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All the posts on www.papermag.com.

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  • 07/02/15--10:30: The Best Music In June
  • Best Albums

    jamie_xx_in_color.jpgJamie xx - In Colour
    Last Friday, as the news about the Supreme Court's decision to effectively legalize gay marriage in all 50 states broke, I couldn't help but think about Jamie xx's In Colour, one of the finest records released this year. On one hand, this didn't make a ton of sense: In Colour isn't about the trials, tribulations and triumphs the queer community faces daily in any specific way; in all reality, my impulse to reach for it was probably a not-so subtle Pavlovian response to all the rainbows flooding my Twitter timeline, reminding me of In Colour's kaleidoscopic sleeve. But maybe there something more to this impulse. In Colour is, among many other things, a nostalgic love letter to rave and dance culture, spelled out in various styles that were in no small way fostered and popularized by gays. Also popping up in my timeline was the Young Thug and Popcaan-assisted single"I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)," an obvious highlight from the album and a surprise frontrunner for Song of Summer 2015. As Youtube links to the track commingled with images of people celebrating on the Court steps, the joy felt all the more contagious.

    In Colour is also a bittersweet affair, exploring feelings of loneliness when everyone around you seems to be having the time of their lives. "Loud Places" (featuring a wonderful vocal take from Jamie's xx bandmate Romy Madley Croft) and "Stranger in a Room" (featuring a wonderful vocal take from his other xx bandmate, Oliver Sim) detail what it's like to pretend to be something you're not as the party rages on. This summer, Jamie xx will be playing a lot of parties, both large and small. And while the anxieties of fitting in and the nagging reminder in the back of your head that the party will eventually have to come to an end, In Colour provides a time and space where we can all rave together, under one roof.

    miguel-wild-heart-cover-album-cover.jpgMiguel - Wildheart
    Miguel likes to bone. Over the course of now three LPs, the California R&B savior has never made any, well, bones about that fact. But unlike a lot of his peers, his equal opportunity horndogging has allowed him to transcend the modern hang-ups his genre often falls prey to. After all, it takes two to tango (or three or four, depending on what we're talking about here), and quite often, that dance requires a carefully orchestrated soundtrack; Miguel's real ace-in-the-hole was knowing that piece of the puzzle was always the most important. And as far as the music is concerned, Wildheart might be Miguel's finest moment to date, not overly concerned with generating singles (though it could boast at least three or four by my count), but more keenly aware of the power a lean but fulfilling 45 minute capital-A album can harness. From the slow burn of "NWA" to the foggy jubilation of "Waves" (more on that later), Miguel has crafted psychedelic sex seance worthy of the influencers that inspired it, from Prince to Arthur Lee to D'Angelo. Inventive and charismatic and humid as all hell, Wildheart is like stepping into a sauna full of very pretty, very stoned people where they ladle GHB and rosewater onto the rocks instead of water.

    unnamed-11.jpgDJ Koze - DJ-Kicks
    For the 50th installment of their influential DJ-Kicks compilation series -- which has hosted guest mixers ranging from Carl Craig to Annie to Actress since the mid-90s -- Berlin-based electronic label !K7 Studio was wise to choose Hamburg's DJ Koze to helm such a prestigious anniversary entry. Koze's oddball tastes have always been proudly on displayed on his solo recordings, so it's a real treat to have this document of his influences and personal favorites wrapped up in such an economical, irreverent and satisfying package. With laid-back beatmakers like Madlib rubbing elbows with the likes of experimental electronic pop band Broadcast, Koze makes seemingly strange bedfellows get it on like eager teenagers in the back of a Jeep. Case in point: Dropping William Shatner into the middle of the mix and actually making it work.

    pagmat.jpgKacey Musgraves - Pageant Material
    As the battle over "authenticity" rages on in the country music world, take solace in the fact that a bonafide crossover star like Kacey Musgraves can make a record as thematically and sonically honest as Pageant Material without alienating purists or progressives. Instead, she's actually managed to not only unite these two disparate factions, but invite some newcomers into the fold as well (i.e. non-country fans). The answer to Pageant Material's success is pretty simple: Write charming songs about familiar things (families can be crazy, dudes can be jerk-offs, people can be judge-y) and present them with plenty of humor and a little bit of grace. Musgraves isn't breaking any new ground here, but her self-effacing nature's lack of disingenuity ("I'm always higher than my hair" she shrugs on the title track) is a testament to her relatable character. On "Dime Store Cowgirl," she actually sings the words "you can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl" and somehow makes it not seem trite. And makes it look easy in doing so.

    Desaparecidos-Payola.jpg
    Desaparecidos - Payola
    Are you coming into a record titled Payola by a band fronted by Conor Oberst worried that the subject matter might get a little, shall we say, heavy-handed? Well, there's the door. It's been 13 years since the Bright Eyes frontman's old punk band Desaparecidos put out a record (their debut Read Music / Speak Spanish), and needless to say, a lot has happened in the world for Oberst to get pissed off about. He's got a lot of problems with you people, and Payola is his grand grievance airing. If titles like "Slactivist" and "The Left is Right" weren't indication enough, Payola often reads like a college freshman who just discovered Chomsky. But Oberst's heart is almost always in right place, and on tracks like "Golden Parachutes," humor is his sharpest dagger. And the songs totally rip.

    Best Songs



    Beach House - "Sparks"
    Beach House often take a lot of flak for producing records that often sound too similar. What naysayers often fail to recognize is what Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally are able to accomplish within the limits they have set for themselves over the course of four terrific albums -- and that's where their real power lies. In subtly but meticulously tweaking and refining their singular sound within those parameters is what makes Beach House such an uncommonly dexterous act. So it's with "Sparks," the first single from their new album Depression Cherry, that lovers and haters of the duo might be able to reach something of a common ground. While the requisite dream-pop signifiers are still very present, with Legrand's voice drifting over beds of embryonic melodies, a wary organ line and a distorted, strangulated guitar offset the warmth in ways that feel bold, if not familiarly nuanced. It sounds as if Legrand and Scally have spent a good deal of time since 2012's Bloom listening to My Bloody Valentine, and if so, one can hope that Depression Cherry will make good on "Sparks"'s sure-footing into further uncharted territory.



    Fetty Wap - "679" [ft. Remy Boyz]
    There's no question that Fetty Wap is having an awesome summer. Peaking at number two on the Hot 100 and racking up nearly 140 million Youtube views, the Jersey rapper's "Trap Queen" is a certifiable juggernaut (he closed the BET Awards with it last week). It might be too early to tell, but it would seem that Fetty could have a pretty substantial career beyond his big hit (dread controversy notwithstanding). Consider "679," which sounds like one of many victory laps to come. Funny thing is, "679" was posted to Soundcloud over a year ago, and only now is finally getting some burn thanks to a (kind of perfectly goofy) new video. Whether it's new to you or not, it still sounds like the welcome extension of an already rich coronation.



    Future - "News or Somthin"
    It's been good to be a Future fan of late, seeing as the ATLien has dropped not one but three new mixtapes in the past couple of months. Though casual admirers (myself included) may have found it a bit trying to weed through all the new material, the ever-gracious Plutonian has made things a little easier by dropping this great new single. It's sometimes easy to forget what a strong rapper Future can be, and "News or Somthin" rectifies that in the most crucial and invigorating of ways.



    The Weeknd - "Can't Feel My Face"
    For all intents and purposes, the world really didn't need a song titled "Can't Feel My Face" from the Weeknd. Aside from the improbably decent radio hit "Earned It" (from the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, of course), Abel Tesfaye's musical career has been one of diminishing returns ever since his breakthrough mixtape House of Balloons in 2011. Prescribed to the same louche drugginess and egotistical self-loathing, Tesfaye's disinterest in working outside the largely unsympathetic caricature he had drawn for himself felt doomed to endure. But "Can't Feel My Face" is a step in a very promising direction. Lyrically, it's the same lazy coke metaphor, but it's hard to give a fuck when the track itself -- produced by evil pop genius Max Martin -- hits almost every conceivable disco-tied sweet spot. Try to ignore the rumor that this one could've been Justin's and just hope that Tesfaye's new direction is a permanent one.



    Miguel - "Waves"
    I try my best not to double-up on these round-ups, but when a song as totally undeniable as "Waves" comes along, it would feel wrong to waste space on anything else. If you show up to a Fourth of July party this weekend and people are hanging ten on this shit, leave.

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  • 07/05/15--03:15: The Sunday Funnies
  • An extremely depressing blast from the past -- at least if you worked for Blockbuster or Enron. Thankfully, we are not still using DSL. But content remains eternal.

    Obama asks The Black Keys if they can play at the White House, proving once and for all that he does indeed have a dad's taste in rock.
     
    creed2-640x369.jpgAnd in other obnoxious band news, a "Creed""fan" has taken it upon themselves to start a petition to change the name of the upcoming Rocky spinoff, starring Michael B. Jordan as the son of original Rocky opponent Apollo Creed. To be fair to Scott Stapp, googling "Creed" now returns primarily results for the film, suggesting that the band may no longer be able to keep its arms wide open. [photo and story via Spin]



    And []. The new season looks even weirder, if that's possible.



    BoJack. Bojack tries to change, but it [].

    BBHMM_MadsBeg.w529.h352.2x.gifHannibal. [via Vulture]



    WHAT ARE THOSE?



    Once you've read our story on Vince Staples, check out his mind-blowing, deeply sincere theory of Ray J's greatness on Hot97. If these two are not in a room together by the end of the summer, the world has failed.

    CIuA0XEUwAAU62N.jpg
    Colonel Sanders rides again in the Colonel's Adventures -- a comic distributed exclusively to the hungry and bloated and sated folks at Comic Con. [via Boing Boing]


    Comedy group Flama imagines what would happen if Mexicans celebrated July 4th the same way Americans awfully and obnoxiously "celebrate" Cinco de Mayo. [via TastefullyOffensive]


    Animation Domination Hi-Def, the studio that brought you Axe Cop, Golan the Insatiable, and Major Lazer, imagine the possibilities of a full-fledged Shark Wahlberg. He might be a little more neurotic than the real deal, but Shark Wahlberg would definitely make a better lead in the Transformers -- sorry, Sharksformers -- movies.


    And an extremely arrogant cat decides to completely interrupt this yoga video. [via BuzzFeed]

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    prh10mqsjyefdxkjnw8h.png
    Malia Obama already has quite the resume for someone who just turned 17 over the holiday weekend -- but now the First Teen/hip-hop tastemaker can add a summer internship at HBO's Girls to the mix.  

    She's already been spotted around Williamsburg doing typical intern-y stuff à la coffee-fetching and crowd control, and sources have been spilling that she and Girls creator Lena Dunham get along splendidly. 

    It's a move that's undoubtedly going to make the already buzzed-about show even buzzier (at least more so than her gig as a production assistant for Halle Berry's Extant), so for better or worse, all we have to say is welcome to showbiz, Malia. We expect great things from you, no matter what the pundits/Thought Catalog thinkpieces say.  



    [h/t US Weekly]

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    020315-music-nicki-minaj-meek-mill-instagram.jpgMeek Mill is having a pretty good month so far. His latest album, Dreams Worth More Than Money, is set to -- possibly -- be his first to reach the top spot on the Billboard charts. His relationship with Nicki Minaj appears to be going strong (so he's already winning at life). And he's just released the music video for "Jump Out the Face," which features Future and producer Metro Boomin. The lively video depicts a bunch of cops putting together an investigation on the three, only to be frustrated when they finally raid the house. Check it out below.


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    Detroit_1.jpg

    Packard Automotive Plant

    By now, everybody's heard the story. Detroit, once one of the biggest cities in the country, has faltered, a victim of bankruptcy and ruin porn -- "that place people avoid," to quote singer-songwriter Mike Posner, from his song "Buried in Detroit." But everyone loves a good comeback, and those of us who live here are witnessing it firsthand.

    Over the last few years, the city has been going through something of a rebirth: new restaurants and record spots are sprouting in neighborhoods like the West Village and Corktown, and creative hotbeds are bubbling up around the likes of artist Ellen Rutt, hip-hop group Clear Soul Forces and trap-pop darlings Jamaican Queens. As far back as 2010, Patti Smith suggested that Detroit, not New York, is the city for young artists.

    Here, then, are three individuals -- an electronic music-festival producer, a platinum-selling rapper and a pop wunderkind -- who have found ways to breathe new life into the city and bring the party in the way only Detroit natives can.

    Sam2.jpg
    Sam Fotias photographed by Douglas Wojciechowski

    Sam Fotias, director of operations at Paxahau Events, doesn't pause for a second when asked why so many people flock to Movement Electronic Music Festival. "It's the location, man. I really think we have this fan base because this is the home where this music was created."And he's right: Detroit is the birthplace of techno, a genre created in the 1980s when three friends -- Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May and Juan Atkins -- blended dance music with futuristic soundscapes. Before they knew it, the sound had exploded across Europe.

    Detroit_2.jpg
    The Heidelberg Project

    Since Paxahau took the reins in 2006, Movement has been a wild success, drawing electronic-music heavyweights like Squarepusher, Jeff Mills, Actress and Richie Hawtin.The festival brings nearly 100,000 people into the city every year, and Fotias makes sure to show them the beauty of what Detroit has to offer.That's why Movement, located in Hart Plaza downtown, is one of the few festivals that let you leave and explore the city."One of the most important aspects is having re-entry at the festival so the attendees can come and go to restaurants, the Motown Museum, record stores," Fotias says. "We really want people to see how awesome it is in Detroit."

    It's always give-and-take in this city, its beauty dancing among the crime and poverty, but Fotias believes that the richness of its history. "People have such visceral experiences -- not only here but back at home, listening to the music that was created here -- and you can't replicate it in the infield of a speedway or on a big grassy field.When you get that collective energy of tens of thousands of people in the city where this music was created, it is a vibe that's completely untouchable."
     
    BigSean.jpg
    Big Sean photographed by Fabien Montique

    Sean Anderson, aka hip-hop artist Big Sean, sounds tired. There's a calm in the voice coming over the line, each syllable breeding its own pause. Anderson has a small break in his almost constant touring schedule, and he's back in the studio working on his follow-up to Dark Sky Paradise -- a wildly successful record that came out in February. Then there's the Sean Anderson Foundation, a nonprofit run by Anderson and his mother that lends a big hand to Detroit's underprivileged kids. So if he is tired, that's just how he works.

    Anderson found rap at an early age, growing up in Detroit's Bagley neighborhood -- a working-class area in northwest Detroit, about 10 miles from downtown. "My mom didn't have a lot of money," he explains. "We were always in debt." His stepbrother, who was "kind of a gangster, getting into things, getting arrested all the time," introduced him to the music of E‐40, LL Cool J, Pac, Biggie and Snoop. That's about when Sean's work ethic and love for hip-hop melded together. "I had to have a new [mix] CD every semester. If I didn't, I was failing life."

    Anderson spent his high school years driving around in his grandmother's car selling those CDs, rapping at the local radio station and excelling in school all at once. Having a family that prided itself on education resonated with Anderson; that pride is abundantly clear in his foundation. "My mom said, 'You have to give back, no matter what. Whether you're making a hundred dollars or a hundred thousand dollars, you have to give back to the city.'"

    Detroit_4.jpg
    Detroit_3.jpg
    Top: The Michigan Theater, Bottom: Jane Cooper Elementary School

    These days, Anderson and his foundation have helped to provide Detroit-area youth with backpacks full of school supplies and donated money to help underprivileged kids buy school uniforms. "Just to see their faces and how it affects them is the best feeling," Anderson says. Early on, most of the donations came out-of-pocket, but now the foundation is working with Ford and the Boys & Girls Club to reach as many kids as he can. He remains remarkably humble, considering all he's done professionally, artistically and philanthropically; when pressed he only says, "It just feels good to help people, man." 

    Mike.jpg
     Mike Posner photographed by Meredith Truax

    A product of suburban Southfield, Mike Posner has nothing but fond memories of his Greater Detroit upbringing -- well, almost nothing. "I love the week in May when trees blossom and turn white," he says. "I love the fireworks on Friday nights after Tigers games. I love the way it smells when I walk out of the airport. I don't love the winter."

    Growing up in a middle-class neighborhood, Posner witnessed both the comforts and the hardships of his neighbors. "The school district I went to included everything from mansions in Franklin to trailer parks in Southfield," he says. "I think being in the middle of those two opposites was pivotal in making me the man I am today. It made me realize I was blessed to have what I did, but also showed me there was more out there for me than working at Best Buy."

    Like Detroit, Posner is also experiencing a rebirth. After making pop songs that were more attuned to the college-kid club circuit, including solo hits "Cooler Than Me" and "Please Don't Go" and collaborations with everyone from Justin Bieber to his friend Big Sean, Posner felt it was time to grow.

    His new songs, though still steeped in melody, are deeper and more introspective, reflecting the beauty and brutality, the fragrant springtime and merciless winter, of his hometown. "Buried in Detroit" takes us on a journey through Posner's life -- across the world, through all the parties and hangovers that in the end lead him back home. It represents a newfound desire to create work that's genuine, unflinching and empathetic. "Hit songs are like candy bars," he explains. "They taste amazing, but a part of you will never feel truly full. I've made candy bars for years, and I'm pretty damn good at it. Now I want to serve you a huge bloody piece of meat."

    Their approaches may be different - economic, philanthropic, inspirational or some combination of the three -- but the nature of these men is to fight, grow and give. Just like Detroit itself.

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    In the midst of these sweaty summer months, LA-based THRILLERS have released one steamy music video for their latest single, "Body High," which we're excited to premiere on PAPER. The funktronica duo, comprised of brothers Gregory and Jeremy Pearson, don black suits and sunglasses within a Prince-approved cloud of smoke. "She's my ganja/My Soul Train," the brothers stoically harmonize as women in nude bodysuits grind beneath neon lights. Check out the video and stream the group's debut EP, Cotton Candy Kisses, here.

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    frank miguel.jpgSometimes, artists with some superficial similarities are forced into competitive narratives. Who is the real king of New York? Should you care about Jack White making snippy comments about Foo Fighters when your dad will continue to play both at his "cool" barbecues? Some of these are obviously dumb questions, but are still helpful as a lens for thinking about music and cultural trends. But others are like the Miguel vs. Frank Ocean "beef."

    "I genuinely believe that I make better music," Miguel told The Sunday Times, adding a not-inconsiderable amount of fuel to the fire that already encompasses both men. Admittedly, there is some history of snippy comments on Miguel's part, though Ocean has yet to publicly address them. But that doesn't really matter to anyone who enjoys the music of one (or, probably, both). Just chill out. Let's be honest with ourselves: The only reason anyone would really feel compelled to claim one is substantially better than the other is because they just don't have the energy to use both albums (Frank Ocean's newest is due to hit some time in July) for their, uh, intended purposes.





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    Last week, legendary club producer Bryan Rabin and his partner in crime DJ Adam XII gathered a parade of lavishly dressed Angelenos at the Standard Hotel Hollywood to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of their "modern discotheque," Giorgio’s. Named after disco king Giorgio Moroder who was also there celebrating the launch of his new album, Deja Vu, it was a gathering of seminal revelers a la RuPaul, Rose McGowan, Paper's own Kim Hastreiter and burlesque queen Dita von Teese (who performed in a bathtub). All proof that a good party never goes out of style.














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    Often considered American hip-hop's little cousin, UK hip-hop has grown considerably in recent years in terms of popularity and wealth of talent. The UK has long produced a crop of great rappers including the likes of Ms. Dynamite, Estelle, Dizzee Rascal, Roots Manuva and Mr. Scruff, to name a few, and there's a new spate of artists primed to break out not just in Britain but also across the pond.

    This next generation of artists are inspired just as much by the disparate sounds they encounter on the Internet as with the legacy in UK hip-hop of creating consciousness-raising tracks touching on many of the same issues as songs by artists in America (racial profiling, the closure of youth centers and clubs, police brutality, including the killing of Mark Duggan, which is widely cited as the impetus for the 2011 London riots). And as in earlier eras, you'll continue to find heavy influences from dub music, which was -- and still is -- a big part of the fabric of the UK's Afro-Carribean communities, and grime, two electronic styles with deep roots in Britain that are only recently beginning to gain any semblance of mainstream attention in the States. From a rapper whose music is more like spoken word poetry to a collective that's been likened to London's answer to the A$AP Mob, here are 10 young UK hip-hop artists you should jump on now.

    LittleSimz1.jpgLittle Simz

    Little Simz, real name Simbi Ajikawo, has made considerable noise over the past eighteen months, getting critical acclaim from the likes of Fader, The Guardian, Noisey and Dazed for her abrasive style of rap and earning a BET nomination this year for Best International Act. And this is all before she's even even released a full-length album. She's grown her fan base on the strength of her AGE 101: DROP series of EPs, recorded while she was still studying music technology at the University of West London. Having just wrapped a string of headlining dates in the U.S., she's busy this summer playing dates throughout Europe, including one next Friday at London's Victoria Park.

    Optimized-jayprince.jpgJay Prince

    Hailing from East London, Jay Prince has made a name for himself with his soul-inflected brand of hip-hop and a flow that's even drawn comparisons to that of Kendrick Lamar (just check out his track, "Feel It" to get the comparison). And, like Lamar, Prince isn't afraid to get real -- on his recent EP, BeFor Our Time, the 21 year-old speaks out on behalf of disenfranchised youth everywhere.

    Kojey1.jpgKojey Radical

    Although technically a spoken word artist, Kojey Radical's work blends the beats and rhythms of hip-hop with poetry's expressive stream of consciousness storytelling. Born and raised in East London's Hoxton, the Ghanian-British artist is also the creative director of Push Crayons, a media agency he founded. His debut EP, Dear Daisy: Opium, centers on the idea that love is a drug as potent as the one in the record's name and throughout the album, you can hear him touching on topics like philosophy and religion, communicating them in ways that are digestible yet meaningful.

    novelist.jpgNovelist

    While Novelist falls under the Grime bracket, the synergy between the genre and hip-hop is incredibly close. Born Kojo Kankam, the 18 year-old from Lewisham in South London joins a growing list of artists known as 'Grime kids,' so named for their coming of age listening to the genre's stars like Wiley, Kano, Skepta and Dizzee Rascal. The young emcee has been widely tipped to become one of Grime's biggest stars and as Skepta's protegée, the sky's the limit. 

    808INK.jpg808Ink

    Consisting of producer 808 Charmer and rapper Mumblez Black Ink, 808INK brought elements of trap, electronic and reggae to their 2014 mixtape, Artistic piece, and have been making waves ever since. Combining 808 Charmer's surreal-sounding productionwith Mumblez' melancholic lyricism, their sound is moody, atmospheric, and at times aided by glitchy production. Their music gets enhanced with rich visuals by their creative director Pure Anubi$  -- watch their video for "Full English" to get the idea.

    Hawk House_Shot 05_0185.jpgHawk House

    The Hawk House trio, comprised of brothers Sam and Eman, and vocalist Demae, rap in Patois-influenced UK street slang, sharing the experiences of young Londoners in gritty neighborhoods like Croydon and Harlesden, where the brothers and Demae hail, respectively. Their EP, A Handshake For Your Brain, makes effective use of jazz, which provides lilting and slightly gloomy backdrops for lyrics and rhymes about the struggle of London's roughest areas.

    AgeOfLUNA.jpgThe Age Of L.U.N.A.

    This diverse group of young musicians have found a way to harness the sounds of soul, jazz, and references to the '90s golden era of American rap. Formed in 2011 as a group of friends, members Daniella, NK-OK, Butch and Wafemé have already drawn comparisons to the Soulquarians for their neo-soul vocals and melodic production. They've garnered fans for tracks like the bass-led "Six Feet Deep" and a recent set at London's Notting Hill Arts Club where they treated guests to some live sampling. Having only really started to get peoples' attention, they've managed to book a set at this year's Boom Bap festival taking place in the Suffolk countryside, sharing a bill with the likes of Earl Sweatshirt, RATKING and Homeboy Sandman.

    Nick1.jpegNick Brewer

    Hailing from Essex, 25 year-old Nick Brewer spent some time working as a social worker, before making the decision to turn to music. On songs like "The Drop" and "Miss Online Superstar," taken from his critically-acclaimed Four Miles Further EP, Brewer displays his lyrical dexterity while spitting lyrics about personal topics like the death of a close friend.

    LNIP-5.pngLast Night In Paris

    Many liken this London collective to A$AP Mob, not just for their music but their meshing of high art and street style (they're ambassadors of sorts -- or 'endorsers' -- for Virgil Abloh's Off White, for instance). The group, which consists of Josh Collard, Jaja, KC, Serb, Flowzart, Danny Seth, Zach, Jordon and Tee, got buzz for their 2014 EP, Roses+, a record filled with dark, chilled-out beats that occasionally bring to mind those found on tracks by Flatbush Zombies.

    GERALD JACOBS NEW SIZE.jpgGerald Jacobs

    Splitting his time between London and Kent, Gerald's debut mixtape, which came out in March, The Loudest Quiet, is laden with samples from films, video games and music, giving listeners a glimpse into the cultural works that inspire him. The 23 year-old artist produced the entire project himself and while his career is still in its early stages, if his mixtape is any indication, he's got a promising future.



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    The Hello Kitty movie you've always wanted (but mysteriously never had) is officially in the works -- and will be screening just in time to celebrate her 45th birthday.  

    According to reports, the iconic cartoon cat/global cute ambassador/serialfashioncollaborator is finally getting her very own film adaptation set for...2019. And while that's a whiles away, it's bound to be a good one, as Sanrio has purportedly formed their own Sanrio Media & Pictures Entertainment organization to spearhead the $200+ million effort. Talk about some fat cats.


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    Burial-music-video1-640x427.png
    Last year, Pusha T and Yogi teamed up to give us the massive banger "Burial," and if that wasn't enough to get your heart racing/fists-a-pumping, Skrillex and friends have now given the track a gloomy, glitched-up facelift.  

    With a little help from Trollphace and Moody Good, Skrillex's take on Pusha's dub-inflected EDM anthem is, simply put, a wild fucking ride. And when you also take into account Grant Singer's accompanying visuals (which feature a Dennis Rodman cameo, a man on fire and a menacing V for Vendetta-esque dance crew), the entire skin-crawling experience offers up quite the vision of a horrific, hip-hop dystopia. Watch the video below...and fingers crossed you aren't terribly squeamish.


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    Though he's no stranger to bold patterns and chokers, Gregg Araki has created his first-ever fashion film, whose trailer we ran last month, for Kenzo's new F/W '15 line. Between Slowdive playing in the background, a handlebar mustache, and some batshit dialogue, "Here Now" is classic Araki. The short film is a surreal callback to his cult 90's Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy including Totally Fucked Up, The Doom Generation, and Nowhere.

    The cast includes a bevy of beautiful, fresh-faced actors like Avan Jogia, Chicago Fire's Jake Weary, Nicole LaLiberte (from Araki's 2010 film Kaboom), Suburgatory's Jane Levy, Glee's Jacob Artist, and Grace Victoria Cox. Oh, there's also a nun.

    Watch the video below.


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    Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 5.27.29 PM.pngMac DeMarco and Paper Beautiful Person Shamir Bailey, are both on the way up musically (for one, both are performing next weekend at the Pitchfork Music Festival). Today, Complex released a video in which these rising stars and friends interview each other -- over Jenga. In the first part of the video (there's a part two coming!), you can watch the pair lay down the foundational blocks of their budding friendship, discussing everything from the towering problem of cigarette habits and addiction, what they would do if they fell into each other's bodies, and their personal history. If the second half is any more adorable, we might collapse. Watch the video, below.

    Please enable Javascript to watch this video

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    EDM.jpg

    photo by Nathan Damour

    Now that summer is upon us, hordes of electronic-music fanatics are heading to fields, deserts, beaches and cities for weekends of sensory overload at festivals around the world. The bass will rattle their bones and the drops will elicit screams as DJs spin the hottest tracks of the season against dizzying light shows and wild stage designs. Peering up at those stages, however, you'd be forgiven for asking a familiar question: Where are the women?

    Certainly women have been making and playing dance music for decades, from '90s rave headliner Sandra Collins to early-aughts techno champ Ellen Allien. The proportion varies depending on genre -- you'll likely see more women playing techno or house than hardstyle or dubstep -- and nationality, as many of today's leading female DJ/producers are based in hotbeds like the UK and Germany. The artists profiled here aren't newcomers to dance music; each has spent years honing her craft but is reaching a career peak right about now. They're spread out from Birmingham, UK, to Los Angeles and range in style from Ibiza-friendly techno to forward-minded hip-hop. And gender aside, they are five of the DJs and producers whose music you need to start bumpin' right now. 
     

    Hannah_Wants_700.jpg
    photo by Nathan Damour
    HANNAH WANTS

    Born Hannah Alicia Smith, Hannah Wants was too young to be inside the Birmingham nightclub that sparked her passion for DJing. She saw the DJ booth above the dance floor and how the guy behind the decks could move the crowd with his choices. "I knew that was what I wanted to do," she says.

    Wants began her career playing variants of garage. These days her sets lean toward house, but she's still influenced by the bass-heavy sound that was popular in her hometown when she started playing a little more than a decade ago. It wasn't an easy journey. It took three years for Wants to get a paid gig -- she spent a lot of time playing in small pubs. Things started to turn around when she spent four months of her gap year in Ibiza. She won some DJ competitions, played a major club on the island and booked her first UK residency, at the Rainbow in Birmingham. Now she's part of BBC Radio 1's programming and has her own party brand, "What Hannah Wants," which she uses to push her favorite DJs, like British up-and-comer DJ Barely Legal. Stateside, Wants played her first HARD Summer festival in Southern California last year and was floored by the crowd that turned up.

    As her career continues to soar on an international level, Wants is noticing more women taking to the decks in her hometown -- a microcosm, one hopes, of the EDM community at large. "There is definitely a lot more than one in the local Birmingham scene now," she says. 


    Kate Simko_AV_393 WEB_AntonyPrice.jpg
    Image: Anthony Price
    KATE SIMKO

    When Chicago-bred Kate Simko was a teenager in the late '90s, the Midwest electronic underground was massive. Among the now legendary DJs that came from her hometown were members of the all-female collective Superjane: DJ Heather, Colette, Dayhota and Lady D. "I idolized them," Simko says. She reminisces about DJ Heather's sets, which were filled with faster-than-average house beats and intimidating mixing skills. "She just tore it up."

    Simko herself didn't intend to be a DJ. She landed a spot at Northwestern University's college station and picked up gigs at local bars just to make some extra money while in college. But Simko, whose background is in piano, was interested in production. After collaborating with Chilean producer Andrés Bucci, she started playing electronic music live on stage, which led to more DJ gigs.

    Currently Simko is earning rave reviews for the single "Bring It," a collaboration with fellow Chicagoan Tevo Howard released through mega-DJ Sasha's label, Last Night on Earth. She's also working with her project London Electronic Orchestra, which mixes beats and strings. Simko is going back and forth between live performances with London Electronic Orchestra and DJ gigs, with the latter carefully planned for each city on her itinerary. "You get to know your audience," she says. "As a DJ, I'm happy when they're happy." Now based in London, Simko sees the differences between dance music communities in the US and Europe and notes the number of female producers -- like Maya Jane Coles and Laura Jones -- emerging from the UK. If the US catches up and a new generation of Superjanes emerges, Simko is all ears. 
     
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    LADY FAITH

    At 150 beats per minute, hardstyle gives dancers more of a workout than the average jam. "Your body uncontrollably starts moving to it," says Faith Leedman, aka Lady Faith, an eight-year veteran of the DJ scene and one of hardstyle's biggest proponents.The kick-heavy sound isn't particularly club-friendly. "There's a lot of jumping involved," she says of the accompanying dance style, adding, "It does not necessarily go hand in hand with alcohol." Hardstyle is big on the festival circuit, though, and that's where the L.A.- based DJ has amassed a devoted following known as "the Faithful."

    Lady Faith lived in Iran until she was seven and Portland, Oregon, until she was 18; she caught the DJ bug soon after settling in Los Angeles. She doesn't recall the name of the woman behind the decks at now-defunct Sunset Strip hotspot the Key Club -- only that the DJ was spinning hard house on vinyl while wearing vinyl (purple vinyl, to be precise) -- but she was immediately inspired. She spent years bedroom-DJing before a friend of a friend offered her a warm-up slot at a party. Lady Faith played as the crowd filed in and watched as the dance floor quickly swelled."I was shaking the entire time," she says, "but I got through it, and I actually did a really good job."

    Today, when Lady Faith hits the festival stage, she might drop one of her own tracks, like the Persian-influenced "Donyaye Man" (Farsi for "My World"). She's one of a very few women in the hardstyle scene, and that can be rough -- especially on social media, where one commenter recently asked if Lady Faith could actually mix or was booked for her looks. But this could change soon: she hears from other women who have been inspired by her to take to the decks. "I'm absolutely there for them," she says. 
     
    Alluxe_Cover.jpg
    Image: David Alvarado
    LAURA ESCUDÉ

    By day, Laura Escudé works behind the scenes for some of the biggest artists in hip-hop and dance music. The L.A.-based Ableton Live wizard has programmed live shows for artists ranging from Porter Robinson to Kanye West. When she's not working on other people's shows, Escudé plays and releases music as Alluxe, developing a style she calls "futuristic hip-hop."

    Trained as a violinist, Escudé gravitated toward electronic music in college. At first, her work was within the realm of Warp Records-style intelligent dance music (IDM), but eventually it evolved into something more accessible. "I feel that it's a bit experimental still," she says, "but it's more hooky and danceable and relatable now." She has also teamed up with a few ear-catching vocalists. Hip-hop artist Mr. MFN eXquire takes a turn on the mic for Escudé's "Stay the Same," which dropped in May.

    Escudé cut her teeth playing L.A.'s most influential parties, like the Do Lab and Low End Theory. "I consider myself a 'controllerist,'" she says. Like the turntablists who ruled the vinyl era, she manipulates sounds -- but with MIDI controllers instead of a set of Technics 1200s. "It's never the same show twice," she says.

    Escudé sees a positive change in the number of female producer/DJs emerging and getting the acclaim they deserve. "I know so many badass women who are starting to come out and become more recognized," she says, "and I think that's amazing."

    Moudaber_web.jpeg
    Image: Darren Black
    NICOLE MOUDABER

    When Nicole Moudaber returned to the decks this past March, after a two-month break, Miami's Winter Music Conference was in full swing and her two parties -- MoodDAY and MoodNIGHT -- were sold-out hits."It's a good way to kick-start the year," she says.

    Moudaber, who lived in Nigeria and Lebanon before settling in the UK, is at the top of her game. Her sets push the boundary between heavy-duty techno and deep house and can last for eight to twelve hours. She has a residency at Ibiza's DC10 and is set to play the legendary Glastonbury Festival this summer. Now that party goers in the States are going beyond what she calls "pop dance" and delving deeper into underground sounds, Moudaber, who played Coachella last year, is plying her trade here, too. A recent North American stint involved 19 flights.

    Touring aside, Moudaber found time to head into the studio and work on tracks with Skin, best known as the vocalist of beloved British rock group Skunk Anansie, for an EP to be released this summer.

    Moudaber tells me she doesn't know why female DJs are so often asked to weigh in on gender-related challenges in their field. There are, of course, many trials that come with DJing (like the relentless travel), but for Moudaber, being a woman isn't one of them. "I personally don't find it difficult, because it's a path that I chose," she says. "And when the music is good, it's going to be heard, whether you're a guy or a girl."


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    Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 3.17.24 PM.png
    Twitter genius/part-time philosobro Ezra Koenig is officially on the Apple payroll as their brand new Beats 1 DJ. After all, is there anyone else you'd rather hear talk in circles on air?

    Popularly known as the frontman of Vampire Weekend, Koenig the Quirk's new show will be called "Time Crisis," and joins an estimable pantheon of celeb-hosted shows from the likes of Drake, St. Vincent and Dr. Dre.

    Alternating every other Sunday at 3 p.m. with Pharrell's show, Koenig already teased his first episode guestlist, which includes fellow Twitter superstars Desus & Mero, funnyperson Rashida Jones and production god Mark Ronson, amongst others. As for actual musical content, we're just hoping he keeps his word re:


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    Look

    A photo posted by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on


    In the words of Tina Belcher, "uhhhhhhhh." Because the Great Biebs Thirst Trap is alive and well, as evidenced by the 1 million+ likes on the Boy Wonder's butt-baring Instagram. Where R Ü Now, Justin? Would you like to join Kim in Breaking the Internet? Miley sure seems to think so.

    Bieber got back!

    A photo posted by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on


    DM us and we'll make sure this is a happy ending 😈

    [h/t People]

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    NO2509v2-8001.jpg
    In 1980, New Order arose from the ashes of Joy Division, only to later break up, reunite, break up, and reunite yet again. And although founding bassist Peter Hook has severed his ties to the group, they will still release their eighth studio album Music Complete on September 25. Featuring guests from the likes of Iggy Pop, Elly Jackson of La Roux and Brandon Flowers -- it's bound to be a wonderfully bizarre love triangle, indeed.

    Hear a snippet of their new sounds in the promo below.


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    kaitlyn 1.jpgImagine my utter lack of surprise when the preamble for this episode taunted (insulted? lured?) us with "the confession you've all been waiting for." Yes, a confession! I guess "the moment you've all been waiting for" falls a little flat when you can shame and tease simultaneously. This will be the episode when Kaitlyn tells Shawn she slept with Nick, which we're clearly supposed to conflate with bad behavior, guilt, and shame. Guess what? I do not accept that rose, and neither should anyone else. But, onward and backwards!

    We open with Kaitlyn and Ben H.'s one-on-one date, and let's just lay it out there: Ben H. will be going home after these ridiculous, forced, forced fantasy suites and then he will be the next Bachelor. Yes, I have heard rumblings of Josh Murray, the mouthbreather who speaks in SportsCenter sound bites being the one, but I think Ben H. has it. Let's consider: He's handsome, is reasonably articulate (he kind of sounds like he's always giving a toast, but that's better than barely being able to form a compound sentence-- shout out to you, Chris Soules) and made the tactical move of telling Kaitlyn he's afraid no one will ever love him. Classic Bach!

    During their date, Kaitlyn is clearly exhausted and frayed. They're somehow still in Killarney, which doesn't exactly have the luck of the Irish (sorry, I'm weak) when it comes to, oh, anything good happening so far. Their date is pretty boring until Kaitlyn tells him "I could be and I am falling in love with you," which is fairly contradictory and a bit of a strange move. Do we think she wants a takeback when Ben H. tells her that his ideal Fantasy Suite evening involves just... talking? "The stigma behind overnights is that you have to be physical, but to me that's not purpose... I want to talk all night." And then Kaitlyn asks him if he's a virgin, which I loved. Listen, Kaitlyn is clearly a sexual person -- AKA the most fun kind of person, so this made me LOL. (For the record, Ben H. is not a virgin but this chaste routine will play well after this sexy-uncomfortable season and Bachelor in Paradise.)



    Shawn, Nick, and Joe are up for the group date, and we know it's just a matter of time before my favorite Southern Boxtroll Joe gets the axe. It seems like the main thing to do in Ireland is wander around some pretty green places and get drunk, so I definitely want to visit. Kaitlyn and Shawn make up (for now) and she puts off telling him she "took things too far with Nick." Speak of the squirmy devil -- Kaitlyn again dances around the "hey man it was fun, but keep your mouth shut" routine again and I have to admit, Nick has some lines: "I liked you before I showed up, you're not just the Bachelorette to me. You know how I feel about you," he says, cementing his place in the final two.

    Cut to Joe glumly telling Shawn he has lip gloss all over his mug before he takes his last stand and tells Kaitlyn he loves her. "I could totally kiss you for the next 60 years and be the happiest man in the world... I wouldn't say that if i didn't mean it," he tells her, and an image of Old Yeller leaps into my mind. She lets him ramble on for a bit before putting him out of his misery: "I want to be brutally honest with you. When you tell me you're in love with me, it makes me realize we're not on the same page right now," to which Joe reacts... poorly. The dude wasn't lying when he says he can't lie, because his angry retorts ("It's cool, it's been fun, why would I be upset?") fall pitifully flat before he unfortunately spits out, "I'm not saying shit to you" and stalks off.



    After sending Joe home, Kaitlyn decides to spend more time with Shawn, whose commitment to only referring to Nick as "the other guy" is both amusing and embarrassing. "Weird stuff is happening with the other men and Kaitlyn," Ben H. sagely puts it as Nick has the audacity to complain about not getting enough time with her to Ben H. and Jared. Everybody drink, because it's time for Kaitlyn to come clean to Shawn. I can't lie: This was good TV. Shit was tense. I get why she felt she needed to do this -- he clearly has trust, jealousy, and potentially anger issues (sweet!), but if they're going to move forward he's got to know.



    "I haven't talked to anyone else about this. I don't want you to find out later... I had that one-on-one date with Nick, and we went back to my place, and I feel like it went too far. And it's for me to admit it, but we had sex." We go over a minute before Shawn speaks a full sentence, as sexy-dangerous ballroom music plays. Shawn doesn't know what to think before seeking refuge in some type of magical, understanding, rational advice-giving bathroom, because he emerges to (initially-- we'll get there) take the news as well as he could-ish.

    "I don't know what else to say about him because I don't want to make this about him. At the end of the day, I'm here for you and you're the only thing I want out of this. I'm just going to man up and deal with it," he says, which would have been phenomenal if he had followed through on that. Kaitlyn wants to go skip the cocktail party and go straight to the rose ceremony, and the first rose goes straight to Shawn, who has unfortunately had some time out of the magical bathroom to think.



    Instead of accepting this very clear signal, Shawn wants to talk again, because he did not receive the proper chance to shame Kaitlyn for liking a guy that he can't stand. "I understand that there are other connections and other relationships... I don't understand why him. You asked me how I felt about him and I told you my honest opinion, and you told me that you thought I was the one, and I don't know why you would do something like that to jeopardize us."

    Oh, Shawn. What would the bathroom say, Shawn? Ask yourself that. "I'm here to explore other relationships. Telling you were the one halfway through was a mistake. I had no business doing that," Kaitlyn says before also telling him she wasn't ashamed of herself, which I hope remains true. There seems to be no real consensus here, but they go back in and Shawn accepts his rose, telling us "I can't give up on this girl. I just need to trust her."

    Ben and Nick get roses, and we have to say goodbye to Jared. Jared is a good person, probably even a great person -- I believe this. I feel confident that Jared will have a float in an upcoming Rhode Island parade and potentially a signature cocktail or appetizer at his local bar. Jared handles everything like a class act, which he really did all season, offering Kaitlyn his jacket (his jacket!) as she takes him outside to say goodbye. "I hope you find the man of your dreams," he tells her as she sobs, and I take back everything I've ever said about his patchy facial hair. You aight, Jared.



    Next up is Nick's fantasy suite date. Listen, I don't like Nick. I didn't like him on Andi's season and I don't like him now, but this is a very debatable hot take, apparently. One person who does like Nick is Kaitlyn -- they always seem to have fun together, he is very considerate of her, and clearly has feelings for her. In fact, I was about to allow an "OK, I kind of get it" regarding Nick until, in a horrifying version of a fireside chat, he tells her he "doesn't respect someone [Shawn] who brags about being Eskimo brothers with Amish country singers because they f**ck the same girl on the same night."



    You are probably thinking "Amish country singer?! What is that, I'm so excited!" Well, I cannot express to you how profoundly disappointed I was when I realized he said "famous country singer" and not "Amish country singer." The definition of an Eskimo brother follows its introduction, but you can also consult Urban Dictionary unless you're my mom. See? This why Nick is the worst. That's just so slimy and underhanded and gross. As Kaitlyn put it, "Ew." But, I will say -- that detail is specific enough that it must be true, not that Shawn has to discuss his past sexual relationships. That would be nuts.

    "No one has told me any concerns about anyone but you," Kaitlyn shoots back, and Nick backtracks. "I want to be the person you can lean on," he tells her, and this is the moment Kaitlyn realizes she's dealing with two jealous, entitled guys who do not like one another at all. Fun! The rest of the evening goes well, and we see the first ever (I think) morning-after scene, as they lounge on a couch and eat Canadian bacon and eggs, which for me also marks the only time I've seen people actually enjoying and eating food on this show. Nick also reveals he has "mild" allergies to dogs, which of course he does.

    Shawn "don't threaten me with a hotel room I can't angrily enter" B. does just that, asking where Nick "Vile's" room is (classic Shawn). "I don't want to be the guy talking behind your back. I care about Kaitlyn a lot, and if she had seen the side we'd all seen you wouldn't be sitting in this chair," Shawn says, before calling him manipulative and arrogant. "You don't know me. I can say the same thing about you," Nick fairly shoots back, and then Shawn calls him an asshole.



    Next week, Kaitlyn "can feel the hatred between them" and we'll get the rest of our fantasy suite dates... but not before checking in with Brady and Britt, who both look thrilled at the idea of returning back to their normal lives and not bothering to have to pretend they're dating anymore -- phew. Until next week!

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    the room.jpgAn unsung genius has managed to wring even more humor out of The Room, the terribly made, probably-not-a-joke-but-maybe cult film that has been drained of most of its ongoing capacity to induce laughter by years and years of strip-mining. But syndicated columnist Ask Amy received a letter essentially reiterating the plot of the movie, including some of the (apparently imitable) language of Tommy Wiseau's Johnny. (Take a minute to read it, because it's beautiful.)


    Amy's response starts: "The first thing you should do is to NOT get married." NOT! Which is funny, because it's like The Room! Anyway, here are a few other movies condensed into advice column questions, for anyone looking to concisely express their extremely high-concept problem.

    Dear Amy,

    I haven't really been social in a while. I'm sort of picking myself back up after a divorce. But I met this woman -- she's just amazing, and I love the way she looks at the world. Everyone tells me that falling in love is a form of socially acceptable insanity, and this might be the most insane person I could have picked -- because she's the operating system on my phone. What do I do?

    -Lost


    Or this tearjerker:

    Dear Amy,
    I'm the leader of the Autobots, a semi-secret group of gigantic robots that can turn into cars and fight off other gigantic robots to protect the Earth. (Is that too revealing about my identity?) Anyway... I have this friend -- well, he's not really a "friend," just kind of a random human who hangs around our adventures. He goes around acting like a huge asshole, but for some reason keeps popping up around the edges of actually important stuff. I think he might have gotten replaced with a different, but equally annoying human at some point, but you all look the same to me. We just don't want to hurt his feelings, but also would like to incinerate him with a laser sword. What do we do?
    -Stumpedimus



    Heartbreaking stuff. And one last person, who probably no one cares about:

    Dear Amy,
    I met... a man... He is extremely wealthy. Polite. Intense. Smart. Really intimidating. You would think he would be really boring, but -- he's told me he's going to keep pursuing me. I don't know how to deal with his advances. He says he doesn't "do" romances, and that I wouldn't understand his very singular tastes. Should I let him enlighten me?
    -Bound


    Thankfully, none of the other characters in The Room had any problems for Amy to deal with.


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    I don't know about you, but one of the most frustrating parts about my summer is battling visible underboob sweat while being constantly reminded of the fact that the topless male is no biggie. Be it the street, beach or the fucking laundromat, dudes are just hanging around sans shirt (and scrutiny!) all the time, while a little female nip-slip is super sexualized, unseemly and cause for immediate removal -- at least by Instagram standards.

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    So in an attempt to combat the double-standard, artist Micol Hebron has created a "Safe For Work" male nipple template that you can resize, cut and paste onto your own photos. Already embraced by the feminist Internet at large, you can join women across the globe in posting your Photoshopped boobs in protest. 

    Male nipples are so lovely... 😒 #freethenipple #malenipples #freethenipplecampaign #nipples @freethenipple

    A photo posted by rekha Garton (@rekhagarton) on





    Why, you ask? Well all female nipples, except for photos of post-mastectomy scarring, breastfeeding and works of fine art, are not allowed on Instagram (and, of course, the "fine art" exception just allows Instagram to validate the male gaze). It's also a point that's been continually brought up by the likes of Willow Smith, Scout Willis and Chrissy Teigen, who recently posted (and kept re-posting) a topless photo of herself.

    So ladies, paste on a pair and start posting those offending areolas everywhere. #FreeTheNipple, for real.


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