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Mt. Etna grew up in Philadelphia, but ultimately moved on to New Orleans, so the dynamics and imbalances of complex local music scenes are nothing new to her. She may have just begun to release music under the moniker Mt. Etna in 2020, but she has lived a lifetime with the perspective of a Black queer creative. And with her latest release, “Dream Girl,” Mt. Etna has crafted an amorous, sugar-sweet tribute to sapphic love that has the solidity few beginning artists can claim. What is the magic ingredient to create something so delightful and euphoric? For Mt. …

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Joy Fu

It’s November, and definitely Fall, no matter what the spikes in heat in the Northeast and ice storms in the Southwest might suggest. For me, Fall means bigger coffee cups, longer skirts, watching Pride and Prejudice (2005) once a week, and above all else, listening to neoclassical music.

Neoclassical November playlist

The dreamy, romantic flirtations of strings and piano, with modern touches of synths or effects like reverb and delay, help me to slow time down a little as the days get shorter and shorter.

One of my favorite new artists in the genre, Joy Fu, is a versatile artist with a background in classical piano. Fu, who grew up trilingual (speaking Chinese, English, and French) and designs her cover art to complete each work of art, recently released a delightful streaming debut, titled “Coming Around,” which can be heard on our Neoclassical November playlist. …

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Despite a tense Fall in North Carolina, independent artist Volz brightened the air waves with a dizzying sonic cruise through the emotional life cycle of modern romance. Although the moniker Volz and the category-evading pattern of his discography lends some mystery, the artist was approachable and easy to talk to in an interview.

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Since 2009, October has been Filipino-American History Month in the US. Recent events and statistics (“Filipinos make up 4% of nurses in the US, but 31% of nurse deaths from COVID-19” — Business Insider) have highlighted a need for awareness and appreciation of the often overlooked struggles the API minority face.

Vincent Medina, a Filipino-American PhD student of cognitive and brain sciences who moonlights as a Twitch affiliate and makes nostalgic shoegazey dreampop under the moniker Devin World, is standing up for the visibility of his community. …

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In my life I have met very few people as cool as Shormey. Her unfazed, humble and easygoing demeanor somehow makes her more iconic to her often breathless fanbase. This has translated brilliantly to the shiny screen of YouTube for her latest music video, a testament to her methodic ways in a hapless world:

Boogie Island, directed by Hank (hank.work)

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Shormey about her latest EP, a compilation of lo-fi tracks called “God Bless Bob Ross,” which was released on a limited run of sunny yellow cassettes from Citrus City (now sold out). …

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“Now is not the time to be neutral,” utters Chicago-based poet and dancer Sunshine Lombre, concluding a powerful spoken piece over perfectly timed music robust with haunting harp and violin strings. It’s the most graceful call to action I’ve ever heard. My heart raced the first time I listened to the full piece. It’s more than just a poem, it is a poignant statement, a platform for change and a direct challenge to the listener’s complacency.

“I had many wishes while writing this song. With this piece, my hope is that it will inspire non-Black people to take action by doing what they can to support and protect Black people,” said Lombre, adding that marching is not the only method or tactic for this task. “I want to also inspire Black communities to increase unity to protect each other. I wanted to make it obvious and clear that Black people are inhumanely being targeted and brutalized. I also wanted to express the emotional and mental toll that it takes on people. …

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Lambert McGaughy

Lambert McGaughy: Sapphire

If you’re having a rough time this summer (who isn’t?), treat yourself to a little experimental sax. While most associate the saxophone with jazz, McGaughy seeks to showcase the versatility of the instrument.
“I did the EDM saxophonist thing years ago with large labels like Monstercat, though I broke away and wanted to do my own thing. Sax is almost always associated with jazz, whereas I am not a jazz musician. Ambient is in my heart, and that’s what I exude through my music.”

“Sapphire” is McGaughy’s latest single, with a music video set to release on July 27.

“This idea is actually many years old and evolved while I was sitting on a beach on Maui. A friend of mine sent me an idea at the time, and the melody came together in my head, though I was not able to actually create it until I was back home. A few months ago, I played the song for the very talented artist Bluereso who was persistent that the song be finished and helped me make it what it is now. So, here we are. Sapphire is the second release of four songs all having to do with color. …

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Here we are in July 2020, climate change in full swing, most of us stuck at home, and here’s the kicker: most of us don’t have a pool and public swimming options (gyms, beaches, community pools) are potential COVID-19 danger zones.

While we are doing our best with what we have, whether it’s a box fan and cold showers or a kiddie pool full of ice, in the spirit of cooling off ears-first I have compiled this playlist on Spotify called “Submerged.” All 20 tracks feature the sound of water: splashing, dripping, bubbling and running.

SUBMERGED

The mellow, laid-back music is sonically soothing to help you chill out mentally if you can’t escape to a walk-in freezer when it’s sweltering. …

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Ahya Simone

In the middle of the summer, Frostbite was the last thing we were expecting. But thanks to Detroit’s Ahya Simone, we got it. And drastically in contrast to current events, it’s good news.

Frostbite” floated in on a cool breeze, twirling through the air as Simone’s harpist fingertips released each note. The intermittent harmonies and metaphor-laced lyrics are sweet yet cautionary, coming together like a fine lace. Taking on the ethereal nature of her instrument, Simone cast a sweet blue spell that reached its wider audience on streaming platforms on July 10.

“Our resilience and creativity in fostering connection is unmatched. Even in a global pandemic, along with continuous mourning and rage in response to state sanctioned violence against Black people, we still know a way to each other and we take care of each other,” said Simone in the description for “Frostbite” on Bandcamp for its initial release in June. …

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RICHMOND, Va. — Less than two weeks after a staff meeting regarding a statement on Instagram which prompted hundreds of comments from aggrieved employees, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (the VMFA) has notified a number of hourly employees that they will not be rehired by the Museum for its reopening in July.

Instagram statement from the VMFA which sparked a conversation about the Museum’s labor practices

VMFA employees, many of whom received their notice of termination via a phone call on June 23, were anticipating a return to the Museum on its rescheduled members’ reopening date, July 1.

“The lack of transparency about training times, opening dates, and extra pay for higher risk has become more clear to me now,” said Kate, a former gallery associate at the VMFA, referring to a meeting involving the Human Resources department on June 11. “Which is [why it’s] really funny that the cut off date for them firing people was June 11, 2018. If they got hired after June 11, 2018, they were…

About

Sarita Farnelli

Sarita Farnelli is a journalist and editor based in Richmond, Virginia.

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