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KEEP YOUR INTAGRAM PHOTOS WITH CHATBOOKS
September 2, 2016 10:50 am

A taste of nostalgia seems to be something that everyone loves. It is why we spend so much money on instant cameras, typewriters and record players. We all love the feel and the look of the analog, there is just something about the digital that loses the panache of things. This is exactly what Chatbooks is about.

Chatbooks tries to capture the magic of the photo album, in an era where the concept seems archaic. The way they revitalize this idea is in an ingenious manner. Chatbooks uses its app to link up with your Instagram or your Facebook account. After it is linked up, it gives you the option to scroll through your photos and find the ones that you want to add to your photo book.

The service is a simple one but it is one that has real potential. Many of us feel that even though our photos are up on a social media platform, that there is something about them that is just not as special. It might be that they are not physically there, not tangible objects that we can see with our eyes and touch.

When the inevitable zombie/ecorp/mayan/skynet apocalypse happens and the machines attack, you’ll be happy to know that you can still look at those memories of you, your friends and family. The product is one that will attract people of all ages, it provides you with a great idea for a gift, for anyone and at $8 per album, why wouldn’t you?

ARTIST OF THE MONTH: GRACE JOYNER, CHARLESTON’S WOOZY FOLK SONGSTRESS
August 5, 2016 12:45 pm

Grace Joyner, the Ashville-via-Charleston electronic-folk songstress is our August Artist of the Month. Hers is a story of reckless abandon, picking yourself up when you’re down, and chasing the dream to the end of the earth (which so far is a distance that spans from the Carolina coast to the outskirts of Kentucky). Nonetheless, Joyner’s voyage wouldn’t have even been possible if it weren’t for the pack of boundlessly collaborative strays known as Hearts & Plugs.  We’re going to talk about them too, but first, let me lure you in with a little bit of old fashioned dialogue:

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 “Yoooo, Joe!”
“Oh, what’s up Zimmerman?”
“So…you know Johnnie?”
“Yeah man, me and Johnnie are real tight.”
“Dude, you should come out this Friday”
“Word, yeah”
“Let me text Dan”
“Dan?”
“Yeah, you know, Jenkin’s friend”
“Oh, he’s friends with Jordan too I think”

If you’re an aspiring musician you’ve been part of that ‘crew’ before. You know exactly what I’m talking about.  That group of friends that think they’re going to start a band, travel across the country in a minivan, and upend our entire social infrastructure. Maybe you meet in a basement, or perhaps a front porch.  There’s no formal membership, no secret handshake. While you’re far from new age cult status, certain vestiges of hippy culture might seep in occasionally. Countless students have formed similar cadres. Why? Because they want to live in the moment. Be a part of the bonfire jam sessions that catapult musical revolutions. Discover new forms of sonic expression and collectively explore the universe together to make sense of its stellar enormity.

The thing is, occasionally, one of these slacker collectives actually sees it through to the other side. Occasionally, hipsters mobilize. Word spreads and they start to pick up steam. They score gigs, sell out local venues, generate revenue, invest in better equipment, chip in for a recording studio, and before you know it, are a permanent fixture in the local music landscape.

Hearts & Plugs is one of these collectives.  Based in sun-scorched Charleston, South Carolina, Hearts & Plugs is a burgeoning music label built around an intimate nexus of friends that were probably jamming on someone’s porch not too long ago.  They’ve since amassed a steady following thanks to a robust roster of folk-centric indie pop acts oozing with creative juices.

Front and center of the operation is founder and director Dan McCurry. He brings with him a breadth of business savvy accumulated from past business experiences; both the ups and the downs. The label started out of necessity when his own band, Run Dan Run, needed a new home to record their sophomore album.  As such, they recorded Normal in 2011, Hearts & Plugs first official release. Hearts & Plugs’ in-house recording studio is operated by Wolfgang Zimmerman, who also plays the drums for Brave Baby. The sleek psych-pop outlet is also one of the label’s rising stars, having garnered critical praise for their sophomore release Electric Friends—think Arcade Fire in scope, sonically akin to Tame Impala, with a rugged southern twang. Other noteworthy members include alt-country rockers SUSTO, and doo-wop post-punkers Gold Light, and many more. Almost every act on the Hearts & Plugs team is a collaborative affair of interspersing band members.  At some point while contributing backing harmonies, Grace Joyner joined the mix.

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It didn’t take long for Grace Joyner’s woozy yet robust vocal palate to get noticed.  Her first solo recording came in the form of Young Fools—fleeting and vulnerable songs culled from emotional pangs of successes, failures, trials, tribulations, ambition, and regret.  Exemplified by tracks such as “Be Good” and “Young Thing”, the EP effectively captures Joyner’s essence, drawing comparisons to other strong female voices such as Kate Bush and Lana Del Rey.

Two years of relentless gigging and creative musing, Joyner was ready to record her debut full-length album.  Maybe Sometimes in C is a vibrantly colored folk symphony that showcases both Grace’s impressive vocals coated in an immersive synth backdrop.  Maybe Sometimes in C allowed Grace further opportunities to hit the road and expand her reach, recently touring through the Carolinas and Kentucky with Gold Light in support of their album Visions.

I got the chance to ask Grace Joyner a few questions about her recent creative pursuits, about living in Charleston and collaborating with Hearts & Plugs, and what’s next on the docket.  Check it out:

Q: You’re a Charleston gal, a city which–although certainly known for being a great travel destination—it’s also a city with a jam-packed music scene, does Charleston feel underrated to you at all?

A: The Charleston music scene has been rapidly growing in the last couple years thanks to Dan and Hearts & Plugs, along with some amazing venues, such as The Royal American. Throughout that growing process, I believe it has been getting the recognition it deserves. There are a lot of amazing musicians there, and we have all been working together to get Charleston on the map for music. I really think it is starting to get there.

Q: Speaking of, it would be hard to find a group of musicians more passionate about and gunning harder for a music scene than Hearts and Plugs.  How’s it been working with them?

A: It has been truly inspiring to see Hearts & plugs develop into what it is now. It is such an example of what a good idea can become if you combine it with hard work. Dan is an amazing visionary and I am very thankful to be a part of what him & Megan are doing.

Q: I’m try to pin down the Charleston music vibe—there are lots of artists, lots of musicians, so it’s impossible to boil it down completely—but what’s separating Charleston from another large music scene in the vicinity, like say, Asheville or Carrboro?  

A: Something about the Charleston music scene that I think is very special is the sense of community. We really are a family. We all collaborate all the time and are constantly supporting one another. Some of us have known each other for nearly a decade. We have maintained such a comfortable creative space, and I think that is what sets us apart.

Q: Speaking of Asheville, you were recently on the road with you were recently on the road with Gold Light, they seem like a fun crowd—and it looks like you hit up some cool places—how was that tour overall?

A: The tour was magical. Joe, from Gold Light, contacted me a couple months ago with the idea of collaborating and doing a short run together. I don’t think either of us were expecting it to go so smoothly and seem so natural. The band we had with us were such a great group of people and at almost every spot we hit we had these serendipitous moments. Everything fell into place on that tour, and we are about to start working on another one with the same group. Hopefully the details will be worked out in the next couple weeks.

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Q: I didn’t realize the album cover for Maybe Something in C was a cropped photo of you in a bathtub filled with some kind of dark blue liquid–what was the story behind that photo?  Who took it?

A: So that was an idea I had, and we just kind of went with it to be honest. My roommate Keex took the photo in my bathroom. We used a blue bath bomb to get the coloring. I just thought the image was interesting. My bathroom has this mundane vibe to it, and I thought adding a romantic contrast would turn out well.

Q: So is Maybe Sometimes in C, actually in the key of C?  Or are you riffing off of a completely different reference and I’m just completely missing it?

A: No you are pretty much on point. There was a running joke with my producer, Wolfgang Zimmerman, about how often songs are in C. It is easy for me to write in that key, so he was always teasing me about changing it up. Of course they are not all in C, but it is a reference to that. Also there is a line in the first track, “I’m not crazy, or maybe sometimes…” It has to do with recognizing value even when there are faults.

Q: I saw an Instagram pic of Hug O’ War, were you a big Shel Silverstein fan growing up?  Has his poetry snuck itself into your lyrics at all?

A: I LOVE Shel Silverstein. Hmm…that is a good question though. I think I resonate with a lot of themes he plays around with, but I can’t pinpoint any direct lyric references. My favorite poem of his is “The Perfect High.”

Q: There’s another pic of The Velvet Underground performed by ET Anderson & Grace Joyner?  Seriously?  That’s the coolest thing ever!  

A: That was an awesome night. ET Anderson let me join in for a Velvet Underground cover set for an event as Nico. I was honored. It was so fun.

Q: I saw you also posted a Tina meme, are you a big fan of Bob’s burgers?  Is there a particular burger joint in Charleston we should be aware of?

A: Wow I am so impressed. You have done so much research. I am a fan of Bob’s Burgers, but to be honest I don’t eat a lot of burgers… I will say Moe’s Crosstown has amazing brunch & I hear they have great burgers so that is what I am going to go with for this question.

Q: I’m a North Carolina guy myself–I was glad to see your allegiance to the Carolina Panthers, did you enjoy watching them kick ass last year?  Are you excited for the season to kick off again?

A: My family is from North Carolina so I grew up a fan of the Panthers. Watching them kick ass last season was so fun. Cam is such a babe. I am sure we will kill it this season.

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Q: Last one—this is all you—what’s up next for Grace Joyner?  Any new projects on the horizon?  Cool collaborations?  Hitting up the recording studio anytime soon?  When’s your next show?  When are people not from below the Mason Dixon line going to see Grace Joyner live?

A: We have a little run in Columbia & Charleston the weekend of 8.19-8.20. Then we have some other Carolina shows coming up in the next couple months. Currently about to start planning another tour with Gold Light for the Fall & we are working on extending our reach! I haven’t had a whole lot of writing inspiration until recently. So many ideas are rolling around in my head & I am just about ready to start working through them. I expect a good amount of new songs on the horizon, and soon after that it will be in the works to get them out.

Hearts & Plugs is an excellent source of fresh musical discovery, and even though I’ve listened through more than a handful of their artists this week, I feel like I’m just scratching the surface.  They’ve put a lot of work into honing their craft. More importantly though, their label is a guiding light post for the bold, the artistically curious, poetically odd, and all around atypical.  We’re eager for more!

Until next time, check out the label’s awesome spread of merch as well as their Summer Essentials playlist, below!

ADD SOME SOUNDS TO YOUR INSTAGRAM POSTS
July 6, 2016 5:53 pm

We all have choices when it comes to streaming music on our phones. From Pandora to Spotify, Apple Music to Play Music, the options for discovering new music every day are seemingly endless. That being said, not all apps do what Sounds does.

Sounds tries to do a bit more than just help you discover music. Through the Sounds app, your discovery becomes your friends’ discovery as well. The app allows you to share a song through Instagram. You thought those videos of you at the beach or those pictures of your cat were as good as they could be? They’re about to be kicked up a notch.

The app allows for customizing the song through the app, to either attach photos or videos to the song and add a whole different vibe to your Instagram page.

The app is surprisingly enjoyable with this customization. Not only do the Instagram boosting features make it cool, but it’s a pretty solid music app as is. It has no ads at the moment and while it might not have exactly everything you are looking for in the music department, it does have a good selection of indie to listen to.

Sounds is only as enjoyable as you are though, so try to be open and take into account all the possibilities and fun opportunities you could have sharing songs through Instagram.

SAM EVIAN: STAY HYDRATED
June 27, 2016 12:23 pm

You guys. I’m pretty sure this is the best response to an email interview anyone has ever gotten. After failing to secure time to interview Sam Evian in person, I sent him a list of questions through email, and got an MP3 with a SOUNDTRACK in response. I don’t think anyone has ever spent so much time giggling alone in a cubicle as I did when that showed up in my inbox. What follows is a transcript of that file, which you can listen to as you read.

Oh, and for the formal stuff: Sam Evian is the “luxury brand” of Brooklyn musician, engineer, and producer Sam Owens. You may be familiar with his work in Celestial Shore. Last Monday saw his new outfit perform in the penthouse suite of The Standard, East Village. It’s a great place to hang out if you want to feel like an urchin. Regardless, the band sounded great and the view off the private deck is pretty unbelievable. For a list of upcoming shows at the penthouse, click here. Ok, on with the interview!

It says in your artist bio that you wrote the 10 songs on your upcoming album Premium ten days prior to your first show, though the ideas had been in your head for a long time. What was it like to finally bring your ideas into the world?

It was really fun.

As an engineer and producer, do you ever feel like you stress too much over the production of your own music?

While there’s certainly vortexes and traps that people fall into when they’re recording themselves, and I’m certainly no stranger to those, the process on this record was relaxed. It was kind of stress-free, and the mixes were the most difficult part. I kind of just locked myself in the basement, well, in the studio that I work at, and mixed until it was done (for six days). At the end of it, I felt like I kind of emerged as a new person. I learned a lot about myself and my process. So yeah, it’s kind of a “full circle” thing.

I love your song “Sleep Easy,” partially because it reminds me a bit of Porcelain Raft (one of my favorite musicians). Are you also a fan?

I wish I could say, honestly, I knew who Porcelain Raft was but I don’t. And I guess that’s kind of one of the reasons way I wanted to respond to you in this way. I think if you’re going to sit down and answer questions over email, I may have Googled Porcelain Raft and decided whether I liked it or not and then responded, having done that. And I think that’s a little dishonest. So I’ll be sure to check it out.

You mentioned in your interview with Impose that “Bottled water is weird and totally irresponsible (kinda like playing music)…” Do you really feel like playing music is irresponsible?

[Laughs] Yes. Actually, I should say playing music is not irresponsible, totally. Directing your life towards only trying to play music can be extremely irresponsible.

You already have 71 Instagram followers [now 190] and your only entry is a video of you pouring water on your face. What’s your secret?

Hydration.

There are so many great music venues in New York. Do you have a favorite?

Yeah, my favorite venue of all-time in New York is The Bowery Ballroom because it’s a beautiful room and there’s a sound guy named Kenny who mixes all analog and the sound is just really phenomenal. And the staff are really great too, so that’s my favorite all-around venue.

But I’ve lived in New York for close to five years, maybe six, and there used to be a venue called Big Snow Buffalo Lodge in Bushwick and I spent a lot of time there learning how to play guitar, And learning how to play shows, and hanging out with really wonderful musicians. And it doesn’t exist anymore, but I still think about it a lot.

I guess that ties in with your next question of “Are there any venues with sentimental value for me”, and that certainly is one of them. But I also like the venues out in Bushwick like The Silent Barn and Shea Stadium. I have a fondness for them as well.

Did you grow up in New York?

No, I grew up in North Carolina.

What’s your favorite place in the city for pizza?

Well, I really like Best Pizza…because it’s the best.

Is it true that your mother is Italian? Have you spent much time in Italy?

I’ve never been to Italy, but someday I’d like to go to Italy with my mother. Her side of the family, they’re called the Trupianos, and they’re very Italian.

What do you think of the Italian pop music they have there?

I know of this wonderful artist named Luxardo, and I really recommend them.

What’s with all the Ringo Starr on your Twitter page?

Ringo’s Twitter is really amazing, and I think if you read through it, you really start to get a sense for how he is as a person. Like, it’s definitely him posting on Twitter. And I suppose ultimately, my greater plan is to be able to hang out with him someday and record with him playing the drums. Because he’s still out there, and he’s literally the best drummer of all time. Yeah, definitely Ringo.

Did you ever see The Point, that animated film Ringo did in ’71?

Yeah, the Nilsson film with the record. My favorite song is “Me And My Arrow” on that record. Yeah, Ringo narrated it. I think that may have been the beginning of his career in narration. I grew up with Thomas the Tank Engine, which he also narrated. Ringo’s been in my life.

What can your fans look forward to in the near future?

More visual and auditory stimulation.

ANIMAL FACE: A BOREDOM APP AT ITS FINEST
June 7, 2016 12:11 pm

Well, this app is pretty self explanatory, you put an animal on someone’s face. Seemed pretty stupid at first, but I am pleasantly amused at how much fun it became. It isn’t a life changing app, but if you’re bored or have some animal inside jokes with friends, then it can be a “hoot.”

The menu and user interface is pretty easy to get around. It’s simple enough editing tools are nice and allow for your mayhem for making silly pictures easy. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised at how many options there are for animals, various faces of the animals, and even things like ears and wings. But, obviously, to get all the faces and frames, you have to pay a few bucks here and there, which you can’t be too mad about for the amount of content that is available for free. The last nice touch is that you can grab pics from your library or just take a picture on the spot, other tools lack choice, therefore Animal Face get some extra kudos.

I am seriously surprised at the number of people that have downloaded it and given it 5 stars. Obviously a lot of people are spending time and money for it to have so many high reviews. Google Play has had over 47,000 downloads and 28,000 of them have given it a 5 star rating. iTunes doesn’t tell us how many have downloaded it, but there are over 2,000 5 star ratings from people who have downloaded it.

For a free app, it’s actually pretty high quality, and I see why people use it, but I would never bother keeping it on my phone for more than a few days. If you want to see your friends with cow heads and roaring lion faces, enjoy. Here are a few I did, so show us your favorite Animal Faces and tweet us at @AtypicalBeasts!

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OVERSHARING IS CARING
April 13, 2016 12:23 pm

This generation seems to be completely obsessed with themselves. By default, our apps are ready to shamelessly show off the Screenshot_2016-04-13-12-07-19most intimate parts of ourselves, including our bodies. One app in particular though seems to bring a little of the shame and a touch of honesty into our over-shared little world.

Shorts is an app created in order to bring you even closer to your friends, by sharing even more of yourself. The goal of Shorts, according to its creator Paul Davison, is to get people to not share only the parts of them that they want public, but every part of them. Shorts aims to give your online persona a little more modesty. People can now get a look into your entire camera roll.

Now if you’re a reserved, grumpy piece of shit like me (who is kind of over this whole social media crap) you might be thinking, “oh great, another useless app.” If you are thinking that, you are totally right.

Although Shorts differentiates itself by trying to be more transparent, isn’t there enough of you out there already? Be it the glossed up you or not, do you really want more of you out in the internet? Even though it might be a great idea, it isn’t one that will catch on. Those that are private individuals will find it to be invasive, and the less private ones might find it to be damaging. If you are a person who is really into these apps, you probably take into consideration your online persona. Why would you want people seeing the 75 other pictures you took of yourself while trying to choose the “perfect selfie”?

Sometimes I take a look at all of the apps that I have on my phone, and I admittedly get a little overwhelmed. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are these media machines where you give them your precious and valuable time and they offer public scrutiny in return. Now do you really want another one of these? Worst of all, one that has no intention of allowing yourself to look good? I’ll stick with my Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter and Vine thank you very much.

WE LOVED YOU, INSTAGRAM
March 21, 2016 12:56 pm

Instagram has announced it will start to change the way you see your feed, using the algorithm that its parent Facebook uses. As we all know and love it, the popular photo sharing app works chronologically, allowing you to see the latest posts by anyone you follow, or anyone that uses a tag you’ve searched. This has proven time and time again to be an incredibly powerful tool for people who have boosted small businesses and grown a significant following because of their higher than average posts. In a way, it feels like Instagram is betraying us, adopting an interest-based feed that succumbs to Facebook’s way of timeline. Something that once allowed Instagram to differentiate itself from the everyday combat on social media to be the highest-rated and “worthy” of being on the top of a news feed has now become standard.

We all know stories of people who have gained national, even global recognition for their posts. Teachers who quit their jobs to become yogis, jobless photographers getting messages from Ralph Lauren, and other huge-named clients. Thank you YOUTUBE for granting a number of our most loved artists the chance to show themselves off on a global platform that ultimately led to stardom. Unfortunately, this modern tool of allowing people to follow their creative dreams through Instagram, a successful feat for many, will soon become lost again in the sea of already-popular accounts. Here’s the official notice by Instagram from days ago:

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 12.36.24 PMThank you for suggesting posts and profiles “based on posts you’ve liked” or “pages you follow.” Let’s leave it at that, shall we? Personally, I want the option to see what Instagram thought was important for me, and they already provided it. That was good enough. Otherwise, how will you know how much fun my team had at SXSW if Instagram didn’t think it’d be a favorite of yours because you’ve never liked photos from that festival before?

This also seems like just a jump towards more paid promotion. Sure, this is a business, and ‘grams gotta do what ‘grams gotta do. But the backlash has been clear. There’s even a petition circulating to get them to stop. and I just hope Instagram sticks to its promise and listens to what their regular users have to say, and act accordingly.

#RIPInstagram

Written by Annie Paul 

LET THE SPECTACLE ASTOUND YOU, MSQRD
February 16, 2016 8:20 pm

As an avid user of Snapchat and of their extremely dumb (albeit fun) filters, I was extremely excited when I heard about Masquerade, or MSQRD.

MSQRD joins the plethora of apps like Tumblr and Grindr to cut vowels out of their name in order to shorten them, because in our ADD addled world, we don’t have time to spell out a full word.

MSQRD is an app that uses the face swapping software in order to put more accurate filters that are very entertaining. MSQRD has a filter that allows you to look like Leonardo DiCaprio, and who doesn’t want to look like Leo? The app allows for a better snapchat-ey filter experience. At least that’s what the jargon on their page will make you believe. Whether you do or don’t, the app is entertaining as hell, that is if you can acquire it.

MSQRD like many other apps has excluded me for having an android… I know, I know it is easier to put apps on the app store first. I just don’t think it’s a viable business option. Wait until you can do that on all phones or don’t do it at all.

I know I say that as a bitter android user, but c’mon. IPhones? Why? They all look the same. I was on the subway the other day and a phone rang, it was an IPhone, I know because they all have that same fucking ringtone. I shit you not, about 12 people went crazy rummaging through their oversized coats and bags until one found the ringing phone among the dozen.

Anyway. After ranting among myself and whoever was around to hear that (my cat) I was able to get back on task. The MSQRD app manages to pull off the Snapchat’s filter trick and enhance it by offering you a broader variety with a quality that is unarguably better than Snapchat’s. The app is one which you can find comfort in and use in a very entertaining way. Cara Delevingne has posted several videos on her Instagram using the app herself, so if you have any  question as to the quality of the app, go and check her out.

Download MSQRD at the app store and for all of you Android users like myself, be on the lookout for a Play Store release. We’ll get one soon, hopefuly, if not then we riot.

 

MUSIC’S MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN OF 2015
December 26, 2015 12:14 am

2015 was kind of a hectic, yet exciting time in the music industry. It’s time to remember those female artists who have made a huge impact on their fans (and haters). No, I’m not talking about how Taylor Swift brought her whole girl squad at every performance and music award, and trended the word ‘squad’. I’m not even talking about how Adele’s latest album 25 made this whole generation cry. Sure, they could be great role models but there are quite a few other female artists who deserve to have some light shed on their talent and grit.

Florence Welch (Florence and the Machine)

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Did you know she’s bff’s with Taylor Swift, and is officially part of her girl gang? Thanks to T.Swift, she even inspired Florence to write “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” that debuted number 1 in the top US Billboard 200. That album even received five Grammy Nominations! Even the extraordinary Taylor has some things to learn from Flo’s powerful presence. “What sets Florence apart? Everything. Every time I’ve been around her, she is the most magnetic person in the room…There are very few people I’ve met in my life who are truly electric, and Florence is one of them.” (Billboard) Suffering from dyslexia, anxiety, and dyspraxia (a neurological disorder that impairs motor, memory, judgment and other cognitive skills) (Fuse), Flo still manages to write kick-ass songs and excite the crowd until she drops. Literally. She’s had a few tumbles on stage this year but she gets up and goes on with the show. She can’t stop, and won’t stop. The band had many festival appearances this year including Coachella, Governor’s Ball, Way Out West, Glastonbury Festival, and more. I’d have to say that she won me over at Governor’s Ball when she told a girl with a “HUG?” sign to crowd surf her way to the stage and made that girl’s life.

Melanie Martinez
Since her debut on The Voice, she’s pretty much had a core fan base that supported her music and believed in her talent. Although she wasn’t the ‘official’ winner of the show, she has won over many teen hearts with her relatable, grim music. They’ve even named themselves ‘cry babies’ (you know, like the Beliebers), which come from her recent debut album Cry Baby. Along her album release, she’s been putting out music videos for every single song on her album, which she has been directing. She’s also been working with notable music connoisseurs like Babydaddy, Phoebe Ryan, and Emily Warren and she’s only 20 years young! Be sure to check out her North American tour in early 2016 and join the madness.

Sky Ferrira

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You might recognize her as Zachary Cole Smith’s (DIIV) side chick. Or as that chick who signed a record deal after she was discovered singing her own songs on Myspace. Either way, she’s a cool gal who’s not afraid to put herself out there, both physically and emotionally. But sometimes, haters hate when you express yourself through social media. She recently confronted her frustration over online bullies on Instagram, claiming that calling her a ‘slut’ or ‘bitch’ on a daily basis is NOT okay (but really, don’t you have anything else to do?) Not only did she voice her opinion on verbally abusing public female figures, but she also roasted her label Polydor for ripping off her ideas and not giving her any financial or creative support. “Maybe I would have ‘sold more records’ if I had the resources to do so. It’s completely unfair that can even get used against me…I’m talking about labels & how they all need new structure…& need to be more creative & supportive of the people that they sign.” Ouch. Sadly, this isn’t the first time her label’s fucked her over- She wasn’t so happy when Capitol didn’t have vinyl copies in time for the My Time Night Time release date, and how EMI delayed her album for years. Nonetheless, we’re hoping that she’ll have somewhat of a more peaceful and positive year in 2016, especially because her new album Masochism is being released soon!

Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett: 'In interviews I feel like a bit of a doofus.'
You’re basically screwed if you don’t know who she is. Everybody note her name down because this girl from Melbourne, Australia has been nominated as the Best New Artist for the Grammy Awards 2016! And surprisingly, she doesn’t know her fellow nominees Megan Trainor, James Bay, Sam Hunt, or Tori Kelly- But that’s okay. “I don’t know who they are. I probably won’t [check them out]” (NME). Since her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, she’s gained attention from the media and indie music lovers. It was even nominated at the ARIA Music Awards this year….In eight whopping categories! Now that’s pretty insane. Unlike any other artist, her sound is honest and grungy with witty rambling lyrics. You can check her out on this in-depth article we wrote on her.

Laura Jane Grace (of Against Me!)

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I don’t know what this petition for getting Laura Jane Grace in Star Wars Episode VIII is…But I do know that she’s a likable figure in the music industry. When her band signed to Universal, she was known as Tom Gabel. Now, she’s performing as Laura since 2012 when she opened up about being transgender. She got so sick and tired of being judged by her choices, she wore a black statement jersey on stage that read “GENDER IS OVER! IF YOU WANT IT” for 60 nights. Now that’s dedication! She signed her jersey and “donated it to the group that created it for a charity giveaway.” (RollingStone) She even set up a contest where fans can win her jersey by donating $10-$15, and the proceeds would go to NPO’s. Let’s all learn from her and pay it forward. The band is currently working on their next album which will be released sometime in 2016.

Grimes

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She never fails to surprise us with her psychedelic, pop-influenced, irresistible dream world. The Spectrum sum her up very well when they say “Grimes makes the kind of music you might expect from someone who was formerly both a dancer and a neuroscience major.” The creepy giggling, whispering, talking jibberish basically tell us that she’s nuts- but in a good way. She had an opportunity to open up for Lana Del Rey, exposing herself to (mostly) teenage girls who’ve never heard of her. In her interview with Fuse, she mentions how touring is “bad for the environment” and shows her concerns for the environment. “I think it’s real important to have real cups because we’re trying to reduce garbage…Shipping stuff around and flying 11 people around the world is quite the carbon footprint…So we’re just trying to reduce as much as possible.” She’s also a healthy eater who drinks kombucha and does not allow a single candy in her dressing room “because otherwise, I’ll only eat candy.” We’re hoping that her views on the environment and healthy will rub on to her fans, converting everyone into a bubbly and intelligent woman like her.

WTF BOOMERANG
December 13, 2015 10:17 pm

From the makers of everybody’s favorite time waster, Instagram, comes a whole new way to fabricate memories with your friends; Boomerang. Boomerang allows users to create mini videos that loop back and forth, the app shoots a burst of 10 photos and plays them forwards and backwards, which you can then share on Instagram or Facebook right from the app. In the demos for it when you first download the app, it shows a girl who’s taken a picture of herself blowing a bubble of gum and it shows it bursting and un-bursting. The app makes videos/pictures/boomerangs, whatever you call these monstrosities that look like a glitchy video game. Why would anyone make such a thing? I don’t know.

Boomerang is not something that you should read 300-800 words to understand. In short it is a boring dud. If you stop reading here, you’ll have gotten what the app does, but if you want to read a guy rant on about an app that was probably made by a think tank of dumb college kids somewhere in Silicon Valley or wherever the hell Instagram houses its Hefe-filtered headquarters, then keep going.

Is it supposed to be artsy? Is it supposed to be fun? I am not sure. I downloaded the app and immediately un-downloaded it after taking a video, or a gif or a Harry Potter type picture, taking a …boomerang? Whatever the verb of making one of these dull time wasters. Not that I am above a good time waster, or a bad one for that matter. I am usually a person that will give anything a try, I watched 10 minutes of Shia LaBeouf live-streaming himself watching all of his movies, I had more fun in those 10 minutes than I did with this app, and nothing happened in those 10 minutes by the way, he was just sitting there.

Although the app has mixed reviews in the Play Store, it worked well for me. It did record me throwing my beanie up in the air and it did play it forwards and backwards. One of the best things I can say about the app is that it works, another good thing that I can say about the app is that its an app.

What is the reason for boomerang? What is its purpose? Does it stay up late at night asking itself questions like; is God real? No, because Boomerang is one of a thousand fads, you remember Floppy Bird? If you are a person that downloaded Boomerang, I recommend another app for you, it is called Send Me To Heaven. You might not have heard of it, but if you haven’t go ahead and look it up. It is an app made just for you.

In the end Boomerang is just something that your 12 year old niece will download, play with for an hour, and then realize that she has more important things to do with her time than record one second loops of herself making a funny face or whatever it is that people do on this app. Things like, oh I don’t know, literally anything else would be more important that this app.

If you can already record 15 seconds or so on Instagram, why would you limit yourself to a one second loop without a sound? If 15 seconds of content is too much, Vine is a thing. If you want something in between six and 15 seconds, I recommend Snapchat.

Is Instagram out of ideas? Possibly. Is this a bad thing? No. Remember when people didn’t take pictures of their food every time you went out with them? I do, those were good times. Then again I could be wrong and this could be the next big thing and this could be the downfall of civilization.

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