Impose Magazine // Summer Goth Playlist

I’m back on Impose with a special Summer Goth Mix for my fellow tropigoths and darquetas. Check out my playlist of darkss anthems below:

01 Tubeway Army — “Down In The Park”
02 Total Control — “Flesh War”
03 Cementerio de Mascotas — “After Party”
04 The Sisters of Mercy — “Lucretia My Reflection”
05 Rakta — “Caverna”
06 Siouxsie And The Banshees — “Cities In Dust”
07 Cocteau Twins — “Blind Dumb Deaf”
08 Eyedress — “My Hologram”
09 Perturbator — “Hard Wired” (Feat. Memory Ghost’s Isabella Goloversic)
10 Selma Oxor — “Quiero Salir”
11 SZA — “Babylon” (Feat. Kendrick Lamar)
12 Princess Nokia — “Young Girls”
13 Los Mirlos — “Sonido Amazonico”
14 U.S. Girls — “Island Song”

Impose Magazine // The Mallgoth Episode with Suzy X

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Thanks to Eric and Edwina for inviting me as a guest in this week’s episode of Audio Imposition! Above is a photo of me reading from my 8th grade diary zine, AKA, Vol. 2 of The Mallgoth Chronicles. You can listen here and get a gist of the show below:

On the show we discussed Tarot cards, casual racism, the Girl Scouts, the revolutionary power of friendship, we had dramatic diary readings from Chronicles of an 8th Grade Mallgoth, The Greatest Band Ever,  the formative nature of Sailor Moon (new series on Hulu July 5th, btw), the Bechdel test, how much we love Downtown Boys, and we play a lot of mallgoth music.

The ~Mallgoth Playlist~ goes as follows:
  1. Kittie, “Charlotte”
  2. Pailhead, “Man Should Surrender”
  3. Marilyn Manson, “Tourniquet”
  4. AFI “Days Of The Phoenix”
  5. White Lung, “Snake Jaw”
  6. Hive Bent, “Relics of the Formstone Empire”
  7. Bleed the Pigs, “Stuck”
  8. Downtown Boys, “Maldito”
  9. Ovlov “There’s My Dini!”
  10. Tsunami Bomb, “Lemonade”

Wonder Twins of the Working Class: Downtown Boys’ Victoria Ruiz and Joey De Francesco

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(Crossposted from Impose Magazine, 6/16/2014)

“Hello, delighted to serve!”

It was three years ago that Victoria Ruiz was ordered to chirp this line like some cultish mantra while employed as a customer service representative at The Renaissance Hotel in Providence. It was there she met her partner in crime, room service extraordinaire and labor organizer Joey De Francesco.

“Part of the whole hotel experience is that [customers] are not supposed to interact with the labor,” says De Francesco. “The front desk was where they put all the more presentable white people. But behind the front desk they would hide everyone else. In the housekeeping manual, they tell the workers, who are 95% Dominican women, that they’re supposed to be invisible. Not actual [people], but some magical ghost that cleans up after you. The hotel is a small microcosm of how larger society works under capitalism.”

Predictably, Ruiz and De Francesco both quit their jobs, in pursuit of organizing hotel workers and eventually minimum wage workers in Providence. De Francesco scored YouTube fame after quitting his hotel job on camera, and with the help of his radical marching band, the What Cheer? Brigade. Together Ruiz and De Francesco would subsequently deploy two of the most explosive acts in the United States: raucous party punk sextet Downtown Boys and the art-cumbia mayhem of Malportado Kids (or, badly-behaved kids).

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White Lung: Unapologetic Canadian Hardcore

(Crossposted from MTV Iggy, 6/11/2014)

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Name: White Lung

Where They’re From:  Vancouver, British Columbia

When They Started: 2007

Genre: Punk/post-hardcore

For fans of: Hole, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Nü Sensae

Sounds like: A giant cauldron full of boiling, green resentment

Is there really that much reason behind Canada’s reputation for breeding the most timid, non-confrontational people in the world? Especially while movements like Idle No More clash with the contentiously austere government of Stephen Harper? Every now and then the supposedly temperate country purges itself of its angst not only through political movements, but in bad ass, angry-as-all-hell musicians. Following the radical punk legacy of Vancouver bands like D.O.A. and Submission Hold, at the forefront of the current Canadian wave of rage is Vancouver’s White Lung.

Given how long it’s been since aggressive, unforgiving women in music have met favorable recognition by both music critics and radio stations, listening to White Lung is much like that first gasp of air when surfacing from a warm, muddy decade of sexist repression. Since their 2010 debut, It’s the Evil, the band has been circulated widely on CBC radio, honored at Canadian Music Week Indie Awards, and racked up tour dates from Europe to Australia. And yet throughout their ascension into international stardom, they remain true to their feminist fury, most especially in their third upcoming LP, Deep Fantasy.

The dissonant squalor of Hole’s 1991 debut Pretty on the Inside comes to mind as White Lung’s stepping stone, from which they elevate themselves to the post-hardcore punk heights of AFI’s The Art of Drowning. Reflecting on a vast array of complicated issues like drug addiction, dysmorphia and sexual power struggles, vocalist Mish Way delivers every word with a scalding conviction, tapering off each verse with a bitter twang. Even when she’s at her most despondent, as in “Face Down” or “Just For You,” there’s still a hint of deep vitriol in Way’s voice that guarantees her vengeance, someday.  Anne-Marie Vassiliou bolsters Way’s temper with a ceaseless, calculated battering of thrashy beats. Meanwhile Kenneth William threads each song together with shrill, metallic tendrils of post-hardcore guitar stylings, in a similarly angular vein as the iconic J. Clark of Pretty Girls Make Graves, but beefed up by dense layers of distortion and bass. If White Lung’s new noise is any indication of how the rest of the decade will go, I welcome it with open arms and steel-toe boots.

Deep Fantasy will be available in its entirety on June 16 via Domino Recording Co.

Album Review: White Lung, Deep Fantasy, 2014

(Crossposted from Rolling Stone, 6/10/2014)

Vancouver’s White Lung barreled into punk fans’ hearts with 2010’s It’s the Evil, followed by 2012’s venomous Sorry. They’re as furiously formidable as ever on their third LP. Mish Way’s damning yowls offer profound ruminations on sex and body image, while guitarist Kenneth William’s swift, discordant lashes resurrect the finer aspects of 2000s-era post-hardcore; drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou holds down a steady velocity, pelting listeners with relentless rounds of thrash. At times, the songs bleed together almost to the point of indistinction, but crystal-clear production makes this thunderous album well worth seeking out, even for those who wouldn’t be caught dead near a circle pit. (3.5/5 stars)

Set Your Ringtone to Princess Nokia’s Cyber R&B

Photo Credit: Alberto Vargas

Photo Credit: Alberto Vargas

Crossposted from MTV Iggy:

Name: Princess Nokia

Where She’s From:  New York, NY

When She Started: 2010

Genre:  Electronic/Alt R&B

For fans of: Mykki BlancoAzealia BanksZebra KatzHatsune Miku

Sounds like: The soundtrack to The Fifth Element 2: Lost in the Harlem Galaxy

Formerly known as the Versace-clad, take-no-shit earth girl Wavy Spice, NYC artist and club goddess Destiny Nicole Frasqueri has fashioned a more cosmic alter ego: Princess Nokia. Like a cyber-archangel, Princess Nokia seems to be dispatched from the 22nd century, delivering food for thought in the form of techno-laden R&B. Produced with the help of NYC producer OWWWLS, Princess Nokia’s latest LP, Metallic Butterfly, is an experimental, but well-rounded collage of sounds both old and new. Though its feel is futuristic — as in, post-apocalyptic Neo Tokyo — the album rocket launches itself deeply into the past, spanning three decades worth of pop culture references, including sound clips from Dragon Ball Z and 1982 film The Dark Crystal. In other words, Metallic Butterfly is basically a musical manifestation of Tumblr — for the socially conscious and easily distracted “Real ’90s Kids.”

If you’ve been living off the grid for the last 10 years, you might miss the references. In the Game of Thrones-inspired song “Dragons,” Princess Nokia plays the role of Daenerys Targaryen, purring serenely to her lover Khal Drogo against soft blasts of drum and bass. In “Cybiko” she descends from her divine stance in the clouds and emerges as a typical 2000s teen who regales her Xanga readers with the “Confessions of a Cyber-Girl.” And in “Nokia,” she elevates her pitch to a thin moan, matching that of her Harlem pop predecessor, Lumidee.  A generic 1999 Nokia ringtone chirps in the background, interrupting her flow — but no worry, the Princess anticipates this call. “I’m bored,” she says, “But I’m watching Taina. Whatchu up to?”

Apart from its constant throwbacks to the internet and television, Metallic Butterfly is aesthetically and conceptually complex, flitting between long-dormant genres like acid jazz and trip hop, and occasionally venturing into the territory of classic Afro-Caribbean music. It’s the latter that truly rounds the album out, making it less of a nostalgic gimmick and more of a deep cultural inquiry. Backed by the chants of indigenous people, the magical realism of “Young Girls” is a testament to her profound respect for women of color, who she describes as patrons of the earth. Meanwhile songs like “Bikini Weather Corazon En Afrika” and “Yaya” well with cultural orgullo, grounded by the sturdy bounce of the Dominican dem bow, uplifted by the swift pace of African drums, and then brought back home with basic trap beats. Calling out “Yaya,” or the Taino word for “Great Spirit,” she evokes a deep, mystical reverence in her voice — much in the style of 1960s soul-singing santera La Lupe in “Guaguanco Bembe” — and tailors it to fit within her cyber world, where people still honor their roots with their eyes set on the future.