Looking Back: Our Favorite Albums of 2017

2017 was…a year. It was a year of challenges and, at times, particularly difficult news to swallow for many of us in our music communities. However, we banded together and found hope through all the adversity we faced. Music is the backdrop to these defining moments each year. Check out some of our staff picks for album of the year below.

Spin – Tiger’s Jaw
“This might be my favorite Tiger’s Jaw release yet. Brianna has come more front-and-center this time around, recording the first song she’s written for the band, ‘June,’ which might be the best song off the album, if I’m being entirely honest. This album struck the perfect balance of call-backs to their older styles, while still signaling a noticeable progression in the band’s growth. Don’t sleep on this album, or this band. You’re missing out if you haven’t downloaded a copy yet. -Tori  Continue reading Looking Back: Our Favorite Albums of 2017

Stranger Things’ Problem with Mad Max

Stranger Things season two premiered on October 28th. Set in a time when nerd culture — D&D, video game arcades, Ghostbusters — was an underground club of passionate people so devoted to their obsessions they were willing to be bullied incessantly for it, Stranger Things celebrates the creativity and drive of its central characters, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas. The boys solve puzzles mostly because they can connect the dots between D&D and real life. Stranger Things finds success not just from nostalgizing the past, but by being juxtaposed by what nerd culture is today. As evidenced by everything from the Zuckerbergs of the tech world to the multi-billion dollar Marvel franchise, it’s now as lucrative to be a professional nerd as it is fun to be a nerd footsoldier.

But this season we don’t just get the boys — we get a new character who is as real today as she was in 1980: the nerd girl.

The girl in question is named Max. A skateboarding ginger with anger issues, her game of choice is the 1982-classic Dig Dug. Upon discovering Max has beaten their high score at the arcade (Max’s pseudonym: Mad Max), Dustin and Lucas instantly fall for her. After all, she’s a gamer. She’s not like most girls they know; she’s like them Continue reading Stranger Things’ Problem with Mad Max

The Return of Darren Criss

On December 15th, Darren Criss played a show at the Globe Theater in downtown Los Angeles in which he took the audience on a journey through his life of songwriting, acting, and performing. Spanning a little over a decade of work in the public eye, the concert showcased never-released favorites like “The Muse,” revitalized a few songs from the catalogue of his time on Glee, and even reached back for classics from his college theater company’s viral sensation A Very Potter Musical, in which Criss played Harry Potter himself.

The concert also doubled as a debut party for his latest release, the Homework EP. Homework is Criss’s first solo project since the self-released Human EP seven years ago, which he wrote at fifteen and published at 22.

Consequently, it was exactly seven years ago—almost down to the day—that I had last seen Criss play in L.A., at the Roxy in Hollywood on December 18th, 2010.  Continue reading The Return of Darren Criss

The Last Jedi is Damn Near Perfect Fanfiction Material. Here’s Why.

After its December 15th debut, The Last Jedi has proven to be one of the most divisive Star Wars films of all time. New problems are pointed out every day, only to be met with disagreement from someone else. The weirdest part about this, though, is where those lines are drawn—and typically, from the bizarre complaints about the modern humor to the cultural anxiety around the diverse main cast, the crack reveals itself to be positioned between the old fandom and the new fandom, not the critics and the fans.

Speaking of fandom: What does the Star Wars fandom look like these days? One might typically interact with two types of people in their daily fandom life: First, the hardcore fan who grew up with the Luke Skywalker as their hero and who hold the original trilogy up as perfect cinema, and second, the equally as hardcore fan who had their awakening sometime between the prequels and Carrie Fischer’s death, who embraces the evolution of the media with open arms.  Continue reading The Last Jedi is Damn Near Perfect Fanfiction Material. Here’s Why.