Music Features

Rainbow Kitten Surprise Will Shake You Out of Your Pretension

Let RKS remind you what live music is supposed to be.

Rainbow Kitten Surprise - It's Called: Freefall [Official Video]

One day you're listening to your usual assortment of experimental synth music and whale noises, maybe a little Kero Kero Bonito if it's sunny out.

In a good mood, you decide to branch out, and a song comes on your discover weekly that you don't recognize. You bob your head along to the beat, and wonder who the band is, thinking they must be deliciously obscure. You reach for your phone to save the track, and recoil at the glitter-sprinkled name: Rainbow Kitten Surprise. The name sounds distinctly like the name of your seven-year-old niece's Guitar Hero band, but you find that in reality it refers to a group of serious musicians from Boone, North Carolina who play an amalgamation of indie and folk rock. Even worse than their name, they have millions of plays. They're popular and kitschy and unacceptable for someone like you who only shops at organic co-ops in your vintage Doc Martens. You move on to the next song.

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New Releases

Kaskade Releases “Love Like That" feat. Dani Poppitt

An unforgettable night dancing with beautiful strangers.

Love Like That | Kaskade | Redux 004

EDM megastar Kaskade recently released "Love Like That," the lead track from his forthcoming Redux 004 EP, featuring the seductive tones of Dani Poppitt.

Kaskade says, "When I was producing 'Love Like That' I knew it needed to be more than just another love or love-lost song. It has this piano hook that is meant to work its way into your psyche, and hopefully, people will just be humming it without even knowing what they're referencing. Lyrically, the song has this ability to be an in or out of love gymnast. It is one of those pieces where you can't decide if you want to break up with this song or get married to it." Poppitt's sultry voice enhances the track's dance-y rhythm. Altogether, "Love Like That" soundtracks an unforgettable night dancing with beautiful strangers.

Follow Kaskade Facebook | Instagram | Spotify

New Releases

LVVRS Premiere “Iconic” Music Video

"Light me up / We keep it iconic."

LVVRS - Iconic (Official Music Video)

From the south Louisiana region of Acadiana, the pop-rock outfit LVVRS launch the music video for "Iconic."

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"Looking Like a Rottweiler": Ari Lennox Takes on Internalized Racism

Another day on Twitter, comparing black women to dogs.

Ari Lennox at OneMusic Festival

Photo by Franklin Sheard Jr (Shutterstock)

Ari Lennox and Teyana Taylor are very familiar with backhanded compliments.

Recently, one user tweeted, "Ari Lennox and Teyana Taylor's ability to have dangerously high sex appeal while simultaneously looking like rottweilers will always amaze me." To which, both singers responded by calling out the cultural toxicity that still attacks black identity. Lennox retweeted the post with the reply, "People hate blackness so bad." Taylor shared Lennox's response, commenting, "No lies detected."

But the discussion launched thereafter delved much deeper than the persistent scourge of cyberbullying celebrities. By comparing the two black women to dogs, the passive aggressive attack drew from a history of anti-black sentiment that's particularly targeted black women.

Lennox took to her Instagram livestream in angry tears to address the history of prejudice, systemic racism, and oppression behind the remark: "How people hate black people so much, how black people can sit up here and say, 'that's not my problem' or 'she does look like a Rottweiler'–that's fine–but you want to talk about being so sensitive?"

Most cuttingly, Lennox addresses the internalized racism behind the comment. In response to the argument shared by many that more culturally sensitive and inclusive language limits freedom of speech, she rejoined: "That's fine…but… Why is this your speech? Why are you so comfortable tearing down black women and no other race?" She called out the prevalence of racism and prejudice within the black community compared to other identities: "When are Hispanic women ever compared to dogs? When do they do that to white women? When are Hispanic men doing that to Hispanic women?"

Unfortunately, intra-racism, or internalized racism, occurs regularly among all groups (let's put aside, for now, the problematic issues with the word 'Hispanic').

Hence, we've tried to adopt a term to address such complex layers of misogyny, racism, bigotry, and all forms of oppression: "intersectionality." While the word's been badly misinterpreted among groups all along the political spectrum, the casual comparison between black women and dogs exemplifies the heart of its meaning. Simply, an individual is "impacted by a multitude of social justice and human rights issues," to the point that even conservative writer David French calls it "common sense": "An African American man is going to experience the world differently than an African American woman," French told Vox. "Somebody who is LGBT is going to experience the world differently than somebody who's straight. Somebody who's LGBT and African American is going to experience the world differently than somebody who's LGBT and Latina. It's sort of this commonsense notion that different categories of people have different kinds of experience."

All too often, those layers of different experiences produce particular forms of prejudices. The original poster, @WinEverUWantIT, was inundated with replies calling out the hypocrisy and misogyny of him, a young black man, criticizing the appearance of two successful black women. "Black men are the weak link in the black community," reads a top comment, followed by, "Let me clarify. Black men like YOU are the weak link in our community."

Lennox then tweeted, "Moms and Dads please love on your beautiful black children. Tell them they're beautiful constantly. Tell them Black people are beautiful. Tell them black features are beautiful." This past summer, Lennox told Buzzfeed she'd had many experiences with social pressure and prejudice to change her features, from her natural hair to her nose. "I would never get surgery and I love my nose," she said. "I just feel this is a conversation that needs to be had. There are black babies that have insecurities 'cause culture says it's funny to insult black features." She uses her platform to denounce the notion that black women's features exist outside society's standards of beauty: "Rocking my natural nose, hair, and skin — that makes me feel so empowered, because there's so many people out there that would rather me not do that," she says. "I refuse to change for them. Knowing that I can encourage someone else to rock their natural self really empowers me, as well."

Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times

It's hard for anyone to match the star power of Frank Ocean—even Drake.

When Tyler, the Creator promised a surprise headliner Sunday night at Camp Flog Gnaw, rumors spread that Ocean would take the stage. But when it was time to reveal the guest of honor, Drake appeared, and was promptly welcomed by a sea of boos and chants of "We want Frank." "If you want to keep going, I will keep going tonight," Drake said about 20 minutes into his performance, although the majority of the crowd was dismissive. "I love y'all. I go by the name of Drake. Thank y'all for having me," he said as he exited, clearly dejected.

What does it mean for the state of music fandom today that Drake, inarguably one of the decade's most successful artists, can get booed off stage at a hip-hop festival? Have listeners grown bored and underwhelmed by Drizzy in the same way Kanye West's most recent projects have failed to pique lasting general interest? Of course, Drake and West differ in many ways—one is considerably more problematic—but their places in the rap canon also boast a few parallels: Both grew massively popular on similar timelines, and it's safe to say the peaks of both of their careers have come and gone. In terms of hip-hop, younger fans tend to turn to artists like Tyler, the Creator, Frank Ocean, and even Brockhampton—artists who, like pop experimentalist Charli XCX, exist in the overlap between mainstream popularity and left-field stylistic approaches.

It makes sense that, especially at a festival so integral to Tyler, the Creator's personal brand of alternative rap, fans would plead for Ocean over Drake. Even in his notably reclusive fame, Ocean still maintains a degree of relatability that Drake's stardom has stripped him of. Another factor is how often Ocean performs (or, rather, how rarely he does); name a festival, and Drake has likely headlined it before, while Ocean has become somewhat infamous for cancelling tours and festival appearances.

So, was the crowd at Camp Flog Gnaw overly optimistic for expecting Sunday night to bring a long-awaited appearance from the mastermind behind Blonde? Absolutely. But the fact that the crowd booed the holder of nearly every record on the Billboard Hot 100 speaks to just how distant Drake has grown from the next iteration of rap fandom.


Mr. Hudson Talks Isolation and Billie Eilish

Atmospheric dreamscapes, catchy pop melodies and sci-fi moodiness.

Billie Eilish

Photo by Shutterstock

Mr. Hudson recently dropped a new album, entitled When the Machine Stops, featuring Vic Mensa, Taylor Bennett, Goody Grace, Petite Noir, Josh Dean & Schae.

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