Their first single reminded me of that late-90s, early-aughts Brit girl group pop sound (I realize that is a lot. It is a lot just typing, but if you know that sound, then you now what I mean). But this new track sounds firmly in the early 90s, all club-dance and Deee-lite perfect. Also, that bass does things to me. More of this, please!
"Easy (Switch Screens)" by Son Lux featuring Lorde
I am back and forth on whether I like Lorde’s music, but I certainly like her here. Her deep voice sounds less like an act and more authentic, as if she’s grown into a sound. Her music is very minimal, but Son Lux’s instrumentation and production add a welcoming cushion that complements more than it distracts.
CNN’s new docu-series, Chicagoland, premieres tomorrow. Last week, they interviewed me for an article in anticipation of the show (I was also filmed for the show last summer, but I don’t know if I made the cut.). I didn’t realize the article would basically be everything I said in the conversation. Dibs, gym shoes, jibaritos, steppin, house music … it’s all there. You can read the full story above.
"I got this song Burn stuck in my head so I did a remix and Ellie DMed me and she’s into it" by Four Tet
My favorite Four Tet tracks are the ones he randomly dropped, as if he needed to get the music out to the public as quickly as possible in fear that the inspiration would leave him entirely. This Ellie Goulding rework is yet another stellar example of a sound that is strong, yet complex.
A decade after Halle Berry won Best Actress at the Oscars, the odds are still stacked against black actresses.
I wrote this last week (and it was published over the weekend) before Lupita Nyong’o’s triumphant win at the Academy Awards. I’m hopeful for the future of her career, but the Hollywood struggle remains an infuriating reality.
I know many men who love St. Vincent’s music, but I can’t talk to them about her in the way that best reflects my deep feelings. I’ve grown up with her music and it is a boring cliche to say, but sometimes our cliches are valid.
I first listened to Marry Me during a break-up period. Listening to each track, but especially “Your Lips Are Red” was a quiet tradition during that time, something that I mostly kept to myself. Annie Clark’s music was the most accurate embodiment of the contemporary feminine psyche. The surface is a clean, familiar comfort, but underneath lies the sinisterness of reality. We’re not putting on facades. Rather, you refuse to see us as complex and dark.
A lot of people cherish St. Vincent for her instrumentation, but I find her most gifted (among a series of gifts) in her diction, her play with words. Her self-titled album sounds most direct and most biting.
"Bring Me Your Loves" was an immediate attraction on an album that I feel is her most interesting and infectious yet. "I took you off your leash, but I can’t, no I can’t make you heel," is probably my favorite thing she’s ever written and it’s so simple.
With this album and these songs, she sounds as if she is eager to get straight to the point. Look at that album cover! That is the confident stare of a woman who will rip you to shreds and not think twice. Marry Me and Actor both displayed a more vulnerable figure. Her face was cropped. Still that closeness felt like something of a challenge. What do you think you see? Now, what is actually here? Strange Mercy was a face masked, or maybe, a face trying to break through to something else, this new phase.
Now we see her completely and confidently and triumphantly. She is a bad bitch of the highest order and I bow down. This is Annie Clark no longer tied down by youth. No, instead she is sure of herself and her ideas and you’re just going to have to deal with it.
Do you feel like you have to be liked by popular/esteemed writers and editors to make it as a writer?
That depends on what you consider “making it.” I would like to be the sort of writer that is critically and commercially successful, something that I feel is more difficult, but ultimately more satisfying. Straight critical success (from popular/esteemed writers and editors) is nice, but for myself at least, connecting to other people (like regular people, like my mom, like anyone on tumblr, like people outside of literary circles) is more important than just connecting to gatekeepers. I don’t know if that’s naive. It’s probably naive. I’m okay with being a little naive.
How is every LIZ song great? Seriously. She releases a new song and it’s perfect and I’m transported back to 2001 and tracksuits as outfits and low-rise jeans even though my body was too “body” to wear them and body glitter and giggling in health class and making out with that boy I was obsessed with in the back of the bus and … I could go on. It’s LIZ’s nostalgic world and we’re just remembering it.
So crazy to think about how ANG LOW began with “Life Goes Down,” a beautiful, light, truly lovely little number, and where he is now with “Voodoo Woman,” which invokes all of the power and strength in his compositions that previously flew under the radar. Each new song surprises, and this fast-paced, hyper-layered wonder is his most interesting yet.
“I think it’s a myth that the creative inspiration is locked up inside the person and just needs a quiet space and the right “serious” (brooding) moment to get released. I think art is much more about an engagement with the world, a way of being called upon and recognizing that the world is speaking to you. Which isn’t quite solitude, even if you’re alone when it happens.”—Rachel Kushner, in an interview for Guernica
I’ve just now realized Kaytranada's music and remixes are the manifestation of what I thought it would sound like to “go to a club” when I was a tween and teen. His samples and choices especially point to this idea. You know, lots of Missy and Janet and all that 90s black women entertaining goodness. It's what I know. It's what I've always known. Don't get me wrong; it's not all nostalgia. But I knew from the first time I heard that “If” remix that I was basically in love.
Anyway, the above mix at XOYO is perfect from start to finish. Kicking myself for missing his set at the Mid last fall. Remembering what I was doing that night instead (getting into an argument) makes my heart even heavier.
You used to work at an art museum? That's so cool! How did you get a job working for an art museum?
I started off as an intern at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. During that same time, I also interned at an art gallery. Prior to those experiences, I was the intern for the Art + Design section of Time Out Chicago. My employment at the MCA was both a mix of luck and hard work. I spent more time creating projects, spending full-days at the museum, and asking questions than other interns.
By the time the Performance Media Manager moved to a new position in the company, I was able to take on her duties in the media relations (PR) department. There, I crafted press releases for MCA performances, small exhibitions, and special events, hosted media previews, coordinated interviews, and gave tours or ran special tasks for VIP museum guests (like getting Garrett’s popcorn for Philip Glass). It was a wonderful time and I miss it dearly.
There is something okay in intensity. Sometimes we need it to break apart the invisible hold of complacency. Why can’t one be here and have that be enough? I know that inside, I would be suffocated by the quiet and the silence and the complacency. Too much of nothing can be as severe as too much of everything. Sometimes one cancels out the hold of the other and then you are left in a place of evenness, a straight line. It is a restart. Here is the first chapter.
"I Can’t Keep Up" by Tourist (featuring Will Heard)
Observing the trajectory of Tourist’s career has been nothing short of a thrill. With each new song, he’s become more comfortable with the use of vocals and we are blessed because of it. I didn’t think I could love anything more "Together," but then he released this great track which has a fantastic build that blossoms into the most satisfying series of dance breaks. This is bound to be the track that pushes him over into the greater consciousness and I’m so excited to see where that leads.
I'm a freelance writer & I'm struggling w/ trying to schedule my freelance writing around my other job. I know you have experience w/ writing while working full-time. If you don't mind my asking, how many articles per day or per week are you able to write while putting in 7-8 hours at another job. Right now I can only manage to write one article per day, a pace I've realized must change if I'm to achieve my goal of increasing my freelance income.
UM, that’s a lot better than I could ever do. I got up to around 4 per week while working with WBEZ. I wrote three essays or articles per week and could occasionally squeeze in something else for another publication like The FADER or Buzzfeed or FLAUNT. The pace that you’re currently at seems pretty amazing to me.
I tried to write more than 4 per week and I eventually burned out, unable to form a complete written thought for close to two months. That is why I cherish my tumblr because it is, at its core, a fun place of escape. Whenever I feel like I can’t get anything out professionally, I turn to this site, where the stakes are lower, but the rewards are much the same, or even greater.
What matters most is that you do what you are comfortable with and can handle. Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew. There is the nagging concern when you have a day job compared to other friends without that structure. Are you missing out? Are you pushing yourself as much as you can? But sometimes we take the 9-5 because we have to. Sometimes we also take it because it pushes us in ways we never imagined.
I had effectively stopped writing frequently before I started working in my current company. I was employed at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, a place I love more than anywhere else. I was stimulated everyday, all the time, always. It was a second education and I was soaking it in. But a change of environment, more structure, less “creativity” pushed me toward getting back to my writing. If I was spending all of my time doing this other thing, then I needed to take time for myself, my thoughts, and my ideas.
After reading your writing, I'm really interested to learn your writing process. Is it always the same? For example, do you get an idea and then write about it or do you get commissioned by publications to write a piece on a topic selected by them, for them? Your work is really inspirational to me, so I can't think of any person whose response I'd like to read on my question more. Thanks!
Thank you for this!
My writing process is not always the same, but I do have a couple of similar habits. Most of my ideas, outlining, and actual stories are first written down in my notebook. I bring it with me almost everywhere I go as you never know when an idea will spark.
I also have been known to write full essays in my phone. It’s been more difficult with a smart phone. The one and only reason why I miss my Blackberry was the ease in which I could type. I used to take long train rides to and from the city when I lived with my parents after college and my Blackberry was a great way to collect my thoughts.
For published pieces, I typically get an idea and then publish it. I get commissioned for a lot of straight-forward journalism rather than the essay-based writing I’m more known for.
Sometimes, an idea for an essay or story happens in the moment, so you must write whatever you can while you’re there. I’ve written essays in the back of concerts and on the dance floor at my favorite clubs. All I really need is a quite corner and a tool to get the thoughts down.
Two of my favorite things on one track: Katy B’s lovely vocals and Sweet Female Attitude’s perfect melodies. Slowing this down really emphasizes the timelessness of SFA’s garage track and makes me want to listen to it as if discovering it for the first time.
I appeared on Vocalo’s “The Morning AMp” this morning with Mikki Kendall for Feminist Wednesday. Among the many subjects we discussed, the above is a clip from our discussion on “that National article” and being “nice” on the internet.
On this week’s Feminist Wednesday, writers Mikki Kendall and Britt Julious joined hosts Molly Adams and Brian Babylon on the Council of Feminist Thought to tackle what it means to be “nice” on the Internet. While surely it can feel good to be polite with others on social media, there may be some advantages to being not so nice on the Internet. The council also discussed where to draw the line and how mean is too mean…
Cyril Hahn’s music is as unassuming as he is, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t good. This latest track with Javeon on vocals is the perfect manifestation of his many loves: r&b, deeper house, aural sensuality. And that ending crescendo with the saxophone? I’m swooning.
Normal is the long wait. Normal is the anticipation. Normal is the high expectations and the little thought that is born in the same manner as your hopes, that is full of anger and disappointment. It is the “I told you so,” we know exists deep within us, the “I told you so,” we try to smother with drugs and drinks and a cropped top. It is the “I told you so,” that can not exist without the recklessness of youth. It is the “I told you so” of Youth with the most capital of a “Y,” made of everything we tell ourselves we should and could be doing.
Instantly obsessed with this one. The super steady beat reminds me of the earlier, more experimental r&b aesthetic of Little Dragon. This is practically a missing puzzle piece. The thrum of that synth is everything.