Solange: Rise and Shine
by Amber Bravo
For an audience accustomed to Beyoncé’s public polish, Solange’s lyrics might read as provocation, but really, for her to deny there’s any existential conflict would be much weirder. Even if Beyoncé is the proverbial albatross around Solange’s neck—a good omen or potentially a curse on her journey toward pop stardom—Solange is still innately blessed, and talent is the family business.
Vampire Weekend: Upper Classmen by Felipe Delerme
“I think we’re all well aware of the context within which we’re releasing something,” Tomson says. “You know, it’s not like we’re bros from college anymore—we’re a band and an entity that people know and that some people, either good or bad, are emotionally invested in.
London Streetwear: Just Brilliant by Alex Frank
In contrast to the raw, stiff, reappropriated workwear and ’60s-style fits that have proliferated in men’s fashion for the past five years—the style known as heritage—these young designers are rejecting the notion that those looks were ever their heritage to reinterpret. They grew up on sportswear, not suits.
Earl Sweatshirt: Bless This Mess by Mary H.K. Choi
Earl reinforces that he’s a real kid with a traumatized family, and not the prize to an elaborate scavenger hunt of the internet’s making. Doris is a different story and Earl is aware of the pressure. “The anticipation scares the shit out of me,” he says, squinting against the smoke of a cigarette.
Juicy J: Still Trippin by Zach Baron
“When I get old,” he says, “I’ll be one of those dudes that’s had a real good rich life, a successful life, but not a real life.” When Three 6 Mafia ground to a halt, Juicy J could’ve tried to fill in those blanks, those voids where a real life would’ve gone, but instead he went straight back to work, rapping about pulling triggers, Xanax, cough syrup and strip clubs, same as he’d been doing since he was a teenager.
Haim: Best Friends Forever by Duncan Cooper
Haim are perhaps the prototypical millennial band, their image simultaneously conservative but liberal, safe but dangerous. “In my eyes, only the strong survive,” Alana says. “The more powerful girls are, the more interesting they are.” Haim is open to everyone precisely because they’re not afraid to alienate. They love their parents, but what would their mother think!
Ciara: Private Party by Lizzy Goodman
“I don’t know how to answer that question,” she says when asked about the contrast between her remote, intensely private persona and the risqué nature of her videos. “Like, when I was recording ‘Body Party,’ I felt a certain feeling—it evoked a certain emotion.” What emotion? She smiles shyly and plays with the delicate rings on her fingers. “Well…” she says. “I would think the emotion is obvious.”
Disclosure: Child’s Play by Andy Beta
Rather than conduct themselves as if the center of attention, the Lawrence brothers act like any other kids out on the weekend, goofing with friends and smiling back at their girlfriends, and with Guy sporting a black backpack, they look as if they just left campus for a night out.
Mac Miller: Find Yourself by Andrew Nosnitsky
“People look at me like I really capitalized off [my whiteness],” he says. When I ask him if he thinks he did, he turns sheepish: “Not intentionally.” He continues, loosely skirting the question. “I think white kids saw me and were like, Holy shit! That could be me. I think I was an easily relatable person. I probably still am. But [on Watching Movies], you hear a lot of fucking insecurity about who I am.”
Sky Ferreira: Everything is Embarrassing by Lizzy Goodman
As Ferreira whips on a pair of sunglasses big enough to cover her pillow-creased cheeks, I think of something she said in passing as we took our seats on the plane a few hours earlier. “I’m trying to keep myself together, to keep myself sane through all of this, but there are moments when I am completely losing my mind.”
L.I.E.S.: Off Beat by Emilie Friedlander
It’s difficult to enumerate the particular qualities that draw Morelli’s ear, but he tends to zero in on the sort of jams that are somehow infectious in their dissonance, rhythmic in their disjointedness, textural in their particular brand of low fidelity. They aren’t exactly instant bangers, but they offer a rarer and more counterintuitive kind of musical enjoyment, one that runs parallel to Morelli’s skill for finding talent in the places where nobody else is looking.
I Survived Everything: An Interview with Trent Reznor by Andrew Nosnitsky
“I thought [Yeezus] was pretty fucking good. Musically, I like it a lot. I know Kanye a little bit. We’ve said hi at shows over the years, and I find him to be a pretty fascinating character that’s able to back up some of the absurdity with pretty consistently great music. Like, undeniably.”
We’re In This Together: An Oral History of Nine Inch Nails compiled by Naomi Zeichner and Michael Zelenko
“Trent stood out from the crowd. Allegheny College was very conservative and preppy. There was no hipster/indie scene at all. He was pretty much the only person who had a distinctive style. He was like a mod or a new-waver. He used to wear parachute pants, and this was back in the ’80s, that whole MTV era. He looked like he had just stepped out of a video.”
Blood Orange: Hitting the Right Notes by Alex Frank
On the album’s last song, “Time Will Tell,” Hynes reprises the lyrics from “It Is What It Is” in his own pretty falsetto, ensuring that Cupid Deluxe ends on a strangely hopeful note of ambivalence that he sings himself. “The buzz is going to die,” he says. “Maybe when people forget about me, I can sneak around and do all the things that I want.”
Travi$ Scott: No Fear by Sam Hockley-Smith, FADER #89
Success for Scott doesn’t mean being the most visible, or making the most hits. It means having a clear vision of what he wants to do. “I feel like I’m the opposite of the system—I’m the opposite of what Mike WiLL is,” he says. “You will not be able to compare me to a Mike WiLL or to a Young Chop or any of these niggas that make number one rap songs. Travi$ is not here to make number one rap songs. Those people get high off of making number one songs. I’m into making number one fucking albums.”
Capital STEEZ: King Capital by Eli Rosenberg
None of the city’s newspapers reported it, and of the outlets that did, not a single one was able to confirm it officially. One of the city’s most gifted young artists had killed himself in the center of Manhattan, and no one seemed to know for certain if it had even happened.