Music Reviews
Music Reviews

Illuminati Hotties' "FREE I.H." Is a Literal Plea for Independence

The proceeds of Sarah Tudzin's fantastic new album are going towards buying herself out of her label contract.

Sarah Tudzin wrote her latest album to set herself free—literally.

The L.A.-based sound engineer's debut record as Illuminati Hotties, 2018's Kiss Yr Frenemies, allowed her to finally flex her songwriting chops. With an eye-catching name and a sprightly attitude, Illuminati Hotties quickly became one of many critics' favorite new rock acts, receiving positive reviews across the board. The fun was cut short, though, when Tudzin's record label, Tiny Engines, was put on blast for alleged breach of contract over royalty payments.

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Music Reviews

Ambient Legend Laraaji Returns Home with “Sun Piano”

Laraaji's latest release is a work of playful imaginativeness.

Laraaji

Recorded on a grand piano in a church in Brooklyn, Laraaji's Sun Piano is a magnificent addition to the cosmic-ambient musician's expansive catalogue, which has spanned across genres and—in all likelihood, multiple dimensions.

Laraaji's musical story begins at the piano, which is perhaps why Sun Piano feels like coming home. Now a musician, mystic, and laughter meditation practitioner, Laraaji grew up in New Jersey in the 1950s. He first encountered the piano in childhood afternoons at church, and he filled spaces between Sunday school and church services imitating great piano players like Fats Domino. After picking up a wide variety of instruments, he attended Howard University, where he studied music theory and composition with a piano major.

"The piano is my first major instrument," said Laraaji in an interview with Popdust. "My relationship was one as kinesthetic… As a percussion instrument, I would play [the piano] rhythmically, but mostly taking it as an instrument of therapy, for release, celebration, and expression."

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Music Reviews

On "Life On Earth," Summer Walker Is Moving On Without Her Toxic Fans

Summer Walker returns and is no longer playing games.

Summer Walker loves creating music but despises the music industry.

She regularly considers retirement and ended her 2019 tour early because of social anxiety. "I hope that people understand and respect that at the end of the day I'm a person, I have feelings, I get tired, I get sad," she said in a video post. "I don't want to lose myself for someone else." She was relentlessly vilified for her decision. Fans cited stiff meet-and-greets and chalked up Walker's cancellations to a sense of entitlement.

Then she was presented with the "Best New Artist" award at the 2019 Soul Train Awards, and her hurried acceptance speech was dissected by tasteless memes all across the country. Walker's candid cries for understanding remained completely ignored by years end. The truth of the matter is that Walker suffers from anxiety and stage fright that is all but totally crippling. So she did what any misunderstood artist does, she disappeared and stopped saying anything at all.

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