Rituals of Mine Heals Through Reinvention with Hype Nostalgia LP

When musician Terra Lopez was 11 years old, she told her father she wanted to reinvent herself every day. Having lost her father as well as her best friend in 2015 and 2016, respectively, Lopez has been healing through reinvention. Formerly in a project named Sister Crayon, she’s chosen the new moniker Rituals of Mine. The first Rituals of Mine LP, Hype Nostalgia, employs R&B and dark synths to explore loss and reexamination of the past. Meanwhile, the layered, manipulated vocals mirror Lopez’s search for identity through her trauma.

“Reinvention can create such resilience, and while it was important to continue to make music, doing it under a different name was symbolic,” Lopez says by phone from her LA home. “It was a brand new name so no one could tell me what it could and could not be. This album is a complete departure from anything we’ve done, and I’m already looking to create work that’s completely different from this,” she adds.

Whatever direction Lopez’s music takes, connecting with others is always top priority, and she’s succeeding. “One of the most profound experiences I’ve had is a dad who came up to me in Boston and said ‘Thank you so much for talking about how losing your dad to suicide has affected you. It’s made me realize I could never do that to my children.’ As uncomfortable as it may be to be vulnerable, I have to be, if it helps people get through, that’s why I do this,” she says.

The musician has always been open about the pain of this loss, but she is equally ready to share what helps her get through it. A big part of her trauma recovery has been doing EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), a practice that helps PTSD patients desensitize traumatic memories. “The only way to get through grief is to work through it and not around it. EMDR has truly helped me unlock these different parts of my mind,” Lopez says, adding that she was reluctant to try it and only did “because nothing else was working, and it was crazy to me how immediate I felt the results. Mental health and therapy excite me, and it’s something I avoided for a long time.”

Possessing boundless creativity and adroitness at cultivating community help, no doubt. In addition to her new album, she’s launched a new podcast called Hype Nostalgia TV. Teaming up with drummer Adam Pierce, the two sought a way to connect with fans after COVID-19 forced them to cancel tour dates and landed on the idea of a visual podcast. The episodes feature guests like Tegan Quin (of Tegan and Sara) talking about their high school bedrooms and other ways their past has shaped them. The themes of the podcast often dovetail nicely with the ways in which the Hype Nostalgia album plumbs the trajectory of Lopez’s own history.

“Trauma could never figure me out/Maybe it’s in my blood, maybe it’s yours now,” Lopez sings on “Trauma.” She’s singing about her family, but Lopez is also invested in cultural legacies like sexism and racism. One night she had the idea to make an interactive art installation about street harassment. She jotted her idea down on a napkin, not knowing This Is What It Feels Like would be seen by hundreds of thousands of people, including the state capitol in Sacramento and a dozen Canadian cities. “When I first started it, it was supposed to be a one-off. Huffington Post covered it and then Los Angeles Times covered it and from there it got so big. We were in a Dove commercial! I I’ve even been asked if I would run for office. I’m going to look into it,” says Lopez, who isn’t finished with the exhibit. Instead, she hopes to make variations to discuss other forms of discrimination, though that’s all on hold due to COVID.

Much like in her music, Lopez’s approachability and vulnerability help others open up to her. She’s been especially surprised at how disarmed many men have been by the installation. “I’ve had men break down in tears. I’ve had men apologize. I’ve had men sit down and want to tell me all the times they harassed women and how this exhibit has opened their eyes. It’s been remarkable and unexpected,” she says, clearly invigorated by the response she’s gotten.

For Lopez, music and installations and podcasting and politics are all new avenues for connection. While many artists are afraid to stray too far from their main field, Lopez thrives on it. Undaunted by trying new things, she’s elevated the daily process of reinvention into something more like art.

Follow Rituals of Mine on Facebook and Instagram for ongoing updates.

Seven Music Videos That Represent the Female Gaze

The male gaze is practically part of our collective cultural definition of a music video. Even videos by seemingly progressive bands, like The 1975’s “Girls” and The Chainsmokers’ “Beach House,” present women as props, dancing scantily clad in the background.

But recently, female artists have been taking back the medium by creating videos that speak to their own visual pleasure. Here are some music videos that depict the world through women’s eyes.

“Colors” by Halsey

Though Halsey has said “Colors” is about being in a relationship with an addict — likely The 1975’s Matty Healy — the video presents an alternate interpretation of the lyrics. As she sings “Everything is grey / His hair, his smoke, his dreams,” the visuals tell the story of a young woman obsessed with an older man — or, more accurately, obsessed with looking at him.

The video opens with Halsey and her fictional mother staring at a man and his son, and as it goes on, you pick up on an odd love triangle (or is it a rectangle?), all while Halsey takes photos and salivates over them in the privacy of her room. Shirtless shots of the male characters abound, and though Halsey also has an underwear scene, it’s clear that this is about her fantasies, not a male fantasy she’s starring in.

“I Luh Ya Papi” by Jennifer Lopez

This video is self-referential from the get go, beginning with a meeting where JLo and her collaborators plan out the video. “If she was a dude, they’d seriously have her up in a mansion with all these half-naked girls,” one says.

“Why do the men always objectify the women in every single video?” another adds. “Why can’t we for once objectify the men?” The answer is, no reason. So, they objectify the hell out of them. The satire is obvious (and hilarious) at times, like when a guy in a speedo washes a car with his butt, but you can also tell she’s serious: She and her friends are having a blast enjoying the eye candy. At the very end, it’s revealed that JLo is still in her meeting and has imagined the whole video — so, it is literally a representation of her gaze.   

“Closer” by Tegan and Sara

At a fantastically queer dance party, Tegan and Sara Quin sing sexually aggressive lyrics like “All I dream of lately is how to get you underneath me” as couples of all configurations stare excitedly into each other’s eyes and kiss. From a woman cupping another woman’s head in her hands to one who leans into a man on top of a car, characters of all genders demonstrate a genuine combination of desire and affection, and all couples consist of equals.

“break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored” by Ariana Grande

Ariana sits alone at a party creepily staring at a couple and trying to break them up, but she catches her audience off guard by making out with the girl once she finally gets their attention. It seems like a ploy for shock value and LGBTQ street cred honestly, but the way she ceaselessly stalks them before she pounces is admirably bold.

“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen

This super relatable video shows Jepsen spying on a crush as he mows her lawn, hiding below her romance novels when he looks at her, and partaking in strange antics to get his attention. It’s reminiscent of many childhood crushes, reminding us that despite being socialized to do the opposite, women have an innate ability to take joy in looking.

Alas, this one’s also got a gay plot twist, but unlike Ariana’s, it doesn’t work out in Carly’s favor. I vote she does a followup featuring her crush’s budding romance with her guitarist.

“Honeytrap” by Throwing Shade

In the visuals accompanying this trippy, dreamy song, Throwing Shade (aka Nabihah Iqbal) overlooks a garden full of naked men covered in flowers and fruit. It seems almost cheesy, until you realize it wouldn’t seem that way if the genders were reversed. Actually, it’s a work of art, nude men and all.

“She Keeps Me Warm” by Mary Lambert

For this heartfelt ode to a lesbian relationship, Lambert crushes on a barista. They steal glances at each other as Lambert sits at the cafe reading a book, inside which she leaves a note saying “I think you’re super cute.” The stages of their budding romance, from holding hands in the back of a car to sharing their first kiss on a rooftop, help to humanize same-sex relationships while, most likely, making you cry.

NEWS ROUNDUP: Musical Candidates Win Big, TSwift’s Reputation & More

Metal Musician Danica Roem becomes first transgender legislator in Virginia

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Metal musician Danica Roem becomes first transgender legislator in Virginia

  • The Musicians Who Won This Week’s Election

    On Tuesday, Danica Roem became the first openly transgender woman elected to state legislature with her win in Virginia, replacing a 13-year incumbent Republican who held an anti-trans bathroom policy. While her platform was pretty great – she wants to achieve health care accessibility, fix traffic issues, and raising teacher salaries – she’s also a musician who sings in the trash metal band Cab Ride Home. In New York, Justin Brannan, the former guitar player for hardcore groups such as Most Precious Blood and Indecision, won a seat on the city council. His campaign focused on issues like public schools, eviction protection, and improving public transportation. 

  • Taylor Swift’s Lawyers Threaten Blogger 

    Taylor Swift’s long-awaited and much-discussed sixth album Reputation is out today, and as usual, the pop star is mired in controversy. Earlier this week, her overzealous lawyers threatened PopFront blogger Meghan Herning with a heavy-handed lawsuit for a two-month old post which mines Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” for alt-right Easter Eggs. It’s not the first time media insiders have drawn a parallel between Swift and white supremacists, some of whom uphold the singer as an Aryan idol; outright, Swift hasn’t done much more than participate in a little cultural appropriation, but she hasn’t gone on record to denounce white supremacy either, as Herning pointed out. Still, Herning’s piece was essentially an op-ed, hardly presented as fact, and may not even have had significant readership if not for the lawsuit threat, which claims the post is “provably false and defamatory.” It looks like a cheap scare tactic meant to ward off bad press for Taylor; the ACLU made a statement in support of Herning.

  • Other Highlights

    Madonna covers Elliot Smith, Tegan and Sara cover Hayley Williams of Paramore, Erykah Badu curates a Fela Kuti set, Jon Stewart flaunts his drumming skills with No Wine for Kittens to benefit Suicide Prevention, there’s a Jawbreaker auction for gun control, music streaming services get their own lobbying group, watch Angel Olsen perform “Sans” from forthcoming rarities release Phases, Rihanna will co-host the Met Ball this year, Ozzy is retiring, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood skewer Trump in a CMA Awards parody, Kimbra partners with Safe Horizon to raise domestic violence awareness, Priests’ Katie Greer on being heckled, Bikini Kill reunited last weekend, JAY-Z on Meek Mill’s sentencing, and a Stella Donnelly song that sums up recent events.


FLASHBACK FRIDAY: A Letter to Tegan and Sara


Dear Tegan and Sara,

It’s 2002 and you guys just released your third album, If It Was You. The record is a little bit “indie rock” and a little bit folk and a little bit understated pop—a combination that works like a magical key to unlocking all of your best attributes. It sounds honest and genuine. These days, people are still calling you “Lilith Fair spin-offs” and throwing around names like Ani DiFranco and Alanis Morissette in trying to categorize you, but that’s a tough thing to do when all you two truly sound like are yourselves.

A little over ten years from now, critics will praise you for your “new pop direction” and your chart-topping, synthy single “Closer.” But right now, in 2002, If It Was You couldn’t even graze the charts, and it’s not trying to. Instead, it’s just softly playing from my headphones, and I’m listening intently to your fingers slide on your guitar strings and your gritty voices leisurely singing “Love pull your sore ribs in / I will pull your tangles out.”

This is the kind of intimacy that your music allows for—no, is made for—in 2002. And in ten years when you release your third DVD, “Get Along,” a live rendition of “Living Room” (the eighth track off of If It Was You) will set the stage, introducing the entire movie. And I’ll think about whether that means that you both feel that song still encompasses you two as songwriters and musicians, more so than your most recent work.


Your most recent work today, in 2013, is Heartthrob, the complete antithesis to If It Was You. This album is laden with electronic beats and hazy synthesizers and your voices are polished and neat. You explain your evolving sound as a product of a “calculated risk:” you both sat down and discussed what you wanted as musicians (your names on the Billboard charts, your songs on the Top 40 radio stations, your live shows in arenas). You made a conscious effort to “bite off a bigger piece of the mainstream,” as Tegan put it in an interview, and you succeeded. And I’m happy that you’ve achieved what you set out to achieve.

See, I’m not writing to you to tell you that you SOLD OUT. I’m your fan in the truest sense of the word: I’ll respect and support you two even when you stray pretty far away from what I’d normally dip into. The truth is I hate Heartthrob—it feels, to me, like your work on The Con, and So Jealous, and If It Was You was able to musically highlight all the nooks and crannies of your songwriting, whereas Heartthrob simply drowns your quirks in synths. But I can’t really knock an album that was pretty universally loved by critics and blogs and most of the general population (congrats, by the way, on making so many of this year’s “Best Of 2013” lists). In the end, I just can’t help wondering if you miss the way you once sounded as much as I do.