America is restless. And in the Golden State of California, the veneer of optimism and unlimited opportunity hides a countryside teetering on the edge of the Pacific. The hillside mansions risk burning in the wildfires while the views from ocean front properties remind their owners that one tectonic shift will sink it all.Surely the people who built Los Angeles on the desert landscape were aware of the delicate balance of their surroundings, but hope springs eternal. And indeed, LA became a place of dreams realized, even though Mother Nature and the hands of fate often destroyed those dreams. LA’s SadGirl are acutely aware of that reality, and their analog rock n’ roll has always somehow managed to approximate the relentless optimism of the pioneer spirit, but they’ve also exuded some degree of self-awareness of the anodyne properties of vintage pop. With their new album Water, the Los Angeles trio taps into the romantic and nostalgic spirit of their native city while exuding a time-tested authenticity suggesting that they’ve had a peek behind the curtain of the manicured lawns, glitzy boulevards, and relentless sunshine. SadGirl will be performing tonight, July 11, at the Teregram Ballroom
Oscar Key Sung is a rising name in Australia's independent music scene, coming out of Melbourne. He's been steadily releasing music through collaborative projects and on his own for the past few of years, but it is his unique approach to blending experimental electronic beats with RnB vocals yet keeping a pop-style element to his sound, that has gained him attention as an emerging solo artist. His latest single 'Hands' from his anticipated debut full length album see's him continue to captivate us sonically and visually with a music video that features minimalistic contemporary dance and lighting effects. Ahead of his album to be release later this year, we spoke to him about the new record, how he defines his distinctive style and his introduction into music. Click here to read more.
The Broad museum’s Nonobject(ive): Summer Happenings series kicked off last Saturday. The program was inspired by the museum’s first special exhibition, Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life. The late-night series animated important influences of leading contemporary artists through music and performance, fluctuating between happenings, salons and productions. The first program featured the lush beauty of Perfume Genius’s orchestrations and the ever-changing masked choreography of Narcissister. In the spirit of Cindy Sherman’s photographs, performance collective Mutant Salon transformed visitors’ hair, make-up and minds in a lavish pop-up beauty parlor and hive for creative collaboration and self-care. Lotic created dark beats in The Broad’s distinctive architecture, and Cindytalk performed electronic soundscapes that blended rhythmic dissonance with ethereal vocals. The event included same-night access to the full museum, including the Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life special exhibition. photographs by Dicko Chan
10 years ago, when the phrase “pop music” conjured associations of Backstreet Boys and Britney, I would have never even thought to make a pop music list. But we are well into the Internet age at this point (it feels like just yesterday when I was on the Shoutweb message boards, discussing the excellence of KoRn and Slipknot with other pimply faced malcontents, but in reality it was 15 years ago), and the artists that grew up watching TRL and then reading Pitchfork on their desktops have come of age. Pop music has mutated into a variety of forms, only connected through an accessible, danceable, and sing-along quality. You can have the retro-psych R&B of Miguel, the post-modern alterna-pop of Bjork, or the British dancefloor celebration of Jamie XX, and it is all pop. Sub-culture has thoroughly been erased, and that isn’t a bad thing. It just means that individual taste has come to the forefront. You will have a much harder time finding someone who is only into black metal these days, but you might find a girl who has Grimes playing on her headphones sitting at the coffee shop wearing a Darkthrone t-shirt.
The point is, the artists making pop these days are very much artists, and not corporate drones. They by and large love music and are acquainted with at least some form of music history. In the words of Future and Drake, “What a time, TO BE ALIVE!”
Click here to listen to the full playlist...
Since announcing his new album, Age of Transparency, this past August, Autre Ne Veut has shared a video for "World War Pt.2,” a jazz version of that single, the single “Panic Room” and its accompanying video, featuring Ashin singing acapella. Today, in a special collaboration with Yours Truly and Wetransfer, Arthur Ashin of Autre Ne Veut shares a music video for the titular single, Age of Transparency, as the final tastes of the album before its release next week (on Downtown). Director Allie Avital, who is responsible for both of the album’s previous videos, claims Age of Transparency’s cover art as her inspiration. She explains; “I caught one of the marble figures eating Thai noodles during lunch and was really moved by how beautiful and somewhat sad that image was. Over the course of the last few months, we [Avital & Ashin] developed this mythology of a dystopian office where the businesspeople have turned to marble, and this mischievous Puck-like character plays amongst them.” Click here to preorder the album.
It seems like something dark and catastrophic always happens right before surf-noir quartet La Luz records an album. Before the first album, it was a mass shooting in Seattle. Before the second album, it was a catastrophic car accident on a highway whilst the band was on tour. All of this misfortune, perhaps melded with the dark overcastness of the Pacific Northwest, gives the band a murderous and deliciously baleful sound. Click here to read the full interview.
Robert Lesser began collecting pulp paintings, comic books, and comic-character toys in the 1950s. As a student at the University of Chicago, Lesser’s literature studies combined with his fascination with popular culture kindled his interest in studying and collecting pulp art and comic memorabilia....In 1975 he wrote A Celebration of Comic Art and Memorabilia, an informational collectors guide; in 1997 he published Pulp Art: Original Cover Paintings for the Great American Pulp Magazines, a full-color collection of pulp paintings and history that includes expert interpretation. The style of artwork created for pulp magazines is often compared to Norman Rockwell’s cover designs for the “Saturday Evening Post,” but the character of the paintings was quite disparate from Rockwell’s jovial depictions of everyday life. Pulp Art flaunted unsettling images of violence, racism, sex, and crime. The publishing houses that produced pulp fiction such as Popular Publications, Street & Smith, Condé Nast, and Frank A. Munsey Company destroyed much of the artwork produced for the magazines after printing. The images weren’t suitable for display in homes or museums so artists and auctioneers deemed them worthless. Tens of thousands of pulp paintings were created, out of which only a small number survive today.The 90 works on display at the Museum of American Illustration are now a part of the collection of the New Britain Museum of American Art, promised gift of Robert Lesser. Now on view until July 31. www.societyillustrators.com