VMAs Won’t Be Held At Barclays Center After All

VMAs Won’t Be Held At Barclays Center After All

| August 8, 2020 – 12:00 pm

MTV’s annual Video Music Awards are set to take place later this month. The Governor Cuomo-approved plan was to have them at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, with little or no audience present and live performances around various New York City locations. But now, perhaps unsurprisingly, Page Six reports that the VMAs aren’t going to be held at Barclays Center after all due to safety concerns.

“The 2020 VMAs will be held on Sunday, Aug. 30 and pay homage to the incredible resiliency of New York with several outdoor performances around [NYC] with limited or no audience, adhering to all state and city guidelines,” representatives for for Barclays Center and MTV confirm in a joint statement. “In close consultation with state and local health officials‎, it became clear at this time that outdoor performances with limited or no audience would be more feasible and safer than an indoor event.”

“The VMAs will highlight the boroughs in an exciting show and return to Barclays Center in 2021,” the statement continues. “MTV will continue to work closely with the Department of Health, state and local officials, the medical community, and key stakeholders to ensure the safety of all involved.”

Keke Palmer is hosting the ceremony, and BTS, Doja Cat, and J Balvin are performing. Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga are leading the pack this year with nine nominations each. MTV is bringing back the Best Alternative category for the first time in 22 years, and there’s also a Best Quarantine Performance award.

James Gandolfini Loved Dookie

James Gandolfini Loved Dookie

| August 6, 2020 – 10:39 pm

CREDIT: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

James Gandolfini loved the 1994 Green Day album Dookie. How do we know this? Well, Michael Imperioli — his Sopranos co-star — recently posted an old photograph of the two of them on his Instagram. In the comments, he was asked about what kind of music Gandolfini liked. “Green Day,” Imperioli replied. “he would play the vinyl of dookie in his trailer at work. Totally serious,” he followed up. And again: “no joke. He loved Green Day.”

Incredible news pic.twitter.com/FGzzbGWamK

— mastronaut (@Lily_Mastr0) August 7, 2020

(Thanks to Long Neck leader and New Jersey native Lily Mastrodimos for bringing this gem to our attention.)

Imperioli has quite the music pedigree of his own. He was just interviewed in The Quietus about some of his favorite songs, including Big Thief’s “Not,” and some of his best music stories, which include hanging out with Michael Stipe in Athens. And a couple years ago, Imperioli published a novel with Lou Reed as a central figure — we talked to him about it.

The Number Ones: Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon”

The Number Ones: Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon”

| August 7, 2020 – 8:48 am

In The Number Ones, I’m reviewing every single #1 single in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, starting with the chart’s beginning, in 1958, and working my way up into the present.

***

Culture Club – “Karma Chameleon”

HIT #1: February 4, 1984

STAYED AT #1: 3 weeks

“I’m a man who doesn’t know how to sell a contradiction,” Boy George sang. Au contraire. On the early-’80s pop landscape, there might have been nobody better at selling contradictions.

When American listeners were only just moving beyond the anonymous studio-rock of the late ’70s and early ’80s, Boy George must’ve looked like a mirage, a purring androgyne flirt who used the brand-new vehicle of MTV to present a persona that was defiant in its femininity. When I was in middle school in the early ’90s, people were still making homophobic Boy George jokes, even though his band Culture Club had faded into pop’s past. But in the early ’80s, Culture Club turned ingrained systemic homophobia against itself, putting forward an image and a sound that was so proudly different that people had to pay attention.

Another contradiction: While the members of Culture Club all came from London’s punk and new wave scenes, they made tender crushed-velvet white soul that was sonically unchallenging enough to do well on American adult contemporary radio, not exactly a welcoming environment for gender-bending iconoclasts. Their softness might’ve been radical, but it also helped make them stars.

Culture Club really sold those contradictions, too. For a few years, Culture Club weren’t simply a novelty; they were a pop juggernaut. Between 1982 and 1984, Culture Club released three platinum albums and landed six singles in the Billboard top 10. I don’t even especially like Culture Club’s music, but their ability to dominate in a time of rampant homophobia is pretty amazing, and it speaks to Boy George’s singular charisma.

George Alan O’Dowd had been born into a working-class Irish Catholic family in Kent. (The #1 single in the US when George was born: Ricky Nelson’s “Travelin’ Man.”) George’s father was abusive, and he also had to deal with growing up gay in a profoundly unfriendly environment. But he found escape in the New Romantic world of the early ’80s, dancing at clubs like London’s Blitz.

One night at Blitz, the former Sex Pistols svengali Malcolm McLaren saw George and invited him to sing with Bow Wow Wow, the band McLaren was managing at the time. (In the US, Bow Wow Wow’s highest-charting single is their 1982 cover of “I Want Candy,” a Strangeloves song that had gone to #11 in 1965. Bow Wow Wow’s version peaked at #62.) George, using the stage name Lieutenant Lash, did not last long in Bow Wow Wow. Instead, he left to start his own band, enlisting Bow Wow Wow bassist Mikey Craig. They also signed on guitarist Roy Hay, a former hairdresser, and drummer Jon Moss, who’d already played in the Stranglers, the Damned, and Adam And The Ants. For a minute, the new band going to call itself Sex Gang Children. They went with Culture Club instead.

Culture Club broke through huge with their 1982 single “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?,” a sweetly sensitive lite-reggae bounce that became a global smash. “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” went to #1 in nine countries, including the UK, and it peaked at #2 in the US. (It’s an 8.) Culture Club’s next single, “Time (Clock Of The Heart),” also peaked at #2. (That one is a 6.) Culture Club’s timing was good. They’d arrived just as MTV was starting to take over, and Boy George was the kind of telegenic figure that the network needed. By the time they released their sophomore album Colour By Numbers in October 1983, Culture Club were already stars.

Culture Club didn’t sound like other new wave groups. They used synths, but they didn’t use them for stark, confrontational purposes. (The mere existence of Boy George was already confrontational enough.) Musically, Culture Club were probably closer to Lionel Richie than to the Human League. The group made a lush, reassuring sort of white soul, occasionally sprinkled with soft reggae or post-disco dance-pop accents. Boy George sang as much like Smokey Robinson as he could, shooting for that same soft precision and that same sense of strength through vulnerability. He was and is a far clumsier singer than Robinson, but he had a similar gift of hiding deep sadness in plain sight, translating it into upbeat and down-the-middle pop songs.

“Karma Chameleon,” like a lot of Culture Club songs, is a disguised lament about the tempestuous relationship between Boy George and his bandmate Jon Moss. At the time, George wasn’t fully out of the closet — he claimed to be bisexual — and he kept it secret that he and Moss were a couple. George told The Los Angeles Times that “Karma Chameleon” was “about this terrible fear of alienation that people have, the fear of standing up for one thing.” Maybe. But it’s also pretty clearly about an unhappy couple with a fucked-up balance of power: “When we cling, our love is strong/ When you go, you’re gone forever/ You string along, you string along.”

There’s a deep ache in “Karma Chameleon”: “Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dreams/ Red, gold and green.” George pleads for mutual support in the face of a hostile world: “Everyday is like survival/ You’re my lover, not my rival.” But he sings it with a breezy sort of charm, twisting its hook into a near-gibberish refrain. It sounds like an easy, carefree song — an impression only helped along by the video, a live-action cartoon that takes place in a ridiculous alternate-reality multi-cultural version of 19th-century Mississippi, where Culture Club catch a con man on a riverboat casino and throw him overboard. (Director Peter Sinclair filmed the video on the Thames, not the Mississippi.)

The members of Culture Club all shared songwriting credit on “Karma Chameleon,” but George says that he wrote it while on vacation in Egypt. George also claims that the rest of the band thought the song was too country when he played it for them. I don’t hear “Karma Chameleon” as a country song at all, despite the constant, aggravating harmonica-tootles of session player and Merseybeat veteran Judd Lander. Instead, “Karma Chameleon” sounds like only the most plastic version of uptempo American soul.

There’s at least a chance that “Karma Chameleon” is a plastic version of a specific uptempo American soul song: “Handy Man,” a Jimmy Jones single that peaked at #2 in 1960. (“Handy Man” is a 5.) Boy George’s “karma-karma-karma” bit sounds a whole lot like Jones’ “come-ah come-ah come-ah,” and the song swings along at a similar tempo. Jones and “Handy Man” co-writer Otis Blackwell sued Culture Club, and the group settled. But Boy George has said that he didn’t intentionally steal anything from “Handy Man” and that Culture Club “gave them 10 pence and an apple.”

“Karma Chameleon” shares a problem with a whole lot of British takes on R&B: It’s thin and clumsy and awkward. The beat is brittle and funkless, and there’s a sticky sheen on the whole thing that I’ve never been able to get past. The backing vocals sound like they’re doing lite-rock station identification. Boy George has enough charisma to keep the song afloat, but only barely. I’ve never been able to hear “Karma Chameleon” as a desperate plea for romantic reciprocity or as a delightful piece of ’80s kitsch. It’s always just been a slight irritant for me. Blame producer Steve Levine, I guess.

“Karma Chameleon” hit #1 in even more countries than “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” had done, and it was the UK’s biggest-selling single of 1983. In the US, “Karma Chameleon” helped push Colour By Numbers to quadruple platinum sales, and Culture Club won the Best New Artist Grammy in 1984. Accepting the award via satellite, Boy George said, “America, you’ve got taste, style, and you know a good drag queen when you see one.”

But Culture Club only scored one more top-10 single in the US: The follow-up single “Miss Me Blind,” which peaked at #5 later in 1984. (It’s a 6.) The group’s later records sold less and less. Boy George and Jon Moss split up, and George tumbled into heroin addiction. In 1986, the group ended.

Boy George went on to a solo career, and he enjoyed a bit of a resurgence in 1992, when his theme for the film The Crying Game peaked at #15. He also messed around with dance music and eventually found a steady career as a DJ. He collaborated with a pretty amazing range of people, including Afrika Bambaataa, Faithless, and Antony And The Johnsons, as well as with PM Dawn and Mark Ronson, two artists that will eventually appear in this column. Boy George also did a few months in prison in 2008 for handcuffing a Norwegian male escort to a wall and beating him up with a chain.

Culture Club have reunited a few times over the years, though never without drama. In 2006, for instance, the other members of the group tried to stage a Culture Club tour with a different singer; Boy George was not amused. There were not-very-successful reunion albums in 1999 and 2018, and Jon Moss recently filed a lawsuit against the rest of the group. After all that, it’s easy enough to forget what Culture Club were able to accomplish at their peak. But they really did have a run.

GRADE: 5/10

BONUS BEATS: Here’s the bugged-out digital-reggae cover of “Karma Chameleon” that dancehall pioneer Wayne Smith released in 1983:

And here’s the dancehall version of “Karma Chameleon” that Wayne Wonder released in 1992:

(Wayne Wonder’s highest-charting single, 2003’s “No Letting Go,” peaked at #11.)

BONUS BONUS BEATS: Culture Club guested on a pretty hilarious 1986 episode of The A-Team; here’s the scene where they play “Karma Chameleon” in a rowdy cowboy bar:

BONUS BONUS BONUS BEATS: Here’s Lil Wayne singing a bit of “Karma Chameleon” on his 2005 mixtape track “Do It”:

(Lil Wayne will eventually appear in this column.)

BONUS BONUS BONUS BONUS BEATS: Here’s the bit from 2006’s Scary Movie 4 where a giant iPod rises up out of the street and briefly plays “Karma Chameleon” before turning into a murderous robot:

BONUS BONUS BONUS BONUS BONUS BEATS: Here’s Me First And The Gimme Gimmes’ 2014 snot-punk cover of “Karma Chameleon”:

Stream Popcaan’s New Mixtape Fixtape Featuring Drake, PARTYNEXTDOOR, & More

Stream Popcaan’s New Mixtape Fixtape Featuring Drake, PARTYNEXTDOOR, & More

| August 7, 2020 – 9:16 am

The Jamaican artist Popcaan has been one of the biggest stars in dancehall for years, and he and Drake are close enough that Drake has a tattoo of the flaming-skull logo for Popcaan’s Unruly label. These days, Popcaan is officially a part of Drake’s OVO empire. And last night, as a sort of Jamaican Independence Day celebration, Popcaan released a new full-length project called Fixtape.

Fixtape isn’t exactly a long time in the making; Popcaan released Vanquish, his last mixtape, at the end of last year. But Fixtape comes with some big names attached. Drake appears on two different tracks from the project, though he sleepwalks his way through both of them. One of those Drake collabs, “Twist & Turn,” also features PARTYNEXTDOOR. And Fixtape also has appearances from French Montana and Toronto rapper Preme, as well as Stylo G, Jada Kingdom, Dane Ray, Masicka, and Tommy Lee — the dancehall Tommy Lee, not the Mötley Crüe Tommy Lee.

Musically, Fixtape is relatively soft and minimal. There’s menace to some of the tracks, but most of the time, Popcaan relies on an easy, relaxed sense of melody. The tracks have a hazy warmth to them, and the whole tape fades nicely into the background most of the time. Stream it below.

Fixtape is out now on OVO Sound/Warner Bros.

2 Chainz – “Money Maker” (Feat. Lil Wayne)

2 Chainz – “Money Maker” (Feat. Lil Wayne)

| August 7, 2020 – 9:31 am

2 Chainz and Rick Ross partook in the latest Verzuz battle last night, a clash of two titans of 2010s mainstream Southern hip-hop. Both rappers followed up the event by releasing new singles.

The new 2 Chainz song pairs him with Lil Wayne, a guy who has significant history with both 2 Chainz and Rick Ross. He goes way back with 2 Chainz, though, all the way back to when Chainz was part of the group Playaz Circle and going by Tity Boi. At the height of his legendary mixtape run, Wayne appeared on Playaz Circle’s biggest hit, 2007’s “Duffle Bag Boy,” which peaked at #15. Nine years later, 2 Chainz repaid the favor by essentially turning his ColleGrove album into a full-length collaboration with Wayne at a time when Wayne was unable to release albums due to label trouble.

Their latest linkup, “Money Maker,” finds them flexing over Southern University’s marching band Human Jukebox and some nasty drum programming by Playa Pizzle. You’d think building a song around the phrase “shake your money maker” would not work at this point, but “Money Maker” sure seems to be working for me this morning. It’s billed as a track from ColleGrove 2, which 2 Chainz has been teasing since March, so that’s exciting.

As for Rozay, he’s back with a more sober and reflective new track called “Pinned To The Cross” dealing with the plight of Black Americans, featuring a hook from Finn Matthews. Ross also calls Terry Crews “another coon who was basically bought” in response to the actor’s recent comments about the Black Lives Matter movement, so there’s that.

Hear both “Money Maker” and “Pinned To The Cross” below.


Kali Uchis & Rico Nasty – “Aquí Yo Mando”

Kali Uchis & Rico Nasty – “Aquí Yo Mando”

| August 7, 2020 – 9:34 am

WAP” is not the only Thelma & Louise-style pop-star team-up that’s come out this morning. We’ve also got the the-American singer Kali Uchis and the energetic young rap star Rico Nasty joining forces on a new single called “Aquí Yo Mando.”

Kali Uchis released her EP To Feel Alive a few months ago, and Rico Nasty has been cranking out a series of one-off singles all year. (Her most recent, “Dirty,” was for the soundtrack of the HBO show Insecure.) “Aquí Yo Mando” seems to be a one-off collaboration, rather than part of some larger project. The track is a departure for both Uchis and Rico. It’s a slick, shiny pop song with production from urbano masterminds Tainy, Albert Hype, and Jon Leone, as well as Lil Xan collaborator RVNES.

“Aquí Yo Mando” is a sex song, and it’s mostly in Spanish. Where Kali Uchis often floats over tracks, she comes off intense on this one. Rico is in her sing-rap mode, switching back and forth between Spanish and English. Check it out below.

“Aquí Yo Mando” is out now on the streaming platforms.

Midnight Oil Share “Gadigal Land,” First New Song In 17 Years

Midnight Oil Share “Gadigal Land,” First New Song In 17 Years

| August 7, 2020 – 9:55 am

The Australian rock band Midnight Oil got together way the hell back in 1972. In the ’80s and early ’90s, they became an international creative force, and they did it without easing up on their strident anti-colonialist politics. (It remains wild that Midnight Oil had a massive international hit with the 1987 single “Beds Are Burning,” a song about reparations for the indigenous people of Australia.) Midnight Oil broke up in 2002, and they’ve reunited for one-offs a few times since then. Today, they’ve come out with “Gadigal Land,” their first new song in 17 years.

“Gadigal Land” is Midnight Oil’s first new song since the 2002 album Capricornia, and it’s a big, bouncy rocker that sounds a whole lot like an arena jam. But like so many Midnight Oil songs before it, the track is all about how Australia belongs to its Aboriginal people and about how white colonizers should get the fuck out.

“Gadigal Land” features vocals from a bunch of different indigenous Australian musicians: Blues-rocker Dan Sultan, poet Joel Davison, Stiff Gins singer Kaleena Briggs, and Coloured Stone leader Bunna Lawrie. But you can still easily pick out Peter Garrett’s commanding, impassioned bleat through all those other voices. Check out the song and read with Midnight Oil have to say about it below.

On Facebook, Midnight Oil write:

“Gadigal Land” takes its name from Sydney’s traditional owners, many of whom continue to live in the city. The Gadigal (also sometimes spelt “Cadigal”) lands include what is now the CBD plus areas from South Head through to the inner west. “Gadigal Land” is a provocative recount of what happened in this place, and elsewhere in Australia, since 1788.

“Gadigal Land” is out now on the streaming platforms. Midnight Oil will play in in-studio performance of “Gadigal Land” tomorrow night for Australia’s National Indigenous Music Awards.

Hear Christian Lee Huston Cover Sum 41, Blink-182, & Kid Cudi

Hear Christian Lee Huston Cover Sum 41, Blink-182, & Kid Cudi

| August 7, 2020 – 10:00 am

LA singer-songwriter Christian Lee Hutson released his Phoebe Bridgers-produced album Beginners at the end of May, and today he’s back with a covers EP called The Version Suicides.

The project finds Hutson covering three songs that originally sounded nothing like his signature pensive folk-pop: Sum 41’s rap-adjacent mall-punk classic “Fat Lip,” Kid Cudi’s early MGMT collab “Pursuit Of Happiness,” and Blink-182’s wistful Enema Of The State anthem “Going Away To College.” They all sound like Christian Lee Hutson songs now!

Hutson has released The Version Suicides exclusively on Bandcamp, timed to the retailer’s new tradition of deferring its share of sales on the first Friday of the month. He’s donating all proceeds from the EP to the Downtown Women’s Center, which bills itself as “the only organization in Los Angeles focused exclusively on serving and empowering women experiencing homelessness and formerly homeless women.”

The Version Suicides is out now on ANTI-. Buy it at Bandcamp. Hutson also teased a collab with Shamir this week, so that’s interesting.

Bonny Light Horseman – “Greenland Fishery”

Bonny Light Horseman – “Greenland Fishery”

| August 7, 2020 – 10:20 am

It’s been just over a year since Bonny Light Horseman debuted with an eponymous single. Since then the supergroup — featuring Hadestown creator Anaïs Mitchell, Fruit Bats’ Eric D. Johnson, and Josh Kaufman (who is also in Muzz with members of Interpol and the Walkmen and is therefore becoming the king of indie-rock supergroups) — has given us a whole album of traditionalist folk-rock gems, including one with Justin Vernon. They followed that up in June with “Green Rocky Road,” the A-side from a new 7″. The single is out today, so we get to hear the B-side too.

“Green Rocky Road” is paired with today’s new song “Greenland Fishery” on a single that’s being called Green/Green. Mitchell explains, “We recorded ‘Green Rocky Road’ and ‘Greenland Fishery’ for our LP, but ended up cutting them at the last minute to keep the record simpler (and higher quality for vinyl). We see the songs as a bit of a pair, they both feature Eric’s banjo playing and lean a little more ‘Americana.’ We’re glad they have a home on Green/Green and are grateful to be able to share music at a time when the world is hurting.”

Hear the extremely lovely “Greenland Fishery” below.

Green/Green is out now on 37d03d Records. Buy it here.

Lingua Ignota – “Wicked Game” (Chris Isaak Cover)

Lingua Ignota – “Wicked Game” (Chris Isaak Cover)

| August 7, 2020 – 10:38 am

Chris Isaak’s haunted 1989 sex-jam “Wicked Game” must be one of the most-covered songs ever recorded. Over the years, virtually anyone with any interest in Lynchian romanticism has tried out “Wicked Game,” to the point where it’s almost a cliché. In recent years, we’ve run an essay about all those “Wicked Game” covers, and we’ve also spoken with Isaak himself about the phenomenon. Last year, Lana Del Rey sang “Wicked Game” with Isaak at the Hollywood Bowl. That’s a hard spectacle to top, but then we might never have had a “Wicked Game” quite as heavy as the one that we get today.

Kristin M. Hayter, the heavy experimentalist who records as Lingua Ignota, has made some truly dark and entrancing music in the past few years. Most recently, she released the monster track “O Ruthless Great Divine Director” back in March. Today, Lingua Ignota has dropped her “Wicked Game” cover as part of the latest Bandcamp Friday.

There’s no metal in Lingua Ignota’s “Wicked Game” cover. Instead, she’s built it around a soft flourish of piano and a distant, discordant sample of Krzysztof Penderecki’s 1960 work Threnody For The Victims Of Hiroshima. Daughters frontman Alexis Marshall adds deep, portentous backing vocals, while Lingua Ignota turns “Wicked Game” into operatic, miasmic darkness. It’s a really fucking cool cover. Listen below.

You can buy Lingua Ignota’s version of “Wicked Game” at Bandcamp.

Courtney Barnett – “Just For You” (Kev Carmody Cover)

Courtney Barnett – “Just For You” (Kev Carmody Cover)

| August 7, 2020 – 10:49 am

Courtney Barnett has shared an acoustic cover of Indigenous Australian singer-songwriter Kev Carmody’ “Just For You.” As NME reports, her cover is part of an upcoming expanded reissue of the 2007 Carmody tribute album Cannot Buy My Soul, featuring new tracks from Jimmy Barnes, Kasey Chambers, Kate Miller-Heidke, Alice Skye, Electric Fields, and more.

“I’ve only met her just lately, and, very impressed with this young woman, Courtney Barnett,” Carmody says in a video posted Barnett’s Instagram. “‘Just for You,’ it’s virtually a love song that I’ve directed at everybody, for everybody … It’s trying to get right to the core to say even though we have our disagreements and stuff, I still love you all very much, and I love you as an individual very much.”

Listen to Courtney Barnett’s rendition of “Just For You” below.

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My version of Just For You written by Kev Carmody is out today ❤️ Links in bio to listen and to pre-order the tribute album @cannotbuymysoul out Aug 21

A post shared by courtneymelba (@courtneymelba) on Aug 6, 2020 at 4:46pm PDT

Cannot Buy My Soul 2020 Edition is out 8/21.

Inara George – “Sex In Cars” (Feat. Dave Grohl)

Inara George – “Sex In Cars” (Feat. Dave Grohl)

| August 7, 2020 – 10:51 am

Inara George and Dave Grohl have crossed paths plenty over the years. Grohl joined the Bird And The Bee, George’s duo with producer Greg Kurstin, a couple times over back when they were promoting their Van Halen covers LP. George sang on “Dirty Water,” one of the breezier moments on Foo Fighters’ 2017 release Concrete And Gold. Now, Grohl’s returned the favor and teamed up with George on a new re-recording of one of her own songs.

The song in question is “Sex In Cars,” which originally appeared on George’s The Youth Of Angst release in June. This new version is part of her Road Angel Project, which benefits Sweet Relief’s COVID-19 fund for artists and music industry workers who essentially lost their livelihoods this year.

“Having been such a massive fan of Inara for years, it’s always such an incredible honor to work with her, whether on Foo Fighters music or for the Bird And The Bee,” Grohl said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “Her voice is timeless, so pure and real. So I jumped at the chance to duet with her on this song. It was a dream come true! And for a great cause: Musicians coming together to support each other in difficult times, working to keep the music alive.”

George added: “I always knew I wanted this version of ‘Sex In Cars’ with Dave to benefit some amazing non-profit. As the pandemic hit and it became very clear that live music would not resume for many, many months, I immediately thought of Sweet Relief, not only because they help so many musicians, but also because they help everyone in the music industry.”

Check it out, and revisit George’s original, below.


Stream The New Blink-182 Dude Ranch Tribute Comp Feat. Joyce Manor, Adult Mom, Lisa Prank, & More

Stream The New Blink-182 Dude Ranch Tribute Comp Feat. Joyce Manor, Adult Mom, Lisa Prank, & More

| August 7, 2020 – 10:56 am

Today is, randomly, a huge day for Blink-182. The pop-punk veterans released their own new single “Quarantine,” and Christian Lee Hutson included their 1999 track “Going Away To College” on his new covers EP. And here’s the real motherlode: a whole bunch of indie, punk, and emo acts have join forces to pay tribute to Dude Ranch, the 1997 sophomore LP that thrust this sophomoric band into the mainstream.

Dude Ranch includes “Dammit,” Blink’s first big hit, which got a boost from being included on the Can’t Hardly Wait soundtrack. It also has “Josie” and, uh, “Dick Lips.” It does not have Travis Barker, who joined the band for 1999’s Enema Of The State. (Did you know Mark Hoppus is the only remaining original member of Blink-182? It’s true.) Colleen Green covered the album in full last year, but the underground isn’t finished with its Dude Ranch lovefest yet.

The new comp It’s Never Over Til It’s Done features covers of Dude Ranch tracks by an impressive roster of contributors including Joyce Manor, Adult Mom, Lisa Prank, Spirit Night, Rozwell Kid, Retirement Party, and many more. Even Houston rapper Fat Tony got in on the action. According to Bandcamp liner notes, “Beneath that adolescent humorous deflection lie serious concerns about heartbreak, vulnerability, loneliness, and the human condition, all with the same conviction of your favorite Silver Jews or Smog record,” which feels like an honestly insane sentiment to express on the anniversary of David Berman’s death, but I digress.

All proceeds from It’s Never Over Til It’s Done Homeless Black Trans Women Fund, SNapCO, The Trans Justice Project, and related funds. Dig into the project below and buy it here.

The Staves – “Nazareth”

The Staves – “Nazareth”

| August 7, 2020 – 11:10 am

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the great folk trio the Staves. In 2017, they released a collaborative album with yMusic; in 2018 they offered a Christmas song. But you’d have to go all the way back to 2015 and the group’s beloved album If I Was — one of the best that year — for the last full-fledged Staves collection. Maybe, finally, that’s about to change.

Today, the Stavely-Taylor sisters have returned with a new song called “Nazareth.” Here’s what they had to say about it:

We recorded “Nazareth” in one take on a field recorder sat outside the studio in the summer of 2018. The sun was shining and the birds were singing. We tried recording it in the studio but just kept coming back to this version. It seemed to have the magic. 

The song was intended to be in the spirit of an Irish blessing or a kind of a prayer, asking to be kept safe — but it pretty quickly became a more personal and introspective lyric. Moments of glory quickly faded. Worrying, trying. How we mean everything and nothing at the same time. To everyone, to noone.

A press release from their label, Nonesuch, hints that this could be the beginning of a new Staves chapter, with a reference to them putting the “finishing touches” on more music. For now, check out “Nazareth” below.

“Nazareth” is out now on Nonesuch.

Taylor Swift’s Bonus Track “The Lakes” Is Out

Taylor Swift’s Bonus Track “The Lakes” Is Out

| August 7, 2020 – 11:17 am

CREDIT: Beth Garrabrant

Two weeks ago, with less than a day’s advance warning, Taylor Swift released her new album folklore. In announcing the album, Swift mentioned that it would have a bonus track called “The Lakes,” which would only appear on the physical editions of the album. Since folklore came out digitally before any of those physical editions could come out, nobody heard “The Lakes” when the album first arrived. But now the physical editions of folklore are circulating, which means “The Lakes” is out in the world.

Swift co-wrote and co-produced “The Lakes” with her old collaborator Jack Antonoff. (The National’s Aaron Dessner, who produced much of folklore, was not involved in “The Lakes.”) Variety reports that song actually leaked earlier this week, when some UK retailers started selling the album’s physical editions early, apparently by mistake. But Swift’s team has been working overtime in keeping “The Lakes” offline, though covers of the song are already appearing on YouTube.

“The Lakes” is a soft, small-scale love song, and it features Swift doing some of the Lana Del Rey-style vocals that she’s been using a bit lately. It’s all about avoiding the public eye, finding escape in some secluded enclave: “A red rose grew up out of ice frozen ground with no one around to tweet it/ While I bathe in cliffside pools with my calamitous love and insurmountable grief.” She also refers to someone as her “muse.”

The lakes-Taylor Swift. pic.twitter.com/paghhtk1xc

— l a k e s (@Swiftinism) August 6, 2020

The Lakes Analysis: A THREAD ✨🤍 pic.twitter.com/ANMF7EEDOV

— olga the mirrorball (@taybleofcontent) August 5, 2020

folklore is out now on Republic Records.

Anderson. Paak – “Lockdown (Remix)” (Feat. J.I.D, Noname, & Jay Rock)

Anderson. Paak – “Lockdown (Remix)” (Feat. J.I.D, Noname, & Jay Rock)

| August 7, 2020 – 11:24 am

On Juneteenth, Anderson .Paak released “Lockdown,” a protest song about racism and police brutality that got a solid amount of votes in our annual Song Of The Summer poll. The video version of the track had a verse from Jay Rock. And now .Paak is releasing a star-studded new “Lockdown” remix with that Jay Rock verse plus features from two more extremely good rappers, J.I.D and Noname.

.Paak cuts his own verses from the remix, only singing the chorus before ceding the spotlight to his guests. “Have you had your coffee this evening, Karen?/ ‘Cause you seem a little off/ All the black girls missin’ and endin’ up inside the coffins/ But you mad when they hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on front your sidewalks,” J.I.D raps. “And if you need, I’ll read Assata with you,” Noname adds, referencing her online book club. Listen below.

Stream Komusō & Setsuko’s Blisteringly Intense New Split EP

Stream Komusō & Setsuko’s Blisteringly Intense New Split EP

| August 7, 2020 – 11:28 am

According to the infinite font of wisdom that is Wikipedia, the Komusō were “a group of Japanese mendicant monks of the Fuke school of Zen Buddhism who flourished during the Edo period of 1600–1868.” Komusō, the band whose name invokes those monks, is a Tokyo combo whose sound ranges from creeping, tightly wound post-hardcore to violently unhinged screamo. They’ve joined forces with the Stockholm grindcore/powerviolence marauders Setsuko for a new split EP on the British Columbia record label Zegema Beach. The two bands have each chipped in three new songs, tracks that feel punishingly intense even when the bands scale back the sonic blitzkrieg. Flail your body to it all below.

Komusō and Setsuko’s split EP is out now on Zegema Beach Records. Buy it here or, of course, on Bandcamp.

Stream Year Of The Knife’s Hellacious Debut Album Internal Incarceration

Stream Year Of The Knife’s Hellacious Debut Album Internal Incarceration

| August 7, 2020 – 11:28 am

The young Delaware band Year Of The Knife make an absolutely brutal form of metallic hardcore. They play fast and ugly, bu they’re not a basement band. Instead, YOTK’s sound has the grand-scale ferocity of some of the best death metal. It’s a truly satisfying form of pulverization. Today, we get to hear it in album form for the first time.

Year Of The Knife have been releasing music and touring hard since 2016, and last year, they released Ultimate Aggression, a compilation of their previously-released EPs. Today, YOTK release their first real LP. It’s called Internal Incarceration, and it’s a powerfully nasty piece of work. Listening to these 13 tracks feels like having a weed-whacker attack your face for half an hour, but in a good way.

The band recorded Internal Incarceration with Converge’s Kurt Ballou, a producer who knows how to make big, nasty music even bigger and nastier. We’ve already posted the early singles “Virtual Narcotic,” “Manipulation Artist,” and “Premonitions Of You.” The full album is every bit as ferocious as those songs suggest. Listen to it below.

Internal Incarceration is out now on Pure Noise Records.

Stream Krallice’s Surprise Album Mass Cathexis

Stream Krallice’s Surprise Album Mass Cathexis

| August 7, 2020 – 11:45 am

For more than a decade, the New York band Krallice have combined forbidding, atmospheric black metal fury with experimental math-rock complexity. Most of the time, they’ve been wildly prolific. In 2017, for instance, Krallice released two albums — Go Be Forgotten on their own, and Loüm in collaboration with Neurosis member Dave Edwardson. But they’ve been relatively quiet ever since 2017. So it was cool to see that today, for Bandcamp Friday, Krallice have come out with a new full-length called Mass Cathexis.

Krallice had said that there would be a new album out in 2020, and they released the song “The Wheel,” which appears on the LP, back in March. (Also, earlier this week, frontman Mick Barr took part in an all-star Black Sabbath cover.) But the new album still arrives without any announcement — 42 minutes of frantic and complex new Krallice jams.

On first listen, Mass Cathexis is even more fractured and experimental than most Krallice records. Even when the band is in full thunder mode, there’s some busy, complex discordance going on somewhere on the track. Dave Edwardson is now credited as being a full-on member of the band; he does vocals on the album. Stream it below.

Mass Cathexis is out now at Bandcamp; an LP version is coming soon on Gilead Media.

Gag – “Still Laughing”

Gag – “Still Laughing”

| August 7, 2020 – 12:17 pm

The Olympia, Washington band Gag make a ferociously ugly form of hardcore punk. You could be listening to them on headphones in a sterilized, empty Apple Store, and you’d still feel like you had basement-show funk accumulating in your pores. Gag have been around for the better part of a decade, and they’ve spun off at least a half-dozen side projects: Lower Species! Combat Knife! Mongrel! Eightball! Love Interest! Pitbul! (I did not make up a single one of those, and I’m sure I’m missing at least one.) But up until now, Gag have only released one album, 2016’s America’s Greatest Hits. That’s about to change.

Later this month, Gag will release their new LP Still Laughing, and it’ll probably be worth owning for the cover art alone. Back in April, Gag dropped the absolutely disgusting early track “High Off Gun Powder.” Today, they’ve put up the album pre-order, and they’ve also shared the album’s title track, a furious two-minute blitzkrieg with a sick lurch of a breakdown. Below, check out “Still Laughing” and “High Off Gun Powder.”

Still Laughing is out 8/28 on Iron Lung Records.

Stream Jason Molina’s Posthumous Album Eight Gates

Stream Jason Molina’s Posthumous Album Eight Gates

| August 7, 2020 – 12:21 pm

If today feels especially haunted out there in indie-rock land, it’s not just you. David Berman died one year ago today, and tributes are pouring across social media. Microphones In 2020, an album on which Phil Elverum reckons with his continued existence against a backdrop of mourning, is out now. And then there’s Eight Gates, the first posthumous album from Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. mastermind Jason Molina, a man who was riding with the ghosts even when he was still alive.

Before his death from complications related to alcoholism in 2013, Molina built up a vast catalog of dark, despairing folk-rock. In a quivering Midwestern drawl, he articulated intense imagery and deeply felt laments, cohering into a genuinely spooky portrait of one man’s struggle to be OK. As portrayed through Molina’s music, this world was a bleak wasteland meant to be endured more than enjoyed. Although more accessible turns like 2003’s career peak Magnolia Electric Co. channeled that energy into ornate country ballads and raucous Crazy Horse-style roots rock, Molina often retreated into sparse arrangements that mirrored his own bleak sense of isolation and hopelessness. Digging down into those records was often rewarding, but extended exposure to them could be harrowing.

Eight Gates mostly exists within those shadows. It wouldn’t be an easy listen even if Molina was still alive. Recorded in 2008 while he was living in London and supposedly recovering from a mysterious spider bite, these songs find him at the peak of his powers and seemingly at the bottom of an emotional valley. Even lead single “Shadow Answers The Wall,” with its minimal rock band setup, is a ghostly slow-creeping ballad. Because Molina is gone, non-musical snippets like the birdsong that recurs throughout the album take on heightened significance. And, fair warning, when he introduces “She Says” by asserting, “The perfect take is just as long as the person singing is still alive,” longtime fans may dissolve into a puddle of tears.

If you’re up for it, stream Eight Gates below.

Eight Gates is out now on Secretly Canadian. Buy it here.

Stream Terminal Nation’s Ridiculously Heavy New Album Holocene Extinction

Stream Terminal Nation’s Ridiculously Heavy New Album Holocene Extinction

| August 7, 2020 – 1:21 pm

The Arkansas band Terminal Nation make some brutally heavy and intense music. Terminal Nation have been releasing music since 2014, and they’ve left behind a bloody trail of grimy, nasty EPs. Listening back through their Bandcamp, you can hear a whole aesthetic evolution at work, as the band has moved from short, fast bursts of grindcore and powerviolence on their early records to the focused, tectonic boom that they make today. But they’ve done all this without releasing an album. Today, Terminal Nation finally release Holocene Extinction, their first LP.

You have probably already figured this out, but Holocene Extinction has nothing to do with Bon Iver. Instead, the band makes the same kind of apocalyptic, warlike sounds as Xibalba — that massive, roaring thing where you can’t tell where the hardcore ends and where the death metal ends. The album is a little long, but it never loses its sledgehammer impact, and the first couple of tracks are just absurdly satisfying. Check out the LP below.

Holocene Extinction is out now on 20 Buck Spin.

Iceland’s Eurovision Contestant Gives In, Plays “Ja Ja Ding Dong”

Iceland’s Eurovision Contestant Gives In, Plays “Ja Ja Ding Dong”

| August 7, 2020 – 1:27 pm

Daði Freyr has heard your cries of “play ‘Ja Ja Ding Dong,’” and he has answered them by playing “Ja Ja Ding Dong.” “Ja Ja Ding Dong,” for the uninitiated, is the absolute banger from Will Ferrell’s Netflix comedy Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga. In the movie, the running joke is that Fire Saga, the band representing Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest, wants to play their Eurovision song for audiences, but all anyone wants to hear from them is the goofy “Ja Ja Ding Dong.”

Daði Freyr is the Icelandic musician who was actually going to represent the country in the Eurovision Song Contest before this year’s competition got cancelled. His Eurovision song, “Think About Things,” is actually kind of a jam. But of course, since the Eurovision movie came out, everyone has been asking him to play “Ja Ja Ding Dong” instead. And now, he has finally relented.

“This is the first and last time that I play this song,” Daði Freyr says before launching into a glorious electro-pop rendition of “Ja Ja Ding Dong,” standing in a lush green meadow with a beautiful Icelandic sunset behind him. Watch his performance, clips of “Ja Ja Ding Dong” from the movie, and Daði Freyr’s actual Eurovision song, “Think About Things,” below (and read our interview with the pop songwriter behind the film’s earworms here).




Best Coast Rerecord “Boyfriend” With More Inclusive Pronouns For Charity

Best Coast Rerecord “Boyfriend” With More Inclusive Pronouns For Charity

| August 7, 2020 – 2:11 pm

Best Coast’s debut album Crazy For You just turned 10. And to celebrate, the band is releasing a new version of its classic opener “Boyfriend,” one of the best songs of the past decade. They rerecorded the track with new pronouns to make it more inclusive, and all proceeds will go to the Trevor Project. In a statement, Bethany Cosentino explains:

When I was 22 years old I wrote a song about a guy I was quite literally, obsessed with, called “Boyfriend.” This obsession took up a lot of my time and mental energy. In the decade since writing this song, I have had a lot of time to reflect on not only that obsession, but the way in which I have at times, glorified obsessive and toxic romantic relationships in my songwriting. This song in particular started to feel problematic to me around the time I really started working on myself at age 30. I would listen back to my lyrics and think about how much I was neglecting myself and how I made this guy the protagonist of my own life and story.

Somewhere down the line, I started noticing that this song in particular seemed to be a bit of an anthem for the LGBTQ+ community. I would get tagged in social media posts of guys proposing to their boyfriends with the song in the background, I would get countless messages from Queer fans about how they put this song on a playlist for their crush and then their crush became their partner, I met lesbian and gay couples at shows who told me they had their first kiss to this song. Suddenly I realized that it had a whole new meaning than the one it did when I first wrote it. That is one of the most special parts of art – what the artist creates can be interpreted in so many different ways by the people who experience it – and the experience of this song through the eyes of the LGBTQ+ community of Best Coast fans, is truly the way I want it to be experienced.

With all that being said, here is a new, reimagined version of “Boyfriend” that includes everyone. For today only, this version will be available to stream or buy on our Bandcamp, with all proceeds going to The Trevor Project, an organization that focuses on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth. The core of Best Coast songs have always been about struggling with your identity while trying to keep your head above water, so I deeply care about any organization that focuses on mental health awareness.

Thank you so much to the people who have messaged me or told me their stories in person over the years — you are what inspired the new version of this song and I hope you enjoy it.

The new “Boyfriend” will only be available today as part of the latest Bandcamp Friday; listen to it below.

On 8/14, Best Coast are performing Crazy For You in its entirety with special guests including Paramore’s Hayley Williams, Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus, and CHVRCHES’ Lauren Mayberry. Tickets for that are available here.

Stream Lil Keed’s New Mixtape Trapped In Cleveland 3

Stream Lil Keed’s New Mixtape Trapped In Cleveland 3

| August 7, 2020 – 2:31 pm

Right now, a whole lot of rappers are following in Young Thug’s footsteps, attempting the same kind of squeaky, melodic trap style. The 22-year-old Atlanta rapper Lil Keed, a protege of Thug, is the only one who’s really willing to get as weird as Thug himself. On his Long Live Mexico album last year, Keed reached a cult-hero status for the ways that he’d twist melodies up into strange new shapes, letting his helium yammer drift off into the ether. Today, Keed follows that album up with the new mixtape Trapped On Cleveland 3, which seems well-positioned to make Keed a star.

Trapped On Cleveland 3 is the third mixtape in a series that Keed started in 2018, but it’s being released as a big-deal album with a long list of A-list guests: Thug, Future, Travis Scott, Lil Baby, Gunna, Ty Dolla $ign, 42 Dugg. But the new mixtape continues with Keed’s strange musicality. It’s a bit more earthbound than Long Live Mexico. But Keed still lets his voice drift in some cool directions, and he’s got a sharp sense for the kinds of music that fit his voice. Stream Trapped On Cleveland below.

Trapped On Cleveland 3 is out now on Young Stoner Life Records/300 Entertainment.

Bryan Adams Announces Stadium Concert In Germany Next Month

Bryan Adams Announces Stadium Concert In Germany Next Month

| August 7, 2020 – 3:06 pm

CREDIT: Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns

From what Bryan Adams has told us, the summer of 2020 seems way, way shittier than the summer of ’69. But now it looks like Adams will get to sing “Summer Of ’69” in an actual stadium before the summer of 2020 is over, so maybe things are looking up. Adams has been booked to headline a German stadium show called Give Live A Chance, which is coming 9/4 to Düsseldorf’s Merkur Spiel-Arena.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Germany, just as it’s hit everywhere else. But the country has been putting strong protection measures in place, including fast, free, mandatory tests for every traveler returning to the country. For the Düsseldorf show, Billboard reports that promoters Live Nation are claiming that all audience members will be sitting 1.5 meters away from one another and that they’ll have to wear masks the entire time they’re in the stadium. Alcohol won’t be allowed in or around the building, which makes a Bryan Adams show sound significantly less fun. Even with those restrictions, though, Live Nation plans to pack in 12,000 people. Concertgoers won’t have to take COVID-19 tests to enter.

In that Billboard article, one German health official says that he’s “irritated” that the Düsseldorf health department gave the OK for the show without consulting the state. Germany has banned all large events at least through October, but they’ve also allowed for exceptions if the events can meet stringent guidelines. Apparently, the local Düsseldorf government thinks this show will pass muster.

On Instagram, Bryan Adams writes that he’ll play an acoustic set with no backing band. Adams shares the bill with the German acts Sarah Connor, the BossHoss, Joris, and comedian Michael Mittermeier, as well as Irish singer-songwriter Rea Garvey. No word on whether robots from the future booked this concert in an effort to kill Sarah Connor.

View this post on Instagram

I’ve been invited to perform at the first large social distancing concert in Germany at the Merkur Spiel-Arena in Dusseldorf on 4th September. I’m playing acoustically – on my own / no band. Tickets go on sale Tuesday, August 11th at 10am through www.ticketmaster.de and giveliveachance.de/tickets #giveliveachance #socialdistancingconcert #barebones #bryanadamslive

A post shared by Bryan Adams (@bryanadams) on Aug 6, 2020 at 12:13pm PDT

Will Sigur Rós’ CBD Tinctures Laga Allt Rangt Hjá Mér?

Will Sigur Rós’ CBD Tinctures Laga Allt Rangt Hjá Mér?


| August 6, 2020 – 1:25 pm

In future prestige dramas about the years surrounding this one, set designers will scatter evidence of CBD around apartment spaces as an easter egg for eagled-eyed viewers. “Did you notice how all of the products in the apartment said ‘CBD’ on them?” one such viewer will ask a friend. “It stands for cannabidiol, a chemical compound derived from hemp that, during that time period, everyone was eating and putting on their bodies and feeding to their dogs.” “Oh,” the friend will say. “No one knew why they were ingesting the CBD or putting it onto their skin or in their dogs, they just did it.” “Cool.” “They maybe thought it would enhance something.” “Okay.” “Or dehance it, so to speak, if that was the desired effect.” “Huh.” “Sigur Rós even made CBD products at one point.” “The Icelandic band Earth Grandma liked?” “Yeah.” “Huh.”

Yes, it’s true — Sigur Rós, in partnership with CBD-focused artist collective Vona, has released a duo of 1000mg broad spectrum CBD tinctures. The tinctures are called “Sleep” and “Wake” and are said to, respectively, “support your mind and body as you drift off into the ethereal” and “help you align with the physical world.” They are $58 separately, or $99.95 for the duo.

It of course makes sense that Sigur Rós would release a line of CBD tinctures. Their music, both in its post-punk and ambient forms, is the aural equivalent of CBD — or, more specifically, the aural equivalent of claims related to the anxiety reducing effects of CBD. (Though there are many CBD products claiming to do essentially anything you might want a product to do — ease your sore muscles, cure your cancer, make your hair shiny — only one has so far been approved by the FDA: a prescription drug used to treat two severe forms of epilepsy.) Yes, it is as natural a product and band pairing as, ah, if, um … Spoon sold spoons, or Ice Cube sold ice cubes, or Cake sold vibraslaps.

But does it work?

For the sake of background, I’d like to say that I have at points, primarily in high school, been an active fan of Sigur Rós. In fact, while CBD is non-psychoactive, the band led to one of my most naturally psychoactive high school memories. During sophomore year, I had music class on a rotating schedule with speech and art. It comprised not music but screenings of Amadeus and guided meditations during which the majority of the class fell asleep on the floor. I was a music obsessive who hated school in general and my school in particular, where I had no one to talk to about the music I loved. I deeply resented the musiclessness of “music class.”

During one music class, my teacher (who also taught speech and art) was talking about I don’t know what, when she brought up a band from Iceland she’d just heard of: “something … rose?”* From what I remember, the thought was tossed into the classroom contextless. For a moment the world stopped. My interior life and my exterior life collided with the level of intensity that if performed between two ultra-dense stars might result in a black hole. My vision narrowed. My breath caught in my chest. My heart pounded in my ears. “Sigur Rós?” I offered. Yes, that was it.

It was extremely insane. But let’s see how the CBD is.

SLEEP

I’d like to say immediately that these are the best tasting CBD products I have sampled, and I have sampled several. As a writer, PR companies sometimes reach out to me to see if I’d like to try out their CBD-related wares, and typically I do, because who am I to say no, save for the dog-related CBD products, which I uniformly refuse out of fear. I’ve tried several edible CBD tinctures, only one of which — labeled “EXTRA STRENGTH” — had a noticeable effect, when I accidentally took four times the recommended dose and later attempted to walk my dog. I thought I was dying. My legs were close to nonfunctioning. I was intensely sleepy.

Most of the tinctures taste like weed and dirt, or something like weed and dirt and mint. This one tastes a little like that, but mostly like rose and lemon, which is its stated flavor. A nice flavor for sleep. But, unlike the EXTRA STRENGTH brand of which I accidentally ingested a ridiculous amount, “Sleep” does not reliably make me particularly sleepy. I took each of the tinctures regularly for about two weeks, and the results of Sleep were mixed. Sometimes I felt sleepy; other times I felt restless.

It is nice, though, to have another step in the sleep routine. Oops, have to take my sleep oil! It’s good to give yourself little tasks, especially now. It’s also nice to have a small bit of hope that something might make anything even slightly better. This is, of course, why scams work. Unfortunately probably nothing will ever make anything better. This is, of course, life.

WAKE

Wake is also delicious, as far as CBD oils go. The flavor is “fresh citrus pine,” and it tastes like orange blossom. Again, it’s nice to pretend you’re in Alice In Wonderland and you have to take your little wake-up medicine to aliven yourself to the day. (Not that this is something that happened in Alice In Wonderland.) Cross it off of your to-do list. Ah yes, I’ve taken my dropper. But I was not able to record any noticeable effects. Sometimes I would feel energized and optimistic. Sometimes I would instead feel reality. The tincture did not seem to reliably alter my body or outlook.

Maybe it’s more like Peter Pan, and I just didn’t believe enough. Or maybe the world is too heavy to be lifted by the promises of CBD. But listening to Sigur Rós’s music in preparation for this piece did inspire a visceral experience within me, transporting me directly back to my early teen years. And I did in fact feel this in my body and mind. So maybe the tinctures are superfluous anyway.

* I have since concluded that because this happened around the time of the release of ( ), NPR must have done a segment about them. Actually, after some Googling, I am willing to say she potentially heard this.

Ziemba – “If I’m Being Honest” & “True Romantic”

Ziemba – “If I’m Being Honest” & “True Romantic”

| August 6, 2020 – 5:56 pm

[Mad Men spoilers ahead. If you haven’t watched Mad Men by now, I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but consider this your warning.]

One of the most iconic burns on Mad Men, a series full of iconic burns, belongs to Dr. Faye Miller, Don Draper’s season 4 love interest. Upon learning he’s ending their healthy adult relationship and has opted to spontaneously propose to his secretary instead, Dr. Faye declares, “I hope she knows you only like the beginning of things.” It’s a ruthlessly honest assessment of one of TV’s most charismatic assholes.

I thought of this line instantly when, midway through the lead single from her new album, Ziemba sang, “I don’t wanna think about the end/ I want only beginnings.” The song is called “If I’m Being Honest,” and it puts Ziemba — aka El Paso singer, songwriter, and producer René Kladzyk — on the receiving end of a breakup. “I wish I had control over this,” she admits. “It makes me feel very small.” So she’s playing the Dr. Faye role in this particular interaction, but she’s fessing up to a very Don-like impulse to gravitate to those halcyon moments before everything goes wrong.

This all happens within the context of a New Age soft-rock power ballad like a half-remembered dream of Cyndi Lauper and Sophie B. Hawkins. It’s astonishing, and quite surprising coming from Sister Polygon, the largely punk-oriented label that will release Ziemba’s True Romantic next month. The title track is also out today, a bright and strummy but still ethereal offering with a music video directed by Ralph Diaz. Check out both songs below.


TRACKLIST:
01 “If I’m Being Honest”
02 “True Romantic”
03 “Harbor Me”
04 “Bad Love”
05 “Feelings Are Real”
06 “You Feel Like Paradise”
07 “Mama”
08 “Brazil”
09 “Casket And Cradle”
10 “Power of Love”

True Romantic is out 9/25 on Sister Polygon. Pre-order it here.

CREDIT: Kathryn Vetter Miller

Kanye West Implies His GOP-Backed Campaign Is Intended To Hurt Biden

Kanye West Implies His GOP-Backed Campaign Is Intended To Hurt Biden

| August 6, 2020 – 8:22 pm

CREDIT: Scott Dudelson/FilmMagic

Over the last few days, reports have emerged in outlets like The New York Times New York magazine, Vice, and CNN that Kanye West’s presidential campaign is being aided by Republican operatives, some linked with Trump’s camp, in an effort to get West on the ballot in select states, including ones that could prove pivotal in the next election.

Today, in an interview conducted with Forbes over text message, West was asked whether he was running in order to take votes away from Joe Biden. He did not deny it, and replied that he was “walking … to win.” When told that it wasn’t possible for him to feasibly win in 2020 and that he was essentially operating a spoiler campaign, West replied: “I am not going to argue with you. Jesus is King.”

Last month, Forbes published an extensive interview with West in which he was also asked whether he was OK with siphoning votes from the Democratic nominee to help Trump and he responded: “I’m not denying it, I just told you.”

So far, West has only successfully secured a spot on the Colorado ballot, as The Hill reports. He has filed to appear on the Ohio, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri ballots, but has yet to be approved. He also filed in New Jersey, but withdrew his petition after being accused of election fraud. Illinois officials are also investigating a petition he filed over fraudulent signatures.

A couple weeks ago, Kanye West held a “presidential rally” in Charleston, SC. He will not be on the ballot in that state.

In a press conference on Wednesday at the White House, Trump said: “I like Kanye very much. I have nothing to do with him being on the ballot. I’m not involved.”

On Thursday night, West tweeted: “THE GOAL IS TO WIN.”

THE GOAL IS TO WIN

— ye (@kanyewest) August 7, 2020

Quebec Is Now Allowing Small Music Festivals

Quebec Is Now Allowing Small Music Festivals

| August 6, 2020 – 8:40 pm

CREDIT: Ollie Millington/Redferns

As some areas continue on lockdown, others are beginning to open up. For example, Quebec has recently announced that it will allow small music festivals to take place. As the CBC reports, the Quebec Tourism Ministry said that festivals are no longer banned in the province.

Both indoor and outdoor gatherings can now occur, as long as they adhere to certain public health guidelines. They must be limited to 250 people, maintain proper social distancing with appropriate measures, and event organizers are responsible for maintaining crowd control.

“Festival and event organizers are professional managers of gatherings and I’m confident that the resumption of activities will be done in a responsible fashion,” Quebec tourism minister Caroline Proulx said in a statement to the CBC.