Millennial Hustle

Millennial Hustle: Akpanoluo Etteh

When I sat down to write this introduction, it took me an embarrassingly long time to remember the when, where, and how I met my friend Akpanoluo U Etteh II, or Ak for short. I’ve spent time with the 31-year-old data engineer and music salon founder in a myriad of different situations: a fashion week soirée in Soho, lunch at an upscale bistro on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, even a get-together at my sorority house in rural Tennessee, just to name a few. Because of this, I sometimes forget the humble, and somewhat ordinary, origins of our friendship—a casual meeting at a house party hosted by his then-roommate and my college friend at their Brooklyn apartment one sweltering summer evening back in 2012.

Ak still lives in the Williamsburg neighborhood, only a few blocks away from where we first met. We’ve kept in touch as I’ve moved further and further away from the L train—first to areas south of the Gowanus Canal, then a few thousand miles west to Los Angeles, where I currently reside. Ak continues to be one of the most brilliant and fascinating people I know, equally versed in data logistics as he is in choral a capella arrangements, gastronomic delights, or nuanced perspectives on hot-button political topics. Read on for more about how this millennial cleverly navigates two seemingly disparate career paths—and gets to do a shit ton of really cool things along the way.

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Music

Florence + The Machine Reigns in the Hurricane in Latest Album

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Florence + The Machine released High As Hope, the band’s fourth full-length album, a little over a month ago, but I’ve already listened to it at least one hundred times. (This may be an exaggeration, but only slightly.) It is incredibly difficult, in the year 2018, to create a body of work by this title without begging the question, “Have you been paying attention?” But a careful listen to the album’s lyrics reveal that songwriter and vocalist Florence Welch has—deftly weaving together the personal and the political to create what is arguably her most honest, raw, and vulnerable release to date.

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Music

Two Brothers’ Epic Journey Through Their Dad’s 1,000+ CDs

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I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time I listened to a CD. And I don’t mean pressing play on Drake’s latest release on Spotify—I’m talking about sliding in a scratch-free holographic disc into your mid-2000s MacBook, or perhaps popping one into your Sony boombox’s top-loading tray, if you’re feeling fancy.

But if you were to ask brothers Shawn and Cameron Jefts about their current familiarity with these relics of the recent past, they could probably tell you dozens of hours worth of stories. In fact, they’ve done just that, in a podcast called Pop/Rock, which older brother Shawn describes as “two brothers who haven’t spoken to one another in ten years listen to one of the 1,000 some-odd CDs in their father’s collection one week at a time in alphabetical order while their parents continue to deny that they gave away their oldest son’s dog when he was 15.”

Read on for a chat with the bi-coastal duo about cataloging their father’s CD collection, growing up in Alaska, and the podcast’s origins in a Facebook post about colored hair gels.

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Ladies We Love

Ladies We Love: Catching Up with Emily Lee

Representation matters. We’ve certainly discussed it before on the site, and I’m not planning on stopping anytime soon. And if you don’t believe me, or even the experts, take it from Dinner Party’s Ladies We Love alumna Emily Lee. Even after touring the world as a musician, as well as working on the music for an Oscar-nominated documentary, she still finds herself moved, and perhaps a bit spellbound, by fellow rocker Mitski’s success—so much so that she requested if I could maybe not print the exact number of how many times she’s seen—and cried at—Mitski’s shows.

Along with my friend and fellow Asian American feminist Willa Zhang, I caught up with Emily in Los Angeles on one of her first stops on tour with new band Loma. Read on for more about New York vs. Los Angeles, post-election politics, and three Asians unapologetically geeking out over getting a taste of representation.

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Think Piece Roundup

Think Piece Roundup: This Is America

CW: Video contains graphic violence.

ICYMI—Childish Gambino (a.k.a. Donald Glover) dropped a new track last week, and its accompanying music video has driven the internet’s think piece generator into overdrive. With the video’s overt political themes, surrealist—if extremely violent—imagery, and over 107 million YouTube views and counting, it comes as no surprise that a lot of people have a lot of thoughts about Gambino’s latest offering. Read on for some deep cuts about the video, from its use of “kinesthetic empathy” to criticisms regarding the video’s intended audience.

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Ladies We Love

Ladies We Love: Bea Troxel

Full disclosure: I’ve known folk songstress Bea Troxel since she was a high school junior, when we met at a Laura Marling show in Nashville under awkward and somewhat uncomfortable circumstances. As these things tend to go, we became friends shortly after, which likely makes my assessment of her music somewhat biased. However, as a veteran of countless live shows—seriously, I lost count after 200—I’d like to think I’ve got a pretty decent ear at this point for what’s good. And Bea Troxel, in my opinion, continues to be one of the best. I chatted with Bea while she was on tour promoting her debut full length album, The Way That It Feels, about the record, musical influences, and life on the road.

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Music

St. Vincent’s Trippy Take on “New York”

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Surrealism meets 2017 high fashion in the new music video for “New York,” the latest single from St. Vincent (a.k.a. Annie Clark). The song, a melancholy piano ballad released back in June, marked a sharp turn for the guitar goddess, whose eponymous 2014 album featured distorted, angular guitar riffs that put her on the map—not to mention the electrifying guitar solos from her live performances during this period. Similarly, the video for “New York” showcases a whole new side of Clark. Trading in her shock of powder purple curls from the St. Vincent-era for a sleek black bob, Clark stands in stark contrast to bright, color-blocked backdrops of a reimagined, cartoonish New York City.

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