Now, Now Talk About Their Myspace Beginnings And Reveal New Music

Photo via @nownowband Instagram

Watch the video for their new single, “SGL,” here

For the past 15 years, Now, Now have been quietly rising in the music scene. If you’ve listened to them, you’ve probably noticed sonic parallels to Death Cab for Cutie and Jenny Lewis. Since their start in 2003 as Now, Now Every Children, Cacie Dalager and Brad Hale have garnered quite a fan base for their emo-tinged indie-pop sound. In 2010, the then-duo shortened their moniker to Now, Now. Over the years, they’ve changed their lineup (most recently Jess Abbott of Tancred was a part of the band), but with their forthcoming record, it’s back to where it all began, just the two of them. And three years since their last record, Threads, Now, Now have a newfound confidence for songwriting and producing. “Threads wasn’t our first record, but it felt like our first record, so following that up, the second record is always a scary place,” says Hale.

While plans for the new album are still under wraps, Now, Now’s first single in over three years, “SGL,” the Alexa San Román-directed video for which we're premiering right here, seems to signal a new chapter for the Minnesota duo. It looks like Now, Now are (finally) teetering on the edge of the mainstream. Get to know the band after the video, below.

How is your forthcoming release going to be different from Threads?
Brad Hale: The amount of time that’s passed, and the reason it took us so long to get to this point, is because we needed to look within ourselves and find out what this next stage was going to look like, sound like, and what about music makes us happy and keeps us feeling creative. From my perspective, there’s a newfound truth and confidence in this batch of music. “SGL” embodies this new energy we found over the past three years.
Cacie Dalager: In terms of what is different about it, it’s the most true to ourselves that we have been yet. From a writing perspective, it’s the most honest I’ve ever been. I don’t feel a need to speak in such hyperbole. I find power in saying something, so that’s a big difference in me writing this.

Are you and Jess cool? Would you guys collaborate in the future?
CD: I wouldn’t say we’d collaborate creatively, but I’d say we’re all on neutral terms. It didn’t quite fit. We wanted to continually be doing different types of music. 

What were you listening to when you made your latest batch of music?
CD: Shania Twain, Phil Collins, Britney Spears., M.I.A—M.I.A. has been a pretty constant thing for us—and a little bit of The Weeknd.
BH: Carly Rae Jepsen, Sheryl Crow. We listen to a large range of stuff, and I think our music shows that. There’s a lot of depth to the types of music that the songs that our songs explore, which is really interesting for us. 

What was the biggest challenge for you guys to revert back to being a duo?
CD: To me, I didn’t see it as a challenge necessarily. When Brad and I started writing together 15 years ago, it’s always been the core of what we’re doing. People would come in and out of the band, but Brad and I stayed. Things were orbiting around what we started.
BH: We started working together in a really natural way. I don’t really remember how it started because it happened in such a natural way. I think the challenge for me was having the confidence to explore what really felt right to me after the Threads cycle. That jump was really scary for me. Not to say it was hugely successful, but we toured for a while. It was a big deal to us. Cutting that cycle off and being like, “What do we do now?” was the challenge for me. It was a big mental struggle for me to regain confidence as a songwriter, producer, and creative person in general.

Is there a theme to your record coming out?
CD: We can’t go too much into it because there’s nothing we can technically say because everything is up in the air at this exact moment. We’re shopping right now [for a label]. Literally, every element of it other than the songs themselves is up in the air. Every day is a new journey of where it might go or might not go. For me, in my life, love has been my religion. I’m not into any type of religion, but I’ve always been guided by love. That’s really the underlying theme.
BH: There is a theme to it, but I don’t want to say too much to the world until it’s presented as a whole.

Brad, you had your own solo project, Sombear. Would you ever revive it?
BH: I have a billion demos—I just need to put them all together and finish them. That hasn’t been my priority with finishing up this record, but I will—I want to. It’s just about finding the right time to put in the effort it deserves.

What do you think is the biggest difference fans will notice with your music when comparing it to your other music in the past decade?
CD: I feel like it would be a confidence.
BH: I think in “SGL,” it feels like us, but the songwriting is a little tighter. It’s a lot more forward and less hidden, which I think is really beautiful. The process of growing into that was really beautiful for me. That’s probably the biggest, most noticeable thing for me.

How long did it take you to write the forthcoming album?
CD: It’s a weird timeline; it was very scattered. I would say three years. A good year of that was us trying to figure out what we were doing. It was two years of figuring it out and a year of like, “We got it.”

Why do you guys feel like you’ve had such an impact on your fans for so long?
BH: I feel like the way that we started was really important to us—it being in the heyday of Myspace was really good for us. We really started from nothing and posting stuff; it naturally grew somehow. I’m not sure why, but I think we’ve always been really interactive and straightforward about the kind of people we are. 
CD: I think we’ve been consistently pretty genuine with our personality and in our music. I think it’s easy to want to try too hard. It’s easy to say, “Everyone’s doing this thing, and it looks really cool, so we should do that too.” It’s easy to get sucked into trends. For better or for worse, we’ve done what we wanted to do. People can tell when someone is doing something true to themselves. In the beginning, we were creating a friend base.
BH: The first time we played in Chicago, we posted, “Anyone that wants to come out to a pizza party with us before the show, let’s do it.” Ten kids showed up, and it was really awesome. Some of them we’ve become friends with and keep in touch with. We’ve always been accessible to people. 

Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images

Sounds fake, but okay

In a new interview for Australian Vogue, Kendall Jenner makes the claim that being associated with the Kardashian name was a setback in her modeling career. Hmmm, that's funny, because power and influence usually works in their holder's favor.

In the interview, Jenner addresses skeptics who doubted that she would make it as a professional model. "A lot of people assumed that because I came from a 'name' that it was a lot easier for me to get to where I got, but actually it's the completely opposite," she says.

"I've always been the person to prove [critics] wrong, even when I was younger," she says. "I've always been a hard worker: that's in my blood. My parents raised me and my little sister to be that way and the rest of my sisters, too." In the profile, it's revealed that Jenner used to attend castings "simply as 'K' or 'Kendall' to distinguish herself from her famous family."

But keeping her name off her portfolio wasn't going to fool anyone, really. Her face has been on television for years, and it seems unlikely that a casting agent wouldn't know who she was even if Kendall didn't come out and say it. Perhaps Jenner was more closely examined and more readily criticized by people who doubted her, but I'm not sure I believe that she had a harder time gaining a modeling platform or booking big jobs, even if she didn't use her last name.

After all, Jenner was likely able to get into those big casting rooms right away because of her family's connections, and she was able to devote her time to pursuing that career because of the wealth they have. She would've had a much harder time making a name for herself if she didn't come from an influential family. She probably wouldn't get to be so selective about which shows she walks, and she definitely wouldn't be the highest paid model in the world.

Screenshot via Hulu

Introspection is not a bad thing

In Look Back at It, we revisit pop culture gems of the past and see if they're still relevant and worthy of their designated icon status in our now wildly different world.

"It just seems like you agree to have a certain personality or something, for no reason. Just to make things easier for everyone. But when you think about it, I mean, how do you know it's even you?"

Iconic '90s show My So-Called Life is filled with existential questions and observations like this, with many, if not all of them, voiced by high school sophomore Angela Chase (Claire Danes). They're delivered with a familiarly annoyed tone, as if Angela can't believe things are the way they are, and that they're unlikely to change.

Angela lives with her parents and sister in a comfortable home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and spends her time navigating the social scene of Liberty High School. She's undergoing a big change, having switched friend groups and fallen in with a cooler crew, namely Rayanne Graff (A.J. Langer) and Rickie Vasquez (Wilson Cruz). Thanks to them, Angela dyed her hair from blonde to a "Crimson Glow," and is encouraged to indulge in her obsession with Jordan Catalano (a pre-Gucci Jared Leto), the kind of guy who's constantly applying Visine and has a limited chance of actively graduating.

From the first moment of the first episode, Angela's voice is pure, unadulterated teen angst. The melodrama can, when watching as an adult, feel like it's too much. And then there's other times, like when Angela talks about the agony of Sunday evenings, that it feels unnerving to relate so much to a 15-year-old:

"There's something about Sunday night that really makes you want to kill yourself, especially if you've just been totally made a fool of by the only person you'll ever love, and you have a geometry midterm on Monday, which you still haven't studied for because you can't, because Brian Krakow has your textbook, and you're too embarrassed to even deal with it. And your little sister's completely finished with her homework, which is just, like, so simple and mindless a child could do it. And that creepy 60 Minutes watch that sounds like your whole life ticking away."

Angela is nothing if not an over-thinker, preoccupied with very teenage problems like zits and gossip and who to talk to at parties; her thoughts on the most simple of relationships are extreme, like when she thinks about how she felt before she became friends with Rayanne and Rickie: "it seemed like if I didn't, I would die or something."

Sometimes, her melodrama feels suffocating—particularly when related to Jordan Catalano (it's imperative to say both his names). Angela wonders: "Huge events take place on this earth every day. Earthquakes, hurricanes... even glaciers move. So why couldn't he just look at me?"

As an adult, it's easy to think that, of course, Jordan should look at her: She's smart, witty, open-hearted, pretty, has good taste in music. But then, there's no way to make sense of how crushes work. As a sophomore in high school, I also pined after guys who I felt were out of my league, and after the only girls who were out... but who were dating each other. My thoughts probably (definitely) sounded a lot like Angela's, and I was similarly dissatisfied with my life.

At the time, that dissatisfaction felt oppressive—and I wouldn't want to relive it entirely. But that introspection was also what saved me. By questioning what was around me and interrogating how I really felt, I was able to reject the trappings of my conservative town, figure out my own politics, and accept my own queerness. My teenage dissatisfaction with the way things actually are made me grow as a person, and it shaped me into who I am. Thinking about Angela now, and how her angst fueled her, reminds me that I should also let myself indulge in some teen angst—even as an adult.

In one of the show's final episodes, Angela pauses to reflect on the value of her overthinking. She's ringing in the New Year with her friends and decides her resolution could be "to stop getting so caught up in my own thoughts, because I'm like way too introspective… I think." But she decides against that idea, because "what if not thinking turns me into this really shallow person?" Same, Angela. Same.

Courtesy of HBO

Thanks, I hate it

In an interview today with The Cut, Vanderpump Rules star Stassi Schroeder blessed readers with some of her thoughts on HBO's Game of Thrones, and since we can't get enough GoT talk, we were excited to see what Schroeder had to say.

And, in case you're wondering if Schroeder is a fan of GoT, don't: She's actually such a massive fan that she refers to her fans Khaleesis, and they call her Khaleesi right back. So!

Anyway, after the wide range of responses to Daenerys' fiery mayhem in the show's penultimate episode, The Cut wanted to check in to see how Schroeder was faring, and ask what she thought of it all. While Schroeder's opinion on Dany is mixed (she found the Dragon Queen's "crazy" actions to be relatable, but she didn't think it followed Dany's character arc), it wasn't, like, a bad opinion, just a bit muddled, if not so different than those of the majority of viewers.

Schroeder's real hot take, though—what we feel comfortable calling the worst GoT opinion we've heard—is about another character altogether: Arya Stark. Here's what Schroeder had to say about our favorite blacksmith-banging, Night King-killing, proposal-denying assassin in all the Seven Kingdoms: "Arya, I feel like she probably should have just married whats-his-name [Ed. note: Gendry! His name is Gendry!!]. What's wrong with being a lady and a badass at the same time? You don't have to choose just one."

And, like, sure, you don't have to choose just one, but Arya would never choose to be a lady. That's not her! So, if we're still talking about characters behaving inconsistently, Arya saying yes to a proposal (a rushed one at that) would have been absolutely bonkers. Arya's not about to change her entire personality just because some dude drops down on one knee and proposes, and to want her to do so would be like wanting Dany to act like a sheep, instead of a dragon.

All to say, you know nothing, Stassi Schroeder.

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hoto by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Civic Entertainment Group

Our favorite grouchy girl died today

Today is a sad day, because it is the day Grumpy Cat died. Also known as my personal favorite feline celebrity, Grumpy Cat died from complications following a urinary tract infection. The super relatable cat—real name, Tardar Sauce—was only seven years old.

Grumpy Cat was first introduced to the world in 2011, back when LOLcats were everywhere. Grumpy Cat's downturned face (the result of feline dwarfism, according to her owners) was the subject of a huge amount of memes—she was even the 2013 Meme of the Year at the Webby Awards—and was the subject of her own Lifetime movie, in which she was voiced by the Grumpy Cat of actresses, Aubrey Plaza. But, though we loved her for the memes, we loved her even more because we related to her mood.

Grumpy Cat was so relatable because, like us, she was completely over everyone's bullshit. Unlike us, Grumpy Cat didn't hide her feelings with a smile. And while that was because Grumpy Cat literally couldn't do that, we like to think that she also just didn't want to do the emotional labor. Which is why, in honor of Grumpy Cat, have the courage to roll your eyes at someone today, instead of forcing a fake grin. And just think about how Grumpy Cat's probably frowning at us from some sort of kitty afterlife, utterly annoyed that everyone is mourning her death.

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