Kendrick’s Pulitzer: L.A. Should Be Proud…ish

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READ IT AT LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE

Kendrick Lamar won a Pulitzer Prize for Music. I enjoy this news most as a slap in the face to the Grammys who’ve failed thrice over to give the man his Album of the Year due. So yes, of course Los Angeles should be proud that Lamar’s made history, but we should be a little embarrassed that our own institutions didn’t do nearly enough to help him get there (not that he needs it).

Mike Posner Is the Most Well-Adjusted Man in Music

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READ IT AT SPOTIFY FOR ARTISTS

Look at that grinning mug (photographed by Pip Cowley). If Mike Posner really did take that pill in Ibiza, you’d guess it was still in his system. In person he’s bright and shining, calm and contemplative, fit and seriously glowing. Drugs didn’t do this, however, Mike did using his very own powerful mind and impressive willpower. And he shares his methods here in hopes that others (artists or workaday strugglers like the rest of us) might realize that they too have all it takes in order to be happy, healthy, and humming along just like this pop star and poet.

How to DIY Tour with Walter Gross, Syko Friend…

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READ IT AT SPOTIFY FOR ARTISTS

…AND MIKE BAGGETTA (sorry Mike!). If you didn’t know, Spotify has a blog that’s meant to be of service to artists. In fact, it is. But some (many? most? all?) of the articles are good reads for the rest of us too. This one that I had the honor to pen is a deep dive into the obvious and not-so-obvious ins and outs of DIY-ing one’s own tour with input from three experts on the subject. One is a speaker-shredding noisenik whose work I’m a huge fan of, Walter Gross. One is a genre-smearing guitar goddess who travels with a dog named Tupelo, Sophie Weil (a.k.a. Syko Friend). One is a jazz-etc. guitar god who just recorded an LP with Mike Watt and Jim Keltner overseen by the mighty Chris Schlarb, Mike Baggetta. Click on through to receive their hard-earned wisdom.

Nathaniel Rateliff Has Been Crying While Recording

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READ IT AT BILLBOARD (in print too)

Aw man. Just seeing this picture of dude makes me want to hug him again. I sat down to talk with Rateliff and his lifelong best bud Joey Pope about the Night Sweats’ new album, Tearing at the Seams, and we wound up having a good cry. It turns out the man is going through a divorce. As burly and tattooed as he is, Rateliff is, to quote Richard Swift, a “goddamned sweetheart.” He’s also one of the hardest working musicians out there, and has survived more than his fair share of heartache along the way. In this piece, we talk about small towns, tough jobs, firing guns, losing faith, and making moonshine. Basically, it’s all of the things that make interviews good. Dig in.

Lo Moon Ride ‘Loveless’ to Adoration (and an Album)

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READ IT AT LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE (in print too)

Before anyone knew anything about the band Lo Moon, we knew their haunting, immersive, absurdly-long-for-a-debut single “Loveless.” If you haven’t heard the song, click to the article and scroll down to the video. Once you listen, it’ll twist itself around your DNA and simply be with you, at all times, forever. The new album, Lo Moon, is out today and while “Loveless” is too high a bar to exceed, there’s a lot of gorgeous, gossamer slow-rock goodness to take in. Now, isn’t it time you learn something about the band? TL;DR: their names are Matt, Crisanta, and Sam.

The Pop Factory Next Door: Inside L.A.’s Home Studios

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READ IT AT LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE (in print too)

Live in Los Angeles? Home studios are everywhere in this city, and whether you listen to Top 40 or buy vinyl from Vacation, there’s a better than bad chance that some of the music you love was made in a residence near you. Maybe even next door. With the help of pop producer Ricky Reed, Grizzly Bear’s bassist/utilities man Chris Taylor, the irrepressible will.i.am, and a few folks behind the scenes, I give you this quick but kinda deep dive into the world of home-recording, which, as it turns out, happens to be the world that the rest of us live in… only, sometimes Kesha stops by.

Billboard Profile: Cardi B Is the Striver of the Year

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READ IT AT BILLBOARD (in print too)

Cardi B had a headache. I considered a Gay Talese tribute vis-à-vis Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, but Talese has been a completely wack presence in pop culture lately and besides, this was a rare opportunity to see who Cardi B is when she’s exhibiting that most un-Cardi B of characteristics: reserve. Still, there was color. Like in the cut scene where she was trying to eat a soppy pickle with heavily bejeweled, inch-and-a-half-long pink nails, maneuvering the spear so as to neither drip on her outfit nor fuck up her lipstick—a bit of patently Cardi B grotesquerie that seemed to underscore her innate ability to keep up appearances both high brow and low. Despite the pain between her temples, Cardi did her best to communicate what this moment’s like for her, having plunged into the mainstream after a couple years of dipping her red-bottoms in the water.

Lil Uzi Vert Is a Real Rap Rock Star

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READ IT AT BILLBOARD (in print too)

Look, Lil Uzi Vert doesn’t love talking to press. Actually, it doesn’t seem like he hates the act so much as he doesn’t acknowledge it as a thing that exists within his purview (his own people warned me this would be like getting words out of a rock). So, after a million billion delays, I finally got the guy on the phone, and he somehow found ways to reduce even non-binary (I.E. yes or no) questions to single-word answers. I must’ve re-asked each one three different ways. Honestly, I’m impressed. But hey, he was nice enough and his whole thing is expressing himself in song without any filters, so what we wound up with is a little explainer on how “XO Tour Llif3” broke through, catapulting Luv Is Rage 2 to the No. 1 album in the country. Yah! Yah! Yah! Yah!

How Phora Built His Base via Positivity and YouTube

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READ IT AT YOUTUBE FOR ARTISTS

Phora has been through a ton of traumas—from trouble with would-be father figures to the two times he nearly died as the result of attempted murder—but he’s persisted not only as a positive human being, but a hard-hustling self-made rap sensation. He did much of his fan-building via YouTube, initially DIYing his own videos, and eventually teaming with director George Orozco to create visually stunning, often narrative-heavy visuals. The man even engages the comments section, which, I suppose after you’ve been shot in the neck isn’t so scary. Still, I’m impressed.

Rolling Stone Feature: 10 Manic Hours with BTS

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READ IT AT ROLLING STONE

Remind me never to join a K-pop boy band. I barely had the stamina to follow BTS around for 10 hours, watching them dance and rap and sing and change clothes and get made up and dance and rap and sing and sweat and change clothes and get made up all over again with frequent breaks in between, not to rest, but to be painfully stretched out and kneaded and spinally adjusted by a very strong and very stern masseur. It was a little bit stressful and a lot bit awe-inspiring to watch these seven (!) young men do their thing, and an honor to work alongside photographer Brian Guido. That’s his shot of group leader RM brushing his teeth above, and you can view more over here. This piece is narrative-based so to say much more would be to give it away. Get over to Rolling Stone to spend a day with BTS and their wild, and very sweet, fans.