Watch of the Week Edition 2: Jon Bois’s The History of the Seattle Mariners

I remember stumbling upon Jon Bois’ work back in the early 2010's with his "Pretty Good" series on YouTube and being in such awe of his fascinating story telling ability through the use of Google earth, charts, graphs, jpeg images, and other nonsensical miscellaneous items that he got his hands on. 

Yet, with how insignificant each part seemed to be on its lonesome, together they contributed to this mystical awe-inspiring charm that is unmatched in the realm of YouTube content. See, Jon Bois as a sportswriter, as a storyteller, and ultimately as a documentarian has been unparalleled this past decade. However, it is within The History of the Seattle Mariners where Bois creates his titular moment to transcend beyond the nominal title of a “content creator” to a trailblazing artist. 

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February 24: The 5 tracks we're following this week

1. Cassandra Jenkins - Hard Drive

The lead single from Cassandra Jenkins stunning new album ‘An Overview on Phenomenal Nature’ begins with what sounds like a phone recording of an unnamed narrator telling us that the following are “real things that happened.” What follows are a series of kaleidoscopic vignettes that are just as lyrically and sonically intimate as that introduction suggests. The writing here doesn’t feel like verse, but rather private voice memos Jenkins is leaving herself that happen to coincide with a theme. She lilts into a melodic sigh toward the chorus but otherwise relays the lyrics in a droll almost sardonic voice. This performance only lends to the vulnerability of the words being relayed. Throughout the track Jenkins let’s us in on a series of conversations; the characters that speak to her are vast and complex, all lending different ideas and points of view to the singer as she attempts to ease her mind and accept the beauty around her even in such dour times. The final words of the track are a repeated mantra she learns from a psychic who had attempted to “put [her] heart back together.” As the lush sophisti-pop instrumental builds to a beautiful and jaw dropping climax, you get the feeling that the mantra may have worked after all.

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Watch of the Week Edition 1: Edward Yang’s Yi Yi

How can one begin to tackle the condition of living a life? What binds us together? Which observations do we make that affect our future? How could we live without sorrow? There are too many questions that can be asked about life and the purpose we should fulfill before our eventual end. Edward Yang, director, writer, and pioneer during the Taiwanese New Wave, poses these questions with such authentic grace and subtle care that they slip by our minds only to hit like a truck when we’re knocking on death's door. 

Yi Yi establishes itself as a humble family drama, beginning with a wedding and ending with a funeral. Brushing its characters like a Jackson Pollock painting; weaving in and out of events, both significant and insignificant, driven by an unseeable motive. And with the grandest canvas Yang crafts an intimate portrait of life with five characters. A keenly curious child, a teen seeking for a stable foundation, a middle-aged man caught in the energy-draining tedium of work, a middle-aged woman in search of happiness and purpose, and an old woman in a coma acting as a somber reminder of life’s end for our family. 

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February 17: The 5 tracks we're following this week

1. Rebecca Black - Friday (REMIX) [feat. 3OH!3, Big Freedia, & Dorian Electra]
10 years after the original song took the Internet by storm, Rebecca Black returns with a remix of her iconic track “Friday.” 10 years on, Black has matured as an artist, and the pop scene has shifted along with her; everything that made the original video so maligned by certain sects of the net has now been co-opted by the recent hyperpop wave, the blaring synths, the gauche delivery, and the uber auto tuned vocals. All that returns without irony or shame. Dylan Brady (100 Gecs) lends his familiar hyperkinetic and plasticky production through the multiphase redux to create an instrumental that is in one moment a faithful reinterpretation of the original and in the next a SOPHIE-esque deconstructed club banger. The features here all wow, though the standout of the entire track is, perhaps predictably, Big Freedia who introduces the track and supplies the final verse, sounding larger than life as she delivers dance hymns to the weekend. Black’s return to her teenage pop years is an unabashed ode to the simple fun and indulgence of youth. 

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Belan: EA's college football news is exciting, but let's temper expectations

Fans of the NCAA Football video game franchise were given a new lifeline Monday, as EA Sports announced a new game would be released in the coming years.

The news has come as an unexpected yet entirely welcomed surprise. Most thought that EA would never make another college football game after the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit that sought compensation for using student athletes’ image and likeness. 

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5 tracks we're following this week

An unexpected swan song for one of modern music's great innovators, “UNISIL” is the final single to be released by experimental pop and electronic musician SOPHIE before her tragic passing Saturday. A B-Side recorded originally for her debut album “Product,” it displays what made much of SOPHIE’s music so revelatory in the first place. Hyperkinetic rubbery synths overlay industrial percussion and squelching bass for a kind of electro-club banger that sounds not quite of this world. The layout here is simple; it is first and foremost a dance track, but the execution is as breathtaking as ever. It is a reminder to value every piece of art she shared with us. 

Brent Faiyaz & DJ Dahi - Gravity (feat. Tyler, The Creator)
Tyler, the Creator teams up with R&B crooner Brent Faiyaz and DJ Dahi for this chill, subtly psychedelic soul track. The production from Dahi is textured and dusty, creating an instantly pleasant vintage feel and Tyler plays the guest role well, dropping a quick verse in the third leg of the track and leaving plenty of room for Faiyaz’s butter-smooth vocals and layered harmonies. Together, they have crafted a track that's set to keep the vibes light on an evening drive.

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On SOPHIE, Avant-Club, & Queerness

The following article is a reprint from the original 2019 U92 Zine following the tragic death this week of SOPHIE at just 34 years old.

Combining abrasive, experimental club sounds with the glamor and gloss of pop music, the Scottish-born, LA-based musician Sophie (stylized as SOPHIE) is one of the first transgender artists to break through the barriers of the pop industry. Having caught the attention of major artists such as Lady Gaga, Madonna, Charli XCX, and Vince Staples, Sophie has made a name for herself from the inside. Prior to the release of her Grammy nominated debut album “Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides” in 2018, Sophie primarily produced for other artists while making smaller experimental pop singles on the side. Taking a sonical left turn, her debut dived deep into a niche and experimental subgenre of electronic music. 

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