Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Tuesday, June 25, 2024 — Houston, TX

Jacob Tate

A&E 3/22/22 11:17pm

Review: Charli XCX is content to dance alone in the flames of pop music in ‘CRASH’

When an artist’s ninth project feels nostalgic, it’s usually a bad sign. It figures that pop music chameleon Charli XCX would buck that trend, delivering tracks simultaneously yearning for early aughts dancefloors and pushing modern pop forward. Despite profound senses of déjà vu, “Crash” navigates between Charli XCX’s past sounds of moody teen pop (“True Romance”), diva snark (“Sucker”) and sawtooth buzz (“I Love It”). The results are solid but ultimately replaceable in the context of Charli XCX’s discography.

A&E 3/8/22 11:16pm

Listen to these trans women this Women’s History Month

I never need an excuse to listen to some of the phenomenal music that women make, but I’ll take one when I can get it. The Rice Thresher is celebrating Women’s History Month with a playlist of some of my favorite trans women musicians. Underrepresented in the music world, trans women nevertheless have released some of the best music of the last decade. Ranging from groundbreaking experimental music to bread and butter pop, trans women show that they can both bring a new perspective and thrive in existing norms. 

A&E 3/8/22 11:06pm

Hobby takes their “shot” at Hamilton production

There is little left to say about “Hamilton,” a show that received 11 Tony Awards and captured America’s attention for the middle of the past decade. The only thing I can contribute, then, is my experience of the production of “Hamilton” running at Hobby through March 20. It’s an enjoyable performance that checks all the boxes even in the original’s shadow.

A&E 2/22/22 11:08pm

Boots on the Ground: Artists to check out this rodeo season

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is right around the corner and Houstonians are dashing to Cavenders to perfect their Western drip before descending on NRG Park in droves. While many of the best parts of the radio stay the same (mutton grab, deep fried oreos), the musical performers change each night, with a total of 20 artists over the course of 20 days. If you’ve missed the rodeo due to its cancellation over the last two years, here are some performers to consider checking out and my personal recommendations.

A&E 2/1/22 11:13pm

Review: Estrada delivers with raw, rich ‘Marchita’

Más o menos technically translates to more or less but, like Silvana Estrada’s latest album “Marchita,” any kind of technical explanation does it injustice. The key difference is that in Spanish más o menos is a state of being, an answer to a cordial “how are you?” Silvana Estrada’s new album Marchita, beginning with the appropriate “Más o menos antes,” studies that state of being, the pain obscured behind the phrase (Más o menos usually implies a bit more menos than más). Fittingly, the album also explores the tensions of mistranslation, the communication breakdowns, the nuances lost in the process of romantic communion. 

A&E 2/1/22 11:11pm

Conventional documentary butchers beautifully unconventional popstar Charli XCX

Early in the “Alone Together” documentary, Charli XCX reflects on her early career at a time when people knew her songs but not her. Constrained by typical pop fare like “I Love It” and “Fancy,” Charli XCX didn’t shine until she charted her own path with the experimental PC Music collaborative in 2016’s “Vroom Vroom.” Ironically, the documentary makes the exact same mistake by flattening Charli XCX into a cut-and-dry popstar narrative that destroys the beautiful nuance of her pandemic-era musical production.

A&E 1/11/22 10:32pm

Houston artists to look out for in 2022

Despite what revisionist hipsters may tell you, Houston has always been the heart of Texan music. Zydeco came from the wards, Southern rap came from the Southside, Texan folk came from Anderson Fair and Beyonce came from the suburbs, but we still claim her. If anything, the last few years have shown us that Houston brings musical chops to the national level with Megan Thee Stallion, Travis Scott and Lizzo repping to various degrees. While Houston has its own accepted canon of local music, there are many new artists making a name for themselves across the scene. Here’s a few of our favorites to check out in 2022. 

A&E 12/13/21 3:03pm

Album highlights from a year filled with new music releases

The album rollouts of 2021 started off as little more than a trickle — a result of artists holding back albums for a post-COVID world in which they could tour. But once the dam started to crack, it burst wide open. It felt like every other week was a massive album event, a reminder of the power of dropping multiple songs at once despite the last decade of proclamations that the album was dead. Here’s some of my favorite albums from the past year:

A&E 12/13/21 3:01pm

Songs that made 2021

Through an undoubtedly up and down year, the only consistency has been massive smashes of songs. Pop saw a trio of Olivia Rodrigo anthems and the triumphant return of Lil Nas X bump out of radios while critical darlings made their own mark. While the pandemic loomed over last year's releases, no clear theme seemed to be present throughout  2021 song releases, allowing for a wide berth of tracks. Here’s some of my favorites:

A&E 11/9/21 11:37pm

CAMH’s ‘The Dirty South’ celebrates Black contemporary art and the place that made it

The “Dirty South,” an art exhibit on view at Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum from Nov. 5 to Feb. 6, 2022, claims a nickname with roots as murky as the bayous. By the time Goodie Mob christened their home the “dirty south,” the term had been claimed for farmers, crooks and the poor. Perhaps the term “dirty south” reclaimed Northern snootiness or perhaps the distorted 808 kicks sounded like “dirty” grunge guitars. However, when “Dirty South” curator Valerie Cassel Oliver notes that the walls of the first section of the exhibit are colored the same as the clay-heavy soil of the south, it clicks for me: “dirty” is literal. This is the story of dirt.