TruSound Blog

J Cole’s Noname Diss

J. Cole logged on to Twitter bright and early this morning to double down on his alleged Noname diss, but also to say that he honors and appreciates her.Make it make sense! Thirty-five-year-old Jermaine Cole’s new song “Snow on Tha Bluff” addresses the current protests against racism and police brutality across the world and alludes to J. Cole’s own feelings of inadequacy surrounding activism. But instead of just being up front about those insecurities, he spends over half of the song dragging an unnamed woman many assumed to be Noname, based on the tracks’s description of the woman’s tweets.On Twitter Wednesday morning, J. Cole said he stands behind “every word of the song that dropped last night.” “Some assume to know who the song is about,” he said in a thread. “That’s fine with me, it’s not my job to tell anybody what to think or feel about the work. I accept all conversation and criticisms. But let me use this moment to say this. Follow @noname. I love and honor her as a leader in these times. She has done and is doing the reading and the listening and the learning on the path that she truly believes is the correct one for our people. Meanwhile a nigga like me just be rapping.” He finishes by saying he’s not a leader, but appreciates Noname for “challenging” his beliefs. “We may not agree with each other but we gotta be gentle with each other,” he left with a peace sign, no petitions linked, no GoFundMes, no bail funds.

J. Cole’s idea of being “gentle” with Noname is spending the majority of “Snow on Tha Bluff” making assumptions about her and excuses for himself. “She mad at the celebrities, low-key I be thinkin’ she talkin’ ‘bout me / Now I ain’t no dummy to think I’m above criticism / So when I see something that’s valid, I listen / But shit, it’s something about the queen tone that’s botherin’ me,” he raps in the beginning. Cole is presumably talking about Noname’s recent tweet, where she called out “top selling rappers” in general who haven’t used their platform to show support for Black Lives Matter. He continues by assuming that Noname had “parents that know ‘bout the struggle for liberation,” but Noname herself had to read more about activism and capitalism after being dragged by Twitter last year. He suggests that she “treat people like children,” instead of calling them out, then, finally, turns to look inward. “But damn, why I feel faker than Snow on Tha Bluff?” he finishes. “Well, maybe ‘cause deep down I know I ain’t doing enough.”

Update, 2:30 p.m.: Chance the Rapper has caught up on the discourse. Chance, who helped boost Noname’s career with a feature on his mixtape Acid Rap, came in with his camp-counselor demeanor to try to create peace on Twitter, but J. Cole fans are not happy with the stance he took. “Yet another L for men masking patriarchy and gaslighting as contructive [sic] criticism,” he tweeted. When a fan tried to argue, he followed up with this: “They both my peoples but only one of them put out a whole song talking about how the other needs to reconsider their tone and attitude in order to save the world. It’s not constructive and undermines all the work Noname has done,” he continued. “It’s not BWs job to spoon feed us. We grown.” Finally, he tried to reach across the Twitter divide. “Everybody’s argument on either side is, we can’t personally attack each other if we really want to see a revolution,” he tweeted. “I can agree with that and can apply it in my own life. I wish we could learn that w/o two artists I admire having a public dispute.” Is this a dispute? Considering Noname hasn’t responded yet, it looks more like just another day as a woman in a male-dominated industry.

By Zoe Haylock

TruSound Blog

The Millenial Mental Health Crisis

If you are having thoughts of suicide, please know that you are not alone. If you are in danger of acting on suicidal thoughts, call 911. For support and resources, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text 741-741 for the Crisis Text Line.

Throughout the summer of 2012, Tylor Morgan would call his sister Lacey at night and beg her to come over and sit with him.

It wasn’t obvious why Tylor felt so depressed. Growing up in Pocatello, Idaho, Lacey and Tylor had a fairly happy childhood. Tylor was shy, with lily-white hair and blue eyes. He retreated to the background while their charismatic older brother, Mark, drew the limelight. Their parents had divorced and remarried, but the siblings stayed close. Recitals were attended and mountains explored. Tylor was “pretty much a normal kid,” Lacey, who is now 26, told me.

Tylor graduated high school in 2007, right before the Great Recession. But even that initially seemed okay; he liked to work. As a young man, he managed stores and fast-food restaurants around Pocatello. In his free time, he would tinker with his pickup truck or ride motorcycles.

The only troubling thing Lacey noticed was that Tylor had been drinking a lot. Occasionally, he would get drunk and tell Lacey that he was in pain, and he wanted it to stop. The air felt heavier around him. He would get upset about girls, or not having a good enough job, or not making enough money. The exact problem wasn’t always clear. A few times, Lacey sat with him in the hospital, where he was staying the night because his blood-alcohol level was teetering on deadly.

Then, that May, Mark died at 25 in what was ruled a suicide. His brother’s death left Tylor awash in guilt and horror. The brothers had argued the night of Mark’s death, and Tylor blamed himself.

One night three months later, Tylor called Lacey again and asked her to come over. Lacey couldn’t go that night—she can’t remember precisely why—but she promised to see him in the morning. “I need you to just wait until tomorrow,” she told him.

Minutes after they hung up, Tylor called the police and reported a suicide at his house. Then he picked up his gun and pulled the trigger. He was 23.

Tylor’s and Mark’s deaths became two of a growing number of suicides among Millennials. Though they might seem in the prime of their life, recent research shows that Millennials—people born from roughly 1981 to 1996—are more likely to die prematurely from suicide and drug overdoses than previous generations were.

Perhaps that’s to be expected, given the turmoil Millennials have faced in recent years. After scrambling up a slippery career ladder during the Great Recession, Millennials were slammed with the opioid epidemicBillions of narcotic pills were shipped to parts of the U.S. where people had few opportunities, but plenty of pain.

Read: America’s other epidemic

Now even more challenges loom over young people. Many Millennials who had their careers crippled by the 2008 recession are being flung into yet another economic downturn, just as they’re supposed to be hitting their career peak. Because of social-distancing restrictions meant to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, young people who hoped to find a partner haven’t been able to date in person for months. And still more outbreaks of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, might occur this year. As David Grusky, the director of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, put it to me, Millennials are “the bad-luck cohort.”

Interviews with more than a dozen experts on suicide and mental health reveal that Millennials are financially and generally stressed, and it’s driving some of them to extremes. Older Millennials snapped into adulthood after 9/11, fought in two wars, entered the job market during a recession, and are now weathering a global pandemic in overpriced one-bedroom apartments. They’ve experienced slower economic growth than any other generation in U.S. history, according to a Washington Post analysis. And having been clobbered by the last recession, they’re about to get clobbered again.

In a report published last year by the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, the economists Mark Duggan and Jackie Li found that mortality rates for people from ages 25 to 34 had risen by more than 20 percent since 2008. “That is, mortality rates among millennials ages 20 to 34 were substantially higher in 2016 than among their counterparts from Generation X when they were [their age] exactly 16 years earlier,” they write. The main contributors to the increase have been suicides and drug overdoses, and the increase was highest among white people.

Another report from the Trust for America’s Health last year found that drug-related deaths among people ages 18 to 34 more than doubled from 2007 to 2017, while alcohol-related deaths rose by 69 percent and suicides by 35 percent.

This tendency toward premature death has been especially pronounced among Millennials who, like Tylor, never earned a college degree. In 2017, white people without a bachelor’s degree born in 1980 were four times more likely to die by suicide than those with a college degree, as the Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton write in their new bookDeaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism. Among those without college degrees, the later you were born, the more likely you are at any given age to live in pain, binge-drink, have poor health, and die from suicide or a drug overdose. White people in their 20s and 30s are dying from alcoholic liver disease, a condition that normally takes decades of hard drinking to develop.

Read: Poor Americans really are in despair

To be sure, the rise in Millennial suicides is set against a broader backdrop of despair: Rates of suicide are going up for all Americans, including Gen Z, the generation after Millennials. People ages 45 to 64 still have the highest overall risk of suicide.

For Millennials, the reason behind this uptick appears to be that young people with less education face more financial strain than previous generations did. The good jobs that used to be available to people without college degrees have slowly evaporated. “Jobs are a source of meaning in our lives,” says Cheryl Fulton, a professor in the counseling program at Texas State University. “So if you don’t have a job or are underemployed, you’re not deriving that satisfaction that comes from the meaning and purpose a job provides.”

Rising health-care costs have encouraged employers to reduce head counts and have eaten into employees’ salaries, Case and Deaton write. In addition, the decline in manufacturing jobs and the rise of the gig economy have driven non-college-educated young people’s wages into the ground. Millennials without a college degree are earning far less in early adulthood than previous generations did, according to another report in the Stanford series. The median salary for a 25-year-old man with a high-school degree or less is $29,000 a year, which is about $2,600 less than what Gen Xers earned at that age and nearly $10,000 less than Baby Boomers. In 1970, more than 90 percent of 30-year-olds were earning more than their parents were at the same age; in 2010, only half of 30-year-olds were. Millennials have, on average, no housing wealth.

Therapists who treat Millennials told me that many of their clients feel frustrated and embarrassed that they aren’t able to afford “adult things” such as houses and vacations, either because they don’t earn enough or because they are handcuffed to enormous student loans. Marriage can alleviate loneliness and ease financial strain, but Millennials are getting married later than previous generations. “They feel that they shouldn’t be in this situation,” says Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist who works at Weill-Cornell Medical College. That can cause shame, and shame is “one of the bigger drivers of suicide.”

The difference between what we have and what others have can prompt the bone-deep shame that leads to suicidal ideation, says Jonathan Singer, an associate professor of social work at Loyola University Chicago and the president of the American Association of Suicidology. People might start to feel like a burden or, if they’re unable to land a job, like they have no way of building a social network. More so than in other cultures, Americans tend to intertwine their jobs with their identity. “In the United States, if somebody is unemployed, we see that as an indication of bad character,” Singer told me.

Yet Millennials are the first generation to have come of age with Facebook and Twitter—compelled to compare themselves with others but not jaded enough to know how empty these comparisons can be. Gen Z actually has a more healthily skeptical view toward social media, says Kate Comtois, a professor who focuses on suicide prevention at the University of Washington. These platforms had already ripened by the time Gen Z became teens, and perhaps as a result, they see social media’s downsides more clearly. Millennials, by contrast, were the first to reveal their life to an online audience, and some felt stung by the reception. As Lacey, Tylor’s sister, put it to me, “We have our blooper reel in our head, and everyone else’s highlight reel in the palm of our hands.”

Lacking the money they need and the idyllic life they crave, Millennials experience extremely high levels of anxiety and perfectionism, several therapists told me. “They have almost double the rate of anxiety disorders compared to Baby Boomers,” says Nadine Kaslow, a psychiatrist and suicide-prevention expert at Emory University School of Medicine, who estimates that at least a third of her clients are Millennials. “The anxiety, depression, perfectionism, and substance use all increase their risk for suicidal thoughts.”

Derek Thompson: Millennials didn’t kill the economy. The economy killed Millennials.

The nature of these substances, for that matter, blurs the line between overdoses and suicides. Some people use depressants such as alcohol to take the edge off their anxiety, then wind up depressed. And some suicides are simply drug overdoses in disguise—someone who doesn’t care much about living might get less and less careful about not overdosing.

The competing crises of 2020 are likely to make all of this worse. One study found that graduating into a recession has long-term negative effects on life expectancy into middle age. People who entered the labor market in the recession of the early ’80s suffered higher rates of lung cancer, liver disease, and drug overdoses later in life. For Millennials who entered the labor market from 2008 to 2010, “all kinds of expectations they had about how they’re going to move right into the next job blew up,” Comtois told me.

As the economy folds in on itself, the gains that older Millennials have made in the past 10 years may be erased entirely. A recent survey found that 31 percent of people ages 18 to 34 lost their jobs or were put on a temporary leave because of the pandemic, compared with 22 percent of those ages 35 to 49 and 15 percent of those ages 50 to 64.

The recent protests against systemic racism and police abuses are yet another example of the frustrations faced by young people, especially black Millennials. In recent weeks, there’s been an outpouring of examples of unequal treatment of people of color in prestige industries such as journalism and publishing. Though racism itself can harm public health and life expectancy, the protests and police tactics used during them are also likely to spread the coronavirus. That could mean more deaths from COVID-19 in coming months, or another economy-crushing shutdown.

Every person I spoke with was concerned that suicides among Millennials and other groups might rise further in the coming years. Diana Anzaldua, a therapist in Austin, Texas, says she’s heard more of her Millennial clients talking about suicidal ideation recently. The social connections that buoyed us have been stripped away because of pandemic-related social-distancing measures. One study projected that the pandemic could lead to 75,000 additional deaths from drugs, alcohol, and suicide. Most gun deaths are suicides, and there’s been an uptick in gun purchases during the pandemic.

What does suicidal ideation look like? Some researchers theorize that it’s a feeling of defeat and humiliation followed by a sense of entrapment—of no exit. Some people say they’re thinking about hurting themselves, or that they feel utterly alone. Others are more explicit: “I just want this to be over.” When someone says, “I’m thinking this is how I would do it,” the alarms clang in therapists’ heads.

These alarming trends don’t mean we should give up on Millennials—or on anyone else who is contemplating hurting themselves. Suicide prevention can be, in fact, extremely effective. Admitting that you struggle with depression can still summon more stigma than help, but Millennials, at least, are more open to talking about mental health than previous generations were.

In fact, in part because the quarantine struggle has been a shared experience, some early reports have suggested that suicides have not increased so far during the pandemic. People see that others are depressed and lonely, making defeat feel more like a temporary problem than a permanent condition. The pandemic is a shared burden, not an individual one.

One of the best ways to prevent suicide is to make people feel less alone by assuring them that someone cares about them. It doesn’t even have to be a special someone. Some studies found that suicidal people were less likely to act on their thoughts if the hospital where they had sought treatment mailed them a simple form letter, as Jason Cherkis reported for HuffPost. Just because someone is suicidal doesn’t mean they’re hopeless.

Lacey felt guilty for a long time after Tylor’s death, but was also unsure exactly how much guilt she should feel. If Tylor had said, “Hey, if you don’t come over, I’m going to kill myself,” she would have rushed to his side. Ultimately, she has come to the conclusion that, given how many times he had alluded to suicide, he would have likely harmed himself at another time.

Lacey credits Tylor’s death with changing her perspective on life. She no longer goes weeks without speaking to her family members after an argument, “because we know what it’s like to one second have them, and one second not,” she says. Even though she’s only in her mid-20s, she’s been a foster mom to 10 kids and adopted a baby girl. When I asked how to describe her in this article, Lacey said, “A mom, foster mom, and adoptive mom.”

She knows the quote about making lemonade out of lemons is a stretch. But, she said, even after the worst tragedies, you can make something resembling lemonade, approaching lemonade. Even if you don’t have lemonade, you’ll have something.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to

OLGA KHAZAN is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of Weird: The Power of Being an Outsider in an Insider World.ConnectFacebookTwitter

TruSound Blog

Advice for Teenagers Looking for Summer Jobs

When Kyra Kelly, a 15-year-old who lives in the Bay Area, decided she wanted to find a summer job to save up for a car, she checked the websites of the local businesses she and her friends visited regularly.

“I found that an ice cream place was hiring, and I went to their website and signed up,” said Kyra, who then received an email from the store manager and went in for an interview.

Her experience applying both online and in person is typical, but may be unfamiliar to parents who are not sure how to help their teenagers navigate today’s job market.

In addition to the benefits of making money, having a summer job can help develop organization, time management, communication and conflict management skills. And at a time when helicopter parenting often extends into young adulthood, getting a job on one’s own can be a step toward independence.

But fewer teenagers are working traditional summer jobs. According to a 2018 Pew Research Report, only 35 percent of teenagers ages 16 to 19 held a paid position over the previous summer, compared with 51 percent in 2000. Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that more teenagers attend school during the summer months than those in previous generations. In July 2016, 42 percent of teenagers were enrolled in school, compared with just 10 percent in July 1985.

Despite historically low unemployment levels, “teens just work less now,” said David Neumark, a professor of economics at the University of California, Irvine.

Personally, I liked most of my summer jobs, which included working at a candy store, making sandwiches at a local lunch spot, selling furniture and fine linens and tutoring students. Looking back, I now realize the problem-solving and negotiation skills I used to avert a customer’s impending meltdown about her wedding registry can have lifelong applications.

Now, in my work as an educational consultant, I’ve seen many students use the summer months to take classes, fulfill community service requirements or work in unpaid internships, perhaps seeking to bolster their college transcripts. Student-athletes on competitive travel teams often find intense practice and tournament schedules don’t match up with employer needs. So a summer job may not work for everyone.

But Adam Peck, interim vice president for university affairs at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Tex., believes students should look at summer jobs as an opportunity to develop skills they’ll need in their careers and seek out jobs that provide a chance to refine those skills. “That doesn’t always mean working in the exact industry that you hope to go into,” he explained.

Given how much of the application process happens online these days, navigating a summer job search may be confusing. Here are some strategies for teenagers and college students to land a summer job.

Thinking about the kind of job you hope to do and asking friends and family about potential openings is an important first step.

Monica Thomas, student services manager for Year Up, a national nonprofit focused on young adult work force development, believes much of the challenge is not knowing what is available. Parents, mentors, educators and community members can help identify opportunities that might not be widely advertised.

Jobs may vary based on location and transportation options. In Charlotte, N.C., the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program builds partnerships with private, public and nonprofit employers to create paid work experiences for students over age 16. The program’s mission is “to provide all Charlotte youth with equitable career development opportunities to explore the world of work, build social capital, and enhance economic mobility.” Similar programs exist throughout the country, though program requirements and opportunities vary by city.

Many students make the mistake of focusing on why they want a certain job — ideal hours, a convenient work location, a fun work environment — but “an employer needs to derive return on investment when they pay somebody,” Dr. Peck said. Crafting a successful pitch is all about helping an employer see what you bring to the potential role.

Before applying for a job, take stock of your skills, abilities and previous experiences. It can be helpful to use online resources to mock up a résumé, as well as to draft an introductory email or cover letter that can be customized for each position.

Even if you don’t have formal work experience, you can list leadership skills and responsibilities you’ve gained from clubs, volunteer work and specific academic experiences, said Fahnie Stewart Shaw, community relations and engagement program manager at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County School District. According to Dr. Shaw, an often-overlooked part of a successful job application is having strong references who “will answer phone calls, and emails, and get back with people for you, on your behalf.” If you’ve helped neighbors with babysitting, dog-walking or yard work, they could serve as potential references.

Being both flexible and specific can be crucial to receiving a job offer. Talking to potential co-workers and getting a sense of different work cultures can also be a helpful part of the application process. Online job sites like Handshake, focused specifically on college students and recent graduates, and, allow users to filter results based on certain preferences.

“I knew I wanted to work in the food service industry, but I didn’t really want to work in a sit-down restaurant,” said Ben Hosansky, 17, who got a job at Chipotle Mexican Grill in Louisville, Colo., last summer. “I applied to a number of fast casual places, including Chipotle, and they were the first to set up an interview.”

There may be more opportunities for students in food service, or entertainment and sports venues, than in retail. Students who like working with children might contact their local recreation center or nearby day camps. Nonprofits like the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools Program, a six-week summer literacy program with 183 program sites across 28 states, can also provide summer employment opportunities.

Even employers interested in hiring students might get distracted by day-to-day operations, and a gentle reminder could be welcome. Ben initially applied to Chipotle online and then visited the store in person when he didn’t hear back. “I asked if they still had jobs available,” he said. “They actually told me to sit down at a table and interviewed me about 15 minutes after that and then hired me that day.”

Many states require work permits for minors; check your state Department of Labor’s website. Some information about child labor laws is available through the federal government, too.

Kyra, who lives in California, received her work permit through her high school. Many states also require those handling food to get an additional card or certification.

It’s also a good idea to find out if a job requires you to purchase a uniform or follow a dress code. If it’s a food service position, you deserve to know how and when tips are distributed.

If you’re saving toward a goal and trying to calculate what you will be earning each week, remember that taxes will be taken out of your paycheck.

[Read more about the benefits of summer jobs. | Read a financial checklist for young people.]

And if the job you land isn’t exactly what you had in mind, give it a chance. Before Ben started at Chipotle, he had his sights set on a noodle shop closer to his school. He said he likes his job now, in part because “I really know everybody, and we kind of have a nice little community.”

Ana Homayoun is the author, most recently, of “Social Media Wellness: Helping Teens and Tweens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World.”

TruSound Blog

Cinefix Top 10 Most Uplifting Movies of All Time

When was the last time your life was uplifted? What wasn’t included? What is your top all time most uplifting movie?

TruSound Blog

A Dose of Coronavirus Reality from Musicians

For a potent dose of coronavirus reality, follow the music.

Many of the biggest music festivals in the nation — Coachella, Lollapalooza, Stagecoach, and JazzFest — won’t happen until (at the earliest) the spring or summer of 2021. Meanwhile, massive, medium-sized, and smaller tours have been rescheduled, many for a year from now. This includes the likes of Mötley Crüe, Lucinda Williams, Taylor Swift, and Weezer.

Such is life with a new contagious pathogen that’s substantially more deadly than the flu, and has no proven vaccine nor medical cures. The resulting respiratory disease, COVID-19, isn’t just a disease for the old: The virus recently ravaged an otherwise healthy, young woman’s lungs so severely, doctors had to remove and transplant both of them. Our altered reality for the next year, and the 114,000 dead and counting in the U.S., is a price we’ll all pay for the U.S. government’s failure to contain the spreading virus back in February and March (states are now largely on their own to curb the spreading disease).

So it’s little surprise that local governments, venues, and many artists aren’t keen on holding or participating in big gatherings or crowded events, especially those flooded with people from around the nation, anytime soon. Festivals are particularly problematic. Even during “normal times” there have been disease outbreaks like hepatitis A at concerts.

“You have challenges with sanitation even in the ideal conditions,” said Brian Labus, a public health expert at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “So when we add an outbreak on top of that, it makes [a festival] very difficult to do safely.”

And critically, it’s impossible to keep all infected people — who either don’t have symptoms or don’t have them yet (presymptomatic individuals) — out of any show, big or small. The new coronavirus, an insidious microbial parasite, will inevitably come in. “There is no realistic way to keep it out,” said Labus, who added that he had planned to see several concerts this year that got canceled.Lucinda Williams@HappyWoman9

Who’s ready? 2021 dates at 

So while restaurants, gyms, and other businesses gradually or carefully open up, there likely won’t be a true return to many shows until there’s a proven medical treatment or widespread immunity in the U.S. population from a vaccine (though the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee and Austin City Limits Music are still on for the fall, as of June 12 anyway). In heavily populated California, a state struggling with rising infections, concerts will be the last thing to come back: These bigger shows won’t happen without a vaccine or effective cure (infectious disease experts emphasize that it’s unlikely there will be a reliable and safe vaccine before 2021). Even when live music does return, however, it’s likely going to be different — if not dystopian.

“When large concerts do come back, expect smaller crowds, higher ticket prices, and more outdoor events,” said Jennifer Horney, the director of the Epidemiology program in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Delaware. She noted that attendees may be required to share more personal information than usual with venues in case there’s an outbreak and they need to be contacted. 

“However, for fans of live music, all these additional precautions just might be worth it,” she added.

What this means for music

There’s plenty of bad news for the present and future of live music, but some rays of brighter news, too.


Music venues, both legendary and new, are getting hit hard by the protracted shutdown. “A lot of them will be out of business,” said Rich Barnet, a professor of music business at Middle Tennessee State University who teaches concert promotion and touring.

Take the Troubadour in Los Angeles, the historic club played by the likes of Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, The Pointer Sisters, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Metallica, No Doubt, Fiona Apple, Lana Del Ray, Bad Religion, and Tom Petty. The venue’s operators now say they need donations to stay afloat. Meanwhile, the National Independent Venue Association, a new lobbying group, is urging Congress for money to keep these venues alive

The extreme minority of wealthy musicians can ride the pandemic out, some collecting royalties from decades-old hits. But most bands rely on live music today. “I feel horrible for the up-and-coming and mid-level artists,” said Matthew Donahue, a senior lecturer in the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University, noting they need to sell merchandise and tickets in a world where streaming pays peanuts but accounts for a whopping 75 percent of all U.S. recording music revenue. “They’re the ones who are really affected.”

So, all you Absolute Monster fans. Recent events have had me re-thinking things. Communicating directly with y’all in the Quarantini happy hour has inspired me and I’ve decided to start a Patreon site, will you follow? The music must go on…

As for the corporate live music juggernauts like Live Nation and Ticketmaster, which together employ some 17,000 people, “they’re going to have to do something fast,” said Barnet. “I don’t think they can exist too long without doing some shows. They’re bleeding.”

Concert promoters are going to have to be innovative, Barnet emphasized. “I like the drive-in concert,” Barnet said, as it allows artists, venues, and promoters to get paid — all without inviting large crowds into confined spaces, the environments where this coronavirus likes to spread. Garth Brooks, for example, plans to play a one-night drive-in show that will be broadcast at 300 outdoor theaters in late June.

(The promoters for Coachella and Lollapalooza, Goldenvoice and C3 Presents respectively, did not reply to requests for comment.)

Yet, live music isn’t completely beholden to an industry ravaged by a new pathogen.

“Not all live music in America is filtered through the music industry,” explained Nick Spitzer, a professor of anthropology at Tulane University and host of American Routes, a public radio show about American music. He references how more musicians are playing live via online concert platforms like NoonChorus and the likes of Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Some small clubs, like The Baked Potato in Los Angeles, have been streaming live jazz shows for around $8.

“This is a new interesting reality,” Spitzer said. “The listeners are really into it. It doesn’t keep the little guy out — if they have Wi-Fi and a Facebook page.”

“Not all live music in America is filtered through the music industry.”

A good example is New Orleans legend Jon Cleary. Cleary is promoting and playing live shows on Facebook. It’s like bringing live New Orleans piano into your home. “Contributions from $0 to $1,000,000 gratefully accepted,” Cleary writes. (Any income here, however, almost certainly won’t make up for what he earns as a regularly working New Orleans musician in “normal times.”)

“I think it’s a restoration of the intimacy and the power of live music,” said Spitzer. “It brings live music to lots of people.”

It’s an adaptation to the worst pandemic in a century. Artists are accepting reality and evolving. And over the coming year, more and more people may realize that supporting musicians from afar isn’t too difficult. “Perhaps it’s one of the easiest art forms to support,” said Bowling Green’s Donahue. If the budget allows, you can still buy musician’s music (as opposed to only streaming it) and a T-shirt or two.

When the national tours resume, however, that’s when you’ll know states have a grip on containing this novel contagion. That won’t be soon. “Some cities are going to have worse disease outbreaks than others,” said Labus, the public health expert from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “Trying to plan the logistics of a national tour is difficult when everything is going right.” 

So tune into music online. Perhaps pay for the art. It’s still live, if sometimes slow to load.

“It’s not perfect — but that’s life,” said Spitzer.


TruSound Blog

Bob Marley Live Full Concert

Bob Marley and the Wailers’ 1977 Live at the Rainbow concert is now streaming in full on the late reggae legend’s official YouTube channel.

TruSound Blog

5 Ways to Channel Your Anger

Protests against the violent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others are emboldening and expanding the movement to fight racism. But to make progress, many of us may need to adjust our thinking — and our actions. We talked to several African American and Hispanic psychologists and leaders for strategies to fight racism.

You know that old adage: “Don’t talk about race and politics at the dinner table. Well, we’ve got to get out of that,” says Polly Gipson, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychiatry at Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan.

And while many African Americans have the talk with their kids about how to avoid altercations with the police or what to say if they are stopped, it’s important for white parents to talk to their kids about racism too.

“Yes. It’s uncomfortable,” Gipson says. “But we can’t avoid things that are uncomfortable — because this is part of the problem of why we’re not as far along as we should be,” in eliminating racial injustices. And the more people who join the conversation, the better.

“A lot of people of color are tired. We’re tired of being the unseen and misunderstood,” says Inger E Burnett-Zeigler, a psychologist and associate professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. She’d like to see more voices at the table.Sponsored

“I think it’s important for everyone, regardless of race, to ask, ‘What is my role in this system?’ ” she says. Ask yourself, ‘Have I been a passive bystander, and how can I change that?’

“Perhaps it’s simply speaking up in situations where you may have been disinclined to speak up before,” Burnett-Zeigler says.

These tragic events of recent weeks can also create an opportunity, because people are fired up. Given all the anger and frustration, experts say there are strategies to channel these emotions into action.

1. Listen To People Closest To You, And To People Of Other Races

Whether it’s your work colleagues, teammates, your children or extended family, one way to change hearts and minds is to listen. When we stop talking and start listening, we validate others’ feelings and emotions. And, we may find opportunities to educate.

For instance, “People will say, my kids don’t see color, and kind of wear that as a badge of honor,” says psychologist Gipson. But if a white person says this to a black person, it can be offensive. And, though it may be well-intended, the idea that people are colorblind is false.

“All kids, even infants, discern differences in race,” Gipson says. “It also invalidates people of color who have a ‘lived experience’ that is not like their white counterparts,” she explains. People don’t want important parts of their identity to be erased, they want to be recognized and respected for the entirety of their person.

2. Use Your Voice In Your Community And Work Place

We don’t all have the audience that sports figures have when they speak out against racism, but we all have a voice.

For instance, millions of people signed a petition posted by Color of Change, one of the nation’s leading racial justice organizations, demanding charges against the officers involved in the death of George Floyd.

At the local level, identify a policy that disproportionately affects people of color. Pick an issue in your community — whether it’s access to healthy food, school boundaries, or bail reform.

Rian Finney, 17, grew up hearing gunshots from his bedroom window, and he witnessed the aftermath of the unrest following the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore in 2015.

“If I don’t speak up and do something, who will?” Finney asks.

He’s now involved with several youth organizations, including GoodKids MadCity and Baltimore Ceasefire, which recruits youth ambassadors to help raise awareness of gun violence. It has always been young people who push the civil rights movement forward, Finney points out.

And for adults, “look at your specific position and reflect on what power you might have to shift change to promote diversity and equity,” Burnett-Zeigler says. If you’re a manager, have you promoted or hired people of color? If you’re a teacher, have you incorporated messages of racial diversity and civil rights into your curriculum?

3. Give Your Time

If you’ve thought about signing up to be a tutor or mentor, now’s the time to do it.

“Tutoring is a great example, mentoring is a great example,” Burnett-Zeigler says. “These are ways you can use your personal influence in private ways for good.”

If you’re looking for a way to get started, check out the many national civil rights organizations  or find a local, grass-roots group, says Janet Murguia, president and CEO of UnidosUS, a group that aims to empower Latinos to make change.

“We’ve partnered with organizations like Color of ChangeNational Urban LeagueBlack Lives Matter and Race Forward, [which] are all doing incredible work in this space,” Murguia says.

For instance, Race Forward offers interactive racial justice training courses and classes. And she points to the race and healing collaborative supported by the Kellogg Foundation, which sponsors an annual National Day of Racial Healing event.

4. Speak Up By Using Your Creative Talents

“There are so many ways young people can use their talent and gifts,” says Gipson. On social media, we see examples of artists, from painters to jewelry makers, selling their wares and giving proceeds to an organization pushing for change.

“I love that idea,” says Wizdom Powell, a psychologist and associate professor who directs the Health Disparities Institute at the University of Connecticut.

“The idea here is to leverage your gifts and leverage your privilege, because we all have some of that,” Powell says. She points to an art competition that her institute organizes around visualizing health disparities. Art can play a role in healing and activism for health equity and social justice, she says.

“The arts have long been a vital and important way to process emotions, especially difficult ones, into something tangible,” says Jeremy Nobel, a physician who founded the Foundation for Art and Healing. “Expressive artifacts that make sense of the moment, bear witness and catalyze change.”

In times of distress, people can use art to access and communicate difficult thoughts and feelings, especially ones that are hard to talk about,” Nobel says. “[Art] offers a unique and powerful way to speak up, be heard, and be witnessed.”

5. Self-Care Is Important

For people who are reeling from the recent spate of deaths and racial trauma, it can feel overwhelming, says GiShawn Mance, a psychologist at Howard University. She says, she feels it personally.

She leads healing circles, which can help people connect and grieve. She also facilitates restorative justice circles — which aim to bring people who are trying to settle a conflict together.

But Mance says, in recent days she’s needed to take some time for herself. “It’s been hard to concentrate on work,” she says. In addition to the national unrest and the COVID-19 epidemic, which has hit communities of color the hardest, she is pregnant and a close friend recently died. “It’s a lot, and there have been tears,” she says.

This is a traumatic and stressful time especially for African Americans and people of color. “People put a lot of pressure on themselves to act or do something in this moment,” Mance says. So, her advice is this: “The fight for equity and justice is an ongoing effort; thus, do not put pressure on yourself to act or do something in this moment.” And she says, “I’m particularly talking to people of color and black people who are experiencing this.”SPONSORED

“It is difficult to help others when you are not OK,” she says. So, though self-care strategies will vary, take care of yourself and your mental health first, she says. Then “you can move forward in action to help others.”

By Allison Aubrey

TruSound Blog

Brooklyn Vegan’s Top 25 Albums of 2020 so far

The whole world is out of whack in a way that’s unprecedented for most if not all of us, and basically all people — the music world included — are still making changes to their lives and learning how to adjust. Basically every tour has been cancelled (and temporarily replaced by livestreams), and a lot of major album release dates have been pushed back as well (including Jarvis Cocker, Fugazi offshoot Coriky, The 1975, Margo Price, Lady Gaga, and several others), but thankfully there is still a lot of new music this year because right now we need music to lose ourselves in more than ever.

Given all of this, we’d like to take a moment and catch up on a lot of the albums we love that have been released in 2020 already, so here’s our 25 favorite albums of the first quarter of the year (and one honorable mention from each editor). It feels a little too early to start ranking things, so the list is in alphabetical order. We hope you find something new to sink your ears into during these rough times, and we also probably haven’t even heard all the great albums released this year so far or spent enough time with some of them, so we won’t be surprised if albums we missed here end up on our final best of 2020 list. What are your favorite albums so far this year? Let us know in the comments. Click the link for the list.

TruSound Blog

Michelle Obama’s Message to Graduates

“We all have no choice but to see what has been staring us in the face for years, for centuries,” Obama said. “The question is: how will we respond?”

TruSound Blog

The 15 best shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime

Need a new binge?

We’ve looked through Amazon’s catalog for the best shows included with a Prime membership. So whether you’re searching for a snappy comedy, a historical adventure, or an emotional medical drama, we have you covered.

In no particular order, here are fifteen shows on Amazon Prime that you should be streaming right now.

1. Upload

The 15 best shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime

Step aside, Space Force. Greg Daniels’ other new comedy is getting the good reviews.

Upload fast-forwards to the year 2033 when computer programmer Nathan decides to transport to a virtual afterlife. Though his new Lake View home boasts many thrills, he soon discovers that there’s a dark side to his arrival. It’s not The Good Place, but Upload’s take on the afterlife comedy is nonetheless fresh.

Where to watch: Upload is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

2. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel


Midge is supposed to be the perfect 1950s housewife. That’s why she finds a way to care for her kids, keep the house in order, and begin a dazzling career as a stand-up comedian. 

While Midge might have to deal with setbacks like a cheating husband and a drunken arrest, this won’t stop her from climbing the ladder of the New York City comedy scene.

If you need a playful pick-me-up, it might be time to dive in.

Where to watch: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

3. Mr. Robot

By day, Elliot Alderson works as a cybersecurity programmer. By night, he is a hacker who hopes to bring down his company’s main client under the guidance of the mysterious Mr. Robot.

Dark and suspenseful, Mr. Robot is just as intriguing as it is relevant. It also served as Rami Malek’s breakout role, which means watching the drama-thriller will allow you to witness his rise into the spotlight.

Where to watch: Mr. Robot is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

4. Downton Abbey

The 15 best shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime

If you haven’t yet met the Crawley family and their servants, now’s the time to take a trip to their Yorkshire estate.

This historical drama explores the social hierarchy in England during the post-Edwardian era. While life is complicated at Downton Abbey, it’s just as tense outside of it as major historical events play out.

The Downton Abbey movie, which came out last fall, is now streaming on HBO Max. So if the feature film is still sitting on your to-watch list, it might be smart to revisit the original series first.

Where to watch: Downton Abbey is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

5. Fleabag

The 15 best shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime

In Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge stars as an angry, spirited, sexually explorative woman from London who tries to figure out her life after the death of her best friend.

Thanks to its originality, fourth-wall-breaking, dark humor, and relatable themes, the comedy-drama has walked away with several awards including Best Television Series and Best Actress at the Golden Globes.

Fleabag is also pretty easy to get through. It’s composed of twelve episodes spread over two seasons, with the longest episode hitting just under the 28-minute mark.

Where to watch: Fleabag is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

6. Jack Ryan

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan received a new screen adaption in 2018. While Alec Baldwin, Harrison, Ford, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine had taken on the titular Marine vet in the past, this version features The Office‘s John Krasinski.

The Amazon Original has Ryan leave his CIA financial analyst desk job behind to run into the field where he hopes to end the schemes of a terrorist.

Pushing an everyman hero into an action-packed environment, Jack Ryan knows how to raise the stakes while keeping its lead down-to-earth.

Where to watch: Jack Ryan is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

7. Star Trek: The Original Series

Star Trek might have exploded into a massive franchise today, but it all started with this three-season sci-fi series in the ‘60s.

Star Trek: The Original Series has Captain James T. Kirk, First Officer Spock, and Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy exploring the Milky Way during a five-year mission on the Enterprise a few hundred years in the future.

The show’s complex plot and unique character interactions helped define the sci-fi landscape. It continues to influence its genre today.

Where to watch: Star Trek: The Original Series is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

8. Grimm

Though Grimm got off to a shaky start, the supernatural fantasy redeemed itself by Season 2 and secured a passionate fanbase thereafter.

Grimm centers on Portland Homicide detective Nick, who is tasked with keeping the peace between the mythological Wesen and the human race. Think a horror-themed Once Upon a Time with the happy endings traded for terrifying suspense.

Where to watchGrimm is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

9. Vikings

This historical drama has Norse farmer Ragnar Lothbrok rising up from his humble beginning to become the leader of the Vikings. While the show serves up a heaping of gore and tension, it’s also loaded with drama, adventure, and resilience. The next ten episodes of Vikings‘ sixth season are expected to premiere later in 2020.

Where to watch: Vikings is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

10. Parks And Recreation

Leslie Knope wants to make the small town of Pawnee, Indiana, into the best place it can possibly be. The problem? Uniting the town’s less enthusiastic residents (and the parks department) is a challenge. Parks and Rec‘s features all your faves, including Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Chris Pratt, Rob Lowe, Adam Scott and more. If you haven’t ever made the time before to binge, this is your moment.

Where to watch: Parks and Recreation is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

11. Poldark

Based on the books by English novelist Winston Graham, Poldark has the titular captain returning to his Cornwall home after fighting in the American Revolutionary War. Though Polkdark hopes for a peaceful homecoming, he quickly learns that his father has passed, his estate has been destroyed, and his former love is betrothed to someone else. Poldark begins to put the pieces of his life back together as he finds new love, starts a business, and faces foes. Exciting and emotional, Poldark will please fans of British historical dramas.

Where to watch: Poldark is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

12. House

House has the cynical head doctor of Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital leading his patients through his unconventional practices. Though Dr. Gregory House is smart, his frequent disagreements with the diagnostics team cause tension to bubble.

The best part of this pick (in addition to the engrossing script and skilled actors, including the always-excellent Hugh Laurie) is that you’ll have a full eight seasons to get through. This one will keep you occupied for a long time. 

Where to watch: House is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

13. Suits

Suits catches up with college dropout Mike Ross after he begins a law career in New York City despite being unqualified to do so. Though he successfully closes cases alongside lawyer Harvey Specter, he must keep his history tightly under wraps.

The legal drama features well-crafted characters and clever storylines, and it’s fun to watch a pre-royals Meghan Markle star as a senior paralegal. 

Where to watch: Suits is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

14. Undone

If you’re looking for something both weighty and stylistic, you might want to turn to Undone.

The comedy-drama follows a woman’s ability to twist time after a car crash and the effect it has on her relationship with her late father.

The story features visuals created through Rotoscoping (when animators draw over live-action footage) that help present its themes of self-examination in an imaginative light. Bonus! If Undone becomes one of your new favorites, you’ll be glad to know that Season 2 is in the works.

Where to watch: Undone is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

15. 30 Rock

Created by and starring Tina Fey, 30 Rock remains as excellent as you remember or had heard. 

The sitcom follows Liz Lemon, another head writer, who struggles to manage the star of TGS with Tracy Jordan and bring the show together under the guidance of her controlling boss.

The seven-season series was well-awarded and applauded for its skilled ensemble cast and spunky wit.

Girl power and good laughs? Check and check.

Where to watch: 30 Rock is now streaming on Amazon Prime.