Welcome back to another edition of WUSSY Poppers.
This is the space where we break down all the new pop culture goodies for you to digest.
So sit back, inhale deep, and let us know if our picks suck.
Maxwell Drummey “Gay For Yoda” Premiere
Like many songwriters who move on with no lead singer or band in tow, Maxwell Drummey (formerly of Chester French) currently elixirs esoteric electronica like a champ. Think Brian Eno to Roxy Music, Towa Tei to Deee-Lite, Mark Mothersbaugh to Devo, boy geniuses and their machines making way for more interesting instrumental things. A continuation of sixties sounds through the very different approach of loungey kitsch with songs like “Cabana” and “Girls at the Pool” on Max’s Soundcloud, Drummey is on a very different level than the days of Chester French. Building an atomic-age atmosphere for a niche internet audience, the difference between the previous garage soul pop of Chester French and Drummey’s solo venture in a lot of ways could be seen as rejecting music industry standards and formalities to embrace this more esoteric electronic style. And props to him!
However, his upcoming newest record marries some of the previous spaced out fuzzy rock that Chester French had grooved out. It is by no means the kind of pop that landed the defunct band in the pages of Nylon and Teen Vogue; there is a maturation that even in endearing electro weirdness has surpassed the icky awkwardness of being indie poster children for the sixties mod revivalist (backed by Pharrell Williams label nonetheless). His newest solo record, releasing Friday September 16th, shows a sense of composition and multi talents of his style, heard both in the old and the new, as he continues to reign the affiliative realm of fantastical retro sound. A cohesive enjoyable listen from start to finish, be prepared to take an adventure following a mysterious but magical narrative: boyish Bruce Haack in the sweetness of summer nights, windows down, travelling thru the the desert into outer space. We premiere “Gay for Yoda” the song that shares the same name of the record, said to be “a love letter to the handless Mexican man Max last drove home in the summer of 2014”. (Sunni Johnson)
Lady Gaga “Perfect Illusion”
Let's face it - the Lady Gaga of yesteryear is gone. This reality is something the majority of her fan base has realized with the recent release of her new single, "Perfect Illusion". The single itself is not perfect and the truly illusive aspect of it all is that some people think it's her comeback single. Clearly, it's not. It's not even on the level of "Applause".
When we heard it had guitars, we had hope. When we heard that the trio of Mark Ronson ("Uptown Funk"), Blood Pop (formerly Blood Diamonds, who produced most of Justin Beiber's latest singles and has worked with Grimes), AND Kevin Parker (of Tame Impala) produced "Perfect Illusion", we were set for the beginning of a new era. We were fooled.
The song itself is overproduced, which Gaga is famous for at this point in her career. Most of the song, Gaga is shouting the lyrics and by the end you're asking yourself if she took one breath throughout the entire song. The lyrics are surprisingly bland and stale for Gaga - not the nonsensical babble that littered ARTPOP but not the cool cleverness that she had at her peak, The Fame Monster. But the most criminal part of the entire song is the key change that comes out of nowhere and makes you do this:
Her best key change was in her magnum opus "Marry the Night". Don't call it a comeback, but don't write her off. Gaga has spent the last few years on a redemption tour and I thoroughly don't believe she's going to ruin that by this lead hiccup. But in case you need to fill your white girl pop star cravings, may I suggest: Allie X, Carly Rae Jepsen, and, of course, Robyn.
American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare
The premiere of American Horror Story's sixth season has been shrouded in secrecy for months now, with creator Ryan Murphy promising what will be the scariest season yet.
For me, the most exciting twist came in the casting choices for the premiere episode, which saw Cuba Gooding Jr (who seriously killed it as OJ Simpson in American Crime Story) and Chaz Bono on the list of AHS newcomers.
I don't know yet if Bono will have a huge role to play this season, but I would love to see his role fleshed out. There are very few transmasc characters on TV right now and since Murphy seems to have an almost John Waters level obsession with villains, it's great to see queer people filling these roles. With all of the cis actors being cast in trans roles, it's also refreshing to see the script flipped.
Here's hoping Murphy can keep his shit together for an entire season.
Empire of the Sun “High and Low"
Empire of the Sun released their debut album "Walking on the Sun" back in 2008 and have been a joyous musical escape to parallel dimensions of fantasy. Their albums are always conceptually driven, more than album, but a literal manifestation of optimistic soundscapes from worlds rooted in wonder.
Their newest record, Two Vines, comes in October and is preceded by a new vision: "There was an image we talked about very early on with this record, and that was this image of a modern city overtaken by jungle, almost like mother nature taking back the planet. All the buildings will turn back to sand. All it will be is nature again. We wanted to make something that reflected the beauty of that, and the wisdom that plants can give us about living harmoniously on this beautiful planet." High and Low is the first single, delivering yet again another dreamy record to get lost in. "Let's get together and forget all the troubles and just float."