Sufjan Stevens releases new single, “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross”

The first single from Carrie & Lowell, Sufjan Steven's forthcoming album and his first non-Christmas release since 2010, was released this morning. You can listen to it below:Stevens has never been shy about the Christian influences in his music, and "No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross" follows clearly in that tradition.Carrie & Lowell has been touted as Steven's return to folk music, and it's hard to pick an album I'm more excited for (though Purity Ring's sophomore album, A … [Read more...]

A very Sufjan (and kinda Kishi) Christmas playlist

At The Onion's serious and actually fantastic pop-culture branch, A.V. Club, Libby Hill has a beautiful essay discussing why she thinks Sufjan Stevens makes the perfect Christmas music for nonbelievers: My parents’ house has two Christmas trees. One is the show tree. It’s color coordinated and lit in white lights. It stands in the front window, and the presents that lay under it are meticulously matched to its color scheme. The other is kept in the family room. It’s a mishmash of colored lights … [Read more...]

Jeremy Messersmith releases Christmas single, declares War on Christmas

Today, one of my favorite artists released a single containing what is certain to become my Christmas anthem this year.The title track by Minnesota singer songwriter Jeremy Messersmith, who recently did an interview with fellow Minnesotan Chris Stedman about atheism, is not your typical Christmas song: It's that magic time of year when friends and family gather near And the long, cold nights are filled with thoughts of home And wherever you are there's one thing everybody knows No one … [Read more...]

RL Grime’s 2014 Halloween Playlist

For the last three years, hip-hop and trap producer RL Grime has been releasing the definitive Halloween party playlist. This year includes an introduction from Goosebump's author, RL Stine, as well as tracks from other renowned trap artists like A$AP Ferg, Baauer (of Harlem Shake fame),  Hudson Mohawke, and TNGHT (HudMo's collaboration with Lunice)Known for his massive remixes of Kanye West's "Mercy" and Chief Keef's "Love Sosa," RL Grime's  debut album, Void, drops November 17t … [Read more...]

How Andreas accidentally undermined scientific arguments for moral principles by dissing Kanye West

Yesterday, I finished my time working at the North Carolina State Fair. My lab set up our department's mobile research center, and I spent about 100 hours over the last 10 days administering surveys to three or four thousand people in exchange for enough money to make a small dent in the North Carolina GDP. I mention this not only to explain where I've been for the last week and a few days, but also to preempt any suggestions that the argument I'm about to make comes from a place of not caring ab … [Read more...]

Playlist Celebrating Vlad’s Return

For the past two weeks-ish, our benevolent dictator, Vlad, has been gone doing real world things at the North Carolina State Fair. But starting next week, he's back! Celebrate all weekend with the NPS Celebrates Vlad's Return playlist! “In Kind” by BRAIDS This understated art rock track by Montreal-based BRAIDS is the perfect way to slow-start any playlist. I particularly enjoy the interplay between the soft tremolo guitar and the percussionist. "Well I must have saw a girl who looked like myse … [Read more...]

Decorative Gourd Playlist

It's officially fall, which means pumpkin spice everything, flannel, and decorative gourds. Fall is an extremely sentimental season, and musically, it brings to my mind acoustic guitars, gentle crackling, and hints of melancholy.Fall seems to represent cycles and changes---the school year starts, old loves end, and everything gets slow and beautiful. Here's a fall playlist for your first fall weekend."Don't Wait" by Mapei The Stockholm-based Mapei has become a breakout artist of 2014, … [Read more...]

Hip-Hop can help Humanism

NPS veteran contributor Stephen Goeman wrote yesterday about how atheists can find inspiration in Kanye West. Here are a few choice excerpts (thought you ought to read the whole piece): Kanye’s lyrics and writing have more obvious relevancies to nonreligious life. Dr. Monica Miller has identified a tendency in hip-hop for artists to use Christian vocabulary to both critique religious institutions and lift up the mortal rappers to deity status as “Outlaw Humanism” (“outlaw” because these characte … [Read more...]

Lessons from Kanye West: Atheistic inspiration can come from the religious

At NPS, we believe that critical contributors are missing from the conversation and culture around atheism. We recognize that popular scientists aren’t the only ones who have relevant things to say about what it means to live life without religion, and significant voices might be found where we least expect them. One of the aims of this blog is to identify cultural and artistic work, as well as lived experiences, which can provide inspiration, aspiration, and comfort to nonreligious folk in ways … [Read more...]

End of summer playlist

I'm spending this weekend on the beach for a lab retreat at Emerald Isle on the coast of North Carolina. There are only a few weeks left of summer weather, and this weekend seemed an appropriate time to put together an end-of-summer playlist. Partly because I'm feeling a bit nostalgic and partly because 2008 and 2009 were just fantastic years for indie rock, this playlist is filled with upbeat and poppy indie songs from the late 2000's. Steel drums and afro-pop guitar hooks abound. "Waving at t … [Read more...]