Eminem Adjusts, Forth Wanderers Emerge, and the Best Stuff You Missed This Week
This week in Noisey features: Detroit's favorite son returns to Coachella, a New Jersey-based five-piece prepare to take over, a staff writer gets baked before listening to Minor Threat, and Big Freedia's absence is conspicuous.
Eminem Would Still Like Your Attention, Please
Beyoncé Knowles ruled last week's first run through Coachella, bringing a remarkably ambitious, perfectly executed, and utterly absorbing live show to the Californian mega-festival. "It was music's biggest night," Andrea Domanick wrote in her review of the set the next morning, still recovering from the glitz and glamor. The way in which Beyoncé dominated proceedings only brought into starker relief the new world that Detroit rap legend Eminem finds himself in today. Reviewing Em's Saturday night set, Jeff Weiss dived into the ways that shock tactics and trollery have changed since the second Bush era. He found that Eminem's persona is now a reminder of a time when the world was more manageably hellish:
In civic and online discourse, the exaggerated half-serious irony that Eminem once deployed to rile up “the moral majority” has become the conventional mode of communication. Eminem was trolling before the word became codified, consciously provocative, purposely irresponsible, and occasionally profoundly unfunny. But there was simmering contempt towards conventional mores, scarcely concealed racism, and total phoniness that allowed him to connect with adolescents like a rap Holden Caulfield. It’s what teenagers do intuitively.
Forth Wanderers Cast a Wide Net
New Jersey indie five-piece Forth Wanderers are setting the bar for indie rock this year. Their self-titled Sub Pop debut, out this time next week, sounds effortless, Ben Guterl and Duke Greene's guitar melodies lapping up around Ava Trilling's calescent vocals. Leah Mandel went to hang out with the band in Brooklyn for a Noisey Next profile, and they started reeling off influences: Tom Waits, Sun Ra, Yung Lean, Migos, SZA, Ella Fitzgerald, Outkast, Stereolab, Sade, Erykah Badu, John Coltrane. Mandel wrote that their broad taste finds its way onto Forth Wanderers in subtle ways:
You won’t necessarily find all those influences in their music, but what you can hear is their experimental spirit, their penchant for soulful, layered, and self-referential arrangements. And what you can definitely hear is that they’re all low-key inspired by the emo music they listened to as kids. “I used to love emo,” Ben says. “I think we all underestimate that.” Ava has a drawn-out whine that’s tied to Ben’s noodly chords as though by telepathy, and her words tug and stab at the heart. On the new album, her lyrics add a dollop of sensuality to all that angst. It works well.
Getting High and Listening to Straight Edge
This time last year, Noisey's own Lawrence Burney prepared for 4/20 by listening to 10 essential stoner metal albums. It was a genre that he hadn't so much as heard of until the albums appeared in his inbox, but he ended up enjoying Orange Goblin and Acid King, and that seemed like a pretty good return on his investment. So, this year, he decided to step things up. He listened to a bunch of straight edge hardcore, got high as hell, and wrote out his thoughts. He did not have any fun at all. Here's what he had to say about Ian MacKaye's thesis through Minor Threat's self-titled 1984 EP:
What a lame. Calling me and my friends dead because we want to enjoy a few spliffs to make more fun out of watching DMV Hoodz and News Youtube updates or vibe out to the new Cardi album is not exactly how to talk me out of doing it. This is like when vegans call people murderers for enjoying a perfectly cooked turkey burger on a toasted brioche bun. I don't appreciate it.
Big Freedia, the Invisible Magician
Drake's latest single, "Nice For What," is a joyful affirmation, a do-what-you-want anthem, and a concerted play to make sure the world knows that he supports women. The song samples Lauryn Hill, but the voice that introduces the track—"I wanna know who mothafuckin' representin' in here tonight"—belongs to Big Freedia, the bounce queen of New Orleans. Freedia is absent the song's video, though a glut of female Hollywood heavyweights turn up. And this isn't the first time that her voice has been heard without her face being seen—Beyoncé has covered similar ground. As Myles E Johnson wrote earlier in the week, Freedia—"a gay man with dark skin whose gender performance is extremely deviant from the binary"—still sits too far outside of society's norms to fit into our mainstream, however forward-thinking it may want to be.
For as progressive as this current cultural moment may seem, it is still scary to transgress outside of particular boundaries. We know that people that fail gender expectations, who are queer, and are dark skin suffer, and it can feel risky to incorporate someone that holds all of these marginalized identities into your art. This is especially true when you desire for you art to still dominate in the mainstream marketplace.
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