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Tacocat Creates A “New World” For Their Punky Poptimism On ‘This Mess Is A Place’

Music

Lead singer Emily Nokes talks politics, self-care, and making happy music for sad times

It was a lot easier to be an optimist—and, for that matter, a poptimist—back in early 2016, when Tacocat released their last album, Lost Time. Mere months later, though, following Donald Trump's election, Tacocat lead singer Emily Nokes found herself unable to find the right lyrics for the new music she'd started creating with the rest of the band. "After the election happened, it was just so surprising and weird. It felt like so much had changed so rapidly, that it wasn't quite the same [feeling of,] Okay, just get back in the studio," she explained to me, as we chatted over the phone earlier this week. "The music was coming along, but as far as the lyrics… it took quite a while to even start piecing it together. It was a whole winter of thinking about feelings."

This Mess Is a Place, the newest Tacocat album, is the result of all this rumination—though it isn't sad or angry, but is rather a poptimist approach to the shitstorm all around us. Of course, that's kind of the Tacocat way—to infuse a bubbly energy that's almost impossible to mope to, no matter what the topic. As she worked on the album, Nokes realized she didn't want to be simply reactionary in her musical response: "I remember thinking, Oh my god, we could just scream for 40 minutes, and that could be the album, but I knew I didn't want it to be really angry and really dark, even though those are super-valid emotions."

Instead, Nokes found herself feeling more contemplative, and leaning heavily into self-care, telling me, "I'm just going to take a bath every single day, I'm going to do some baking projects, and I'm going to learn how to make candles. I'm going to sit with these feelings, and I'm going to see my friends and talk to them, and just avidly write down ideas and things that people were saying and things that felt positive and good, and kind of just keeping track of the good things." And that's exactly what she did, immersing herself in positivity to keep herself going. She told me that she came to a realization at a certain point during this time, thinking to herself, " You know what, we're going to land this backflip. All of us, we can do it. Here we go."

Tacocat's grasp on poptimism feels like a lesson on making the best out of a dark situation. After all, the rock and alt scenes that Tacocat sprung from have never been the most hospitable to anyone even remotely femme; Nokes detailed the derogatory nature of being deemed a "girl band," describing her experience in the scene: "There were people yelling at us, we were first on bill of four dude bands. People treated us like a novelty, no one took us seriously." But, Nokes said, "Our four personalities put together are inherently optimistic. We've always been observant, angry, and aware of all the political aspects of [our existence]. We had a lot of things to be feeling shitty about, but we all just had this sense of humor. It's more fun to make fun of these people than it is to let it get to you."

This means that Tacocat complements their "big, swelling, happy" riffs with catchy snarkiness in the lyrics. Nokes said she's a sucker for adding a musical twist and writing lyrics that exude emotions that are the opposite of the sound beneath them.

Ahead of the release of This Mess Is A Place, Tacocat has shared their music video "New World" exclusively to NYLON, which in itself is another act of tongue-in-cheek hope. The song starts off: "I woke up today, and everything was better," and with that as a jumping-off point, the video takes viewers into a "zany and bizarre" world where they can find some escape from the frankly surreal reality in which we all find ourselves.

New World (Official Video) - YouTube www.youtube.com

Though the timing of the album is just coincidentally arriving as the 2020 election cycle begins to amp up—which inevitably "made it more complicated" to make the record, per Nokes—she can't help but hope that it acts as a little bit of a sunny spot in a dark time. Nokes, and all of Tacocat, really understand the power of music as a communicator and as pseudo-therapy. Whereas many artists have pulled out of concerts in areas where legislation has hurt queer and femme populations, Tacocat has remained, because they feel like the queer and femme spaces that exist in conservative areas need poptimism in their lives. Nokes talks about the group's decision to play in North Carolina after the state passed a transphobic bathroom bill: "We were playing a queer venue that we've played a lot of times before over the years. They don't even have labels on the bathrooms anyway, they never have. Why would I not bring this to the very people that this bill is probably affecting, or is affecting their loved ones or close friends?" Tacocat shows, Nokes emphasizes, "are safe spaces," to which accessibility must remain open in the face of adversity. Positivity of all sorts, even in the form of cheeky alternative rock, should remain accessible too.

This Mess Is A Place comes out this Friday, May 3.

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Photo by Handout / Getty Images.

From selling probiotic supplements to picture frames and umbrellas

A Kardashian-level of success doesn't happen overnight, and it certainly doesn't happen without proper planning. Kim Kardashian West clearly knows this because, according to TMZ, she has already filed for trademark protection on the name of her two-week-old baby, Psalm West. From personal appearances and entertainment services to probiotic supplements and scrunchies, she is leaving no stone unturned in terms of possible business opportunities.

Apparently, all of the Kardashian parents file these kinds of trademark protections for their kids even if the businesses never come to fruition. It's done as a precautionary measure to keep others from profiting off of their name and to make sure that, should they ever want to start a business, they don't have to worry about someone else getting to it first. The sheer length of this list speaks to the huge earning potential of baby Psalm, who can't even control his own neck muscles yet, let alone go into business. Still, this brings a whole new meaning to "securing the bag."

Below, a list of all the things Kardashian West is seeking usage rights for.

Hair accessories

Barrettes

Bands

Bows

Clips

Ties

Ornaments

Pins

Scrunchies

Chopsticks

Twisters

Wrap

Hair extensions

Ornamental novelty pins

Entertainment services

Personal appearances

Skin care

Probiotic supplements

Toy figures

Doll accessories

Computer software

Clothing

Baby bottles

Furniture

Strollers

Beverageware

Swaddling

Blankets

Skin moisturizers

Lotions

Creams

Bubble bath

Fragrances

Body powders

Shower gels

Body oils

Skin serums

Nail polish

Nail polish remover

Nail care preparations

Puppets

Puzzles

Toy jewelry

Toy cameras

Toy food

Bath toys

Baby gyms

Playground balls

Electronic action toys

Baby bouncers

Baby changing tables

Baby walkers

Pillows

Mirrors

Cushions

Picture frames

Playpens

Baby carriers

Cosmetic bags

Toiletry cases

Duffle bags

Umbrellas

Clocks

Watches

Key chains

Calendars

Books

photo albums

Stationery

Stickers

Writing utensils

Collectible trading cards

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Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Well, actually it's crocodile, but she looks out of this world so...

Winnie Harlow walked the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday on her way to a screening of Oh Mercy!, wearing a showstopping gown.

The sheer black dress featured green embroidery on the front and back, which Ralph and Russo confirmed was in the shape of a crocodile. She belted the dress with a black crocodile skin-like belt and finished the look off with some strappy heels. She didn't leave it at just that. For beauty, Harlow packed on full lids of sparkly purple eyeshadow. She kept her hair sleek and simple.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Though the brand says otherwise, as Game of Thrones fans, we'd like to think the embroidery is reminiscent of a dragon's skin. Not to mention, Harlow looks out-of-this-world beautiful in it.

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Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

That denim kimono!!

Marion Cotillard shut down the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday at a screening for Matthias Et Maxime. Instead of an extravagant gown that's expected of the event, Cotillard wore a matching black crop top and shorts. Despite wearing an outfit I typically don to a hot yoga class, she looks incredible. She completed the look with an oversized denim kimono, a statement necklace, and heeled booties.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

At first, I was drawn in by the crop top and hotpants duo, but, after looking closer at the kimono, it's clear that it's the real scene-stealer. The floor-length Balmain piece was decorated with artful rips and dragon motifs. I would like to live in it.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Let's all bow down to the Khaleesi of Cannes.

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Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images.

"It doesn't make you weak to ask for help"

Singer Billie Eilish is continuing to open up about mental health, this time in a new PSA video in partnership with the Ad Council and Seize the Awkward.

In the video, Eilish insists that "it doesn't make you weak to ask for help." She doubles down on the importance of asking for help, and stresses the importance of friends and family being there when their close ones reach out and checking in on them as well. "You should be able to ask anyone for help, everyone has to help someone if they need it." According to Eilish, there have been times when someone reached out to her at the exact moment she needed it, and it helped.

It was particularly refreshing to see Eilish acknowledge that there are things she still doesn't know and has to learn about her mental health. At the very beginning of the video, the interviewer asks her to reflect on her mental health journey, and all Eilish can do is let out chortle. "I think when people hear, 'Remember to take care of your mental health,' they think that everyone else is, and that is not at all accurate," she admitted. "You know, for me I'm trying to learn still to make sure that I stay okay."

Check out the PSA below.

Billie Eilish On Mental Health & Friendship | Ad Council www.youtube.com

Photograph via @kimkardashian.

"#NotOnMyMoodBoard"

Kim Kardashian has definitely been accused of borrowing a design now and then. But when Instagram influencer and Kardashian look-alike Kamilla Osman claimed the entrepreneur copied her birthday look for a Met Gala after-party, Kardashian was not going to let it fly—and shared plenty of photo evidence to shut down the claim.

Fashion industry watchdog Diet Prada first noticed Osman's claims on Instagram and shared side-by-side images of Kardashian's Cher-inspired outfit designed by Mugler and Osman's dress. "Never get confused with who 'inspires' who. They won't give you credit but they will copy," Osman wrote on her IG story. "I designed this dress for my birthday last year. Nobody had a dress like this was an original design."

Kardashian responded by posting the true inspiration behind her look: images of Cher, in similarly sparkly, plunging-neckline dresses and wigs, and of model Yasmeen Ghauri walking a Mugler show in the '90s. In fact, the only similarity between Osman's and Kardashian's looks is the bodycon mini-dress style, which the two are not the first to wear. Among the images, Kardashian included a blank slide with the hashtag "NotOnMyMoodBoard," making it clear that this was in response to Osman's claims.

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Though I am with Kim on this one, Kardashian does have a history of co-opting other people's work. From being sued over her Kimoji app, to claims she copied makeup palettes and perfume bottle designs, to being accused of copying Naomi Campbell's entire style, it's far from the first (and probably, far from the last) time Kardashian's name will be mentioned like this.

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