Slate's Culture Blog

July 22 2014 5:55 PM

A Funky Ode to New York City Women by Sbtrkt, Featuring Ezra Koenig

Three years ago, Aaron Jerome released a wonderful sonic collage under the name Sbtrkt (he styles it SBTRKT, and pronounces it “subtract”). It was one of the best albums of 2011; Slate’s music critic Carl Wilson named the album’s Little Dragon collaboration, “Wildfire,” one of the best songs of that year. Since then, Jerome, who wears masks when he performs and shuns personal publicity, has shared some new material—an instrumental EP, Drake remixes, and one-off tracks with Sampha—but nothing that suggested a follow-up album was imminent. Until today, when Sbtrkt announced a sophomore album, Wonder Where We Land, with a brilliant first single featuring Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig.

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July 22 2014 4:54 PM

Dear White People Will Definitely Get Conversations Started

“Racism is over in America. The only people who are thinking about it are Mexicans, probably.” So says the (white) president of the fictional Winchester University in the new trailer for Dear White People, writer-director Justin Simien’s debut film. It’s the kind of flagrantly off-base sentiment that inspired the movie, which evolved from a concept trailer based on Simien’s experiences at a predominantly white university to a Twitter account and eventually to a feature-length film that got raves at Sundance.

July 22 2014 3:56 PM

Germans Love Getting Naked at the Beach. So Should We.

Ah, Germans. Our efficient, humorless Teutonic friends have bested us (and the rest of the world) at soccer, and their domination of the grocery-store commercial oeuvre remains undisputed. They are better than us at cars, public transport, and bicycle commuting; at wearing tiny glasses, and at yelling at people when they break the rules. They are also better at not being big uptight prudes at the beach, where, a recent Telegraph survey revealed, when they are not showing off fluorescent Speedos or the bottom halves of tiny bikinis, Germans are the most likely people in the world to bathe in their Geburtstag-suits.

Nude bathing has a special German name, of course: FKK, which stands for Freikörperkultur, or “free body culture,” and despite what you’ve seen in Eurotrip, it’s less about sex or exhibitionism and more about convenience and freedom.

July 22 2014 2:09 PM

The New Yorker Stories You Should Read Before the Paywall Goes Up

Yesterday, The New Yorker made all of its magazine pieces since 2007 freely available online for three months. After that time, everything will go behind a metered paywall, along the lines of what the New York Times has in place. So what should you read during this three-month free-for-all? We canvassed Slate staff for their favorite New Yorkerarticles, essays, profiles, and fiction from 2007 to the present. Our annotated list of 30 stories, divided semi-arbitrarily into seven categories, is below.

July 22 2014 12:14 PM

Spoon’s New Single Is Gorgeous

We’ve already heard a couple tracks from Spoon’s forthcoming album, They Want My Soul, the rocking, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”-esque “The Rent I Pay” and the breezy “Do You.” Now, fresh off releasing the video for “Do You,” they’re back with a new single.

If “Do You” centers around a question of romance versus religion (“Do you want one thing or are you looking for sainthood?” the chorus asks), “Inside Out” finds Britt Daniel giving his answer. Over airy synths and twinkling harps, Daniel sings, “I don’t make time for holy rollers/ There’s only you I need/ They do not make me complete.”

July 22 2014 11:30 AM

Agent Scully’s Love of Science Set to Music

In “Scully Likes Science” Ryan English takes the biggest understatement one could make about Gillian Anderson’s character on The X-Files and turns it into a delightfully danceable tribute to her skeptical nature and her unwavering devotion to science. Hard, hard science.

July 21 2014 10:22 PM

Kids Say the Darndest Things: A Supercut of Children Cursing in Movies

There’s not much to say here, except to laud Avaryl Halley’s important work: a supercut of kids cursing in movies. The video kicks off with Ralphie from A Christmas Story, then gives us a nice compilation of innocent, adorable children at their most foul-mouthed and profane. Included are classic moments of obscenity from The Sandlot, Little Miss Sunshine, and, of course, South Park.


July 21 2014 9:05 PM

The Members of Weezer Just Want to Be Nerds Again in “Back to the Shack”

Weezer has always relied on nostalgia. Even in 1994—when the band's members were just some baby-faced, uncool college kids who started a rock band—their brand of pop-rock turned on remembered pleasures, bygone loves, and adolescent embarrassments. Not much has changed: the band’s first song in four years, “Back to the Shack,” is basically an apology for the past two decades and a promise to embrace their nerdy roots.

July 21 2014 5:53 PM

Robyn and Röyksopp Incite Revolution in Their Cinematic New Video

Last year, Swedish singer Robyn and Norwegian electronic duo Röyksopp rejoined musical forces to create one of 2014’s best EPs, a five-track, collaborative mini-album, Do It Again. And while their last video, for “Sayit,” was a sensory spectacle, it didn’t quite capture the essence of their music. Their newly released video for the EP’s title track—a Song of the Summer contender—hits the mark.

July 21 2014 5:33 PM

Spike Lee Edits Footage of Eric Garner’s Death Together With the Killing of Radio Raheem

If you thought of Do the Right Thing and Radio Raheem after hearing of the death of Eric Garner, who died after being put in a banned chokehold by police on Thursday, you were not alone. Spike Lee himself apparently thought of Raheem, and took to Twitter this afternoon to share a video that cuts together footage of Garner’s arrest (“I can’t breathe,” repeats Garner, who had asthma) with the scene in which Raheem is killed in a chokehold by police.

It’s worth noting that Radio Raheem’s death in Do the Right Thing was itself inspired by the real-life death of Michael Stewart in 1983: Raheem is killed by the same chokehold that witnesses said police used against Stewart. In the crowd in the movie, a voice can be heard saying, “They did it again. Just like Michael Stewart.”

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