Courtship Ritual: Kingdom of Beauty

Five promising acts who performed (officially and unofficially) during CMJ week

Courtship Ritual can be spotted performing their restrained tunes with an equally minimal setup in Brooklyn venues like Baby’s All Right—regularly joined on stage by hired belly dancers whose hypnotic choreography enhance the otherworldly mood. “Kingdom of Beauty” is a particularly poignant track that demonstrates Monica Salazar’s covetable vocal timbre, along with her and guitarist Jared Olmsted’s penchant for augmenting sparseness to great effect. Courtship …

Asante Phenix: Nameless

Five promising acts who performed (officially and unofficially) during CMJ week

Brooklyn’s own Asante Phenix stood out amid a slurry of new acts that this year’s CMJ brought into the city. The MC effortlessly blends witty yet heartfelt bars with buttery smooth vocals on his latest track “Nameless.” A downtempo beat puts Phenix’s vocal range at the forefront of the single, while kaleidoscopic sonic textures create a lush soundscape to get lost in. A must listen …

The Psychology of Color Pencil Set

From adventure to ambiguity, this creative tool kit from The School of Life will get you thinking—and drawing

Insisting that not only children should relish the joy that is a box of sharp color pencils, The School of Life has released a lovely set—albeit a somewhat grown-up version. The 12-piece The Psychology of Color pencil set spans the regular hues, but instead of being labeled with the brand or the color name, each is emblazoned with a deeper and more thought-provoking word. Each …