Our Spilt Milk returns with our favorite things this week. Right now we're into new music from Flume and Diet Cig, new comics from Chester Brown, and the playlist as mix CD.
Flume is a pioneer in the electronic music industry whose versatility was abundantly evident upon the release of his self-titled debut album, Flume, in 2012. The Aussie producer, Harley Streten made a pseudonym for himself with this work and quickly became known for creating a new electro hip-hop sound with his use of synth and heavy bass. Streten spent the last four years spoon-feeding us remixes like "Tennis Court" by Lorde or producing as half of What So Not. Flume's dormant phase finally ended when he announced his sophomore album, Skin, and released the first single, "Never Be Like You,” featuring Kai.
Released on May 27, Skin meets the hype that it built for itself this year. "Helix," "3," and "Wall Fuck" are simple and will appeal to those who appreciate that Flume uses these as an opportunity to flex his producing talent. He uses minimal and ambiguous vocals to accompany the progressive, experimental nature of these tracks. Other parts of the album have impressive features from Vince Staples, Vic Mensa, Tove Lo, Beck, and Little Dragon. Back in February, Streten stated that Skin is "not festival music" due to its complicated and abstract nature. There is some truth in this. due to the fact that even the heaviest drops offer no more than a head bob for listeners. However, Flume will draw huge crowds during his performances this festival season at Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. He has also announced his 2016 world tour, that arrives in New Orleans September 14 at the Orpheum. (Ryan Knight)
All of Diet Cig’s songs make me feel cooler. Alex Luciano and Noah Bowman create energetic garage pop songs about relationships, growing up, and hating the “scene.” Those topics have the potential of producing sappy try-hard ballads, but Luciano’s lyrics have a bite that separates her songs from the neverending stream of up and coming indie bands. Luciano makes it very clear that she’s not down with pretentious bullshit. (In my favorite song, “Harvard,” she snarls the line, “Fuck your Ivy League sweater / You know I was better.”) That’s what makes Diet Cig so fun; they aren’t trying too hard. I can imagine myself in Luciano’s shoes, wearing T-shirts and sneakers on stage and singing about being scared “like a third grader on a triple dog dare.” I feel badass listening to their album Over Easy on my way to work, living vicariously through Luciano to fulfill my childhood dreams of being the frontman in a rock band. (Jessie Rabini)
Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus is Chester Brown’s chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter moment. The book is subtitled, “Prostitution and Religious Obedience in the Bible,” and it combines the Canadian comics artist’s interest in sex workers’ rights with The Bible, which he addressed in the past when he illustrated two of the Gospels early in the run of Yummy Fur, the comic book that made his name. Nothing in the book says that Brown cares about your relationship to God, faith, or Christianity. Instead, as the almost 100 pages of hand-lettered notes in the afterward suggests, he has found his way of entering the interpretive conversation about the nature of God and Christianity’s true relationship toward sexuality as revealed in The Bible. As you might imagine, Brown sees both in ways you might not expect, and argues persuasively for his reading.
Brown’s graphic style is disarmingly perfect for the project. His characters all seem small and unassuming, partly because he leaves room at the top of panels for word balloons, but also because he frequently draws from a slightly elevated perspective looking down on his figures. Nobody looks heroic, but nobody looks malevolent either. His dialogue doesn’t tip the scales to make good guys and bad guys obvious, so unless you know the stories, you don’t know where events are going. To make things more complicated, the God in Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus really does help those who help themselves, and is a God who can take a punch. Because of that, you can read the stories with The Ten Commandments in the back of your mind and be surprised by the endings almost every time. (Alex Rawls)
As May of 2016 draws to a close, so does the playlist on my computer called “516”. For the past year every month I’ve been making a Spotify playlist of new (or, new to me) songs that I hear and want to play on repeat. Coherence isn't an issue. My "516" playlist includes songs as different as “Stars in Her Eyes” by Davol, “A Dark Tunnel” by Phantogram, and “Hundreds of Ways” by Conor Oberst. I add to the playlist throughout the month as I explore artists and shuffle through my library, and then I listen to it in my car. I’ve found that it’s a good way to make the discovery of new music more personal, rather than feeling like an accumulation of a library of knowledge. I also see it as a time capsule of however I was feeling that month, with certain songs bringing me back to a moment, for better or for worse, becoming a nostalgia for something not so old. (Nicole Cohen)
What have you been listening to, reading, watching or playing that you want to tell people about? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's see if we can add your thoughts to ours.