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MADAME GANDHI Visions(Self-Released) L.A.-based artist and activist Madame Gandhi continues to break down the status quo on her latest EP, Visions. These tracks examine the pressing trials of our time—climate change, global capitalism, and patriarchy. “I’m not everyday trying to turn up to the sound of my own oppression,” she begins on “Waiting for Me.” Set against a flawless blend of her award-winning drumming, trap beats, Bali funk, and the sounds of everyday life, Madame Gandhi presents songs that make you think and make you dance. Add “Top...
1975’s frontman, Matty Healy, has announced on Twitter that the band will only be playing festivals with a gender-balanced lineup. After another approaching festival season with largely male-based acts, The Guardian’s deputy music editor, Laura Snapes, reached out to the band online suggesting a new term of agreement for them “that says you’ll only play festivals that commit to X% (ideally 50%!) acts that include women and non binary performers.” “Take this as me singing this contract,” Healy replied. The singer added that some festivals they had...
MOON DUOStars Are the Light(Sacred Bones) San Francisco psychedelic rock group Moon Duo dovetails disco, house, and intense funk on its seventh album, Stars Are the Light. Guitarist Ripley Johnson propels these influences to an otherworldly climax, hitting a full stride on “Eye 2 Eye,” while Sanae Yamada’s electronic rhythms on “Fall (In Your Love)” groove into your bones and send your head straight into the cosmos. Stars was flawlessly mixed by Sonic Boom, of the cult favorite band Spacemen 3, in the Portuguese Sintra...
On February 7, a judge made a ruling in the defamation lawsuit against Kesha. She ruled that Kesha tarnished Dr. Luke’s reputation when she texted Lady Gaga that he raped Katy Perry. Perry said on the record that this assault never happened. Kesha now has to pay Dr. Luke, her rapist, $375,000 for late royalties. This horrifying instance of injustice shows just how prevalent revictimization is in the justice system. While there have been some wins for sexual assaul tsurvivors, more often than not, their reputations...
The Russian police just shut down production on Pussy Riot’s new music video, citing “extremism” and “gay propaganda,” among other things. The group, known for their feminist anthems, was shooting a video for their latest single, “БЕСИТ / RAGE,” in a studio when the power was abruptly cut out and the group was forbade from bringing in a generator to finish filming. Now, the punk rock band is short $15K that they spent on production and will never be able to get back, all due...
THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS In the Morse Code of Brake Lights (Concord Records)    In the Morse Code of Brake Lights is road music for an uncertain future. This eighth album from the iconic power-pop collective the New Pornographers dives headlong into a horizon we can’t quite see: all the shaky energy of America in 2019 bundled into a set of songs that feels warm and lush, bold and escapist. It’s also, to be clear, just a damn fine record. Tracks like “Colossus of Rhodes” channel the starry, harmonic atmosphere...
ANI CORDERO El Machete (Panapén Records)   Ani Cordero is mad as hell and this album is her way of coping. The Puerto Rican activist and artist’s latest was inspired by a dream in which she battled her enemies with a wooden machete. In 10 tracks, Cordero fights off corruption, misogyny, and oppression with hope. The electro bop “Préstame Tus Penas” asks for compassion for her people, while “Pan Pan (Sin Mantequilla)”’s chants of “Bread, bread/Without butter,” is about fighting for more than government scraps. What may be lost...
King Princess Cheap Queen (Zelig) King Princess (aka Mikaela Straus) has a public stamp of approval from Harry Styles and a contract with Mark Ronson’s record label, but as her most popular single “1950”—a melancholic ballad of queer longing, inspired by a Patricia Highsmith novel—might indicate, she aims to be a different kind of pop star. The songs on her debut full-length album, Cheap Queen, wouldn’t sound out of place alongside anything on the Hot 100, but each does require more attention than the average earworm. Most of the...
YOUNG M.AHerstory in the Making (M.A Music/3D)     It’s hard to believe Young M.A—a charismatic and gifted rap fixture whose singles blew up online, and on the charts, mid-decade—is just getting around to releasing her first full-length album. At 21 tracks, Herstory in the Making brings romance, bluster, and an unabashed embrace of sexual identity, as well as the sacrifices, perks, and perils of success. A talented lyricist, M.A drops cheeky, meaningful wordplay and clever turns of phrase. “Da Come Up” is a catchy, mellow jam about determination, while ”Smoove Kriminal” rocks at...
HANA VUNicole Kidman/Anne Hathaway(Luminelle Recordings) Hana Vu’s sophomore double EP Nicole Kidman/Anne Hathaway isn’t as subdued as 2018’s How Many Times Have You Driven By, but it’s just as self-reflective. This time around, the message is more look at me, see me. Vu is full of surprises and keenly aware. Dance-y and spiteful one minute (“At the Party”) then “forever in a drag” the next (“Order”), it’s a smoky, swaying puzzle. And speaking of double takes, there’s a grunge cover of Mulan’s “Reflection” you never...