Every month, our contributors compile a list of their favorite things that they want to share with you. Here are a few things we liked in the month of August.
DANIEL CAESAR’S FREUDIAN
This is albums SLAPS! He really is changing the way we look at gospel music. In an interview with Genius, he mentioned some of his all time favorite albums and some of the albums he listed were the same ones from my childhood. I watched most of his interviews—to be honest—and hearing about his story of an artist struggling on his own after high school actually gave me so much insight and ideas for projects that I have. He’ll always have a special place in my heart that he fuckin’ broke during Blessed (track 7).
NIKE IS DROPPING HEAT AND NOTHING ELSE. The new retro styled shoes are exactly what I needed. It’s sleek. It’s beauty. It’s grace. And it’ll pair perfectly with some black slacks.
MILO—WHO TOLD YOU TO THINK??!!?!?!
I’ve been a fan of milo ever since I Googled my name and coincidentally came across his Things That Happen at Day / Things That Happen at Night EP. Every project this guy works on is incredible, and the new album delivered as the atmospheric, heart pounding singles would have you expect. I also got to see him the other day so that’s cool.
I’m back in school, motherfuckers. After a year long break – wherein I traveled around the country, lived with an old Egyptian man, almost got Tetanus, wore the soles of my Adidas down to a thin crust, and ate out of Denny’s sugar packets as meals – your boy decided to better his future and get those papers. I’m still a disorganized mess of a person, but I love the hell out of college right now.
WANDA COLEMAN—AFRICAN SLEEPING SICKNESS
I can honestly say that I have never been so transfixed by a poetry book. Coleman’s voice is poignant as a black woman living in the 70’s. Within a page she will dive into a gulf of complexity, only to burrow her way out with either a solution or the deafening absence of one. Definitely make sure to pick this one up.
Brunch in Toronto can be ridiculously overpriced and sometimes it gets redundant to spend $20 every Saturday at a restaurant that is the result of gentrification, so picnics are lovely. Call up some friends, grab a blanket and fresh fruit and lay out in the sun while we have a bit of summer left.
Currently my go-to shoes. At work, I’m on my feet for long hours and comfort is key, so I’ve been reaching for my slip-ons whenever I’ve got a shift. They go perfectly with slip dresses, high-waisted jeans and denim cut-offs and have become an absolute essential of mine.
DEATH OF A SALESMAN
I seldom read plays, but after someone recommended me Death of a Salesman I thought I’d give it a go. Last summer I picked it up at a used bookstore after remembering that Miller wrote the introduction in my copy of A Streetcar Named Desire, but never ended up reading the play. Miller depicts Willy Loman, whose life is plagued by a mundane job and whose youth is now nothing but a remnant of the past. Despite this, he remains ambitious and still yearns for something greater. It’s simple yet emotionally driven and you can’t help but empathize with each of its characters, maybe finding your own troubles drawn out in theirs. I especially loved the character Biff — Loman’s son — who attempts to ground his destructive father, which leads to countless arguments but their care for each other persists.
VLADMIR NABOKOV’S LOLITA
Another book favourite. For years I’ve dwelled on picking up the novel but hesitated, as I feared it would romanticize pedophilia and would try persuading readers to be on Humbert Humbert’s side of the story — as that seemed to be the goal of the film. To my surprise, however, the book is a lot more sarcastic and ironic than what many would anticipate. Nabokov paints Humbert as a vain and hateful man and doesn’t sugarcoat his erratic behavior, but exemplifies it. I found his commentary on the American psyche and culture quite witty and humorous, and enjoyed the unique, modernist structure the book was crafted in.
I’ve been listening to Talking Heads for years, but in August I rekindled my love for the band. Earlier in the month I picked up Speaking in Tongues on vinyl and have been obsessed with the 20th Century Woman soundtrack, which has their songs “Don’t Worry About The Government” and “The Big Country” on it. Each song and album differs in sound, and lyrically they are immensely experimental and at times absurd and humorous. “Stay Up Late” and “And She Was” are perfect songs for prancing around your room, lip-syncing into a hairbrush while “Road To Nowhere” is an anthem for anyone lost, confused or simply in need of a bit of musical guidance.
GALAXY QUEST COMICS
I’ve never been a comic book person. I never had exposure to them as a kid (all three of the towns I grew up in did not have anything close to a comic book store). Due to my unfamiliarity with the area (and general loneliness), I spent the majority of my first weeks in college roaming around strip malls and the downtown squares around campus to try to find cool places/niches/areas where I could meet people. Galaxy Quest Comics was one of them. It’s nothing spectacular, but it’s quaint and quiet and a wonderland of relatively obscure titles that I am unfamiliar with. And, plus, they were playing Talking Heads the first time I stepped in.
Ever since I started college, I’ve been unable to stop listening to pop music that I grew up on. It’s an extension of my fascination with the early aughts (and probably a diversion to distract me from missing home, I think). I’m trying to further channel my perpetual attachment to 2004 by listening to pop music from that era on repeat. I never got into Skye Sweetnam as a kid; I remember her music being promoted on the MyScene website, but her rebellious-nonconformist-gothic-Avril look scared me away. She is one of the shining beacons of girlpop during that time period, but she disappeared after putting out her second album. We love a legend!
WHATEVER IT TAKES PODCAST
Last month, I discussed my relatively new obsession with Degrassi: The Next Generation. Being that I am currently halfway through Season 13, I feel entitled enough to announce that the earlier seasons were significantly better than the newer soap-opera style episodes. Thankfully, I am able to further hone my attachment to the earlier seasons by listening to Whatever It Takes, a podcast focused on discussing and analyzing every single episode of The Next Generation in chronological order.
GWEN STEFANI’S LOVE ANGEL MUSIC BABY
Whenever I think of my childhood, I think of my mom playing this album in her ’02 Ford Expedition. I distinctly remember listening to it on my Discman in my living room and trying to decipher what Harajuku meant. My entire musical upbringing was shaped around this album and my mom’s decision to play it endlessly. Ironically, every time I bring this up to her, she insists that she only played it because I liked it. Weird.
Although it’s kind of bad, I found myself rewatching the lone season of Second Jen for the second time this month. The thought of a Broad City-type sitcom focused on two second-generation Asian Canadian twentysomethings sounds great, but its execution is slightly messy. However, it’s the type of show that you end up being charmed by (once you find a way to ignore all of the trite quips and the tortuous journey through the zeitgeist of 2015). I have yet to accustom to the jarring transitions (if it was aired in late 2016, WHY did the producers think that using hashtags in the transitions was coolhipandrelatable), and the costuming department needs to be fired immediately, but I love it anyway.
LOS AGELESS by ST. VINCENT
I wasn’t a huge fan of the first promotional single St. Vincent released in anticipation for her new album, so I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard the second one that was released earlier this week. It is tragic and cinematic and skittish and hectic and sounds like it’s stuck in the neon tubing of a synthpop song from the 80’s.