Home Blog

    Watch Sunny War Perform on ‘CBS Saturday Morning’

    Sunny War on 'CBS This Morning' (Still via YouTube)

    Sunny War made her televison debut today (January 28) on CBS Saturday Morning, where she sat down for an interview and performed her songs ‘New Day’, ‘No Reason’, and ‘Whole’. Watch it happen below.

    Sunny War’s new album, Anarchist Gospel, is set to arrive next Friday, February 3 via New West Records. In addition to ‘New Day’, ‘No Reason’, and ‘Whole’, the LP includes the previously released ‘Higher’ and a cover of Ween’s ‘Baby Bitch’.

    Parannoul Releases New Album ‘After the Magic’

    'After the Magic' cover artwork

    Parannoul, a one-man shoegaze project from Seoul, has released a new album titled After the Magic. It’s available to stream now, with physical copies arriving in April via Topshelf. Check it out below.

    “This album is not what you expected, but what I always wanted,” Parannoul wrote in a statemet. “I’m always afraid when what I have now will disappear and when people will leave me. I think these are some kind of magic, that will shine bright for a while and then lights out, like nothing happened. This is an album that I made with my dreams I dreamed after my 2nd album. Thanks to people all over the world for the help.”

    After the Magic follows Parannoul’s 2021 LP To See the Next Part of the Dream. Last year, they shared a collaborative EP with Asian Glow, Paraglow, which topped our best EPs of 2022 list.

    Rae Sremmurd Share New Song ‘Sucka or Sum’

    Rae Sremmurd. Credit: Press

    Rae Sremmurd have released a new song called ‘Sucka or Sum’. Produced by Jaxx, the track arrives with an accompanying video by Matt Swinsky. Check it out below.

    ‘Sucka or Sum’ marks Rae Sremmurd’s first single of 2023. Last year, the Mississippi duo shared the songs ‘Torpedo’, ‘Denial’, and ‘Community D*ck’ featuring Flo Milli.

    Why Austin Powers is Still Groovy Over 25 Years Later

    Mike Myers and Elizabeth Hurley in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997).

    Last year, I realised why most parodies don’t work for me. As I see it, it’s an unfortunate truth that the majority of those who work in parody absolutely hate whatever they’re parodying. To me, that’s not really parody – it’s just shouting about how much you dislike something and passing it off as art. Sure, there are exceptions to this – hello, Spaceballs! – but it seems to be standard that those who work in parody consider themselves (or their work, or both) above whatever it is they’re parodying. That might sound a bit harsh, but trust me – as a lifelong Godzilla fan, I’ve endured endlessly flaccid riffing on poor dubbing, low budgets, “cardboard” buildings, the lot – none of which adequately (or accurately) reflect what’s being parodied.

    For me, two things are paramount to an effective parody. The first is affection for whatever it is you’re sending up, and the second – perhaps even more crucial – is knowledge of it. Using Godzilla as an example again, this is where so many spoofs fall short: jokes are almost always based on ideas of the character and genre he belongs to, obtained through indirect pop-culture osmosis rather than an intimate knowledge and affection for the character and his films themselves. To this end, parody begets parody, and we usually end up with inaccurate, unfair perceptions of a film, genre, character, or performer. If you don’t believe me, give William Shatner’s dynamic Star Trek performance a go. See beyond the decades of over-the-top impersonations and caricatures, and you’re gifted with the singularly charismatic performance that birthed a pop-culture icon – one that only Shatner could’ve delivered.

    All of this leads me to Mike Myers. Despite a slow but steady return to on-screen roles in recent years, Myers has been largely absent for the last decade and a half (I’d be personally remiss if I didn’t mention his standout cameo in Inglourious Basterds, however) – a stark departure following his ‘90s big screen comedy superstardom. Back then – hot off the heels of So I Married an Axe Murderer, Wayne’s World, and its sequel – Myers unleashed his comic pièce de résistance in the form of one of the most endearing characters in the history of screen comedy. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) is an overflowing love letter to Swinging Sixties fashion, culture, and sensibilities, an intricately crafted homage to retro spy and espionage fiction, and the beginning of a trilogy – followed by The Spy Who Shagged Me in 1999, and concluding with Goldmember in 2002 – that remains unrivalled in the realm of parody.

    Myers and Hurley as Austin Powers and Vanessa Kensington.

    Despite being generally regarded as exclusively a 007 spoof, the character of Austin Powers is so much more. On top of liberally borrowing from the likes of Jason King, Adam Adamant Lives!, and the Derek Flint films, Myers also – allegedly, if you believe Elizabeth Hurley – based the character on BBC DJ Simon Dee. Austin may have very traceable pop-culture roots, but it’s the sincere, honest celebration of ‘60s mod culture and groovy goodwill to all running through the trilogy that so defines him, and makes him an unbridled joy to watch.

    It’s easy to write off the Austin Powers phenomenon as a dated ‘90s craze, but if you’re shagadelic enough to treat yourself to a rewatch, I reckon you’ll be richly surprised at just how well they hold up. Sure – like practically any comedy more than a decade or two old – there are jokes here and there that may offend (depending on your sensibilities), but the trilogy has aged remarkably well, especially in direct comparison to other studio comedies of their time. Take the moment in International Man of Mystery, in which a drunken Vanessa Kensington (an under-appreciated Hurley) makes a pass at Austin, which he immediately (and sensitively) rebukes on the basis of her inebriation:

    Vanessa: “Oh, kiss me.”

    Austin: “I can’t, darling”.

    Vanessa: “Why not?”

    Austin: “’Cause you’re drunk. It’s not right.”

    It’s hard to recall a similar exchange in any other contemporary studio comedy (or indeed, one that even acknowledges consent in such a tactful, direct manner). The quietly tender moment that follows – in which Austin recalls Vanessa’s mother, with whom he was in unrequited love – illustrates the key sensitivity that belies his trademark libidinousness, and is crucial to understanding why he has become a beloved cross-generational character. 

    Indeed, Austin’s resurgence in popularity in recent years is no ironic fad or passive trend – he’s someone who knows exactly who he is and what he’s about. He loves life, is unapologetically himself, and isn’t afraid to be outwardly passionate about what and who he loves, all the while remaining sensitive and mindful to the comfort of others. Isn’t that something we all wish we could be?

    Myers, Hurley, and Burt Bacharach in Austin’s debut feature.

    The oft-recounted fable of how Myers first conceived the character – that upon hearing Burt Bacharach’s “The Look of Love” on the radio on his way home from ice hockey practice, he wondered, “Where have all the swingers gone?”) illuminates why Austin and his films work where so many others fail. Myers, director Jay Roach, and co-writer Michael McCullers aren’t poking fun at something they hate – through Austin, they’re joyously celebrating something they love through the lens of humour. That something they love isn’t just Bond films (homages to which are still fast, frequent, and very funny), but practically all the big hitters of ‘60s culture, popular or otherwise: mod music and fashion, sexual liberation and freedom, and peace, love, and the jubilant expression of them – and, yes, even the Carry On films.

    Myers is utterly, sincerely, and unapologetically steeped in these passions, and the good faith with which he explores and celebrates them makes the Austin Powers trilogy essential, addictive viewing. These films aren’t a sneering, snarky putdown of a time gone by, but a genuinely passionate celebration of all the things that made the ‘60s a world-changing decade. As noted by Myers, Roach, and McCullers in their audio commentary for The Spy Who Shagged Me, Austin Powers isn’t a fish out of water – he’s a fish that brings his own body of water, one that others can’t help but want to swim in. His resurgent popularity and endearing sincerity – over 25 years since his debut – are a testament to that.

    I think that is truly groovy, baby. Yeah!

    5 Tips for Every Man to Update His Wardrobe

    No matter how old you are, updating your wardrobe for masculine fashion can be a daunting feat. In addition to choosing between a plethora of outfits and accessories, you also have to adhere to rules of wearing them like a gentleman.

    With every other choice potentially leading to a fashion faux pas, it is important to be careful in the style decisions that you make. Thankfully, you can achieve this seemingly impossible goal in light of a few suggestions.

    To help you breeze through this demanding challenge, here are 5 tips for every man to update their wardrobe.

    1. Invest in a Tailored Suit

    Whether you are wondering what to wear to a confirmation ceremony or a business luncheon, a tailored suit will stand out as the most popular answer.

    It is because tailoring provides your suits with a certain finesse that ready-to-wear clothes simply cannot. From pattern alignment to comfortable seams, tailoring brings a variety of benefits to the table that makes it worth your time and money.

    Keeping this in mind, ensure that you update your wardrobe with a tailored suit in your current size. This way, you can be ready to attend events at short notice.

    2. Buy Adventure Clothing

    From vacations to adventure sports and everywhere in between, certain places and activities call for specific clothing. Just like how you cannot wear shorts to a wedding, you cannot go on a beach wearing your suit jacket.

    Being mindful of this requirement, update your wardrobe with essentials such as ski apparel, hiking clothes, and swimsuits. This helps you stay prepared for such outings at a moment’s notice.

    While you add specialized clothing to your wardrobe, also look for associated gear such as swimming goggles and water bottles. This further helps you prepare for any adventure that lies ahead.

    3. Add Some Ties to Your Collection

    Sometimes, even the smallest of updates can do wonders for your wardrobe’s overall variety. This especially holds true for accessories such as ties that bring your outfits together.

    You don’t have to move mountains to follow this tip. Simply purchase high quality ties in a mix of patterns, fabrics, and textures that appeal to you. From there, you can wear them with your regular shirts and suits.

    At the same time, make sure that the colors and fabrics of the ties remain in line with the outfits that you are pairing them with. This helps you put together cohesive looks.

    4. Purchase Patterned Shirts

    Are you wondering what the shirts with white cuffs and collars are called? Are you thinking if you should wear shirts with motifs? Perhaps you are planning to give striped shirts a chawhat the shirts with white cuffs and collars are callednce?

    While the shirts with white cuffs and collars are called Winchester shirts, the answer to the other two questions is a big, resounding ‘Yes!’ Patterned shirts can easily elevate your wardrobe while cementing your style sense to others.

    You can pair these shirts with your usual suits, or wear them with sharp slacks and premium suspenders. With this approach, you can breathe fresh air into your wardrobe.

    5. Wear Fabrics With Different Textures

    Another way to refresh your wardrobe is by introducing different textures to it through a selection of fabrics. This is where you can don fabrics such as tweed, corduroy, and velvet into your clothing.

    If you are particular about the ethical considerations of the fabrics that you wear, you can look into what Chanel tweed is made of, how corduroy is manufactured, and what gives velvet its distinct sheen.

    After you are satisfied, you can get your jackets, pants, and suits in the fabric of your choice. Add a pocket square to the mix, and you can imbibe your outfit with a certain panache.

    These suggestions are quite easy to follow, but still provide you with remarkable results for updating your wardrobe. If you start executing these tips every few months, you can be sure to have a fresh look for every season.

    Album Review: Samia, ‘Honey’

    “Somebody stop me,” Samia begs as she walks into the middle of the party, overcome by the sudden urge to write a poem. The Nashville-via-NYC singer-songwriter’s striking 2020 debut The Baby was praised for its unflinchingly honest and confessional style of writing, but Samia knows how easily those same qualities can be perceived as excruciating – and she’s been a part of the music industry long enough to have learned what the expected paths of growth are. Pare it back; diversify; write about someone else, for a change; mature. That line is from the song ‘Amelia’, which on its own does a decent job of playing by those rules; there’s a self-aware irony to the moment that shields away emotional embarrassment, and it’s one of the pleasantly dancier tracks on her sophomore LP, Honey. (Plus, it’s named after her tourmate Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso, at whose studio she recorded the album – and if you can throw in a reference to the community of coincidently famous friends you’ve made along the way, that’s a bonus.) Except that it’s also joyfully, wholeheartedly earnest, and until you get to that point on the record… oh boy.

    Honey throws a lot at you – it’s not the 1975 levels of baffling versatility, but it’s closer to that than the introspective songwriters she was initially compared to. (Maybe those two types of indie are converging anyway.) Not only does Samia double down on both vulnerability and playfulness, but rather than always trying to reconcile the two, she makes her torn ambivalence the central conceit of the album, which mostly alternates between searing ballads and gentle indie pop cuts. If The Baby was seamless and elegant in its expression of overwhelming emotions, Honey allows itself to be messier and a bit more careless, and so may be the lesser record. But it’s a bold move that yields impressive results, and its resonance is amplified the more you settle into its uneven perspective.

    One reason it works is that, once again, the too-muchness never overshadows Samia’s personality, but instead is filtered out of it. Her thoughts are brutally raw when she begins to trace them on ‘Kill Her Freak Out’, admitting her vicious jealousy over chilly organ tones. She’s still subtle and intentional in her use of instrumentation: the backdrop of ‘Pink Balloon’, another ballad, is similarly stark, but its delicate piano betrays a different kind of desperation. Between them, ‘Charm You’ elicits an air of groundedness but still lives in the realm of fantasy: “What if we could shut up for an hour or two/ Quiet, memorizing what the people do/ Wouldn’t have to try and find myself in you.” The dichotomous pattern continues with the breezy electropop of the Rostam-assisted ‘Mad at Me’ and blends into ‘Sea Lions’, arguably Honey‘s emotional apex. It starts out spare before a dance beat pulls it in a hazier yet still pensive direction, ending with a stream of free-associative words seemingly plucked from voicemail messages.

    Considering 2021’s Scout proved the EP format is a good fit for Samia’s intimately poignant songwriting, this could have made for an interesting finale. Despite its disorienting structure, Honey is also, on the whole, even more minimal than The Baby, and many artists would struggle to keep it engaging any longer. But the gnawing anxiety bleeding through the album takes many forms, and Samia’s attention to detail – not to mention her piercing vocals – accentuates them in captivating ways. The pattern doesn’t break so much as the mood shifts, with the folky ‘To Me It Was’ ushering a kind of graceful positivity. But then we get ‘Breathing Song’, and if you caught the ambigious mention of “an accident in the bathroom” on ‘Pink Balloon’, then the way this story unfolds – bleeding on the way to the ER, the question “It wasn’t mine, right?,” her autotuned wails of “No no no” – will leave you with a knot in the gut.

    As visceral as it is, ‘Breathing Song’ isn’t framed as a confession – Samia’s backstage at the Greek Theater, trying to stop the memory from taking ahold of her. The song might as well have spilled out of her that very night, yet its placement on Honey feels purposeful, allowing its four-track, warm-spirited conclusion to draw out naturally. Like the album, it’s not the sign of an artist indulging in sentimentality but rather exercising control, a goal that seemed entirely out of reach at the start of the record but ultimately feels possible and earned. “You’re my favorite friend/ Maybe when we’re older/ It’ll still be like this,” she sings dreamily on ‘Nanana’, and you can’t help but notice the change in her – the real, hopeful kind.

    Albums Out Today: Sam Smith, Fucked Up, Samia, Meg Baird, and More

    In this segment, we showcase the most notable albums out each week. Here are the albums out on January 27, 2023:

    Sam Smith, Gloria

    Gloria, Sam Smith’s fourth studio album, has arrived. Featuring the singles ‘Love Me More’, ‘Unholy’, and ‘Gimme’, the LP was recorded between Los Angeles, London, and Jamaica. In a statement, Smith said the follow-up to 2020’s Love Goes “feels like a coming of age,” adding: “I’m feeling overwhelmed and emotional as I start to let go of Gloria and hand this work over to you. It has been magical in every way to make this piece of music, and by giving this record to you, I am giving you part of my heart and soul. Gloria got me through some dark times and was a beacon for me in my life. I hope it can be that for you.”

    Fucked Up, One Day

    Fucked Up are back with a new album. One Day, the band’s shortest full-length to date, was literally written and recorded within 24 hours. “After you’ve been in a band for this long, you lose track of what your sound actually is,” guitarist Mike Haliechuk said in press materials. “Twenty-four hours can feel like a long time, but you can get a lot done then, too. It can feel like forever and one minute at the same time. If you work on something for one day, it can end up being really special.” Vocalist Damian Abraham, who contributed lyrics for the first time since 2014’s Glass Boys, added: “It almost felt like it might be the last time I’d ever get to record vocals for anything. What do I want to say to friends who aren’t here anymore? What do I want to say to myself?” Read our review of One Day.

    Samia, Honey

    Samia has come through with her sophomore album, Honey, via Grand Jury. The follow-up to the Nashville-via-NYC songwriter’s 2020 debut The Baby was produced by Caleb Wright and recorded at Betty’s, the North Carolina studio owned by Sylvan Esso. “This record is about learning to see the love around you,” Samia said in a statement. “Sometimes the only thing I can be certain of is the way it feels. Even when I zoom all the way out, the little things matter the most. I was trying to imagine looking back at the end of life and what I’d have to say about it right now. This is a little bit of it. Telling stories, making amends, trying to show people I love them. It’s a community record – I made it with Caleb Wright and our friends in the woods in North Carolina.”

    Meg Baird, Furling

    Meg Baird has returned with her first solo album since 2015’s Don’t Weigh Down the Light. Out now via Drag City, Furling was previewed with the singles ‘Will You Follow Me Home?’‘Star Hill Song’, and ‘Ashes, Ashes’. The album was performed by Baird and her longtime collaborator, partner, and Heron Oblivion bandmate Charlie Saufley, and primarily recorded at Louder Studios by Tim Green. Discussing the album’s themes, the singer-songwriter told Aquarium Drunkard: “Domesticity was coming up a lot. Celebrating but also yearning for home. But definitely a lot of celebration of it. There are goodbyes and more exploring senses of foreboding and exploration. That outward, looking out over the horizon, feeling kind of dwarfed by it but also just looking out.”

    H.C. McEntire, Every Acre

    H.C. McEntire has released her third solo album, Every Acre, via Merge Records. The Durham, North Carolina singer-songwriter co-produced the Eno Axis follow-up with Missy Thangs and Luke Norton, while S.G. Goodman and Amy Ray contributed backing vocals. “With the pandemic, I was at home a lot, and Eno Axis is kind of me observing that landscape, writing about what I’m seeing and really committing to that,” McEntire explained in our Artist Spotlight interview. “I think Every Acre is more how I fit into it, or my relationship with the land and what it has taught me in a spiritual and metaphysical way. I don’t know how this sounds, but I feel like the land, it has an energy, just like houses have energies. And I took the time to communicate with that and open myself up to maybe what the land was trying to tell me. It taught me a lot about myself and my own healing processes.”

    Gena Rose Bruce, Deep Is the Way

    Deep Is the Way is the sophomore album by Melbourne-based songwriter Gena Rose Bruce, following 2019’s Can’t Make You Love Me. Out today via Dot Dash/Remote Control, the album finds her reuniting with producer Tim Harvey and includes collaborations with Bill Callahan, who appears on the previously released title track. In a press release, Bruce called the song “a dedication for those people who may be slower in finding themselves, who like to dream, think deeply and take their time to make decisions, for them to appreciate and honour their thoughtful process. Not everyone has to keep up with this unachievably fast and competitive world.”

    White Reaper, Asking for a Ride

    White Reaper have dropped their latest album, Asking for a Ride, via Elektra Entertainment. The follow-up to 2019’s You Deserve Love was recorded and largely self-produced with engineer Jeremy Ferguson at his in Nashville studio. “We ask ourselves: ‘Does it sound good when we play it in the room together?’ And if it does, those are the songs we want to pursue,” guitarist/vocalist Tony Esposito said in a statement. “We started to recognize how we operate best as a band,” guitarist Hunter Thompson added. The singles ‘Pages’‘Fog Machine’, and ‘Pink Slip’ preceded the LP.

    The Arcs, Electrophonic Chronic

    Dan Auerbach’s band the Arcs are back with Electrophonic Chronic, their first album in eight years. The Yours, Dreamily follow-up features the group’s original lineup of Auerbach, Leon Michels, Nick Movshon, Homer Steinweiss, and the late Richard Swift. Auerbach and Michels co-produced the LP, which was mostly recorded prior to Richard’s passing in 2018. “This new record is all about honoring Swift,” Auerbach said. “It’s a way for us to say goodbye to him, by revisiting him playing and laughing, singing. It was heavy at times, but I think it was really helpful to do it.” He added: “It’s rare that you meet a group of people that you click with like that, who you instantly bond with. We were just having fun, making sounds, making music. It was an amazing time for me.”

    King Tuff, Smalltown Stardust

    King Tuff, aka Kyle Thomas, has followed up 2018’s The Other with a new album called Smalltown Stardust, out now via Sub Pop. The LP was co-produced and largely co-written with SASAMI and includes the previously unveiled singles ‘Portrait of God’, ‘Tell Me’, and the title track. Thomas described Smalltown Stardust as “an album about love and nature and youth,” saying of the title song: “It’s a portal that I can access when I need inspiration, or when the city feels too big and hot and I need to mentally escape into some dark woods. It’s a place I found myself going to often in the last few years while I was writing this record, stuck in scorched and crispy ol’ Los Angeles, so it felt fitting as an album title as well as the first song to release into the world.”

    Complete Mountain Almanac, Complete Mountain Almanac

    Complete Mountain Almanac – the collaborative project of Norwegian musician Rebekka Karijord and poet, dancer, and multimedia artist Jessica Dessner – have issued their self-titled debut album, which features contributions from Jessica’s twin brothers, Aaron and Bryce Dessner of the National. The original idea for the project was to write an album about climate change in 12 suites representing the 12 months of the year. After Karijord reached out to Jessica Dessner to craft the visual component of the album, however, Jessica was diagnosed with breast cancer, which inspired a poetry collection titled Complete Mountain Almanac that ended up serving as the lyrical foundation for the project.

    Other albums out today:

    Jonah Yano, portrait of a dog; Lil Yachty, Let’s Start Here; Crosslegged, Another Blue; Sara Noelle, Do I Have To Feel Everything; R. Ring, War Poems, We Rested; Sightless Pit, Lockstep Bloodwar; Florry, SWEET GUITAR SOLOS; Sweet Baboo, The Wreckage; Ava Max, Diamonds & Dancefloors; The Tubs, Dead Meat; Kimbra, A Reckoning; Popcaan, Great Is HeHotel Lux, Hands Across the Creek; Ruhail Qaisar, Fatima; Glosser, Downer; Hammock, Love in the Void; JW Francis, Dream House; Steve Vai, Vai/Gash; Gareth Quinn Redmond, Umcheol.

    Gorillaz Release New Song ‘Silent Running’ Featuring Adeleye Omotayo

    Credit: Gorillaz

    Gorillaz have shared another preview from their forthcoming album Cracker Island. Featuring the Humanz Choir vocalist Adeleye Omotayo, ‘Silent Running’ follows the previously released singles ‘New Gold’, ‘Baby Queen’, and the title track. Check it out below.

    In a press release, Damon Albarn described the new song as “… that sort of mesmerising dreamlike state you get in when you’re just following some train of thought.” 2-D added: “Sometimes I get well lost and end up in the wrong place but then it turns out that’s where I was meant to be going anyway.”

    Cracker Island lands on February 24 via Warner Records.

    Rosalía Shares New Single ‘LLYLM’

    Rosalía. Credit: Daniel-Sannwald

    Rosalía has shared a new song, ‘LLYLM’, short for “Lie like you love me.” The English-language track marks the Spanish singer’s first single of 2023. Check it out below.

    Rosalía’s last track in English was a cover of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s 1999 classic ‘I See a Darkness’, which appeared on her debut LP Los Ángeles. Since releasing her third album MOTOMAMI last year, she shared a remix of ‘Despechá’ as part of the record’s deluxe edition.

    Taylor Swift Shares New Video for ‘Lavender Haze’

    Taylor Swift in the 'Lavender Haze' video (Still via YouTube)

    Taylor Swift has shared the latest visual for from her 2022 album Midnights. Swift wrote and directed the dreamlike, purple-hued video, which features Laith Ashley De La Cruz, a transgender activist and actor, as Swift’s love interest. Watch it below.

    On Twitter, Swift wrote: “The Lavender Haze video is out now. There is lots of lavender. There is lots of haze,” Swift tweeted after the visual was released. There is my incredible costar @laith_ashley who I absolutely adored working with. This was the first video I wrote out of the 3 that have been released, and this one really helped me conceptualize the world and mood of Midnights, like a sultry sleepless 70’s fever dream. Hope you like it.”

    Swift previously shared self-directed videos for the Midnights tracks ‘Anti-Hero’ and ‘Bejeweled’.