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It’s very strange (“Or not strange at all! Hi!” says feminism) that most of the music we funnel into little girls’ ears—even music written by former little girls—is about how women are petty, pretty garbage whose only valuable function is to hold perfectly still in men’s boudoirs and wait for intercourse. “I wanted to make songs that were the opposite of ‘Genie in A Bottle’ or ‘The Boy Is Mine,’” Sadie Dupuis says of Slugger, her new solo album under the name Sad13. “Songs that put affirmative consent at the heart of the subject matter and emphasize friendship among women and try to deescalate the toxic jealousy and ownership that are often centered in romantic pop songs.” What!? Songs for women that actually champion women’s autonomy, reflect women’s desires, listen to women when they talk, and let women be funny and normal and cool, like women actually are?

After being born, which she totally nailed, Sadie grew up in New York City, toured internationally with a professional children’s choir, then bounced around Massachusetts before eventually landing in Philadelphia “like every other feminist punk.” She has an MFA in poetry from UMass Amherst, likes comics WITH AN ALL-CAPS PASSION, has written for Nylon and Spin, and is mega-beloved for her rock band Speedy Ortiz. Most recently, finding herself disillusioned with a lifetime of misogynist radio pop and yearning for the megalomaniacal autonomy of a solo project, Sadie/Sad13 churned out Slugger in a two-week fury.

Slugger is a pure solo effort. Sadie didn’t just write and sing and play guitar, she recorded and produced the record herself in a subletted bedroom in Fishtown—a not insignificant act of feminist defiance. Despite millennia of evidence to the contrary, women in music are still relentlessly pigeonholed as, essentially, decorative. Sure, you can be a girl singer, or a girl tambourine player, or, once in a while (the height of novelty!), a girl drummer, but a girl producer? A girl engineer? Cool X-File, Mulder! Sadie steers Slugger with a serene sure-footedness, vaporizing that old lie better than any howling polemic ever could. The best revenge is to do your work.

Slugger’s musical touchstones are vast and varied: contemporary pop à la Charli XCX, Santigold, Kelela, Grimes; folk songwriters Karen Dalton and Connie Converse; ‘90s trip-hop; riot grrrl (duh); plus Sad13’s feminist indie and punk contemporaries like Tacocat, Waxahatchee, Mitski, and Bully. Slugger shouldn’t feel like a revolution, but it does—in both content and execution. This is fun music about real shit.

Mississippi native Dent May writes, performs, and produces homemade pop music from his home in Los Angeles.  A stylistic chameleon, Dent’s recordings echo folk, disco, R&B, psychedelia, country-western, soul, and funk sounds of the past, present, and future. He has released three albums on Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks imprint with a fourth on the way via Carpark Records.

MADEIRA is Kim Pflaum, a multi-hyphenate if there ever was one. Aside from songwriting, singing, and playing a variety of instruments, Pflaum is a graphic designer, music video director, writer, illustrator, and animal activist. Music became a major part of her life growing up in Christchurch, New Zealand. “As an introverted kid, music helped me express my emotions and frustrations when I didn’t know how else to cope,” Pflaum says. In 2013, she co-founded Yumi Zouma as lead singer and co-songwriter. Before leaving the band at the end of 2014, the group would tour the world and play concerts with artists including Lorde, Chet Faker, and TOPS. Now as a solo act with full creative control over her art, Pflaum has taken the opportunity to grow in new directions and experiment.
 
MADEIRA began before Yumi Zouma as an outlet for escapist songs about fantastical vacations and holidays. After years of globe-trotting and starting over again with a move to Auckland in 2014, returning to MADEIRA was restorative. “I saw music as an escape,” Pflaum says, “a way to take a break from my hectic life and just relax, to let music soothe and heal me.”
 
Bad Humors, her debut EP with Carpark Records, is her first new music since collaborations with Boycrush, Brett, and Cyril Hahn. With grace and melody, these five songs tackle heartbreak and betrayal, and offer a critique of performance artifice. These are songs of elevated synth-pop, of growth and change, of letting go and not holding back.

Prince Rama’s Xtreme Now is the inaugural entry into what they have coined as the “Extreme Sports Genre.” Inspired to musically match the metaphysical intensity of extreme sports’ death-defying feats, Prince Rama looked to their own personal flirtations with death and time-dilation. In a womb shaped by countless hours of obsessively watching extreme sports videos and consuming dangerous quantities of Monster Energy drinks, Xtreme Now was violently born.

Not much can faze the Larson sisters – Taraka and Nimai grew up in ashrams; lived on black metal communes; worked for utopian architects; written manifestos; delivered lectures from pools of fake blood; conducted group exorcisms disguised as VHS workouts; and are now tackling the world of extreme sports in a surreal, psychedelic, and nihilistic fashion.

The band’s often unpredictable live shows have been described by fans as “hypnotic and mesmerizing– the feeling of a stadium concert on acid,” incorporating elements of performance art, dance-club initiation rite, and vintage VH-1 hair-metal-bravado. Since signing to Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks label, Prince Rama has continually delivered powerful, raw performances of dark pop, as well as coining and embodying the utopian spirit of “The Now Age Movement,” a cult of post-Internet transcendentalism. After being discovered in a Texas dive bar by Avey Tare in 2010, Animal Collective helped them record and release Shadow Temple and Trust Now shortly thereafter, which peaked at #3 and #6 on the Billboard New Age Charts, respectively. To commemorate the Mayan apocalypse, they released Top Ten Hits of the End of the World in 2012, a pseudo-compilation album comprised of ten singles “channeled” from fictional deceased pop bands and partially recorded with members of Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti.

After touring behind Top Ten Hits, the Larson sisters took time off from music to develop their visual art practice, exhibiting internationally at the Whitney Museum of Art, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, and the MoMA PS 1 VW Dome, to name a few. Taraka has also published several manifestos on the “NOW AGE” that puts forth Prince Rama’s aesthetic and metaphysical philosophies, earning both hatred and praise from art and music worlds alike. The sisters’ seemingly effortless way of weaving conceptual art practice with music is inspired by an ancestral legacy of New York renaissance visionaries such as Kim Gordon, Laurie Anderson, and Patti Smith – but with more glitter and hairspray. Prince Rama’s new album reflects a mature, complex, multi-layered approach to culture-making. Xtreme Now exists not only as an adventurous record of dance party hits, but the concept will take on various incarnations including a visual art exhibition, a new manifesto, an energy drink, and a couture fashion line of active-wear inspired by extreme sports and the Byzantine age. According to lead singer Taraka, “We not only want to write new songs, we want to create a new emotional language.”

Since moving to Baltimore in 2007, Benny Boeldt has made three full-length albums under the name Adventure. His self-titled 2008 debut LP earned notice with its naive yet catchy song structures and a minimal sound palette inspired by sources such as video game themes, movie soundtracks, techno, and IDM music. In support of the record, Boeldt toured with a slew of fellow Baltimore acts such as OCDJ, Dan Deacon, Ed Schrader, and Future Islands, as well as performing as a part of the Baltimore Round Robin tour in 2009. Also during this period, Boeldt toured as a member of the Dan Deacon Ensemble, traveling the U.S. and Europe where he was given the opportunity to perform a number of opening dates as Adventure.

In 2011, Boeldt followed up with a second LP, Lesser Known, in which he made his first—and so far only public—attempt at writing a pop record. In order to perform the new songs in a live setting, Boeldt hired Baltimore musician Dave Fell to play additional keyboards and sing back-up vocals. Also on board to perform live visuals was friend and collaborator, DJ and video artist Mark Brown. This formation lasted for only one U.S. tour with Carpark labelmate Toro Y Moi in the spring of 2011.

Adventure performed a minimal number of shows over the next few years, either performing solo or with Karl Ekdahl on synthesizers. Adventure’s third album, Weird Work, released in April 2013, was a return to Boeldt’s instrumental songwriting. The songs were influenced by various forms of electronic music, most notably IDM. In the time since the release of Weird Work, Boeldt has focused on learning more about sound production and computer composition. Most exciting for Adventure fans, he has been busy creating a new collection of songs known as 8 of Cups, Boeldt’s first record released under his own name.