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    Bill Callahan Shares New Single ‘Natural Information’

    Bill Callahan. Credit: Hanly Banks Callahan

    Bill Callahan has unveiled a new song, ‘Natural Information’, lifted from his upcoming album YTILAER. Along with guitarist Matt Kinsey, bassist Emmett Kelly, pianist Sarah Ann Phillips, and drummer Jim White – who also play throughout the record – the new track features horns from Carl Smith. Check it out below, where you can also find a slowed-down, six-hour version of the song.

    YTILAER is due for release on October 14 via Drag City. It includes the previously released song ‘Coyotes’.

    Webbed Wing Release New Song ‘I’m Feelin Alive’

    Webbed Wing. Credit: Jon Schimpf

    Webbed Wing, the Philadelphia outfit featuring former Superheaven members Taylor Madison and Jake Clarke, have released a new song called ‘I’m Feelin Alive’. Arriving ahead of the group’s headlining tour, the song follows their 2021 record What’s So Fucking Funny?. Check it out below.

    “In the past year or so, I have felt the best I’ve ever felt in my life. Everything is going great, for the most part,” Madison said in a statement about the new track. “Despite that, I consantly have this feeling that something is about to go wrong, and it’s back to misery. I know that isn’t true, but I still kind of obsess over it.”

    The Go! Team Announce New Album, Release New Song ‘Divebomb’

    The Go! Team. Credit: David Richardson

    The Go! Team have announced their next album, Get Up Sequences Part Two, which arrives on February 3, 2023 via Memphis Industries. The follow-up to last year’s Get Up Sequences Part One is led by the new single ‘Divebomb’, which you can check out below.

    “Protest songs have always been a balancing act,” the group’s Ian Parton said of ‘Divebomb’ in a statement. “If you’re too sledgehammer it’s cringey – like the Scorpions’ ‘Winds of Change’ or something – but at the same time given the stuff they’re trying to pull with abortion rights it feels weird to ignore it.”

    Get Up Sequences Part One features guest spots from Apples In Stereo’s Hilarie Bratset, Lucie Too’s Kokubo Chisato, Neha Hatwar, the Star Feminine Band, Nitty Scott, IndigoYaj, and more. Parton calls it “an international patchwork. A global fruit salad. A United Nations of Sound.”

    Get Up Sequences Part Two Cover Artwork:

    Get Up Sequences Part Two Tracklist:

    1. Look Away, Look Away
    2. Divebomb
    3. Getting To Know (All The Ways We’re Wrong For Each Other)
    4. Stay and Ask Me In a Different Way
    5. The Me Frequency
    6. Whammy-O
    7. But We Keep On Trying
    8. Sock It To Me
    9. Going Nowhere
    10. Gemini
    11. Train Song
    12. Baby

    Palm Share Video for New Single ‘On the Sly’

    Palm. Credit: Daniel Patrick Brennan

    Palm have shared ‘On the Sly’, the latest single from their forthcoming album, alongside an accompanying video. It follows previous cuts ‘Feathers’ and ‘Parable Lickers’. “The words turned out a little sadder than intended but when we play this song I smile,” guitarist/vocalist Eve Alpert said in a statement. Check out the Rich Smith-directed visual below.

    Palm’s Nicks and Grazes is set to drop on October 14 on Saddle Creek.

    This Week’s Best New Songs: Jamie xx, Björk, Alvvays, and More

    Throughout the week, we update our Best New Songs playlist with the new releases that caught our attention the most, be it a single leading up to the release of an album or a newly unveiled deep cut. And each Monday, we round up the best new songs released over the past week (the eligibility period begins on Monday and ends Sunday night) in this best new music segment.

    On this week’s list, we have Björk’s poignant seven-minute single ‘Ancestress’, a tribute to her late mother; Jamie xx’s infectious, Notting Hill Carnival-inspired new song ‘Kill Dem’; another stunner from Alvvays, ‘Belinda Says’, one of two tracks the band dropped from their upcoming album; Maya Hawke’s gorgeous Moss cut ‘Luna Moth’; ‘How It Ends’, the driving, Melina Duterte-assisted title track off TOLEDO’s debut album; ‘See You Better Now’, another soul-rousing preview of Wild Pink’s upcoming album, which features a guitar solo from J Mascis; and ‘Ghost Story’, a climactic, evocative highlight from Jackie Cohen’s latest album Pratfall.

    Best New Songs: September 26, 2022

    Song of the Week: Björk, ‘Ancestress’

    Jamie xx, ‘Kill Dem’

    Alvvays, ‘Belinda Says’

    Maya Hawke, ‘Luna Moth’

    TOLEDO, ‘How It Ends’

    Wild Pink, ‘See You Better Now’

    Jackie Cohen, ‘Ghost Story’

    Listen to the War on Drugs’ New Songs ‘Oceans of Darkness’ and ‘Slow Ghost’

    The War on Drugs. Credit: Jimmy Fontaine

    The War on Drugs have released the deluxe edition of their 2021 album I Don’t Live Here Anymore. It features two previously unreleased songs, ‘Oceans of Darkness’ – a track the band debuted on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in October 2020 – and ‘Slow Ghost’. Take a listen below.

    “One night in LA, while we were many months into working on what would be I Don’t Live Here Anymore, Dave [Hartley] uncovered a stripped down demo in my dropbox called ‘Oceans of Darkness,’ and insisted we try recording it,” bandleader Adam Granduciel explained in a statement. “We were frustrated and exhausted at the time, but we set up in a circle after dinner and worked it out as the tape was rolling. It’s rare that a song of ours could feel this complete after only a few takes, but it had all the desperation and urgency that we had been looking for. Ultimately I didn’t include it on the record because I couldn’t find a home for it among the other songs, but we’re happy we can share it with you now.”

    Rihanna Performing at the 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show

    Credit: Instagram/@badgalriri

    Rihanna has been confirmed as the headlining performer at the 2023 Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show. It will mark Rihanna’s first public performance since she played at the 2018 Grammy Awards with DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller. Earlier this week, it was rumored that Taylor Swift would be playing this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show, but sources subsequently told TMZ that Swift had turned down the opportunity. Super Bowl LVII takes place on February 12, 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, with Apple Music replacing Pepsi as the show’s sponsor.

    “Rihanna is a generational talent, a woman of humble beginnings who has surpassed expectations at every turn,” Roc Nation founder Jay-Z said in a statement. “A person born on the small island of Barbados who became one of the most prominent artists ever. Self-made in business and entertainment.”

    “We are thrilled to welcome Rihanna to the Apple Music Super Bowl Halftime Show stage,” NFL head of music Seth Dudowsky stated. “We look forward to collaborating with Rihanna, Roc Nation and Apple Music to bring fans another historic Halftime Show performance.”

    Rihanna’s last album, Anti, came out in 2016.

    Author Spotlight: Ella King, Bad Fruit

    Author Spotlight: Ella King, Bad Fruit

    Over the course of one sweltering summer in the UK, Singaporean 17-year old Lily, fresh out of high school, is trapped in a confined whirlwind of familial drama with her abusive mother May at the center. Lily is doting and kind, bringing May her favorite drink, spoiled juice, to appease her and prevent another torment of rage that the family fears. When Lily starts having visions of her mother’s past, though, she begins to unravel and decipher May’s backstory and why she acts this way.

    Julia, Lily’s sister, does anything to antagonize May, picking fights at the dinner table and provoking intense reactions, while Lewis, a helpful family friend, tries to get to the bottom of Lily’s visions. As the summer wears on and May grows more jealous and vengeful, Lily tries her best to stay out of her mother’s orbit, all the while figuring out what’s really behind her facade.

    Our Culture sat down with Ella King to talk about her debut novel, her anti-trafficking work that inspired it, and the psychology behind generational trauma.

    Congratulations on having your debut novel published! How do you feel with the immediate success it’s seen in the UK as well as the US?

    Really, really good! It’s always a strange experience seeing your work out there and actually being read. Seeing people’s comments on it, I find it really really interesting, because some people ignore the racial aspect, but for others, it’s really important. I feel like it lands in different places with different people, and I think it’s interesting what people pick up on. It’s difficult to articulate it, to see it externalized.

    The novel takes place over one claustrophobic summer, and I think the heat and confinement of time enhance the story. Usually summer is associated with freedom, but here it has a dampening effect on Lily.

    Yeah, I think it contributes to this really strange liminal space which Lily wouldn’t usually have, this space right before she’s about to go to college where she has to focus on what her position is like within the family and how that’s likely to change. The catalyst of her change is this searing, hot summer — which we actually just had in the UK — but this melting pot of new family drama which propels all the characters into the most extreme versions of themselves. I think the weather, to that extent, reflects the extremities of the characters when they’re put into this strained family situation.

    I liked that you used the phrase ‘liminal space’ — I thought that the premise is almost fairytale-like. Apart from the daughter having visions after giving her mother juice, she’s in these eccentric places, like the Royal Observatory Garden and a place called The Polar Explorer House. Was this intentional or just how the story took shape?

    It’s so interesting that you picked up on that, because when I originally wrote a couple of these chapters, the reaction from early readers in the Faber Academy was that this was pure young adult magical realism, and I had to say, ‘No, it’s not, that wasn’t its intention.’ I had to pull back from some of those elements to make it really clear.

    But those places you mentioned are actually real! I wrote a lot of it when I just had my first daughter, and I would be pushing the pram because she wouldn’t sleep, and everyday I would walk through my own surroundings and I’d see things like The Polar Explorer House, which is real! It’s beautiful and I’d walk past it all the time. I’d also go to Greenwich Park and there were all the different museums, including the Royal Observatory Garden. So they’re real, and actually all close to each other. I think I was more literal than people think I was. I wasn’t intending to be that clever about it!

    I didn’t think it was too YA-oriented, but it did have this magical sheen over it that made it a bit outside of this world.

    Yeah, that’s what I meant when I was saying before — I love when readers read into it. I just find that interpretation really interesting, because it isn’t what I thought when I was writing it. I love that when you write something, it takes shape beyond itself and it’s kind of fun to lose control, and for it to seep into other people’s thoughts.

    Your other work as a lawyer and worker for domestic violence charities seemed to play a big role in this story, where we have this intense family story that’s oftentimes hard to hear about. Did your inspiration for the book follow the saying, “Write what you know?”

    Yeah, it did. It really did. Lots of people ask me about the integration into the group, and I would probably say that the theme of intergenerational trauma is the key theme to the book. I was thinking about when I started really considering that theme, and it was quite a while back when I first started doing work for this and anti-human trafficking.

    I was in Cambodia, in this small village supposed to be the epicenter of child sex trafficking. The charity had basically set up a school in the village and various establishments to try and end child sex trafficking. We were looking in a window of one of the schools they had set up, and one of the workers said, ‘50% of children are being trafficked.’ I was asking them why this was happening in this particular place, in this particular country, and the charity said this really strange line, which was that a mother had said, ‘If you love your daughter, sell her close, and if you don’t love your daughter, sell her far.’ They explained that this was a community and country that was under extreme post-traumatic stress. They had just gone through the Cambodian genocide, and they had witnessed these atrocities. These children who have witnessed these atrocities have become parents, and so they have normalized trauma. So selling their children was just not a big deal for them; they’ve seen so much.

    When I came back to the UK and did some work with domestic violence survivors as well, I was seeing the same pattern. Even though it seemed extreme on the anti-trafficking side, it was really brought home on the domestic violence side as well. I really wanted to explore this slide from victim to perpetrator. I just don’t think that’s really understood or conveyed in media portrayals of abuse or domestic violence. I find the fact that we don’t talk about it enough interesting. Like, what are we doing in Western society that we think that this slide doesn’t happen? And we have this concept of what a ‘good victim’ is. In reality, this stuff happens all the time. I wanted to explore those things because I felt, particularly in fiction, there wasn’t this portrayal of abuse.

    That’s so interesting — the book is obviously intense, but to hear it was based on a real-life sociological issue is something totally else. Let’s talk about May, the mother who embarasses her children in public, can turn on a person on the drop of a dime, and is prone to intense jealousy and rage. What inspired her? How did you write about a person so obviously flawed, but part of which is not their own doing?

    I think because I’ve seen so many women that are like her. I was thinking recently about May when I was being interviewed by someone else — if you actually sat her down, and said to her, ‘What you’ve done is really really bad. Do you understand that?’ I don’t think she would at all. Because what had been done to her, she felt was just so much worse. She probably thinks she was a pretty good mother, because she hadn’t done those things. It’s about the normalization of trauma and violence, and how, to certain people, it can seem so normal that they don’t register they’re on this different scale of morality. May is obviously the antagonist, but she’s like the protagonist as well. The entire story is centered around her and discovering her trauma and how she confronts or doesn’t confront that in her own motherhood.

    Several of the scenes literally had me with my jaw open, and I think it was smart to have the chapters stay fairly small in order to make each one a bit more palatable. 

    Oh, which ones?

    Well, I just graduated from college, so the one scene where May insists on coming to Oxford with Lily, living in the same house, and then talking to people on the tour — my head was in my hands. If that happened to me, I’d be mortified. And, obviously, where she throws Lily out of the car. But were particular scenes ever too intense for you to write?

    I don’t think the scenes themselves were that hard, because in the stuff that I heard, this kind of stuff happens all the time. What I found harder, actually, was the psychology behind it and the research I did with that. I had to take a lot of breathers, then, because actually seeing statistically how often this kind of thing happens and the effect that trauma has on the brain — it’s really interesting, but devastating. I don’t think we often connect psychology with the impact on the body and the physical impact it can have on someone. I was aware anecdotally of all these scenes, and how abuse can play out, but understanding how it had an impact on the brain was really hard. 

    One of the reasons why I introduced the character of Lewis is that I had read one of the main predictors of children coming out and breaking free of generational trauma is having a non-exploitative adult walking beside them and discussing what’s happening with them. I suddenly realized how important people like him are in breaking these cycles. It could be teachers, social workers, but having this adult that journeys with them is so important but also rare. That was one of the things that made me step back and go, ‘Wow. There’s so much that needs to be done.’

    At first, we see May’s rage as this uncontrollable phenomenon, but it turns out to be somewhat explained due to how she grew up and the traumatic experience she had within her own household. Do you think she’s capable of change? Could Lily’s actions wake her up, so to speak?

    Honestly, I think someone like May is unlikely to change. I don’t know. I sometimes think, ‘Is there too much damage?’ With someone like May, who was brought up in a time where therapists and counselors aren’t common, not familiar with inward introspection — I just think it’s very hard for people in that particular generation to feel the need or motivation to change. One of the questions I got asked in a different interview is ‘What happens to all these characters after the book ends?’ And I think May will just carry on. She’ll feel deserved that Lily isn’t there, because she’s a massive crutch for her, but she’ll probably repress everything that’s happened, just like she repressed her own childhood. It’s really weird talking about a character that doesn’t exist.

    For sure. I think the familial dynamics were so intense, and it was heightened by this racial element that no three of the siblings are alike — Lily is more white, from her father, Julia takes after her mother and appears more Singaporean, and the brother is a mix of the two. May essentially covers up who Lily is with makeup in order to feel more connected to her, painting her to appear more Singaporean. How does this all interplay with Lily’s sense of identity?

    That’s such an interesting observation — I think you’re right in how you’ve identified how the siblings match up to the parents. Lily is more like her dad, she is like a blank page that May can just project on. May likes that, obviously, and she uses that, but because she has such a difficult relationship with Charlie, the father, she also resents that. And that results in her trying to redefine who Lily is with her makeup, and saying things like ‘You’re the same as me.’ But the character closest to May is Julia, but May can’t stand her because they’re too alike and volatile. It’s interesting how the dynamics and the conflicts between the parents overspill into the children and how May reacts to the children. She hates Julia, and loves Lily, but hates that she loves her, so she paints her to be something new.

    And finally, what’s next? Are you looking to explore similar themes in your writing or something totally different?

    I think I’ll always be a bit of a trauma writer. I think it’s just because it’s so important and something I’m familiar with. My next novel is kind of a feminist Lolita. In the original, Humbert Humbert says that Lolita dies when she’s 17 in a car crash, but I always thought that to be Humbert trying to preserve her in this teenage form just before she turns into an adult. In my version, that’s all just fantasy in my head, and he comes out of jail and she’s in her 30s. She has children, and she meets him for reasons he doesn’t understand, for a journey of confrontation and revenge.

    Bad Fruit is available now.

    Pharoah Sanders Dead at 81

    Pharoah Sanders. Credit: Luaka Bop

    Pharoah Sanders, the revered American jazz saxophonist, has died at the age of 81. Sanders’ label, Luaka Bop, confirmed the news on Twitter, writing, “He died peacefully surrounded by loving family and friends in Los Angeles earlier this morning. Always and forever the most beautiful human being, may he rest in peace.” A cause of death has not been revealed.

    Born Farrell Sanders on October 13, 1940 in Arkansas, Sanders’ career began when he moved to Oakland, California in 1959, where he attended Oakland Junior College and first met John Coltrane. After relocating to New York in 1961, he practiced with Sun Ra, who is said to have encouraged him to adopt the nickname “Pharoah”, but experienced intermittent homelessness. In 1965, Sanders became a member of John Coltrane’s band and went on to play on multiple Coltrane albums over the next two years, including 1965’s Ascension and 1966’s Meditations, as well as A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle, which was recorded a few months after Meditations but was only issued by Impulse! Records last year.

    A key figure in the spiritual jazz movement, Sanders worked with numerous influential artists across the decades, including Don Cherry, Kenny Garrett, Norman Connors, Tisziji Muñoz, McCoy Tyner, Ornette Coleman, and Randy Weston. He also collaborated with Alice Coltrane on her seminal 1971 album Journey in Satchidananda and 1968’s A Monastic Trio. He released his first solo album, Pharoah’s First, in 1965, following it up with Tauhid in 1966.

    In recent years, Sanders reissued several of his previous records, including Tauhid, Jewels of Thought, Deaf Dumb Blind (Summun Bukmaun Umyun), and Live In Paris (1975). His most recent LP was Promises, a collaborative album with Floating Points and the London Symphony Orchestra, which arrived in 2021.

    After learning of the jazz legend’s death, countless friends and collaborators took to social media to pay tribute, including Sun Ra Arkestra, Nigel Godrich, Badbadnotgood, Low, Strand of Oaks, and Yasmin Williams. Sam Shepherd, aka Floating Points, wrote on Instagram: “My beautiful friend passed away this morning. I am so lucky to have known this man, and we are all blessed to have his art stay with us forever. Thank you Pharoah.”

    MorMor Announces Debut Album ‘Semblance’, Shares Video for New Single ‘Chasing Ghosts’

    MorMor. Credit: Joshua Gordon

    Toronto’s MorMor has announced his debut album, Semblance, which will arrive on November 4. To accompany the announcement, he’s unveiled the new single ‘Chasing Ghosts’, along with an animated visual by Otto Tang. Check it out and find the album artwork and tracklist below.

    Talking about the ‘Chasing Ghosts’ video, MorMor said in a statement: “I felt that this character was from a similar world to the one that we had built for ‘Don’t Cry’; therefore I decided to use this medium to tell the story. There’s a certain limitlessness when it comes to animation that I deeply appreciate. It is possible to create worlds that are not confined to the same kind of logic that exists outside of this medium.”

    Semblance will include the previously released singles ‘Seasons Change’ and ‘Far Apart’. MorMor’s Some Place Else EP came out in 2019.

    Semblance Cover Artwork:

    Semblance Tracklist:

    1. Dawn
    2. Seasons Change
    3. Far Apart
    4. Here It Goes Again
    5. Days End
    6. Crawl
    7. Chasing Ghosts
    8. Don’t Cry
    9. Lifeless
    10. Better at Letting Go
    11. Quiet Heart