MUSIC

Have a Punk Christmas with Brent Butler's "Brooklyn Christmas Eve"

The LA-based songwriter is the #ZackMorrisofRap.

What says Christmas in Brooklyn better than a chorus of, "Light up my Christmas tree like a cigarette / We don't need eggnog / We've got Jameson?"

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The Notorious B.I.G.

The Los Angeles Times

On March 1, Netflix released the documentary Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell, based on the life and death of iconic Brooklyn emcee The Notorious B.I.G.

The film captures the man born Christopher Wallace as he rose to Hip-Hop superstardom through never-before-seen home video footage and untold stories from the people closest to him.

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Culture Feature

Jay-Z's 7 Best Albums

On his 51st birthday, we take a look at Jay-Z's best albums.

Shawn Carter, AKA Jay-Z, was born December 4, 1969.

He was raised in Marcy Houses, a housing project in Brooklyn, NY. He discovered a passion for music at a young age but became heavily involved in the streets as a crack cocaine dealer.

Jay's involvement with the drug trade would end after a near-fatal brush with death. This encounter motivated him to go legit and pursue music.

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LibertyProject

Visionaries Project: Christoph Carr on Black Land Ownership and Giving Flowers to Cops

Christoph Carr talks art, music, and protest.

Scholar, activist, musician, event organizer, author—Christoph Carr is the personification of a visionary. As the co-founder of Brooklyn Wildlife and Black Land Ownership, Carr has long been working to break down boundaries and to create space where art and life can thrive without outside imposition.

More recently, he's been leading unique NYC-based Black Lives Matter protests that attempt to engage directly with the police. His many projects address current, pressing needs—but they also envision a world that could be, a world of connection, deep roots, and human empathy. Here, we spoke about the stories behind his groundbreaking organizations, and the grief and strange possibility buried in the depths of 2020.

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Sister.

Brooklyn's Sister. has released their debut EP, "Soft Spot."

Written, recorded, and produced entirely in quarantine, it's profoundly world-weary—like many of us have likely been feeling during the pandemic. But altogether the album is spellbindingly beautiful, studded with surprising and innovative musical touches and held together by stunning lyrics.

Sister. is a project by Hannah Pruzinsky and Ceci Sturman. Originally roommates at St. John's University in Queens, they now live together in Bed-Stuy, where they created the entirety of "Soft Spot." The band also includes guitarist James Chrisman, who assisted with production and recording via video chat.


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New Releases

Pom Pom Squad Celebrate Love's Gut Punches on "Red With Love"

The Brooklyn rockers seem poised to blow up in the indie world.

Pom Pom Squad has everything you could want from a Brooklyn-based indie-punk outlet—wailing guitars, searingly confessional yet simultaneously original lyrics, and music videos loaded with glitter and neon lights.

Their latest offering, "Red With Love," is a wide-eyed celebration of love, in all its overwhelming bittersweetness. The video plays with classic symbols of femininity—cheerleaders, prom queen crowns, wedding dresses—refracting them through glitchy filters and smashing them against streamer-covered diner counters. It perfectly encapsulates the sugary head-rush of desperation and glee that defines the sweet chaos of romance.

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The band might be most comfortable writing about the sharpest, bloodiest edges of romantic and emotional angst, but "Red With Love" is a marked change from that niche. It's an exploration of what it might mean to accept love for yourself and someone else. The product is tender and fierce and also extremely danceable.

"'Red' is my first proper love song and a pretty unguarded look into my heart, my relationship anxiety, and my acceptance of my own queerness," lead singer Mia Berrin told Paste.

"Red With Love" comes on the heels of the band's slow-burning cover of FKA twigs' "Cellophane," which offers a different kind of ecstasy. On that track, Berrin's voice breaks over fiery guitar and whirring synths, which sound like they're on the edge of shattering–until they do, collapsing into the song's aching final chorus.

The best indie rock bands have something far more than just catchy songs and emotional messages. Maybe it's a sense of forward motion combined with a deep internal ache, or a synergy that just clicks. Pom Pom Squad has whatever that magical X factor is, and it's no wonder that they've experienced so much success in the Brooklyn scene. Both "Red With Love" and "Cellophane" are examples of indie rock at its most golden, raw, and blindingly alive. It's likely that Pom Pom Squad won't stay a local gem for long.