I'll be the judge of that.

DOPE Digest Vol. 6 – Conway, Vampires, Swedish pop, and MORE!

DOPE Digest is a weekly roundup of pop culture miscellany, with succinct analysis from our contributors.

Conway – “Hustler”


syvo: I saw this video on when I was at the gym recently, and you can bet your ass I was on board in approximately zero seconds flat. I couldn’t even really hear the song at first, but as a rule I am fully in favor of contemporary Bjork-derivative alt-pop. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that she looks like a cross between Robyn and Reese Witherspoon.

Some quick research reveals that Conway is quite the hidden gem. She’s currently on tour with Ellie Goulding, but mysteriously only has about 1,200 likes on Facebook and around 1,100 followers on Twitter. By those reliable metrics, that means she’s still pretty underground. I immediately bought her new EP Big Talk, and you should do the same. In all seriousness: Big Talk is a varied and exciting piece of intelligent pop, and it needs to be heard. Consider me Team Conway moving forward.

BK: This video freaked me out (and it is so up your alley it’s like you directed it).  Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome song, but the video is crazy as hell. I  was surprised to see that it only has twelve thousand views, but I suspect that if it is getting airplay and she is touring with one of our favorite artists, Conway is on her way to bigger and better things. The video is extremely stylish and it makes me curious to know what her live show is like.

Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive Trailer

syvo: Jim Jarmusch represents the epitome of independent cinema, and he’s an artist that invariably commands the public’s respect (although perhaps not their attention span!). His new film Only Lovers Left Alive is a “crypto-vampire love story” starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston, and it looks incalculably amazing.

As if things couldn’t get more perfect, Zola Jesus is on the soundtrack. She and others will be performing at an advance screening of the movie in April. I already have my ticket, and you can be sure I’ll be writing about it too.

BK: I can’t say I was too familiar with Mr. Jarmusch before this trailer, but this movie looks awesome. Since Thor, I am on board for anything Tom Hiddleston does. Anton Yelchin is always great (especially in a supporting role) and Tilda Swinton is one of the best actors in the business. And vampires are always the best. Sign me up!


Mapei – “Don’t Wait (Remix)” feat. Chance the Rapper & The Social Experiment

BK: Mapei has been gaining recognition for a while now, and ‘Don’t Wait’ has been getting some radio play, but this remix could propel this into some rarified air. Chance the Rapper brings his signature flow to this quirky, minimal beat. Mapei has strong, soulful vocals and gives a meaty feel to an otherwise spacious sound. I would say this is the best Friday track to come out of Stockholm all year, but there is another song on this list that gives this a run for it’s money.

syvo: This song is great. After about thirty seconds, I was just sitting at my desk smiling. Chance usually doesn’t do it for me, but his casual wordiness fits in nicely with the tone of the track.


Say Lou Lou – “Everything We Touch”

BK: Stockholm stand UP! Here’s a track from  Swedish duo Say Lou Lou. The sound (and band aesthetic) reminds me of a poppier Lana Del Rey, and that is a sound I can get behind. They don’t have any US tour dates for the foreseeable future, but if they can throw a tour together with Mapei I’ll be on board. You can download this track for free if you sign up for their mailing list. A small price to pay for a solid Friday track.


Listening to nothing but this for the next 18 hours.


Silicon Valley Trailer

BK: I’m not a rabid Mike Judge fan like some folks. Beavis and Butthead is absolutely genius, but I never quite fell in love with those two the way I did Homer and Bart on The Smpsons or even the Southpark kids. I like Office Space as much as the next guy, but making a statement like ‘work is not fun’ isn’t exactly risky. This show, however, looks entirely different.  The cast is perfect, and though Silicon Valley is as ripe for parody as a typical 9-5 was when he made Office Space, this trailer mixes nuanced observations about tech culture and low-brow  humor in a way that has me psyched. And yes, it also has me wanting to watch old Beavis and Butthead.

syvo: Eh, Beavis and Butthead is probably more my speed. This looks like it will be good, but I’m only going to watch it if the internet really insists. I appreciate the cast and Judge’s general perspective on Americana, but I only have to much time to laugh-at-while-legitimately-acknowledging the hidden eggheads that make modern existence possible, and I already watched The Social Network.


DOPE Digest Throwback: The Starting Line – “Best of Me”

BK: They just don’t make ’em like they used to.

I’m not prone to exaggeration, but ‘Best of Me’ by The Starting Line is definitely one of the five greatest songs ever written, falling snugly  between The Beatles ‘Hey Jude’ and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.  The video parody’s one of my favorite John Cusack movies ever which only makes me love the song more. This track was on the band’s 2002 album Say It Like You Mean It, which also featured the hit ‘Up and Go‘.  Though they would never have a bigger song than ‘Best of Me,’ they were one of the few (only?) pop-punk bands to attempt (and NAIL) a cover of J. Lo’s ‘I’m Real’. Enjoy.

syvo: Growing up I always liked The Starting Line, but they were never really up there with stuff like Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, or Matchbook Romance. I was mostly into Based on a True Story. However, a few months ago I randomly started listening again to Say It Like You Mean It, and I was blown away by how utterly excellent it was. Today, as a twenty-six year old man, I’m dumbfounded by how my teenage self could have overlooked such a powerful pop-punk statement.

In particular, I’ve been astounded by how influential The Starting Line seems to be on contemporary output. Forefront pop-punk bands like The Wonder Years and Real Friends (on tour with each other) are obviously heavily influenced by The Starting Line, and that’s a very good thing.

Pop-punk will never die.

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