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Soundcheck: The 21 Best Music Releases Of The Week

Music
Photo courtesy of Terror Jr

Terror Jr., SOFI TUKKER, Jacques Greene + more

Every weekend, we’re bringing you #SOUNDCHECK—your new destination for the best of the best new music that hit the web over the course of the week. Because you should always be prepared when someone passes you that aux cord. This week’s round features 21 of our favorite emerging and established artists including Terror Jr, SOFI TUKKER, Jacques Greene, and so many more. Turn up, tune in, and tune out.

Bop City— Terror Jr 

The enigmatic, grape-loving trio that skyrocketed out of the internet released their debut EP this week. The eight-track project is, as the title suggests, a true bop. Terror Jr is playful, sexy, and extraordinary. Lisa Terror, the trio's vocalist, gets distorted to a point beyond recognition but it amplifies the group's mystery and allure. Haters will say it sounds familiar, but those people couldn't recognize greatness if it stung them. If the future is Terror Jr, then it's looking bright.

"Awoo" (feat. Betta Lemme) SOFI TUKKER

Fall has just begun, but this video for "Awoo" is making us wish for spring. The artist is joined by her friend, ex-model Betta Lemme, as they traipse around a nature-filled mansion, bathing in feathers and hatching chicks in sinks. The song itself has a driving, compelling beat, and the girls' voices sound so sweet layered over each other. The refrain of "Awoo" is thrillingeverything sounds slightly mysterious, like something you would hear in a dream.

Cross Your Heart— Liz Y2K

Self-proclaimed "Space Brat" and pop princess Liz Y2K has released a full mixtapeand a lookbook to go along with it. For the lookbook, she collaborated with Nicopanda (and its owner, Nicola Formichetti, creative director of Diesel) to create conceptual outfits to go with the music itself. The mixtape comprises a slew of collaborations too, with everyone from Vic Mensa to Daktyl. It's 16 songs of completely unapologetic, upbeat '90s-style pop music, and we're loving it. 

"Plead the Fifth" Liana Bank$

Liana Bank$ is back with another track proving she is nothing if not a boss-ass bitch. On "Plead the Fifth" she talks about her place in a no-holds-barred, no-rules night... without ever actually telling us what it is. Despite the mystery, we wish we were there.

"Hey, I Won't Break Your Heart" Corinne Bailey Rae

Corinne Bailey Rae has unveiled the visual for "Hey, I Won't Break Your Heart," the second track from her latest album, The Heart Speaks in Whispers. The video, directed by James Frost, sees Rae in various circus costumes as she gazes directly into the camera. Get ready to have your breath taken away. 

 "Church/Liquor Store" Saba feat. Noname

You might recognize Saba from Chance the Rapper's "Angels," and now he's back with a track that couldn't get any smoother. The rapper and producer takes listeners on a tour of Chicago while rapping about the people who live there. Saba's Bucket List Project drops October 27. 

"Pink Beetle" Rejjie Snow

Hear why BBC Radio 1's Annie Mac chose "Pink Beetle" as the "Hottest Record in the World." Following the release of "D.R.U.G.S.," the Irish rapper is ready to set himself apart from the rest. Listen to the track above!

"New Phone (Who Dis)" Cakes da Killa 

Your favorite meme officially has a song to go along with it. Cakes da Killa takes it further with shady lyrics including "New phone, who dis/ Cutthroat, ruthless/ Don't appreciate my love, and I'll leave you looking stupid." The song will be featured on his debut album Hedonism, which drops on October 21.  

"Afterglow" Jacques Greene

With his North American tour starting in just a couple of days, Greene has released a relaxing track that's perfect for starting your day. The song will be available on a special 12-inch vinyl on October 28. 

"Durt" Ray Blk

This is just a taste of what to expect from Ray Blk's EP, Durt, out October 28. The quickly-rising U.K. singer's soulful voice is front and center for this single that you don't want to miss.

"The Middle" Wet

After the release of their album, Don't You, Wet has returned with not one, but two new songs. "The Middle" is a simmering track that deals with contrasting emotions in a relationship. If you want more of this, tickets for their U.S. tour can be purchased here

"Turn Away" Wet

The trio's second song takes on a lover who leaves when you need them most. Kelly Zutrau's vocals and the synth-heavy production will be stuck in your head for days! 

"No Service in the Hills" Ambré feat. Kehlani

 "No Service in the Hills" is the New Orleans native's first release since her mixtape, 2090's. Over a chill trap beat, Ambré and Kehlani reflect on their respective come-ups and their never-ending grind. 

"Stay" Alpines

The U.K.-based band delivers new-age Mary J. Blige vibes with their newest single off sophomore album Another River, due out October 28. Soulful electropop never sounded so good.

"The Water Beneath You" The Naked And Famous

In case you weren't aware, The Naked And Famous' new album Simple Forms is one of their best projects to date and this newly released song is why. Atmospheric, emotional, and a gut punch of a synth line tear us to pieces.

"Alaska" Maggie Rogers

If we could dance through an idyllic woodland with Maggie Rogers for the rest of our life, we would.

"DNA" Lia Marie Johnson

The vulnerability of Lia Marie Johnson's "DNA" comes to life in this somber and charged music video. It's a moving reflection of addiction and its effects on the people around it, and Johnson treats the topic with a poignant delicacy.

"Ruin Your Night" Sorcha Richardson

Sorcha Richardson never ceases to impress with her guitar-led, refreshingly honest sonic narratives. Here, she takes us into the throes of young love and all its upbeat energy and anxiety.

Sounds EP Mathew V

What is it with Canada and its never-ending supply of raw vocal talent? The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Lights, Carly Rae Jepsen, and now newcomer Mathew V? We must have been good in a past life. Mathew V's new EP, Sounds, showcases his richly soulful voice over productions that mix pop with alt-rock and dashes of gospel. Watch his space, because this is one voice you won't easily forget and will most definitely hear more of. 

"Trying Not to Love You" Caroline Smith

Caroline Smith's latest single has everything that is right in the world: hand claps, smooth layers of synths, and a saxophone? Check! Pair all that with Smith's swagger and you've got yourself a vibe that enriches any space this song plays.

"Riot" - Jon Waltz

In his latest, Waltz is singing about coming of age and all of the trials and tribulations that come along with it. He describes it as sounding like, "the song I needed to hear when I was younger," but, in our opinion, there's no better time than now to listen to this truthful anthem.  

 

Joanne Lady Gaga

Um. Duh. This album is a triumph.

Photo by Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images.

Things have gotten so much gayer

These days reality television is prime ground for LGBTQ representation: Love & Hip Hop is applauded for its strides in representation; one of my favorite HGTV hosts, David Bromstad, is gay; and let's not forget Project Runway, Queer Eye, and RuPaul's Drag Race. But I remember a time when this was not the case. Back in the days when MTV's The Real World and Road Rules were my only reality show options, queer people were few and far between, and they were usually men. That was until Aneesa Ferreira joined the cast of Real World in my hometown of Chicago.

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB

And how it's all too easy to paint trans characters as simply caricatures

Media personality and civil rights activist Ashlee Marie Preston sat down with writer (and NYLON contributor) Devan Díaz in conversation to discuss representation and shortcomings in media when it comes to trans writers. Díaz brings up the trap of being pigeonholed in topics to write about, to which Preston pointed out that trans media personalities—and trans people in general—are anything but a "monolith." Yet they're still portrayed as "caricatures," as Preston put it, in television and otherwise. "I would like to see complicated, flawed trans characters and not just the martyrs, the saviors of humanity, and the moral compass," Díaz states.

But in real life, Preston points out that for Black trans women, "there's always a demonizing narrative that's attached to us already. Even in 2019, there's been 11 trans women who have been murdered, and they've all been Black." Preston's media work attempts to go directly against this, underlining the "heart" of Black trans women.

Get to know Preston and Díaz in the video, above.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Dani and May Okon
Rob Smith and Eddie Jarrel Jones
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Marlene Colburn and Naima Green

Produced by: Alexandra Hsie
Directed by: Charlotte Prager
Camera: Charlotte Prager + Dani Okon
Edited by: Charlotte Prager

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She considers herself "one of the luckiest kids on the face of the earth"

Dani Okon, NYLON's associate creative director of video, sat down with her great-aunt, May Okon, to talk about their shared experiences—despite vastly different time frames—living as queer women in New York City. Prior to retirement, May was a journalist for the New York Daily News, having first entered the male-dominated workforce when "the boys were all at war." And, of course, she absolutely killed it. Her only regret? "Retiring at 55," she tells Dani, joking, "Who the hell knew I was gonna live to 100?"

Upon retiring, she moved out to the Hamptons with her partner and bought a home. If she had to do it all over, May says "there are a lot of things I wouldn't do," but she still considers herself "one of the luckiest kids on the face of the earth." Get to know May in the video, above.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Rob Smith and Eddie Jarrel Jones
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Marlene Colburn and Naima Green
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by: Alexandra Hsie
Camera: Gretta Wilson + Katie Sadler
Edited by: Madeline Stedman

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MORE in VIDEO

Here's how they're making sure it doesn't happen

Lauren Morelli, the showrunner and executive producer for the new Netflix show Tales of the City, is fostering a space where multiple queer realities can be shown on-screen. She spoke with one of the cast members, trans actor Garcia (who plays Jake Rodriguez on the show), and, in the video above, they explore why it's wrong to treat queer stories as representative of the entire community. Tokenization is something that they both want to avoid at all costs, and they're on the right track.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Dani and May Okon
Rob Smith and Eddie Jarrel Jones
Naima Green and Marlene Colburn
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Directed by Charlotte Prager
Shot by Gretta Wilson + Charlotte Prager
Edited by Gretta Wilson

True

"Nothing is truly a binary"

We put non-binary activist Eddie Jarrel Jones and The Phluid Project founder Rob Smith in conversation with each other, and the two spoke some powerful truths about the continued gendering of products like makeup and clothing. Smith recalls that 30 years ago, the only way that he was able to experience the joys of playing with makeup was to work at a beauty counter. Even today, Jones notes that it's hard for non-binary femmes like them, or even trans women, to get that experience in stores.

In the video above, get a sense of why Smith created a genderless store, and see how important it is for people like Jones to have a space where they don't feel criticized for dressing like they want.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Dani and May Okon
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Naima Green and Marlene Colburn
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Directed by Charlotte Prager
Shot by Charlotte Prager + Dani Okon
Edited by Gretta Wilson

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