Culture (and TV)

Flying Lotus, "Coronus, The Terminator"

Another unusually approachable track, after the excellent "Never Catch Me" with Kendrick Lamar, from an artist who has otherwise never really worried about alienating people. The vocals, unattributed for now, are at the forefront; Ellison's distinctive production reveals itself slowly and carefully.


The Birth of Adulthood in American Culture

Three fictional madmen—two sociopaths and a narcissist—die on television. It's a strange worldview that would take this as a sign of "The Death of Adulthood in American Culture", but that is the premise of the lead essay in the New York Times Magazine’s culture issue, by film reviewer A.O. Scott.

The unfortunate endings of Tony Soprano of "The Sopranos" and Walter White of "Breaking Bad"—plus Don Draper of "Mad Men," whose elegant silhouette is likely to plummet off a skyscraper soon, according to some fans—signify to Scott the "slow unwinding" of the very idea of adulthood as it was formerly understood, a principle inherent in the patriarchy. "The [...]


Deers, "Castigadas En El Granero"

"Ugh, where are we all moving next?" asks everyone, everywhere, all the time. "Madrid seems pretty nice," says someone who just heard this song.


CFCF, "Prisma"

CFCF flirts with ambient music but usually stops short of becoming it. So "Prisma," CFCF's contribution to a forthcoming ambient compilation, is a pleasant surprise: a loose, cyclic drone that floats somewhere between New-age spa music and William Basinksi's Disintegration Loops.


Jay Prince, "Polaroids"

Jay Prince, the East London rapper, tells The 405: "I don't know, I mean it wasn't really much else, there was no big thing that happened behind it—it was just me getting back into the swing of things and just trying something new." Good enough for me!


Shabazz Palaces, "#CAKE"

Here is Shabazz Palaces with its first full video from Lese Majesty. The group, like this song, is all sharp edges and extreme angles—the album's tracks often don't take shape until halfway through, which is exhilarating and disorienting. In "#CAKE," Catherine Harris-White shows up about a minute and half in, starts to give us something we can hold on to, then recedes into the chaotic background again.


Kelela with Le1f, "OICU"

Kelela, sounding pained but calm. Le1f, floating easily in P. Morris's murky production. A good song for staring blankly into the middle distance! [Via]


Ólöf Arnalds, "Half Steady"

From the forthcoming Palme, a characteristically weird (and friendly!) track, freshly unpacked, from Iceland.


Grouper, "Call Across Rooms"

There is depressive music that tightens the girdle of neuroses around your brain and then depressive music that loosens it. Music that forces you to stare at the ceiling and music that lets you close your eyes for a minute. Music to breath in, music to breath out. A whole rich taxonomy, probably, with fans too lethargic to write it.


FKA Twigs, "Stay With Me"

A cover of Sam Smith's unavoidable summer moan that alternates gracefully between entrancing and viscerally upsetting. It's a total aesthetic dismantling (and kind of a huge improvement!).


Mikael Seifu, "Tuff Ruff"

Via The Fader, a gorgeous track from Ethiopian producer Mikael Seifu, who names both Burial and "traditional Ethiopian folk" as influences. You can play it low in the background, or you can turn it up and hear it unfold.


The War on Drugs, "Under The Pressure"

The second single from Lost in the Dream, and a rare example of a song that's cheery despite its constituent parts signaling, in unison, overwhelming depressiveness.


Travis Scott, "Quintana Pt. 2"

"THIS IS NOT A MIXTAPE FREE ALBUM AND VIDEO FOR THE KIDS," tweeted Travis Scott after posting the sprawling, guest-packed Days Before Rodeo in full. You can stream it here; listen in the track above for an uncredited guest from T.I.


Mick Jenkins ft. The Mind, "Shipwrecked"

The first track on a languid but powerful mixtape from Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins. The whole thing is streaming here; the title track and "Healer" are two highlights among many. (Via Fader)


Raury, "Seven Suns"

You can listen to Raury's debut here, in its entirety. It's the work of someone who is, by any traditional indication, about to explode—he's signed, rumored to be working with Kanye West—and it's shot with surprises. Raury is also 18, which is impossible not to think about as this strange and astonishing album weaves and wobbles through folk, pop, R&B and collage without breaking step.


Truls, "TRVLS"

Soaring, almost presumptuously confident pop music. Pristine production, accompanied by a victory-lap tour video with huge, adoring crowds. But then: "Truls?" The answer to any questions you might have here is Norway. (Thanks, Jenna.)


Failed Flowers, "Summer Vacation"

Demo 2014 by Failed FlowersIf music's culture thresher is towed about two decades behind the tractor, the early 90s indie reconstitution is technically overdue. Will it come and go and then linger quietly, giving way to some sort of mutated alt-rock revival? Or will fuzzy guitars and slack male-female duets, issued on streaming sites and cassette tapes, be the hot musical trend of 2015? If so, why not pay homage to some old criticism, too: "This is not the forbidding experimentation of an aspiring vanguard," wrote Robert Christgau in 1993. "This is the fooling around of folks who like to go out on Saturday [...]


Persona La Ave, "We Are"

RELATION / TEMPATION by PERSONA LA AVEJust one of a small handful of standout tracks on Persona La Ave's warbly, synth-driven twin EPs, out this week. Try "Cheers Big Ears" for something more upbeat, then "She Dances" to slow things down almost to a stop.


Only Real, "Pass the Pain"

A wobbly and proudly silly pop song from London's Only Real. Like "Cadillac Girl," "Pass the Pain" tips back and forth between endearing and slightly irritating, and never quite lets us know if its relationship with the 90s is pastiche, tribute, or coincidence.


Premium Gore

The first episode of Steven Soderbergh's The Knick, which is streaming for free, is worth watching just for the street scenes in turn-of-the-century New York. It's a nasty, crowded place, but the shots aren't overstuffed and bustling—the show knows it has time, so it doesn't feel the need to introduce you to every rag peddler and slumlord at once. In this way, it is not like a movie.

Here is how The Knick is like a movie: It's beautiful, and it's totally disgusting. The Knick is possibly the most visually arresting show in TV, not only for its setting but for its portrayal of the human body, inside [...]