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‘Thanks For Coming’ – Joywave in Rhode Island

Joywave – Ocean Mist Rhode Island
8/1/18

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Rochester’s favorite band, Joywave, took the stage in Rhode Island as they close the ‘Thanks. Thanks For Coming 2018’ tour with special guests, The Demo’s and Grandson.
 
The venue was extremely small and intimate, and being right on the ocean made the perfect setting for a summer concert. After dropping the record ‘Content’ last summer, the band has been showing off the catchy new tracks for the past year.

Daniel Armbruster (lead singer), Paul Brenner (drums), Benjamin Bailey (keyboard), and Joseph Morinelli (guitarist) bring the utmost energy to each and every single live show.

Daniel points ‘Swish’ to me as they transition into my favorite song ‘Life In A Bubble I Blew’. The hidden track appears on the 2016 album, ‘Swish’, where the song ‘Destruction’ is looped 9 times. Surprisingly, the band did not play their hit, ‘Destruction’, multiple times in a row at this show. However, they played many other fan favorites like, ‘It’s A Trip!’, ‘Tongues’, and ‘Somebody New’.

One song that particularly stood out to me was ‘Doubt’, being one of their most powerful, best produced and well written song ever. No one could stand still throughout the set, as electronic synths shook and vibrated the venue. The band effortlessly turned the overheated and dehydrated crowd into a dance party for the night.

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Catch Joywave in a city near you as they tour with Sir Sly this fall.

(You can also check out more of my work on Instagram, @rickelle.hunt)

Staff Playlist, July ’18

Summer is slowly coming to an end, and so has the month of July. But all is not lost, as it time for the monthly Staff Playlist! This wide variation of music collated into 14 songs means there is something for everyone. Including plenty of Bowie, Shindigs, BROCKHAMPTON and Aretha Franklin – it is the perfect playlist to enjoy some classics or discover a new tune!

LISTEN ON SPOTIFY HERE.

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@gaiahannah – Peach Blossom Boogy by The Babe Rainbow
Hannah’s Thoughts: “All I have wanted to do recently is hit the road. This song really illustrates the feeling of driving down the coast, and reminds me of Big Sur. I miss it madly and I feel like I’m there whenever I listen to Peach Blossom Boogy. And how could you not like the song when it has such a groovy name??”

@r0seg0etsch – Life On Mars? By David Bowie (covered by Seu Jorge)
Rose’s Thoughts: “Nearly the whole soundtrack for one of my favourite movies, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, is Seu Jorge covering David Bowie songs, but in Portuguese! Although no one comes close to Bowie, it is interesting to hear his songs in another language, and with Jorje’s soothing voice, it’s all I’ve been listening to.”

@poladrize – Penny Lane by The Beatles
Ardi’s Thoughts: “This song is a classic. It got stuck in my head during a trip on the French Riviera, and I had no way to listen to it until I got home. I think it was a good thing though. It makes me want to skip and twirl and sing the lyrics at the top of my lungs and give flowers to elderly couples on the street. It makes me cheesily- very cheesily- happy.”

@sarahcshi – Charcoal Baby by Blood Orange
Sarah’s Thoughts: “It’s a shimmery song marking the return of Dev Hynes, with his upcoming album Negro Swan. Hynes’ classic synths and heavy bass line shine through for a summery and funky single.”

@liana.simonelli – Shuggie by Foxygen
Liana’s Thoughts: “This song has been a favourite for a while, but I rediscovered it this month and it’s been continuously playing. There is something undeniably intriguing about this song, I always find myself entirely immersed, to where my heart noticeably changes beat to match. There’s a certain familiarity involved, a feeling that is unique to a song that you know all the words to. Simultaneously, however, Shuggie has never sounded overplayed for me. This song encompasses every spontaneous midnight beach conversation, sunset in the water, and drive from who-knows-where that this summer has held for me. I find myself playing it over, because I am always in the mood to listen.

@alana.leia– Moonage Daydream by David Bowie
Alana’s Thoughts: “I’ve been going through the biggest Bowie phase and now realised The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust is probably the best album of all time. This month I also got my drivers license and my first time driving alone I did a PCH cruise while listening to this song. It’s beautiful.”

@holdooonnn – 1998 TRUMAN by BROCKHAMPTON
Holdon’s Thoughts: “UM, Independent rap/hip-hop boy band? Yes please! they have released three great songs this month but this one is my favourite. It’s energising!”

@emily_brower– Marica by Daleka Obala
Emily’s Thoughts: “I have been trying to learn songs in different languages for a while now and came across the Croatian band, Daleka Obala. I really like the beat of ‘Marica’ and after a few listens it gets easier to get a hang of the lyrics.”

@m.arymay– I Need A Woman by Hockey Dad
Mary’s Thoughts: “With apparent surf rock based influences, this song is definitely a summer staple. Personally, it’s saturated with memories of driving with the top down with a car full of my best friends. It’s one of my favourites by this lovely band and I have yet to tire from it.”

@sriosly– Parade To Hanabi by Shindigs
Hector’s Thoughts: “Shindigs is a local San Diego indie pop band, immersed by what seems like endless summer salts and easy floral pedals falling on a hazy cliff side by the ocean. As crazy at that last sentence may seem, that’s what I interpreted from the band’s sound. With every album cover covered in foliage and warm pastel palettes, Shindigs delivers a melancholic romance within its compositions. Each track they have up on their band-camp guarantees a fresh take of indie sweetness, having released six albums in the last 4 years. With summer falling to a close, I resonated with their song ‘Parade To Hanabi’ from their sophomore album, Tamayuras. This track transported me into an easy sinking of what I envisioned as a fun and joyous immersion of a colorful floral field somewhere in Korea. The composition in this track is dreamy and simple. From the playful synth licks, to the lush or reverb guitars, ‘Parade To Hanabi’ is the closing track that defined an appropriate end to my summer. I’d recommend listening to this track while walking next to a local garden and maybe on your way to a picnic”

@evamariaburns– The Gold by Manchester Orchestra (Phoebe Bridgers Version)
Eva’s Thoughts: “In the fall of my senior year of high school, I went to a small venue in downtown Seattle to see Manchester Orchestra play. They started their set with their newly released song, The Gold. The minute they started playing the opening riff, I was flooded with so many emotions; all so positive and bright. Now a year later, while that song is still something special to me, Phoebe Bridgers’ newest version is truly stunning. Phoebe has shortly become one of my favourite song writers. Her rendition of this song truly captures the dark and dreary story that Manchester Orchestra was telling.”

@eightlinegut– I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts by X
Lourd’s Thoughts: “All of July I had this song playing no matter what I was doing. With it’s poetic lyrics being socially relevant then & even now, it’s definitely an old one I can NEVER get enough of. Always been a favourite listen of mine and I sure know I’m not alone on that!”

@kyla.rain– One Step Ahead by Aretha Franklin
Kyla’s Thoughts: “This song reminds me of childhood, of my mother making Indian food, soaked in salt water from a day in the ocean. It reminds me of being seven years old and learning how to play guitar out on the curb from a vagabond we had picked up earlier that day. It just makes me feel wholeheartedly nostalgic, and that’s something I wouldn’t trade for the world.”

@elzyella– Polaroids by Jay Prince
Ella’s Thoughts: “I heard this song in the background of a YouTube video for the first time whilst I was in New York. I love when you heard a snippet of a song and you just know that you are going to love it. That is where I find the music I really, truly love. I had not heard of Jay Prince until this point, I feel like this just shows how new media is shown to us everyday, and ignoring the usual negative impact of this, the media can be used to discover things we love and enjoy!”

What was your favourite song of July? Which of these songs do you love the most?

Vacationer @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

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Dancing afront a transitioning rainbow background and twirling under the disco ball light, fans watched Vacationer return to their Brooklyn roots at Music Hall of Williamsburg.

The colorful, backlit stage accentuated the musicians’ darkened bodies, outlining their silhouettes as they played their electronic and tropical set. Playing alongside an illuminated globe decorating the stage, The group exhibited hits such as Strawberry Blonde and Magnetism from their recent summer release Mindset, their first album in four years.

The first notes of Being Here yielded amplified cheers from the audience, who maintained their visible and audible excitement throughout the entire night. Through songs like “Trip”, Vacationer communicated darker messages through deceptively cheerful melodies: “I need a fixTo put me to sleepA permanent kickThe world’s kicking meThe buzz isn’t coming on,” revealing their versatility. Between songs, lead singer Kenny Vasoli took a moment to recount their past performances in Brooklyn, expressing his appreciation that people are still coming to the shows.

In the intimate New York venue, Vacationer enthusiastically delivered a set fruitful with old and new songs.

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                                                Photography by @sammackeyphotos

Spirituality and Chill?

Disclaimer: This is in no way meant to offend anyone. This is simply a personal account of my relationship with spirituality, religion, and the labels that come with being me. Raw, real and unfiltered. Enjoy!

My name is Hannah Mitchell. First off, let me tell you a little bit about myself, and then you can choose what category you feel the need to place me in. Some choose “liberal,”  others go for, “hippie” and sometimes “spiritual.” I guess all those words can apply to me, if you need labels to help you comprehend who I am.

Whatever. That’s your choice.

Here’s a little bit more about me: I do this thing called “rock climbing.” Maybe you’ve
heard of it? I also pretend like I can play guitar and piano really well (I can’t) and I really enjoy swimming in the ocean. In my opinion, I am fantastic at cooking; so good at it, that all of my friends end up saying, “There’s no way that this is vegan.” It always is.

Oh, there’s another category you can place me in! “Vegan.” Such a scary and intimidating word! (Yes, I do consume enough protein, and no, I don’t only eat salad.)

Alright, now to the important part of this ramble. I have been “spiritual” my whole life.
For as long as I can remember, I never had a good relationship with religion. I hated going to church and wanted nothing to do with it, at all. Unfortunately for me, my Dad is Catholic and my Mom calls herself an Episcopalian (whatever that means).“Church”, “God”, and “Jesus” were all words I ended up despising when I was younger.

And, oh, did I dread Sundays. Sundays meant disruption of my sleeping in, wearing nice dresses and listening to an old white guy blab on, and on, and on about God.

It was around 4 or 5 years ago when I realized that I had the power to break away from this, and I grasped the idea that I was my own person with my own mind. I discovered philosophies that were completely foreign to me, including: Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism. I no longer had to believe in what my parents did! Alright, what next?

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So, what exactly does being, “spiritual,” mean?

The main difference between religion and spirituality is who you look to for answers. Those that are religious look to a higher power that is beyond them for the answers to their questions. Those that are spiritual realize and know that they hold every answer.

Spirituality isn’t doing yoga at 5 A.M. or pretending like everything is okay when it most
certainly is not. Spirituality is tearing away all of the layers that society has created for you. It is realizing that you are going to go through some tough shit (we all are), and being able to come out from it much stronger than when you went in.

It is not rainbows and glitter. It never will be.

It isn’t going to music festivals with dreadlocks and bindis. It isn’t tripping on psychedelic drugs and “finding all of the answers.” It is completely relearning who you are, and trying to make sense of your purpose on this strange planet, in this strange world we’ve found ourselves in.

Does it still sound appealing? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Transforming into a spiritual person has been the toughest but also the most rewarding decision I have ever made. It’s forced me to look at parts of myself I’d rather forget, to search within for what I need to grow into the best person I can be. Which, let me tell you, comes from sorting through a lot of emotional baggage. It doesn’t mean taking a tab of acid and suddenly being “enlightened” to the higher scheme of things. You can find ways to try and get around the truth (like mind-numbing acid trips), but when it comes down to it, you are the one that has to do the dirty work.

This transformation won’t happen overnight. It’ll be a long, painful process, because you will face every demon that you own, that owns you. But you will become exactly the person that you are destined to be. And to me, that is the most beautiful thing in the world.

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I hope you didn’t read all the way until here to learn tips on how to become “spiritual”. I
don’t write advice columns for Cosmopolitan. This is suppose to be real, raw, and unfiltered. This is my truth as I know it to be. Maybe religion works for you, and if so, congratulations; but for a lot of us that just isn’t the case.

Pure Nowhere is about having an outlet for self expression and for self discovery. For voices that want – need – to be heard. (And also, just your  daily dose of youth and rebellion.) So I guess this is my form of rebellion. Nothing was sugarcoated, these are my feelings, thoughts, experiences with the topic of the matter. I don’t have it figured out – far from it actually. But that’s the way it’s suppose to be, there’s always room for growth and learning.

I guess all I can say is to follow your intuition. Trust it and trust youYour intuition is that initial gut-feeling or reaction that comes when faced with a choice. I know that you’ve felt it before. It’s insanely powerful if you learn how to listen to it. That’s what I did. I had to learn that it sometimes won’t make sense (okay, most of the time), and that is alright.

I have trust in the path that the universe leads me on and I am in control of all that I do.
I create my own reality.

My other piece of advice is purely trusting that it is GOING TO BE OKAY! You will always be okay. You will always be loved and cherished. You are a special human being, and you will do great things if you learn to let yourself. You create the world you live in. You are in charge of what you do, who you are, what kind of person you become.

You must have trust in this process. Spirituality is not a single definition and there are no rules to it. Feel free to do exactly what feels right to you. As long as you are causing no harm to yourself or others, then you are doing “spirituality” correctly.

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I wish I could sum up this entire topic in one article, but I most certainly cannot. Luckily, I am now running the spirituality section of this INCREDIBLE magazine, so get ready to hear me ramble more often!

So, again, my name is Hannah Mitchell. I guess you could call me “vegan”, “spiritual”, or “hippie”. That’s cool. But I sincerely ask that you don’t, so I can be limitless. If you place me in a box, I cannot grow. Keep in mind, that I, you, we – are all just “human”.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I appreciate you for existing with me.

The Film Festival Celebrating the LGBTQ+ Community

Outfest LA – a showcase and celebration of films  produced by the LGBTQ+ community – returned to Los Angeles with screenings running through July 22nd.

For cinephiles, creatives, and activists alike, Outfest LA has been running since 1982, and features short films, narratives, and documentaries from filmmakers all over the world.

 

My first year attending the fest, I was lucky enough to be offered tickets by my school. (College does have some perks after all!) I was pleasantly surprised to find that, in addition to a long roster of new and exciting films, the festival included all kinds of events from premiere galas, info panels, and post-screening receptions. Nearly every showing was followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers and stars, providing all kinds of opportunities for mingling with industry professionals and learning about film and the local film and LGBTQ+ communities.

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By Robert Mapplethorpe

Here are the three programs I was able to catch this week:

 

Mapplethorpe: (Narrative Biopic) Ondi Timoner directed this new account of the life of iconic photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (portrayed by Matt Smith of Doctor Who), whose work focused the underground BDSM and homoerotic movements in New York in the late 1960s to 1980s. A beautiful depiction of one of my favorite artists of all time, this film follows the photographer’s life. From his earlier struggles with his own identity and sexuality, to his complications caused by his ego as a successful artist, and his fight against HIV/AIDS, this film is a must see for any Mapplethorpe fans!

Writhing: (Narrative Short Film) LA filmmaker, Robert John Torres, wrote and directed this short film following Everett, a young gay man facing the looming results of an HIV test. Shot on Kodak Super 16mm film, he uses dance to convey the emotion of Everett’s internal “writhing”, as put by the director. (Whether it be “writhing” of life, of ecstasy and pleasure, or “writhing” of shame, neglect, and heartbreak.) With texture and aesthetics to boot, this film was a beautiful tribute to a struggle that is still too familiar today.

1985: (Narrative Feature) 1985 follows Adrian, a 20-something professional who left his childhood home of Fort Worth, Texas for an exciting life in New York City. He comes home to visit his religious, all-American parents and younger brother for Christmas 1985. He hasn’t come out to them, nor told them about his diagnosis: he is suffering through the later stages of HIV, and is unlikely to survive until next Christmas. The film shows Adrian’s strained relationship with his masculo-formative father, and growing connection with his brother Andrew, who seems to have more in common with Adrian than previously thought. Directed by Malaysian filmmaker Yen Tan, and starring Cory Michael Smith, 1985 was shot on black & white film, as director and director of photography describe wanting to contrast the the bright, colorful way the 80s (that are so often portrayed in film), to the cold reality of the AIDS crisis during that same period. This film is a bittersweet reminder that we are loved by someone, somewhere, no matter what. I highly recommend this film, but fair warning: it will make you cry, and you will want to hug your mom when it’s over.

Paramore & Foster the People

Written & Photographed by Collin McQueen

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Paramore’s “After Laughter Summer Tour” just filled the house down at the Mattress Firm Amphitheatre last Thursday, the 21st of July. The band has made its way through both Canada and the U.S. along with Foster the People, and will bring their 26-city Journey to a close at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado on July 24th.

Paramore is hosting the tour to celebrate their new album After Laughter, which hit number one on Billboard’s US Top Alternative Albums Chart and U.S. Top Rock Album Chart. It was also included in several Best Album of 2017 lists including Rolling Stone, Billboard, NPR and more. Foster the People had just finished a world tour for their album Sacred Hearts Club before joining Paramore in late June.

The energy and production brought by both bands were matched by an ecstatic crowd from the pit all the way into the grass above. Paramore’s lead singer, Hayley Williams, performed with passion and kept the crowd on their feet and singing along to the very last song. The stage production, quality artists, summer amphitheater, and friendly crowds made for a more then pleasant evening and all around great show.

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Sophie Strauss: Equal Representation

Inspiring young women to follow their passion for music, 24-year-old Sophie Strauss has been unapologetically taking over the LA scene with her unique, detail-oriented songwriting, as well as her strong activism. When combined, these two qualities create a welcoming voice in a predominantly male industry. We recently spoke with Sophie about breaking down stereotypes, self-expression, and the history behind unequal representation of women in music.

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Photo by Claudia Cassina

When did you start seriously pursuing music? What pushed you in that direction?

For as long as I can remember I’ve been singing, but it wasn’t until I was sixteen [that] I started writing my own music. As soon as I was able to write that first song on my own, something clicked inside of me like, “Oh yeah. This. I need to do more of this forever.” 

Do you take personal experiences into your songwriting? Can you elaborate a little on that?

Absolutely! I don’t tend to write super narrative songs, so the personal experiences I incorporate aren’t usually stories about things I’ve experienced, but are more like snippets or abstractions of things I’ve thought about, witnessed, had said to me, or overheard. I find it much easier to tackle a big subject like love, death, pain, fear, or whatever by addressing it indirectly through small, specific lyrics and images, as opposed to trying to write broadly about those giant concepts. Instead, I write lyrics about mundane or very personal things as a way to access those larger themes.

Do you think that songs are better if they’re more personal? Does it ever scare you to put yourself out there with your music?

Well, I think everything is personal, even if you sat down and tried to write a song that meant absolutely nothing to you, the specifics of what is meaningless to you would be subjective, and therefore, inherently personal. So it’s unavoidable! I will say that I don’t always write confessionally or “truthfully” about myself, even if I am the subject of the song. Like any writer, much of what I put in my songs is fiction. Usually I’ll start with a line that is true to me in some way and then I will use that line as a jumping-off point for the rest of the song—but what comes after may or may not be truthfully autobiographical. But I don’t think it has to be. It’s totally scary to put yourself out into the world as a musician, but it’s absolutely scarier not to.

What inspires you lyrically?

Conversations! So many of my songs start [with] some snippet of conversation I overhear or a line I read in a book or article that strikes me as sounding especially poetic or strange. Usually, just a few words are enough to get my brain going and generating more ideas—kind of like a word association game.

Stepping into music, who are some of your strongest female role models? 

The strongest female role models I’ve had in music are Beyonce (obviously), Jenny Lewis, Fiona Apple, Frances Quinlan of Hop Along, Laura Stevenson, and Solange. I think that all of them are such smart and supremely unique artists who embrace their own identities with strength, nuance, and self-awareness.

Have you had to face any prejudices or preconceived notions, being a woman in the music industry?

I think the most consistent prejudice I’ve gotten is that a lot of people (and by people I mean mostly adult white men) assume that, because I’m a girl making music, that my music is either inherently 100% frivolous or inherently 100% confessional…that because I’m a girl, I’m not capable of depth or complexity, nor am I capable of creating fictional or abstract music. It’s the assumption that that kind of “genius” is saved exclusively for men while we girls are just “sharing our diaries.” (No disrespect to diaries, all disrespect to those dudes.) I’m very interested in rejecting that assumption, but also in reclaiming what it means to make “girl music.” I don’t want anyone to pigeonhole girl music as “light” or “diaristic,” but I also don’t want anyone to think less of music by girls if it’s light or diaristic. Girl music can be anything and still be valid, because a girl can be anything and still be valid.

Why do you personally think there isn’t an equal representation of men, women, and nonbinary people in music?

The [modern] music industry came about during an era that was extremely unequal, an era [when] white men had all the power and made all the decisions and filled any role they wanted. That fact was naturally reflected in the music industry they built. We still live in an era that’s extremely unequal, so it would be foolish to assume the music industry wouldn’t remain a reflection of that inequality, though I do believe it’s getting better. I’m glad Neil Portnow stepped the fuck down. Good riddance.

Do think you empower other girls to follow their passions, musical or not? What kind of role have you taken on to make a difference in gender inequality?

I really, really hope I do! I try to use social media to communicate with as wide an audience as possible about issues I come across as a girl, and also about issues that I have the privilege to float above because I’m white, able-bodied, and cis. I certainly can’t claim to know everything about the experiences of others, but I try to listen as much as possible and then still always assume I know nothing. That typically puts me in a good position to be a decent human being. I am also personally not very shy or squeamish, so I talk (and post) very openly about stuff that some people find uncomfortable… like my period, body image issues, abortion, sexual assault, [and] whatever else pops into my head. However, I try to do it in a way that makes people feel able to actually digest whatever I’m rambling about without feeling defensive or shut down.

What impact do you think social media has had on fixing this gender gap?

Sophie: I think social media is incredibly positive in a lot of ways. It’s democratizing, which is beautiful. There is essentially no barrier to entry for [creating] diverse music, bodies, opinions, and art. Many spread out members of niche communities are able to find each other and flourish through social media. At the same time, though, it can be a really awful place: a toxic vehicle for hatred and bigotry, a place where it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s manufactured.

How can we level the playing fields and make the music scene a more open and welcoming place for non-male voices? What do you think we can do to help make change?

I think [leveling] the playing fields could start with a simple numbers game. No festival, concert lineup, no nothing should be 100% white dudes. If your show or panel or whatever is all white dudes, there’s no excuse. It’s not quota-filling, it’s scale-tipping. If you’re a white dude on a lineup with all white dudes, you need to step down.

What would your ideal future look like?

At this point I’m just hoping we all make it to the future. But if we do….I’d like to just fast-forward to the stage in my career [when] I can be like [what] Fiona Apple is now. She can just drive down to the Largo to play an impromptu show whenever she wants to, but otherwise she spends most of her quality time with her dog Janet.

Keep up with Sophie on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook. You can listen to her latest track here.

This set was published under Pure Nowhere’s collaboration with Adolescent. You can check them out here.

Growing Pains

by Tia Henricks, photos via The Wylde

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“You are simply discovering yourself in places
you barely thought you’d ever go searching.”

THE FIRST YEAR.

A STEP OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL WALLS…

Life began when those laminated pieces of “validation” entered my sweaty hands mid summer. What I thought was my new VIP pass to the real world.

I spent an incredible amount of time hating what school forced me to do, so I focused on my passions heavily. Writing and drawing, concocting an incredible plan that I had ready for when I stepped out of those walls. The funniest thing about it all, I could’ve easily left high school and followed through with what I truly loved to do; but here I am, questioning my path with not a single restriction, only my own motivation and responsibility. what I did not understand was that I was completely petrified of failure, particularly my own, an illusion in which I created from fear.

Those were the last few moments I felt I had everything planned and ready for the adventure into the real world, knew where I wanted to be. Little did I know, I had so much to learn before I even briefly had any of my fucking my shit together…

The first few months out of high school were like a breeze. I felt like I had everything ready to go, a game plan, I was going to go here, work there, do this and do that; but I soon found out that the world had a completely different plan already mapped out for me. Never did I think a year later I would’ve met, seen, experienced the things I now experience on a daily basis. I never truly began to worry about the months ahead, I was completely in awe of the world and the beautiful unpredictability it gave me everyday. I was looking forward to weekends out with mates where we’d only make it home at sunrise the next day. A few tough and expensive lessons with unpaid rent and lease problems later, and this reality quickly dissolved. Late nights, run-ins with toxic people and impulsive actions, chuck in a few bad relationships with boys I should not have let enter my life or body. I saw myself spiral, though it looked like “growing up.”

“This is normal.”

“I’m so young, I have time.”

“I can handle this.”

Yes, these statements were indeed, and still are, correct… to an extent. I’m now understanding the responsibility I hold as a basic human, and the role in my own world, as well as that of the people around me. Do I really want to be spending my hard earned money and energy on the things that give a temporary value to my life? Questionable, but this is just another chapter, another lesson I am still learning, and having to understand that is lesson number one to understanding myself

Self discovery is terrifying, but thrilling.

“The most unpredictable, scary, and unplanned experiences give you the most insight on who you truly are; they test your limits, and shows you your strengths and weaknesses.”

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A YEAR ON…

 

I’m facing fears & hope, finding what I love & what I hate, money stress, happiness, balancing a social life, incredible friendships and toxic ones too. Independence, sleep, benders, parties, new friends & old, strange places, clothes, expression art, exploring the world. Heartbreak & love, living out of home, and all the fun shit life has to offer. I’m starting a chapter in which I’m trying to figure out exactly who I am, and through what seems like priceless (and also pricey) experiences, I’m trying to figure out a purpose, a job, good support system, fun, teenage-hood, adulthood, adventure.

But how do I do this?

I guess its just a big fat fucking balancing act which I wish I could just ignore, but this is the reality of life. Pure, raw and hard, but I wouldn’t take a single thing back I’ve experienced

Self discovery comes with patience, motivation and responsibility; but these are the best and worst years of my life, and I would never trade my lessons par one or two.

Rome was not built in day.

And neither am I.

I have to remember to have fun, to laugh as much as possible. Fuck-ups are completely impossible to avoid, but they are how the best lessons are learned. I am growing through every painful, confusing, beautifully unplanned encounter life wants to throw at me, ridding myself of the expectation of what my life should look like.

Those school gates closed behind me and pushed me into the real world, and I don’t think I was ever ready for what really laid ahead… But that’s just it, isn’t it? You never can prepare enough for what life throws at you; drop your expectations on people, things, places, because it will never be exactly what your thoughts have created. Reality is the reality.

To all those: You are not lost, take every moment as it comes. You do have time, a lot of it, but make the most of each moment, because it passes quicker than you really think. You are simply discovering yourself in places you barely thought you’d ever go searching. You do not need to have your shit together – no way in hell – but by personal experience, I’m learning exactly what I don’t want to be wasting myself on, and that is just as important as what or where you want to be directing your energy.

// For me, it’s a time of re-balance and re-focus.

You will find your ground once again, in the most unexpected of places. Go with it, drop your expectations; this is growth, and purely.

This is life.

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Summer ‘18 Soundtrack

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Photo by Carianne Older

The last of my finals have been taken, the Los Angeles heat has become even more unbearable, and photos of the gorgeous SoCal beach landscapes all the way from Santa Barbara to San Clemente have taken over my Instagram feed.

If you are anything like me—a born adventurer who could live their life as one big road trip, who thinks that the best teachers are travel and new experiences—then summer is a great time to break free from your usual routine and find new ways to broaden your horizons. As a music lover, I also know that every great adventure needs a great soundtrack. Without further ado, here are the songs that will be playing in the background of my roadtrips, adventures, and memories this summer.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN.

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“Drunk In LA” – Beach HouseThe seventh studio album from dream-pop band Beach House, appropriately titled 7, is already universally regarded as one of their best releases. This track embodies everything that I already loved about Beach House—dreamy, slow beats, haunting melodies, poetic lyrics, and a cadence that makes the listener feel like they’re in an iconic movie scene. This song is truly incredible, and I know I’ll be blasting it on all my late night summer drives through the city that inspired it.

“Let The Sun In” – Wallows: This summer bop comes from one of my favorite bands, Wallows, fresh off their latest EP, Spring. This three-piece from L.A. has been blowing up the indie-pop scene lately, and this EP perfectly captures the feeling of a soundtrack for a dreamy ‘80s beach movie. “Let The Sun In” is honestly a tune you’ll have stuck in your head this summer (that’s a good thing, trust me)! Also, a heads up, if you’re going to be headed to Lollapalooza, Life is Beautiful, or Austin City Limits, check out Wallows’s set, you’ll be so glad you did!

“Sex, Drugs, Etc.” – Beach Weather: The best description that I can write about Beach Weather’s sound is that their energy is uncannily similar to early incarnations of The Neighbourhood. If you’re a fan of songs like “Sweater Weather” and “Baby Came Home,” then you’ll love any single by Beach Weather. That’s not to say that the band doesn’t have a unique and distinctive sound; their laid-back vibe and catchy lyrics are the reason why they’ll rightfully become such a big name in indie-pop soon enough.

“Melting” – Kali UchisOne artist I have been obsessed with for awhile now is Kali Uchis. Her debut album, Isolation, is filled with upbeat anthems and a warm, ethereal sound. “Melting” is the perfect soundtrack for summer love and bright, sunny days.

“Back Again” – FlorWith their dreamlike, hazy sound, it’s no wonder a song by Flor made this playlist. From opening for Halsey and Atlas Genius, to recently selling out the Troubadour, Flor has made its mark on the indie scene. Best believe this song will be on repeat for me all summer. If I had to describe to someone what floating in an empty pool in the middle of summer feels like, all I’d have to do is play this song, and they’d instantly understand. It’s cool and relaxing like a daydreaming state, floating across the surface.

“Paint Me Silver” – PondThe second project of Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker, Pond is a psychedelic rock band from Australia that is making its mark on indie crowds across the U.S. When listening to songs like “Paint Me Silver,” you can hear Tame Impala’s influence. If you love dreamy alt-rock tracks, you’ll be bumping this song all summer!

“How I Feel Now” – Hot Flash Heat Wave: The Bay Area-based band Hot Flash Heat Wave is making its festival debut at Outside Lands in San Francisco this summer, playing the same festival as acts like Mac DeMarco, Janet Jackson, and Florence and the Machine. It’s no wonder these NorCal boys are playing on such a major festival bill—their second album, Soaked, is full of lively, summer-esque jams. Since they’ve been together, the group has also already developed a strong following along the West Coast. “How I Feel Now” is another summer love song that would work well as the theme song to any road trip!

“Loving is Easy” – Rex Orange CountyWhile this may be one of Rex Orange County’s most popular songs, it’s definitely well-known for a reason. A love song you can’t help but play on repeat, it’s also a blissful and funky track for picnics and late night dance parties. Rex vividly depicts a sweet romance we all wish we could experience this summer. He’ll be on the bill at Outside Lands as well, so if you’re planning on going, keep your ears open for his performance.

“Watching The Wheels” – John LennonThis is an oldie but a goodie, so I had to include it here. A summer playlist isn’t complete without at least one song from John, Paul, Ringo, or George. Summer means wistfully embracing my inner ‘70s hippie gal, including long hair, bare feet, dreams of peace, and a universal love.

“Pretty Girl” – ClairoClairo, a 19-year-old electro-pop artist from Massachusetts, is a current rising star. Her tracks are fun, upbeat, and ever-so-relatable, depicting the ups and downs that come with growing up and adolescence. She recently released her debut album, diary 001, after a long-anticipated wait from fans. She’s been coined as one of the iconic faces of today’s bedroom-pop era.

“Volcanic Love” – The AcesI had to include a song from The Aces on this playlist—after touring with Coin and X Ambassadors, and being featured in Nylon’s ‘Playlisted’ Summer Concert Series, it’s safe to say that 2018 is their year. “Volcanic Love” is a track I’d play while driving down PCH, dancing on the beach with my friends, or lying on the grass, watching a summer sunset.

“Revin’ My CJ7” – Summer Salt: This one needs no explanation for it’s inclusion, the band’s name gives you all the information you need! From the moment their first album, Driving to Hawaii, was released in 2017, these boys were destined to be at the top of everyone’s summer playlist. True to their title, each song evokes an image of clear beaches and Hawaii sun. This song, however, is off of their second album, So Polite, which was released only in 2017, but it still carries that same summer energy.

Hopefully, this playlist can be the perfect accompaniment to your summer! Now go on a road trip, plan an adventure, stick your toes in the ocean, drive down the coast, make some memories, and follow where the music takes you.

SOPHIE: Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides

OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES marks both SOPHIE’s debut album release and a whole new world; SOPHIE refines her voice to produce an innovative, immersive, surreal, and transcendent record.

 

The release of a full-length LP is a significant shift for SOPHIE. From 2013 to 2015, SOPHIE released eight singles that were later compiled and released as Product, toying with the immediacy of the release of singles and the rapid consumption of content in a consumerist society. Similarly, the closely-affiliated PC Music collective has focused on collaborations and the release of singles. OIL invites listeners into SOPHIE’s immersive world and demonstrates her movement towards the more widely accessible structure of the album and the realm of experimental pop music.

The first time I listened to SOPHIE was during my first week of college. My friend stopped by my dorm room before we headed to the library together to ‘work’ when he started to play “Lemonade,” a single that was different than any song I had heard before. I was disoriented by its hyper-synthetic, polished vocals and sharp production, but immediately hooked. “Lemonade” served as my introduction to both SOPHIE and PC Music. SOPHIE’s collaborators range from PC Music artists like QT and LIZ to Madonna, Charli XCX, Cashmere Cat, MØ, and Vince Staples. In 2017, SOPHIE released the first single from OIL, “It’s Okay to Cry,” which was her first foray into the public eye. The single was followed by “Ponyboy” and “Faceshopping” in 2018. In early 2018, SOPHIE toured New York and London, debuting many songs from her new album.

OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES is a rather perplexing album name. It’s a reverse mondegreen of the phrase “I love every person’s insides.” The exploration of identity, being, and nothingness thematically runs through OIL. The album opens with the first single, “It’s Okay to Cry,” which highlights SOPHIE’s raw vocals. The accompanying music video served as a prideful assertion of self as a trans producer and pop star, with SOPHIE appearing unobstructed on camera. SOPHIE’s vocals are compelling and reflect both the direction and the title of the album as she sings, “But I think your inside is your best side.” The song reaches its peak in the buildup of the percussive synth accompanied by SOPHIE’s growingly assertive and elated vocals. SOPHIE radically accepts and embraces each person for their spiritual and individual being, rather than their corporeal form.

“Ponyboy” welcomes its listener with Cecile Believe’s hyper-feminine voice, and takes a darker turn with the emergence of deep bass, dark vocals, and sexual lyrics. The bass is punctuated with a wavering synth that evokes the shrill sound of vinyl rubbing against itself. “Faceshopping” follows immediately with a similar synth backing track and Believe declaring, “My face is the front of shop / My face is the real shopfront / My shop is the face I front / I’m real when I shop my face.” The emphasis and repetition of “shop” works to both reference consumption, as well as the appearance-altering Photoshop. SOPHIE continues to explore and question the juxtaposition of being and nothingness: “Artificial bloom / Hydroponic skin / Chemical release / Synthesize the real / Plastic surgery / Social dialect / Positive results / Documents of life.”

“Is It Cold In The Water” superbly envelops its listener in SOPHIE’s ambient sonic world, capturing the nature of her live shows. Believe sings, “I’m freezing / I’m burning / I’ve left my home / Soft ache, me / Earth shaking / I feel alone.” The vacillation of tone with both the synths and Believe’s vocals reflect the same contrast as the sensations articulated in the lyrics, which underscore the individual’s loneliness. “Infatuation” draws upon the motif of water and begins with the sound of trickling water, luring the audience into a sense of calm. SOPHIE and Believe’s vocals build to assertively question, “Who are you? / Deep down / I wanna know.” The relative calm is broken by the darker, more overwhelming soundscape of “Not Okay,” characterized by its industrial bass and sharp vocals. “Pretending” is hazy and ambient, although rather foreboding with the muted sound of sirens. The unformed and undeveloped song suggests the possibility for development.

The album satisfyingly peaks with a more mainstream and ecstatic pop anthem, “Immaterial,” which emphasizes the relatively insignificant and arbitrary nature of the societally-constructed notion of gender. Believe proclaims, “You could be me and I could be you / Always the same and never the same / Day by day, life after life… We’re just / Immaterial boys / Immaterial girls.” The pop anthem contrasts with the abrasive and experimental album closer, “ Whole New World / Pretend World.” SOPHIE triumphantly declares a “Whole! / New! / World!” with the percussive punctuation of the synth, generating order within the nine-minute track’s chaos.

SOPHIE has created her own new world with OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES—one which builds towards an acceptance and celebration of self.

Stream OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES on Apple Music, Spotify, Soundcloud, and YouTube now.

This set was published under Pure Nowhere’s collaboration with Adolescent. You can check them out here.

UMI: A Genre-Bending R&B Princess

Photography by Georgia Seizis

UMI, or Tierra Umi Wilson, is a genre-bending artist generating lush and dreamy soundscapes, amalgamating the sonic elements of R&B, neo-soul, and lo-fi alternative music. The 19-year-old Seattle native has balanced both music and school, as a student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles; in the past year, UMI has released four singles and an EP.

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UMI’s latest single, River, seamlessly combines dreamy and lo-fi guitar and an R&B beat with her mellow and dulcet vocals, reminiscing about a past relationship. The imagery of the lyrics beautifully captures the feelings experienced in a breakup, as UMI sings, “Now that this is over / All that’s left is broken pieces oh / Swimming in your waters / But I’m trying to find my way back home.” The continuity of the river is contrasted with the end of a relationship.

I spoke with UMI about her latest single, River, scooters and friendship, and the intersection of music and politics.

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How did you all first get into music?

I come from a very musical family, so I’ve been writing songs and playing different instruments since I was four or five. But I didn’t start putting my music online until my freshman year of high school.

What are some of your biggest influences?

In terms of current artist, I’m really influenced by SZA and Frank Ocean for their melodies and lyricism.

Where do you draw inspiration for your music, outside of music itself?

From personal experience, experiences with others (friends, family, etc.), and imagined experiences (that are more universal).

What is the creative and production process behind your music? Is there a kind of feeling you try to communicate?

When writing songs, I usually just search through YouTube for hours to find a beat I like. I then use the voice memo app on my phone and hum melodies until I find one I like; I start building from there.

Usually the beat/instrumental has a certain vibe to it and I naturally gravitate towards lyrics/themes that fit the natural energy of the song (ex: sad, loneliness, happy, love etc.)

In my lyrics I just try to convey a sense of relatability, which I think is important.

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I loved your recent single “River.” What inspired the song lyrically?

Some of my friends were going through breakups at the time, so I just wrote a song about what I imagined they were feeling. I had also written “River” down in my journal as a word I wanted to use in a song one day, and it all came together.

The music video for “FRIENDZONE” is so fun; I love how it features a group of your friends all on scooters together. What inspired the video and its visuals?

Thank you so much <3

All I knew when I was conceptualizing the video was that I wanted something that didn’t directly relate to the topic of the song, but had the same energy. I love my scooter and I love VHS, so I knew I wanted to incorporate that for uniqueness. I also really just wanted to create something that embodied my energy and spirit! Something fun. Over time, as I started location hunting and talking to the guys who helped to direct/shoot/edit the video, the ideas of it all came together. Also, a lot of what’s in the video happened on the spot while we were shooting. So spontaneity played a big role.

I also have really amazing friends with crazy energy, so they really brought everything together. We didn’t style people or anything, they just came dressed super cohesively. Also – fun fact – the video was completely free (although we almost got shut down by the police a few times).

How have you managed / Have you found any difficulty balancing the demands of being a student at USC with your music?

I plan everything and set goals every day. I always plan my next day (hour by hour) the night before and set goals for what needs to be done. As long as I stay organized, it’s not too hard to balance things.

What music are you excited by right now?

Genre blending / bending is the new wave right now. It makes making music so much more fun and creative. The industry isn’t about fitting into categories anymore, and that makes me excited.  

Are you looking forward to going on tour with ODIE? Is this your first tour?

Sadly, I’m not going on tour with ODIE. I’m just opening for his show in LA. But I’m super excited to share my music live with a band! It’s going to be a whole new energy.

I love your Instagram and the political message you communicate, with pictures at the Women’s March and “Dear Donald Trump.” How does music intersect with politics for you?

Music, to me, is another platform to spread awareness and to become a catalyst for social justice. I hope as I get bigger I can continue to use my platform to share a message and lend a hand in bettering the world.

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Favorite flavor of kombucha?

Cranberry or Mango – I love fruity flavors.

With an impressive EP and 2 singles in 2018 already, what can we expect from you all down the road? Any upcoming releases?

Thank you! I’m hoping to release a few more songs later in the year and a big project either by the end of this year, or beginning of next year.

Any words of wisdom / anything else you want to add?

To anyone making music, POST YOUR MUSIC! STOP HOLDING ON TO IT!

Thanks so much UMI for taking the time to talk to us, and to you at home for reading our content! Comment down below so we can become friends, and make sure to check out UMI on her socials, as well as music streaming platforms. She’s seriously one to remember and keep an eye on. Can’t wait to see all the bright things she will do!