One of the most influential experimental psychedelic rock groups since the 1980s, The Flaming Lips have never been a band to bow to convention. Their new album “American Head” continues the group’s tradition of strong narrative songs sublimated by ethereal vocals and psychedelic musical experimentation. It follows their 2019 concept album “King’s Mouth,” an effort inspired by frontman Wayne Coyne’s art exhibit of the same name and narrated by Mick Jones of The Clash.
NIKI, the rising pop sensation hailing from Asian-based music collective 88rising recently released her highly anticipated debut album, “Moonchild.” Dubbed as the “internet’s favorite R&B princess” from the start of her career, Nicole Zefanya, better known as NIKI, is a 21-year-old Indonesian singer-songwriter. Niki’s breakout EP “Zephyr” catapulted her on the path to stardom and put her name on the map of emerging pop sensations as she racked up millions of streams across songs.
In a world becoming increasingly dependent on dual-delivery, one has to ask how visual art, a mode of communication previously relegated mostly to the physical, is adapting to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. An example of this dual-delivery form of visual art can be found at the newly renamed, student-run Sleepy Cyborg Gallery in their first exhibition of the year called “quaranzine.”
The Texas Commission on the Arts designated Houston’s Third and Fifth Wards as cultural districts on Sept. 3. Home to historical landmarks, cultural diversity and notable figures in education, music, politics and art, these neighborhoods have played an influential role both in Houston and the Black community at-large.
You have to listen to "Água Viva" on headphones — it's the intended experience. The textures on this album are sonorous and immaculate, and Greek sound artist Daphne X weaves them into a membrane that fully encloses the listener's auditory space. In doing so, she offers a welcome escape into a world that facilitates the spatial and environmental awareness so often missing from our lives in quarantine.
“Detroit 2” is a feature filled homage to Big Sean’s hometown of Detroit, enlivened through spoken word stories and evocative lyricism. Although Sean had originally planned to announce the project on March 13 to coincide with “313 Day,” a celebration of Detroit, the announcement was postponed to later that month due to the COVID pandemic. Following months of anticipation, Big Sean’s passionate ode to his home dropped on the promised date of Sept. 4 along with a capsule of merchandise.
In my angsty high school grief in 2017, I explored the nooks and crannies of my city that embodied the state of limbo I felt in my soul. The eclectic spoke to me as I acted without regard for imaginary futures and instead felt grounded in the odd flux between a rich but ultimately irrelevant past and an electrifying present. As I find myself facing a similar sense of instability this semester, I return to the curiosities of Houston, Texas and share them with others currently bursting with wanderlust.
This week, the Thresher sat down with Chabrielle Allen (Hanszen College ’20), an alumna who earned her Bachelor of Arts in religion with a focus on culture and society in August. Currently living in her hometown of Roswell, New Mexico, Allen spoke about her artistic journey during her time at Rice, the intersection of technology and art and the importance of diverse representation in the art world.
Now on display in Fondren Library, Houston Asian American Archive’s “Faces in the Pandemic” exhibit explores Asian American experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic through dynamic visual art, fostering reflection and discussion on relevant topics of racism, isolation, history and intersectionality. The exhibit explores a history of Asian American discrimination from the early 1800s to today and prompts the viewer to think about what this moment will look like in our collective history.
Imagine you’re me in 2011. Ouch. Ouch ouch. Wait fuck. That hurts. Is that the nascent depression or the repressed sexuality? Okay, don’t imagine you’re me in 2011. Instead, picture a young, swoopy haired tween sitting at the desk under their bunk bed and churning out some homework for Mrs. Parker’s seventh period English. A young Jacob is listening to their favorite Pandora station: “Fall For You” radio, based off the one-hit wonder power ballad by Secondhand Serenade. Suddenly, the mire of dad rock and pop punk is cut through by a warbly synthetic lead and bandpassed vocals before breaking down into an R&B-inspired pop verse. I liked the song almost immediately. It was “Notions” by The Ready Set.
Aug. 24 was the 10th anniversary of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” her generation-defining pop album. She then delivered her first child on Aug. 26 after an engagement with Orlando Bloom last year, and two days later, dropped her sixth studio album, “Smile.” Her latest album was disappointing, nothing like the Katy Perry you know, and only the third most significant part of her week.
For our first installment of Black Art at Rice, we sat down with Preston Branton, a third year architecture undergraduate student who creates visual art, working mostly with charcoal and graphite drawings as well as mixed media collage. Branton spoke on his transition to making more personal art, how he stays inspired, and the role played by animation in imagining a better world. His work can be found on his Instagram art page, @br.u.tal.
Despite the current situation with COVID-19, there are still a plethora of places for Rice students to explore the arts culture of Houston both on and outside of campus while maintaining the community’s safety and health. Use this guide of artistic hotspots offering virtual interaction options as a starting point for safely exploring Houston’s vibrant art scene.
Now that school is back in session, “servery fatigue,” or that feeling you get after your umpteenth piece of water/safety/athlete chicken and rice, is sure to follow. Never fear, because the Thresher has a starter list for places to explore around the local area.