band crush: lady lamb

Photo by Shervin Lainez, courtesy of Pitch Perfect PR

the weirdest lyrics and the best sound.

When Aly Spaltro began creating music, under the name Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, she anonymously recorded a 12-track album on an 8-track and left copies on the counter of a local Maine record store. Led by hormonal longings for love and blown-out-of-proportion feelings of heartbreak, the LP, Ripely Pine, quickly became an indie hit. Now, a few years later, Spaltro has dropped the new single "The Beekeeper," and is ready to debut a new, more streamlined sound. "Because I was young when I wrote the songs, they were—objectively now what I would say stepping back—very dramatic and kind of all over the place emotionally," she says. "I wrote a lot of this record at my current age, which is 25, and I’ve learned a lot of things just naturally in four or five years. The content is more mature, a little more existential, and a little more personal."

Her sophomore album, After, sees extremely visual lyrics ("I could be cracked open like a cartoon watermelon / And you would see the solar system suspended in me") infused with a tinge of pop and robust melodies. "It’s more upbeat," says Spaltro. "There are moments of nostalgia, but the perspective is not sad—the perspective is one of acceptance," she says. "If I’m looking back at the past with this album, I’m not looking back with bitterness, like I was in the last album. I’m looking back with acceptance and just contentment. It’s a tender reminiscing." The songs, most of them written while half-asleep at 4am, also explore uncharted territory: "Heretic" is inspired by UFOs and the Giza Prophecy, and "Billions of Eyes" is about making a temporary connection with a stranger on a train. It's strange, to say the least, but in the most intriguing, thoughtful way. 

Where did your name come from?
It came to me in a dream when I was 18. I was keeping a notebook by my bed and I was writing lyrics while I was sleeping. I was very inspired and wires were getting crossed and I was kind of writing down dreams as well. It was something that was in my notebook when I woke up and I read it hours later, and it was perfectly timed with putting out my first songs, burning them on a CD, and I put the moniker there and it just stuck.

What artists would you like to emulate and what kind of feeling would you like to show through your work?        
A lot of the artists that I listened to a lot before I started writing my own music were artists that were very vulnerable and very lyrical. So someone like Sufjan Stevens was a huge influence. Subconsciously, I never tried to sound like him, but I always consciously appreciated his lyrics, his openness and vulnerability, and the way he wrote about his upbringing and his family. I was also really into Of Montreal. They’re one of the early subconscious influences that made me feel that writing really long songs that were longer than three minutes and had different movements and different tempo changes was acceptable. Another influence is the Fiery Furnaces. Same deal. 

If there was a phrase that best sums up your approach to life, what would it be?    
The one that comes to mind time and time again is “Don’t compromise your integrity"—don’t compromise your artistic self for anyone or anything. As cliché as it sounds, just be yourself and keep your integrity and go with your gut and stick to what you want and what you do and what you’re passionate about. 

What kind of person were you in high school?    
I was not into high school and very distracted. I was one of those kids that was kind of an outcast, but I wasn’t weird and I wasn’t mean to anyone. This was before I found music. I literally skipped school but I’d go to the public library and look at photography books and read. I wasn’t doing anything bad but I was just not into school. I was always thinking about what I could be doing outside of it.

If you had to live in a past time, what do you think would be the most fun era?    
I think, this is really boring of me, but I love the ‘90s and I’m curious to know what it would be like to have been a little bit older, like in high school during the mid to late ‘90s. I think would’ve loved to just be like born in 1979 instead of 1989.   

What is your favorite driving music?    
I, like a lot of us, really like to sing along in the car, especially with friends. So I’m going to have to be really honest and say my favorite thing to listen to while driving is like Sheryl Crow “If It Makes You Happy”—anthemic stuff that you can just scream. 


Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for MTV

I'm not okay

I didn't know it was possible, but we've been blessed with something even better than Tessa Thompson in a suit: Tessa Thompson in a blazer, and nothing else. Her Men in Black: International on-screen and press tour looks are working overtime to make me gayer, it seems.

Thompson showed up at the MTV Movie and TV Awards wearing an oversized Thom Browne metallic blazer, and I don't see anything underneath (I'm not complaining!). She paired the blazer with a tiny black bag and black platform oxfords, and all of these pieces together made Thompson look like the most powerful person alive. I'm ready for her to run the world.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for MTV

Thompson wore her hair in the iconic vintage victory roll style popularized by working women during World War II, which could have been her way of celebrating the fact that she's the first female leading character in the Men in Black franchise. She let the rest of her hair fall in loose waves behind her.

I feel like at this point, we should just give Thompson the menswear trend. No one is going to do it better than her.

Photo by Rachel Dennis


"What do girls even do together?" This question, or some iteration of it, is frequently posed to me once someone finds out I'm bisexual or hears me mention my girlfriend, or if I make any reference to being interested in girls. I would be annoyed by it, but I have empathy because I know how hard this kind of information can be to find. In fact, the details of how two people with vaginas have sex isn't very widespread information. And, I know that I didn't really have all that much information about girl-on-girl sex before, well, actually having it myself. It's precisely this kind of situation that queer sex educator Stevie Boebi is trying to fix.

Boebi has gained a big following for her informational YouTube videos about how to use a strap-on, how to scissor, how to fist someone, how to choose a vibrator for yourself; any question you could have, she will get you an answer. She doesn't shy away from topics that people wouldn't be quick to ask someone about IRL, either, like BDSM. And she covers the kind of things that are definitely not what we're taught in sex education classes—likely not even in the most progressive curriculums. A study from GLSEN notes that only 4 percent of teens reported learning anything positive about queer sex in their sex ed classes, and points out that in some states, it's actually prohibited to mention queerness at all.

Particularly when it comes to sex with two vaginas, the lack of available public education leads to a general lack of understanding of how we have sex, which then leads to a lack of understanding in the queer community, too. "I just think that lesbian sex is so oversexualized, and we're the least educated," said Boebi when I asked her recently why it's so important for her to spread knowledge about queer sex in particular.

Boebi said that she started out on YouTube making videos about technology, but after she came out as a lesbian, her audience flipped from mostly male to mostly female, though she would prefer a less rudimentary gender breakdown ("the algorithm only deals in binaries, sorry," she quipped).

Ultimately, her sexuality led her to change her content entirely, because she wanted to educate people who couldn't find answers to their questions anywhere else—even on the internet.

"I started getting a lot of what I called 'stupid questions' from very confused teenage girls saying, like, 'How do I do it? Can I get AIDs from fingering someone?'" Boebi told me. They were questions that probably should have had easily Google-able answers, but, when Boebi looked for lesbian sex education content to send to fans who were asking her, she came up empty-handed. "I couldn't find anything. I think I found, like, two articles on Autostraddle, and that was it," she said. "And then I was like, Well, shit! If no one else is going to do it, then I guess I will."

Boebi's audience is mainly comprised of 13- to 24-year-olds, so she keeps in mind that she's helping people who may not be experienced, or even out yet. She uses her own experiences to inform her work sometimes, but also researches extensively and talks to people she knows who "have fancy Ph.Ds in sexology and shit," who can answer her questions or point her to resources she should be referencing.

Boebi's charm is in her relatability; even if she's talking about things we've been conditioned to feel shame around, she does it in such an open and honest way that all that shame disappears—as it should. She does this by perfectly meshing professional talk with jokes and sarcasm, and even uses characters based on star signs. She knows the importance of taking on taboo topics, because there are so many people who won't otherwise find answers to their questions. "I don't actually struggle in my everyday life asking people if they've ever been anally fisted before," Boebi joked with me. "I'll take that burden."

And keeping her tone light and humorous is of the utmost importance to her. "When people are laughing, they're comfortable, and I want people to feel comfortable," Boebi said. "And I want people to know that I'm comfortable talking about sex, and they can be, too." It helps also, Boebi told me, that her audience is separated by a screen, and she's not "in a room with a 12-year-old talking about my labia."

Beyond instructional sex videos, Boebi also deals with other rarely discussed facets of sexuality and physicality. Boebi is polyamorous, and talks openly about it, confronting the stereotypes and the misinformation about the identity head-on. And, she was also recently diagnosed with Ehler's Danlos Syndrome after going years without a diagnosis, and she aims to start working more with disabled queer sex educators to make her work more inclusive of people with disabilities. Though she pointed out to me that her work was already encompassing of disabilities, she "hasn't been a part of the disability activist community for very long," and so she has a lot to learn.

And, though Boebi's happy that she has the platform she does, she wants a more inclusive array of sex educators to join the scene. "My voice is my voice, and it's unique to me, but I think there should be way more," she noted. "Especially people [with intersectional identities]. That would make me so happy if we could diversify sex educators."

And, though Boebi says there's no "ideal way" to educate people about sex, she's definitely on a better track than the public education system, and she makes clear that there's nothing shameful about sexuality—in fact, it's just a part of being human, and a really fun one, at that.

Photo by Nicholas Hunt / Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images.

This photo makes me so happy

It can't be understated how big of a phenomenon the Spice Girls were during the late '90s. Their impact was felt from the bustling streets of London to the dry desert land of Scottsdale, Arizona. The latter place is where a young Emily Jean Stone was so immersed in fandom that she asked her second-grade teacher to call her Emma, after Emma "Baby Spice" Bunton. Fast-forward a couple of decades, and Emily is the Academy Award-winning actress Emma Stone. What's even better, she's still a huge Spice Girls fan.

Stone went to the Spice Girls reunion tour at the Wembley Stadium in London and finally met the woman who inspired the name the actress is now known by. Bunton shared a photo of the two of them outside of the venue on her Instagram. She captioned the photo: "When Emma met Emma."And even added the hashtag #2become1. I can't figure out if I want to cry from sentimentality or serious envy.

As for Stone, she once cried when Mel "Scary Spice" B. sent her a video message so I can only imagine what this moment felt like for her. Let this be a reminder that even Oscar winners can be stans.

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Screenshot via YouTube

The band shared details about their new St. Vincent-produced album that will drop "you into the world of catastrophe"

Sleater-Kinney just shared more information about their St. Vincent-produced album and dropped a new single.

Per Billboard, Sleater-Kinney revealed that their new album, which they've been teasing since early this year and will be their first since No Cities To Love from 2015, will be called The Center Won't Hold. It's due out on August 16 via Mom + Pop Records. "We're always mixing the personal and the political but on this record, despite obviously thinking so much about politics, we were really thinking about the person—ourselves or versions of ourselves or iterations of depression or loneliness—in the middle of the chaos," Carrie Brownstein said in a statement. Corin Tucker further noted that the new album will "[drop] you into the world of catastrophe that touches on the election."

Janet Weiss noted that the band will "explore a different sound palette" with this album, and pointed to St. Vincent as the reason behind it. She said that St. Vincent "has a lot of experience building her own music with keyboards and synthesizers so she could be our guide to help us make sense of this new landscape and still sound like us."

To satiate us until then, the band released a lyric video for new single, "The Future Is Here," which is very grungy. Bump it, below.

Sleater-Kinney - The Future Is Here (Official Lyric Video)


This is so satisfying!

Even Jon Snow knows just how unsatisfying the final season of Game of Thrones was, and he's ready to apologize. Well, a deepfake of him is at least. A heavily-edited version of Snow's speech from the fourth episode—just before the bodies of those lost in the Battle of Winterfell get burned—now features Snow apologizing for the conclusion of the show and lighting the script on fire.

"It's time for some apologies. I'm sorry we wasted your time," Snow begins. "And I know nothing made sense at the end. When the Starbucks cup is the smallest mistake, you know you fucked up! We take the blame. I'm sorry we wrote this in like six days or something," he adds, before signaling to his peers to light the script with torches and "just forget it forever." "Fuck Season 8," he says before the pages begin to crackle and burn.

If there were more lines left to alter, we would have loved to see Snow also tackle how messy Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister's story line ended up, as well as Bran's kingship, Cersei's boring demise, and the water bottle appearance.

Watch the entire deepfake and try to heal the wounds left by HBO below.