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LABEL: Self-released 
RELEASE DATE: August 5th 2014
OVERALL RATING: 8 – Unique
STANDOUT TRACK: “Law & Order”
IN A SENTENCE: Yoni Wolf creates the perfect sonic backdrop for what feels like pages out of a very private diary and Anna Stewart’s vocals are like a lazy summer afternoon: slow, smooth, and beautiful.
Listen/purchase: Divorcee by Divorcee

Divorcee is unique because the choruses in each song change lyrically but not melodically and each line in Anna Stewart’s raw emotional lyrics takes you back to certain memories in her relationships. The lyrics are so raw in fact that you have to wonder what Yoni Wolf was thinking when he entered into a partnership that would require him to hear more than a few scathing thoughts about himself. Perhaps he is just getting a taste of his own medicine, letting Stewart vent about their private lives the way he did with Alopecia. WHY? fans will catch a few obvious rebuttals from Anna’s point of view, in which Stewart and Wolf go “toe to toe, blow for blow,” but will be left wondering just how many lines on this EP are about Yoni.

Opener “Snakes and Oysters” didn’t engage me until the line just before the chorus, “our leering neighbor used to watch me cry.” It just grabbed my attention. I don’t particularly like the accordion on this track as it doesn’t seem to fit. “Snakes and Oysters” definitely shows us Anna’s lyrical prowess, something I was (needlessly) worried would be lacking on an album where Yoni Wolf’s lyricism took a backseat.

"Thoughts of a Man" definitely picks up musically and the funky chorus coupled with more great lyrics made me pay attention to a song I wouldn’t like otherwise, mostly due to the vocals. They’re just not my style on this track, until the choruses when the bass kicks in. This song is a wonderful and intimate look at the life of a touring musician’s girlfriend, in which she can “only imagine the thoughts of a man” and confesses that she “kissed a boy on Halloween in a Jason mask / and if I was sorry that I did it would you take me back?

I love the sampling of WHY?’s “Good Friday” throughout “Last Fist,” a track which instantly caught my attention with its chunky bass that is reminiscent of something on Alopecia. The line “I am not suited for matrimony" explains the project’s name in a quaint and simple manner.

"Absence and Presents" is particularly scathing lyrically. "In spite of my desire to please, babe I’m gonna have to leave/ and I’m sorry that you can’t say the two words that might make me stay.” The track continues the girlfriend’s point of view with lines like “I guess I can understand now that I have a band. You can’t meet demands from the seat of a van," or the particularly gut-wrenching "I wasn’t stunned you didn’t answer your phone. You were right, you didn’t try the day my cat died, sigh, sigh, sigh.” This paints a much different picture than most fans see in their heads when they imagine dating someone who tours. All we see are the perks, not the missed calls, times we needed someone and they weren’t there for us, or the heartbreak felt by the person those songs are about.

"Low Piñata" is the heaviest song on the EP with the most musical filler in the form off bass, organs, drums, and electronic noises. "You don’t know my middle name" turns slowly into "I can’t recall your middle name or whether you or I am to blame" turns slowly into "you still don’t know my middle name…. when we met ….  I swear you knew my middle name.”

Closing track “Law & Order” definitely steals the show both musically and lyrically. Its funky beat and heavy Smiths influence add to its infectiousness. I tried to fight it but I have to sing along. I just have to.  “Law & Order” hits the hardest lyrically. It’s very sentimental, nostalgic, depressing, and revealing: “Living with you is like driving in the rain" and "Living with you and being blindfolded are the same / I can’t see where I’m going and it makes my head ache.”

Divorcee is the perfect debut for this duo and I hope it’s not the last chapter of their ever-changing relationship.

TRACK BY TRACK RATING BREAKDOWN:

Snakes and Oysters: 7
Thoughts of a Man: 9

The Last Fist: 7
Absence and Presents: 7
Low Piñata: 8
Law & Order: 8
—-

Not much has changed since Sunny Landon was little. She still insists on listening to one song over and over until she discovers her next favorite, she still always carries a journal, she still treats people the way she wants to be treated, and she’s still very particular about the way her socks fit. @Sunzusunzusunzu on Twitter.

"Hostage" by Aubergine MACHINE - SINGLE REVIEW

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Vocalist Shanti Ellis has teamed up with the electronic pop duo Aubergine MACHINE to bless us with a heavy new track, entitled “Hostage.” The producer behind the group, Ian Carey, strings together a slew of familiar EDM sounds but avoids every convention over the three minutes. The bass vibrates as the underlying aura of calm and serenity carries the track forward. Ellis fits the track brilliantly. As she compares the love of her soulmate as a “prison” that has taken her “hostage.” All though she “can’t say no,” it doesn’t feel like she wants too. The people surrounding her, judging her, can’t see that she’s unequivocally bound “to this love game.” There is a downtempo sadness to her musings, but rather than regret it resembles nostalgia. Especially as Aubergine MACHINE matches here subdued emotions with a strong and endlessly feverish melody. The track is a great single - short and sweet but bursting with emotive textures. The remix that is attached to the initial single on their soundcloud, is much longer and varied. A Brad Holland & Princeton Rejects Mix, the remix adds a much more uptempo vibe to the suppressed nature of the initial track. The two-step groove bounces along with ease for the extended runtime, never feeling to overlong - even though it does extend well beyond the original tracks length. While the original track feels as if it’s trapped in it’s own heavy heart, the remix is a very suitable counterpart that releases those very emotions. The remix allows Shanti to break through from the prison, from the being the hostage, and lets her celebrate her love in a more vibrant manner. To some degree, it seems necessary to hear both tracks alongside each other in order to not be lost in the thick of the original, or the lightheartedness of the remix. One serves as the foil to the other, and it’s a pleasure to hear Ellis’s vocals morphed into new implications with each sample. 

Listen to the single over at: https://soundcloud.com/auberginemachine/sets/hostage-single-with-remix

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Narsimha Chintaluri is primarily a creative writer, focused on prose and poetry, but is also an avid fan of film and music. @Narshh on Twitter

INTERVIEW: MIYAZAKI!

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Melbourne, Australia’s Miyazaki! started around 2010 when Luke Seymoup decided to do a Bomb the Music Industry!-style project where he played most of the instruments and then performed live with a revolving door of musicians. Let’s just say that didn’t work out. Two guys called Jack and Mayo joined the band and they recorded two EPs and did maybe four gigs before they both quit. Luke’s hetero-lifemate Josh joined on bass and their old drummer, Jack, recommended Mitchell. They all share a mutual love of Star Wars so, basically, they’re bonded for life.

PX: How did you come up with your name?
LS: Our name is great because anyone who gets it will understand immediately where it comes from. We’re named after anime-superstar Hayao Miyazaki (best known for Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and a zillion other solid-gold anime hits). In case people weren’t aware that we’re nerds, now you know.I’d been pitching the name to previous bands I’d been in for years but no one ever wanted to use it so, when I was starting up my own thing, I thought “NOW’S MY TIME!” and started using it straight away. We always have people saying it wrong but that’s a small price to pay. Ziyamaki! for life.

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New Bloom // Endless Heights

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LABEL: Broken Hive
RELEASE DATE: November 15th 2013
OVERALL RATING: 7.5 – Impressive
STANDOUT TRACK: “Valhalla”
IN A SENTENCE:  Endless Heights have peeled back the layers of pure hardcore to reveal a notable knack for melodic emo grunge in what is their best release yet.
Listen HERE

In recent years Sydney’s Endless Heights’ sound has shifted from straight up hardcore, unraveling their own craft of melodic, rhythm driven tracks. Their blend of emo punk/hardcore peaks in the form of debut full length New Bloom. Injected into Australia’s punk scene late last year, New Bloom has refreshingly filled the void amongst a flood of local monotonous hardcore.

"The New Bloom" appropriately introduces the Endless Heights we know today which has flourished and matured. It’s hard hitting enough to retain earlier fans grasping to the heavier days of old, yet it’s catchiness can hold the attention of the most critical music elitist, hook, line and sinker.

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Listen/purchase: OLD DOPE (RAP TAPE) by Yoni Wolf

LABEL: Self-Released
RELEASE DATE: May 7th, 2014
OVERALL RATING: 9 – Flawless
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Broken Crow” and “Ghost Dream”
IN A SENTENCE: Old Dope Rap Tape proves that old dogs can teach themselves new tricks.

WHY? frontman Yoni Wolf recently released Old Dope Rap Tape, the solo rap album featuring re-imagined fan favorites from WHY?, cLOUDDEAD, Hymie’s Basement, and even Reaching Quiet. This is not a collection of old songs simply thrown together on a mixtape. It’s an updated version of Yoni Wolf’s long and illustrious career.

Bad Entropy” is rapped over Lorde’s “Buzzcut Season” and given a nice gritty groove with some electronic drums, almost as if an audible example of his mentioned “something honest to dance to, something soulful to sing to.” There is great integration of samples of Lorde’s vocals intertwined with some of Yoni’s flow.

Yoni raps “Broken Crow” over Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones” making it sound more urgent but keeping its haunting sound. Interestingly, the flow of the lyrics isn’t very similar to Mobb Deep’s flows but similar to previous versions that are sung rather than rapped. It’s dark but dance-y. The echoing vocals in the beginning sound brilliant. There’s also a nice slightly odd sample about cats at the end – cats being a recurring theme for Wolf. If you like the bass-driven gritty feel of Alopecia you’ll approve of this mix. (And how about that falsetto?)

Jimmy Breeze” is almost 5 minutes long, as both parts one and two of my favorite cLOUDDEAD song are performed. The flow is slower, the lyrics are clearer, and it’s all content, no filler. It still includes the fun samples of the song’s namesake and some yodeling. The background music for part two is amazingly crisp and clear.

Distance” from WHY?’s latest effort Mumps, etc., is rapped over Pharcyde’s “Passing Me By” and features sung vocals during the chorus. It’s amazing that the vocals of the original track fit to this track so easily, mostly just by speeding the flow.

Fan-favorite remix of WHY?’s “Good Friday” by Boards of Canada is also included, with Yoni rapping over BOC’s sweet groove and featuring some cool effects as if the song is taking you out of and snapping you back to reality.

Electro-music gives “By Torpedo or Crohn’s” a sense of urgency and a slightly spooky feeling. Or maybe I just scare easily.

Hymie’s Basement’s “Ghost Dream” is perfectly shortened and reimagined just enough. This is more of a speed up and a polish than a true remix.

Also featured are Yoni’s verses from Themselves’ “Rappin 4 Money,” and Alias’ “Well Water Black.” The whole album sounds nearly live, save for the vocal sampling and layering, which is fitting since this album is to commemorate the limited edition version of the set he performed solo in its entirety in a short stint of eight intimate shows in May.

TRACK BY TRACK RATING BREAKDOWN:
The Fall of Mr. Fifths (Eskimo Mix): 8
Bad Entropy (Buzzcut Mix): 10
HAHAHAHA: 10
Broken Crow: Shook Mix): 10
Waterlines (8million Mix): 8
Rappin 4 Money: 7
Cold Lunch (Twisted Intro): 7.5
Bitter Thoughts (Elevator Mix): 7
Rifle Eyes: 9
Distance (Passing Mix): 8
Good Friday (Boards of Canada Mix): 9
Well Water Black (Onyx Cloudz Mix): 6
By Torpedo or Crohn’s (Dntel Mix): 9
Pick Fights & Deceived (Silent Mix): 7
Ghost Dream (Ghost Mix): 10

—-

Not much has changed since Sunny Landon was little. She still insists on listening to one song over and over until she discovers her next favorite, she still always carries a journal, she still treats people the way she wants to be treated, and she’s still very particular about the way her socks fit. @Sunzusunzusunzu on Twitter.

A portrait of the artist as a fairy ©Elizabeth Foster ©KRISTIE SHOEMAKER ©KRISTIE SHOEMAKER ©KRISTIE SHOEMAKER ©KRISTIE SHOEMAKER ©KRISTIE SHOEMAKER ©KRISTIE SHOEMAKER ©KRISTIE SHOEMAKER ©KRISTIE SHOEMAKER A photo of the artist's work space. Also pictured is her favorite ghost (don't ask). ©KRISTIE SHOEMAKER

AN INTERVIEW WITH KRISTIE SHOEMAKER

Kristie Shoemaker is a 22 year old self-described rotten little peach currently living in Brooklyn, New York. She hopes to one day transcend her corporeal form and live out the rest of eternity as a celestial orb dancing among the rings of Saturn. 

Elizabeth Foster: Where are you from? 
Kristie Shoemaker: A little south of Baltimore. It’s like a really shitty town that has like a Super Wal-Mart and a McDonalds. So, I say Baltimore because no one even knows that this place exists. I’ve been to Baltimore, but that was a very scary experience. 

EF: Do you think where you live has had an effect on your writing?

KS: It just forces me to write more because there’s really not much else to do. Like, I will literally sit in the Wal-Mart parking lot in my car for hours writing on my phone. There is nothing else to do. You can sit in your house or you can sit in a parking lot. That’s about it.

EF: What was the feeling you had when you first found out someone wanted to publish your work?

KS: Just really excited and feeling like it was kind of worth it, I guess? I don’t write things to get published and have people read it. It’s more of a release to get whatever insane radio static going on in my brain out of there. It just feels nice that the things that I say can resonate with other people, that they actually take interest in reading it and relate to it. It feels comforting to know someone is feeling the same way as me, makes you feel less alone in your own head.

EF: Does the content of your poetry cause you to feel more vulnerable or empowered?

KS: I feel like all my writing is very stream of consciousness, like whatever mood I’m feeling. A lot of it is vulnerable. Last time I was in New York this stranger came up to me and asked if they could take my picture because they said that I looked very vulnerable. Like “that look”. Feels like having half of the thoughts in my head spilled out for people to read definitely puts me in an interesting position. I can let strangers in easier than someone who has a presence in my life, but then they don’t become strangers and it feels safe. It’s empowering in a sense because other people are taking notice and listening to what I have to say, but a vulnerability comes with that. It makes me feel things when people feel things about me, but then comes the ‘do you know too much, did I just word vomit all over you?' I try to keep my twitter/poetry shit separate from everything else. Or at least I try to because I feel like certain people won't really like the other half.

EF: Why do you write?

KS: It’s always been the way that I calm down. There are certain things that pop in my head that will cycle and twist and turn unless I put them down and turn them into something. It’s a way to kind of make my brain slow down a little bit and make sense of everything that’s happening. It’s kind of like a 9th grade journal, but written hopefully a little bit better.

EF: What would you say directly influences your work the most?

KS: Definitely the people in my life either past or present. I feel the majority of what I write is in relation to some person and the emotions they made me feel. It’s my way of making peace with someone in a sense… if I can’t say certain things to them. In terms of what else influences me it would probably be… I listen to a lot of Elliott Smith, so that’s the total cliché sad person, whatever. I think he writes really sad things in an undeniably beautiful way and when I listen to it I feel happier. It’s inspiring in a sense. Even if I’m having a miserable day I want to be able to write something that might come from from that place, but doesn’t make the reader feel as miserable as I might have felt when I was writing.

EF: What influence do you think the internet has had on your writing? 

KS: The community is really inspiring. I really like to see what style and what ideas everyone has. I feel like everyone has a similar, but slightly different voice. I can’t consume enough. There’s so many outlets for people to just release anything that’s going on in their head at any time of the day. God knows I live on Twitter, which is either a really good thing or a really bad thing. It’s just nice to see what’s going on with other people, see how they interpret what’s happening in their world, how they write about it. It’s cool to get to know people without having the weird “getting to know someone” phase.

EF: How has being a woman in such a male dominated field affected you?

KS: Sometimes I feel smaller than I am. It could just be my own inner voice, but sometimes it does affect me. I know with the internet it’s really easy to just publish anything you want. You have the option to publish your own work and get your name out there, but it is difficult to get some recognition because at least in my experience I’ve noticed that some people will kind of push aside or belittle whatever emotions I’m writing about. It’s just a challenge. I like challenges. I mean, a lot of people are really warm and welcoming to it as well. It’s hard over all. I’m taking a men’s psychology class which is completely ridiculous, but the whole world is like that. It’s not just writing. You just have to either be awesome and make yourself feel awesome all the time or resign to the fact that the situation is what it is. As long as I keep myself above water then I try to not let it get to me so much. 

EF: Do you think your work is viewed with a more critical eye than if you were male? 

KS: I feel like it really depends on who’s reading it. I feel like this community is very receptive to just everyone. It’s really nice and reassuring that there are good people that appreciate work for what it is regardless of who is behind it. Branching outside of that I think it’s a completely different story. I know a lot of what I write about is extreme mood swings, feeling sad, relationship problems… all of that stuff. Some people would view it as just stupid little girly ramblings or whatever. It’s frustrating that not everyone is as receptive as the community is, but I am hoping that one day people will stop being so full of themselves.

EF: Are you working on any projects currently? 

KS: Currently I am working (slowly because of life) on a secret amazing online project with Catch Business and other wonderful people. I would really like to actually spend a lot of time writing and editing an actual ebook. The one that I put out I put together really quickly because I just wanted to make something. I had been telling myself for months that I was going to do it and I never did. I was like, “I need to do this tonight or I’m going to feel horrible" so I threw it together. I like how it turned out, but I would like to make something more substantial. I’m writing more in a journal to hopefully turn into ‘something’ by the end of the year. I really want to collaborate with someone on something too, so that might be on my radar as well.

EF: Do you think you’ll be writing for a long time? 

KS: That’s a hard question. I’d like to think that I’ll be writing for a long time. I kind of go through phases where I write a lot and I’ll be insanely productive and creative and feel really good about what I’m writing. Then I’ll go months without writing anything and something will happen that snaps me out of it. Then I’ll cycle back through it again, so I feel like I’ll be writing to some extent for a long time. I’d like to make it a little more balanced so I’m not manically writing 500 poems in a week then not writing anything for three months. If I’m not writing poetry I definitely want to do something in the writing field, like be around books. I work in a bookstore now. That’s definitely not a career, but it’s a nice relaxing atmosphere. As long as I am surrounded by books in my life I’ll be happy.

RIP: The Track Record

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Years Active: 2003 - 2007
Status: Disbanded
From: Annapolis, Maryland
Members: Michael Strackbein - vocals/bass | Rob Elson - guitar/songwriting | Hasani Martin - Drums | Rob Viti - Guitar


The Basics: The Track Record formed in 2003 and self-released EPs in 2003 and 2004. In 2005, they joined Rushmore Records and went on their first national tour. In 2006, they left Rushmore Records and self-released their only full length album, The Coolest Kind of Crazy.


Why Are they Gone?: The split was publicly announced to be due to “the huge strain put on [their] personal lives by all of the bullshit that has happened to [them] as a band over the last year” and for an “opportunity to explore areas of life previously unavailable … due to the demands of being a full time band.” You can read the rest of their farewell letter on their MySpace

Why we loved them: They played raw sounding, honest pop-punk without whining. Their lyrical content was a lot deeper than most pop-punk bands but still easy to relate to.


Why we miss them: I am not really a pop-punk fan, I sort of grew out of that when I was thirteen, so I only have this one album that I like to listen to still. I still love old Starting Line and listen to it nostalgically sometimes, remembering all the memories of listening to it with friends and having fun being young. But what about as I grow up? The Track Record was a more “grown-up” band who played pop-punk, and I know they would have grown with me. Sadly, Rob Viti passed away at the age of 26, so chances of a reunion are pretty much gone.


Our regrets: They played in my town once and I was at the show, but I stayed outside the whole time… so I never really got to see them live.

Listen to:Wake Up to the World”   or “Good Answer” 

FILM REVIEW: NEIGHBORS // 8.5

Starring Seth Rogen (This Is The End) and Rose Bryan (Bridesmaids) as the new parents on the block , Mac and Kelly, Neighbors is a frantic riot that wades in the shallow end of “dick” jokes before diving in headfirst, and rarely coming up for a breath. 

When Delta Psi moves in next door with hopes of make it on “The Wall,” not by creating beer-pong like their ancestors, but by throwing incessant bangers, Kelly and Mac try their best to play it cool. But, as the film sharply depicts, the desire to let inhibitions run loose isn’t confined by age. After, as Dave Franco's Meet the Fockers DeNiro put it, he "violated the circle of trust" (and upset Jinxy cat), Mac and Kelly start an all-out war between the houses. It fills the same void as attending those parties (or Kelly making out with Franco’s Pete) did, except they both get to feign higher ground (well, their daughter did put a dirty condom in her mouth, so they do have some reason to be upset).

While the first act of the film is more a collage of slapstick humor and fast-paced riffing, the rest of the film climaxes in a dizzying fashion. With party scenes, directed by Nicholas Stoller, as vibrant as the ones out of Spring Breakers, and an absolutely incredible, show-stealing, performance by Zac Efron (as Teddy Sanders, the Abercrombie-model President of the frat) the film proves to have a solid backbone.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Divorcee - Thoughts Of A Man

We stumbled across this review of Divorcee's new track "Thoughts of a Man" and had to share it with you. Thanks to lachlanisstoked for letting us share it on our site. Please check out their website for more awesome content!

lachlanisstoked:

There’s nothing I hate more than to not appreciate music by a band or artist; to not recognise craftsmanship and creative output of someone who is baring their bones to the cold, judgemental world in artistic surrender. WHY? has been a band I’ve followed for a few years now, but have only really begun to fully embrace and understand this last year, and albums like Eskimo Snow (2009), Elephant Eyelash (2005) and Alopecia (2008) are now permanent fixtures of my public transport listening playlists (PTLP for short). With WHY?’s latest album, Mumps, Etc(2012), I was torn apart by my response of not enjoying it, and not savouring frontman Yoni Wolf’s vision for this album. Granted, tracks like Bitter Thoughts and Paper Hearts stick in my mind to this day, but not nearly with the same fervour felt for the band’s first three albums. Despite this, I’ve been patiently waiting since Mumps for new stuff from Yoni, and save for a for a very filler-esque EP (Golden Tickets, 2013), which granted was instrumentally sound but lyrically abysmal, nothing has cropped up. Until now.

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Juliette Jules - “Black Crow” EP Review

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OVERALL RATING: 9.0 - Excellent
STANDOUT TRACK: Hallelujah
RELEASE DATE: May 23rd 2014
In A SENTENCE: Black Crow EP is an exciting release by an artist wise beyond her years, and is filled with endless potential.

Juliette Jules is just sixteen. Let that sink in as you press play on her new EP, entitled “Black Crow” - a beautiful twenty minute excursion into the wise-beyond-her-years mind of this young darling. With help from her producer/engineer, Peter Karroll, Jules pursues the tried tales of love, nostalgia, happiness and sadness. She manages to fill her brief EP with a full spectrum of emotions, even tackling Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in a stunning rendition of the beloved tune. “Johnny Was,” opens the record with soulful strumming, and, before long, Jules showcases her unique voice - a tender, angelic, whisper that’s nuanced like no one else her age. She ponders how “Johnny was,” how “Johnny drowned all his pictures to forget his baby son,” because “Johnny left his wife at home.”  But Johnny was a liar, a man filled with “madness and despair,” who “walked in the rain, and never came back again.” The pristine storytelling, matched with the limber musical soundtrack is a staple of this EP. Jules’ voice warbles and trembles throughout, such as when she mourns for the “black crow,” who left his nest just to “break its wings,or fantasizes about going “where the sun is shining,” on “To The Mountains.” The Parisian artist’s voice swings from meaningful whispers to flailing falsettos, almost never stretching beyond the her limits (if she even has any). The weakest track on the EP, “The Game,” is the only one reserved purely to the idea of “the game of love.” While the other tracks are bubbling with subtleties that yearn for a repeated listens, “The Game” is rather simplistic, and, for once, her unique delivery seems to strain a bit. Her repetition of “in this game,” being, perhaps, the only misstep on an otherwise excitingly excellent release. Download her release on BandCamp, which comes with various artwork for the separate tracks. All in all, “Black Crow” is a powerful EP from a immensely talented young lady. The potential seems endless.

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Narsimha Chintaluri is a primarily a creative writer, focused on prose and poetry, but is also an avid fan of film and music. @Narshh on Twitter

Ras Xix - “Self-titled” Album Review

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OVERALL RATING: 8.5 - Great
STANDOUT TRACK: Weightless With You
RELEASE DATE: April 2014
In A SENTENCE: Ras Xix’s self-titled full length album is filled with heavy jams and undercut by surprisingly reflective tunes perfect for the summer.

Ras Xix’s self-titled full length album is an exercise in versatility. Hailing from Los Angeles and Singapore, Xix has been traveling the globe to satiate his evident desire to create engaging and eclectic music, as well as reach a broader audience to share his passions with. With a voice that’s reminiscent of past punk-rock greats, such as At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Xix croons and shrieks his way through this project in equal bursts of energy. “Weightless With You” starts the album off in fantastic ballad fashion, introducing us to Xix’s reverberating yet understated vocals. The instrumentation carries the drive of a standard rock affair but effortlessly blends electronic elements in the negative space. Rather than build on the first tracks somber yet energetic flair, “Nora 5” immediately showcases this record’s versatility with an acoustic number. “Eclipse the sun, and taste the night, as you dance across the sky,” Xix ruminates, carrying you through the blissful harmony of the song.  But before long, and never missing a beat, “Over” and “Consent” batter the listener with post-rock, post-hardcore build ups and breakdowns - intense yet never crass or overextended. The album works well in this area of build ups and releases, with smooth, melodic lulls in between the louder, bolder, peaks. Powerful in its patience and control, the self-titled album is never overreaching or haphazard. The genre shifts or melding of different influences such as with “Las Arenas de Cartagena,” are always tasteful and purposeful, and Xix’s admittedly infectious harmonizing helps tie the entire project together where a lesser artist may have allowed it to falter. The infusion of genres spanning electronic, post-rock, punk, acoustic, and war Xix himself describes as “world beats,” serve as an alluring backdrop to even the most secondary tracks (such as the electronic breakdowns on the backend of “New Religion,” or the fleeting acoustic nature of “If It’s Gone”). Ras Xix sense of control and quality taste in harmonies can be found even as the 45 minute album draws to a close, as he allows the final track, “Machine” to whistle and bounce somberly into the light. The album is a feel good experience, fit for a fun summer but still accompanied with a meaningful vision thanks to Xix.

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Narsimha Chintaluri is a primarily a creative writer, focused on prose and poetry, but is also an avid fan of film and music. @Narshh on Twitter

Mad Men S7EP04 - “The Monolith” (REVIEW)

God damn what a fucking episode. 

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FILM REVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 

*VAGUE-ISH SPOILERS AHEAD (no more than the trailers though)*

Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man is essential to the success of this series.

Incessantly humorous, his swagger is OD - from humming his own theme song to making out with Gwen when graduating, both Peter Parker and Spider-Man are in Garfield’s capable hands. The sheer flexibility he inhabits in his every motion and the fluidity of his actions add life to the wavering film; not unlike Robert Downey Jr, he may as well be the definitive incarnation of this superhero.

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Instax Film of Moon Temple for positivexposure by Elizabeth Foster. Doodles courtesy of Moon Temple herself.

A portrait of the artist being enveloped by darkness. A photograph of the artist's work space.

AN INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDRA NAUGHTON

Alexandra Naughton’s ghost can be found hovering over the skeleton of the East Bay extension, or sometimes in a forest tracing the rings of a cut redwood. Here she was born (South Philly, 1985), and there she died (in your arms).

Elizabeth Foster: I know you currently reside in Oakland, CA, but where are you from originally?

Alexandra Naughton: Philadelphia. I moved here (Oakland) in 2008. I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I lived there until I was 22 and it felt super stagnant, you know? It’s not a small city, but it felt really small to me. Especially, you know, going there all four years of college and high school. I just wanted to get out and I had a friend who lived out here, (we’re not friends anymore) but I was like “yeah, I want to come visit you!” So, I came out and I visited her. I was like “oh yeah, I’m moving here,” so I kinda just made a jump and moved, but it’s been good. I think if I hadn’t done that I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing right now, at all.

EF: If you hadn’t moved to Oakland what do you think you would be doing?

AN: I’d be living with my parents or trying to be a criminal. Which… Who wants to do that? Like, I feel like I’m too old to even find that idea romantic.

EF: How long have you been writing for? Seriously or otherwise.

AN: Oh, I mean… Since I was a little kid. Like writing stories or like writing songs in my head and like, you know, singing them out. I used to be on the softball team and I hated it; my dad made me do it. I just remember standing in the outfield picking weeds out of the grass and like, making up songs about why I hated softball.

EF: Have your parents read your writing?

AN: Yeah, they follow my blog. They know what I’m doing… It’s weird. My mom would say like, “Oh, these poems are like, really depressing… Are you like, okay?” and I’m like “I’m fine, it’s just a poem mom. Ya know? Don’t have a cow,” but… They’re pretty cool. They’re supportive. I think I’m lucky. My dad’s an artist. He’s a commercial artist. He always encouraged me to draw and stuff… you know, be creative when I was younger. I owe a lot to him. I am happy that that was the case. I think it would totally suck to grow up in a household where that wasn’t encouraged, like, it wasn’t permitted. I can’t imagine that.

EF: What feelings, what people, what state of mind do you feel influences your writing the most?

AN: I don’t know if other people do this, but… I wrote this thing for htmlgiant about how like I have to write I have to get my thoughts down because if I don’t I’m just going to go crazy, blah blah blah. And some guy was like “you know, that’s not writing, that’s an addiction, so congratulations on your addiction,” but that’s how I feel. If I’m confused about something or I’m trying to understand something, writing it out and analyzing it from different view points is the best way for me to understand a situation or a feeling, or something. So, I feel like confusion is typically the motivation factor when I write.

EF: How do you deal with negative criticism from strangers on the internet, such as the person you just mentioned? 

AN: Yeah, that was funny because I didn’t even see that until I… I Google my name every once and a while, just to see if there’s links up about me or something. Someone reviewed something that I didn’t know about and that’s how I found that. That was just a tweet on Twitter that guy wrote about like “congrats on your addiction,” but… uhm… I haven’t gotten that much negative feedback, so far. I mean with this book I haven’t. Or my online writing… Not really, but uhm, when I make music videos, those get a lot of negative attention from 4chan people and stuff like that. Like, just idiot teenage boys, who because I don’t fit into their, you know, idealized version of a woman, like I don’t have big tits and I don’t brush my hair the way I’m supposed to or whatever, they just like to comment on my appearance or the fact that I’m not really that great at rapping or whatever… Which is fine. I don’t really care, but I don’t know. I think it’s just interesting to see what people have to say and I don’t really take it too much to heart because I think I am doing good work and I think the people that I care about think I am doing good work. I don’t think I’m hot shit. I always want to improve. I just hate that attitude, like that smug attitude that I feel like is prevalent with a lot of people who are big names in the lit scene. I’m really not crazy about that and I wouldn’t want to perpetuate that in any way

EF: Do you believe there is a limit to what can and can’t be considered poetry?

AN: Poetry is like porn. I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it. Not really. Anything could be poetry, but not anything could be good poetry. And of course it’s always up to the individual. My favorite thing is talking with a friend and hearing them use a new turn of phrase or a funny sentence and saying, “That right there was a poem.”

EF: How do you imagine Billy Corgan would react if he were to get his hands on a copy of I Will Always Be Your Whore/Love Songs for Billy Corgan?

AN: I don’t know. I hope he would be into it, but I’m not sure how he would take it. If he already knows about the book, he probably thinks I’m some crazed fan making crazed fan art. But that’s not what it is at all. I’d like to send him the book so he could see that.

EF: You’re going to be going on a book tour for I Will Always Be Your Whore/Love Songs for Billy Corgan this summer. What are your strongest feelings about that?

AN: I’m excited, and really nervous, and also kind of dreading it. I don’t dread the readings or meeting people and all the fun stuff that will happen, but we are going to be on the road for a hella long time. I’m talking like, taking a bus from Boston to Washington D.C., and bussing from Baltimore to Atlanta then to Nashville. Thankfully, I am traveling with my friend and fellow writer, Jesse Prado, so I will have someone to have talk to and have adventures with while riding on Greyhound.

EF: Do you have any advice for writers looking to publish their first book?

AN: I want to say that if you are writing something and you think it’s good and it’s something you’ve been working on for a while and truly believe is amazing, don’t be shy to just send a message to someone you know in indie publishing, or some place you’ve heard of. Just do it. 

EF: How do you feel when someone approaches you to tell you that they find your work easy to relate to?

AN: It is seriously the best feeling. I think it’s not an easy thing to do to approach someone whose writing you’ve read, like it’s kind of anxiety-inducing for me when I walk up to some writer I admire, but it’s such a reward to know that someone likes your work and gets it. 

EF: Do you think you’ll be writing for a substantial amount of your life?

AN: I can’t imagine doing anything else. I can’t imagine not writing. I would die.

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You can purchase Alexandra’s book I Will Always Be Your Whore/Love Songs for Billy Corgan from Punk Hostage Press  here

To find more of her work follow her personal blog and check her out on Facebook. As well as the blog and Facebook page for her zine BE ABOUT IT.

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