With the quarantine looking like it’ll last until May, it’s a good time to stock up on some new beer releases. In part, because you’re in the mood to take the edge off; but also to support your local brewery. Craft brewers live on the edge of keeping their breweries afloat in good times. This crisis is brutal for them — with high overhead and tight margins.
The eight beers below are regional craft beer releases that we vouch for. Each one offers something unique to savor as you sit indoors this month. Let’s dive in!
PACIFIC NORTHWEST DROP: Elysian Rolling Stone Lager
Style: Lager ABV: 4.8% Brewery Location: Seattle, WA
Elysian’s new year-round brew, Rolling Stone Lager, is a collaboration with the iconic music magazine. The beer has a base of Pilsner alongside CaraFoam and CaraBohemian malts. The medium-bodied lager then builds with a nice dose of Cascade, Crystal, and Mandarina Bavaria hops — giving this can a very West Coast American lager feel.
Malty bread topped with sweet yet bitter orange marmalade lead the way. There’s a real sense of hop spiciness with a nice hint of caramel. A rush of hop florals come in late for a breezy finish.
SOUTHWEST DROP: Russian River Brewing Row 2/Hill 56
Style: Pale Ale ABV: 5.8% Brewery Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Russian River’s brand new pale ale was hopped with 100 percent Simcoe hops. The Yakima Valley hops were grown in a special row specifically for this beer, hence the name. The beer is part of a new series from Russian River called “Hop Grower’s Series” which aims to highlight the work of hop growers the brewery works with.
This is a classic meeting of bright citrus with West Coast pine resin. There’s a clear sense of the oily and dank hop that’s never overpowering. It’s full of hop without being too hoppy, a delicate tightrope if ever there was one.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN DROP: Upslope Experimental India Pale Ale
Style: IPA ABV: 6.5% Brewery Location: Boulder, CO
Upslope’s yearly Experimental IPA is always a treasure worth seeking out if you’re a beer lover. This year’s rendition is brewed with orange blossom honey and hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Strata, and Sabro hops.
There’s a real sense of honey-meets-resin-forward-hops at play. The sweetness feels like an orchard that leads you to an orange tree in full bloom. There’s a citrus base that’s sweetened like an over-ripe orange. It’s sharp and brisk right to the last drop from the can.
Ikebana Rice Lager is a fascinating and very drinkable nod to the light Japanese lagers with rice flakes added in for the yeast to eat. The Pilsner malts are emboldened by rice in the mix before classic Saaz hops are added to round out this tasty sip.
Bready malts and flowery hops greet you on this one. That malt carries through as the hops bring about a mild bitterness that leans towards the herbaceous. It’s light and crips until to end with just enough complexity to have you reaching for another can.
MIDWEST DROP: Bell’s Oberon Ale
Style: Wheat Ale ABV: 5.8% Brewery Location: Kalamazoo, MI
Oberon Ale is a great backyard sipper to get you through isolation. The wheat ale is a straightforward wheat beer that begs for a sunny day, shady tree, and nothing to do — making it kind of perfect for right now.
The wheat adds a nice dimension of spicy notes. There’s a clear sense of orange, more spice, and citrus-y hops. The bright fruit helps the velvet-smooth wheat beer go down with a light touch and deep flavor.
NORTHEAST DROP: Allagash Cascara Saison
Style: Saison ABV: 6.4% Brewery Location: Portland, ME
This saison is an interesting beer. It has a complex malt base that includes oats and honey malts with a classic array of hops. Then the brewers add cascara fruit. That’s the fleshy and slightly bitter fruit that surrounds a coffee bean, also known as a “coffee cherry.”
There’s a clear saison grassy nature in the base. The tartness arrives early with a hint of bitter berry. The hops bring a tropical fruity nature that counterpoints the tartness well. The end is lush, fruity, and just the right amount of lip-puckering tart.
WILD CARD DROP: Revolution Brewing 3rd Year Beer
Style: Aged Barley Wine Ale ABV: 11.2% Brewery Location: Chicago, IL
Rev Brewing dug deep into its vaults to pull out this bottle to sell this month. 3rd Year Beer is a barley wine that was aged for four months in Appleton rum casks and then squirreled away in the cellars. It’s going to be available while supplies last. It’s also very rare. Each bottle is going for about $80 each as of this writing.
Burnt sugars tempter an almost sour fruitiness. There’s a sense of wood and vanilla but not so much that it overpowers. The bitterness is really the star of the show with wood leading to dark chocolate and espresso next to molasses. This is a bold beer that’ll get you very tipsy with its high ABVs.
INERNATIONAL PICK OF THE MONTH: Brasserie De La Senne Ouden Vat
Style: Barrel-aged Flemish Ale ABV: 6.7% Brewery Location: Brussels, Belgium
Ouden Vat is a blend of barrel-aged beers that have been fermented with either Brettanomyces yeast or lactic bacteria, bringing the deep sour. This beer will be harder to find in the U.S. — unless you have a great specialty beer shop in your neighborhood. It’s worth the hunting, trust us.
This is a remarkably easy-drinking beer for how complex it is. The beer has a slight grassy nature that leans into the wheat spices and bright citrus before the clear sense of Brett sourness and lacto tart-creaminess washes through the sip. The hops are bitter and measured. The dry end brings it all together with a refreshing feel.
Last week, Lauv offered fans an acoustic version of his single “Modern Loneliness” as part of an exclusive merch bundle, the proceeds from which went to help Partners In Health’s COVID-19 relief efforts. Now he has made the song available digitally, and proceeds from streams and all future revenue will also go towards coronavirus relief.
As the pandemic is forcing people to remain mostly inside their homes, the song’s theme is especially relevant, as the song is about how people often feel alone despite technology giving them easy access to their friends. Lauv sings on the chorus, “Modern loneliness / We’re never alone, but always depressed, yeah / Love my friends to death / But I never call and I never text, yeah.”
Ahead of the original song’s release, Lauv wrote on Instagram, “i’m releasing my favorite song i’ve ever made..the most important song of my career so far..it sums up everything about why i think so many of us are lonely today. it’s something i’m so proud of and i know you guys will love it.” He added on Twitter later that day, “not to mention i cry every time i sing it…OKAY bye for real lmaoooo.”
Listen to the acoustic version of Modern Loneliness above.
With the majority of the world at home in quarantine, musicians are providing a distraction through virtual entertainment. Some are hosting concert livestreams and others, like Miley Cyrus, are speaking with other celebrities via Instagram Live. Cyrus recently began a talk show web series titled Bright Minded. During her live series, the singer discusses a breadth of topics ranging from self-care to the zero-waste initiative. This week, Cyrus spoke with Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown on how to stay motivated despite the quarantine.
During the lengthy chat, the two stars diverted from that topic to chat about Brown’s acting career. Brown said when she was younger, she figured out a way to perfect her US lingo — and it was through watching hours of Cyrus’ breakout Disney Channel show Hannah Montana.
The actor described how being “obsessed” with the show helped her accent and pushed her to pursue a career in acting altogether:
“I just have to say, the only way I got my American accent was by watching Hannah Montana. I was obviously, you know, obsessed with it. I was actually just going through my camera roll and I saw a video of me in a cowboy hat and I was learning ‘Hoedown [Throwdown].’ Full on, knew every single dance move. And now, thinking back on how obsessed I was, I wanted your job. Like, I didn’t know how to get your job, but I was like, ‘I want to be Hannah Montana, I don’t know how to do it.’ Then, I realized it was an actual job.”
Previously on the Ins and Outs of AEW Dynamite: Matt Hardy revealed that he’s a 3,000 year old spirit who hung out with Jesus Christ’s disciples and has the ability to teleport, although that was later retconned into a Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home-style drone illusion. Also, the Cultist Beaver Boys learned that DADDY EATS FIRST.
And now, the Ins and Outs of All Elite Wrestling Dynamite for April 1, 2020.
Mostly In: Trent (Almost) Goes The Distance
Man, wrestling Kenny Omega in AEW right now must be like playing against Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl. He’s going to run circles around you and all your friends, and even if you manage to touch him he’s just going to shrug it off and keep running. Last week he completely no-sold Sammy Guevara’s version of Feast Your Eyes (which we learned on Dark is actually Sammy’s finisher now), and this week he takes a snap half-nelson suplex from Trent, immediately gets to his feet, and does that little hop in place to regain 100% of his HP and start throwing V-Triggers. Infuriating. Undertaker could throw Kenny Omega off the top of Hell in Cell and Kenny would hit the ground, roll up to his feet, hop in place with his hands posed, and knee Undertaker in the face 20 feet in the air.
That aside — and I complained about Omega not being treated like the “best bout machine” when AEW started, so I guess I’m getting what I asked for, for better or worse — Omega vs. Trent is another one of those very good Trent matches that almost transforms him into a viable singles threat who seriously needs to get away from his jokey pals for the sake of his career. It’s also a great effort to play with AEW’s time limit draw, as they pull a Bryan Danielson vs. Roderick Strong from ROH and convince you it’s going the distance only to pull back and end it in the final minute. Usually in wrestling you only pay attention to those “FIVE MINUTES REMAINING IN THE MATCH, FIVE MINUTES” notices if they need you to notice the time limit. Introducing them and giving us a finish anyway creates some believable options for the next time you want to go to a draw, but maintain the drama in the final stretch. Good decision there.
I should also mention that terrifying German suplex off the ropes Trent tries to do but slips, can’t quite get his bearings, and dumps Kenny on his neck. Kenny landed like this. But don’t worry, within 40 seconds Kenny’s using only his neck to lift Trent up for the One-Winged Angel. Best bouts!
Also Mostly In: Blue Jayy
Not much going on in the women’s division this week — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — but we do get a match between Hikaru Shida and jobber of the week Anna Jayy. If you’ve never seen her before, Jayy has too many extraneous letters in her last name a la NWA Powerrr, Chippendales-style wrist cuffs, and a Fantastics-style bow tie. A tie and cuffs with no shirt officially makes her the most Hanna Barbera competitor on the AEW roster. She also advertises herself as, “the star of the show,” so think of her as Domestic Nina Samuels.
Jayy gets more offense than you’d expect(t), but it’s still a relatively easy win for Shida as they continue to … maybe build her up as Nyla Rose’s next challenger? It’s been a hot minute since the women’s division had any stories other than “a match has been scheduled” and “Britt Baker’s being mean to Tony Schiavone.” Britt’s actually the highlight here too, I think, as she hangs out behind the security banner and eats a sandwich because the match is boring. Cody refers to her as Tony Schiavone’s “mirror universe wife,” which makes me hope there’s some reality where Tony has long hair and runs the Undisputed Era.
All In: Lance Archer Versus [Checks Notes] MARKO STUNT?
he’s also still randomly assaulting people on his way to the ring, which is going to get over huge once they start doing it in actual arenas in front of actual fans, and don’t have to throw some rando Red Shirt out there to get shoved and put into a coma
Archer’s opponent is Marko Stunt in what’s officially the most unfair wrestling match of all time, at least until Riho gets booked against Brock Lesnar
Cody’s got blood on his hands for refusing to face Archer here and instead volunteering a literal child in his place. Marko Stunt wrestling Lance Archer is like a squirrel in the middle of the street wrestling a semi truck
Firstly, it’s good to see Nightmare Family mascot and philanthropic humanitarianPharaoh back on the program looking happy and staying very far away from the fireworks. By just gently poking his snoot into the microphone he’s already better on commentary than Sam Roberts.
I didn’t think Chris Jericho and Damascus would be able to top last week’s truly absurd closing segment so quickly, but here we are. I honestly think the only way I can do it justice is by telling you what happened.
Chris Jericho is once again at his home, in the hot tub, in jeans, drinking A Little Bit Of The Bubbly. He has fun shitting on The Elite by saying April Fool’s Day is meant to honor them, then talks about Nick Jackson’s bebe and how he should stay at home for the next two years on “maternity leave” and hire his “deadbeat brother Matt” to mow his lawn. It’s at about this time Vanguard-1 flies in (to “Parts Unknown,” according to his HUD). I want to note how appreciative I am that they explained how Jericho sent in footage and Hardy sent in footage, and the AEW production team put them together. In all seriousness, even if it’s total bullshit, take a second to mention things like why a camera is somewhere, or why a referee is suddenly somewhere, or how a seemingly live event has multiple camera angles. It matters to anybody thinking about it on a level deeper than pointing and clapping at the baby in the sun on Teletubbies.
Anyway, Jericho once again offers Matt Hardy’s sentient drone a spot in the Inner Circle and offers it a CHILDREN’S T-SHIRT ON A TINY HANGER to seal the deal. Honestly at this point I want Vanguard to swerve Matt at some point and join them. Jericho offers the inanimate object a “handshake” in the form of an “elbow-to-propeller” bash, but Vanguard flies away. Jericho, pissed about being turned down by a flying camera for the second week in row, chases after and lobs a bottle of sparking wine at it. It’s at this point he screams RELEASE THE HOUNDS, and we find out “the hounds” are a group of the smallest, cutest, and least threatening dogs imaginable.
I am forever grateful that someone at All Elite Wrestling decided to gently place heel Chris Jericho into Matt Hardy’s Broken Universe. I want this feud to continue in increasingly goofy on-location vignettes until there’s enough lore to fill a George R.R. Martin book. Also, somebody identify and tell me the personalities of all these doggos.
All In: I Tournament To Do That
After another “Brodie Lee is Vince McMahon, wink wink, nudge nudge” video, The Natural Nightmares make their Dynamite debut against, I am not kidding, “Dark Order member 8” and “Dark Order member 9.” Here’s what they look like:
I can’t tell you how excited I am to see nondescript masked men make their return to enhancement duty. BRING BACK THUNDERFOOT. They get their asses kicked, of course, and it looks like we’re either getting a Natural Nightmares vs. Important Characters From The Dark Order feud, or at least providing a reason why Dustin Rhodes might lose to Kip Sabian in the first round of the TNT Championship tournament.
My only complaint here is that Number 8 and Number 9 don’t work for the Monarch of Manliness. I wonder if one of them drives a Nissan Stanza?
Similarly, another Rhodes match is used to set up some tournament interaction this week as Cody teams up with his frenemy Darby Allin to face Sammy Guevara and Shawn Spears. Darby’s the star here, as he usually ends up being, playing Ricky Morton in jorts and leggings and dropping Coffins off the tops of support poles in the Undisclosed Arena. Brother’s just bonkers every time he’s on television.
After about 21 minutes of very good tag team wrestling (and Britt Baker attacking Cody with the WOMAN’S SHOE, the only weapon in pro wrestling deadlier than the Clangy Poles), Sammy introduces a chair and gives it to Spears, who once again aims to turn Cody’s brains into figgy pudding. Darby pulls the chair away from Spears before he can swing it, but Sammy pulls the chair away from HIM, and that allows Spears to roll him up for the three. Darby, rightfully pissed that he did most of the work and made an important save but still got duked in a total 2-on-1 situation, forearms Cody in the face. I mean, I get it.
Now we’ve got addeed drama between Cody and Shawn Spears for their first round match in the tournament because of the attempted chair shot, added drama between Guevara and Allin because of the way the finish went down, AND added drama between Cody and Darby for a possible second round match. Outstandingly utilitarian and purposeful for an empty arena tag match. I’m used to those just kind of happening to justify promos from the top of the show.
All In: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
Put Jericho in the wrestling hall of fame & then put him in again
I do not care what anyone says. I don’t care what happens. I have no idea what will happen in AEW’s future. Or even what will happen in Wrestling’s future. Chris Jericho chasing a drone and angrily cursing it has made it all worth it.
Dustin better pin both at once. Everyone knows you have to stand on 17.
Dave M J
The perfect woman doesn’t exi-
Cody: (Shida) has all the Zelda knowledge in the world
Dexter Lumis looks like a guy who is gonna have to apologize for old social media posts
COLT: That’s not gonna happen to me when I face Archer.
Jericho pours a glass of champagne….and then takes a swig out of the bottle. WHAT A HEEL!
No “Holy Shit” chant? These fans are the worst.
Don’t call Cody Joe Exotic. Joe has better tattoos
Stay safe everyone, I’ll talk to you all again …………………………………………..
…………………. next Wednesday night!
Finally, I’m not particularly engaged in the OH NO WILL THE YOUNG BUCKS EVER WRESTLE AGAIN AFTER ONE OF THEM GOT STUCK IN A LOADING BAY DOOR story or the Jon Moxley vs. Jake Hager rivalry, but I AM engaged in the idea that Moxley and Hager have “listened to the Jerky Boys for hours on end” with each other. I didn’t know that before, but I feel like I’ve always known it, you know? AEW’s next podcast needs to be Hager and Moxley talking about old Jerky Boys bits. Also, I totally believe it when Hager says, “I’m not here for fans to go home happy.” I know, man, I’ve seen your matches.
If you’ve exhausted your Netflix playlist while self-isolating or are simply looking for some out-of-the-box entertainment ideas, Open Culture has over 1150 films you can watch for free, most of them are streamable to your TV via Chromecast or Airdrop.
Many of them are older films that have become public domain, but that doesn’t mean they’re not wonderful to watch. The site has a huge selection of documentaries, westerns, ’30s and ’40s film noir, Hitcock films, and Oscar-winners.
“Charade” (1963) — Audrey Hepburn’s career was short, but just about everything she did was pure magic. In this comedic thriller, Hepburn plays a widow being chased by several men who want a fortune her husband stole during the war. The only person she can trust is a suave, mysterious man played by Cary Grant.
“The 39 Steps” (1935) —One of Alfred Hitchcock’s early masterpieces, “The 39 Steps” is a classic wrong-man thriller about a guy who stumbles upon a conspiracy that thrusts him into a hectic chase across Scottish moors.
“The Stranger” (1946) — Orson Welles directed and stars in this film about an ex-Nazi who hides out in a small town masquerading as a teacher. But when one of his old German associates rolls into town, he has to resort to desperate measures to hide his secret. The iconic Edward G. Robinson also stars in this classic.
“Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)” — Ed Wood is often regarded as the worst filmmaker in history and was immortalized in a 1994 biopic starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton. “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” a film about grave digging space aliens, is often cited as Wood’s signature cinematic achievement. Bela Lugosi has a small role in the film.
“The Giving Tree” (1973) — This animated adaptation of Shel Silverstein’s heart-wrenching tale of a boy and a tree is narrated by the author. Anyone who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s probably remembers watching it in school.
“The Complete Star Wars Filmumentaries” (1977 to 1983) — Three documentary-commentaries of the original “Star Wars” trilogy are a must-see for any true nerd. The documentaries feature deleted scenes, alternate takes, bloopers, original on set audio recordings and a huge amount of commentary from cast and crew.
“Heavy Metal Parking Lot” (1986) — This short documentary about young heavy metal fans gathered for a tailgate party outside the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland before a Judas Priest concert became a cult classic in the ’90s.
“Reefer Madness” (1936) — This so-bad-its-good film was meant to scare kids in the ’30s about smoking marijuana. It follows the melodramatic events that ensue when high-school students are lured by pushers to try marijuana—from a hit and run accident, to manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape, hallucinations, and descent into madness from marijuana addiction. In the ’70s it became a cult classic with potheads as an unintentional satire.
“His Girl Friday” (1940)— Howard Hawks directed this fast-talking comedy about a reporter (Rosalind Russell) and her editor/ ex-husband (Cary Grant) who uses an alluring scoop to keep her from marrying another man. Russell’s portrayal of a strong, smart woman has been praised for being decades ahead of its time.
“The Man with the The Golden Arm” (1955)— Frank Sinatra was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of an ex-heroin addict attempting to stay clean after being released from prison. The film is best remembered for a harrowing scene in which Sinatra tries to go cold turkey.
Cardi B was temporarily hospitalized due to stomach pain at the end of March, tweeting and deleting that she’d had “real bad stomach problems for 4 days.” TMZ captured the tweet before it disappeared, noting that Cardi’s stomach pain must have been truly as bad as she said if she was willing to risk the emergency room during the midst of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, which she noted had her extremely scared.
Fortunately, she noted in the same tweet that after going to the ER, she’s “feeling way better” and hoped “tomorrow I will feel no more pain.” As noted by TMZ, she’s already back to her usual social media shenanigans, posting a Donald Duck meme on Twitter earlier today and teasing fans with raunchy jokes about the whereabouts of her sophomore album.
The RX is Uproxx Music’s stamp of approval for the best albums, songs, and music stories throughout the year. Inclusion in this category is the highest distinction we can bestow, and signals the most important music being released throughout the year. The RX is the music you need, right now.
On her towering third album, Lorely Rodriguez brushes off the idea that she’d follow the naming conventions that had graced her records thus far — her debut release, Me came out in 2015 and was quickly followed up by Us in 2018. “Someone on Twitter was like ‘I thought this was going to be called We or Them or They, and I wrote back ‘why would I be so obvious?’” Rodriguez explained over the phone last week, when we spoke about her forthcoming third album, I’m Your Empress Of. “Basically, I wrote the title track, and I was like ‘this is the record title now.’ Once I wrote that song, I knew I would have to call the record that.”
During that brief but powerful opening track, and elsewhere across her third release, Lorely enlisted her mother, Reina, for a series of spoken word segments that outline her struggles as an immigrant who learned English, and her pride in the many worlds and selves that her daughter has been able to create. “I only have one girl,” Reina says on the track. “But that only girl is like having thousands of girls, because look at how many times she reproduces herself in each one of you!” Hearing a mother take pride in her daughter’s art is always poignant, but in the midst of a global crisis that threatens the most vulnerable among us, Reina’s words are even more uplifting.
Discussing her new album in the midst of the spread of Coronavirus, Lorely is adamant that it still be released, and that staying positive and focusing on edifying things like art and music is how we get through this. “We talked about pushing it back, but we all decided this is the record, this is the vibe of the record,” she explained. “I’m okay with it because I think it will be good to have new music out and give people something they can live with. But also, this record was written so immediately and urgently, I think putting it out like this is a true testament to how the record was made.”
Read an edited and condensed of our conversation about I’m Your Empress Of below.
The first thing that really struck me about this record is album title, and that plays into your artist name in such a direct way. Following up your debut Me and second album Us, what made you want to echo or repeat your artist name for this album title?
I think it’s a statement, and even more of a statement than when someone self-titles their album. I feel like it’s an arrival point where I have this confidence on this record. I wanted to open a record like that. I know why it’s called I’m Your Empress Of, and the title track and what my mom says and all that.
Let’s talk about that song, because I think there’s some pretty moving reflections on the power of language from your mom, and her voice also returns at different times throughout the record. Can you talk a little bit about having her as a speaker and why you wanted her words helping introduce the record?
Yeah, definitely. I wrote the song, and I was just like, ‘Hey, mom, can you come over? I want to record you talking for my album.’ So she comes over, and she’s like, ‘What do you want me to say?’ And I’m like, ‘You’re always saying so much about everything!’ I asked her talk about being a woman, to talk about being an immigrant, and talk about being a mother and a lover. So she kind of just like, over a 20-minute loop of the track, just went off. She just said things that I was even like ‘Okay! Okay, Mom!’ I have videos on my phone of her, I’ll post them after the record’s out.
I didn’t tell her anything to say. I didn’t prompt her. She just said a lot of things that I feel are universal as a woman. She really captured the theme of the record when she says ‘I only have one girl, but it’s like I have thousands of girls, because of how many times she reproduces herself in each one of you.’ It’s something that she’s seen from coming to my shows in LA — like how my songs have become other people’s lives, like their stories. That’s something I feel is really powerful about songwriting. Once those songs are written, they’re someone else’s form of expression. Someone else sees themself in those songs. That’s why it’s called I’m Your Empress Of.
I know you talked a lot before about feeling grateful to her, knowing the experience of your parents as immigrants coming here to give you a different life, but I think it’s so powerful to hear her. We’ve heard your thankfulness for them, but to hear her thankfulness back, her reaction to you, it was just so amazing to hear. It’s really emotional.
When I finished the first track, I felt like I did something very special, that really showed who I was culturally and as an artist and as a daughter. I’ve played it for a couple of my friends in LA, and they cried, because they’re my friends who grew up in LA with immigrant parents. They were like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is my mom. This is also my mom.’ They felt like it resonated with them so much. It’s just so nice to make something that captures so much of who I am.
Let’s talk about the lead single, “Give Me Another Chance.” Why did you want that to be the song that introduced the album?
First, it’s my favorite song on the record. There is so much confidence on this record because I’m singing about things that are embarrassing and kind of vulnerable — like about begging someone to take you back, the text to your ex at two AM, or the rebound hookup. A lot of vulnerable things are on this record. I thought that song talked about a very desperate moment for me in a confident way. And I think that’s like growth as an artist, where you can lyrically sing about things that are new and also vulnerable, that gritty area that you don’t really want people to see. There’s a sexiness in the desperation.
Your work has always sort of skirted the line with indie pop and electronic music, but it feels like this album really recommits to the dance floor in a serious way. Can you talk a little bit about that sonic shift, or maybe what the progression feels like for you?
I think it sounds like that because I produced most of it. I made a lot of these beats while touring my second album, Us. I made a lot of them on airplanes and tour sprinters and green rooms, so I didn’t have that same collaborative process as like, Us. It was just out of necessity, because I wanted to say these things. I had these things to get off my chest. I wanted to write songs because it made me feel better. Naturally, as a producer, I love those BPMs. I love 120 BPM. I love classic drum machine sounds. That’s how I produce. You can hear that on my first record, Me, on like “How Do You Do It.” On this record, I feel like I’m 2.0. I’m doing a lot of things that sound like Empress Of productions, but it’s just like 2.0 — that’s naturally where I live. I think dancing is healing, and I think a driving rhythm is healing. This record is a very cathartic record. I lived in that space of writing very groove-centered beats and then saying embarrassing, vulnerable shit over it.
What does it look and feel like to produce an album on your own? You’re starting when you’re on the road, and then do you take it back into a studio? What is that process like for you for this time?
If you looked at the initial demo folders for this album, it’s all flights. The folder’s called new demos 2019, and all of the session folders are like “flight to Gothenburg,” “flight to Dublin,” and “flight to London.” When I first started working on this record, when I got back to my house, I was like okay, I want to hook it up to this beat and try writing over it. I have a studio at my house, so I would open like, “flight to Gothenburg” and that would be like “Give Me Another Chance.” I’d come home and kind of rework those things that I wrote on the road once I had the space and clarity to write lyrics and the melodies. I think I need space to write songs. I can do production, but I really need the space to understand what I’m going through.
Obviously, the world has turned upside down with response to coronavirus. How are you coping and holding up? How does it feel to release an album right now?.
I think being positive is such an important thing, and positivity is infectious. I think we should be spreading that in our community, like in the music industry and arts community, and with friends who have restaurants and all of that. I just think being positive and supportive is what everyone can use right now. But yeah, it’s been crazy. I announced my record a month ago, and my whole life has changed for this year, not being able to tour and not being able to promote this record in the way I want to, but this is reality, and this is the story of this album. I’m a lifelong artist, and I’m going to make a lot of albums. This is just one piece of the story.
I’m Your Empress Of is out 4/3 via Terrible Records. Get it here.
Train to Busan is the one of the better zombie movies in recent memory. Directed by Yeon Sang-ho, the claustrophobic Korean horror flick is about, well, a train to Busan, and the passengers aboard who are forced to safely pass from car to car. For the sequel, the goofily-titled Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula, the setting expands from a single train to an entire “diseased wasteland,” according to Well Go USA, which is releasing the film.
“The scale of Peninsula can’t compare to Train to Busan, it makes it look like an independent film,” director Yeon told Screen Daily about the sequel. “Train to Busan was a high-concept film shot in narrow spaces, whereas Peninsula has a much wider scope of movement.” It’s The Road Warrior to the original’s Mad Max. But with zombies.
Watch the trailer above. Here’s the official plot synopsis.
Four years after South Korea’s total decimation in Train to Busan, the zombie thriller that captivated audiences worldwide, acclaimed director Yeon Sang-ho brings us Peninsula, the next nail-biting chapter in his post-apocalyptic world. Jung-seok, a soldier who previously escaped the diseased wasteland, relives the horror when assigned to a covert operation with two simple objectives: retrieve and survive. When his team unexpectedly stumbles upon survivors, their lives will depend on whether the best—or worst—of human nature prevails in the direst of circumstances.
Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula does not currently have an American release date.
April 4 will mark the 25th anniversary of Guided By Voices’ 1995 album Alien Lanes, their first release on Matador Records. To celebrate, the label is reissuing the record on limited edition vinyl, on August 21. The record, of which only 2,500 will be made, is pressed on blue, green and red multicolored vinyl, and a limited edition keyring/bottle opener will also be available while supplies last. The reissue is available for pre-order now.
The band’s Bob Pollard shared a brief essay about the album in light of the rerelease, which he begins by describing the band’s mindset when they recorded the record: “We were fearless at the time we recorded Alien Lanes. That’s why it bristles with insane energy and confidence. We were still riding the high accolades of Bee Thousand and probably should have succumbed to the critical pressure of a worthy follow-up. Instead we had, in our megalomaniacal view, mastered the instant gratification machine known as the 4-track and began recording song after song with titles like ‘Cuddling Bozo’s Octopus’, ‘My Valuable Hunting Knife’, ‘Pimple Zoo’ and ‘After the Quake (Let’s Bake a Cake).’”
Additionally, Matador has also shared the hard-to-find 1996 documentary about the band, the Banks Tarver-directed Watch Me Jumpstart.
Read Pollard’s full statement below.
“We were fearless at the time we recorded Alien Lanes. That’s why it bristles with insane energy and confidence. We were still riding the high accolades of Bee Thousand and probably should have succumbed to the critical pressure of a worthy follow-up. Instead we had, in our megalomaniacal view, mastered the instant gratification machine known as the 4-track and began recording song after song with titles like ‘Cuddling Bozo’s Octopus’, ‘My Valuable Hunting Knife’, ‘Pimple Zoo’ and ‘After the Quake (Let’s Bake a Cake)’.
The door had been opened for us to throw out as many weird ass ideas as we were capable of and we did. We even thought we were starting to look cooler and decided cool enough to have the entire back cover be a photograph of us in the basement looking pseudo intellectually laid back and stoned with long hair, stars and stripe gym shoes and a box of Tide in the background.
Our friend Kim thought the album was too bombastic. Too frenetic and difficult to digest. I agreed. We were proud to be putting out our first album on Matador and cock strutted accordingly. It cost us $10 to make. It’s worth a million. I personally think it’s better than B-1000 (but not by much). There are two different camps of GBV fans to argue and debate.
God bless 1995 and open hearted record labels like Matador (and Scat before them) for allowing bands like us, with the preferred limited resources, to remove the constraints and pre-conceived notions of the more industry-minded constituents who would have much preferred we destroy the cassette master of Alien Lanes in the better interest of sound manufacturing and what’s more agriculturally consumable. It’s better to leave the farm than to continue plodding through the cow sh*t.”
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