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The Untold Story of ‘The Sims,’ Your First Favorite Jazz Record

The songs that soundtracked the game’s Build Mode introduced millions of unknowing kids to new age jazz. The musicians behind it were just trying to make something that wouldn’t interfere with your landscaping. In a home studio in a garage in a suburb east of San Francisco, some time in 1999, Jerry Martin set about making the most inconspicuous music that he could. As the … Continue reading The Untold Story of ‘The Sims,’ Your First Favorite Jazz Record

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The Darkness Want to Be Rockstars Again

It’s 9 AM on a bright, frigid October morning in Greenwich, South East London, and a Thames Clipper river bus is floating gently down the water, past St John’s Wharf, carrying a few dozen bemused commuters to Waterloo. At the front of the boat, with the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf glistening in the background, The Darkness, once Britain’s biggest rock band, are playing “One Way … Continue reading The Darkness Want to Be Rockstars Again

The Story of Steven Universe: TV’s Smartest Cartoon

Rebecca Sugar has been building new worlds for as long as she can remember. As a kid growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, she and her younger brother Steven would draw out fantasy stories. Inspired by Zelda games and Yoshi’s Island, as well as hours spent on the household Nintendo 64, the two nascent artists drew “fairies and forest adventures and glowing ethereal beings”. For Rebecca, it felt like … Continue reading The Story of Steven Universe: TV’s Smartest Cartoon

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The Woman Who Shares a Body with 14 Different Artists

Patricia sits on a wooden chair in the sunlit ground-floor of the Zebra One gallery in Hampstead, London. Gucci spectacles are buried into her straw-red hair, which falls down as far as the shoulders of her powder blue coat. She points to a painting that’s standing on the floor. This one, she explains, is the work of Ria Pratt. It’s one of the four paintings … Continue reading The Woman Who Shares a Body with 14 Different Artists

Nicholas Krgovich’s ‘In an Open Field’ Is Very Chill and Kinda Scary

It’s lunchtime and Nicholas Krgovich has consumed nothing but coffee today. He wrestles a mint-flavored toothpick around his mouth with his tongue and looks out of the window towards the damp South London side-street, the garbage piled up in the gutter and the young mothers pushing strollers past it. “I like being in a big city where everyone’s just doing their thing,” the 35-year-old says. … Continue reading Nicholas Krgovich’s ‘In an Open Field’ Is Very Chill and Kinda Scary

Shannon & the Clams’ ‘Onion’ Is Joyful, Grief-Stricken

When Shannon Shaw and Cody Blanchard of Shannon & the Clams sat down, separately, to write songs for their band’s fifth LP in October 2016, they felt compelled to interrogate themselves. Shaw had always treated songwriting as a form of problem-solving, a way to separate herself from an issue and analyze it from a distance. But now, after years of avoiding it, she had started … Continue reading Shannon & the Clams’ ‘Onion’ Is Joyful, Grief-Stricken

Sam Ray Knows What Heaven Feels Like

[First published at Noisey] Sam Ray spent Christmas in Florida with his wife, Kitty, and her family. He sent some tweets about how nice the holidays were. Kitty’s stepmom got her a hoodie with Sam’s face on it; there were a few small dogs to hang out with. On New Year’s Eve, the 27-year-old remembered what things were like two years ago, when he’d impulsively flown to Los … Continue reading Sam Ray Knows What Heaven Feels Like

Denmark’s Hygge Aesthetic Is Comfy, Cozy, and Complicit With the Rise of Xenophobic Populism

This winter, in preparation for what looks to be a terrifying year, millions of people traumatized by the ceaseless death and social turmoil of 2016 have decided to crawl back into the womb. Their return to fetal bliss is an Instagram-ready remake of the second half of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, complete with knitted sweaters, “adult” coloring books, and copious cups of calming teas. … Continue reading Denmark’s Hygge Aesthetic Is Comfy, Cozy, and Complicit With the Rise of Xenophobic Populism

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The Art Rock Rebellion of Torres

During Torres’s set at Brooklyn Steel in May, Mackenzie Scott seemed possessed. At the top of every crescendo, her voice spiralled out into a wild grunt or wail; she attacked her guitar like it was an industrial tool. She closed her set that night with “Strange Hellos,” a vengeful song of ominous non-apologies, a one-sided argument backed by clattering grunge guitars. She towered over the … Continue reading The Art Rock Rebellion of Torres

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Leonard Cohen Taught Us How to Die

No tattered papers, no clawing around for narrative, no absence of poetry. It was some way to say goodbye. After hearing Thursday night that Leonard Cohen had died, I found myself hunched over a desk in my apartment, going through the last of my father’s possessions. They comprise a green leather box full of discarded ephemera, once a case for a Spanish brandy, and a … Continue reading Leonard Cohen Taught Us How to Die

Wandering in Space: Jherek Bischoff Interviewed

Beside the LED glow of the NYPD’s Times Square kiosk, in a penned-in plot of concrete between the 24-hour Starbucks and the Hard Rock Cafe, 200 people wander about with glowing blue headphones over their skulls, fiddling with the knobs behind their right ears, trying to find an empty fold-out chair. It’s 11.30pm on a Sunday and the majority of this crowd didn’t come to … Continue reading Wandering in Space: Jherek Bischoff Interviewed

This Horrible Trump Thing: Inside Prophets of Rage’s Battle at the RNC

[First published at Noisey] Outside the Agora Theater, two miles from the political pantomime and cable news sideshow of Cleveland’s East 4th Street, around 200 people are scrummaging towards a dimly-lit lobby, sweating. A thick-necked man in an “ALL TAXES ARE STEALING” T-shirt chuckles as he turns down a copy of the Socialist Worker from the old woman peddling them on the street. A fat … Continue reading This Horrible Trump Thing: Inside Prophets of Rage’s Battle at the RNC