Mija Is a Self-Made One-Woman Art Factory

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READ IT AT NOISEY (also in Vice’s print music issue)

Do you know about Mija yet? If not, it’s time. Because sometime in the next year or so, you will find yourself either wearing clothes she designed, attending a festival she put together, watching a feature-length anime she conceived, thrashing to one of her infamous DJ sets, or, at the very least, enjoying one of her songs which run the gamut from happy hardcore filtered through an 8-bit circuit board (are circuit boards the keepers of bits? probably not, but humor me) to ambient ballads for piano and beat-machine. Anyway, the point is, I got to spend some time with Mija in L.A.’s Arts District, where she is right at home, and she was equal parts chill, driven, and strange.

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The Secret Concert Series You Need to Know About

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READ IT AT LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE (in print too)

A selection of people you might see at a Sofar Sounds secret show: moms and dads on benches with wine, hipster youth on blankets with LA Croix, hirsute heshers on walls with beers, teens on top of Taco Bell wrappers eating Taco Bell, pretty people floating on air drinking air. One of the unique side effects of throwing shows with unknown lineups is the L.A.-rare intermingling of various types of music fans, and it’s a good good thing. In fact, there are many good good things about Sofar Sounds—perhaps goodest of all is that it puts the intimacy and discovery back into seeing live music. To say much of anything about how it works would be to give away, like, 90 percent of the article, so I’ll refrain. But I will say this: the piece was edited to read “Venice Blvd. event space” in the first sentence, but it should say “Venice Blvd. clothing boutique” because throwing shows in unusual places is a huge part of what makes Sofar—wait for it—so good.

Weezer Almost Went Mumble-Rap for Their New LP

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READ IT AT BILLBOARD (in print too)

After nearly 20 years of interviewing musicians, I was finally led by the journalism gods to the living rock nerd altar that is Rivers Cuomo. He was every bit as repressed and smart as I would’ve hoped. And also Brian Bell was there. He had long hair and wore a loose suit and rockstar-ed me the second I met him at a fancy Santa Monica coffee shop. I introduced myself and he said, “Great. Because I’m Brian Bell from Weezer and I need an espresso,” as he walked past me, took a seat, and waited for his espresso to materialize. But all worked out in the end: his publicist ordered him a drink and I asked these two Weezers a bunch of questions about their new album, Pacific Daydream. Also, Cuomo big-upped XXXtentacion, which was surprising on many levels.

Michael Cera Is (Still) Really Good at Music

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READ IT AT NOISEY

If you don’t know, Michael Cera makes music—he just keeps a low profile. Back in 2014, he dropped a great lil’ web-only album of bedroom pop and folk. I bought it on Bandcamp and, on a whim, emailed the account asking for an interview. Cera replied, and we talked for SPIN. Now he’s back with a nifty synthy track called “Best I Can” featuring Sharon Van Etten, written for Sundance-slaying documentary Dina. This time he emailed me, and Noisey ran the words.

PODCAST: GEEKIN’ ON WYCLEF FOR THE CARNIVAL’S 20TH

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LISTEN AT BILLBOARD (in iTunes too)

I dug mantle-deep into Wyclef Jean’s The Carnival on Billboard’s Pop Shop podcast. This was easy because The Carnival is kinda sorta definitely very much one of my favorite albums of all time. The occasion for the chat was, of course, the LP’s 20th birthday (I’m sure you had it marked on your calendar), and the episode was part of Andrew Unterberger’s “Coming Around Again” series. He tags me in around 25:10. Sound quality leaves a lil’ bit to be desired ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Rita Ora Talks Fifty Shades Darker, Top Model

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READ IT AT MEN’S FITNESS (in print too)

Had a lil’ chat with the mighty Rita Ora about the incredibly lengthy list of things she’s doing including but not limited to: ramping up her Fifty Shades roll in Darker, stepping in for Tyra Banks as host of America’s Top Model,  running the fashion game in collaboration with Adidas, acting in an indie flick alongside the late great Carrie Fisher, and being a body-positive badass.

Lukas Graham on Grammys, Babies and Speedos

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READ IT AT BILLBOARD (in print too)

I INTERVIEWED WYCLEF JEAN AND HE CALLED ME “FAMILY”!!! Oh, and I had a weird/awesome brunch with Lukas Forchhammer, the mastermind behind the Danish musical oddity that is Lukas Graham and their massive 2016 hit song, “7 Years.” Due to space constraints, this interview (one of three Grammy preview covers) was trimmed considerably, so you’ll miss the bit where I said, “He’s sporting … a fresh haircut he says makes him ‘look like a lesbian raver.’ Really, he looks like a ’90s rap-rock stoner. It’s one of the many things that set him apart from 2017’s music industry power players.” However, they did keep my quote from Wyclef (not the “family” part), which makes 15-year-old me die and go to heaven. So, I guess I’m dead now. Oh well.

Juicy J Is Cooking with Weed (and Chris Sayegh)

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READ IT AT BILLBOARD (in print too)

Memphis rap OG Juicy J gets a lesson in cannabis cuisine from fine dining stoner Chris Sayegh, aka The Herbal Chef (“THC,” of course). I sat in on the entire thing, and while I interviewed the two of them afterward, you really just want to read this for the play-by-play: “Juicy J holds a single flower with a pair of extra-long tweezers cautiously, as if the tiny bloom is a hunk of uranium. His hand seems to lilt ever so subtly, pulled to the right by three heavily studded gold rings. But the rapper gets it together and, at the last second, sticks the landing…” Toldja.