Music

Album of the Week: Fake Sugar by Beth Ditto

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After rising to fame a decade ago with her band Gossip, and following a five-year silence, Beth Ditto is back on the scene with her first solo album, Fake Sugar, out now via Virgin.

Ditto’s charming pop performances find a new awakening in the twelve tracks of the album, on which she sings again about love, relationships (with her wife of four years, in particular), friendship, and human rights.

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Wanted/Needed/Loved: Brendan Canty’s Vintage Drums

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I just remember when I first started playing that set how beautiful and perfect it was. Having a real instrument really made a difference. I started really playing! ...more

Album of the Week: Bravado by Kirin J. Callinan

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“With every decision I made, I picked the least-tasteful option,” Australian singer-songwriter Kirin J. Callinan told the FADER in discussing how his newest album, Bravado (Terrible Records) came to be.

A wacky yet riveting  journey into the clichés of contemporary pop but with a distinguished sonic quality and production, the album features guest appearances from DeMarco, Weyes Blood, James Chance, Alex Cameron, Connan Mockasin, Owen Pallet, Sean Nicholas Savage, and the Finn Family.

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Swinging Modern Sounds #81: On Cultural Preservation

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The Lost Boys had their moment in the media, but these people, these survivors, not boys at all and not lost now either, are still here, living lives, growing and changing and thinking and reflecting. ...more

Album of the Week: True to Self by Bryson Tiller

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Bryson Tiller made himself known in 2015, when, hailing from the streets of Louisville, KY, the then-twenty-two-year-old singer, rapper, and songwriter posted his debut single “Don’t” on his Soundcloud page, introducing a new style that blends “the urgency of trap music with the smoother sound of alternative R&B.” Subsequently, Tiller released his first album, T R A P S O U L, via RCA.

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S'morez - The Recipe | Rumpus Music

Meet the Internet’s Strangest Rap Enigma

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S’morez is a young rapper from New Jersey with an all but exclusively online presence, and in June last year he put out one of the strangest mixtapes of 2016, The Recipe. ...more

Album of the Week: She-Devils by the She-Devils

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Coming from Montreal’s notable music scene, the She-Devils, Audrey Ann Boucher and Kyle Jukka, approach their music-making more as visual artists than songwriters. Boucher draws and paints cartoon-influenced images, including the group’s album art, and Jukka is a “sound sculptor,” molding sonic pieces from samples and loops.

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The Beatles - White Album

Elegy with Records on the Doorstep

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The old music still filled pits in him like sawdust and wood glue do a nail hole. The songs didn’t say anything new over the years, but they provided home when he missed it. ...more

Album of the Week: Powerplant by Girlpool

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Powerplant is the sophomore album of Los Angeles duo Girlpool, now out via Anti-Records. Starting out with an intimate, bedroom pop made up of vocals over guitar and bass, Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker then recruited Miles Wintner to record drums on their new material, creating a fuller sound which could easily fit under the “folk punk” umbrella, but taking up way more space than that.

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Sound & Vision: Bob Egan

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Allyson McCabe talks with Bob Egan, a man widely known as one of New York’s foremost “pop culture detectives,” about why and how he does the work he does. ...more

Slang and Swagger: Riffing with Jeff Chang

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Jeff Chang discusses his latest book, We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation, his work in hip-hip journalism, and the beauty and humanity of political protest. ...more

Swinging Modern Sounds #80: I Just Don’t Want to Wait Around Anymore

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Mulcahy’s Possum is, like the animal titularly referred to, a sly and imaginative affair... ...more
As Cities Burn - Come Now Sleep | Rumpus Music

Albums of Our Lives: As Cities Burn’s Come Now Sleep

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Most often, I do not speak when I am alone. That morning I sat on the couch and said Oh my God. I said it aloud, again and again, Oh my God. ...more

Album of the Week: Harriet Brown’s Contact

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Hailing from the Bay Area and now based in Los Angeles, Harriet Brown is the self-proclaimed champion of “romantic funk,” a realm where Prince is king and Sade is queen. His debut Contact, just released by Innovative Leisure, is “a concept album about communication and the contact we purposely, accidentally and inherently struggle to make between friends, lovers and strangers, be them human or otherwise.”

Drawing inspiration from the late 1980s American funk and early 1990s British R&B, Brown composed, arranged, co-produced, and performed all the album’s tracks without any sense of nostalgia, updating familiar sounds to fit with the current cultural climate, “sexual and sensitive, ambiguous and androgynous.”

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Album of the Week: Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN.

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With rumors and speculation about another new record dropping on the second Coachella weekend flying, Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio album DAMN. (out via TDE/ Interscope) has already established itself as an instant classic.

Lamar, who prefers to identify as musician and a writer rather than a rapper, called his album “Very urgent.” DAMN.

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Finishing What You Start: A Conversation with Musician Matt Kivel

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Matt Kivel discusses his latest release, Fires on the Plain, the ways in which cinema inspires his music, and how he reads his critics. ...more

Album of the Week: Arca by Arca

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In 2012, after leaving their homeland Venezuela for New York City and then London, Alejandro Ghersi began playing music under the stage name of Arca. A former child star, Ghersi has collaborated with Bjork and Kanye West. Now, the twenty-six-year-old producer and composer is releasing their third, eponymous album—the first via XL Recordings, and the first to feature Ghersi’s compelling vocals, breaking their long streak of producing extremely experimental, instrumental works.

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Anything Can Happen: Jennifer Higdon on Contemporary Music

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Composer Jennifer Higdon discusses the end of expected boundaries in contemporary music, connecting with an audience, and the difference between academic and commercial works. ...more

Swinging Modern Sounds #79: The Rhythm Section Speaks

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Maybe there is something important about rock and roll now, rock and roll the neglected past tense of a musical form, and that is that it is the music of adults. ...more

Album of the Week: Tei Shi’s Crawl Space

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Tei Shi is Valerie Teicher—born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, raised between Bogota, Colombia, and Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in New York after graduating from Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Her new album, Crawl Space, out now from Downtown Records, is her coming-of-age diary transposed into music.

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The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project #77: Hauschka

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Lion could be a simple homecoming story, the prodigal son returning to the place he was born. Except, the son in question was six when he left. Now, he’s twenty-six and his story is far from simple. Garth Davis’s film, like his TV offering Top of the Lake, is a beautiful, emotional rollercoaster. 

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Sound & Vision: Matt Sullivan

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Allyson McCabe talks with Matt Sullivan, founder of Light in the Attic Records, about how he’s preserved the label's commitment to great music while also meeting the demands of a changing, and often challenging, market. ...more
Annie Lennox - Nostalgia | Rumpus Music

My Life with Annie Lennox: Nostalgia

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I don’t use the term “lifelong hero” frivolously. There are a lot of people I respect and wish to emulate; Annie Lennox, however, is the only “lifelong hero” I’ll ever have. I need her. ...more

Wanted/Needed/Loved: Weyes Blood’s Mysterious Kris

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To this day no one really knows where my kris came from or whether or not it’s a significant part of my family history, if it’s a random object or an heirloom with an untold story. ...more

Album of the Week: Jay Som’s Everybody Works

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Jay Som is the musical project of San Francisco singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Melina Duterte. The moniker was found via an online baby name generator and means “Victory Moon.” Everybody Works is her sophomore release, out via Polyvinyl Record.

Writing, recording, playing on, and producing almost every bit of her new album, Duterte keeps her signature DIY approach—wedding lo-fi rock to hi-fi home orchestration, and weaving evocative autobiographical poetry into energetic punk, electrified folk, and dreamy alt-funk.

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