The sisters of Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit are certifiable old souls. When Johanna and Klara Söderberg sing about loves lost and past regrets, it’s hard to believe they’re just 21 and 19, respectively. But they’ve been playing music together since before most American kids can drive, so it's safe to say that they know what they’re doing. Their sophomore album The Lion’s Roar (Wichita) debuted in January to well-deserved critical acclaim, and this weekend, they’ll appear at the hottest music fest in the west, Coachella. Read More
The end is nigh, my friends. After Monday's episode of the sequined acid carnival that is RuPaul’s Drag Race, we are down to the final three, a final three that I find completely unacceptable. Allow me to copy and paste my notes on last night’s elimination for you here: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO." A lot of O's, I know, but it was an involuntary reflex that could not be suppressed. Read More
Last week on RuPaul’s Drag Race, the field was narrowed to the final four at last—except, not. After commanding Dida Ritz to sashay away, Ru announced that Michelle Visage and Santino would be choosing an eliminated queen to return this week. Oh, goody. Sadly, it was not Willam (who was weirdly named as eligible even though she broke the rules), but little Kenya Michaels upon whom this honor was bestowed. Eh, it could have been worse. Read More
Ever since Niki and the Dove’s debut EP popped up in the BUST office last fall, I’ve been dying to see them live (and blasting their spacey, technicolor dance pop on repeat at the gym). Last week at the Under the Radar day party, I managed to catch one of their many sets at SXSW, and they absolutely lived up to the hype I’d been building in my head for months. The rest of the crowd seemed to feel the same, because Niki and the Dove finally got them dancing, despite disgustingly humid weather that even the band admitted was sort of miserable. Read More
Seeing Zola Jesus at the beginning of a festival like SXSW is a perilous activity, because the singer's so good at her job that you might end up holding the rest of the performers to an impossibly high standard. The first time I saw Zola Jesus was last year, on the first night of CMJ, and I spent the subsequent four days complaining that every other band was terrible. Last week at the Fader Fort, she was the final performer of the day, so I had time to get over my awe before judging any other acts too harshly. Read More
Every year, the Fader Fort at SXSW is a watershed event for festival goers, particularly those with small wallets and no badges. Last week’s edition was as insane as ever, with enough free beer to keep you tipsy for four days’ worth of indie hip-hop acts and experimental punk bands. I came, admittedly, for the free beer, and also to see Zola Jesus, about whom I will never stop rhapsodizing. But the Fader Fort is like Hotel California as sponsored by Converse, so if you want to see ZJ at 7:30, you can never, ever leave.  Enter Gary Clark Jr. Read More
In the interest of not burying the lede, let me just get it out there now: Willam threw up on the runway last night. Yep, a drag queen threw up on the runway, during the judging, immediately after she had been declared the winner of this week’s challenge. It was one of the weirdest things to ever happen on RuPaul’s Drag Race, until five minutes later when Ru announced who had to sashay away. Nothing else in the episode even seems relevant in light of the giant mysterious bombshell that dropped on everybody’s bewigged heads, but let’s give this recap a shot anyway. Read More
Phil Moore and Beth Tacular, the couple at the heart of Bowerbirds, journeyed through intense personal hardships—breakups, breakdowns, brushes with death—and returned with The Clearing (out now on Dead Oceans), their most rhythmically and lyrically complex creation yet. Combining elements of dissonance and darkness with moments of remarkable beauty and wisdom, this 11-song LP is an emotionally and visually evocative sonic cinema from start to finish. Read More
Early into last night’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, something crossed my mind that I almost dare not speak aloud. During the mini challenge, as the queens were throwing shade at one another and nearly all of them were terrible at it, this thought started forming. Today I will get out my library card (because reading is fundamental), and throw some of my own shade: maybe none of these queens are actually worthy of the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar. Blasphemous? Maybe. But consider the evidence. Read More
I’ve long suspected that Jamie Stewart, the brains and bleeding heart of Xiu Xiu, could be the third member of Mates of State, exiled from their land of hetero jangle-pop to a rehab center for self-harm. In a similar vein as 2010’s Dear God, I Hate Myself, the band’s new album Always (out now on Polyvinyl) finds Xiu Xiu still wandering the freeways, subsisting on fistfuls of wild kumquats and prescription painkillers. Stewart’s voice is somewhere between a 9-1-1 call and a lullaby. Read More