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Surreal art-pop, mellow R&B, exquisite indie-folk and a farewell to two funk icons

Caroline Polachek: Billions Caroline Polachek’s ethereal psych-pop track “Billions” enthralls listeners from the first eerie pulses and clanks. Featuring vocals from London’s Trinity Boys & Girls Choir, the song shape-shifts over its almost-five minutes, from stark to spectral to a rich, resplendent treasure. The mesmerizing video—by Polachek and her frequent collaborator Matt Copson—takes viewers on a surreal ride. Bree Runway: Pressure Bree Runway’s first release …

Syl Johnson: Different Strokes

An icon of blues, soul, funk and R&B, Syl Johnson has passed away at 85. Born in Mississippi and raised in Chicago, Johnson was a singer, songwriter, musician and producer whose lyrics often delved into complex social and political issues. His 1969 song “Is It Because I’m Black,” inspired by the murder of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, was a piercing statement on race relations …

Remembering Manfred Thierry Mugler Through His Iconic George Michael Collaboration, “Too Funky”

Manfred Thierry Mugler, an iconic French fashion designer whose garments pushed boundaries and thrilled all those who wore them (or admired them from afar), has passed away at 73. A professional ballet dancer by 14 years old, he moved to Paris in his early 20s and worked as a freelance designer for various houses before launching his eponymous label in 1974. By the ’80s he …