Facing controversy over their politically-charged and contentious name, Viet Cong adopted a more neutral appellation for their sophomore album: Preoccupations. Thankfully, this ... More
Facing controversy over their politically-charged and contentious name, Viet Cong adopted a more neutral appellation for their sophomore album: Preoccupations. Thankfully, this in no way indicates that their music has been similarly defanged. On their self-titled new record, Preoccupations still summons up unease with gothic-industrial atmospherics, stabs of discordant guitar and war-percussion drums, all wrapped up under lead singer Matt Flegel’s brooding, affectless vocals. But what sets Preoccupations apart is that the unease, at times, breaks open. The band seems to find strength and beauty amid the pain of living in a world whose prognosis seems grim. This is most evident in their stand-out single “Anxiety,” a title which distills much of the band’s overarching aesthetic. After the gloom of lyrics like, “Deteriorating to great acclaim / Help has fallen by the wayside / Nowhere near to finding better ways to be,” a bit of light breaks through. Flegel summons the strength to insist: “I’m not here purely for the sake / Of breathing, I am wide awake.” Sometimes that is good enough.
via Flemish Eye/Jagjaguwar
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Labeled one of “the great literary hoaxes of our day” by columnist David Segal, the story of JT LeRoy began in the ... More
Documentary by Jeff Feuerzeig
Labeled one of “the great literary hoaxes of our day” by columnist David Segal, the story of JT LeRoy began in the 1990s, when writer Laura Albert began publishing her own stories under the pen name. Ostensibly born in West Virginia in 1980, LeRoy published his work in many respected international publications and put out four novels between 1990 and 2007. With a personal history of drug addiction, prostitution and homelessness, LeRoy was rumored as deeply shy and public appearances were limited until 2001, when Albert’s sister-in-law Savannah Knoop donned a wig and sunglasses, claiming LeRoy was gender fluid. Albert herself appeared in public as LeRoy’s manager. The author traveled with a close entourage and enjoyed a cult-like following of fans and literary figures alike—a performance which lasted years. LeRoy became a sort of celebrity. What happened when, in 2005, an article by Stephen Beachy in New York magazine outed Albert as the ‘real’ JT LeRoy was a total blowback from the press and fans alike—the work of LeRoy was mostly forgotten, but the sham, the celebrity remained.
This is where you enter Author: The JT LeRoy Story, a documentary produced, written and directed by Jeff Feuerzeig, which premiered at Sundance 2016 and was nominated for the Documentary Grand Jury Prize. Feuerzeig’s work mimics LeRoy’s frenzied ascent with energetic pacing, using original footage of LeRoy, the press and his celebrity followers, as well as drawings from and recent interviews with Albert. Albert claims LeRoy was a way for her to write what she couldn’t under her own name, once saying she created him “the way an oyster creates a pearl: out of irritation and suffering. It was an attempt to try to heal something.”
In 2016, the discussion of gender identity and creation of personas over social media is fairly common, and that’s why this is the perfect moment for Author: The JT LeRoy Story, wherein Feuerzeig presents LeRoy not only as a writer or avatar or stunt, but the true innovator Albert made him; that she is herself. The film is arresting, and touches on the nature of art, celebrity and identity as it builds to the overwhelming question: Does it matter who created the work if the work, indeed, exists?
Frontman of Man Man and Mister Heavenly, Honus Honus (stage name of Ryan Kattner) is releasing his debut solo record, Use Your ... More
Album “Use Your Delusion”
Frontman of Man Man and Mister Heavenly, Honus Honus (stage name of Ryan Kattner) is releasing his debut solo record, Use Your Delusion, which he describes as an “apocalyptic LA pop album.” For the release, Honus assembled a talented team of musicians, including Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse and the Shins, actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, comedian Jon Daly and Shannon Shaw of Shannon & The Clams, with production by King Cyrus King, composer for Adult Swim.
As pianist, singer and lyricist with Philidelphia’s Man Man, Honus Honus put out five albums between 2004 and 2013, most recently On Oni Pond. He also released one 2011 album, Out of Love, with side-project Mister Heavenly, a ‘supergroup’ with Plummer and Nicholas Thorburn of Islands and The Unicorns. Use Your Delusion was funded and released by Honus Honus directly through PledgeMusic, with a slew of giveaways for pre-orders. The album was written from LA, with reference to Echo Park favorite Taco Zone in its first single “Heavy Jesus,” taking a more lighthearted, pop-driven bent than his previous work.
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Photographer Kevin Amato is releasing his first book, The Importants, which celebrates the culture and faces of the Bronx, where he discovers ... More
Book by Kevin Amato
Photographer Kevin Amato is releasing his first book, The Importants, which celebrates the culture and faces of the Bronx, where he discovers most of the subjects he casts in fashion shows and campaigns. Amato’s work for the high-fashion streetwear line, Hood By Air, from 2007 to 2014 brought him international attention. Now he’s turning to his source of inspiration, who he calls ‘The Importants’: young people of the Bronx living in a way that exemplifies diversity and inclusivity, using fashion and culture as an outlet, creating their own world in which to live despite the odds against them. The book is compelling and provocative in both layout and subject, revealing the landscape and personality of Amato’s Importants through his singular eye.
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Angel Olsen broke through to a worldwide audience with 2013’s bare and haunting LP Burn Your Fire for No Witness, and now ... More
Album “My Woman”
Angel Olsen broke through to a worldwide audience with 2013’s bare and haunting LP Burn Your Fire for No Witness, and now returns with My Woman, her third full record to date. Recorded with a proper A-side and B-side, My Woman centers even more fully on Olsen’s vocals than previous releases, replacing piano with synth, expanding her musical styles and removing the shroud of reverb around her lyrics. She worked with producer Justin Raisen (Charli XCX, Sky Ferreira, Santigold) and recorded live to tape in LA alongside guitarist Seth Caufmann and her regular bandmates.
As for the title My Woman, Olsen says its theme isn’t overtly gender-specific, but deals with “the complicated mess of being a woman and wanting to stand up for yourself, while also knowing that there are things you are expected to ignore, almost, for the sake of loving a man. I’m not trying to make a feminist statement with every single record, just because I’m a woman. But I do feel like there are some themes that relate to that, without it being the complete picture.”
›› Issue Feature: Discussion between Angel Olsen and Kevin Morby.
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Following A Folk Set Apart, a rarities compilation released last year, Cass McCombs is set to release his eighth studio album, Mangy ... More
Album “Mangy Love”
Following A Folk Set Apart, a rarities compilation released last year, Cass McCombs is set to release his eighth studio album, Mangy Love. The last decade has seen a slew of folk releases from McCombs, and this new material takes on sociopolitical issues while channeling soul, psychedelia and beat poetry. Guest contributors include Angel Olsen and Blake Mills, with production by Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Fidlar) and Dan Horne.
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On Take It, It’s Yours, musicians Katy Goodman of La Sera (and formerly Vivian Girls) and Greta Morgan of Springtime Carnivore rework ... More
Album “Take It, It’s Yours”
On Take It, It’s Yours, musicians Katy Goodman of La Sera (and formerly Vivian Girls) and Greta Morgan of Springtime Carnivore rework 10 classic punk and New Wave songs by the Stooges, the Misfits, the Replacements, the Gun Club, Bad Brains, Wipers and more. The two are long-time friends and collaborators—in 2014, Goodman interviewed Morgan for Issue on her self-titled debut, Springtime Carnivore. Introducing their joint album, the two remark, “These songs helped shape who we are. They gave us the songs, and now we get to give them back as our thank you.”
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In anticipation of FYF Fest, we’ve compiled a list of the artists we can’t wait to see, either for the first time ... More
An Issue Guide
In anticipation of FYF Fest, we’ve compiled a list of the artists we can’t wait to see, either for the first time or again and again. FYF has been an LA favorite for years, shedding its venues for larger sites since its inception in 2004, when it was held over one day at the Echo and Echoplex in Echo Park. Moving to Chinatown’s dusty LA State Historic Park in 2009, FYF eventually spread over two days and, in recent years, transitioned to Exposition Park (which, for an idea of size, has hosted the Summer Olympic Games twice).
It’s clear that FYF has seen so much success by choosing its lineups with integrity—collecting the year’s best artists across genres, and supporting emerging talent alongside the established. We are so excited to see our favorite albums of 2015 and 2016 live, including (alphabetically) Beach House’s Depression Cherry, Blood Orange’s Freetown Sound, Chelsea Wolfe’s Abyss, Father John Misty’s I Love You, Honeybear, Julia Holter’s I Have You In My Wilderness, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, Tame Impala’s Currents, Vince Staples’ Summertime ’06 and Young Thug’s countless mixtapes.
Below is our Issue staff’s guide to the festival, including the above acts and more. FYF will be held on Saturday August 28 and Sunday August 29, 2016. Tickets and more information on the full lineup are available here.
With the release of two new albums in 2015, Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars, Beach House will be showcasing new material this year. We’re excited for their always-atmospheric set, and to hear old favorites from their breakout records Teen Dream (2010) and Bloom (2012).
Devonte Hynes’ new album Freetown Sound is clamoring with messages of racial and civil rights, calling us to attention in the spirit of 2015 releases by Kendrick Lamar, D’Angelo and Kamasi Washington. Following 2011’s Coastal Grooves and 2013’s Cupid Deluxe, which reverberated with ’80s synth and Hynes’ lovely voice, Freetown Sound is more complex, both thematically and in its genre-hopping sound from funk to poetry to R&B.
Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires
67-year-old soul singer Charles Bradley was pulled from obscurity in 2011 when Daptone Records released his breakout debut No Time for Dreaming. This year the nicknamed “screaming eagle of soul” released a third album Changes with his band The Extraordinaires. No doubt one to see live.
With a tonal darkness that borders on infernal, Chelsea Wolfe’s music has been creeping from a cult following into the mainstream—her track “Feral Love” off 2013’s Pain Is Beauty was featured on Game of Thrones. Wolfe’s 2015 album, Abyss, takes a quote by designer Yohji Yamamoto as its talisman: “Perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make, I want to see scars, failure, disorder, distortion.” Read her Issue interview with journalist and Punk Elegies author Allen MacDonnell.
Father John Misty
This year’s I Love You, Honeybear follows Josh Tillman’s critically acclaimed 2012 debut as Father John Misty, Fear Fun. Between Fear Fun’s nihilistic LA storytelling and I Love You, Honeybear, Tillman fell in love and married. He comes to terms with this and his formerly raucous, reckless lifestyle through some of the most inventive love songs in memory. Also go for the dancing, strut and swagger of Tillman’s Father John Misty alter-ego.
Is the Is Are was the long-awaited follow up to DIIV’s 2012 debut Oshin, and it succeeded in taking their brand of guitar-driven psych-pop to the next level. The five-piece band formed by Zachary Cole Smith, formerly touring guitarist for Soft Black and Beach Fossils, is currently touring Is the Is Are, which released this past February.
Jamaican actress, singer and model Grace Jones has spent the last year revisiting her ’80s pop career, touring with the likes of Blood Orange, and we’re excited for a revival of her disco, funk and New Wave compilations. It’s a great opportunity to see the Grace Jones: Bond Girl, muse and incredible performer. If you’ve never heard of Jones, she is the inspiration for Kim Kardashian’s ‘internet breaking’ photograph in Paper Magazine this year taken by her once-lover, photographer John Paul Goude.
We’ve been waiting for the follow-up to Claire Elise Boucher’s amazing Visions (2012), and it came in the form of last year’s bubbly Art Angels. Her solo project Grimes is a pastiche of musical styles and influences with accompanying album art by Boucher, and her shows promise to be equally eclectic.
British electronic artists Hot Chip have released six albums since 2004, with their newest Why Make Sense? in 2015. During each live performance, the band reinvents their in-studio songs to create new, improvised versions and a singular, energy-driven crowd experience—it’s a good time every time.
Australian trio Jagwar Ma released their debut album Howlin in 2013 to critical acclaim, and are set to release their sophomore album Every Now & Then this October. While they’ve released two singles from the upcoming record, FYF should be an advance preview of their newest material and a great dance party regardless.
Julia Holter’s fourth album, Have You in My Wilderness, is a pronounced conversion from her academic roots to a more pop-accessible venture. Holter has been featured in the work of fellow musician and friend Ariel Pink and formed Nite Jewelia, a collaboration with musician Nite Jewel, who interviewed her for Issue last year.
The Memphis, Tennessee singer-songwriter released her sparse, beautiful debut Sprained Ankle last year.
Kendrick Lamar flipped the script with To Pimp a Butterfly, the follow-up to his acclaimed debut good kid, m.A.A.d city, shifting from mainstream rap success to a politically conscious fusion of jazz, funk, soul and poetry that reached right to the core of American racial tensions. Lamar is the best rapper around right now, and we’re excited to feel the energy of To Pimp a Butterfly live.
A constant FYF favorite, Mac DeMarco released two 2015 mini-albums following his hit 2014 release Salad Days: Another One and the instrumental summer-BBQ-themed Some Other Ones. We’ve seen Mac play many festivals past, and never tire of his shows.
Tame Impala’s long-awaited follow-up to 2012’s Lonerism, Currents (2015) is the poppiest, most accessible venture we’ve seen from frontman Kevin Parker. The Australian band’s live shows do justice to their incredible music, and we’re excited to see how Currents manifests live.
Tame Impala’s drummer, Julien Barbagallo, recently interviewed the band Motopony for Issue.
Ty Segall & The Muggers
Ty Segall’s prolific musical output most recently took form in II, the sophomore album from his band Fuzz. Emotional Mugger is the follow-up to 2014’s Manipulator and Segall’s tenth solo album, which he formally announced by sending a VHS to media outlets and releasing a cryptic short video explaining ‘emotional mugging.’ His new backing band The Muggers includes frequent collaborators Mikal Cronin, Kyle Thomas, Emmett Kelly, and Cory Hanson and Evan Burrows of the band Wand.
Vince Staples’ breakout debut album, Summertime ‘06 is raw with integrity, poised between his hood credo and sharp defiance of racism, inequality and its fallout on the streets. The album’s stripped-down flood of percussion and lyrical inventiveness highlight Staples’ clear vocals and cool-mannered restraint. The Long Beach native is Cutthroat Boyz rapper, Odd Future collaborator and has guest versed for Ghostface Killah, Earl Sweatshirt, Mac Miller and Common, but doesn’t really pledge allegiance to anybody. If you’ve missed his tour this year like we have, Staples will certainly be an FYF highlight.
We’ve missed Wolf Parade in the six years since 2010’s Expo 86, and of course their 2005 classic Apologies to the Queen Mary, reissued by Sub Pop this year. We’ve been following Spencer Krug’s side projects the last few years, including Sunset Rubdown, Swan Lake and Moonface, who just released My Best Human Face with Siinai. .
Extremely prolific Atlanta rapper Young Thug has released five mixtapes in the last two years: Barter 6, Slime Season, Slime Season 2, I’m Up and Slime Season 3. He has yet to release his debut album Hy!£UN35 (pron. Hi-Tunes), but his mixtape Jeffery (which will be released under the temporary pseudonym No, My Name Is Jeffery) is set to drop this Friday, August 26, just in time to hear it live at FYF.
Set in Heidelberg, Germany, Morris From America escapes the trappings of the coming-of-age story by situating the alienation of being 13 against ... More
Film by Chad Hartigan
Set in Heidelberg, Germany, Morris From America escapes the trappings of the coming-of-age story by situating the alienation of being 13 against that of living in a foreign country. Newcomer Markees Christmas stars as Morris who, as the title informs, is from America and the only black kid in school due to the career of his father (Craig Robinson), who is often absent but teaches Morris his love of hip hop. His mother, who is not around, is rarely mentioned. Instead, Morris’ tutor (Carla Juri of Wetlands) helps him to assimilate as Morris makes forays into hip hop and draws the attention of a girl his age who bullies him while stringing him along. Directed by Chad Hartigan, whose film This is Martin Bonner won critical acclaim in 2013, Morris From America is slowly touching, debuting Christmas as a charismatic lead.