Music

New year, new album, new Julien Baker. No longer strumming away in her bedroom, her third solo LP is arena worthy. The requiem “Song in E” will have fans raising their lighters while ethereal opener “Hardline” could be a lost Lorde track. In the four years since her last record, she has become more self-assured and introspective. (“Highlight Reel” is a glitchy romantic revelation.) “I’ll believe you if you make me feel something,” she sings on “Faith Healer,” which questions the escapism behind our vices....
“Honey, you've got to look this up. Hank Williams was taught by a Black man named Rufus ‘Tee Tot’ Payne,” Frankie Staton, 66, tells me over video chat. “When Bill Monroe created bluegrass, he played with a Black man named Arnold Shultz. When Bob Wills created Western swing, he was trying to emulate Bessie Smith.” A talented singer and songwriter in her own right, Staton is also a walking roots music encyclopedia best known for co-founding the Black Country Music Association, a group which, from 1996...
In February, posters featuring musician St. Vincent, a.k.a. Annie Clark, in a velvety burgundy suit and a Michelle Pfieffer-in-Scarface blonde bob were plastered through city streets. “Warm Wurlitzers and wit, glistening guitars and grit, with sleaze and style for days,” the poster read. “Taking you from uptown to downtown with the artist who makes you expect the unexpected. So sit back, light up, and by all means have that bourbon waiting, because… DADDY’S HOME.” Daddy’s Home is the name of St. Vincent’s forthcoming seventh album, set...
Up-and-coming rapper and singer Yung Baby Tate takes the art of the self-pep talk to higher heights in the music video for her latest hit single, “I Am.” The Georgia-born artist broke out onto the music scene six years ago with her melodic debut album ROYGBIV, and has since managed to make a name for herself in the rap game without straying too far from her R&B roots. “I Am,” track number two on Tate’s 2020 EP entitled After The Rain, is the women’s empowerment...
On March 26, Lil Nas X released the music video for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” and the internet has not known peace since. “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” accepts and subverts the religious themes that resign queer people to hell. With this video, Lil Nas X accepts the fate prescribed to him, goes to hell and gives a beautifully executed lapdance to the devil while he’s there. Like many queer people, Lil Nas X experienced self-hatred in his teen years due to Christian...
KIDS—the second album from acclaimed Israeli rapper Noga Erez—radiates ferocious energy as it explores both political and personal reckonings. In contrast to her debut record, Off the Radar, KIDS delivers a hefty dose of plastic pop. “End of the Road” and “Bark Loud” are candy-coated explorations of mortality and self-worth, while “Story” feels like a danceable, stream-of-consciousness poem. Each track offers something unexpected; a swath of brass or the tender sound of a page turning. For those moments when you’re walking alone through the neon,...
Josiah Wise, AKA serpentwithfeet, forged his creative identity in the fires of deliberate introspection and holistic growth, emerging triumphantly with DEACON, a grounded, neo-R&B album uniting his vocal training, gospel upbringing, and newfound warmth. Previous albums have traversed the melancholy and yearning he has known, and with DEACON, we are baptized into an era of unapologetic Black queer contentment. “Hyacinth” displays Wise’s vocal range, embracing melodies and piano accompaniments that are diaphanous, vulnerable, and self-possessed. The radiance of this album resists fleeting happiness, instead summoning the quiet magic...
“I’m rotting and I’m never coming back the way you knew me then,” Kalmia Traver (Rubblebucket) sings languidly on opener “Red Marker,” setting the radiant, springtime-trippy tone for Max Heart. What began as Traver’s solo side project, Kalbells has bloomed into a band featuring Angelica Bess (Body Language), Zoë Brecher (Hushpuppy, Sad13), and Sarah Pedinotti (Lip Talk), and their collective groove is definitely in the Heart. These 10 tracks are psychedelic in the most mind freeing, soothing, yellow-smiley-face sense of the word—elastic funk and fluid...
CasanovaOnTheMic’s newest single, “NO MAKEUP," is a reminder for all women that you are fine just the way you are. Produced by Fliptunesmusic, the single reads as a love letter to the natural beauty that resides within all of us. “I wanted to let women know they are more than booty and that they should know their worth,” Casanova states about the inspiration behind the track.  Originally from the Island of Guam, CasanovaOnTheMic is an artist that transcends all genres from Hip-Hop to Dancehall. Performing at...
The music video for Lana Del Rey’s “White Dress” is a collage of sun-bleached visuals: wind turbines, a barking golden retriever, a desert road at dusk, and a barbecue joint with roller-skating waitstaff that appears to be planted in an airstream park.  This kind of Americana imagery has been a constant throughline in Lana Del Rey’s discography, and it’s as present as ever on her long-awaited sixth album Chemtrails Over the Country Club, which was released on March 19. The album features folk-y sounds freshened up...