Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 7:00 pm
Jay Z doesn't do anything small. His album drops feature entire new apps. His tours (with his wife, Beyonce, or collaborator Kanye West) gross hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide. So of course the launch of his recently acquired streaming music service, Tidal, would have to be just as big.
Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 8:13 am
When thinking about populism, it's easy to focus on either the relatable day-to-day struggles of average people — of the majority somewhere in the middle, glorified by so many rootsy tropes — or the more strung-out striving of those at the bottom. In politics and in culture, "the little guy" has typically made it far enough up the ladder to have a voice echoed in anthems and slogans, or else sunk far enough into desperation, homelessness or famine so as to surpass the need for detail entirely.
Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 10:54 am
Waxahatchee began as a vehicle for the raggedly beautiful indie-pop home recordings of Katie Crutchfield, a singer-songwriter who'd appeared in a small assortment of bands in her hometown of Birmingham, Ala. On her 2012 debut, American Weekend, Crutchfield set a narrative tone for the increasingly fleshed-out recordings to follow: She writes from the perspective of one who's young, keenly intelligent, and both hyper-aware of and overwhelmed by everything that could ever go wrong.
Over the last few years, Jessie Baylin has probably received more media attention for having a child with her husband, Kings Of Leon drummer Nathan Followill, than she has for making music. She hasn't released an album since 2012's Little Spark and was unsure if and when she'd record another. Ultimately, though, she reconvened with her longtime co-writer and producer, Richard Swift, to craft 11 seductively seclusive pop songs, dubbing the set Dark Place and including this inscription in the liner notes: "And this record is for you, Violet."
Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 8:00 am
In a candid, hilarious interview with Noisey in 2013, Eoin Loveless — singer-guitarist of the British rock duo Drenge — recalled an incident when he was a schoolboy. A fellow student threw a tantrum in science class and stormed out of the room screaming, "You can't tell me what to do!" It's not entirely clear if that incident inspired "We Can Do What We Want," the lead single from Drenge's second album, Undertow.
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"Gold was different," Isaac Asimov wrote in his final novella. "It had a feel. Each piece had a weight. Piled together it had a gleaming beauty." The choice Asimov's protagonist faces when he says this is between payment for a job in the intangible electronic currency on which his world runs, or in 200 pieces of solid gold. In writing Gold, and in giving his character this choice (and subsequent obsession), Asimov contributed to the millennia-spanning narrative of human intoxication by chemical element 79.