FKA Twigs

Atomic Ranch magazine

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MTV Cribs never did much for me; the sleek contemporary penthouses generally favored by the rich and famous always look like the kind of place where you’d be afraid to sit on the couch. But I’m not immune to the kitschy charms of a floating fireplace, which is why the home magazine Atomic Ranch is my aspirational architecture porn of choice. Yes, mid-century modern has become a design cliché in the post-Mad Men era, and a $3,000 Eames chair is ultimately as overpriced and ridiculous as anything in Mariah Carey’s penthouse. But it’s my kind of overpriced and ridiculous, damn it, and a reasonable flea-market facsimile—or a wood-paneled den, for that matter—isn’t too far out of the realm of possibility. [Katie Rife]

The End Of The Tour

Here’s a terrible confession for a literate, wordy dude to make in 2015: I’ve never read David Foster Wallace. I’ve poked at his essay writing, thumbed through The Pale King, and bounced more than once off his magnum opus, Infinite Jest, but I’ve never buckled down and really dipped into his work. So it’s very much to James Ponsoldt, Donald Margulies, Jason Segel, and Jesse Eisenberg’s credit that The End Of The Tour affected me as much as it did. Part of that’s just demographics; as a white, college educated, male writer who sometimes struggles with loneliness and imposter syndrome, a book about two guys hashing this stuff out always had a decent shot at getting through. But it helps when it’s as deftly written and shot (with real quotes from Foster ably supplementing the dialogue), and as wonderfully acted as this movie is. The film is as much a hangout movie as a philosophical treatise, and Eisenberg, and especially Segel, present two guys who it’s an amazing pleasure to hang out with, without ever discounting the flaws and demons that force them to keep each other at arm’s length even as their desires to bond shines strong. [William Hughes]

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FKA Twigs, M3LLI55X

Not so much a “new direction” as it is a next-level evolution, FKA Twigs’ surprise EP, M3LLI55X, is a ferocious and empowering work of art. While last year’s LP1 was an astonishing creation in its own right, it felt a bit constricted by the notions of what an album should be, padding things out with songs that were great, but not entirely indicative of Twigs’ boundary-pushing genius. Of course, having spent her entire adult life thus far as a performer, Twigs seems acutely aware of her audience and the power they can hold over her. M3LLI55X kicks things off by addressing this head on, begging for the listener to “let me live” in the slinking opener, “Figure 8.” The chorus of the following track, “I’m Your Doll,” initially appears to follow the trend of submission, but slyly subverts the assumed roles: Make no mistake, “Dress me up, I’m your doll” is a command. By the EP’s midpoint, FKA Twigs has her audience wrapped around her finger, delivering the almost frighteningly powerful “In Time,” a throbbing, seamless blend of genres and a perfect showcase for her range as a singer and songwriter. In their own twisted way, the five songs become a bold statement on self-actualization and reclaiming your body. Though certainly an audacious feminist statement, the EP doubles as call-to-arms for anyone who has ever been marginalized: FKA Twigs (nearly) bookends the album with “hold that pose for me,” a line that transforms from an assertion of dominance to a “chin up” of sorts, reminding the listener that they are strong and significant. Accompanied by a stunningly unforgettable 16-minute video, M3LLI55X is an entirely singular vision, simultaneously claiming the honor of being FKA Twigs’ most inventive, catchiest, and most important work to date. [Cameron Scheetz]

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