7 Things, Features

Pet Sounds, Isaiah Rashad and The Bandcamp catalog of Stephen Jones: 7 Things We’re Into This Week

Named after the glorious, if negligibly inaccurate Miley Cyrus song, The Sympathizer HQ delivers to your computer and phone screens (or iPad–if you’rethat guy) a spanking new column. A weekly round-up, “7 Things” presents you with 7 things we’ve been into this week–songs, records, books, podcasts, both old and new. You’ll never be left not knowing what to do with your weekend again.

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Thing 1: The Bandcamp catalog of Stephen Jonesstephen-jones-666

He scored hit UK singles in the 90s as Babybird, but due to the mainstream being awful is now selling his music directly to you. Stephen released twelve albums last year under several different names – the most recent “Floored Songs” is an amazing compilation of his work. Warning: once you buy one, you will buy them all. – Christopher Busch

Thing 2: Isaiah Rashad’s Free Lunch

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Last night I sat in a car with an old friend who said she has listened to Isaiah Rashad’s new album at least five times every day. It’s the only thing she will listen to. While I don’t preach ever only listening to one album (it seems terrible when so much fantastic music exists) I do preach taking a listen to Free Lunch by Rashad. The hook of “meal ticket, ticket” is something I can’t get out of my head and I’m not complaining. While I am leaving most of the shit show that was 2016 in last year, this is one track that I didn’t mind dragging into this one. – Siya Bahal

Thing 3: Bruno Mars’ “Versace on the Floor”

I first heard Bruno’s new song on Carpool Karaoke with James Corden and BOI I did not hear this before what is this? The smooth and sexy jazz song has got a wonderful 90s slow dance vibe to it with the right amount of croon. He might be marketing this to the richer crowd who would be ever so willing to just drop a Versace dress on the ground, but Bruno Mars, as usual, knows how to talk to the masses with just his rhythm. Still. If I had a Versace dress that cost me a fortune, I’d handle it like dusty old men at the Louvre would handle a painting. With delicate care and gloves. – Keerthana Batchu

Thing 4: Outkast’s Stankonia

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I recently realized I had never listened to a whole Outkast album. I decided to change that. After hearing so many hottt Andre features in 2016—on Cudi’s latest project in particular—I thought it was only right. Stankonia seemed like a cool place to start. Little did I know I would ~ACTUALLY~ feel the cosmos shifting before me upon pressing play. It was as though I had finally been reunited with some lost part of a former self…or something. All I can really say is this album fucked me up and for that I am thankful. Listen 2 it.  – Krista Caproni

Thing 5: Raury’s “Trap Tears”

Raury is a freshly 20-year-old singer/songwriter that creates everything down to the taste his name leaves in your mouth. It’s not often to see young pioneers dominate underground music and casually intertwine different genres like he’s shown he can. Raury’s tale is long and poignant. It’ll pique your interest until the song winds into the interlude, concluding a steadfast narrative with a cool jazzy vibe. – Cevenly

Thing 6: Melanie Martinez

Photo: Jeremy Witteveen | wittefini.com

I must repent. I have totally slept on Melanie Martinez and brushed her off as just another emo hipster kid with minimal talent. But I’ve recently given her album Cry Baby an ACTUAL listen and I have a few years of apologizing to do. This. shit. is. so. good. Really. Her songwriting is absolutely spectacular. Check it o0out.  – Krista Caproni

Thing 7: Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds

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Greil Marcus was bang on the money when he said, “If you’re lucky, at the right time you come across music that is not only ‘great,’ or interesting, or ‘incredible,’ or fun, but actually sustaining.” While I’ve always had a soft corner for Claudine Longet’s cover of “God Only Knows,” a part of me felt irrationally persecutedpressured, evenby the romantic constraints of the Beach Boys. There was an aggressive, near-utopian cheerfulness to their version of Love which made the idea of saying good night and staying together simultaneously lucid and illusory. Somehow (read: because of dates that made me climb out of bathroom windows) Pet Sounds felt more fitting juxtaposed with the rolling end credits of a horror film than my mental landscape. I grew out of my Beach Boys claustrophobia this year. Gradually, then all at once. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” no longer feels stifling, and I can hear innocence in the togetherness of “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder).” The same togetherness I once found leaden, heavy, smothering. Perhaps the Beach Boys were right and I was uptight and defensive and isolated. “You know it seems the more we talk about it/ It only makes it worse to live without it/ But let’s talk about it/ Wouldn’t it be nice?” Well, love is here today, and I’ve decided that it would be. Nice. – Gauraa Shekhar

January 6, 2017

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