ron gallo + carlie hanson + potty MOUTH + deeper
the team editor in chief gabi yost creative director jared elliott public relations caleigh wells & ashleigh haddock photography coordinator heather zalabak production jiselle santos & hailey hale social media madi mize editor ava butera copy editor erin christie marketing mallory haynes, mckayla grace & rachel albright
the contributors writers
caroline rohnstock, emma schoors, hailey hale, livie augustine, erin christie, mallory haynes, tommy rodriguez, carissa mathena, chelsea holecek, amelia zollner, emily usallan, maria kornacki, carly tagen-dye
daniela lourenco shiber, caylee robillard, hannah dougherty, susie mckeon, athena merry, sydney wisner, bella peterson, erin christie
georgia moore, becca burroughs, sydney wisner, kendall wisniewski
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A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
When we first started Heart Eyes Magazine it was always a dream to have so many powerhouse people involved with the magazine and featured. I am so happy to announce Lucy Dacus as our Cover. It’s spring again and with that comes the hope of new things, new music, new tours, and new festival lineups! SXSW has just ended and we’ve got some awesome content we collected over the week that we can’t wait to share with you all! Best,
gabi yost, editor in chief
photos by erin christie
We are deeply saddened over the loss of Herâ€™s. Our hearts go out to the fans, friends, and family of this wonderful band. Please never drink and drive. Itâ€™s not worth it.
The Heart Eyes Team
ISSUE THIRTEEN LUCY DACUS
interviews slow pulp twin xl the dune flowers nina nesbitt lucy dacus
12 28 42 48 56
reads a spotlight on mitski how haim changed the face of all-female bands the UO genre epidemic a spotlight on wolf alice weezer black album review how kacey musgraves is changing country music meet jay som wallows album review
8 9 10 16 18 22 23 24
a spotlight on phoebe 26 bridgers reality of being a 21st 27 century woman a spotlight on king princess 35 women taking down the 36 male ego respecting female drummers 40 marina diamandisâ€™ rebrand 62 pond album review 64 III points fest review 66
photography young the giant smallpools james bay III points festival rainbow kitten surprise
20 38 54 68 52
Mitski A Spotlight On
by Maria Kornacki
Japanese-American singer-songwriter and musician, Mitski Miyawaki, knows how to dig up emotions and throw them into sonically unique sounds. Her voice can sound weightless, and once the chorus comes, she’ll kick it up a notch to get the heartstrings pulling. People have been belting out Mitski songs from the beginning. No doubt, her indie rock album, Puberty 2 has long lasting headbangers like “Your Best American Girl”. This song would also become a segway into the concept of her following album. Marching to the beat of her own drum seems to come natural to Mitski. However, she’s not afraid to express the anxieties of feeling like an outsider. Especially when it comes to being an Asian women. Mitski turned loneliness into an anthem with her single, “Nobody”. As a matter of fact, her entire album, Be the Cowboy, carries the theme of trying to stay afloat as Mitski drifts in and out of identities causing loneliness. Mitski was not alone in her western quest. Despite the album title stemming from an “exaggerated myth of the western cowboy”, the motto is
significant in its relation to Mitski’s identity. Her Asian roots have instilled a cookie cutter way of presenting herself that sometimes conflicts with who she truly wants to be. Thus, the inspiration for the album was born. Mitski’s success as an artist has been flourishing over the last few years and she continues to be an inspiration for other artists. For example, Mac DeMarco. He’s a fellow singer-songwriter whose latest single, “Nobody” has strikingly similar parallels to Mitski’s latest album. Not to mention, his upcoming album title is called Here Comes the Cowboy. Whether you call it inspiration or stealing is up to you. However, there is no denying Mitski comes up with her own ideas.
changed the face of all-female bands by Emma Schoors
Taking inspiration everywhere from Shania Twain to ABBA to Gerry Rafferty, HAIM is a groovy three-piece sister band of pure magic. The trio have been playing music since essentially forever due to their blood connection, and their practice shows in their consistently successful experiments in music. The band effortlessly blends genre after genre and always ends up with a product fit for people who like a multitude of types of music. They effortlessly join listenability and uniqueness in a way that many rock bands have shied away from. Tracks like “The Wire” and “Little of Your Love” have gained the most traction, and they both have an upbeat funk while still maintaining a rock appeal. Lead vocalist and guitarist Danielle Haim, who has notably toured with Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas, is the powerhouse guitar player that makes these songs sound so rock-inspired. Este Haim shines the brightest in tracks like “Want You Back” and “Forever”, both of which sport bass lines that differ enough from jazz or funk ones to be entirely new. The youngest sibling, Alana Haim, adds a lighter layer to the band with bright guitar riffs that almost complete the vocals. Frequently referred to as “Baby Haim”, Alana frequents the drums during shows, and her understanding of rhythm is reflected in every instrument she plays. The band often wears shining outfits that depart from the norm when it comes to performing. However, it’s not enough of a departure to seem pretentious. The bond that the three share is so clear in their work, and their shared love of music is inspiring to anybody who feels the same. All three band members come across as laid-back enough to hang out with, but cool enough to admire. All-female bands have had a bad reputation for either being too feminine, too masculine, or too simple in instrumentation. The Haim girls break these stereotypes day after day with gritty, bold guitars and punchy bass that could beat lots of all-boy bands any day.
The Urban Outﬁtters Genre Epidemic Erin Christie Walking through the intersection at Boylston and Tremont in Boston, MA, you might be greeted by a sea of circulation-restricting, hardly functional beanies, loose-fitting camouflage cargo pants, and fluorescent puffer coats, each adorning an individual hoping to “make a statement.” Where did these trend-setters find their latest “fit?” you might ask yourself. Urban Outfitters is likely where you would immediately assume.
Over my roughly seven month period working almost full-time for the company, I’ve gathered a changed insight in regards to the brand itself: the mechanics of the working world, the consumer dynamics, the general aesthetic (appeal and drawbacks).
Throughout my many eight hour shifts reorganizing the sales floor stocked with fluorescent threads, picking sizes of puffer coats for customers, and rummaging around the shoe “She has an ‘Urban Outfitters’ aesthetic,” you might hear someone say. But what does that even closet for the right size of FILA Disruptors, my eardrums are greeted with monotonous synths mean? That she’s “trendy?” For the most part, and bedroom pop anthems. Urban Outfitters prides itself on remaining at the peak of fashion, pop culture, and the “mainstream,” even in terms of its in-store Spotify From time to time, shoppers might be greeted by the “’90s ALT” playlist—defined by additions such playlists. So, yes, maybe she is “trendy.” as Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova” to Jeff This isn’t a trend isolated to Downtown Crossing, Buckley’s “Grace”—and my time spent heckling though, for it has infiltrated mainstream cool and shoplifters is tinged with a little light. Other times, crossed boundaries worldwide, especially due to Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” plays on a the reach that Urban has as a brand. I was hired at seemingly nonstop loop. Needless to say, the collection of songs filtered through Urban’s own the Newbury Street location at the beginning of my sophomore year of college after an extensive Spotify library varies, either to appeal to the frontman of your favorite local indie band to the interviewing process wherein I was asked about hype beast next-door. my favorite Instagram influencers, fashion designers and brands that I pay attention to, and my personal horoscope. 10
A large amount of spins come from artist such as Tyler the Creator, Kali Uchis, Brockhampton, Rex Orange County, Clairo, and others, which draws an important question: considering the frequency at which they are played at Urban Outfitters locations, and considering the “trend” factor that Urban has, is it right to associate the rise of these artists with the popularity of Urban? Maybe not, but there’s definitely a correlation.
“She has an Urban Outﬁtters’ aesthetic,” you might hear someone say. But what does that even mean?
Genres from bedroom pop and indie alternative to R&B have begun to rise in popularity as of late, such seeming to have been kick-started by the release of Tyler the Creator’s Flower Boy in 2017 (which further introduced the world to Rex Orange County, Kali Uchis, and more). At the end of the day, even if that wasn’t his intention, his influence is MASSIVE within mainstream subconscious, and that has led to a shift in focus due to how impactful that album was. Ranging from the classics—from the sultry sway of Amy Winehouse—to the cheery bounce of Gus Dapperton, if it’s deserving of record rotation, Urban is bound to pay attention to it, eager to please the masses. When attending live shows for an artist that might find their home on one of Urban’s curated playlists, you tend to see the same people over and over again, at least in terms of their preferred fashion sense. Encouraging audiences to sport sunflower-adorned garments, bright orange beanies, and “clout goggles”—what might’ve been considered “niche” or apart from the “norm” is now becoming something that is so common, you can’t avoid it.
In that sense, it sometimes even becomes something to mock or poke fun of. Why are we so afraid to accept the fact that what might’ve been an undiscovered jewel, an indie treasure, in the past, is now entering mainstream consciousness? At the end of the day, the fact that a majorly well-known clothing brand is choosing to play some of your favorite artists in their locations —to be greeted by HUNDREDS of customers per day—is a massive deal. Urban, of course, isn’t a perfect company (nor is it free from it’s cringefactors) but its efforts to spotlight “trends” and hence, making lesser known artists “trendy” by association, is a huge step in the right direction for smaller artists hoping to get their shot. With that in mind, it should already be known that every time Snail Mail’s “Pristine” buzzes through the speakers, I can be seen smiling to myself on the sales floor.
photos and interview by Athena Merry
The new â€˜slow popâ€™ band, Slow Pulp, originating from Madison, Wisconsin is picking up speed in the Midwestern music scene. Comprised of Alex, Emily, Henry, and Teddy, Slow Pulp has been a band for roughly two years, and has already put out one EP and two singles, and also recently relocated to Chicago, Illinois. The four piece has just finished a run of shows with Vundabar, played SXSW, and now announced a tour with Remo Drive this upcoming spring. I had the chance to catch up with this busy band on the rise in Indianapolis, IN to chat about the formation of the band, relocating to The Windy City, and musical influences.
HEM: How did you guys meet? Emily: In Madison, Wisconsin, we all grew up there. The boys went to high school together and were in a band since then. Teddy: Actually in middle school, we’ve known each other since middle school! Yeah, we all grew up in Madison. Henry and Alex and I used to play together. From like fifth grade to now, we’ve been playing together. Emily: Family band! Teddy: Family band. And then we met Emily through the Madison music scene. Emily: I was playing in other bands. Teddy: It was a pretty tight-knit community, bands became friends with other bands. Emily: We had a few projects dissipating at the same time and overlapping. Teddy: Henry was in one of Emily’s bands, and then Emily and I were in a band together… and here we are! Emily: And now we’re all together! HEM: So how long have you been in a band together then? Emily: Probably since 2016, technically, or 2017. Henry: A little over two years. Teddy: Approaching two and a half years, I think. HEM: What made you guys decide to relocate to Chicago? What was that for? Emily: So we were kind of spread out. Alex was living in Minneapolis, finishing school and living there. These two [Henry and Teddy] were finishing school in Madison, and we wanted to pick a location that we could kind of all congregate together. Chicago made sense, it was close. It was another midwestern city where we had a lot of friends already in the music scene, so it felt like an easy-ish transition for us to make. Alex: Positive transition! Emily: A positive transition. We all live in an apartment together, so we’re very close. Henry: We have a cat! Alex: Staying in Chicago is awesome, there’s like a lot of bands we like and respect. HEM: Yeah! The Chicago music scene is great. Twin Peaks and Post Animal just announced a show here. Twin Peaks came here last time, I think 2016. It was an hour away and I missed that show and then they didn’t come back for a while. Alex: Dammit! Emily: Yeah, they tour a lot! Teddy: They live down the street from us, or some of them. Emily: We’re good buds with those Post Animal boys.
HEM: I’m going to move into some music ones, what are some of your favorite songs at the moment? Teddy: Of ours? Emily: Of ours, or just in general? HEM: Just in general for now. Alex: “Yellow” by Coldplay Emily: We do listen to a lot of Coldplay. Um, “Slow Burn” by Kacey Musgraves. Did I take yours? (to Teddy) You can have that one Teddy. Teddy: Um I’d say “Slow Burn”. Emily: You can take “Slow Burn”, I guess. We really love Kacey. We listen to Kacey in the van a lot. I’ve been listening to “America” by Simon and Garfunkel a lot. I’m gonna choose that one. It’s good for touring and seeing America, you’re kind of sad sometimes. Alex: “Paul” by Big Thief HEM: Oh, that song makes me so sad! Emily: We love to cry together, have you watched the show Nashville? Teddy: CMT Original Series. Emily: CMT Original Series. We, on Henry’s birthday, watched a really sad episode and all cried together. Alex wasn’t there, you would’ve been crying if you were there. HEM: What’s your favorite song of yours? Emily: “At Home”! Alex: “At Home”! HEM: I like that one too. Teddy: I also agree. Emily: The way that song was written was kind of the first song that was a group effort. Alex: Yeah, it felt like it marked a time. Emily: We all kind of related to the lyrical content. HEM: What’s your favorite one to play live? Alex: “Bundt Cakes” for me. Teddy: Really? Not for me. Emily: Um… favorite song live. Honestly, we have a song called “Punk Song”, it’s not recorded or out anywhere, but Henry actually sings that one. That’s the only one I don’t sing. HEM: Are you playing it tonight? Emily: We are. You’ll know which one it is, it’s a left field one. Henry: It’s the loud one. Teddy: I really like playing “At Home” live, too. Henry: That’s also my favorite song to play live. Who are your musical influences, or people who have influenced your sound? Emily: Recently we’ve been collectively listening to like -- we just got asked this question recently so I’m prepared with an answer -- a lot of My
Bloody Valentine and Garbage. A lot of 90’s, femalevocal bands, at least for me, with a lot of distorted instrumental, which is cool. Slow Dive, Kevin Krauter. Teddy: Kevin Krauter. Emily: Kevin Krauter, we love Kevin Krauter. We really like his new music. Teddy: Yeah, we really love his new record, Toss Up. HEM: What would you describe your genre as for your music? Alex: Slow pop. Emily: Slow pop. HEM: By Slow Pulp. Alex: By Slow Pulp. Henry: Slow pop rock. Alex: Slow popera. Teddy: There’s a little opera tone to it. HEM: If you weren’t doing music as your career, what would you be doing? Alex: Corporate. Emily: Corporate America. Teddy: Programming. Emily: Programming, computer programming, deep in the code.
Alex: Other creative elements. Teddy: Are we talking passions? HEM: Whatever comes to your mind. Henry: I read that the UPS drivers, if they’re accident-free for 25 years, get these incredible bomber jackets. HEM: I thought you would say something like, benefits, but no it’s a jacket. Henry: This awesome jacket, and I don’t know if I want to do that, but I think about it sometimes. Emily: I would’ve tried to be a ballet dancer. HEM: Ballet is good, I’m a dancer. Emily: Oh really! I was at one point, and then I got a back injury and ended up doing music instead. Alex: I have a real answer, summer camp for adults. HEM: What does the process of making a song look like for you guys? That one’s been changing a lot since we moved in together, before that it was a lot of sending stuff back and forth through the internet and sending fragments, and now that we’re all in the same spot it’s more immediate and the time frame is condensed. Taking different ideas that we each have, either developing them more or less alone or
coming together. Emily: It also depends on the song, some songs come really easy, well not really easy but they come a lot faster than others, and some songs you take so long to figure out what you need to do with it. Teddy: You gotta run it through the system. Henry: Boil it down. Making a song is like cooking pasta Emily: Yep! You’ve gotta boil it down. Henry: Take a bunch of uncooked noodles and you chuck them in water. Emily: Yep! See what happens, see how long it takes. HEM: What do you want people to get out of your music? Alex: At its base I think we want to put something out that creates a connection with people. It’s interesting to relate to someone through a medium like music, that we haven’t necessarily spoken to. You can communicate something really specific by making songs. Emily: Helping people. I feel like songwriting for me is working through mental blockages and stuff, more than just what we go through, that other people can connect to and relate to. Teddy: Having other people internally feel something you’re feeling, in a really direct way.
Wolf Alice Might Hurt You, Sadboy by ERIN CHRISTIE
Mullet-clad and ready to start a ruckus ,ever since seeing Wolf Alice for the first time at the top of 2016, I was hooked. Independent label Dirty Hitâ€™s pride and joy, the four-piece from London, England have been breaking boundaries (as clichĂŠ as that phrase may be) since their introduction to the world-class music world at the release of their debut record, My Love is Cool, in 2015.
Wolf Alice— comprised of members Ellie Rowsell, Theo Ellis, Joel Amey, and Joff Oddie—has been my favorite band ever for what feels like the majority of my life. Though my attachment to them may make me slightly biased, I suppose you’ll just have to take my many words of praise with a grain of salt. And praise, do they deserve. At the close of 2018, the group earned the Mercury Prize (an award given in honor of the best British album of the past year) for their sophomore LP, Visions of a Life, beating out powerhouses Arctic Monkeys, King Krule, and Florence and the Machine. An incredibly well-deserved achievement, this milestone has only solidified their importance in terms of musical innovation: they are unafraid to be brash and bold, but also to be somber and melancholic, and that sense of versatility as well as their ability to thrive in all aspects, sets them apart from the rest of the pack. From the sweet, mournful lullaby exhibited in “Silk” to the aggressive, fuck-all attitude throughout their comeback single, “Yuk Foo,” Wolf Alice is unafraid to touch all bases, and they do so effortlessly. Upon hearing the band’s first single, “Bros,” for the first time, I knew I had stumbled upon something absolutely extraordinary. This was the first song that Rowsell had written with the group in mind, and even in that state of uncertainty, she was able to create a track that brings genuine tears to my eyes upon every listen. “There’s no one quite like you,” Rowsell sings, her voice sweet like syrup. In a live atmosphere, some of my happiest memories have been forged arm-in-arm with my fellow barricade dwellers during the track, screaming along and gently weeping at the sight before us. Wolf Alice, whether in terms of their musical genius or the ideas that they hope to express, reminds me that music can be such a unifying presence, especially in joining audiences together. Drawing on the early eras of the punk and riotgrrrl movements, in which ideals of female empowerment and feminism were emphasized,
such themes can be seen exhibited within Wolf Alice’s mentality, a modern manifestation of what artists such as Debbie Harry and Siouxsie Sioux. Rowsell is truly a powerful woman in her own right, in the way she conducts herself, speaks, and expresses herself through her art and otherwise. In an interview with BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac in 2016, she said in regards to the feeling pinned down within the music industry as a woman: “I have had an experience where someone tried to tell me what kind of woman I’m going to be in the music industry,” she lamented. “Am I going to be like a Patti Smith or a Florence + The Machine? If you can avoid it, don’t work with people who tell you that. You are your own artist.” Their track, “Sadboy” perfectly expresses that frustration, combining passive-aggressive and pointed lyrics regarding a male false sense of entitlement. Songs like “Yuk Foo,” in which Rowsell, backed by aggressive punk-inspired heavy guitar, creates push-back against standard misogynistic ideals—for example, in the line, “you bore me to death, I don’t give a shit!”—noting that even if one tries to change her, she’ll “fuck all the people she meets” if she wants to. Her strong-headedness in terms of advocating for not only herself, but also for other artists like herself, women in music industry and tech roles, and women in the world at large says something great about her character. “Swallow the fear, my stone cold fox,” Rowsell urges in yet another classic, “Lisbon,” encouraging one to take a stand against one’s personal pain, even if that means running into the arms of another. For many, myself includes, those arms manifest in the band’s discography. Throughout their discography, the band discusses not only the mechanics behind the concept of “coming of age”— youthful rendezvous, stints of rebellion, juvenile crushes, budding romance, and devastating heartbreak. Their emotional integrity is impactful, to put it in a word, and sticks with you long after first listen. Donning gold glitter under my eyes and a smile from ear to ear, I’m eager to support my “bros” for as long as they allow it, and I’ll be proud to do so.
Does It Live Up to the Hype? A Review of Weezerâ€™s The Black Album By Tommy Rodriguez 18
IT’S ALMOST BEEN 25 YEARS SINCE 1994, the year when alt rock
Bastards” is a hilariously blunt lyrical stab at Weezer’s ever nostalgic fan-
outfit Weezer broke onto the scene to inject the dying grunge era of rock
base; the song is catchy, energetic, and its folksy melodies are a very in-
with a roaring, nerdy lifeblood. The rise to prominence that lead vocalist
teresting direction for the power pop group. “Too Many Thoughts In My
Rivers Cuomo and his band mates received upon releasing their self
Head” features some highly pitched King Gizzard-esque guitar lines, and
titled debut (now dubbed the Blue Album) was rapid, and not for noth-
feature some of the more poignant lines on the record in regards to the
ing; the band’s witty sense of humor, amazingly catchy songwriting, and
almost excessive amount of information the internet holds for so many
crunchy guitar stroked were the blueprint to be followed by many a band
people today. The beat is solid, the writing is technically and emotionally
eager to display their angst in a pop sensible way. Weezer is no doubt
great, and is just a great tune all around. True, the preceding “I’m Just
one of the most controversial bands in today’s music landscape as well:
Being Honest” is a generic mid- tempo pop rock tune, but it seems as
their first two albums (Blue and Pinkerton) are hailed as alt-rock classics,
though the album picked up some steam...only to run into the downright
while their mid 2000’s output has been met with some of the most neg-
awful “The Prince Who Wanted Everything”. The track’s formulaic riffs
ative feedback ever seen in the industry. While the 2010’s were seen as
and drums, lyrical disrespect to the late Prince, and awful ad libs make
a revival period for that classic Weezer sound and quality, the band has
for one of the worst rock centered tracks on the album.
recently been in a more experimental phase of their career...for better or worse. Frontman Rivers Cuomo is an absolute troll on his social media,
If you can’t tell by now, the album is a bit all over the place.
the band released an entire album of nothing but cheesy- yet-decent 80’s covers, and are going into this latest album of theirs with a more cynical
Weezer hasn’t exactly angered me on this record. There were a few mo-
edge than ever before. While the output on this front is very interesting
ments of interesting experimentation and good songwriting, especially
as a direction for the band, the Black Album ends up being mediocre
on the stellar, bliss loaded piano ballad “High as a Kite”, but there were
because of its tepid production and lack of quality songs.
also more duds than are really acceptable. The album is okay, and overall better than some of Weezer’s absolute trashiest, but it isn’t exactly wow-
The Black Album is immediately different as soon as it hits the ground
ing anyone. While the instrumental and lyrical middle finger to Weezer
with its lead single and opener, “Can’t Knock the Hustle”. As a song
fans was an interesting concept, Rivers Cuomo and his band didn’t back
itself, it’s surprisingly good as a full on stab at Spanish infused pop; the
it up with a consistently good project. The good tracks are worth a listen
drums here are tightly woven into the funky groove established by the
and download, and the bad tracks are worth a skip. Perhaps that’s why so
track’s quickly strummed guitars and Cuomo’s snarky lashing at his review
many people are begging for a traditional Weezer album again.
writing critics. The horns on the memorable hook are a nice touch, and exemplify the more varied sound that Weezer goes for on the record.
Thank God Cuomo said they’re going back to guitars on the next record.
The Black Album features everything from distorted guitar and synths on the throttling closer “California Snow”, to a relaxed island groove on “Byzantine”, the latter of which has a surprisingly nice vibe alongside a writer’s credit from Laura Jane Grace. While the production here is a bit more kaleidoscopic for Weezer’s standards, the songs here are also varied in quality. “Living in L.A” sounds like a rip-off of an average Maroon 5, complete with muted vocals and a lack of bass to assist the decent acoustics and hook. “Piece of Cake” is downright awful in every sense of the word; the millennial “doo doo doos” were a tired trope years ago, the squeaky clean guitar lines and handclaps have no backbone, and the lovesick lyrics are extremely baffling coming from a middle aged man like Rivers. These tracks are also hard deviations from the album’s core theme of snarkiness and self-sufficiency, so without a great core to the songwriting or instrumental, they’re entirely skippable. Thankfully, despite the low points in the middle of the album, a few tracks on The Black Album are standouts for the right reasons. “Zombie
YOUNGphotos THEby GIANT ava bu tera
Kacey Musgraves and How She’s Revitalizing Country Music Written by Caroline Rohnstock
acey Musgraves is rapidly becoming one of the most powerful female artists in our current generation. She’s taken the old school melodies and rhythms of classic country music and revitalized them with her slightly twangy voice, quirky yet pensive lyrics, and charming attitude. Her well-deserved Grammy winning Album of the Year, Golden Hour, not only stays true to country roots, but gives listeners a range of songs all with unique tones. From falling in love, to heartbreak, and being ‘happy & sad’, Kacey’s style of writing is one that you can easily have on repeat for days. She’s even gone on to address various LGBTQ issues within her music, which is powerful for a country artist to do in general. She’s managed to not fit into one category of music; the label country fits her but she’s not JUST country, and pop fits her but she’s not JUST pop. She’s changing that fine line we’ve created between pop and country, and making her own sound uniquely her. There’s no denying how mainstream she has made her music, and why people call her the “yee-haw queen”. She blends storytelling, country riffs, and pop beats all into songs in whatever configuration she pleases. This is something not a lot of country artists can achieve so well. Kacey can do it all, from opening for Harry Styles, to covering songs like “Crazy” by Gnarles Barkley, to selling out four nights at the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN -- she is versatile. She puts her won flare on things, and is fearless to do so. Let Kacey keep doing Kacey, and let us listen to whatever she puts out next with the perspective that she’s changing a genre based on what she wants to do.
m o s y a j meet r e e n o i p p o p m o o r a bed
Written by Amelia Zollner Melina Duterte, the musician behind the moniker Jay Som, is one of the most talented musicians in the bedroom pop genre. That may seem like a bold statement to make, especially considering the fact that the genre is expanding exponentially, but Duterte’s music is incredibly versatile and cements her position as a pioneer of bedroom pop. The individuality of Duterte’s recent work, especially Everybody Works, her second album, is working to make bedroom pop more inclusive to varying sounds. Although Everybody Works served as a sequel to her debut Turn Into, it feels more like her debut, showcasing a newfound polished sound and talent to dive into different genres, including funk, folk, rock, and even a dash of Latin. In typical bedroom pop fashion, Duterte’s voice in her songs is often glossed over with effects that make it seem distant, as if playing out of a broken car radio. The instruments are often distorted just enough so the songs sound homemade. Through all of the distortion, though, none of the music loses its strength, and everything feels warmly inviting. Duterte’s ability to create lo-fi songs that still feel powerful is unique, and has changed many listeners’ viewpoints on the genre.
Her lyrical content varies too; most songs have listeners torn between dancing and crying. “Baybee”, one of her most popular tracks, details a conversation with a lover. Another track from Everybody Works, “1 Billion Dogs”, seems to be urgent, with Duterte heading straight into lyrics, not wasting any time on an instrumental introduction. One of her strongest songs, “I Think You’re Alright”, takes on a sadder, lonelier tone that eventually builds up into a passionate ending. On Everybody Works, Duterte recorded nearly every sound herself, a feat that bedroom pop artists rarely even possess the skills to accomplish. Duterte’s stunning discography is even more significant when considering that she’s one of the few queer Asian-American artists currently making music. Although her music isn’t necessarily political, as a diverse artist, she’s pushing boundaries by redefining who people think of when they’re told to imagine a musician. The ill-defined borders of both the sound and the people behind bedroom pop are forever shifting, growing, and improving, and Duterte is one of the artists at the forefront of reshaping the genre.
Beautifully Describes the Chaos of Growing Up Through Their Debut Full-length Album Nothing Happens 24
By Mallory Haynes
WITH THE RELEASE OF THEIR DEBUT ALBUM, Nothing
have you singing “Scrawny motherf*cker with a cool hair-
Happens, some may perceive Wallows as a new band
style,” all day long. The band slows things down a bit with
emerging onto the indie-rock scene. However, this could
the next track, “Ice Cold Pool.” This song has a jazzy feel
not be further from the truth. Wallows, consisting of
to it and the soft sound of a maraca in the background
guitarists/singers Braeden Lemasters, Dylan Minnette,
adds a whole new depth. The next track, “Worlds Apart,”
and drummer Cole Preston, have been working toward
also possesses a more dreamy tone, but the lyrics will tug
this moment since they were 11 years old. Together, the
on your heartstrings. As Lemasters sings, “Do I exist in
trio delivers a masterpiece of an album that delves into
your heart? / Or did the ship sail away,” listeners feel that
themes such as growing up, nostalgia and uncertainty
he is heartbroken over the fact that the person he loves
while bringing us a dynamic and unique sound.
is no longer close to him. Moving along into “What You Like,” the mood lightens. With incredible synths and an
Album opener “Only Friend” sets the perfect tone for
steady drum sequence, this song shows a couple rekin-
Nothing Happens - a collection of songs with introspec-
dling their past love; the narrator attempting to change in
tive themes hidden within upbeat tracks and stellar guitar
the hopes that the relationship will work… maybe. Track
riffs. This first track describes feelings of loneliness and
nine, “Remember When,” is a very upbeat yet nostalgic
the longing for someone from your past to re-enter your
song highlighting moments from the past. Each “oh-oh-
life - because they’re your “Only Friend.” As we move
oh-oh” in the chorus echoes so beautifully, bringing a new
along to track two, “Treacherous Doctor,” Wallows begins
dynamic to the song.
to explore these deeper themes. This song in particular explicitly deals with the harsh truths that come along with
As we near the end of “Nothing Happens,” more mature
growing up. Lemasters sings, “Nothing much to look
themes begin to appear. The second to last track, “I’m
forward to / I can’t help but cry on vacation / Is this the
Full,” is a song about how the chaos of life can sometimes
way to exit my youth?” of the strangeness people experi-
be too much to handle, but that we are allowed to make it
ence while enduring their twenties. The production of this
clear when we’ve had enough and need time for ourselves
track is insanely fun, turning this otherwise sad song into a
to heal. “Do Not Wait,” the album closer, is much more
smash hit. As the third single to be released pre-Nothing
raw and personal than the rest of the album. Though it
Happens, “Sidelines” details a seemingly one-sided
begins softly, the guitars build up to an insane solo about
breakup due to irreconcilable differences. But as the
halfway through the song. Soon after, Minnette begins
perspective changes in second verse, it is clear that the
speaking over a track that chants ‘Nothing Happens.’ Min-
narrator is regretful of his decision to end things while his
nette describes certain struggles that make growing up so
former lover quickly finds comfort in others. As the catchy
difficult - sex, divorced parents - things most listeners are
chorus chimes, “I see you lovin’ on the sidelines / I think
able to relate to. This vulnerability Wallows displays not
about it at the wrong times,” listeners can see how painful
only on this track, but throughout the entire album, allows
this breakup has actually become. Next up is the lead
listeners to truly connect and relate to Nothing Hap-
single from the album, “Are You Bored Yet?,” featuring
pens, carrying it with them as they grow up and progress
bedroom pop singer-songwriter Clairo (Claire Cottrill).
through their own lives.
Cottrill’s soft, lo-fi vocals mesh perfectly with Minnette’s, to tell the story of a budding relationship and how the pair can make it work. “Scrawny,” the second pre-release single is a hilarious take on a self-love song. The narrator describes all of his internal and external imperfections while simultaneously accepting and loving himself for who he is in a comedic way. This track will put you in a fantastic mood and will
A “Killer” in the Grass:
Written by Erin Christie
“Jesus Christ, I’m so blue all the time,” Phoebe Bridgers croons on her track, “Funeral,” and as she does, it feels as though I’m being punched straight in the gut due to emotional impact. Her debut record, Stranger in the Alps (2017), was released just about two years ago and despite the time in between then and now, it’s remained stuck in my subconscious ever since (as I’m sure many others can attest to).
Alongside indie powerhouses and overall powerful women Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker, Bridgers finds herself at home within their group, boygenius, as well as beside Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes in their musical project known as Better Oblivion Community Center. Needless to say, she keeps herself busy, and that’s something that us fans are certainly benefiting from.
It’d be remiss not to say how easily one can become infatuated with Bridgers herself, taking time to notice her unapologetic bluntness in terms of discussing her own emotional trials—from the peaks to the absolute pits. The raw, heartbreaking nature of many of her tracks strikes a chord almost certainly, guaranteeing that if not more than once, listeners will shed a tear or two whenever they take to listening to her.
It’s almost impossible not to well up when Bridges chimes in on boygenius track, “Salt in the Wound,” with the line “If this is prison, I’m willing to buy my own chain.” Indicative of a toxic relationship that one might feel trapped in, worn down and wearing thin, Dacus and Baker join in, expressing the agony clearly present in that feeling of hopelessness.
Detailing experiences from taking nude pictures and getting stoned, but not at all enjoying the experience, “walking Scott Street, feeling like a stranger,” taking a risk on something or someone, and dwelling in one’s own sadness. Though much of Bridgers’ work, solo and otherwise, is drowning in a melancholic haze, that’s almost part of what makes her work so impactful: despite how sad it can be, that clear sadness resonates with listeners’ oftentimes similar feelings. We find ourselves empathizing with the 24-year-old singer who has experienced so much, but yet has so much more to experience. 26
Needless to say, Bridgers has had her fair share of heartbreak, and she isn’t afraid to touch on those emotions, as “taboo” as they might be. Being a woman and entering the dog-fighting ring that is the music industry is a topic that has been discussed tirelessly, so much so that due to how often the difficulties that women face have been highlighted, that something might’ve been done to prevent future instances of such from happening might’ve been set in place. Unfortunately, things haven’t gotten much easier for young hopefuls, guitar in hand and a head full of ideas.
When Bridgers herself took to setting her dreams into motion, she made an unfortunate connection with a well-respected musician who wanted to help her in her career. Recently, she spoke about such: Bridgers bravely took the metaphorical stand and faced her past demons in an effort to finally speak her truth regarding Ryan Adams, a particularly popular and well-recognized “home-grown” musician and producer within the indie spectrum. Despite how much grief she could have received for coming forward regarding her awful experiences with him, she held her head high, encouraging readers in her statement to “call [your friends] out” if they’re “acting fucked up.” Bridgers was only one of several women to come forward regarding Adams’ misconduct. Regardless as to whether you’re a die-hard fan such as myself, or simply know her in passing, Phoebe Bridgers’ presence is undeniable. She deserves nothing but support, even if that means listening to “It’ll All Work Out (Bonus Track)” and sobbing uncontrollably.
The Reality of Being a Woman in the 21st Century Written by Carissa Mathena In the 21st century, femininity is being more openly celebrated. There have been numerous actions to ensure women are getting paid the same, to ensure women can dress the way they want, and to ensure that women can embrace the natural beauty of their bodies. All of these things lead to women feeling empowered in a world that is trying to FINALLY make them feel equal. The reality of the 21st century is that we are not equal, and we do not hold the power we deserve as women.
n the same note, women are beginning to dress more freely. They are wearing clothes that express their identity and embracing the power they feel because of it. They want to feel beautiful, sexy, strong, and confident in what they wear. That being said, there are men taking advantage of that. Recently, there was a viral video on Twitter depicting a man slapping a women’s behind because of the “tight” outfit she wore. He stated that she shouldn’t have dressed that way if he didn’t want him to touch her in that way. The reality of being a woman confident in what you are wearing, is that men see it as inviting some kind of inappropriate touching or actions. This kind of behavior then scares women, making them not want to dress that way because men cannot keep their hands to themselves. The idea behind freedom of expression through clothing is then irrelevant because there is fear underlying the freedom.
We can all agree that there have been drastic changes in the depiction of womanhood in the media. The roles for women are varying. This can be seen in the recent release of the movie Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel is a female superhero living in a world where almost all of the superheroes are men. This has led to many complaints on the movie. Some men have spoken up on the absurdity of This expression leads into another a women superhero as powerful as major reality of the 21st century Captain Marvel, especially because woman, the very real possibility of she is the rumored superhero to save sexual assault. Wearing specific the world from destruction when the males have failed. She is strong, brave, clothing does not deem it appropriate to touch a woman without her permisand utterly motivational. Instead of sion, but it is one of the most used being seen for all of the positive things excuses. she is, men are belittling the idea of her role in the Marvel world. They are also commenting on the fact that her “costume” is not sexy enough, and completely missing the point that women do not have to dress “sexily” to be seen as valid.
A woman will NEVER be asking for anything without consent, and those who state otherwise are completely deranged. Women are also not believed in the “justice system” because of this reason. It is almost as if they are working harder to not believe women, then they are working to deliver justice to the person who committed an illegal crime. Typically, men deeming women as unbelievable, over dramatic, and emotional are seen in these types of situations. The only unbelievable thing in the situation is that women being assaulted isn’t taken seriously. Being a woman is one of the most empowering things in the 21st century. We are coming to together to lift each other up, we are fighting to be heard completely, we are wanting to be equal. No matter how often the media may portray a woman’s fight to be over, the reality is that the fight continues on. There are STILL numerous horrors that women have to deal with. We are still not fully equal, i.e. the pay difference between men and women who do the same work. We are not understood, i.e. numerous men walking free instead of being behind bars, and we are not fully supported by all men. This needs to end. When women can finally thrive, the world will prosper.
Interview and Photos by Ava Butera
In the year 2019, the name Twin XL goes far beyond just a college dorm mattress size. The synth-pop band of the same name formed merely on accident and in the moment. Twin XL is comprised of lead guitarist John Gomez and bassist Stephen Gomez (formerly of The Summer Set) alongside lead singer Cameron Walker (formerly of Nekokat). The three members met years ago in LA, and recently reconnected when each were writing songs for other artists. Though they weren’t sure if they wanted to dive into a new musical endeavor, the guys had instant chemistry and immediately began producing fun and catchy hits, bound to be on your summer playlist. I had the chance to catch up with Twin XL in one of their ﬁrst interviews as a band in Chicago on their recent stop of tour with The Mowgli’s and Jukebox the Ghost. We got to chat about how they formed the band, their studio process, and the creativity that lies within their music videos. Aren’t these your ﬁrst couple of tour dates as a band? Are you more anxious or excited/ both to be debuting this new music to different crowds? John: I think both? Stephen: Both. Cameron: Yeah, both! John: I actually wouldn’t say anxious at all, in that sense. More anxious to get on the tour. I think that tours are where bands are band, like physically in front of people, that’s where you really write your story. So I think we’re anxious to do that. But just overall, we’re just really excited to have new music out in the world. Stephen: Yeah it’s exciting to get to have new people hear it especially. Cameron: Although we’re only two shows in, people have been really receptive and we’re super fortunate that The Mowgli’s and Jukebox the Ghost were nice enough to take a chance and bring us out. So, was your show in Omaha the other night your ﬁrst show ever? Cameron: We played maybe three in LA and we played a festival in Phoenix.
So the one in Omaha was our fifth show. John: Tonight [Chicago] is our eighth show as a band! Cameron: We feel really comfortable with our set though and how we’re translating the songs live. But we’re still finding that sweet spot. Stephen: Kind of like muscle memory. Cameron: It’s not quite there yet, but it feels good! How did Twin XL come about? I know all of you had previous endeavors before this band was a thing! John: We’d met each other briefly when we 18 years old, in different bands. And then we met each other again when we moved to LA a few years ago and we’d been in similar circles writing and producing songs with other artists and we (me and Stephen) decided to try a few days with Cameron, to just write and see what happens. We ended up writing probably three songs pretty quickly off the bat. Within a few months of each other. We had no intention of starting a band but we had been sitting on these songs for maybe six months to a year. 29
“IT FEELS GOOD TO FINALLY GET ON STAGE AND PLAY THIS MUSIC IN FRONT OF PEOPLE” We’d all been listening to it a lot, sort of. Like driving around and stuff. I remember specifically I was on this drive home from Arizona and remember listening back to this music and I said “I want to be in this band.” Like if I could pick any band to be in right now, I want to be in this band. And then we all kind of talked about it and we were like these are really cool songs, should we pursue this and make it a band? We wrote our first song together two years ago. Was that still while you guys were in your other bands? John: No, we [pointing to Stephen] had just been on a hiatus with our band and we were just writing for other artists. Cameron: We were writing full time and I don’t think our intention was to start a new band and go on tour. John: I wasn’t ready to be in a new band at all. If you asked be while we were writing these songs if I wanted to be in a new band, I needed time. I was not in that place in my life at all. Yeah just from my point of view, I feel like you guys were touring 30
with The Summer Set extensively until the hiatus. John: We were! And when a band goes on hiatus, it sort of feels like a break up with a significant other and you feel like you can’t go into another relationship. At that point when we were writing all these songs, I just wasn’t ready emotionally. So it’s funny that we wrote the songs. Stephen: Yeah that’s true!
How is creating music together different than it was in your previous bands? Is this more of a collaborative effort than the last music projects/is it kind of similar? Stephen: It’s a lot more collaborative, at least compared to John and I’s previous projects. There was generally like one or two people in the studio at a time. Do you think that’s beneﬁcial as a band, to have one person at a time? Or do you prefer everyone being there together? Stephen: I think it had to work that way for that band, because there were so many different personalities that were very different. John: Every band is just structured differently. Stephen: Having five people is a lot, it’s much easier with three. John: We each have different roles that we kind of step into pretty naturally. Like Stephen is production, drums, bass, and the production of the recording. He’s an incredible producer and engineer. Me and Cam take over a lot of the songwriting.
Cameron: It’s a cool thing. John and I work through the lyrics and the melodies together, while Stephen is in his own little world and listening to what we’re doing and trying to figure it out. John: Once we have a sketch of the song with drums and bass, we come together to get it figured out. Stephen: It’s great! John: It is very collaborative. It’s the most collaborative project I’ve ever been apart of. Cameron: And just by the nature of how the band started. We started as three songwriters and turned it into a band. It’s kind of how we became a band -- in the studio. I usually never ask this in interviews because I feel like it’s a cliched answer that bands are kind of exhausted to answer, but I couldn’t ﬁnd the answer anywhere while researching! Where did you come up with the name Twin XL? Just reminiscing on college or something? John: *laughs* No! There’s actually no rhyme or reason to it. We had been searching for a name. I had become obsessed with how the word twin looked phonetically. I had this notepad of
different combination of twin and other words. Again, I was driving. Stephen was moving to a town outside of LA. And when I was driving how a UHaul truck and I thought of the name Twin XL, I thought it sounded good. Cameron: Didn’t you also hear about how the Boeing 747 actually doesn’t mean anything, it just sounds good. John: Yeah, that’s how I came up with the phonetics. I was so interested in this idea. Like, we’re songwriters, we play around with words. So when I came up with Twin XL, I knew it was a mattress size. It sounds really cool. I started thinking back to when Stephen and I moved out to LA and we shared a room together and we had Twin XL mattresses adjacent from each other. So I thought, that’s kind of funny, that’s how we started this whole journey moving to California, before we met Cam. A Twin XL bed is sort of this funny space and lonely bed size. It’s too small to fit another personal but it’s big enough to fit one lonely person to make yourself comfortable.
drummer first and I think I was probably 13 when I taught myself guitar chords because I wanted to create music. I grew up with my mom playing The Beach Boys and The Beatles. Then I got into Blink-182 in high school, along with that other pop-punk stuff. I loved music so much that I wanted to make it. It was weird, it was just something I always wanted to do. I think it’s the same thing for you guys too. John: Yeah, it’s sort of the same story. Stephen: I always loved music and listened to whatever our parents liked. But it wasn’t until I got into punk and emo music that I became obsessed. I just wanted to know every band and I illegally downloaded songs on Napster back in the day! It just snowballed. It went from punk and emo to indie rock and then falling into pop and even country *laughs*, I don’t know. You really dive into music and really dissect it, I think it makes it easier to fall in love with different genres because you can find great stuff everywhere. The logo looks cool though though! I mean, of course that was after the fact. John: Yes! After the fact, it was incredible that it somehow worked. It was a very happy accident. A lot of this band has been a happy accident. Where did you seek inspiration from when forming the band and starting to write and record music together, besides yourselves? Cameron: Oh, before the band? Sure. Cameron: Um, I think -- I mean, I was a 32
John: Yeah! I think same for me. Those are those formative years when you’re a teenager. We I started listening to punk music like Bright Eyes and becoming obsessed with singers and the persona of them. And how cool the brand was of the band. Even the thought of getting into a 15 passenger van and playing small sweaty clubs was immediately the coolest thing you could do as a 13-year-old. We started playing shows locally when I was 11 years old. Cameron: Also in high school, it more so felt like an identity thing where I was like ‘this is something I’m actually good at and can do’. I decided that I didn’t want to do anything else.
The “Friends” music video is super cool! What inspired that whole thing? How long did it take you guys to learn that choreography? Cameron: That choreography took two days! Do you guys have any dance-leaning tendencies? John: Zero dance experience. Cameron: I am one of the least coordinated people on the planet. John has been working really closely with our director Jade Ehlers on all our video concepts. John: I had this concept of sort of this inanimate object coming to life of the couch. I had the idea of this opening scene and how the video would start. I went to coffee with our director and I told him I had the first 30 seconds of the video. I wanted Cam sitting on the couch kind of dead with the TV in front of him, I want him singing the first verse and at some point during the first verse, I want him to turn to the stuffed animal and the animal to turn with him, and that’s all I had. I wanted it to turn into this loosely choreographed video of us following Cameron and this now-alive bear. Cameron: What was the inspiration you had for “Friends”? John: I was thinking like Donnie Darko, like dark colors and stuff. That’s just how it started! Our director took that note of choreography and went and hired a friend of his, who’s a choreographer. To our surprise, he booked us two days at a dance studio. I was like, “is this really necessary for a little bit of choreographer?” And he was like, “the entire video is choreographed.”
We all came out cooler at the end of it. Cameron: It was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been. To be that far outside of your comfort zone and doing it is very personally fulfilling. We have a joke that with every music video, I get surprised and have to do something dangerous or unexpected. For “Friends”, I had to dance. That was terrifying. For the “Sunglasses” video — John: There are these acid strips we keep putting on his tongue in the video, as we’re testing him. And we had to shoot that certain shot like 100 times and he eats three each shot. So he ate like 40 Listerine Strips in the span of two hours.
“WE’RE ALL HAVING FUN DISCOVERING NEW MUSIC RIGHT NOW WHILE ALSO CONTRIBUTING, WHICH I THINK IS THE BEST WAY TO BE.” 33
Cameron: In the “Good” video, I didn’t read the treatment before I got to the shoot, so we shot some scenes riding in the car and then Jade was just like “alright get on top of the car” and I was like “holy shit, I can’t tell my mom about this.” So there I was, sitting on the top of the car, going 30 MPH. The first take we did was hilarious because is was like 100 degrees outside and the hood of the car was so hot that it was burning my ass through my pants. The footage from that first take is rough. I hope no one ever sees that. Congrats on releasing How to Talk to Strangers! When I listen to it, I deﬁnitely hear synth-pop inﬂuences. What sort of music inspired your overall sound? Any bands you heavily listened to when recording this? John: Oh man, a lot of stuff. We’re all fans of a lot of bands that have that sound like Foster the People and MGMT. Those were the big ones. Cameron: One thing that I really enjoy about working with John and Stephen is sort of how open everyone is with each other’s influences. Every session John will be like “there’s this new band that’s really cool” and it kind of expands my musical taste. Like Sir Sly was a big influence. John: A lot of those newer bands are kind of classic at this point. There just a lot of people who are making really cool music right now. I think I’m just inspired by what a lot of different people are doing. We’re all having fun discovering new music right now, while also contributing, which I think is the best way to be, you know contributing to art. Stephen: As a musician, all of your past and present influences sort of come out into your own music in a way. All of your different tastes 34
kind of subconsciously translate into your own work. I guess we’re all kind of an amalgamation of all the different music we’ve ever listened to. What should we expect from y’all within the next year? Festivals? Solo tours? John: Touring! As many shows as possible! Cameron: We’re definitely going to be promoting the EP as much as possible. Stephen: Hopefully some festival stuff comes up as well. John: We’re trying to play shows anywhere. Your Quinceañera, your birthday party, Bat Mitzvahs -- we just want to play shows. It feels good to finally get on stage and play this music in front of people.
KIng Princess & Her Musical Reign Written by Hailey Hale In 2018, right in the heart of the modern women’s rights movement, a star was born; or rather a King Princess reigned. Just when things were starting to look murky for women in the music industry last year, Mikaela Straus - known as King Princess - released the instant hit ‘1950’. It was a sonically irresistible song with its perfect mix of acoustic and electric, but it was the lyrics about her struggles of being a queer woman that brought so many people in. ‘1950’ was a beacon of light in such a dark part of the women’s rights movement and since then Straus has continued to shine a light on everyday problems that women and LGBTQ people face on a day to day basis. King Princess doesn’t shy away from writing about social and political problems that many others might not be brave enough to voice, and she does so in such a way it almost seems nonchalant. She talks and writes about things that are seen as taboo and makes them normal, like of course I like this what’s the big deal? So it’s no wonder her rise to fame has been so swift. In a society where everything is breaking news, it’s like a breath of fresh air to hear an artist take on a social issue and call attention to it while also making it known that if you fall under that category you are not alone and you are normal, despite what others might say. Her social stances, while needed and important, are not the only thing that make her an amazing artist. Everything about Straus screams star potential, from her strong vocals all the way to her aesthetic you can tell that she is 100% immersed in the presence she puts on as a musician. Her music is unlike any other, with its blend of pop and classic rock, so it only seems natural that Straus herself would be unlike any other in every sense of the word. With every new release you can tell that she is just getting better and better, and as time goes on you can’t help but realize that the potential is endless for King Princess. With a massive label to back her and an army of fans supporting her every move, Straus is set for the long run. As long as she keeps defying “the norm” and putting her heart and soul into making music, there is no way to predict the massive sensation that is King Princess. 35
Misogyny, the Inflated Male Ego, and How Women Are Taking It Down 36
Writen by Chelsea Holecek
mong his fans, Ryan Adams was undoubtedly one of the greatest musicians in the indie music scene for the past two decades with numerous Grammy awards and nominations under his belt. But now he’s the latest male artist under fire for sexual abuse and manipulation towards women he vowed to mentor in their future music careers. Last month, The New York Times published a revealing exposé with a number of accounts from these women, making it impossible to turn a blind eye. It begs the question: how much longer can women put up with abuse for the sake of their art? We’ve grown accustomed to hearing about artists— mostly men—cultivating a living out of demanding something out of women. It should come as a shock but unfortunately it’s become the norm—offer her something then she must give something in return. With social media it’s become more prevalent—easy access for predators to scope out prey and simply shoot a private message to their latest victim. Adams did just that. He offered an opportunity that was too good to pass up to struggling, up-and-coming female artists, searching desperately for their big break. It’s manipulation at its finest. Artists like Adams have massive fan bases and the ability to shift anyone’s career. And perhaps that was his greatest advantage. Through manipulative and conniving tactics, he attracted his possible protégé to a life that offered professional success and it wasn’t based on talent or originality, but on the prospect of sexual advances. Phoebe Bridgers was among one of the victims that endured Adams’ endless mistreatment. She released one of the most highly-praised indie albums of 2017. Stranger in the Alps was a storybook LP that delved deep into depression, heartbreak, and even gave a shout out to Adams himself. “Motion Sickness” gave listeners insight to the singer’s emotionally abusive ways, and Bridgers fought right back. While it seemed to be a cathartic outlet for the 24-year-old musician, the lasting effects of abuse remain fresh with any survivor. Another victim was interviewed, recalling her experience with Adams while she was underage—it turned into a sexual relationship quickly although she was promised an advancement in her rising music career. Ultimately, the connection she had with the singer fizzled out and he turned her away from creating music altogether.
It’s disheartening to hear the many women who endured years of abuse for the sake of a thriving future in music. And for some, their passion ceased. All the brilliantly talented women giving up their long-lived dream because of detrimental damage from emotionally devious men. In this age of #MeToo and #TimesUp, the idea of exposing and canceling the so-called male geniuses of the world has become almost too casual. These were chart-topping artists who set foot on stages in front of thousands of fans—how could they be brought down? While evidence of misconduct makes its way to the surface, women standing together breaks down the undefeatable wall. Along with the several women who were interviewed by The New York Times about Adams, there was also the groundbreaking Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly that recounted the experiences of numerous women who fell victim to R&B icon R. Kelly’s sexual and emotional abuse. It unveiled the reality of male artists using their powerful influence for their own gain. What makes it worse, is that the majority of the women were young, hopeful, and ready to take on the world. Most of them were unaware that they were being used for sex rather than for their lyrical genius—Adams often would comment on their musical creativity before diving into the possibility of sexual advances. Perhaps he didn’t care about their music at all, it was always about the physical satisfaction than making someone’s dreams come true. A selfishness shines through and masks itself as a mentor. The media holds these male artists in high regard, building up their ego until they believe they can get away with anything. That’s their biggest fault—no one is invincible. We’re gradually witnessing the fall of some of the industry’s biggest artists and it doesn’t matter how long they’ve been around. Listeners rearrange their playlists, sell their concert tickets, and delete their fan accounts. Media outlets and magazines publicly denounce ever supporting them. We see the downfall of egotistical mediocrity and the rise of compassionate talent. None of that can happen without the courage of honesty. You can’t ignore the voices of several women, all revealing a similar pattern—it’s more powerful than one may believe. The camaraderie between those whose experiences overlap can be the fiercest bond one could never break.
photos by hannah dougherty
Why Female Drummers Donâ€™t Deserve to be Overlooked By: Amelia Zollner 40
AS MUSIC LOVERS, WE’VE PRAISED DRUMMERS for
When magazines like this do feature female drummers,
years. Countless magazines like Modern Drummer,
they’re almost always under articles titled “Best Female
DRUM!, and Rhythm exist solely to promote drummers
Drummers” rather than “Best Drummers”. It almost feels
and their talent for elaborate solos and complex beats.
like affirmative action; they want to publish female
But recently, I, along with countless other people, have
drummers only to appear diverse, not because they appre-
realized that something is missing from this equation:
ciate their drumming and think they belong in the same
lists as men.
For most of music history, thanks to often-debated
As a female drummer, I, and so many others I have talked
gender roles, women have played every instrument on
to, want equal representation in the music industry. We
stage except for the drums. Music as a whole is still a
don’t want to be separated from men, grouped into differ-
male-dominated industry, but more than any other instru-
ent lists simply to gain magazines diversity points. Repre-
ment, there’s a definite disparity in the number of women
sentation matters, and although there have definitely been
who play the drums compared to men. But why?
improvements, we still have a long way to go.
Drums are often viewed as an instrument used to take out
So support your favorite female drummers. Include them
aggression on, and, up until recently, most people thought
in your articles. Go to their shows. Maybe even pick up
women were simply incapable of possessing the strength,
the drums yourself and start playing! Whatever you do,
energy, and passion to do so. Turns out, they were wrong.
don’t overlook female drummers. We might not be at the top of the music industry right now, but believe me,
After countless talented female drummers like Karen
we’ll be there.
Carpenter of the Carpenters, Moe Tucker of the Velvet Underground, and Honey Lantree of the Honeycombs began to gain traction in the music world, many more aspiring female drummers felt inspired and realized that they could, and should, do what men told them they couldn’t do for years: play the drums. Now, thanks to the fame of classic female drummers like these, a variety of opportunities exist for female drummers all over the world. Tom Tom Magazine was founded to exclusively feature nonbinary and female drummers. Hit Like A Girl, a drumming contest for females, has provided incredible opportunities to female drummers, including me. A tight-knit community of female drummers exists on social media, and more bands than ever are featuring female drummers such as The Aces and Hinds. The world of female drumming still isn’t a utopia, though. Although action to represent female drummers has been taken on by these various organizations, it stops at mainstream music publications that aren’t female-focused. In 2014, Modern Drummer published an article titled “The 50 Greatest Drummers of All Time”. Every single drummer listed was male.
Interview by Carly Tagen-Dye Photos by Susie McKeon 42
As a Maryland native, Dune Flowers shows were something that I, as well as everyone in the surrounding area, always eagerly anticipated. The band, comprised of Tyler Drager (guitar/vocals), Oscar Schoenfelder (vocals/guitar), George Turner (bass), and Jeffrey Gilman (drums), have a loyal following around Baltimore, and are bringing their power rock sound around the country as well. Their latest EP Double Yolk is a celebration of their fresh step forward, while remaining just as fun as the band themselves. I recently had the chance to catch up with Tyler about their new music, move to Nashville, and much more. HEM: It’s nice to meet you! How has tour been treating you guys? Have there been any especially memorable shows? The Dune Flowers: Tour has been really cool so far! It seems like we’re always catching up on sleep, and there’s lot of driving, but it’s been really fun seeing a bunch of different cities. The most memorable show was in Chicago. We played on the 25th floor of a hotel, which was wild, and met some really cool people. It was also the first time we were in Chicago, and I think we got a good taste of the city. We never got to see the Bean, though. HEM: Congratulations on Double Yolk! It’s definitely one of my favorite releases of the year so far. What was it like writing and recording this new EP? Were there any new challenges that came about? DF: Hey, thanks! We just wrote two piano songs randomly right when we moved down to Nashville. We never played piano before this year, but the biggest challenge we had was getting our piano down to our new apartment. We found it on the side of the road in Maryland right before moving, and lugged it all the way down into our new living room. The hardest part about recording this EP was that none of us really played piano, but Oscar learned. We don’t need to set our alarms anymore because he’s always playing by 10! HEM: You’ve stated the Beatles and other 60’s
rock bands as inspirations; I definitely felt a bit of a Zombies influence with Double Yolk too. Have you found any difficulty in adapting those classic sounds into your music? DF: Yes! The Zombies rock! We’re really into that whole era of music: early rock n’ roll and the psychedelic period. We also like newer bands that are doing this kind of classic rock thing, like old Growlers songs and the Allah-Las. I don’t think it’s really hard to incorporate those rock sounds into our music because it’s just what we listen to. We don’t really think about it, to be honest. HEM: Do you feel your style has evolved since Lookin’ Fine and other previous releases? DF: I don’t think our sound has necessarily evolved, but we’re becoming more refined and even more comfortable writing songs together. HEM: You guys recently moved from Baltimore to Nashville. Has the change impacted your music or the band in any way? Have you seen any differences in the scenes there? DF: Well, we have a piano now! But just within the first few weeks of going to shows here, we saw a lot of bands with really impressive harmonies that we didn’t really hear back home. It really pumped us up to get better and incorporate this “Nashville” sound into our music. HEM: The Dune Flowers have some pretty interesting music videos out. Do you have a favorite one that you’ve filmed? DF: My favorite one was the “Flowers in Her Hair” music video. We planned it and shot it in about half an hour. I sat in the back of George’s car with my iPhone and just hit record. We had to blast the song on the car speakers to be able to sing to it. It was a very low production music video, but it was fun just recording it. HEM: If you could create your dream tour, how would you do it? Who would you tour with? What are some venues you would love to play? DF: We’d wanna open up for the Michael Jack-
son world tour, and cover Train’s Led Zeppelin II cover album. But really, we think it would be cool to tour with Hinds or someone like that. They’re the most badass band around right now, and I think we all might be in love with them. Well, at least Oscar is with Carlotta! HEM: Do you guys have any go-to songs or albums for the road? What are you listening to right now? DF: Paul McCartney’s Ram is an awesome album we’ve been listening to, but it’s really all over the place - The Beatles, The Zombies, The Growlers, some Kendrick, Hinds, and Twin Peaks. For sure, the go-to song is “Walden Park” by Dinner Time, our new friends in Atlanta. I think we play it every day! It’s so much better than all their other songs. HEM: What else can fans expect from the Dune 44 Flowers in the future?
DF: Well, we’re recording another album right now and are going to put out some singles soon. We’re going to set up another tour, maybe making out to the West Coast this time around. In the meantime, we’ll be playing some shows around Maryland and Nashville. That’s about it right now! HEM: Lastly, is there anything else you would like us to know? DF: Yee-Haw, and we’re looking to get sponsored by Monster Energy Drinks. If anyone could help us out, you can find us at your local mall, in or outside Zumiez. On a side note, we like getting mail, so you can send us stuff or just come over for a fresh ice cold delicious Natural Light. 1350 Hazelwood Street Apt 126 Murfreesboro, TN 37130
Interview by Caroline Rohnstock
Photos by Sydney Wisner
From a small village in Scotland, powerful songstress Nina Nesbitt has been making her way onto the scene since she was just a teenager. Based in acoustic, storytelling singer-songwriter melodies, her first couple EPS and first album carried infectious beats and stories of the ups and downs of adolescence. Having matured since then, and taking a little break from the industry, Nesbitt recently released her new album The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change. With a refreshing pop sound, still very influenced by her acoustic roots, the songstress’ album is one so pleasant to listen to. Transitioning from teenage stories to ones of the journey of her twenties, the 13 songs are relatable to a large audience and stay true to Nesbitt’s sin ge r- s o n g w r ite r ways. The album features songs to bop to about significant others who just can’t commit to you (“Loyal to Me”, “Love Letter”) and ballads that hit home about being afraid to express your emotions (“Things I Say When You Sleep”, “Last December”). Embarking on a worldwide tour for the album, and already having a large following, Nesbitt is continuing an artist’s dream of spreading their music. I got the chance to chat with Nina about her new album, influences, and sound transition during her 2019 North American tour stop in Boston. HEM: Your new album is incredible, I was wondering what you want fans to take away from lis-
tening to it, the main messages? NN: Whatever they want, for me it was quite a therapeutic album to make. For me, it was all about personal growth and life in your early twenties -- all the things you experience which are pretty weird and I want people to listen to it and take whatever they want from it, put it into their own life. HEM: I love that, and I love “Loyal to Me”, I’ve sent it to all my friends about fuckboys, so when you were writing that how did that come about? NN: There’s a lot of them out there! It was in a time when I was actually just writing for other people and I’d been listening to a lot of nineties R&B and pop, and I just wanted to write my own version of that, but I never really thought it’d be for me, I wanted to write it for a girl band or something so I just started writing it in my bed. I wrote half the song at home and I was like, ‘this is a bit silly I don’t know’, and then I took it into a session, and I was like ‘what’d you guys think?’ I finished it there and then realized that I actually needed an upbeat song and I kind of liked it! I think it’s fun, like music can be fun sometimes it doesn’t all have to be like totally deep and emotional. I think the album is quite deep and sad, so I was like I need to have a few fun tracks on there! 49
HEM: Yeah it does have a nice flow; I like to take it off shuffle! I’ve listened to you for a very long time, so what inspired this new sound, this transition? NN: For me, it was something that was very natural like when I put out the first album five years ago, I wasn’t really even making that type of music when I put it out I was already experimenting with other things because I grew up in a little village in the middle of nowhere that had no studios or producers, so the only option for me was to do acoustic music. Which is not necessarily what I’ve always wanted to do, but it was just a way to make music. So yeah, I think a lot of people are like ‘oh you’ve changed what you wanted to do’ but I was still just figuring it out so I tried the straight up pop thing, I tried the acoustic thing and I’ve sort of ended up somewhere in the middle. I love the storytelling singer-songwriter thing mixed with like the pop chorus. I grew up with a
lot of American and Swedish pop so I think that’s always in me, but I do like the storytelling aspect, so I think it was just a natural thing. HEM: What’s your dream venue to play at the moment? NN: Red Rocks! That is the dream. HEM: What’s your writing process look like? NN: Totally depends on the song, I have two different ways of writing. I write on my own a lot and that’s usually for me so that would start with a lyric and then I’ll write a song with that. I really like writing over samples and loops and stuff, it’s just an inspired way to write but if I’m in a studio session with someone else then sort of just collaborative effort it can be melody, lyrics whatever, I have no idea how I write songs they just come out!
HEM: Do you have a dream person you would like to collaborate with? NN: Max Martin, he’s a very famous writer/ producer and he’s done so many hits since the nineties. He’s also worked with Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, and Britney Spears. I think he’s just an absolute genius and he is at the top of my list. HEM: What do you think is the best song you’ve written? NN: A song that I’ve written that’s definitely connected most out of my whole career seems to be “The Best You Had”, it just hit 50 million streams today, which is absolutely insane. It’s just brought so many cool moments in my career like the Taylor Swift playlist, the amount of streams, and getting the Spotify collaboration thing -- so many things have happened from that song. I’m really grateful for that song being a thing, that’s probably one of my favorites. I knew when I’d written it
that I wanted it to be a single and it felt special. HEM: Do you think that’s your favorite to play live? NN: Yeah probably at the moment! We sort of do it a little bit differently live, at the end anyway, which is really fun. I think that’s what I was trying to do like a little bit differently. HEM: Do you have a certain lyric from another artist’s song that really inspires you? NN: I’m inspired by a lot of poets, I read a lot of Rupi Kaur, obviously. I really like Warsan Shire, she’s got a lot of great poems. I’ve been looking at a lot of Sylvia Plath’s quotes. I like female poets and writers a lot! They inspire me more than musicians but I’m definitely really inspired by other female artists like Alanis Morrissette. She is a huge influence and I like the style of writing she has lyrically, how it’s just so raw and open. I love that!
HEM: What would you say are your main musical influences; I know you kind of touched on that a bit but anyone else? NN: I’m inspired by all different genres, I’m inspired by anyone who tells their own story through their music. So like a song on the record called “Chloe” -- no one would guess it was inspired by a J. Cole song called “She’s Mine Part 2” about his daughter and it’s so different musically, but I just love how he was talking about something that’s relevant to everyone’s lives, children and stuff. I find it really refreshing and I was like ‘oh I’m gonna write a pop song about babies’! HEM: That’s so cool that you could just pick that idea out like that! NN: Yeah I’m just open to any inspiration from anyone! HEM: Where did you come up with the the title of your album, The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change?
NN: I wrote the song on the bus on the way home from the gym and I just loved it. I thought it summed up the album for me and it’s a very lyrical album so I wanted a heavy lyric for the title, to sort of give people an idea of what it might be. I thought that whatever people are going through, it’s a reassuring thing to read, I think! HEM: It’s very reassuring, that song has been very important to me! NN: Thanks! Yeah I was actually between two titles. It was between that and SW6, which is the post code I lived in when I wrote the album. But I was in a dressing room one day in Birmingham, and this sounds like a made up story but it’s not! I was sitting down trying to name the album I had to pick one, and I had the two titles I was writing them out on my laptop, and I got up to go to the mirror in the venue and on the wall someone had written in pencil “changing seasons”, and I was like oh my god, it’s got to be that, it was like a little sign!
james bay photos by caylee robillard
Interview and photos by Bella Peterson Lucy Dacus is an archivist. A compulsive historian. She has been known to log her deepest thoughts in an effort to preserve her life for as long as she can remember in diaries, and to the indie scene’s pleasure, in her songwriting. She is only 23, but her music feels as though it was written by someone that has lived multiple lifetimes. On Historians, the (almost) title track of her most recent album, she gently sings, “I’ll fill pages of scribbled ink / hoping the words carry meaning.” Her scarce catalog alone cements that aspiration as reality. This past year has been a whirlwind for Dacus. She released her critically acclaimed sophomore album Historian, followed up by touring and an extensive festival circuit. She wrapped up 2018 by releasing the boygenius ep, her collaboration with fellow singer-songwriters and close friends Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers. Essentially, she has not had much of a break, and she seems to like it that way. 56
LUCY DACUS: I’m actually less stressed when I’m most busy, because I don’t like to feel stagnant. I have had like two months off for the holidays, and it’s nice to have short breaks to see people I care about. But I think the more work, I can make and put out and share with people, the more accurately represented I feel. I feel like I’m always changing so being able to represent myself and ask for understanding from people is such a wonderful part of this job. Since I am always changing and having new thoughts, I do want to keep putting out more just so people that care about my music can have a full picture of where I’m at. HEM: Yeah, I completely get that. LUCY DACUS: As soon as I can tell people, it’s like I just...I guess I respect people that are caring about me, and so I just want to repay that with an accurate view of who I am. HEM: You’re about halfway through this tour now, what have been your favorite moments so far? LUCY DACUS: We were in Austin on Shakey Graves day, which is like an annual celebration of Shakey Graves in Austin where he lives. He was an early influence to me with guitar playing, because I’ve never taken classes but I would watch his live videos. He used to not have a band, I used to not have a band, he plays this alternate tuning, it’s the same tuning I play in so I learned my chord shapes from him. We got to go to a super small performance that
he did for like, 150 people or something, and he played a bunch of deep cuts that I’m a fan of. And then we had a show to play that night and we were gonna get a Lyft, but they were all like 20 minutes away and we were gonna be late for our set so we got on those stupid bird scooters — I don’t know if you have those here, like the app scooters? And we had to ride two miles in the rain at full speed on the bird scooter. It was kinda hectic in the moment but now it’s kind of a fun memory. HEM: Your most recent record is an incredibly personal and vulnerable body of work, and you’ve been touring for it for about a year now. Has playing those songs nearly every night brought on new meaning for any of them? Are there any that you didn’t expect to enjoy playing as much as you do? LUCY DACUS: Yeah, it’s funny, “Night Shift” has that line that’s like, “in five years I hope the songs feel like covers,” and “Night Shift” specifically does feel like other people own it even more than I do now. Originally it was about something that was tough for me but now it’s pretty much 100% joy to sing that song because I see that it matters to other people. When people sing along, I just feel like it has taken on this new weight that is more meaningful to me than it ever could’ve been just for myself. On the other hand, we have that song “Next of Kin” that has the line, “I’m at peace with my death, I can go back to bed,” and I always thought that one was gonna be my favorite one to play, but I don’t know, I feel like sometimes I look out into
the crowd and people aren’t ready to be hearing about death or something. So sometimes I just don’t feel like it’s very graceful to play it live, but I do try to take requests and people do request that one sometimes. HEM: Kind of in the same vein, how do you think your relationship to your first album, No Burden, has changed over the years? How does it feel to see yourself now, vs. where you were at the time of writing it? LUCY DACUS: I’ve listened to No Burden recently, because we needed to relearn some of the older songs with our new bassist, and I wish it wasn’t this way but I’m kind of embarrassed! You know I love it, like, you have to love your past self, but my voice was so underdeveloped and I had never sung with a band behind me. I’d never played with a band. We wrote parts with the band, like, two days before we got into the studio, and then recorded it. I think I was trying to amp up my energy to be singing with the band but it came out way more sassy or sultry than I am, and I feel like I figured out within months what my voice actually feels like, but there are a couple moments on the record that feel a little, I don’t know, more bluesy or something that isn’t necessarily my taste as a listener. But I do still think there are good lyrics throughout that record. I haven’t released any song that I now think is bad, which I think is a blessing. I still agree with everything I’ve put out in the world. HEM: Yeah, I think it’s good to be able to look back on art that you’ve put out and still, while not being completely comfortable with it, you understand why you did what you did. So, you just released a cover of La Vie en Rose off of your EP 2019, set to come out later this year. What in particular drew you to that song? LUCY DACUS: La Vie en Rose, I think, is a perfect song. I came to love it and all of Edith Piaf’s music in middle school when I was studying French, and I would sing it to myself a lot -- I’ll try to keep this story concise, but I was painting a mural in the school library after school, and I thought I was alone but the janitor was there, and I stopped singing but he was like, “No, no no, keep going, you sound great.” So I sang the French version and he was like, “I think I know that song,” and he kept cleaning and sang the Louis Armstrong version in English back at me. I was like, “That was wonderful!” and he was like, “Thank you for this moment,” or something, and then seriously tipped his hat like a guardian angel in a Disney movie and then rolled away with his mop. So, it’s taken on this sort of mystic quality in my life and I feel like it always contains the mystic element of love too. Whenever I’m feeling really in love it’s just imbibed with that kind of mystery.
HEM: Who are some of your inspirations, either all-time heroes or upcoming artists you find yourself influenced by? LUCY DACUS: I’m very inspired by Big Thief, I think they’re the best living band. I think that Adrianne [Lenker]’s lyricism is super brave and borderless, and her guitar playing is so creative as well. I’ve really been loving Andy Shauf, anything he does. I think he’s a brilliant storyteller and his production is so smart. I feel like I just learn a lot from gating with his music. Yo la Tengo has been and always will be one of my favorite bands, and I feel like not just the music but the longevity that they’ve found together and the way they’ve cultivated a sound and keep exploring and keep creating is super inspiring. We’re on the same label too, so they literally inspired me to choose Matador, which has been a great decision that I’m so happy that I made. Those are some good ones. HEM: As such a busy artist I imagine you hear the “what’s next” and “where do you see yourself in the future” questions daily, but I feel as though they — while well-meaning — come with a kind of expectation to have a perfect answer about your process and everything you do and puts more effort into moving forward than appreciating the present. How do you feel about that kind of subtle pressure that is put on you with those questions? LUCY DACUS: It’s funny, because if you have a plan there’s the tension of keeping it to yourself, and if you don’t have a plan there’s the tension of not having anything to say. I much prefer having things on the docket that I need to do, or want to do. What’s funny for me is, I just feel like throughout my recent life it’s like all my dreams have been coming true, so the skill has been for me to figure out when the dream is becoming a reality. So people are like, “What’s next?” — I could say any number of dreams that I would like to commit energy towards, but I don’t wanna birth an idea without it being ready, you know? So that’s the big holdup for me with that question, is just trying to keep a rein in on what’s realistic. I do have stuff coming up, clearly there’s this EP, so right now I don’t have any tension with that question because everyone knows that I’ll be putting out singles throughout the year, and originals and some covers around holidays, which feels really like...it’s like I’m constantly sharing things that I care about but also, it’s kind of low-stakes because it’s not a full album, it’s not supposed to be a direction that I’m going in, it’s just like... HEM: It doesn’t commit you to something. LUCY DACUS: Yeah, it’s just like I made these things, they were sitting around, I want people to hear them. It’s like a really simple equation of expression, like, make-share. That’s where I’m at.
HEM: Do you have any advice for our non-male audience trying to pursue careers in the music industry? LUCY DACUS: Support each other, because you don’t have to compete. There’s not limited space. Make time for anybody younger or less experienced than you. Maybe that doesn’t mean hook people up with a full career in music, but still encourage the expression of anybody. Music is my job, but initially it wasn’t and it was my passion. It was helpful before then, and the thing that was helpful about it is still more helpful than the money I make from it. Everyone should have access to that process if they want it, but it does feel like sometimes you’re not allowed if you don’t see women onstage. “You have to see it to be it,” is a phrase somebody said, it probably wasn’t me first. That’s the only holdup right now I think I see consistently is that some women believe that there’s limited space, or have been tricked into thinking there’s limited space, and there just isn’t. HEM: Lastly, I think a beautiful thing about interviewing is that it allows an artist to open up about themself more directly while still being able to tell their story on their own terms. What is something you want people to know about you? What would you like anyone that reads this interview to understand about you? LUCY DACUS: Oh my gosh...Something I think about a lot is that we are strangers. Like, me and whoever is gonna read this, probably, unless my mom is surfin’ the web for my interviews. We’re total strangers. But I really love anybody that’s given me the time of day, but that doesn’t mean that it takes the same form as two good friends. It’s a weird relationship to have. I appreciate and care about the people that care about me too, and it’s a real relationship, but it doesn’t take place physically. So I feel bad at a show when someone wants to engage physically — you know, hug, or touch my lower back, kiss my cheek, whisper something in my ear — that all like...It just feels kind of bad when that happens and I guess I wish that it was enough for us to care about each other through like, where we are in the shows. I don’t really know how to say that that doesn’t sound like...I don’t wanna sound ungrateful, or like an asshole, but that’s one thing I know that everyone I know, especially non-men of my age have to deal with. So with a lot of love, please don’t ask for more than anyone’s offering you when it comes to artist-fan relationships.
AND THE DIAMONDS
Written by Livie Augustine
To kickstart her return, the first single off of Diamandis’s anticipated album was released in early February. The single, titled “Handmade Heaven”, is a beautiful, balladic introduction. Its beautiful backing music perfectly compliments her gorgeous voice. The golden tones of Diamandis’s alto voice are showcased, and the lyrics are a testament to her recent desires. The lyrics reference her previous lack of passion, and ask for a chance When Diamandis first changed her social media to see the world in a different perspective. It is beautifully heartbreaking and justifies her deciaccounts, fans went into a frenzy. Many were sion to separate herself from her pop star days. under the impression that Diamandis was The beauty of the song shows the slight influence officially retiring from music. In fact, she considered it herself. When she announced her of her last album, Froot. However, this beauty also introduces MARINA not as a pop star, but as break from music in April of 2016, she had a mature, honest artist. “fallen out of love with [music]” according to Dazed magazine. Yet, this rebranding allowed Diamandis to take a different approach to music, Accompanying “Handmade Heaven”, Diamanand allowed her to reconnect with the joy of be- dis’s most recent release—“Superstar”—touches on a different subject—her relationship. The lyrics ing an artist. of the show her hopeful, affectionate perspective Diamandis’s rebranding received mixed signals on love. To add to Diamandis’s attribution of her from fans. Many were heartbroken over the end lover as her “Superstar”, the music is dazzling on of an era, and rightfully so. From Family Jewels to its own. The brighter tones and higher pitches Froot, Diamandis’s previous works have shaped create an optimistic feel, and the simple beats the teenage years of many fans. Between both during the verses prevents distraction from the meaning in the lyrics. her style and attitude, the music Diamandis put out under Marina and the Diamonds greatly influenced her fans lives. However, there were All-in-all, Diamandis’s comeback is an indepenmany fans who were grateful for the rebranding, dent revolution. Her rebirth as a genuine artist produces more meaningful music, and opens the because it meant a new era. door for fans to reconnect. The evolution of her MARINA marked the end of Diamandis’s hiatus, albums has shifted towards more collected and which had lasted nearly three years. So natural- therapeutic pieces. If the upcoming album, Love ly, many were ecstatic to have a promise of new + Fear, is anything like its first two singles, it surely won’t disappoint. music. Though fans had no clue what to expect, it was an exciting process. Now, the Diamonds—a name given to Diamandis’s fans—have two singles and an album announcement. fter seven years, Marina Diamandis has rebranded her image. Rising from her previous stage name, Marina and the Diamonds, Diamandis presents herself as MARINA. Now 33, the singer has decided to make both her image and her music more mature and distant from the bubblegum pop sound of her Electra Heart days.
Pond’s Most Recent Achievement Is an Experimental Triumph in Music
Written by Emma Schoors
Considering Kevin Parker’s affiliation with the band, it’s hard to not compare Pond’s music to that of Parker’s famed alternative rock band, Tame Impala when writing this review. But it’s bound to happen. After listening to Tasmania countless times, the album seems to have a similar vibe stringed throughout. One of the opening tracks on the album,“Sixteen Days”, is one of the standout tracks. The vocals included feel more like a spoken guitar, in that they compliment the other effects so well. The start of the album is cinematic with “Daisy”, which transitions from a ballad of sorts with haunting vocals to a more punchy, catchy beat. Two songs in one is an understatement to what it sounds like.
The title track, “Tasmania”, indulges in the funky aspect of this album. It has various unique instruments and synths throughout which don’t feel cluttered at all, but set the scene for the rest of the album. “The Boys Are Killing Me” relies on vocals and bass, which sounds gorgeously simple. It carries a perfect thematic presence leading into “Hand Mouth Dancer”, which is a little more complicated instrumentally, but just as cleanly produced. “Goodnight, P.C.C” is one of the most unique tracks on the album. It would flow perfectly on a movie score or other visual experience. The synths feel more like a space mission than an adequate song addition, but they just work so well. It adds a sinister yet hopeful energy. If a sunrise from heaven had a song name, it would be “Burnt Out Star”. This song works for any mood. The vocals are just delicate enough to sound raw, and the guitars are just enlightening.
On a more instrument-driven note, “Selené” is a prime example of how instruments and vocal melodies can work together to complete each other. Nearing the end of the album, “Shame” is another song that is just simple enough to intrigue, and just complicated enough to keep audiences listening. At around the one minute mark, the falsettos give the song an unexpected sunny vibe while maintaining a curious sound. “Doctor’s In” closes out the piece of work with a bang. Another song fit for a space mission from paradise, this one is more electric and another song that would divinely complete a film. It’s like the end credits of a movie where you just soak in everything that’s happened. Listening to this album in its entirety is more than worth it. There’s some bodies of music that are better explained with earphones and 48 minutes to spare. This is one of those albums.
III POINTS FESTIVAL REVIEW By Emily Usallan PHOTOS BY DANIELA LOURENCO SHIBER
III Points Music Festival is a cultural event in Wynwood, Miami, Fl that is seemed to target the promotion of both local arts and national music acts. Besides the goal of entertaining attendees with music, there is also another goal of this “movement”, in which companies that teamed with III Points seemed to promote a movement of diversity and the importance of self- individualization; some of these companies include Nue Studio and Porn Nails. It became apparent after speaking to some of the owners of these companies, they wanted to promoted a sense of empowerment of self-identify. Whether it may be in the form of the way you choose to express yourself, your creativity, or even just who you identify yourself as, III Points is for everyone. Before I detail the insanely talented lineup of musicians featured at this year’s festival, I’d like to spotlight some of my favorite local business featured at the festival. Nue Studio is a hair salon in Miami, Fl. At the festival, they offered a taste of their services to festival-goers, offering free hair braids with glitter, haircuts, and a wide variety of barber services. I had the opportunity to speak with the owner, Todd Jameson. “[III Points] is supporting this whole creative culture that’s happening in Miami, which I will personally always support,” owner of Nue Studio, Todd Jameson, said when asked why he chose to promote his business at the festival. This would start its own paragraph. After the quote, add some info. Then go into: “I don’t want money, I just want to see a movement.” Tucked in a corner, right by the food stands, there was a parked van with an LED signs, “Nails”, a table in the middle, a few inflatable aliens sitting around the inside, and a TV hidden away in the back rolling a porn movie; this is the Porn Nails van. Providentially, I was able to sit down in that magical van and interview founder Rosemarie Romero. With the whole purpose of wanting to encourage a movement, Rosemarie continued in explaining the purpose of Porn Nails with a major emphasis on the importance of celebrating latinas, feminists, and queer people, “ I also wanted to make art that was about identity and about where I come from, and I feel like I wanted to celebrate being a latinx feminist, queer artist from Miami and kind of incorporate the Miami aesthetic into the project too.” Romero then went on to explain how Porn Nails started out as her art school thesis, but it became more than just that. “I wanted to do interactive feminist art that incorporates nails, gossip, friendship, and like erotic films so that we could explore pleasure and celebrating and beautifying our bodies through nail art.”
Staying the realm of this whole empowerment movement, III Points invited a poet to perform, which was interesting to see in the sense that it is not often you see poets performing at music festivals. Aja Monet is a Cuban-Jamaican contemporary poet from Brooklyn, New York, who delivered a powerful performance of a few of her pieces, in which most of them focus on sexism, racism, spirituality, and also love. The way the crowd seemed to interact with her performance was quite impressing; as cheers from the audience grew, so did Monet’s voice. It could be seen in the faces and the eyes of those in the audience that they related to her preaches. The musical performances at III Points were undoubtedly exhilarating. Having seven stages, one of which was a roller skating rink, there was always a performance going on, of several genres. Skate Space, the free rolling skating rink with a DJ performing in the middle, was definitely one of the coolest touches at the festival. It featured an open area with projections on the wall, people watching from afar, those who were clearly experienced in skating zooming around, and those who did not- I did witness a few falls to to the floor. A notable set of the festival had to be, Saturday’s performance by James Blake. It was absolutely transcending. Not only was his captivating voice enticing, but just the music overall just seemed to perfect fit the ambience; a windy Miami night under a gigantic disco ball. Love the incorporation of the windy Miami night under a disco ball! Creates a romantic mood. However, my personal favorite performance was by Godspeed You! Black Emperor. I remember just walking into the Main Frame stage and instantly being captivated by not only the music, but the visuals as well. Godspeed You! Black Emperor played an instrumental set accompanied by a film still projected behind them; sitting on the floor watching their performance, I just remember feeling like I was the only person in the room with just the music; almost an out of body experience. A weekend filled with art, music, and empowerment, it is easily said that III Points successfully fulfilled my craving for such things. Thrilling performances by artists like SZA, Beach House, and Tyler, the Creator, enjoying the captivating art installations, and small tents selling vintage clothing, music, and getting your nails done in one of the coolest vans around. It is refreshing to see such an event promote empowerment amongst the diverse crowds, especially in the heart of one of the largest melting pots in the nation -- Miami, FL.
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photos by caleigh wells