Will someone please adopt me? My roommates are moving out May 1 and I’ll be homeless. I’m laying on the packing materials in protest. Tweet @kianitweets if you want to share your home with me.
And then Lorenza, (via Sicily), helped herself to notta-one, notta-two, butta three helpings of my first ever spaghetti carbonara. #bravo #bellisimo #BaconFatFriday #BacheloretteKitchen
We Buy White Albums -
Along our continuing search for unconstrained innovation in constrained environments, artist Rutherford Chang turns the Beatles White Album into vessel, canvas, icon, artifact and obsession.
Not to mention gallery experience and aural exploration.
A beautiful rumination on personality and the passage of time via the personal iterations of a single white package.
“I’m most interested in the albums as objects and observing how they have aged. So for me, a Beatles album with an all white cover is perfect.”
As is his installation at Recess gallery.
In the wake of an overwhelming listing season in 2012, I am MORE THAN READY for this.
Justin Timberlake is making music again.
Fist Full Of Lists: New Music In 2012
Notes on What Went On In 2012:
Among the new recordings that came across my desk this year there seemed to be a fearless sensibility towards writing near-perfect anthems. Cat Power takes the cake in this regard, with two songs, “Manhattan,” and “Nothing But Time’’ featuring Iggy Pop, both sustaining a righteousness in lyrical and melodic transcendance. Each of these songs builds on itself lyrically and melodically such that at minute 2:30 you’re ready to soar. On par with Cat Power was Stars’ “Hold On When You Get Love, And Let Go When You Give It.” These are songs to plunge into; they embrace and immerse you.
One of the best records this year, Positive Force by Delicate Steve, left me literally speechless — there were virtually no lyrics. Last year we saw a couple bands tossing it up with instrumentals, such as Fleet Foxes with “The Cascades” from Hopelessness Blues, and Megafaun with “Isadora” off their self-titled album, so Delicate Steve’s move towards a mostly instrumental piece seemed a natural, and brilliant, move.
Innovation and virology took on eminent importance in 2012, for better or worse, with such artists as Amanda Palmer, The xx and Delicate Steve creating elaborate schemes behind their releases. Palmer, of course, broke records with her $1 million Kickstarter campaign, which invariably became the catalyst to what was perhaps the most important conversations about accountability and sustainability in the music industry today. The xx, in the meantime, crowdsourced the the release of Coexist by distributing it to only one super-fan, who’s responsibility it was to share it with the rest of the world. The dearest Delicate Steve, in the meantime, in a vein similar to Emperor X, made a scavenger hunt of it and hid listening pods throughout Manhattan the week they released Positive Force. Clearly, we have transcended above and beyond the realm of record release parties and radio ads.
This Year’s List:
Alabama Shakes Boys & Girls landed on my radar via the ether of constant chatter among my friends and colleagues. Brittany Howard’s soulful vocals backed up by ineffable rock-and-roll and blues licks played on a loop between the months of April and September of this year, and were the soundtrack to no less than a dozen bar-b-que’s this summer.
Grizzly Bear, Cat Power, The Mountain Goats, Alt-J and Stars showed up with some of the most anticipated releases of the year in the fall, and just in the nick of time, as Ms. Howard was wearing a little on my roommates. It’s nice to get all that you expected, and more, especially from the likes of the slightly elusive Grizzly Bear and Cat Power.
Grizzly Bear were front-and-center of the aforementioned discussion about the state of the music industry with a cover story in New York magazine, which was all at once harrowing and an excellent PR move. In keeping with the harrow, Shields is most certainly the headiest album of 2012, and this in the same year that Fiona Apple puts forth her first release since 2006 — but more on her later.
Cat Power’s Sun proved to be nothing less than a blow-away endeavor. Chan Marshall has walked a thin line between embracing and alienating, not dissimilar to Tori Amos. Like Amos, she often hides under the covers, offering transformative versions of the standard “New York, New York” and the Rolling Stones’ “(I can’t get no) Satisfaction.” Whereas her previous work was all highly concentrated emotion, pared down and pored over with simple keys & strings, Sun is elaborate and colorful. Shortly after I’d heard the pre-release of Sun in August, I heard the single “Cherokee” in a bar in the East Village, and watched someone at the table next to me begin to bop her head, saying “This is awesome — who is this?” Cat Power.
With Transcendental Youth, The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle refines his songwriting craft, maintaining the matter-of-fact darkness of his lyrics, this time beautifully orchestrated among a multitude of keys and brass. Transcendental Youth celebrates the doomful legacies of both Amy Winehouse, in “Amy Spent Gladiator 1,” and Frankie Lymon of The Teenagers in “Harlem Roulette,” whose life and career were also cut short by drug abuse. In classic Darnielle style, “Harlem Roulette” has a dark-but-catchy chorus: “The loneliest people in the whole wide world are the ones you’re never going to see again,” while horns in the title track at the end of the record loosely quote the spiritual “I’ll Fly Away.” Darnielle successfully achieves a transcendence with this record, and I cannot stop listening to it.
The June release of Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel… was disorienting, to say the least. Beach weather and long rides with the windows down do not necessarily make me want to listen to Ms. Apple bemoan her alone-ness. I therefore shamelessly put her on reserve for a good 3 months until I had cooled off from my Brittany Howard fever. Apple nailed it with this one, and as annoyed as we get with her seemingly coy evanescence, there is something inherently sustainable about it all. Listen to “Werewolf” or “Regret” off Idler Wheel… and then track back to “Honey” or “Never Is A Promise” from Tidal, and we can’t help but forgive her for her sparseness.
As exciting as this year was for new music, there were some serious disappointments in 2012. The xx hit the dreaded sophomore slump with their Coexist, and basically sung the entirety of a mopey, broken-hearted 17-year-old’s journal over gauzy electronica, and called it a record. The Avett Brothers The Carpenter, was their second effort with Rick Rubin, and proved to be just as over-produced and soulless as their first. And then there was Best Coast, which sounded like reject songs by Jenny Lewis that she wrote when she was 7 years old with the help of an online rhyming dictionary.
All told, though, 2012 proved to be filled with pleasant surprises. Without further ado — as if you’ve had much ado with the above rant in the first place — here’s 2012’s Fist Full of Lists: Five Lists of Five Music-related things that I cared about. Also, this year I picked ten albums because 5 wasn’t enough. I guess I’m getting better at this.
Peace & Cookies,
Producer, Vin Scelsa’s Idiot’s Delight
LIVE, Wed & Thu, 12:00-2:00PM EST, replay Sun. 8:00PM EST
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Top Ten Albums of 2012
1. Boys & Girls, Alabama Shakes
2. An Awesome Wave, Alt - J
3. The North, Stars
4. Transcendental Youth, The Mountain Goats
5. Sun, Cat Power
6. The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than The Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, Fiona Apple
7. Shields, Grizzly Bear
8. Positive Force, Delicate Steve
9. Psychedelic Pill, Neil Young
10. Way Down Low, Kat Edmunson
1. “Hold On When You Get Love, And Let Go When You Give It” - Stars
2. “Manhattan,” Cat Power
3. “Birmingham,” Shovels & Rope
4. “Only Going Backwards,” Tame Impala
5. “Bigger Than Love,” Benjamin Gibbard & Aimee Mann
Theatre Is Evil, Amanda Palmer
Shut Down The Streets, AC Newman
The Salesman And The Shark, Sean Rowe
There’s No Leaving Now, Tallest Man on Earth
Celebration Rock, Japandroids
Shovels & Rope
Coexist, The xx
The Carpenter, The Avett Brothers
The Delta Spirit, Delta Spirit
The Only Place, Best Coast
Port Of Morrow, The Shins
For various personal and professional reasons, I never published my list last year. But I figured since I’m about to post this year’s, we’d enjoy a little throwback moment, for perspective’s sake. Here’s my critique of music related things that caught my attention in 2011.
The number 5 is, to me, the most fair number for a list. Any larger number, to me, is a little too far reaching for just one person. I like my list to be specific, and discriminating. Last year’s categories were:
-top 5 new albums
-top 5 new songs
-top 5 shows at Maxwell’s
-top 5 shows
-5 things to look forward to in the new year
In 2011, I took a step back from covering live shows so I won’t be listing those this year, and I didn’t spend nearly as much time at Maxwell’s (for shame!). Instead, my categories for this year are:
-top 5 new albums
-top 5 new songs
-top 5 overrated albums
-top 5 things that happened that I cared a lot about
-top 5 things to look forward to in 2012
So, without further delay, my Fist Full Of Lists 2011:
Top 5 New Albums:
(Albums I can’t stop listening to, whose songs are stuck in my head at any given moment.)
1. 21, Adele
As with any pop star, the main stream promoters that be have invariably beat us to death with “Rolling In The Deep.” Nonetheless, this album is as righteous as 19 was. Not to mention, there’s something to be said for the fact that she actually pursued music from the production side rather than performance, so there’s this really authentic quality to what she does.
2. The Rip Tide, Beirut
This band really nailed it this time, bringing into focus some of the more opaque elements of their music. The first single off the album, “East Harlem” had a catchy little melodic hook stringing together Zach Condon’s usual gypsy-style themes. For a more in-depth review, check out my post on The NJ Underground.
3. A Creature I Don’t Know, Laura Marling
What an apt album title for this up-and-coming indie-folk artist, who in her early twenties has already produced some stunning songwriting. She seems almost a chariacture of herself while performing, with her lyrics alluring you into a fantasy world filled with beasts and wild animals.
4. Megafaun, Megafaun
You know those jam-band mix tapes that cute hippie in high school made for you, and you totally didn’t get it or him, but still listen to Phish’s Billy Breathes sometimes? This one will tickle you in that same way.
5. Wild Flag, Wild Flag
Because what is Carrie Brownstein going to do with all that pent-up energy she has from working on being overly ironic and satirical on Portlandia? Start a 90s supergroup with a couple of the members from her old band Sleater-Kinney, plus Helium and The Minders, and then make a post-lo-fi super rock-and-roll album. Oh, hell yeah.
Top 5 New Songs:
1. ‘Progress,’ Booker T. Jones, fea. Yim Yames (aka Jim James of My Morning Jacket) from The Road To Memphis
2. ‘Codex,’ Radiohead, from The King Of Limbs
3. ‘Write Me A Letter,’ Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside
4. ‘So Beautiful Or So What,’ Paul Simon, from So Beautiful Or So What
5. ‘The Day Is Coming,’ My Morning Jacket, from Circuital
Top 5 Overrated Albums:
(Albums I kinda liked at first, but then couldn’t listen to more than twice.)
1. Bon Iver,’Bon Iver
2. Helplessness Blues,’Fleet Foxes
3. Days, Real Estate
4. (together), The Antlers
5. Strange Mercy, St. Vincent
Top 5 Things That Happened That I Cared A Lot About:
1. Jeff Mangum’s performance at Occupy Wall Street
It can’t be easy to be Jeff Mangum, and it certainly can’t be easy for an artist of his caliber to endorse something as controversial as OWS. What is so moving about this video his the depth of sincerity, and simplicity in this gesture.
2. The arrival of All Tomorrow’s Parties at Asbury Park
As a Jersey native, I’ve known for a while that Asbury Park boasts a pretty great music scene, not to mention some awesome historic venues. It was nice to see the city get a nod from the likes of ATP, not to mention the new locale was a lot easier to get to for Brooklynites via NJ Transit.
3. The death of Gil-Scott Heron
What struck me about this particular event was how many of my friends were closet fans. My facebook feed was filled with just as many posts from people whose tastes err towards hip-hop as it was from those who prefer indie rock. Awesome.
4. Adele’s vocal surgery
While it’s true that the type of injury Adele sustained from straining her voice is not uncommon, what I found disturbing was that other musicians who have had this issue were in the business a lot longer than she has. Remember, her album titles correspond with the age she was during their release, ‘19’ and ’21.’ The likes of Steve Tyler, who had the same condition, was well into his 50s when he had his surgery. Let’s just hope she takes it easy so she can stick around.
5. Siren music festival’s venue change from Coney Island to South Street Seaport
On a practical level, South Street is certainly more accessable. But how often did we really make it out to Coney Island?
Top 5 Things To Look Forward to in 2012:
1. Radiohead is touring the US this spring/summer
2. The Prudential Center in Newark, NJ has become a back-up stadium venue while Madison Square Garden is being renovated
3. New albums by: Dr. Dog, Of Montreal, Nada Surf, Tennis, Black Star, to name a few….
4. The return of Fiona Apple and Grizzly Bear
5. Season three of Game Of Thrones
…I’m going to take a shower, and then post my Best of 2012 list, because damnit, I’m a tastemaker too!
Warhol and Basquiat by Jean-Philippe Delhomme.
Jake Fogelnest is a “MA’AM”
A lot of comedians use their Twitter accounts just for jokes/self promotion. That’s what I do 98% of the time. That’s fine. Twitter is a “powerful social media tool.” That of course, is a fancy way of saying, “whee, fun time distraction party, yaaaaaay!!”
The other 2% of the time, it’s nice to throw out something serious. Something important. I don’t personally do it all the time, but damn do I want to have the freedom to do so if I choose. I choose to do so now.
While I think most comedians tend to keep it mostly funny, I’ve seen many tweet links to amazing blogs like 90 Days, 90 Reasons or retweet about Invisible Children (hey, that ended well), or any other various things that are important to them as a person.
Usually those “serious tweets” go ignored, occasionally people take notice, it’s just part of the conversation, 140 characters at a time. Very quickly, all of us move on to the next joke fueled by today’s TMZ coverage.
But I’ve noticed a phenomenon online whenever a female comedian tweets about women’s issues. They are always, ALWAYS, greeted with a chorus of people telling them to SHUT UP.
Well, I think that’s fucking terrible.
Sometimes it’s as blatant as that: “SHUT UP, JUST BE FUNNY.” Sometimes it’s more subtle, “Hey, don’t be so sensitive.” Sometimes it’s just sociopath gross shit straight out of the worst sub-Reddit: “Hey lady, I want to do boner stuff to you.”
None of it is acceptable.
To be fair, when men tweet about causes, they too will also be greeted with “SHUT UP, JUST BE FUNNY.” But that is ALWAYS where it ends for men. With women, “shut up, just be funny” is only the beginning.
For women, it’s rarely just, “Hey, I’m just here for jokes, doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, just make me laugh for free on this dumb thing on my phone!”
For some reason, not all the time, but a LOT of the time, women get this extra load of garbage attached. They’re being “too sensitive” or “getting hysterical,” when really they’re just darting off a tweet about something they care about.
By the way, this isn’t just about Twitter, this is about EVERYTHING IN LIFE.
No one ever accuses men of being “too sensitive” or “getting hysterical.” This is always laughable to me, because we’re usually the ones who are the hysterical, sensitive, lunatics! I mean, did you see Karl Rove on Fox News after Obama won?
I just know this shit when I see it and it’s unfair. It is so lamely dismissive to pull this, “Oh, calm down honey” stuff with women. Not just on Twitter, IN GENERAL. Can we relax with that dumb stereotype and maybe listen to what a woman is saying? When men do that, it interjects a whole other thing to deal with that ends up distracting from whatever was being discussed in the first place!
Women STILL, don’t have it as easy as men do. They just don’t. Is it better than it was 40 years ago? I don’t know, ask a woman. That’s the point. It’s not for me to fucking comment on, it’s for me to listen, respond and adapt. Just like women do for us, all the time.
If you think things are truly equal between men and women, why does this happen the other night:
A dude at a stand-up show, introduced a comedian by saying, “Alright, are you guys ready for a female comic?”
This blows my mind.
What if that guy said, “Alright, let’s keep the show going! Are you guys ready for a BLACK comic?”
“Hey, coming to the stage right now, it’s a GAY!”
“Are you ready for more show, let me hear you say YEAH! This next Mexican…”
Would any of us let that fly? No. We would think, “That’s the craziest fucking introduction I’ve ever heard.” At least I would.
DUDES! Come on. We’ve just got to do better. I’m not saying you’re anything but a wonderful sensitive person. I’m not saying you’re sexist. I’m just saying, take a second look. Not just at the behavior of others, but your own behavior.
Two years ago there was a blog on Jezebel about one of the late-night shows having a problem with women. Oh boy, did I leap to the defense of that show’s staff and get bloggy real quick!! “That’s not a boys club, there isn’t sexism, you’re CRAZY!”
Wow, do I feel AWFUL about writing that stuff now.
See, I was letting my fragile little baby male ego fuel whatever tirade I wrote and hopefully have now deleted from the Internet. I was reacting from a place of not liking the comedy of a person, but this wasn’t about the comedy. This was about what it was like to be a woman. And it was not my place to say ANYTHING about women’s experiences. I was incredibly dismissive of an incredibly real thing that women go through on a daily basis. And. I. Was. Wrong.
I was born a white middle class male. WOW, DID I GET LUCKY!! I mean, being a white middle class male is THE BEST. There is so much stuff I just don’t have to put up with automatically! Seriously if you can, be born a white middle class male. I highly recommend it!
And since I was born a white middle class male, there are just certain struggles I will NEVER know because of that. In times where I’ve been called on it, I let my ego get in the way. “Hey, I am a decent person! I own Bikini Kill records!” True. Perhaps I needed to listen to them a little closer.
The point is, I’m willing to learn. I’m willing to try. And I’m willing to call shit out when I see something I don’t like, even if it’s my own shit. I am urging other men to do the same. We need to be as on top of it with women’s issues the same way we are with racism and homophobia.
I don’t care who it offends, who it alienates, who disagrees — when it comes to sexism, racism and homophobia, you’re either against it or you’re an idiot. Pretty fucking cut and dry to me. I’m guessing that 99% of you will not be offended or alienated in the slightest by what I have to say. I think most of the people in the world are actually pretty smart and will get it.
But I am asking dudes to take a second look and to stand up for sexism the same way they would against other injustices. And I’m not just talking about when a comedian makes a dumb rape joke or that one guy on Twitter who is just a cartoon version of a misogynist. That’s low hanging fruit and you know it.
I’m also not interested in addressing the mouth-breathing dimwits who will now use this discussion as an excuse to respond, “FUCK YOU, THEY SHOULD GET BACK IN THE KITCHEN!” Those people are ridiculous and boring. They should concentrate on running their gross IRC chat rooms. This isn’t about you, adults are talking.
I’m talking about the real shit, which is sometimes very subtle. Just look at it again. Let’s call it out when we see it. Other comics, speak from the heart. That’s all I’ve done here. I don’t know if I sound like an idiot or what. I don’t care. I just had some feelings and put them down. It’s not that big of a deal.
It can never be a bad thing to say, “Let’s try to be better to each other.”