Envy On The Coast Is Dead, Long Live Envy On The Coast

Photo provided by Envy on the Coast

‘Ritual’ is out this month

It was one of those rare rainy days in Los Angeles. The clouds hung low, adding a sense of eeriness to the otherwise normal Sunday afternoon. I was on my way to meet Ryan Hunter, one-half of Long Island’s Envy on the Coast, and, oddly enough, the weather felt appropriate. I was about to spend the next hour and a half talking about the band's new chapter; their self-proclaimed “reincarnation” that is taking place now, seven years after the band split up. Just as the rain washed the city clean, so it cleaned the slate for the next journey this band was about to take. 

When Envy on the Coast called it quits in 2010 after members Sal Bossio and Jeremy Velardi decided to leave, both Hunter and Brian Byrne, the current members of the band, continued writing music for what they hoped would be their next project together. The two rented a house in East Hampton, New York, and, for nearly five months, put together demos and recordings of dozens of songs. But there was something that felt off about the music, something the two couldn’t quite put their finger on. “A majority of it felt like it would have been the next Envy on the Coast record. We couldn’t figure out why we didn’t want to form a new band around it, it didn’t quite feel right,” says Hunter over coffee. 

So the two took time to go through some “personal growing pains” to figure what they wanted to do, which turned out to be not denying their past musical history, but embracing and reimagining it. Hunter tells me that it was hard at first, “It was like jumping into the next relationship when you needed to give yourself time.” And even though the band amassed a big following back in their heyday with their first two albums, Lucy Gray and Lowcountry, there is no pretentiousness about this next chapter. 

Against all odds and expectations, including those of Hunter who was “adamant” about this never happening, Envy on the Coast is back together, and, yes, it’s for good. “When the conversations hit about doing it again, it was never going to be strictly a nostalgia thing. From the first moment we started speaking about it, the only way we were opening up the book again would be if it stayed open and we were writing together,” Hunter says. And when I asked if this was indefinite, his response was a resounding “absolutely.”

Last May, when Envy on the Coast announced a new crop of tours, “a reincarnation” they called it, everyone was shocked—including me. I had started listening to the band four years after they broke up and had never anticipated seeing them live. Though they only had three shows on the East Coast, they promised there would be more, and they held up their end of the bargain, with a West Coast tour that served as just the beginning. And on June 30, Envy on the Coast is putting out their newest album with Equal Vision Records. Titled Ritual, the six-song EP is the best of the 20 to 30 songs Ryan and Bryan wrote in that house in East Hampton seven years ago.

Although EotC may have “emo” undertones—think: crooning vocals and evocative lyrics—they’ve always been in the camp of rock and roll; this time around, they’re just choosing to explore what that means a little differently. The EP, which was presented to the record company completely finished—which “never happens,” according to Hunter—has a little bit of everything. There are upbeat tracks that leave you screaming along and shaking your body and slower, sultry numbers that chronicle the messiness that comes with love. The second song on the EP, “Inhaler,” was the first true 50/50 partnership between Hunter and Byrne, although both men say the last song, “Sift,” is their favorite. And “Lioness,” my favorite off the album, shows just how far the duo can go; utilizing a drum loop and citing R&B as inspiration, Ryan’s evocative vocals are matched only by the heartbeat of the drum itself. But for those who swear by Lowcountry, “Virginia Girls” will feel the most nostalgic. This EP is not only the product of reincarnation, but of time manifested as growing pains turned to lessons. Ritual is still EotC, but this time, the sound is just a little wiser, a little more grown-up. 

Reincarnation is classified by death, transformation, and rebirth. It’s a ritual unto itself, a change from one reality to another, often secretive and mystical. And while Envy on the Coast underwent this change, so did both of its members, who each stopped listening to music for a year at a time. This metaphorical death, followed by transformation, with both members influenced more by hip-hop and less by rock, created the rebirth of Envy on the Coast as it will now be known. 

And just like many rituals are shrouded in mystery, the imagery and narrative for Ritual fell into place in its own way. Byrne, who helms the reins visually for the band, had been sitting on the image that would be the cover of Ritual for nearly a decade. And in an email to Hunter, he cast the fate of the band, saying, “I feel like the EP is part of our loop and ritual, every decision, seemingly arbitrary but connected, led us to that one point... I had this super intense moment of awareness; a six-year protracted loop to lead me back to this familiar place, doing something as natural as waking up and making coffee.” 

It’s been seven years since Envy on the Coast was a band, but Ritual proves that this reincarnation is as special as talking over two steaming mugs of coffee on one of those rare, rainy L.A. mornings. 

Screenshot via YouTube

And I need to see the rest ASAP

As excited as we already are for Olivia Wilde's directorial debut, Booksmart, to hit theaters next week, we just got even more desperate to see it. Why? Well, the first six minutes of the film were just released, and every minute is incredible.

The film opens on Molly (Beanie Feldstein) meditating and listening to a motivational tape telling her she's better than everyone else, and to "fuck those losers." Her room is decorated with pictures of Michelle Obama and RBG, so we know her head is in the right place. We learn she's the class president when she arrives at school with her best friend, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever).

It's there that we get a glimpse of the social hierarchy in which Molly and Amy exist—but somewhere down near the bottom, way below the popular kids, the theater nerds, the stoners, and even the annoying class clown.

The film officially hits theaters on May 23, but Annapurna Pictures is holding advanced screenings across the country today, May 17—we're actually holding two of them! So, if you're in L.A. or New York, check them out.

But also, you can watch the first six minutes of the film, below, and prepare yourself to watch the whole movie in a week.

BOOKSMART | Uncut First 6 Minutes

Photo by Rich Polk/ Getty

Her hypocrisy would be mind-blowing if it weren't so predictable

It's been just over two years since Tomi Lahren appeared on ABC's The View to assert that, despite her ultra-conservative bona fides, she holds one position more normally associated with the left wing: She's pro-choice. In that talk show appearance, Lahren made clear then that her pro-choice views were consonant with her self-identification as a "constitutionalist," further explaining:

I am someone that's for limited government. So I can't sit here and be a hypocrite and say I'm for limited government but I think the government should decide what women should do with their bodies." I can sit here and say that as a Republican, and I can say, "You know what? I'm for limited government, so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well."

Back then, we noted the hypocrisy inherent to that position, since Lahren was an ardent supporter of President Trump—who made no secret of his desire to appoint anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court and other judicial benches—and Vice-President Pence, whose anti-abortion views are even more ardent.

Since Lahren's appearance on The View, she has appeared in the anti-abortion film Roe v. WadeRoe v. Wade, which co-starred fellow execrable conservative troll, Milo Yiannopoulos, and, um, Joey Lawrence. Though the film has not yet been released, it is alleged to contain "several graphic scenes depicting aborted fetuses," and also the acting styles of Jamie Kennedy, so we're not sure for whom it will really be appropriate.

But while Lahren's role in that film would be enough to make anyone question just how committed she is to her alleged pro-choice stance, the recent news about de facto abortion bans in Alabama and Georgia has incited Lahren to speak out about her views once again.

On Twitter, Lahren opened herself up to "attack[s] by [her] fellow conservatives" and spoke out against the Alabama abortion ban as being "too restrictive." And, indeed, her "fellow conservatives" did quickly attack Lahren for not actually caring about human life, and for having too liberal a position on whether or not a woman should be forced to continue a pregnancy that resulted from rape. But then also, as Lahren must have known would happen, other people supported her for... not having one irredeemably monstrous position amongst her arsenal of irredeemably monstrous positions.

But, let's be clear: Tomi Lahren is not—no matter what she tweets—pro-choice, and neither is any supporter of the Republican Party. There is no doubt that there are Republicans who are in favor of safe access to abortion—particularly when it comes to themselves and their family members having said access. But by supporting the Republican Party, they are showing how little it actually matters to them, and showing what it is that they really prioritize over women's safety and freedom: namely, access to guns, bigoted immigration policies, the continued disenfranchisement of voters across the country. I could go on, but there's no need.

Lahren's tweet doesn't reveal in any way that she's an advocate for women's rights, all it reveals is her hypocrisy and that of anyone (Meghan McCain, hi), who would love to have a world created specifically for their needs, and who is willing to sacrifice the rights of the less privileged in order to secure their own. It is despicable and dangerous and incredibly predictable. But, at least, it might give Lahren something to talk about on the red carpet with her fellow anti-abortion movie costars, if that film ever gets more than a straight-to-video release.

If you want to find out how to help women have access to abortion, please visit here for information about donating and volunteering.

Diplo, Vince Staples, and Rico Nasty also appear

Lil Nas X went all out with the visuals for his hit "Old Town Road," tapping all of his newfound collaborators and friends, like Billy Ray Cyrus, Diplo, Vince Staples, and Rico Nasty, to star. The movie travels from 1889 Wild Wild West to the modern-day city outskirts, so saddle up and come along for the ride.

As the visuals start, Nas and Cyrus gallop away with a bag of loot, obviously having pulled off a heist. The trio of men on horseback that were in pursuit of them come to a halt, unable to catch up, and Chris Rock—the leader of the group—states, "When you see a Black man on a horse going that fast, you just gotta let him fly." Just as Nas and Cyrus think they're able to relax in stranger's home, it turns out the homeowner isn't so friendly. Nas jumps into a hole to escape, only to end up hundreds of years in the future on the other side.

Forget trying to figure out the logistics of time travel, and just embrace the hilarity of Nas' horse also having wound up there, and in peak racing condition. He impresses the locals not only in the race (with Vince Staples losing money in a bet against him) but with his sweet square dancing skills. Once he and Cyrus (yes, he time traveled too) trade out their old-timey duds for some fresh, rhinestone-adorned outfits, they enter a room playing bingo with Rico Nasty in it. Diplo is playing the washboard, I feel like I'm losing my mind, and this is probably the best music video I've watched this year.

Watch the movie for "Old Town Road" again and again, below.

Lil Nas X - Old Town Road (Official Movie) ft. Billy Ray Cyrus

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Screenshot via YouTube

They really "don't care" about how this was edited, do they?

Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber used the name of their song as inspiration for the "I Don't Care" music video, and have presented what is essentially a long blooper reel of the pair messing around with a green screen.

The visuals show how dedicated the two are to proving just how much they don't care, because I'm pretty sure they did the editing on this video as well. They dance around in costumes, as an ice cream cone, a panda, a teddy bear, and more. I have a clear vision of Bieber and Sheeran raiding a costume shop just an hour before setting up a tripod and going to town on this one. They also juxtapose their faces on top of a ballerina, a skydiver, and a corn inside the husk.

Blink, and you'll miss the funniest moment of all in the video: Ed Sheeran gets married to a cardboard cutout of a young Bieber with swoopy hair.

Watch the visuals for "I Don't Care" below.

Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber - I Don't Care [Official Video]

Photo by Jena Cumbo

Her new LP, 'Take Me to the Disco,' is her most personal work yet

Meg Myers isn't afraid to admit she's still figuring out who she wants to be. Originally from Tennessee, Myers moved to Los Angeles at the age of 19 to dedicate her life to her music career. In 2012, she released her first EP, Daughter in the Choir, which set the groundwork for the releases of Sorry (2015) and Take Me to the Disco (2018). Well-known for her poetic lyrics, crude vocals, and cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill," the honest singer-songwriter makes a point to tell me that self-acceptance is a process. After listening to her deeply personal LP, Take Me to the Disco, I know she's not wrong.

In the middle of producing her new forthcoming music, the star opens up to NYLON: "I've always been able to channel [more painful moments in life] into my art. Music always stood out to me as the easiest way to capture all the emotions at once in one piece. Music for me is wild and free." It's clear that it is this fearlessness to self-reflect that not only makes her body of work so authentic but also what motivates her to continue to grow.

Below, we speak with Myers about her new music, self-love, and her ever-evolving relationship with creativity.

The Great Eros Pants, Chae New York top, Schutz shoes, and Via Saviene rings. Photos by Jena Cumbo

How did moving to Los Angeles influence the artist you are today?
I feel more safe here. I've been tapping more into my truth and expressing myself on a deeper level here. Growing up, my family was very chaotic, and I never knew what was about to happen. I have four brothers and a sister, and we grew up basically as best friends, making fun out of the chaos and always creating some type of art from it. I've always been able to channel [more painful moments in life] into my art.

Music always stood out to me as the easiest way to capture all the emotions at once in one piece. Music for me is wild and free.

What are some of your biggest influences?
I think all the barbecue and shrimp and grits [in Tennessee] really adds a smokiness to my music.

My queerness gives me a lot of material to create with. It's allowing me to be more playful and not take every little thing so seriously.

Silk Laundry jumpsuit, Wild Vertigga T-shirt, and Nakamol earring.Photo by Jena Cumbo

Tell me about your new music. Why is it different than anything you've ever created?
This EP is going to have a lot of similar vibes to my last album, because I wrote it at the same time with the same producer about a lot of the same struggles and self-discoveries as my past music. I'll share more with you on my third album.

I'm such a fan of your cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill." Why did you gravitate toward that song to cover?
It's such a powerful song! Kate Bush is magic. It's almost like I've been being guided to cover that song for a long time. I don't know how to explain it in words, as they can feel so limiting, and this song is beyond words to me. It's just a deep inner knowing, and it makes my heart flutter.

Chae NewYork blazer; Saku top, The Great Eros bottoms, and Inch2 boots.Photo by Jena Cumbo

Are there any other songs you feel really connected to?
I would love to collaborate with Active Child. The songs "Hanging On" and "Johnny Belinda" are also otherworldly to me. I've been listening to this band called Walk the Moon a lot. I also love Phoebe Bridgers. I have a crush on her. I generally listen to instrumental music and classical. If you look up 432hz music, it's incredibly healing, and solfeggio frequencies have helped me with a lot.

What does self-love mean to you?
It's been a process for me. It's been quite the journey. Right now, I would say [self-love for me] is about accepting myself, and having love for all the experiences that have led me to where I am. It also means being grateful for growth. It's also been about learning to be in the present moment. It's been learning to trust myself and not listening to what others think I need to be doing. As I learn to do this, I also learn how to love others deeper. All this being said, it's a process.

Chae New York blazer and Saku top.Photo by Jena Cumbo

What advice do you have for someone struggling to find happiness right now?
Spend some time in solitude if you can, or with a really safe person who you feel you can express yourself freely with. Find someone who has no expectations of you and is supportive. In that present moment, ask yourself, What feels good to you? What do you feel like doing? Use your imagination. Daydream. Find what it is you enjoy doing. I promise you can unlock magic inside yourself. It just takes patience.

*This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.