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Communions Take Us Under The Surface For Their ‘Blue’ Album

Music
Photo by Adrian Sølberg

The band shows us their true colors

There are a lot of charming things about Copenhagen, and Martin Rehof, Mads Rehof, Jacob van Deurs Formann, and Frederik Lind Köppen are just further proof. Together, the four make up the alternative/indie rock band Communions. The quartet met in high school but was soon separated by thousands of miles when the Rehof brothers moved with their family to Seattle, Washington. Eventually, in 2014, they were all reunited and started creating music; their debut album Blue reaches fans today. 

On this album, the boys leave behind some of the broody tones presented on previous releases. The 11 new tracks bring forth a certain level of maturity without losing their youthful exaggerations and optimism. Martin's voice rings clear over melodic guitar riffs, with Mads' bass adding a certain warmth to each track. Blue shows a sense of yearning through the lyrics, searching and navigating through tough situations. Yet, the upbeat pop feel and experimentation with the genre keeps the mood from falling into any sort of lull.

Beat the wintery blues and stream Blue as Communions takes us track by track, below. 

"Come On’ I’m Waiting"
Communions' lyrics are usually a juxtaposition of different states of mind, more based on immediate impressions, rather than cohesive narratives. Also, when writing, the melody is usually what comes first, and in that way, many times certain lyrics kind of manifest themselves subconsciously. "Come On, I’m Waiting" is a good example of that. There are different feelings conflicting with each other and playing off one another. The song is both an expression of freedom and liberation, while also being one of alienation and claustrophobia. It’s about waiting for an escape from the ambivalent ups and downs of everyday life into an altogether different form of clarity. The line “turn me into blue” also invokes the album title, Blue, which for me, not only bears associations with a kind of clarity but also with the inherent ethereal atmosphere or quality that we feel some of the songs have. 

"Today"
"Today" is about seeing the end of things before they even begin, which, most of the time, leads you to a stasis. We're sure a lot of people are familiar with the feeling of overanalyzing a relationship to the point that nothing has the ability to surprise you anymore. In a way, we guess the song is about the passivity of thinking too much, about wishing there was a way to transcend anxieties about the future and so on, and just live. 

"Passed You By"
Like some of the titles suggest—"Today," "Eternity," and "Alarm Clocks," for instance—the passage of time is a theme that runs through many of the songs. We rarely write from solely our own perspective, but the song is about time running out, and about being preoccupied with all the wrong things. It’s also about not knowing what you want. Or once you get what you think you want, you find out that it’s really something else you should have been paying attention to all along. 

"She’s A Myth"
With this one, we wanted to make something really simple and straightforward. "She’s A Myth" is a love song, but where the feelings aren’t necessarily mutual. In fact, the song is more concerned with dreams. Or rather, it deals with being fascinated with a someone, and the way that, that fascination seeps into considerations that are greater than oneself.

"Midnight Child"
The rhythms on this song are quite different from anything we’ve done before. We wanted to make something that had more of a groove than a pounding rhythm. The lyrics deal with a strange mixture of nightlife and insomnia, inspired by the superficiality of nightlife and the excessive thoughts that run through your mind before falling asleep. 

"Got To Be Free"
This song kind of sticks out on the record, not only because it is longer but also because some of the rhythms and riffs are, to a certain degree, almost blues-inspired. I think the song has a liberating and decadent aura to it. The lyrics to this song were inspired by our drummer, who, when he was younger, tended to live a very hedonistic lifestyle, at least compared to some. It’s also his favorite song from the record. Coincidence? 

"Don’t Hold Anything Back"
We kind of took a chance with the intro, incorporating bongos and so on. But I think it works. In terms of the sound, it has a unique blend of warmth and melancholy. It’s brooding while being life-affirming, in its message, at the same time. 

"Take It All"
This song is inspired by being broke and owing money. We kind of imagined a scenario of what it must be like being in total debt to one’s girlfriend. This one, along with "Got To Be Free," has a more hard-edged essence and offers a nice contrast to the more strictly pop-influenced songs on the record.

"It’s Like Air"
"It’s Like Air" centers around a boy-girl relationship but is more about opening up to the world and transcending a kind of solipsism.

"Eternity"
"Eternity" can be thought of as life repeating itself endlessly, much like Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence; the song sort of parodies that way of thinking. "Eternity" can be thought of as an escape from, or end to, time altogether—a sort of timelessness. It’s from that perspective that the song takes its point of departure and kind of plays with those two ways of seeing the world.

"Alarm Clocks"
This song also sticks out on the record, in the sense that it almost feels like a ballad, at least the verses. It seemed like the right song to end the record, both in terms of its grandeur and mantra: start over.

Photo by Rachel Dennis

Finally

"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.

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB
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) www.youtube.com

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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.

BREAKING: JON SNOW FINALLY APOLOGIZED FOR SEASON 8 youtu.be

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Photo by Darren Craig

It premieres today, exclusively via NYLON

In LP's song "Shaken," the most recent single from her 2018 record Heart To Mouth, she tells the story of seeing her lover out with someone else—ouch. Today, exclusively on NYLON, she releases a cheeky animated music video that pokes fun at the song's heightened drama and perfectly demonstrates all the angst that comes with falling hard for someone.

"She looks at you like I used to/ And I'm just sitting in the corner sh-sh-shaken," LP sings, as the visual—with art by Maayan Priva—depicts the singer hanging out in a bar, watching the girl she likes meet up with another girl. Despite the situation's inherent drama, "Shaken" is less of a ballad and more of an upbeat bop. LP told us she loves the way "this little video captures some of the fun of the song, and its inherent comical anxiety." Sure, heartbreak isn't that funny, but our (sometimes) overly dramatic reaction to it kind of is.

"'Shaken' feels like a bit of a wild card on this record," LP says. "It's the closest I've come to writing a musical, which I hope to do one day." We heartily endorse this idea: Please, LP, give us the queer jukebox musical we crave.

Until that day comes, though, you can watch the music video for "Shaken," below.

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Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.

This cameo has the Beyhive buzzing

I went to see Men In Black: International alone. Which would have been fine if it wasn't for the shock I received when I saw two specific characters on the screen. Unable to keep it to myself, I shared a curious look with the stranger next to me, who was obviously thinking the same thing as me. "Is that them...?" I whispered first. "I think… so," she replied. Then the two men in question started to dance, and we were both sure: "Yep, that's them."

It was Laurent and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois, better known as Les Twins. Fans of Beyoncé will recognize the duo as the talented brothers who often accompany her on tour and in music videos. In Men In Black: International, the two of them play shapeshifting entities—they're more like energy forces than aliens—who pursue Tessa Thompson's and Chris Hemsworth's characters throughout the duration of the film. The twins' ability to manipulate their bodies in ways that are graceful and otherworldly really helps sell them as extraterrestrials and is fun to watch.

So if Thompson in a suit or Hemsworth shirtless weren't enough motivation, here's another reason to go see it. If you look close, you can see them in the trailer below.

MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL - Official Trailer www.youtube.com

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