Music Features

Sunday Selects: This Week's New Indie Music Picks Shatter Convention

You'll find comfort in SASAMI's universal messages, joy in Sundara Karma's exuberant classic rock, and innovation in Silvia Pérez Cruz's rendition of an old classic.

Each of this week's selection of brand new songs is drawn from a series of daring and genre-bending projects. They all explore unexpected themes, pull from poetry or ancient rituals, or somehow rail against structure and convention.

1. SASAMI — Turned Out I Was Everyone

Sasami has long been a fixture of the indie music scene, playing synths in the ultimate indie girl group, Cherry Glazerr, for years, but this week saw the release of her long-awaited debut solo LP. "Turned Out I Was Everyone" rides on the strength of its only lyric, which could be indie music scripture: "Turns out I was everyone / thought I was the only one / to be so alone in the night." The song is a sparkling blend of synths and looped vocals, starting mellow and building to a multilayered climax that drives home its message of unity.

Turned Out I Was

2. Foals — Moonlight

Foals' new album, Part 1 Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, is an ambitious project. The band sounds like it's trying to craft stadium-level soundscapes, with dark-eletronica tracks like "In Degrees" calling to mind bands like Passion Pit or MGMT, though sometimes they wind up sounding like new Mumford & Sons on mushrooms. On occasion, all of the different instruments can make the songs feel cluttered. But it works in a dramatic, cinematic way on songs like "Moonlight," a psychedelic dreamscape that grows nightmarishly surreal by the end.

Foals - Moonlight [Official Lyric Video]

3. Sundara Karma — Rainbow Body

This uplifting rock song forms the centerpiece of an exuberant new album from UK-based indie art rock band Sundara Karma. The young band sounds a bit like The Killers, and their songs are equally pumped-up and electric, with hints of 1970s peace and love sensibility thrown into the mix. "Rainbow Body" is an energetic highlight on the band's latest release, Ulfilas' Alphabet.

Sundara Karma - Rainbow Body (Audio)

4. The Sound Of Silence — Silvia Pérez Cruz

The Spanish singer has long been creating innovative arrangements of classic songs (check out Pequeño Vals Vienés, her Spanish-language rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" mixed with lines from the poet Federico García Lorca, for full-body chills). This version of the iconic Simon and Garfunkel tune is eerie and impressionistic, almost visionary in its resistance to structure and repetition. It completely deconstructs the song, only to build it back up, starting with a cappella vocals, then adding rolls of Spanish guitar and bone-chilling violins. It's a long journey, but more than worth it when Pérez Cruz's voice boils over from a whisper to a full-throated scream at the end.

Silvia Pérez Cruz - The sounds of

5. The New Revelations of Being — SoundWalk Collective & Patti Smith

Prolific Instagrammer and 1960s icon Patti Smith has teamed up with her daughter Jesse and the SoundWalk Collective, a group of experimental sound artists based in New York and Berlin, and their first collaborative effort is a spoken-word collage inspired by the poet Antonin Artaud. Though the song is largely about Artaud's experimentation with peyote, Smith clarified that creating the song did not require any actual drugs. "The poets enter the bloodstream; they enter the cells. For a moment, one is Artaud," Smith stated of her recording experience. "You can't ask for it; you can't buy it, you can't take drugs for it to be authentic. It just has to happen; you have to be chosen as well as choose."

With Patti's deep, magnetic rasp laid over Jesse's drumming and a mystical array of fond sounds, the song swirls in abstractions until getting to the point with its last line: "the guns and the guns and the guns," Smith repeats, a clear political statement. We wouldn't expect anything less from the godmother of punk.

Soundwalk Collective with Patti Smith - The New Revelations Of

6. Bonus Track: Vampire Weekend — Sunflower

No, this, unfortunately, isn't a cover of the chart-topping Post Malone hit, but it is the latest release from everyone's favorite undead rock band and the prolific guitarist Steve Lacy. Though the garden imagery and beginning moments hint at the band's masterpiece "Hannah Hunt ," it's actually not a great song, or even a good song; even Lacy's dextrous shredding can't make up for the amazingly awkward scatting in the middle; but it's an entertaining listen, if only because it's so absurd.

Vampire Weekend - Sunflower ft. Steve Lacy (Official Video)

Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.

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5 Romantic Movie Gestures That Are Actually Super Creepy

Are you planning on emulating your favorite romantic movie? Better think again.

The Notebook

via New Line Cinema

Nothing says "I love you" like a grand romantic gesture, and there's no better source of inspiration than Hollywood. Why buy your significant other a box of chocolates when you could assault or embarrass them instead?

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INTERVIEW | Chin-Wagging With Laura Paragano

The flair of "heartland surf rock."

Photo Courtesy Laura Paragano

San Francisco-based artist Laura Paragano recently dropped her debut album Strange Curses. Paragano describes her sound as "heartland surf rock."

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VIDEO GAY-MER | Why do we love visual novels so much?

What do queer gamers/developers love the visual novel platform so much?

Coming Out on Top game trailer

Visual novels are an art form, and when done right, they are an amazing storytelling tool. We've seen a lot of good, queer visual novels in the past years - or games that are about as close to visual novels as you can get. Just last year, we had two instant classics: Butterfly Soup and Dream Daddy, take the world by storm. Not only did they showcase incredible queer stories, but they managed to do it without any ounce of mockery or depressing melodrama.

So, I got curious.

What makes these kinds of games so incredible? And why are there so many? On Queerly Represent Me - a large back log of games with some sort of queer representation within them- 215 games are listed as visual novels. That's the largest genre of games on the list, clocking in at 20%. It doesn't sound like a lot, but it is - and that's significant. What draws queer gamers and developers to these specific type of game? I think that visual novels not only provide a simple, fun escape from the harshness of modern queer depiction, but they are also accessible, and cheaper than most other video games on the market.

In my last article, I wrote about a game called Butterfly Soup - a beautiful visual novel that covered the lives of four queer, Asian woman going through high school during Prop 8-era California. I gushed about it, and talked about how it's unabashed happiness just made me smile. And that's not something that happens in a lot of major games or successful indie games. Even a beautiful game like Gone Home, is mired with intense drama, reminding the audience about how much it can suck to be a queer person. That doesn't exist in games like Butterfly Soup.

There's an inherent layer of sexuality that exists in a lot of these kinds of games.

A huge example is a gay dating sim, Coming Out on Top, a very NSFW visual novel about a young, freshly out, college senior who is looking for love and sex. This game has a huge selection of guys you can seduce, and even goes the extra mile to have you come out to your friends and actively maintain your friendships. All the while, you are treated to some saucy pics and scenes of your gay character actually having/enjoying sex.

It's liberating, because even when queer people are depicted having sex - it's never correct. There's always that one scene where the guy doesn't use lube - and then you cringe, cause you know they got hurt. The visual novels I've played don't have that problem - because they're made by queer developers.

I think queer visual novels exist in such volumes because they can be easier to make than other games like RPGs of even exploration sims.

I can't say I'm an expert on game development, and visual novels definitely have their own set of challenges, but they can be made easily thanks to user friendly game engines. This accessibility allows young, queer game devs the opportunity to start making their own queer stories - and in an industry where people are starving for queer characters, they're bound to find an audience!

Visual novels are also cheaper for queer gamers to buy. Even a game like Dream Daddy, produced by the incredibly popular Game Grumps, went up for only 14.99. And Butterfly Soup is still free. This is worlds cheaper than most AAA games that include very basic forms of queer representation. So, there's a level of financial accessibility available for these types of games that don't exist in other places in the market.

In the end, visual novels make queer characters more accessible to a starving audience by being cheap - and they can empower their audience by giving them an escape from the misrepresentation they receive from mainstream media. These games are about queer characters, and made for queer people - and I only hope that the rest of the industry can follow suit. Until they do though, I'm just going to go and replay Dream Daddy for millionth time and cry about how beautiful Robert is.

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U2 releases the Official Music Video for "Get Out Of Your Own Way"

GRAMMY WEEK | Playing at the Grammys & new tour dates on sale Jan 26th

The Animation for this music video is captivating.

It seems like there is a lot going on with U2 lately. For a band that has been active in music for decades, they have invigorated themselves once again, video, new album, tour dates, Grammys... is it me or have they done anything but slow down? If anything they have been a constant force for peace and bring about positive manifestations through their art. The "Get Out Of Your Own Way" music video animation is no exception, creating some very catchy eye candy, for an incredible audio/visual experience. Reminds me a little of South Park style, with cut paper. They embody some of aesthetic that Radiohead has embraced. No strangers to art rock, U2 produced a video that has a message and retained an artistic ethic.

Not to be overshadowed by their video release, U2 will be performing at the 2018 Grammy Awards. Popdust is going hard for the Grammy's this year, so we will be sure to Tweet you all during the live event. Madison Square Garden will host the 60th GRAMMY Awards on Jan. 28, 2018. This is the first GRAMMY event in New York City since 2003.

"Get Out Of Your Own Way" (Afrojack Remix) is out 1/26. Announced the UK/Europe leg of the eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour 2018 - new dates to go on sale January 26th.

Broken Fingaz Crew, the fearless Israeli graffiti collective whose provocative, groundbreaking and often disturbing fluorescent sketches were among the first street art in their native Haifa, have directed U2's new video for "Get Out Of Your Own Way."

Known only by the pseudonyms that preserve their anonymity with local authorities--Unga, Tant, Kip and Desco—the enigmatic Broken Fingaz Crew approached U2 with the concept of an animated visualization of the second single from the band's new Songs of Experience. After a successful collaboration on U2's video for "American Soul," the band were inspired to give Broken Fingaz Crew full creative control based on their impassioned interpretation of "Get Out Of Your Own Way." The result reaffirms Broken Fingaz Crew's standing as artistic and social pioneers emerging from an underground of their own creation.

Broken Fingaz Crew described the mission statement of their "Get Out Of Your Own Way" video as follows. "The video addresses the current political situation: 2017 for us was the year fascists worldwide felt confident enough to raise their heads again, encouraged by Trump and other world leaders, who use people's fear to build more walls and segregation.

The song is both a personal letter and a clarion cry to the global situation, and in the same way, we've combined our psychedelic pop style with political imagery; shot entirely analogue, using paper cut and stop motion animation techniques in collaboration with Adam Albo, who edited the video."



May 2 – Tulsa, OK – BOK Center
May 4 – St. Louis, MO – Scottrade Center
May 7 – San Jose, CA – SAP Center
May 8 – San Jose, CA – SAP Center
May 11 – Las Vegas, NV – T-Mobile Arena
May 12 – Las Vegas, NV – T-Mobile Arena
May 15 – Los Angeles, CA – The Forum
May 16 – Los Angeles, CA – The Forum
May 22 – Chicago, IL – United Center
May 23 – Chicago, IL – United Center
May 26 – Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena
May 28 – Atlanta, GA – Infinite Energy Arena
June 5 – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
June 6 – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
June 9 – Uniondale, NY – NYCB Live, Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
June 13 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
June 14 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
June 17 – Washington, DC – Capital One Arena
June 18 – Washington, DC – Capital One Arena
June 21 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
June 22 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
June 25 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
June 26 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
June 29 – Newark, NJ – Prudential Center
August 31 - Berlin, DE – Mercedes-Benz Arena
September 4 – Cologne, DE – Lanxess Arena
September 8 – Paris, FR – AccorHotels Arena
September 9 – Paris, FR – AccorHotels Arena
September 16 – Lisbon, PT – Altice Arena
September 20 – Madrid, ES – WiZink Arena
September 29 – Copenhagen, DK – Royal Arena
October 3 – Hamburg, DE – Barclaycard Arena
October 7 – Amsterdam, NL – Ziggo Dome
October 11 – Milan, IT – Mediolanum Forum
October 12 – Milan, IT – Mediolanum Forum
October 19 – Manchester, UK – Manchester Arena
October 23 – London, UK – The O2

Follow U2 at Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Dan Victor is editor of Popdust and producer of Popdust Presents. He is also a music producer, bassist for Low Profile (live hip hop) & The Coldpress (indie rap) and front-man for Ductape Halo (indie rock). Follow on Youtube.

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