Queens-born Korean producer Yaeji unveiled her revved-up mixtape What We Drew last week. To celebrate her highly-anticipated release, Yaeji debuted an animated lyric video to the track “When I Grow Up” as a reflection on the themes of her early childhood.
Animated and directed by Luis Yang, the visual moves in alignment with Yaeji’s jarring synth beat. Each component of the animation somehow ties in with the theme of Yaeji’s mixtape. Dancing onions and flashing video game controllers float around the producer’s outlined alter-ego.
In a statement, Yaeji said the track is an acute reflection on her childhood: “‘WHEN I GROW UP’ is a song of two perspectives talking with each other. one is me from my childhood, wondering what it would be like when i become an adult. the other is me as an adult, breaking the truth to young me,” she said.
In a recent interview with Vice‘s Garage Magazine, Yaeji discussed her draw to visual art as a medium, which can be seen through her “When I Grow Up” video:
“I’ve always been way more comfortable with visual art for a very long period of my life,” she said. “I think the earliest memory I have is when I was four years old: I was painting a lot, and decided then that I would become a visual artist when I grew up, and I stayed pretty consistently on that path until college. I’m still really comforted by it. I would say my visual art making practice is really similar to music making in a lot of ways. I’m more of a process-based artist, and I’m really frantic and messy sometimes, and abstract and expressive. Often you have to just let it all out that way and then clean it up and organize it later, and understand the bigger picture of the messaging of it.”
Before Fleabag was turned into an Emmy-winning show, it was an acclaimed one-woman show. That woman: No Time to Die co-writer, Killing Eve creator, and guinea pig enthusiast Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who returned to London’s West End for more performances in 2019. One of those productions was broadcast into theaters last year (theatres, for my Hot Priest-loving friends across the pond), but if you missed it, Fleabag Live is being released online to raise money for COVID-19 charities.
“I hope this filmed performance of Fleabag can help raise money while providing a little theatrical entertainment in these isolated times,” Waller-Bridge said. “Thank you to all our partners and to the creative team who have waived their royalties from this production to raise money for such vital causes in this unbelievably challenging situation. All money raised will support the people throughout our society who are fighting for us on the frontlines and those financially devastated by the crisis, including those in the theatre community. Thank you in advance to those who donate. Now go get into bed with Fleabag. It’s for charity.” Pretty sure she’s specifically talking to Obama there.
Fleabag Live premiered today in the UK and Ireland on Soho Theatre’s On Demand streaming site, and will hit Amazon Prime Video in the United States beginning Friday, April 10; it will run for two weeks. A 48-hour rental costs five bucks.
With so much music coming out all the time, great albums are bound to fall through the cracks. But that’s probably even more common for pop-leaning artists who are on indie labels, often eclipsed by the huge campaigns surrounding the massive pop stars, even if their music is just as good, if not better. Occupying this strange space between the ultra famous and more established indie stars can be tough for emerging artists — or career ones — who exist in the middle realm.
Luckily, it’s my job to keep a lookout for these albums that are bubbling just under the surface, and I’ve collected ten of them to get you through another month of staying indoors. Music is a great way to mark time, so maybe throw a couple of these records on this month to help make the days go by. There is an end in sight, and staying positively distracted with a good soundtrack is a good way to keep in a healthy frame of mind. Check out these records you might’ve missed below.
Anna Burch — If You’re Dreaming
It would be easy to describe the steady, peaceful pacing of Anna Burch’s second album, If You’re Dreaming as, well, dreamy. The twelve-track follow-up to her 2018 solo debut, Quit The Curse is a departure from the jangling, guitar-rock that put her on the map, pushing outward into slower and hypnotic tunes that are perfect for zoning out and stretching out. Written in part as a self-soothing exercise after many long months on the road and a series of tumultuous housing situations, these songs are beyond dreamy, they’re lullabies for a turbulent world. They’re more lucid than dreams, and better for it.
Half Waif — The Caretaker
Nandi Rose Plunkett’s exploration of loneliness and self-care unfolds on her surreal, swirling new album, The Caretaker, another strong entry — if not the strongest — into Half Waif‘s already formidable discography. Decamping from Brooklyn to live upstate on a rather remote estate, Nandi’s character of the caretaker is self-informed, but with enough room to bring the mesmerizing world of the country’s strange wildlife and mythology into play. This is an album full of such deft self-excavation that listeners might find themselves uncovering forgotten layers of themselves, too.
Jordana — Classical Notions Of Happiness
Initially released on Bandcamp as a collection of the early thoughts, feelings, and musical ideas of 19-year-old Jordana Nye, Classical Notions Of Happiness quickly caught the ear of the internet, and after co-signs from Anthony Fantano of The Needle Drop and Pitchfork, Nye landed herself a record deal with the New York-based label, Grand Jury. The label not only re-released Nye’s DIY demos, but incorporated three new tracks from the wunderkind, who is quickly outgrowing her dewy bedroom synths for some freewheeling psychedelic warbling on the album’s closer, “Crunch.” On Happiness, Nye contains multitudes, and listening to her expand feels almost like doing it yourself.
Shoffy — Flash
An Uproxx fav from 2018, LA-based producer Shoffy is back with another collection of electro-pop that undeniably grooves. His last release, Lenses, was a completely independent album, with no guests or features, but this year’s Flash includes a number of welcome — and surprising — guests. From emerging R&B singers like Sabrina Carpenter, who sings on two songs here, to the Soundcloud veteran producers RAC, the new voices and sounds help Shoffy build on his smart, sweet synth-pop sound.
Galantis — Church
Galantis is the kind of EDM group who can bring together everyone, from Dolly Parton to Passion Pit. The DJ duo of Christian Karlsson (of Miike Snow) and Linus Eklöw know how to craft the kind of epic dancefloor hit that can turn your living room into the club — at least until the end of the song. Throw this on for ultimate jams that are catchy and ebullient enough to make the outside world disappear, and make dance the universal language of recovery. Sometimes, all you need to survive the night is to dance till the drop hits.
Allie X — Cape God
Allie X is one of the unsung pop stars of our time, but she comes through like the world’s biggest star on her newest album, Cape God. With features like Mitski (!) and Troye Sivan, the Toronto-raised/LA-based singer/songwriter released her second studio album in February of this year, quietly building momentum off the gloomy pop bops like “Devil I Know.” Writing songs from the perspective of characters in the 2015 documentary, Heroin: Cape Cod, this sometimes dark, sometimes campy pop exploration is as weird as Lana, and as experimental as St. Vincent.
Caribou — Suddenly
Every record that Dan Snaith releases as Caribou seems to top the one before, and Suddenly was a welcome addition to the producer’s oeuvre. It’s hard to say anything tops his last record, Our Love, but maybe because it’s been six years since that one dropped, it makes Suddenly all the sweeter. No one can spin a single synth sound and a whisper-sung lyric into a soothing, soulful song like Snaith can, but the moments on this album that get jittery and weird are just as welcome, like when “Sunny’s Time” ventures into a strange jazz freakout. Standout track “Home” brings an old soul sample in alongside glitchy and comforting production that never veers off course or gets too heavy-handed, a feat only Snaith could pull off.
Caitlyn Smith — Supernova
Walking the tightrope between the folk/country and indie/pop worlds is harder than it looks, but Caitlyn Smith has pulled it off to great success on her latest album, Supernova. With fiery anthems like “Damn You For Breaking My Heart” and bleary, string-laden ballads like the title track, Smith showcases her work as an inventive, flexible songwriting who pens songs that supersede genre. Smith knows how to make songs smoke and let them burn, but she’s also an expert at barely stoking the embers, and letting a song’s heat catch flame at just right moment, as showcased on “I Can’t,” a brassy sigh of exasperation that I’ve been returning to during crises big and small.
Elliot Moss — A Change In Diet
Following up his impressive debut, Highspeeds in 2015, Elliot Moss has been racking up comparisons to the likes of Bon Iver and James Blake as one of the great emotion-driven songwriters who can convert those feelings into electronic production. Following up the shorter EP-length release Boomerang in 2017, his second full-length, A Change In Diet opens up his songwriting and production even farther into post-Yeezus territory. Falsetto vocals, slithering beats, and flickering synths make this a must-listen for rainy nights and long, grey days.
Torres — Silver Tongue
After splitting with her former label, 4AD, Mackenzie Scott quickly signed with the legendary North Carolina label Merge Records, and prepared a full departure from her 2017 release, Three Futures. This year’s Silver Tongue is best described by Scott herself: “I feel like I’ve lived an entire lifetime in the three years since recording Three Future. This new record documents the significant fruits, for better or worse, of some terrifically delusional pursuits.” While it might be more meandering and abstract than some of her past work, it’s a gorgeous, strangely dark reminder of what a songwriting force Scott has always been. Listen for mythic, dark-pop reflections on just about everything.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
Last week, The Weeknd ended Roddy’s Ricch’s impressive run at the top of the charts, as “Blinding Lights” knocked “The Box” out of the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Now, one week later, “Blinding Lights” is still thriving: On the Hot 100 chart dated April 11, The Weeknd’s hit single once again holds the No. 1 spot. This follows the news that After Hours is also No. 1 again, on the Billboard 200.
Meanwhile, Billboard also notes that Post Malone’s “Circles” is in the top five of the chart for its 26th week, thanks to its No. 4 placement this time around. That puts it one week away from tying the record for most weeks spent in the top five, as Ed Sheeran’s “Shape Of You” and The Chainsmokers’ Halsey-featuring hit “Closer” each did it for 27 weeks.
.@PostMalone‘s “Circles” logs its 26th total week in the top 5 of the #Hot100 (No. 4 this week).
After explaining Chuck D explained Flavor Flav’s “split” from Public Enemy, the preview clip from this week’s episode of People’s Party With Talib Kweli, the full episode has arrived and it’s a supersized doozy. Clocking in at two hours, the two revolutionary rappers cover a lot of ground, from Chuck’s upbringing in New York to the impact of Public Enemy on hip-hop and pop culture to Chuck D mentoring Tupac early in his career.
“Tupac was like a little brother to us,” Chuck says. “He was the dude carrying bags for Digital Underground. But also, Shock G would let him get a little rhyme time if they expanded the show out. Public Enemy, our responsibility was to bring other cats on the show. He explains that Public Enemy was one of the first hip-hop acts to leave New York and experience other regions’ takes on the burgeoning genre. “We were the first to actually go in the regions put them on the show and shout them out.”
“So ‘Pac and Treach were both carrying bags for Queen Latifah and Digital Underground… So both of these dudes, nineteen years old, we’d go to a city and they rolling out together. I said, ‘Dudes, don’t f*ck up. We ain’t gon’ come to save your ass.’ I was Uncle Chuck,” he jokes. “It was a wonderful joy seeing them young men enjoy their coming out.” He praises them as rookies who became superstars and compares himself to a coach, saying hip-hop needs more mentors to guide future generations.
People’s Party is a weekly interview show hosted by Talib Kweli with big-name guests exploring hip-hop, culture, and politics. Subscribe via Apple, Spotify, or YouTube.
WrestleMania 36 — all two nights and 16 matches of it — is officially in the books. While there were memorable moments throughout both broadcasts, nothing got the wrestling world talking as much as the Firefly Fun House match between Bray Wyatt and John Cena, in a rematch of their original encounter at WrestleMania 30. (Read Brandon Stroud’s incredibly in-depth analysis of the Firefly Fun House match here.)
While the WWE Universe is split as to whether or not they enjoyed it — or, heck, whether it was actually a match — those within the industry had pretty strong feelings about the segment and had no problem sharing them.
First up, let’s check in with some of the performers who actually shared the WrestleMania 36 card with Cena and Wyatt, including comments from Dolph Ziggler and WWE Hall Of Famer JBL:
Of course, plenty of WWE talent were not on the Mania card this year, due to injuries, travel bans or to minimize health risks. That didn’t stop everyone from Xavier Woods to Nia Jax and plenty more from weighing in on this one-of-a-kind match:
Now, sure, you might think that of course folks on the WWE payroll will have nice things to say about this match. But if we cast the net wider, we see that the combat-sports world in general — even someone who was parodied in the match andwas fired from the company six months ago — seemed to really dig what Wyatt and Cena created:
Thank you @WWENetwork@JohnCena and @WWEBrayWyatt for the NWO love tonight. Made a 60 year old man smile. If we had those two gentlemen wearing the colors I might be heading back to the ring in some capacity. Sorry but this is 4 real and 4 life.
I didn’t know if they could match what they did last night but they did. They topped it in my opinion. What a great match. Cena knows how to play the game man! Fiend is bigger monster than ever. This is why mania is about. @wwe@WWEBrayWyatt@JohnCena unbelievable
With the global pandemic’s continued spread, people across the world are staying inside to curb the virus’ infection rate. Many musicians have offered livestreams as a way to offer entertainment during quarantine. Now, the WHO, Global Citizen, and a number of popular musicians are teaming up for the livestream TV special One World: Together At Home. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and Stephen Colbert, the special will air on every major TV network and feature performances by many big-name artists like Lizzo, Lady Gaga, and Billie Eilish.
Along with big pop icons, other artists on the roster include Paul McCartney, Elton John, Finneas, Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Chris Martin, Eddie Vedder, Kacey Musgraves, J Balvin, Keith Urban, Alanis Morissette, Lang Lang, Andrea Bocelli, Billie Joe Armstrong, Burna Boy, and Maluma.
Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen, said the broadcast will be, in part, a way to honor our healthcare workers: “As we honor and support the heroic efforts of community health workers, ‘One World: Together At Home’ aims to serve as a source of unity and encouragement in the global fight to end COVID-19,” Evans said in a statement. “Through music, entertainment and impact, the global live-cast will celebrate those who risk their own health to safeguard everyone else’s.”
Director-general of the WHO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus echoed Evans’ statement: “The World Health Organization is committed to defeating the coronavirus pandemic with science and public health measures, and supporting the health workers who are on the frontlines of the response,” said Dr. Ghebreyesus. “We may have to be apart physically for a little while, but we can still come together virtually to enjoy great music. The ‘One World: Together at Home’ concert represents a powerful show of solidarity against a common threat.”
One World: Together At Home premieres 4/18 at 8 p.m. EST on all major networks.
Some of the artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
HBO’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Outsider turned out to be a ratings hit for the premium cable network. So, it’s a wise move that they engineered a wide open door for season two, with Holly Gibney’s fate left ambiguous and another possible El Cuco host in the mix. These wrinkles arrived courtesy of screenwriter Richard Price, who not only engineered a damn watchable take on a complex novel to adapt, but he also pointed the story beyond King’s original vision and chain of events.
Jason Bateman, who directed the first two episodes (and sporadically appeared as accused murderer Terry Maitland), recently spoke with Collider and confirmed that HBO’s definitely considering a second swing at El Cuco. Furthermore, Price is exploring some steps to get the story running again. Finally, some good news:
“I know that they’re talking about it and Richard Price is playing with some ideas and taking some first steps as to what that second year might and feel like. Obviously, it’s a complete free-ball because the first season exhausted 100% of [Stephen King’s] book, the IP. So, it’s really all up to him. I never like to step on the lawn of the writers. It’s something that I’ve always stuck with on Ozark. I leave Chris Mundy completely alone and I do my job as a director once I get the script. I chime in every once in a while and offer my opinion, but it’s always for the writer to take if they want and discard if they want.”
Hell yeah, that sounds like a promising update, even if there’s no actual confirmation from HBO yet. I think it will happen! Even horror icon Robert Englund couldn’t stop raving about this show, and the ratings eclipsed that of Watchmen and True Detective, so the public demands it. Of course, the public also wants to make sure that a followup is just as good as the first round, but if Price is in charge of the story, it’s in solid hands.
We probably shouldn’t expect Bateman to be too involved, however. Following the stunning ending to Ozark‘s third season, he’ll surely be in the thick of starring in and directing a fourth season of the Netflix show soon. He told Collider that he’d have loved to direct more of The Outsider, but it’s just impossible to do it all on both shows. Clearly, his work on the HBO show made for one heck of a launch, and the rest of the team took it from there.
As for Price, he previously suggested to IndieWire that HBO was open to a sophomore run: “There’s no such thing as a series that, if it does well, they’re not going to want a second season.” Again, this sounds like they’re inching toward an announcement, eventually, although things are obviously on hold in many places with the world’s current situation. Fingers crossed.
Newly-minted Philadelphia pop-rockers 2nd Grade are as honest as they are sarcastic. Pulling members from popular indie groups like Free Cake For Every Creature, Remember Sports, and Friendship, 2nd Grade announce their debut album Hit To Hit with the earnest lead singles “Velodrome” and “My Bike.”
In a statement, vocalist Peter Gill explained the group’s driving mentality:
“In order to be honest, you almost have to make an effort to be funny at times in art. It almost can’t even hold together because it is so at odds with itself but it does in the end. It’s one group of musicians presenting all these different ideas and directions of songwriting and miraculously, it holds together. Some of the songs take that approach of a person who feels like they have to be taking up so much space and adopting this super-macho image. And then on the other side, some of the other songs present a vulnerability behind that and a lack of self-confidence. I definitely couldn’t have made an album as good without all the people involved and that is tied into the idea of some of these songs too. That you need the people around you. That’s one way I can see this whole thing now. I wanted to write a bunch of really catchy songs and at the end of the day that would have been enough for me, just to put out an album with a bunch of great pop songs that doesn’t have to have some sort of deeper meaning.”
Listen to “Velodrome” and “My Bike” above. Below, find 2nd Grade’s Hit To Hit cover art.
Hit To Hit is out 5/29 via Double Double Whammy. Pre-order it here.
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