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J-Hope, Stray, etc.: NPR

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A screenshot of Stray gameplay.

BlueTwelve Studio/ Annapurna Interactive

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BlueTwelve Studio/ Annapurna Interactive

A screenshot of Stray gameplay.

BlueTwelve Studio/ Annapurna Interactive

This week, the UK announced it will host Eurovision 2023. Danger! Signed a new official co-host, Beyoncé dropped out Renaissance.

Here’s what NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour crew had their eye on, and what to check out this weekend.

End It EP, unpleasant life


Baltimore hardcore band End It has released a new EP. unpleasant lifeA very hardcore EP. There are 6 tracks and the total length is about 8 minutes. Many of these bands have earned accolades for implementing different sounds, textures and inspirations, so it’s really a kind of vibe that isn’t traditional hardcore.

But this EP is just beatdowns and gang vocals. It feels very classic, but it’s very well made and still feels a little fresh. Among them, there is a song called “Hatekeeper”, and I think it’s almost like a Gatekeeper song from the hardcore vocals that I can only hear half of.

The hardcore scene says, “Look, there’s a lot of people in here doing weird Nazi poses. We just have to stand up and say that some people aren’t allowed in here.” I think that’s a very challenging stance, considering how open it is. — Andrew Limbong

j-hope album jack in the box


J-Hope of BTS will be performing at Lollapalooza this weekend and I won’t be there, which makes me unhappy. But I’m happy that he just released the title of his 1st solo album. jack in the boxIt’s about the Pandora’s Box myth and is based on the fact that his stage name is J-Hope.

He’s my favorite BTS member, and I actually think he’s the most criminally underused member, especially in the last two years. They were in the English era, but J-Hope is one of his rappers. And now that they’re in English, they don’t rap anymore, so he’s not really doing anything.

He’s a great performer and dancer, and that’s what drew me to BTS in the first place. I love dance and the media and he is so energetic and fun to watch. Hopefully, there will be a Lollapalooza livestream this weekend where we can see J-Hope debut. He was the first Korean artist to headline a major music festival in America, and if you want to know what he sounds like, my favorite song on his new album is “Arson.” — Sirena Taurus

I’m lost


This video game, Stray, blew up on my timeline last weekend, so I checked it out. In this game you are a kitten trying to get back to your family in this underground city. People are robots and there are all sorts of clues to help you figure out what the city is and what happened to the humans. Please keep

The game actually lets you become a kitten, climb things, get zoomies, sneak past security cameras, scrape random robot legs, and scrape paint off shelves to reach the next level. cans… or sometimes just being a jerk. There is a button you can press to make it ring. It doesn’t help. you just meow That’s your vibe.

I am totally on track in terms of where I am going and how I am getting there. So it’s not a true 3D platformer. thank god Because you don’t have to spend time lining up and timing every jump perfectly. And it’s not a long game, so you’ll get through it in the afternoon.

See, I’m a dog person, but if you’re a cat person, I think you’ll get another level of satisfaction from this game. Now available for PlayStation and Windows. — Glen Weldon

Joni Mitchell at the Newport Folk Festival


Imagine you are attending a festival. Suddenly, a nice surprise awaits you. A legend who hasn’t played a full concert in over 20 years is here and you can witness it live. It didn’t happen to me, but I wish it did.

I saw on the Internet the other day that at the Newport Folk Festival last weekend Joni Mitchell gave her first serious concert since 2000. I haven’t seen the whole thing yet, but I did see the “Both Sides Now” clip and her performance.

First, Joni Mitchell is cool. She suffered a brain aneurysm several years ago and has since recovered. And here she was on stage in a little beret. She just seemed happy and the way she sang still had the phrasing. Her voice is deeper, a little richer and really beautiful to watch.

That she got that chance on stage made people with her very emotional. Brandi Carlyle looked like she was about to cry. Please check it. I’m so impressed I’m going to watch the rest of the clips online again. I’m happy that Joni still has those moments. — Aisha Harris

More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter

Linda Holmes

short version of ABC promotion in 1980 I’m on the market again this week, Long version is worth looking for As a great exercise to find celebrities. (Find a young Tom Hanks!)

I’m really glued to the podcast Project Yunabom, which is (you guessed it) about the Una Bomber incident. It contains exactly the interviews you want to hear, and is a fascinating and very sad story well told.

Sam Sanders isn’t just a ‘podcast friend’ — he’s a ‘dear Podcast friends.” He has a new show on Vulture. Into Itotherwise you are making a grave mistake.

NPR’s Maison Tran has adopted the pop culture happy hour segment “What’s Making Us Happy” for its digital page.If you like these suggestions, please consider sign up for newsletter Get weekly recommendations. Listen to pop culture happy hour. Apple podcasts When Spotify.