Penny 3.2 ft. Eyedress

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PENNY

3.2

WINTER ‘24

A NEW YEAR MINI ZINE FT.

EYEDRESS

+ BEACH FOSSILS - THE LEMON TWIGS - MORE


“Now that all these things have happened, I fully believe in everything I'm doing” -Idris Vicuña (Eyedress)


TABLE OF CONTENTS INTERVIEWS “Everything is with a Wink and a Nudge” - In Conversation with the Lemon Twigs (8) From Free Bar Shows to Double-Platinum Records: Eyedress Reflects on the Importance of the Simple Things, Collaboration, Family, and his Upcoming Album (12) Past, Present, with Dustin Payseur of Beach Fossils (24)

EDITORIAL Chappell Roan Brings A Cascade of Queer Joy Through Phoenix (4) 2023’s Greatest Sonic Hero: Jerskin Fendrix (7) Vacations x Brain Dead (28) Penny’s AOTY 2023 (30)

WHO IS PENNY? Founder & Editor-in-Chief + Layout/graphics Erin Christie

Contributing Writers Mári Cárdenas (12) Erin Christie (7, 24, 30) Isabel Corp (32) Giliann Karon (8) Brian Mecinas (4)

Contributing Photographers Mari Cárdenas (28) Brian Mecinas (4) Also Featuring Photos by Matt Allen (24) Razy Faouri (Cover, 2, 12) Stephanie Pia (8)

Felt compelled to make a quick little zine to kick off the new year, including some recent blog pieces I didn’t think got enough hype, a passion project (my interview with Dustin), a comprehensive 2023 AOTY I’ve been sitting on, and a truly wonderful interview by my friend and contributor Mári — it’s a short one, but more to come later this year!! Thanks for reading xx

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Brings a Cascade of Queer Joy Through Phoenix Show Review and Photography by Brian Mecinas

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of each city she visits, inviting them out to fill the opening slot that a supporting act normally would. The crowd in Phoenix were greeted with dazzling performances by local queens Salem Vee, Ben Whitneybell, and Sayyora DeMornay.

Every color of the rainbow descended upon The Van Buren on a lively Friday night in Arizona. The excitement in the air was tangible throughout the vibrant line of countless concert-goers that poured out of the building and stretched around an entire city block. For one night only, indie-pop phenomenon Chappell Roan had brought her Midwest Princess Tour to Phoenix, performing for a crowd that had completely sold out the venue just minutes prior to doors opening. With the recent release of her highly anticipated debut album, The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess, tickets for the vast majority of her tour dates have been in high demand as Roan sets out to spark a cascade of queer joy across the continent.

After a parade of movement and flawless lip-synching delivered by each queen came to a close, the crowd of colorful fans chatted amongst themselves as they eagerly awaited the start of Roan’s set. Much to their pleasure, it wasn’t long before the lights dimmed and a pinktinted haze spread across the stage. With the signature whirlwind of orchestra strings that marked the start of “Femininomenon,” Roan and her band assumed their positions onstage, welcomed by a wave of cheers that almost overpowered the song itself. Having assigned rainbow-themed attire as the designated theme for the night, Roan did not disappoint. Wrapped in a stunning, iridescent sash made of what seemed to be flower-shaped foil balloons in various color combinations, one would imagine that she had come ready for the fruitiest pool party in town. The dedication to crafting jaw-dropping costumes for her tour

Just nine months prior, the glittery pop icon had launched her first North American headlining tour in Phoenix at the neighboring Crescent Ballroom. Seeing firsthand the level of growth Roan had achieved in less than a year was spectacular, to say the least, as she leaped from a 500-person ballroom to a 2,000-person concert hall. One of the highlights of Roan’s shows is her commitment to uplifting drag performers from the local queer scenes 5


fiery tracks “Red Wine Supernova” and “After Midnight” to round out the first chunk of her setlist. The two vibrant songs joined the already plentiful group of danceable pop hits off of her debut album. It was clear that she had prepared well for the tour, as Roan was in a constant state of dance as she made her way back and forth from each end of the stage, often interacting cheerfully with the members of her band. A personal highlight of the night was in the live rendition of “Super Graphic Ultra Modern Girl,” which is arguably the most fast-paced and electrifying of the previously unheard upbeat songs on the album. If there was any doubt that Roan could translate this energy into her live performance, it was immediately cast away when the song started. The combination of her fervent movements and breathtaking vocals sent the crowd into an ecstatic frenzy as Roan belted out “Uh huh, I’m through / with all these super mega bummer boys like you / Oh yeah, I need a super graphic ultra-modern girl like me.” Even after the end of the song, the grip she held on the crowd only tightened as she transitioned into

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fan-favlorite “HOT TO GO!,” which can be likened to a campy Gen-Z parallel to “Y.M.C.A” for those who are unfamiliar. Pausing only to give everyone a quick rundown of the signature dance that accompanies the song, Roan’s energy was infectious. It was hard to spot a single person in the crowd who didn’t have their arms in the air, following along to the dance to the best of their ability. The remainder of the set saw a consistent rise and fall in tempo as Roan cycled through various eras of her discography, performing recognized hits like “Naked in Manhattan,” “My Kink is Karma,” and paying homage to the start of her music career with soulful renditions of “Bitter” and “School Nights.” Closing the night was “Pink Pony Club,” the track that many consider the start of the current era of the artist’s career. As a flood of pink light filled the room, the crowd bounced up and down, matching the cathartic movements on stage. With each song, Roan’s incomparable talent was on full display, demonstrating the multitudes that the pop icon contains within her widening range of music and setting high expectations for future projects to come.


2023's Greatest sonic Hero JERSKIN FENDRIX

Last month, lead actress Emma Stone garnered huge success with her second Golden Globe win, this time for her portrayal of Bella Baxter in the surrealist, highly-praised black comedy Poor Things. Beyond the film’s immediately obvious positives such as this stellar performance from Stone and stunning scenery and costuming, another notable entry contributing to its greatness is its distorted orchestral score, composed by English musical chameleon Jerskin Fendrix. Jerskin’s 2020 debut album, Winterreise, immediately struck a chord with listeners, including myself, upon its release. Littered with absolutely unhinged, self-consciously aware, and sometimes garrish electro-pop tracks built on a structure of frenzied melodies, it’s an album truly in its own lane (which is a difficult thing to declare so proudly). Filled out with stream-of-consciousness, absurd diary entries (relaying anything from flesh-eating desire to obliterating self-loathing), the record’s tracklisting relays a delicate balance of club bangers and angsty indie sleaze malaise — not an easy feat, to create tracks that make listeners want to shake ass and pull out a journal to scribble an honest love letter to their crush at the same time. Recalling what made his debut album so memorable, the Poor Things score is composed of discordant, and vaguely unsettling string configurations, this time ringing out amidst pitch-black darkness and moments of fantastical color. In bursts, these strings pick up their pace, lightening their impact as they are plucked with lofty ease and sweat elements of romance, melancholy, and wonder — this is best seen on “Bella.” On the opposite coin, “I Just Hope She’s Alright,” spotlighted in the film’s trailer, is an epic firestarter of a theme in which the hysterical mania that unfurls throughout the film’s runtime is introduced. These two individual pieces of the puzzle barely scratch the surface, though — I would almost argue that aside from being a beautifully done film with an interesting premise, amazing performances all around, and breathtaking cinematography, its musical makeup is a humungous part of why it stood out so starkly against other films that came out last year. And this is all the doing of Jerskin Fendrix. In all, the Poor Things score does exactly what a score should and even more so — without even needing to see the film for yourself, its ornate and specifically detail-oriented storytelling provides a mental picture of what one can expect from a full viewing experience. Thankfully, Jerskin Fenrix may finally receive his flowers, as his work has been nominated for Best Score at this year’s Oscars. My money’s on him, no question’s asked. - Erin Christie 7


a h t i w s i g n i h t y r e “Ev ” e g d u N a d n a k n i W

In Conversation with the Lemon Twigs Interview by Giliann Karon Photos by Stephanie Pia

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The Lemon Twigs, comprised of brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario, are natural rock stars. Born into a family of actors and musicians, they learned to play music and sing from a very young age. In previous interviews, they’ve expressed there was no career option other than music. It shows in their interviews, where they effortlessly riffed off each other’s answers, and in their live performance, where they seamlessly transitioned between songs and banter. In an era where more and more musicians rely on digital techniques to create entirely new sounds, The Lemon Twigs look backward, borrowing sensibilities from Todd Rundgren, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, and other artists they grew up listening to. They strike the skillful balance between pastiche and creating something entirely their own. Their influences are taking note – they piped up when I asked about their collaboration with Paul Myers on the book he wrote for the 50th anniversary of Todd Rundgren’s A Wizard, A True Star. The band wrote a short blurb and called the album one of the most sonically influential. After Rundgren’s appearance with the Lemon Twigs at Coachella 2017, the band has noticed an uptick in his fans who attend the Lemon Twigs shows. Despite years of critical acclaim, they still don’t take themselves too seriously. Their glorious new album, Everything Harmony, was chaotically recorded in “one of the noisiest places I’ve ever been,” says Brian, as the pandemic hit. When I asked about the name, he responded “everything is with a wink and a nudge.” Their skills are so sharp, their sound so pastoral, it’s easy to miss the layer of irony underneath. I sat down with them before their Washington, D.C. show to discuss drawing on the past while still looking ahead.

GILIANN KARON: What makes the music you’re inspired by so timeless? BRIAN D’ADDARIO: They had the perfect amount of technology to record rock music well. From a songwriting perspective, it’s closer to the kind of influence that would create a great song – well-structured and clever chords. It’s closer to the kind of music we make, which is rocked-up melodic songs. GK: How do you draw the line between paying homage to these bands and creating something entirely your own? MICHAEL D’ADDARIO: We’re very critical if someone melodically rips off another song. We want all the melodies to be different. BD: When we’re writing a song, we can recognize when it’s starting to sound like something else. We’ll go “actually, that sounds like this song,” and we’ll change it. A lot of people will write a whole song, copy something, and not even know it. Then they only realize it once they're already used to the song. GK: Tell me about the name Everything Harmony. MD: “Endless Harmony” is a Beach Boys reference. And “Everything Harmony” just sounded like a name and I didn’t question it. It was just ringing to me. Same with the last three records. GK: You were born in a very musical household and you’ve said in past interviews that being a musician was your only career option. Part of the band’s charm is how effortlessly you perform. You were always meant to be musicians, but were you always meant to play this specific style of music? Did you flirt with other genres first? BD: Throughout the time we’ve been in the band and somewhat in the public eye,

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we’ve done a lot of different things, but we’ve always seemed to get closer to what we listened to when we were kids.

GK: When you say learning new songs, do you mean writing new material or learning other people’s songs?

MD: Harmony-laden tracks with nice, melodic chords that we both like tend to be what we’re happiest with, rather than the stuff we experiment with from album to album.

MD: We have a lot of material that isn’t recorded or was just recorded. We like learning those and learning covers based on what city we’re in. And then you learn it by the time you get to the next city and it’s no longer relevant.

GK: Who was your first concert? BD: We saw Little Richard and Chuck Berry.

GK: You should play something by Bad Brains or Minor Threat tonight. Both: *laughter*

MD: Little Richard invited all the kids onstage and I played piano. BD: He crowned Michael the King of Rock and Roll. Put that into the record. GK: How do you stay sane on the road? MD: Hanging with your bros. BD: Just being around people you like a lot and eating as much junk food as you possibly can. MD: Learning new songs also extends the life of the tour.

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Stay tuned for more from The Lemon Twigs, coming soon. In the meantime, listen to their new LP, Everything Harmony, out now via Captured Tracks.


Down There! The Debut LP

From Folly Group

"A debut album to believe in" - DORK

★★★★★

"A swirling maelstrom of righteous energy" - DIY "A must-listen album in 2024" - BBC 6Music

★★★★

"Meticulously orchestrated chaos... electrifying" - NOTION "You’ll be left wondering if there’s anything Folly Group cannot do" - DORK "London collective thriving in well-crafted chaos" - NME "Energetic and driven" - CLASH

Out Now on So Young Records 11


Words by Marí Cárdenas Photos by Razy Faouri 12


FROM FREE BAR SHOWS TO DOUBLEPLATINUM RECORDS:

Eyedress REFLECTS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SIMPLE THINGS, COLLABORATION, FAMILY, AND HIS UPCOMING ALBUM

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Shrouded by a layer of smoke and black light, and poised under a giant poster of the Spirit Halloween logo flipped as a skeleton with a blunt, Eyedress crowd surfed in a sweaty mosh pit at his sold-out Los Angeles show at the Novo, losing his sunglasses to a ravenous crowd riled up to his track “I Don’t Want to Be Your Friend.” Preparing fans for his West Coast sixdate tour in March 2024, Eyedress and Friends was a one-night show in late October 2023 with a band of five — three guitars, bassist, drummer, and a keyboard player — alongside opening sets from California’s iconic skater and rapper Na-Kel Smith and alternative post-punk artist Provoker. “Lowkey, I was pretty nervous before the show went on,” Eyedress admitted after the fact. “Once I got up there, there was no room for error. I just tried to make sure everyone was having a good time.” While reflecting on his biggest show to date and recalling his current successes, though, it's equally as important to look back to Eyedress’ roots, to the pieces of his history that have contributed to him getting to where he is today. -----Born Idris Vicuña in the Philippines, Eyedress has called many places home in the 33 years since. After moving from Manila to Phoenix, to Orange County, back to the Philippines, and then to London, Eyedress has been planted in Los Angeles since 2018. These various locations have each contributed to his musical journey in unique ways.

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Vicuña was always interested in anything that sounded old — 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, lo-fi, indie, punk, hip-hop, rap music — also citing J Dilla and Flying Lotus as key references. Supporting his love of a wide array of music, his dad bought him a guitar as a kid (specifically, a Fender Squier with an amp, purchased from Guitar Center while they lived in Phoenix). When he was 13 and living in San Clemente, Vicuña joined his first band, The Liberal Underground [not his name choice], as a bassist. However, it wasn’t until he moved back to the Philippines at 15 that the music ball truly began to roll. After the move, Vicuña took to Myspace and quickly connected with someone who posted about liking Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine. He proceeded to add all of this person’s friends and messaged him to hang out, since he didn’t know anyone there at that point. Luckily, the user replied and wanted to spend time with Vicuña, too, and this relationship quickly grew. “I met Julius [Valledor] in the Philippines. When we met up, we've just been friends ever since. He taught me how to make beats, and what sampling was and then asked me to start a band [Bee Eyes],” Vicuña recalled. The band would play every free show in every bar up until Bee Eyes was asked to open for Mac DeMarco in Singapore and Malaysia in 2013. The shows with DeMarco are noted as Eyedress’ first legit gigs. Shortly after, the bassist for Bee Eyes quit the band to pursue being a teacher in Spain — if their bassist hadn’t left, Vicuña never would have become Eyedress.


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Vicuña at the novo (10/21/2023)

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Beyond Bee Eyes, Valledor continued to help Vicuña with this vision under his new moniker, even early on with music videos such as the compellinglycult like and eerie one for the track “Nature Trips.” Now, both live in Los Angeles and Valledor is a director, merch designer (with projects including the recent Eyedress x Mac DeMarco collectibles and Eyedress solo merch flips), and avid supporter of Eyedress. The pair have proceeded to conquer their dreams, including playing Coachella together in 2022. Moving into 2024, there’s sure to be even more accomplishment for them both. Since signing to RCA Records at the beginning of 2023, Eyedress has released ten new singles (not including remixes). After a decade of musicianship, he also finally reaped the rewards of his hard work when his song “Jealous,” taken off of the junior album Let’s Skip to the Wedding, blew up on TikTok and appeared in over 1M videos on the platform in 2020. The viral song earned Eyedress his first gold record, which has now ascended to double platinum. Subsequently, his other tracks “Romantic Lover” and “Something About You” both went platinum as well, contributing to him reaching over 16M monthly listeners on Spotify. Parallel to his expanding audience on a streaming level, Eyedress’ stage dynamic has also grown over the years, as Vicuña used to perform alone, playing off his laptop. With the label’s support, he gained the financial ability to create a more entertaining show and he can also pay band members to join along — he references Filipino musician Toro Y Moi’s career

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Vicuña and his Gold record for “Jealous”

trajectory with this in mind: “Everyone gets started [on their own], then gets a band, then eventually musical directors, and it becomes this whole thing.” In addition to expanding his live presence with the addition of band members, Vicuña has always placed a large amount of value on collaboration with other musicians in general. This includes his tracks with The Marías (the DMT-inspired fear-conquering track “Room Up in the Sky” and lovereleasing track “Separate Ways”) and an uncredited feature in King Krule’s “The Cadet Leaps” where he speaks in Tagalog. The most recent collaboration that opened Vicuña’s eyes was last year’s “My Simple Jeep,” on which he worked once again, alongside Mac DeMarco. The collaboration started after DeMarco reached out to work together. Vicuña recalls his attire when the two had first started recording in the mansion, with him decked out in diamonds and gold chains and flexing his assets. When writing “My Simple Jeep,” he quickly realized that its most


important takeaway is to keep it simple and to, as he put it, “not be a fancy clown kind of guy.” “Coming from Mac DeMarco, who is successful and rich as fuck, he drives the most simple car and doesn’t have a Ferrari and all that dumb shit,” he says. “That collaboration changed things for me. Not gonna lie though, he has fancy recording equipment, but I liked that about him.” Reflecting on his upbringing from having nothing, he realized that the most important things are the simple things. Henceforth, Vicuña has shifted his focus toward being less materialistic. Vicuña’s last full-length album under Eyedress, FULL TIME LOVER, also features a stacked cast of collaborators: The Drums, Homeshake, his partner Elvia, the two openers for “Eyedress and Friends” (Provoker and Na-kel Smith), and a whopping 23 others. In typical Eyedress style, his upcoming project (details to be announced) follows suit: “It’s like MTV’s TRL, but an album. Or an award show where I collaborate with every artist. And of course, I have my own songs on there,” he explains. “Through skateboarding,

I'd meet fools that listen to rap or punk rock or emo — you meet all types of people,” he continued. “That's what inspired my music taste, being around every kind of walk of life. [All the artists] that I’m friends with and how we coexist together is more like a community than anything.” For this new project, Vicuña rented a mansion in Malibu and through that time, Mac DeMarco, Julian Cashwan Pratt from Show Me The Body [vox/banjo], and Dean Blunt collaborated. Harmony Korine, known for writing 90s cult classic Kids, also wrote lyrics for some songs on the new album, and Vicuña also mentioned having two Toro y Moi collaborations in the works for the record. That said, fans can anticipate a stacked lineup of contributors coming to Vicuña’s indie TRL, coming soon. “I find collaborations more interesting because I could make songs by myself all day, but there's a certain kind of magic that happens when two different artists make something,” Vicuña noted. “Back in the day, I don't think a lot of indie artists would

Vicuña and DeMarco

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Vicuña and

Tim Robinson

Vicuña on the set of “Run the Fade”

Vicuña on the set of “My Simple Jeep”

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collaborate. They would just drop their own album with no features. I felt like that was more of a rap thing. I want it to sound like a curated playlist.” Another big part of Eyedress’ M.O. is his aesthetics, from his sound alone to his music videos which are heavily influenced by the 80s and 90s, featuring Internet graphics, wooden trains, claymation, and camcorders. He cites his dad’s work as an animator on Jimmy Neutron and Anastasia as inspiration, and also notes that his dad exposed him to anime, claymation, and weird subcultures. His most important point of reference, though, is being a child of the 90s. “[My art is] just me trying to relive my childhood and hopefully kids that grow up on my stuff like the same shit. I feel like all the art I'm into always inspired me to be open and not be super square. I just love anything that inspires creativity.” A key reference to Vicuña’s upbringing within the Eyedress catalog is his song “Teen Mom.” The shoegaze track was written in appreciation for his mom’s selflessness and care when she was raising him in the 90s. He reflects on when she’d drive him to school, skateparks, the mall, and more while his dad was at work. The video thus exhibits a montage portraying his mom’s acts of service through reenacted footage and claymation. “I wanted to acknowledge and value all the great things she did for me while she was raising me,” he explained. “There aren't a lot of songs about moms.” What makes this music video even more interesting is who directed and

produced it — Mu$ty BoYz [Abraham Recio, Rhyan Santos] is known in yeold indie lore (circa 2018), most notably for their work in the same spaces as acts such as Inner Wave, Cuco, Cherry Glazerr, and Tijuana Panthers. When Vicuña moved back to the US, his relationship with Mu$ty BoYz began when they brought him onto a 2019 twelve-date tour with Inner Wave (as Santos was the tour manager). They also introduced him to the guy who later booked him for Coachella. Vicuña recalls how he eventually stopped working with Mu$ty BoYz, though, since they were getting “too fucked up at one point” and he “needed to get [his] shit together because [he’s] not from the US.” This time additionally led him to begin working with a New Jersey-based manager who stole money from him. Vicuña and Mu$ty BoYz have since reconnected in small strides, most notably via the video for “Teen Mom” — for the video, Vicuña even got Santos to play his dad, Recio to direct, and heavy dark synth punk artist N8NOFACE's girlfriend to play his mom (with Na-Kel Smith as the skateboarding stunt double). “I regretted that I parted ways with Mu$ty BoYz,” Vicuña admitted. “‘Teen Mom’ was like a full circle moment where it was like, ‘Hey, I need to make things right with the people who have my back.’ So, that's why I got them to do the video. It was a community thing — if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have met my wife and none of anything that I have would be here. So, it was [my way of saying] thanks and trying to not forget about the people who believed in me early on.”

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Another one of Vicuña’s projects that places emphasis on long-held connection is the 2022 project Siblings, Siblings, on which he worked with indie-alternative Filipino-MexicanAmerican musician zzzahara (Zahara Jaime). zzzahara and Eyedress’ Jaime). relationship dates years back: Jaime helped Vicuña play early shows when he didn’t have a band, they jammed together, and he supported him when he first moved. The 2022 album compiled all the music they made together over the years, and it was then released on Vicuña’s old label Lex Records under the name The Simps (a title for self-proclaimed extremely emotional lovers towards girls). Since the project’s release, Jaime and Vicuña’s relationship has been admittedly turbulent, but Vicuña emphasizes that he’s making a point to mend things: “After I found out one of my old managers was stealing money from me, I realized there are degrees of how bad people can be,” he explained.

He shares his love with the world through photoshoots, music videos, and song collaborations with his wife, even sharing intimate moments such as film photos documenting their engagement and various trips together. He notes that although this role can be a lot of pressure, he wants to support his wife and be there for his son, whether it’s playing on the playground together or watching him banging the drums. Moving forward, Eyedress’ music and life mentality will be focused on his family, love, and friends. He appreciates RCA for allowing his life to continue to get bigger and hopes to have a new hit song soon, and to continue to change his family’s lives for the better.

In a similar vein to his forward-thinking mentality on relationships, when asked if there are songs in his discography he thinks of most fondly, Vicuña states that his focus is to keep moving forward and make more songs, instead of looking back. “Going back is quite painful. Like, I never play ‘Cocaine Sunday’ [his 4th most popular song] anymore. Elvia hates that song,” song,” he explained. “I didn't fully believe in it myself. But, now that all these things have happened, I fully believe in everything I'm doing.” Outside of continued musical success, Vicuña’s main priority these days is being a devoted husband to Elvia and father to his three-year-old son Boaty. 22

Vicuña and His Family


STAY TUNED FOR MORE NEW MUSIC AND UPCOMING NEWS FROM EYEDRESS, COMING SOON.

Vicuña and Jaime [The Simps]

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PAST, PRESENT, & FUTURE with Dustin Payseur of Beach Fossils

The summer before my freshman year of college, Brooklyn lo-fi indie sweethearts Beach Fossils shared their seminal sophomore record, Somersault — much like the gymnastic action itself, the record presented a full 360-degree shift, a cyclical journey through all-encapsulating emotions from overwhelming joy to crushing grief. At that extremely changedriven stage of my life, I found solace in welcoming that new era with recognition for the album’s comfortability with emotional volatility in my back pocket. It equipped me to move forward into a period of intense self-discovery with a feeling of solidarity (not to mention, some truly stellar slow jams to listen to while traversing a Boston autumn for the first time). Somersault was born with four years of

Interview by Erin Christie 24

Photos by Matt Allen

effort, and in similar fashion, it took a whopping six years for Beach Fossils’ newest LP Bunny (released last year via Bayonet) Bayonet) to finally come to fruition (though, part of the expected timeline was lengthened due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic). Despite the lengthy timeline attached, Since the very beginning, bandleader Dustin Payseur has led Beach Fossils with an implementation of romanticism, nihilism, and existentialism, all in good measure. Levied against infectiously jangly surf-rock, jubilant power pop, and sudsy noise, this has consistently led them to churn out sleeper hits for all of Williamsburg to get down to, whether while streaming through their headphones at their 9-to-5 or while drowning out the sounds of the city at the local dive. The daydream-like quality painting a majority of the BF catalog makes for “easy listening,” but beneath that exterior,


there’s an emotional weight that could only be carried by a prehistoric kaiju. This theme continues on Bunny, where Payseur flexes an unprecedented amount of emotional muscle, undoubtedly in large part due to his and his wife’s newest addition to their family. It’s said that parenthood changes you, and if that change — alongside accompanying clarity, joy, and unwavering love — could be translated into song, it could be found on Bunny’s tracklisting. Where previous Beach Fossils albums contain a level of nihilism and cynical self-awareness balanced with lofty, nostalgic dreamscapes about a world unburdened, Bunny is led with recognition of these same themes, but employs them in a new way. Thus, Bunny finds Payseur reflects on the past and makes space for discussing the challenges of coming into one’s own in such a complicated world, but also expresses a level of gratitude for these hardships conquered. In a way, it serves as a guiding light for Payseur himself, unfurling as a reminder to stay present and to take stock of the important ideas and lessons he’s gained over the past few years and hopes to introduce to his baby girl in the afterglow. Years down the line from their last album release, Payseur and co. approach their newest release with a heightened level of clarity and increased wisdom, having grown not only in their vision as a collective of musicians but also as a group of four friends coming to understand their purpose. Musically, it’s a triumph for the foursome, propelling forward with butterfly-inducing indie rock greatness that reminds listeners to acknowledge their growth, too, and to give themselves grace while traversing the everyday. Over email, we chatted with Payseur about the record, his feelings on the trajectory of Beach Fossils, fatherhood, and more.

A lot has occurred since the creation and release of the last Beach Fossils record, Somersault, in 2017. What would you say were the most valuable lessons that informed your creative process during that five-ish year interim, contributing to the creation of Bunny?

I think just trusting my intuition. I always let the creative process guide me and try not to interfere too much with the results. I looked at my own back catalog for inspiration and produced Bunny entirely by myself because I had a clear vision. Your newfound fatherhood has probably shifted your mindset and approach to the world quite profoundly. Did you find that this period of adaptation made this record’s creation and release that much more gratifying, given the hard but important work you’ve been doing personally at the same time?

Yeah, my free time has become a lot more precious now. When I sit down to work, ideas come into focus quicker than they used to. I think because I have so much inspiration but such little time to work,

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when I finally get to it, the ideas just come pouring out. Did you have any anticipatory nerves leading up to Bunny’s release, noting the inherent vulnerability in writing from the place you did? Or did it feel more cathartic and rewarding, given the extended timeline between those first writing sessions to finally having it out in the world?

Whenever I finish an album, the time between completion and release usually the happiest I ever feel. I trust myself and know that I’m proud of what I’ve made, so I never worry too much about how it will be received. It’s a huge relief to have finally finished a project and I get a few moments of peace before writing and going on tour again. Generally speaking, how do you go about channeling what’s in your heart of hearts and throwing it on a page? And how do you take that material and translate it in a musical sense with the help of the rest of the band?

It’s mostly stream-of-consciousness. I rarely sit down and have a clear idea of what I’m going to do. I record while I’m writing and experimenting, so the “demo”

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essentially becomes the finished product. Creatively, I’m just feeling around in the dark until I find something I like and continue following the path until it feels done. Were there any tracks on this record that took a particularly long time to workshop and block out from start to finish? And any that came rather naturally?

“Sleeping On My Own” was a song I was working on for years. I kept forgetting about it and coming back to it. Others happened really quickly — “Don’t Fade Away,” “Dare Me,” “Feel So High,” “Seconds” … those songs started and finished in just a couple days. “Numb” was written and recorded in one sitting. “Run To The Moon” was instrumental for a couple of years, then I wrote the lyrics in one sitting and didn’t even edit them, I just tracked it exactly how it came out. Continuing on that thought, are there any tracks on this record that you hold particularly close to your heart? Or do all of these tracks contribute to a general narrative that means the most altogether?

They’re all equally special to me. After


what I like. Going back again to Beach Fossils’ roots, hometown support has always been a huge staple of the canon, from stage to crowd (thus, New York shows, like the one the other week have felt like a family reunion in a way). How would you say the idea of connection has contributed to Beach Fossils becoming the version it is today?

New York City will always be the greatest city on earth to me and I’ll always live here. I’m such a homebody these days, but even if I’m inside, I like knowing I can walk out my door and have the city whenever I want it.

years of writing hundreds of songs, narrowing it down to 11 for Bunny, I’ve got to love them all! Do you find that music you’re listening to as a consumer feeds into the direction your writing takes? If yes, what was on regular rotation during the creation of Bunny, and do you think there are any shared themes that exist (perhaps subconsciously) between the two?

Yeah totally. I was listening to a lot of The Verve, Spiritualized, The Church, etc. I think it all marinates and comes out in its own way. With Beach Fossils having its start as a sort of side-hustle in your 20s, to transcending to the self-made beast it is today, I’m sure you’ve noticed and felt how much the industry has changed over the years. What would you say is the most glaring difference, especially as you guys have been handling almost everything yourselves?

Honestly, I don’t really know. I self-record, self-release, and up until a few months ago, Beach Fossils was self-managed. I stay away from the industry side of things as much as I can and just focus on doing

On another note, you guys have been close with Post Malone for years, but have never toured together. How was it to finally make a tour between you a reality this year and how was the experience in comparison to past tours you’ve done?

I was super grateful for him to bring us on the road. Our friendship has always been really genuine and organic, we just like each other as people and can act really stupid together, we have the same sense of humor and taste in music. I never expected him to bring us on tour, it was really surreal and incredible, playing in front of 20,000 to 45,000 people a night. He could have brought any artist he wanted and he picked us. He’s a real one for that. You’ve also spoken on how taxing touring can be, despite the inherent joy in it as well. What are you looking forward to most in your time off?

Sleeping. A lot. Finally, what are your biggest goals for 2024, whether in terms of Beach Fossils, Bayonet, or just Dustin Payseur?

Keep it going, remain grateful, work hard, be lazy.

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VACATIONS VACATIONS

IN CELEBRATION OF THE ARRIVAL OF 28

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CAPTURED BY MÁRI CÁRDENAS JANUARY 16, 2024

BRAIN BRAIN DEAD DEAD STUDIOS STUDIOS

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PENNY AOTY

2023 30

MODEL/ACTRIZ + BLONDSHELL + PARIS TEXAS + TROYE SIVAN + MORE


MODEL/ACTRIZ - DOGSBODY ACROSS THE BIGGEST PUBLICATIONS IN MUSIC REPORTING, ONE NAME SEEMS TO TOWER ABOVE THE REST IN TERMS OF AOTY LISTINGS, AND UNSURPRISINGLY, THE TREND DOESN’T DIE HERE. I’VE BEEN A HUGE FAN OF MODEL/ACTRIZ SINCE THEIR EARLIEST EPS, SEEING THEIR CHAOTIC SENSUAL BLISS PLAY OUT AT SHOWS ACROSS THE LOCAL BOSTON UNDERGROUND DURING MY COLLEGE YEARS. HAVING TRANSCENDED TO NEW HEIGHTS WITH THE RELEASE OF THEIR STELLAR AND TOTALLY INDIVIDUAL RECORD DOGSBODY EARLIER THIS YEAR, THEY’VE BECOME AN ENTIRELY INIMITABLE BEAST. LISTENING TO TRACKS SUCH AS “SLATE” MAKE ME FEEL LIKE RUNNING AT THE FASTEST POSSIBLE SPEED I CAN MUSTER, BARRELLING THROUGH BRICK WALLS, PLOWING THROUGH IRON-WROUGHT FENCES, AND SLAMMING MYSELF INTO GLASS WINDOWS UNTIL I PHYSICALLY CAN NO LONGER PUSH ON ANY FURTHER. THERE’S A LEVEL OF UNRESTRAINED ENERGY THAT TUMBLES THROUGHOUT THIS RECORD THAT CAN ONLY BE DESCRIBED AS THE POSITIVE VERSION OF A GUT PUNCH. [ERIN CHRISTIE] FAVORITE TRACKS: SLATE, AMARANTH, PURE MODE, MARIA

PARIS TEXAS - MID-AIR I’M EXTREMELY LATE ON THE PARIS TEXAS TRAIN, BUT I’M GLAD I FINALLY ARRIVED AT THE PLATFORM AND SUCCESSFULLY BEGAN MY VOYAGE THIS YEAR. MID-AIR BECAME A STAPLE IN MY REGULAR ROTATION, PARTICULARLY WITH THE ABSURDLY EARWORM INDUCING TRANSITION BETWEEN LEAD TRACKS “TENTHIRTYSEVEN” AND “SPLIT-SCREEN” IN MIND (LIKE, C’MON!). WITH LYRICS SUCH AS “IN MY PAST LIFE, I WAS AN OTTER / WHERE I’D BACKSTROKE IN THAT WATER,” IT WAS IMMEDIATELY CLEAR TO ME THAT I WAS IN THE PRESENCE OF SHAKESPEARE-LEVEL ARTISTRY HERE. [E.C.] FAVORITE TRACKS: TENTHIRTYSEVEN, NÜWHIP, PANIC!!!

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BLONDSHELL - BLONDSHELL IF YOU’RE CONSIDERING WHAT’S “IN” AND “OUT” IN 2023 (AND CONTINUING INTO 2024), “FEMALE RAGE” IS WHOLEHEARTEDLY “IN,” AND BLONDSHELL’S DEBUT IS ONE OF THIS YEAR’S GREATEST EXAMPLES OF HOW THAT VERY EMOTION CAN BE CHANNELED INTO SOME OF THE MOST MEMORABLE, VISCERALLY IMPACTFUL MATERIAL THERE IS.

THE WHALER - HOME IS WHERE WHEN SHE’S NOT RUMINATING ON THE WHEREABOUTS OF DALE EARNHARDT IN DAYTONA, HOME IS WHERE FRONTWOMAN BRANDON MACDONALD SPENDS THE MAJORITY OF THE BAND’S SOPHOMORE ALBUM THE WHALER MOURNING A BURNING WORLD THAT SOMEHOW HASN’T IMPLODED YET. HER WRITING IS JUST AS WHIMSICAL AS IT IS DEPRESSING, HER SCREECHING HOWLS PAIRING WITH TILLEY KOMORNY’S ACCENTUATED GUITAR TAPS TO PACK A SWIFT PUNCH TO EVERY NARRATIVE SHIFT. AS THE FOLLOW-UP TO THEIR CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED 2021 RECORD I BECAME BIRDS, THE WHALER HAS OFFICIALLY CEMENTED HOME IS WHERE AS — TO LOOSELY PARAPHRASE WHAT JENN PELLY WROTE ABOUT SCREAMING FEMALES — A BAND THAT PEOPLE WILL ONE DAY LIE ABOUT SEEING. [ISABEL CORP]

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FOR EXAMPLE, THE REPEATED INTERLUDE FOUND AT THE BACK HALF OF “SALAD” — “GONNA GET BIG, GONNA GET BIG, I'M SO SCARY / I CAN'T STOP HAVING VISIONS OF FOLLOWING HIM / GONNA MAKE IT HURT, GONNA MAKE IT HURT / BUT I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK” — RINGS LIKE A GONG, PRESENTING THE LISTENER WITH THE LEVEL OF CATASTROPHIC INNER CONFLICT THAT MAY ARISE FROM THE FEELING OF LOVING SOMEONE SO WHOLEHEARTEDLY, THAT YOU MIGHT EVEN ALTER WHO YOU ARE TO PROTECT THEM. IT’S THIS BEAUTIFULLY UNRESTRAINED ADMITTANCE OF DESIRE FOR REVENGE THAT BRIDGES THE GAP BETWEEN WRITER AND LISTENER, EXPRESSING A LEVEL OF SINCERITY THAT IS AS COMFORTING AS IT IS BONE-CHILLING. [E.C.] FAVORITE TRACKS: JOINER, SALAD, SEPSIS, OLYMPUS


TROYE SIVAN - SOMETHING TO GIVE EACH OTHER IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO DESCRIBE THE UNMATCHED JOY EVOKED BY A TRIED AND TRUE CLUB HIT, AND TROYE SIVAN HAS SOMEHOW BOTTLED THAT FEELING AND MULTIPLIED IT BY TEN VIA HIS LONG-AWAITED NEW ALBUM, SOMETHING TO GIVE EACH OTHER. BEFORE THE RELEASE OF THE RECORD’S SECOND SINGLE “GOT ME STARTED,” BAG RAIDERS’ 00S CLASSIC PARTY STAPLE “SHOOTING STARS” WAS UNQUESTIONABLY CONSIDERED UNTOUCHABLE. ADMIRABLY ENOUGH, HOWEVER, SIVAN MANAGED TO SECURE THE RIGHTS TO SAMPLE IT, TO TEST THOSE ODDS, AND TURNED THE RECOGNIZABLE CHORD PROGRESSION INTO A MONSTER OF SYNTHLADEN CELEBRATION AND POP MAJESTY. THIS IS JUST ONE EXAMPLE OF THE AFOREMENTIONED ALBUM’S SLEEPER HIT QUALITY — NEARLY OUT OF THE BLUE, SIVAN CREATED ONE OF THIS YEAR’S BEST EXAMPLES OF MUSICAL BALLSINESS, PRESENTING AN UNRELENTING MASTERCLASS IN THE TIMELESSNESS OF A GOOD BANGER. [E.C.] FAVORITE TRACKS: GOT ME STARTED, WHAT’S THE TIME WHERE YOU ARE, SILLY

ULTRA Q - MY GUARDIAN ANGEL I HAVE A CONDENSED LIST OF SONGS THAT IMMEDIATELY SPARK A FEELING OF JOY IN ME, WHETHER ACCOMPANIED WITH HAPPY TEARS OR NOT. IMMEDIATELY UPON FIRST LISTEN, ULTRA Q’S “SATURDAY” BECAME ONE OF THOSE TRACKS, AND FOR GOOD REASON. FLUSHED OUT WITH A CASCADING BACKDROP OF SHIMMERING KEYS, THE TRACK IS TRANSPORTIVE, DROPPING YOU OFF INTO A VORTEX OF WARM FUZZIES CONJURED UP ON A VEGETATIVE SATURDAY AT HOME IN FRONT OF YOUR GAME CONSOLE. EVEN ASIDE FROM “SATURDAY,” MY GUARDIAN ANGEL (THEIR DEBUT!) FINDS ULTRA Q AT JUST THE START OF WHAT IS PROMISED TO BE A LONG CAREER OF HIT-MAKING. [E.C.] FAVORITE TRACKS: SATURDAY, ROCKET, WRIP

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BAR ITALIA - TRACEY DENIM

WEDNESDAY - RAT SAW GOD WEDNESDAY’S QUICK AND JUSTIFIED RISE OVER THE PAST YEAR CAN BEST BE COMPARED TO THE TWO INSTANCES IN WHICH I’VE SEEN THEM LIVE — FIRST, IN A DINGY, BARELY LIT BASEMENT IN THE TRENCHES OF CAMBRIDGE MA, TO MOST RECENTLY AT A HEADLINER IN A SOLD-OUT (AND PACKED TO THE GILLS) BROOKLYN STEEL. WHAT HAS DRAWN AUDIENCES TO WEDNESDAY, AND WHAT HAS LED THEM TO ENTER THE PUBLIC CONSCIOUSNESS IN TERMS OF “THE BEST CONTEMPORARY INDIE BANDS WORKING TODAY,” IS THEIR LYRICAL EARNESTY, DEPICTING THE MUNDANE WITH A SENSE OF ELEVATED IMPORTANCE, RECOGNIZING THE BEAUTY AND OFTENTIMES UGLINESS IN THE EVERYDAY. THIS IS A HUGE PART OF THEIR 2023 LP RAT SAW GOD’S MAGNETIC QUALITY — ASIDE FROM A BACKBONE OF BUTTERFLY-INDUCING AND PROPULSIVE INDIE ROCK (AND BORDERLINE ALT-COUNTRY) WITH ITS FEET PLANTED IN THE HEARTLANDS, THE RECORD HAS A ROMANTIC QUALITY, BUT IT’S NOT ROMANTIC IN THE TRADITIONAL SENSE. IT’S ROMANTIC IN THAT IT CREATES A LOVING, INTENTIONAL SPACE FOR THE MORE DISGUSTING, BRUTAL, AND EVEN EMBARRASSING FEELINGS HUMANS ARE CAPABLE OF, BALANCED AGAINST ELEMENTS OF HOMETOWN NOSTALGIA AND MELANCHOLY IN THE FACE OF A WORLD THAT SEEMS TO BE SPINNING ON ITS AXIS FAR TOO QUICKLY. FROM MY PERSPECTIVE, THIS LEVEL OF SELF-AWARE COMMENTARY INSPIRES ME TO WRITE AND KEEPS ME ON MY TOES. IT DOESN’T HURT THAT I’M KEEN ON GUTWRENCHING SCREAM SEQUENCES, AND RAT SAW GOD HAS ONE OF THE GREATEST BREAKDOWNS OF THIS GENRE THAT I CAN THINK OF. [E.C.]

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I STARTED HEARING WHISPERS ABOUT A BAND CALLED BAR ITALIA AT THE TOP OF LAST YEAR, AND I REALLY WASN’T SURE WHAT TO MAKE OF THEM, AS A SKEPTIC TOWARD SUBJECTS THAT RISE IN POPULARITY AT A SLIGHTLY ALARMING RATE. HOWEVER, NOW THAT I’VE SEEN THEM LIVE TWICE AND BORE WITNESS TO THE SUBTLE POWER THAT IS THEIR NEWEST LP, TRACEY DENIM, I CAN SAFELY SAY THAT I TOTALLY GET IT. SKELETALLY, THE BAR ITALIA MUSICAL MAKEUP IS RATHER SIMPLE, BUT IN AN INTENTIONAL, NON-DEROGATORY SENSE. IN SUMMATION, THEY DON’T NEED SUPERFLUOUS FRILLS AND A CHOIR OF JAZZ-HANDS TO MAKE THEIR CONTENT STICK WITH LISTENERS, AND THAT’S PERHAPS AT THE CENTER OF THE FORMULA THEY’VE CONJURED UP. FOR EXAMPLE, “CHANGER” EVOKES A JOKERESQUE FEELING IN ME, NOTING ITS THE UTTER DESPAIR AND GRIEF WRITTEN BETWEEN THE LINES, PAIRED WITH THE EMOTIVE SYNERGY BETWEEN THE TRIO OF VOCALISTS. “KEEP YOUR HEAD UP, WHEN IT’S ALL DOWN,” THE LYRICS URGE, AND IN SPITE OF THE HOPEFUL AIR BEHIND THE WORDS, DEVASTATION STILL PERMEATES IN A TRULY MOVING WAY. I FIND MYSELF TURNING BACK TO THIS TRACK IN PARTICULAR QUITE OFTEN, CONSTANTLY REMINDING MYSELF OF ITS UNDERSTATED BEAUTY. [E.C.]


OTHER NEW RECORDS WE ENJOYED THIS YEAR: CITIZEN - CALLING THE DOGS FEEBLE LITTLE HORSE- GIRL WITH FISH EGYPTIAN BLUE - A LIVING COMMODITY GEESE - 3D COUNTRY JPEGMAFIA, DANNY BROWN - SCARING THE HOES PVRIS - EVERGREEN SHAME - FOOD FOR WORMS BAD BUNNY - NADIE SABE LO QUE VA PASAR MAÑANA DOUBLE VIRGO - HARDRIVE HEAT SEEKING BULLY - LUCKY FOR YOU PINKPANTHERESS - HEAVEN KNOWS BOYGENIUS - THE RECORD LANA DEL REY - DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE’S A TUNNEL UNDER OCEAN BOULEVARD CAROLINE POLACHEK - DESIRE, I WANT TO TURN INTO YOU THE MURDER CAPITAL - GIG’S RECOVERY YVES TUMOR - PRAISE A LORD WHO CHEWS BUT WHICH DOES NOT CONSUME; (OR SIMPLY, HOT BETWEEN WORLDS) INDIGO DE SOUZA - ALL OF THIS WILL END SQUID - O MONOLITH BLUR - THE BALLAD OF DARREN PROTOMARTYR - FORMAL GROWTH IN THE DESERT SNÕÕPER - SUPER SNÕÕPER CHAPPELL ROAN - THE RISE AND FALL OF A MIDWEST PRINCESS MITSKI - THE LAND IS INHOSPITABLE AND SO ARE WE SUFJAN STEVENS - JAVELIN SLOWDIVE - EVERYTHING IS ALIVE THE LAST DINNER PARTY - PRELUDE TO ECSTASY L’RAIN - I KILLED YOUR DOG SWEEPING PROMISES - GOOD LIVING IS COMING FOR YOU YO LA TENGO - THIS STUPID WORLD WATER FROM YOUR EYES - EVERYONE’S CRUSHED MANDY, INDIANA - I’VE SEEN A WAY SZA - SOS

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SPOTIFY WRAPPED SUMMARY: PENNY EDITION We polled a few of our friends concerning their personal top song of 2023, as determined by their Spotify Wrapped. These are a few results we got back!

01. EMAILS I CAN’T SEND - SABRINA CARPENTER 02. NOT STRONG ENOUGH - BOYGENIUS 03. STEAMROLLER - FEEBLE LITTLE HORSE 04. JENNIFER B - JOCKSTRAP 05. WELCOME TO MY ISLAND (GEORGE DANIEL AND CHARLI XCX REMIX) - CAROLINE POLACHEK 06. RUNNER - ALEX G 07. THE VOID - SPIRITBOX 08. GREATEST HITS - JOCKSTRAP 09. STAR GAME - @ 10. IT’S TIME - TRUTH CLUB 11. SIDEWINDER - TEENAGE FANCLUB 12. BLACKOUT - JOYNER LUCAS 13. NO MORË TALK - YEET 14. TELEGRAPH AVE - CHILDISH GAMBINO 15. STAYAWAY - MUNA 16. LOVE/PHEROMONES - SØLR WRDN

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