirits. I haven’t actually tried any of these but I’m most excited to try “Because The Night” – it’s like a twist on a spiked coffee drink with coconut whipped cream. I’m lactose intolerant so any time I can indulge in dairy-free treats I’m excited.

AF: How did you get involved with Listen Bar? If you were bartending Listen Bar IRL, what songs would be on your playlist?

SUO: Lorelei is my roommate. She says I was the inspiration for having musicians as bartenders at Listen Bar. And this is IRL now and I will be playing my Playlist #3 this weekend. Weeks #1 and #2 include Jacques Dutronc, Doris Troy, ABBA, Los Saicos, and contemporaries like Faux Real, Brower, The Josephine Network, Habibi, Sunflower Bean and a little SUO ;)

AF: Other than making great nonalcoholic drinks, what does your daily quarantine life look like?

SUO: I do five minute planks and stretches at some point each day. When it’s sunny I spend the daytime in my yard reading and tending to the garden here and there. I go on at least two walks with my dog. I’m learning French on Duo Lingo. I try to do at least one creative thing a day, pick up my guitar, make a drawing or painting. And a shower. I make my room smell good with some Palo Santo and my room spray by Shocks Of Love. I spend a lot of time just laying and thinking. I’ve made a few dishes I’ve never cooked before.

AF: How was your recent European tour with the Growlers? What were your favorite shows and cities?

SUO: It was so amazing and it was already hard to come home after it. Seems like we were riding just in front of the Corona wave. Every show was so different that it’s hard to pick a favorite. We got the whole spectrum of crowds and venues from 1,000 capacity rooms to small cafes. But the crowds were always good and vibrant. I’m in love with Basque Country and southern France. Favorite shows include Paris, Lyon, Madrid, Valencia, Brussels.

AF: If you could be quarantined anywhere else in the world than where you are now, where would it be?

SUO: Somewhere tropical where I could surf everyday and eat fruit off a tree. I think that’s my wish quarantine or not.

AF: Do you have any other live streams planned for the future?

SUO: No plans. Every day is just day to day.

RSVP HERE for Listen’s Bars Virtual Happy Hour 4/11 at 2pm est featuring Saara from SUO and founder Loreli Bandrovschi.

More great live streams this week…

4/10 Frankie Cosmos via Instagram. 9pm est, RSVP HERE

4/10 Pheobe Bridgers via Instagram. 4pm est, RSVP HERE

4/10 Coachella: 20 years Nn The Desert via Youtube Premiere. 3pm est, RSVP HERE.

4/11. The Frights (playing self-titled) via Instagram. 7pm est, RSVP HERE

4/11 Angel Olsen via Veeps. 6pm est, RSVP HERE

4/11 Noisey Night In: Margo Price, Diet Cig, Black Lips and more via Youtube. 5pm est, RSVP HERE

4/12 Princess Nokia via Instagram. 9pm est, RSVP HERE

4/14 Elephant Stone via Sacred Sounds Sessions. 6pm est, RSVP HERE

4/14 Toth via Sultan Room Sessions Instagram. 8pm est RSVP HERE

PREMIERE: Stimmerman “Dentist vs Pharmacist”


Parental expectations can be fraught with peril. Some parents expect their kids to take over the family business, some envision their children as doctors or lawyers, and in some circles dwell Alex P. Keaton types whose hippie parents shudder at the thought of white collar work. “Dentist Vs Pharmacist,” the latest release from Stimmerman (aka Eva Lawitts), addresses familial pressures with a rolling guitar lick, piercing vocals, and one hell of a horn section.

A native New Yorker, Lawitts grew up attending a prestigious magnet school; it was within these corridors of rigorous practice and imaginary success that Lawitts first honed her music prowess. It gave Lawitts the distance she needed to look at her family history and question the values and assignments that were passed from generation to generation.

“You know who you’ll be / There’s a consensus: A pharmacist or a dentist / Scientific Thesis / Pick up shattered pieces / Take my sword and let it break,” Lawitts screams into the void. A veteran bass player with a history in bands that kick butt (Princess Nokia, Vagabon, Rotem Sivan, Citris), Lawitts’ forthcoming album Goofballs takes her rock persona and makes it personal. “Dentist Vs Pharmacist” offers the kind of perspective one can only garner after the youth and drugs and fear fade, leaving an angry hull that is adulthood.

Listen to AudioFemme’s exclusive stream of “Dentist Vs Pharmacist” and read our interview with Eva Lawitts below.

AF: Your Spotify page says Stimmerman is “for fans of At The Drive In, Gillian Welch, and Dirty Projectors.” How do you define the music you make?

EL: I have so much trouble defining any music at all. For a while I was calling Stimmerman progressive emo, which is not correct at all, even though it felt like it described my approach. I have this desire to be a “songwriter” (which I feel like I’m still striving towards), and to create these self-contained worlds with each song, and I also crave performing music live and in that way I want the music itself to be challenging and fun, and to provide a cathartic experience for myself and my bandmates and the audience, and I’m always trying to be more concise and honest lyrically, and all of those things have sort of coalesced into Stimmerman music, which is angular, high-energy, sadness. See? I kind of got there.

AF: You went to Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music, Art and Performing Arts. Can you give us a little inside look into what it’s really like in a performing arts school? Obviously there was much dancing in the lunch room, we assume.

EL: There was a lot of dancing in the lunchroom, haha. Not by me, but certainly by someone. My feelings about these specialized magnet schools are inseparable from the subject matter of Goofballs, although I don’t think they’re ever really directly addressed. Basically I feel like as a teenager I was extremely motivated and competitive about music (and also my teen ego was totally out of control), and so I thrived at LaGuardia, which in turn provided me with an exceptional music education. But at the same time, I feel like the culture of that kind of school can be insidious in a way – I think it discourages kids who aren’t at the top of their field by age 15 from pursuing what they love after high school (this is still my observation keeping in touch with my high school chums ten years down the line) and I also feel like that same air of discouragement is what caused a lot of my friends to sink deeper into a special kind of adolescent despair that included a lot of drug and alcohol use, and a lot of ambient self-destruction. Of course some of that is just par for the course of adolescence… there was an added benefit to LaGuardia insofar as you often had extracurricular rehearsals and such that would keep you at school till 9pm or so… so it became really easy to stay out all night and just tell your parents that you had rehearsal. That excuse combined with a student Metrocard can afford you a lot of mischief. That’s not the school’s fault, but it was, in my experience, part of the culture. I could talk about this for hours but I’ll stop here.

AF: What were you initially studying in school? An instrument or a specific kind of music?

EL: I was studying upright bass, and mostly studying, if we can speak extremely broadly, “classical” music. When I entered LaGuardia my ambition was basically to be in the MET Orchestra or something… I still play upright bass quite a bit, but the scale has tipped significantly. Throughout middle and high school and even most of college, the only time I played electric bass was in my old band Sister Helen. Now I feel like the electric bass is more a part of my voice, and certainly more aligned with the types of music I want to create.

AF: Tell us about “Dentist vs Pharmacist.” Where did this song originate?

EL: I wrote this song directly after having lunch with a friend of mine who went to middle school (Mark Twain) and high school (LaGuardia) with me, and it was directly influenced (stolen? I don’t know) by a conversation we had about this kind of half-joke about modern Russian fatalism, which was that so many of the kids we went to middle school with were raised with only two possible tracts they could follow into adulthood – they could become a dentist or they could become a pharmacist. This is the highest achievement you could possibly attain. This was the gleaming dream of our Russian and Jewish cohorts of yesteryear. We were being silly about it, but within that silliness are many real wounds about the expectations of our own parents, their parents, and an examination of how we can possibly honor the sacrifices made by our families while still attempting to function in a world that is basically incalculably different than anything they could have possibly conceived of when they made those sacrifices. Fuck! And also I just wanted to scream.

AF: You recently spoke with Street Wannabes about the struggle of co-founding Wonderpark Studios – the balance of working on other artists’ work and finding time for your own music. What does your typical day look like?

EL: Right. I run Wonderpark with Chris (Krasnow), who is also in Stimmerman doing guitar and some vocals in the live band, and he also contributed engineering, mixing and mastering to this album as well as guitar, and vocals and even some drums! Wow, just had to say it. Anyway, I think Chris is really the genius audio guy within Wonderpark. I do a fair amount of engineering and producing as well, but I handle all of the “business” of Wonderpark, meaning I spend an absurd amount of time doing our books, writing Facebook and Instagram ads, keeping up with clients, doing pre-production, meeting and haranguing new clients, and other things of that nature. So a typical day in the studio might look like coming in around 10 and helping Chris get mics on stands, making various choices regarding the session, and then spending between 8-10 hours working our butts off trying to get the best possible recording made, and trying to help people have fun doing it! Then usually an hour and a half of so of cleaning the damn studio. A typical day working from home is just a love affair with my hideous laptop and cell phone – lots of calls, lots of numbers, lots of writing. I love it but we often work 15 hour days and by the end of the “week” (which is sometimes 3 days and sometimes like 15 days) I’m usually spent.

AF: As an artist, do you keep a schedule in order to carve out creative time?

EL: I recently started keeping up with a pretty strict morning routine. Part of that routine is that I try to write a song a day, and I only give myself 15 minutes to do it. A lot of them are simply dreck, but some of them are really good! And just being in the habit of getting the juices flowing when I get up has helped the creative process overall.

AF: What’s the one piece of advice you have for a young band coming into the recording studio for the first time?

EL: Most young bands drastically underestimate how much time they’re going to need to make an album. Some bands can come in and blast out an album in one 8 hour session, but I would say 99% of them can’t. Something I would suggest is, if you’re heading into the studio for the first time – make a single! Set one full day aside and try to track one song, see how you like the process. Another mistake I see with a lot of first-time bands making is trying to set a release date before they even start recording! This is always a disaster. Wait until you have the masters of your album to set the release date! The fervor that’s created when you ignore that precious rule is maddening and it often ruins the music because you rush through the entire process and become more focused on an imaginary deadline that YOU made up instead of the music which in theory is the important part.

AF: Tell us about Invisible Planet Records. How’s it coming along?

EL: Yeah! So Invisible Planet Records is still semi-top secret, but Goofballs is coming out “on” it. Basically we’re trying to create a label component to Wonderpark and Stimmerman was the soft open. We have a couple Wonderpark bands and artists lined up to release music through us in 2020. Basically I just wanted a way to help the bands I like best do the most with their music after leaving the studio….or maybe I just wanted a way to justify all the free labor I do consulting people on how to best release the music they record with me and Chris. More about this in 2020 but for right now we’re considering it to be in beta!

AF: What art/books/music are currently moving the needle for you right now?

EL: Lately the music I’m most inspired by is the stuff made by my friends and peers and clients of the studio, and some people I’m playing with. I always thought that concept was kind of cliche but as I get older it’s just the truth. A short list of those names? Joanna Sternberg, Kat Lee/Tiny Gun, Grey McMurray, Carlos Truly, Eli Greenhoe, Rust Ring, Danielle Grubb are all people who have released music THIS YEAR that has really blown me away. As I’ve said about a thousand times, I think we’re in a weird renaissance period in NYC for weirdo rock-jazz right now and, in addition to some of the names above some of the people here that I feel like I’ve wanted to heavily steal from are Wasabi Fox, Kadawa, and Adam O’Farrill. Go check out their discographies so that when I steal from them you can call me out.

AF: We’re at a Stimmerman show. You’re about to come on. What can we expect?

EL: The house lights go down. A single spot light pierces the darkness with that familiar KA-CHUNK sound effect that we associate with a spot light turning on, even though we have no idea what the physical mechanism is. A man stands alone on stage – who is he? He stares silently into the crowd for seconds, then minutes, murmurs begin to ripple through the room. His lips tremble, a single tear rolls down his cheek. He announces that Stimmerman has been in a terrible car wreck – will they survive? The audience weeps. Bitter, bitter, merciless tears. Then! Suddenly! The door in the back on the venue whips open. I crawl, belly slithering across the floor like the snake I am, through the crowd. Using my immense upper body strength, I hoist myself onto the stage, throwing myself at the feet AND mercy of this mysterious man. He holds a microphone to my cracked and bleeding lips. “Stimmerman….forever” are the sounds that croak from my hideous throat. And the crowd agrees.

Stimmerman’s latest album Goofballs arrives this December – follow them on Facebook for ongoing updates.

NEWS ROUNDUP: Alternative Beef, Cancel Chris Brown, and MORE

Courtney Love & Kathleen Hanna have had ongoing beef since the mid ’90s.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Rekindling a decades old beef, Courtney Love had some choice words for Kathleen Hanna following the news that the latter’s riot grrl act Bikini Kill would play a handful of reunion shows in LA and NYC this spring. In the comment thread of a Bust Magazine Instagram post lamenting the shows’ record sell-out times, Love referred to Bikini Kill as “the biggest hoax in rock and roll,” later adding: “Two of the band total amateurs. Hanna is a good hype man but her persona is such a diy nonsense dilettante. A big idea they cannot convey, because they suck.” Hanna has not responded and Love has since deleted the comments, but her words reminded everyone that these two feminist icons haven’t seen eye to eye since Lollapalooza ’95, when a backstage altercation ended any hope of them uniting to crush the patriarchy. We have a sneaking suspicion that Love’s dislike of Hanna is rooted in jealousy over Hanna’s friendship with Love’s late husband Kurt Cobain (Hanna is credited with inspiring the title of Nirvana’s breakout single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”). We’re taking Hanna’s side on this one; Love’s comments were petty and we’re impressed Hanna didn’t take the bait.

The saga between Grimes and Azaelia Banks deepens! Back in August, Banks visited Grimes at the home of Grimes’ then-boyfriend, tech mogul Elon Musk. The two musicians were supposed to collaborate on a single, but in a series of social media posts, Banks described being trapped in the home as Musk did damage control over a tweet where he claimed he planned to take Tesla private at $420 a share. Banks says that Musk was on acid at the time, and postulated that he and Grimes had invited her to Los Angeles for a potential threesome. But because the Securities Exchange Commission sued Musk over the tweet, texts between Grimes and Banks from that time period have been subpoenaed, and Banks posted some of the exchange on Instagram; the posts were deleted, but not before someone grabbed screenshots that Jezebel was all too happy to repost (and we are all too happy to recommend you go and read immediately). We can’t get down with either going for the low-hanging fruit of insulting one anothers’ appearances, but have to name Azealia Banks the winner of this spat. Maybe it’s all the practice she’s had talking shit to or about damn near everyone on the planet, but we have to give props to the biting specificity of referring to Grimes as a “brittleboned methhead” who smells “like a roll of nickles.”

And finally, Princess Nokia noted the similarities between her song “Mine” (from her 1992 mixtape) and recently released Ariana Grande single “7 rings.” “Ain’t that the lil song I made about brown women and their hair?” she asks in a video posted to Twitter (and since deleted), concluding “Hmmm… sounds about white.” Soulja Boy also chimed in, claiming Grande had ripped off portions of his 2010 hit “Pretty Boy Swag.” The opening bars of Grande’s single crib more obviously from The Sound of Music‘s “My Favorite Things;” though Julie Andrews has yet to jump on the outrage bandwagon, someone who must be a literal genius mashed up all four artists and it kinda slaps. While we’re no fan of Grande’s ongoing issues with cultural appropriation, we’re calling this beef a draw – there’s nothing new under the sun, especially when it comes to hip-hop samples.

Chris Brown Accused of Rape in Paris

We’ll never forgive Chris Brown for using former girlfriend Rihanna as his personal punching bag – but we’re especially disgusted by the new lows he’s reached this week. A 24-year-old woman accused the singer and his entourage of taking turns raping her in his hotel suite at the Mandarin Oriental in Paris, where Brown had been attending Fashion Week events. The French are notoriously skeptical of rape victims, so it’s no surprise that Brown and the two other men accused of assaulting the woman were released within a few days on their own recognizance; the investigation is still ongoing. Rather than lying low, Brown took to social media in an attempt to discredit his alleged victim, even going so far as to create some truly tasteless merch that plays on the unfounded trope that women lie about sexual assault.

For what it’s worth, this isn’t the first time that someone has accused his entourage of mistreating women in their periphery – there’s a pending legal case against Brown, in which a woman claims she was raped by one of Brown’s friends at one of the singer’s drug-fueled parties.

That New New

Spanish sensation Rosalía released what has to be our favorite video this week, with a clip for “DE AQUÍ NO SALES” from her stunning 2018 album El Mal Querer.

Jenny Lewis is back with Stevie Nicks-ish jam “Red Bull & Hennessey,” a drink we do not recommend. It’s the first single from On The Line, due March 22.

Broken Social Scene shared details on their forthcoming EP Let’s Try The After – Vol. 1, which will arrive next month, along with early single “All I Want.”

Sneaks, the difficult-to-define solo project of queer black feminist Eva Moolchan, returns with Highway Hypnosis, her third studio album.

Sascha Ring, who produces electronic music as Apparat, announced LP5, his first album in six years, with diaphanous lead single “Dawan.”

J. Cole is producing a comp featuring artists from his Dreamville imprint entitled Revenge Of The Dreams II; his track “Middle Child” is the project’s official first single.

Groove Denied, an electronic solo album by Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus that was reportedly rejected by his label, will be released via Matador in March. The first single is the delightfully weird “Viktor Borgia.”

Lady Lamb announced her next album Even in the Tremor will arrive April 5th on Ba Da Bing Records, and has shared its title track.

Teyana Taylor,  Lena Waithe, and Mykki Blanco vogue their way through a ballroom dance-off for the ages in Taylor’s new video for “WTP,” from last year’s Kanye West-produced K.T.S.E.

Capping off her EP trilogy in March with Blue Pine, Munya shared the first of its three songs, “It’s All About You;” all three EPs will be packaged together as a full-length LP released on the same day.

Seattle’s Dude York have released two new singles alongside two previously released singles as the aptly titled EP Happy In The Meantime via Bandcamp.

Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst have appeared on each other’s albums in the past, but now the pair have teamed up to release a surprise record as Better Oblivion Community Center.

Vampire Weekend are back with a pair of singles, titled “Harmony Hall” and “2021;” both will appear on their fourth album and first in nearly six years. Titled Father of the Bride, it’s supposedly got 18 tracks and future singles will be released in pairs as well.

Florence + The Machine released a jazzy stand-alone single and its b-side on the heels of last year’s rousing High As Hope LP.

End Notes

  • Ariel Palitz, NYC’s new Nightlife Mayor, sat down with Billboard to share what she’s learned in her first year on the job, and how she plans to support the city’s DIY music community.
  • A Michael Jackson musical is in the works.
  • The Oscar nominations are in and we’re totally rooting for Lady Gaga, who’s up for Best Actress for her role in A Star Is Born. The film is nominated for best Best Picture, alongside Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody (despite some recent sexual abuse allegations against its director). Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper seem like favorites to win Best Song for “Shallow” but Kendrick Lamar and SZA could give them a run for their money with “All The Stars,” from Black Panther. David Rawlings and Gillian Welch (“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs), Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns), and Diane Warren and Jennifer Hudson (“I’ll Fight” from RBG) round out the Best Song nominations.
  • Spotify introduced a “mute” feature that allows users to essentially block particular artists from popping up on your playlists. It’s a nice compromise given their failed attempt to censor artists they’d deemed problematic, not to mention allowing folks to avoid that overplayed earworm-of-the-moment.
  • Pickathon 2019 lineups have been announced, with Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and Khruangbin scheduled to headline.
  • It’s been a good week for cool band merch – check out this stuffed Ozzy Osbourne bat (with detachable head) and the new Morrissey Funko Pop.
  • We’re still not sure if it’s really the Pixies without Kim Deal, but the rest of the band are gearing up to release their seventh studio album (due in September), and a podcast about the band called “The Past Is Prologue” and hosted by Tony Fletcher will debut in June.
  • Some of hip-hop’s biggest stars, including Jay-Z and Meek Mill, have founded REFORM Alliance, aimed at much-needed criminal justice reform.
  • As the government shutdown stretches on, musicians from Kiss to Nile Rodgers are donating concert tickets, hot meals, and more to furloughed workers.

PLAYING DETROIT: Flint Eastwood Finds “Real Love” on Inspiring New Single

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

photo by Shack Shackelford

This week, Detroit’s own Flint Eastwood  – Jax Anderson – released “Real Love,” a powerful song detailing her broken relationship with the Christian church, and how breaking away from it finally gave her the chance to find love and truth. Like many people in the LGBTQ community, Anderson says she felt ostracized by the church because of her sexuality. After years of being told that there was something wrong with her, she decided to cut ties altogether with the church and free herself from what she felt were the judgmental confines of Christianity.

Anderson didn’t take this decision lightly. As someone who comes from a long line of preachers and grew up in the Christian church, separating from it meant much more than not saying her prayers on Sunday. “It was an extremely hard decision,” says Anderson. “I knew that I would be losing a community of people that I’d loved for a very long time and I had a huge fear that it would cause a division in my family, but thank god it didn’t.” She says although she made the split a while ago, this is her first time talking about it and also her first time openly singing about her sexuality. And the timing wasn’t a coincidence.

A few weeks before the song was released, Anderson’s older brother – who is also a preacher – sent her a link to a video of her family’s ex-pastor receiving an award for a “gay conversion therapy workshop” that he hosted for young women who are questioning their sexuality and gender identity. “We were both like, ‘this is ridiculous and it’s terrible that he’s doing this,’” says Anderson. “Especially because it was targeting girls aged 11-13 and that really hit home with me. That was exactly where I was when I was 11.” Understandably outraged, Anderson felt the best way to express her anger was to write a song about it.

She pulled up a bunch of instrumentals sent over by her brother Seth Anderson, a producer who goes by SYBLYNG, and settled on a piano loop that sounded like it came straight from a hymnal. “I sat down and wrote the song in about thirty minutes,” J. Anderson says. “I basically went through all of the ‘fruits of the holy spirit’ – which in Christianity are love, joy, patience, kindness – and said I found all of those in ways outside of the church, not by being a Christian but by being who I am.”

Anderson starts off “Real Love” by singing, “Can I be honest for a minute? Found peace when I lost religion / Found love when I thought I couldn’t.” Her opening lines set the stage for her description of her life after the church – one full of acceptance, love, and freedom. At one point in the song, a male voice says “Love without truth is not love,” exactly imitating the words of the conversion pastor’s acceptance speech, twisting his ill-meaning words back on him to create something positive.

With the help of strong choral voices consisting of Detroit divas Bevlove and Vespre, Anderson manages to orchestrate a reformed gospel song in which the world is her church, love is her God, and truth is her bible. Released just in time for June’s Pride celebrations, “Real Love” serves as a reminder that no one in the LGBTQ community should ever feel alone.

“I just want people to know that they’re not alone and it’s okay to be who they are,” says Anderson. “It’s not as scary as you think.”

Flint Eastwood will play her first Detroit show in over a year this Friday, June 29th with Princess Nokia at MOCAD. Doors at 7pm, tickets $25.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Gurr “Hot Summer” & More

My summers memories are always decorated with a particular kind of texture – the lingering feeling of grass cuts along my legs, the sting of sunburnt shoulders beneath a backpack full of empty rosé bottles, the soft and smooth goo of half melted ice cream on my tongue, skin sticky with sweat but refreshed with a summer breeze. Berlin-based duo Gurr pieces together these fleeting, surreal moments of summer debauchery in the video for their newest single, “Hot Summer.”

Laura Lee and Andreya Casablanca wrote the song on a foggy day in London, and as such, its theme takes that romanticized, freewheeling ideal of summer perfection, then haunts it with a side of disaster. It’s the band’s first single since the late 2016 release of their IMPALA award-winning debut In My Head, acting like a booster shot of the catchy, Go-Go’s indebted guitar pop they’ve become known for across Europe. As summer anthems go, this one comes with the reminder that life’s not always a beach – sometimes it’s sticky, hot, miserable, anticlimactic, or just plain weird.

Though she’s been busy with movie, television, and fashion projects, time hasn’t slowed this early 2000s chart-topper’s ability to create a hit. Uniting J Lo with another Latina powerhouse from the Bronx, Cardi B, this glamorous clip shows who’s really making money move in the music industry – Lopez reportedly donned $4.5 million worth of diamonds from Tiffany & Co to give the track a little extra shine.

Princess Nokia navigates a new musical character on her latest mixtape A Girl Cried Red, which was released on April 13th. This new incarnation revives a Gwen Stefani-esque aesthetic circa No Doubt’s early days and a rock sound that differs from the hip-hop influences fans have previously come to know from Nokia.

Mysterious Toronto-based artist Brahny just released a video for his song “Bloom.” Much like the song, the video is simple and clean – mostly comprised of a single shot following a variety of people throughout a city night, the revelers eventually end up in a laundromat where Brahny himself is performing.

Coming off a week in the spotlight after calling out Cardi B for allegedly dumbing down the conversation around women of color, Azealia Banks released a new video for “Anna Wintour,” a single from her upcoming sophomore record Fantasea II: The Second Wave. The track has a distinctive ’90s house vibe, with Banks rapping, singing, and using textured vocal manipulations over its relentless beat. Though the lyrics mention “diamonds and dreams,” there’s no sign of J Lo’s bling here – Banks vogues across an empty warehouse in little more than cutoff shorts.

NEWS ROUNDUP: Christina Aguilera Returns, Time’s Up for R. Kelly & More

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Christina Aguilera, shot by Zoey Grossman for Paper Magazine.

Christina, Time’s Up For R. Kelly & More

By Jasmine Williams

Early noughties preteens, rejoice – Xtina is back! Yesterday, the Stripped singer announced the release date and tracklist of her upcoming album, Liberation. While the LP won’t come out until June 15th, the first official single just dropped yesterday with a clip that features the new, natural, Christina. Produced by Kanye, Aguilera’s “Accelerate” is the only positive thing we’ve heard from West in weeks!

Despite the fact that R. Kelly has been accused of many disturbing acts of sexual assault, pedophilia, and abuse, the music industry has been disturbingly slow to address the Trapped In The Closet artist’s misconduct. That may finally be changing – this week a grass-roots campaign that has steadily been working to create a widespread of boycott of R. Kelly gained additional traction with the help of some Hollywood heavyweights.

The #MuteRKelly campaign was started last July by Oronike Odeleye, an Atlanta Arts Administrator. Since the movement’s start, ten R.Kelly concerts have been cancelled. On Monday, women of color members of the Time’s Up movement put their considerable influence behind #MuteRKelly when they penned an open letter asking organizations (including Spotify and Apple) to boycott R. Kelly. He is currently represented by RCA Records, a division of Sony.

Read the full letter here and find out how you can help #MuteRKelly here.

[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Director Ava Duvernay expressed her support for Time’s Up letter to boycott R. Kelly.

That New New

Princess Nokia dropped a new video yesterday. “For The Night” comes from her recent mixtape, A Girl Cried RedFlorence + The Machine announced that their highly anticipated followup to 2011’s Ceremonials will drop on June 29th. They just released “Hunger,” the second single off of the album. Dirty Projectors released “Break-Thru” a new video off of their upcoming album. Lamp Lit Prose is out July 13th and the band embarks on a massive support tour this summer. My Bloody Valentine, Angel Olsen, Raphael Saadiq, Death Cab for Cutie, Father John Misty, and Audiofemme favorite, Wax Idols, will also hit the road soon.

End Notes

  • NPR got the lowdown on the most random collaboration in recent memory. Hear Sting & Shaggy talk about their recent reggae-influenced album, 44/876, here.
  • BRIC has announced the lineup for their free concert series, Celebrate Brooklyn!
  • Rapper Meek Mill, who was freed from prison only last month, spoke openly about his opioid addiction and called for criminal justice reform at a press conference in Philly this week.


#IndigenousWomenRock: 5+ Contemporary Artists You Should Know

How many Native women have you supported today?

If the answer is none, think about why that might be. Do you interact with Indigenous populations? Are you spending time and energy learning about Native organizations and movements?

If Indigenous women aren’t popping up in your timeline or on your street, it isn’t because they don’t exist; rather, the lives of Native Americans, particularly Native American women, are specifically overlooked by institutions of power, including media outlets, health organizations, universities, and more. But whether we are looking or not, Native Women are living and creating in the current day. Contemporary Indigenous art is filled with innovative women making work worth watching, reading, and listening to.

Whether you are spending today with family or friends, take some time to invest in the lives of Indigenous women by viewing, sharing, and paying for their art. Aren’t sure where to start? Check out our list of five contemporary Native American artists to watch below.

Raye Zaragoza

Zaragoza released her debut album in June of this year, but she’s been playing and writing music since childhood. Fight For You is a breezy eight-track collection, brilliantly highlighted by Zaragoza’s clear, relaxed voice. The album’s content is deeply impacted by Zaragoza’s multi-ethnic and national background, as well as the Native Peoples’ fight for clean water and against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Of the album, Zaragoza says: “My goal with this album is to inspire people to fight for what they believe in. Our voices can be heard – we just have to choose to use them!” A portion of the album’s proceeds will be donated to Indigenous rights organizations.

Miracle Dolls

Twin sisters Dani and Dezy are based in Southern California, but they regularly tour the country to mentor youth through the Native American Youth Music Program, which they founded. The two strive to bring guitars to every Native American reservation, alleviating the pressures of historical trauma on Native youth by providing a creative outlet. Their recent video “Sweet Grass / Water is Life,” influenced by the impacts of oil pipelines on their Hidatsa Waterbuster Clan community, was screened at the 42nd American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco.

Princess Nokia

Destiny Frasqueri, known as Princess Nokia, recently went viral when she was filmed throwing soup at an aggressive man shouting slurs in a New York subway car. But Frasqueri’s advocacy work goes far beyond subway intervention. Outside of her work in the studio, Frasqueri heads “Smart Girl Club,” a collective which seeks to provide safe space for and encourage collaboration between women of color, through the lens of “urban feminism.” Her first studio album, 1992 Deluxe, reflects this message of informed and inclusive feminism: tracks like “Brujas” highlight Frasqueri’s connection with her Afro-Indigenous family and their traditions, while breakout hit “Tomboy” centers her experiences as a New York youth. 1992 Deluxe, which was released in September of this year, is already making year-end lists, and for good reason.

Samantha Crain

Crain’s 2017 album, You Had Me At Goodbye, is decadently instrumental: confessional and emotionally compromising music which devastates at the same time that it uplifts. Next time you feel like treating yourself to a good cry without, you know, having to listen to Sufjan Stevens, take a trip through Crain’s oeuvre. Crain is barely 30, but You Had Me At Goodbye is her fifth full-length album; after recording music for more than ten years, her album notes state that she “wanted to have some fun.” Though You Had Me At Goodbye isn’t exactly dance music, there’s a noticeable level of play within the artist’s enigmatic lyrics and sound choices.

Laura Ortman

An accomplished composer of independent film scores, Ortman’s own music is visceral and compelling, drawing on her skill as a classical musician as well as a love of experimental sound composition. She’s a prolific artist, with 22 releases on bandcamp alone, as well as a number of prestigious awards under her belt, but manages to make each release pleasantly surprising. Her latest album, My Soul Remainer, was released in June of this year.

And because the “Americas” extend north of the border as well, here are a few Canadian artists I can’t stop listening to.

Tanya Tagaq

Tagaq has been making waves since winning the Polaris Prize with her 2014 album, Animism. Her latest, Retribution, is breathtaking. It’s the type of album you listen to once, and then send to everyone else you know.

Sonia Eidse

Eidse’s bandcamp describes her music as “mellow alt-pop,” but frankly, I don’t find anything about her voice to be mellow. Her self-titled EP, released in 2016, is dreamy; with each note stretched as far as possible, Eidse’s vocal performance lands like a silk parachute, or a slow-rolling fog.


On The Fight Within, released earlier this month, Iskwé pairs modulating vocals with lush, electronic beats. Dissect it or dance to it–Iskwé’s music is moving, both in its content and message, and in the music’s heavy, visceral sway.

NEWS ROUNDUP: Princess Nokia a Soup-er Hero, Music Industry Assault Allegations & More

  • Princess Nokia Stands Up To Racist, Goes Viral 

    This week, a viral video showed NYC commuters standing up to a drunk guy on the train when he started yelling racist insults at a group of teenagers. At the end of the video, as he’s pushed out of the train car, someone launches a container of soup at them, covering them in yellow goo. It gets better: the hero in this story is rapper Princess Nokia, who tweeted, “Although painful and humiliating we stood together and kicked this disgusting racist off the train so we could ride in peace away from him… [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][I’ll be] damned if I let some drunk bigot call a group of young teenage boys racist names and allow him to get away with it.”

  • Women Speak out About Sexual Assault in the Music Industry

    No doubt encouraged by the bravery of the many women who have come forward to share their harrowing experiences with powerful film executive Harvey Weinstein, women are coming forward to call out men in other industries who they say have engaged in inappropriate behavior up to and including harassment and assault. Allegations have surfaced in the last week involving Matt Mondanile (a.k.a. Ducktails) who parted ways with former outfit Real Estate over the allegations last year; The Gaslamp Killer, and Alex Calder. A few of the labels and publicists who have worked with these artists have spoken out as well in a show of solidarity. 

  • Other Highlights

    Watch Beyonce’s video for “Freedom,” listen to an unreleased Bob Dylan song, an early listen of Bully’s Losing, Radiohead songs translated through Spongebobit’s the release day for St. Vincent’s MASSEDUCTION as well as Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile’s Lotta Sea Lice and Beck’s Colors, watch the new Neil Young video for “Hitchhiker,” Japanese Breakfast directed Jay Som’s “The Bus Song” video, Marilyn Manson discusses his onstage accident, Taylor Swift is starting her own social network, Joan Baez is retiring from touring, Sharon Jones’ posthumous album to be released next month, and read this: The Story of Jud Jud[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

NEWS ROUNDUP: RIP Charles Bradley, #TakeAKnee & More

  • RIP Charles Bradley

    Though he was able to tour up until the very end, even after battling stomach cancer, renowned soul singer Charles Bradley passed away over the weekend. He was 68. Nicknamed “The Screaming Eagle of Soul,” Bradley was inspired by James Brown from a young age but didn’t release his first album until six years ago. He made a living as a handyman and by impersonating his idol until being discovered by a Daptone Records founder. Watch him perform below.

  • Musicians Take A Knee To Protest Police Brutality

    After Trump insulted football players who chose to kneel during the national anthem as a protest against our country’s police brutality, encouraging NFL owners to fire them, many musicians expressed solidarity with the players. Stevie Wonder was one of the first, kneeling before his set at NYC’s Global Citizen Festival. Other artists who participated include Pharrell Williams, Eddie Vedder, John Legend, and more. Read more a complete account of the situation here

  • Other Highlights

    Watch new videos from Princess Nokia and William Patrick Corgan, Spotify knows your musical secrets, Justin Timberlake will get a second chance at a Superbowl performance, a holographic Frank Zappa is going on tour, Thurston Moore made a techno record, listen to new music from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Angel Olsen, collaborations from Courtney Barnett/Kurt Vile, Michael Cera/Sharon Van Etten, and Radiohead/Hans Zimmer, a concert hall created by an algorithm, and it’s way too early for these artists to release Christmas music