Thursday, August 30, 2007

I Love Ms. Leslie Feist

‘Tis true. The lady has won my heart. Last night’s performance was one of the better live shows I’ve seen in awhile.

Truth be told, I wasn’t wowed by Grizzly Bear or Broken Social Scene. In fact, Hunter and I sat at the pool’s edge while I scarfed down a hot dog during Grizzly’s performance. It was all pleasant… and I wish I could say more, but I got nothing. Sorry. Another thing, I’m not sure I like McCarren Pool for a concert venue all that much. It’ll do for a free show, but not when I’m paying money.



Kevin Drew and his crew (I couldn’t resist!) tested out new material from his upcoming album on us. I don’t know, I wasn’t really feeling it. And I don’t think all of the Broken Social fans in the audience were very keen on it either, they kept yelling “Windsurfing Nation!” and other classics for the band to play instead.

Feist burst onto the stage during her boyfriend’s final song, Major Label Debut. I remember liking this song in college. I guess this is my favorite Broken Social Scene song.

Broken Social Scene – Major Label Debut


What can be said about Feist’s set. She’s adorable for one thing, and does this jittery bionic-like movement when working a guitar solo. Her lovely voice also sounds exactly like her recordings, and it was refreshing to hear her tales of yesteryear, driving minivans across the border to play shows in cramped Brooklyn living rooms. I guess you could say she's done quite well for herself, cracking the Billboard top 20 with The Reminder and filling an abandoned swimming pool with five thousand people.







She also happened to play my favorite Feist song of the moment, among many of her other great tunes.

Feist - Let It Die

I think I fell in love with her lyrics even more. I wonder how much of her tales of heartbreak and struggle are auto-biographical or dreamed up inside her head. It would be great to know more about her songwriting process (is there an interview out there?)

Before leaving us one last time, Ms. Feist wished us all a happy autumn, something I could use and believe in.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My Very First Consumer Complaint

Last Saturday, I went out for drinks and hookah with a good college friend and her boyfriend in Alphabet City. Great times were had, but we parted ways at around 1 am when I boarded the train back to Brooklyn. Reasonable hour right? Thought I'd be home at around quarter till 2. Except, I didn’t get home until half past 3 because train service was a complete mess. Sure the trains have wreaked havoc plenty of times, but Sunday morning I wrote my very first consumer complaint.

Here is a snippet of what I wrote the good folks over at MTA:
Last night, A Train service to Brooklyn was absolutely ridiculous. As I understand it, A trains were supposed to be running express into Brooklyn, and local to Manhattan. Well, I took the train express to Norstrand to get on a Manhattan bound A train to Franklin, only to have that train go express too. I asked several MTA employees about the gaffe in the schedule and they were perplexed as well, telling me to wait for a bus. I'm not waiting at a bus stop at 3 in the morning, that is utterly unsafe. And unfortunately I only had credit cards on me and there were no ATMS around so I couldn't get cash and call a taxi, so I got back on a Queens bound A Train at Hoyt, got off at Norstrand, again, and walked about five minutes at an extremely inappropriate hour to get to my apartment.
MTA needs to get their act together, this is completely inexcusable.


Miss MT-to the-A took time out of her busy schedule and wrote back to me this morning:
We sincerely apologize for any inconveniences you have experienced due to recent delays in service. Despite our best efforts to maintain regularly scheduled service, delays, reroutes and service diversions can sometimes occur for a variety of reasons, including track rehabilitation work, mechanical malfunctions, equipment failure, and police or emergency service activity, among other causes. Nevertheless, we have referred your e-mail to supervision in the appropriate operating department for review. In addition, we have asked our Division of Operations Planning to review the operating schedule on the A line to ensure that the current level of service is reflective of customer demand.

As you know, bus and subway service information is available through our website at www.mta.info. When scheduled service is interrupted, a blinking "Transit Alert" link is posted to the homepage of our website. Our website is updated once a week on Fridays, for planned and scheduled changes. In addition, emergency updates take place on an "as needed" basis. For information regarding planned service advisories, we recommend you use the "Service Advisories" feature or visit the link below:

http://www.mta.info/nyct/service/advisory.htm

You may be interest to know that Trip Planner is a new web-based service from MTA New York City Transit that gives you directions about how to get from one place to another using New York’s subways and buses. Visit the Trip Planner pages here- www.tripplanner.mta.info . A variety of information and options are available to you depending on your travel needs and preferences. From train and bus schedules to step-by-step instructions that bring you from your starting point to your destination, Trip Planner also provides service alerts and advisories to give you the ability to plan ahead so you’ll know exactly what to do before you head out.

Otherwise, please note that bus and subway service along with travel itineraries within New York City may also be obtained by calling our Travel Information Center at (718) 330-1234, from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., 7 days a week, where customer service representatives are available. Please have a pen and paper ready, provide each starting point, destination and the approximate time you will be traveling.


Several problems arise with the above response:

If I am stuck underground for two and a half hours, what computer am I supposed to be checking to find out said service changes?

This hotline that is mentioned, the one that is open to calls from 6am to 10 pm, would it be of use to me at 3am in the morning?

You’re living foul MTA. Living. Foul.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Oh My God

I can’t believe it.

Mark Ronson - Oh My God feat. Lily Allen

I’ve become close to a young lady at the magazine, even though she works in a completely different department. Well, there aren’t too many people who look like we do in the office, I guess that’s how we found each other. She really helped me during a rough day at work, the day that I just wanted to walk through those double doors and never return. She was a great comfort.

Today it seems I have returned the favor. My friend stopped by my desk to tell me of some hardships she was facing in the office.

She was so composed in our discussion. I am so proud.

After we talked, I was beyond livid. I ran out of the building to walk off my anger. To cry, to scream for my friend, for all of us.

If any of you have ever faced discrimination at your work place, I’m not even sure if you can take solace in the fact that you are not alone. But you are not alone. You are also, as we all are, so much better than this. I told my friend that whatever the outcome, she’ll come out on top, and better for it. I know this.

Don’t let this eat you alive. This isn’t all there is, and it doesn't determine or undermine your self-worth. We were all meant for so much more.

Knock me down and I’ll get right back up again
I’ll come back stronger than a powered-up Pac Man


*edited post

What You Meant

Franz Ferdinand - What You Meant

I’m sorry but I thought this scenario was too choice not to share

My friend and I were walking out of the concert Sunday night and upon reaching the escalator I hear, “Oh now you seem like my kind of girl.”
Um...
“Are you going to the after party?” I say no.
“Can I get your number?” I’ve given up on attempting to explain that I’m not interested, so I say, let me take down yours.
“Well now we don’t want to waste each other’s time,” he reasons. Okay then, have a nice night, I reply before walking away.
He follows us up the escalator. “Do you have kids?” (A question I find to be uniquely New York, why is that?)
“Wow your skin looks soooo smooth!” (Ew.)
“How old are you?” (Why, to make sure he doesn’t go to jail?)
When asked about the hickey that is on his neck, he replies, “It’s not like I have a girlfriend!

And all of this, before asking my name, or even looking me in the eye, of course, to ensure that “conditions are perfect” for Business Time.

I think this is a new kind of sleaze that I am unfamiliar with.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Black August

Last night marked the tenth anniversary of the Black August Hip Hop Project. Organized by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the annual celebration commemorates positive hip hop and political activism in black and immigrant communities. The concept behind the event is really interesting and centers around key moments in resistance history, you can check it out here.

First act on the bill was an energetic trio of MCs from Chicago called Rebel Diaz. Their sharp lyrics are very thoughtful and provocative, plus they roll with a lady DJ, which I always think is really cool.

It was Dead Prez who really got things started, and M1 was a capable emcee for the night.


Of course they had to play this jam

Dead Prez – It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop Remix

Common made a surprise appearance as the “Very Special Guest,” it’s always a delight to see this dude do his thing. Mos Def completely took over the show afterwards. Even though Talib Kweli’s performance followed Mos’ set, you couldn’t pry Mos from the stage, he was killing it and the crowd loved it.



and Talib


This is one of my favorite Mos tracks. Last night was the second time I’ve seen him in concert, and the second time I’ve heard him end a show with this beautiful song. I guess it just works best that way.

Mos Def - Umi Says

This year’s project is dedicated to Assata Shakur, a freedom fighter who is living in exile in Cuba. You can read more about her and the “Hands Off Assata!” campaign here.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

After The Jump Fest

Yesterday, Hunter and I ventured out into industrial wasteland for the After the Jump Fest at Studio B. The show was held for a very noble cause, music education in public schools.
The first act we saw was Locksley. They're more rockabilly than British invasion to me, although it's obvious that the latter is what they aspire to be. The lead singer worked the crowd in between songs, he's a funny guy.


We were really curious to see Ra Ra Riot. And I have to say they're stage show is great. More so than their excellent musicianship, the band's apparent genuine affinity for one another is a joy to watch. Sure it's possible for a group of professionals to make music together as say, Interpol, but it definitely looks funner when you're all friends. They also appear to really enjoy the material they played, all of the other band members mouthed along to the words which I thought was really sweet.



Two songs that I particularly enjoyed unfortunately have not been recorded yet. A song that cries "We can have it all!" and another called "St. Peter's Day Festival" written by the group's late drummer, John Pike. Well, it gives me something to look forward to, can't wait for their full-length to surface.

Upon closer listen to the EP, I found some of the lyrics to be rather obtuse, but lush arrangements make up for the lack of dimension to some of their songs (seriously, I don't know how many times the word "night" appears in "Each Year.")

"Ghost Under Rocks" surprises, a lovely composition of epic proportions. The "soaking wet dreams" build up and swell to the whys and chorus, it's fantastic.

Ra Ra Riot - Ghost Under Rocks

A Manner To Act is also brilliant.

Ra Ra Riot - A Manner to Act

And isn't this girl's cello awesome?!

Both the cellist and violinist were at the merchandise booth after the show and they seem really chill, something I think I can say about the entire band, I wish them all well.

Friday, August 24, 2007

More White Rabbits

So I guess you could say I enjoy the White Rabbits. A lot.

Some pictures from Soundfix tonight





The Brooklyn bunnies are playing at my alma mater in upstate New York tomorrow. Hunter says, "we should go!" I say, if I'm dancing in the front row at a show again, one of those Rabbit drummers might be the teeniest bit weirded out.

I finally found video of the Rabbit's version of "Maggie's Farm." Very excellent.


And did you miss their Daytrotter session? Did I tell you to buy a copy of Fort Nightly? Just checking.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dance Dance Revolution

I’ve been meaning to do a write up on John Vanderslice for some time now. I made plans to go see him perform at Soundfix last weekend, but those plans came undone. Vanderslice’s music sounds like thought process set to slowly-cooked melodies, be it an anti-war, 9/11 statement

John Vanderslice – Exodus Damage

Or a sort-of love song

John Vanderslice – Trance Manual


He says this about his thoughts on the war to Gothamist:

There are references to 9/11 in some of your songs. Did you find that day changed the tone of the country's creative output?
I think the US had a collective psychotic episode following 9/11. It so weakened us a people, we allowed a small group of radical industrialists to sell us a preemptive two-front war based on falsified intelligence. Iraq is easy to see as a debacle, but Afghanistan was also a scam right from the get-go.

A scam? I’ve never really been one for conspiracy theories. I suppose “I’m not sick enough to guess.” Or maybe I'm unprepared for a horrible truth.

Check out Vanderslice’s new album Emerald City.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Two Things

I have a new work-time obsession, and that is reading a blog by a Glamour Magazine writer named Christine Coppa. The blog is called Storked! and chronicles Coppa's journey from unexpectedly becoming pregnant at 26 years old right on to the day her little boy is to be born (The countdown is currently around ten days!) So many things about Coppa's life story seem worlds apart from mine, but I can definitely relate to the whole-things not turning out according to 'plan'-bit of it. Even if you have the financial assistance of your parents and your entire family's love and support, being a single mother is tough, and I wish her all the best.

Today Christine talked about pregnant food cravings. Have I really been sucked into this complete stranger's world? The answer is yes.

Also

The Times' Paper Cuts blog has some interesting suggestions for books to read during long commutes. The need to read on my journey back and forth into the city comes in waves. Currently I'm much more inclined to listen to music and sleep.

What's the best music for long commutes? The Bends is the perfect CD to listen to on a train, plane, or automobile ride for me, how about you?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Just Like The Weather

Lately I've been allowing myself to go to that place, playing a losing game of what-ifs in my head. "But you've always been so positive!" a good friend wondered. Another wrote it off as a 'case of the Mondays.'

Except, it's Tuesday now.

I've just about given up on the idea of a plan or sense of direction to my life at the moment. Well then, just go with the flow. That's always been such an arbitrary phrase, as if we ever have a choice. I'll snap out of it as I usually do, but you know what to expect, and yet you never expect this.

Guster - Homecoming King

I heard this song on my daily lunch hour excursion today, I forgot how good it is, and very appropriate for the times. Keep it Together is a great record, I reviewed it in college. And these guys put on a tremendous live show.

Public Enemy #1?

For the last few months, I've read a number of articles about a woman named Elvira Arellano. The Mexican-born single mother tirelessly fought for immigrant rights in her adopted hometown of Chicago. She was also in the States illegally and sought refuge in a Chicago church for over a year to avoid deportation.

While on a speaking tour of churches across the country this weekend, Arellano was forced to leave the United States. She was escorted across the border into Tijuana. Her eight year old son, Saul, is a U.S. citizen and remains in Chicago.

Seeing as to how we refuse to discuss the economic strife and instability that immigrants, legal or not, desperately seek to escape by setting up residence in the U.S., I will say that I can't understand how separating a single mother from her child will strengthen our economy or our national security. Something tells me we have bigger fish to fry, no?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Have You Seen These Kids?



Saturday night I fell asleep listening to iTunes, starting with Interpol (which made me very excited about seeing them at the Garden next month,) on through to my Isley Brothers collection. Right before nodding off, I heard "Writing on the Wall" by a North-Carolina group called Cities.

Cities - Writing on the Wall (Isan Mix)

This is a remix by English producing duo Isan, and was on my constant mp3 rotation last fall. It's a wonder why I didn't look into Cities some more back then, but I searched for some audio online yesterday and I think I could really like this band.

There's something a little sad about their songs, "Writing on the Wall" in particular stings of disappointment, yelping at scumbags to stay in line. Don't you hate when you have to do that? Sigh.

So whatever happened to these guys? I remember wanting to see them at CMJ last year, and they released a record of remixes that sounded exciting. But I haven't heard anything about them since.

If you or someone you know has any knowledge of the band going by the name Cities and their whereabouts, please call 1-800-555-BANDS-THAT-NEED-TO-UPDATE-THEIR-MYSPACE
-PAGE. Thanks.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Let It Die

Hunter Wry and I checked out a former school mate's band downtown tonight. I actually don't remember the kid, but Hunter worked with him at the library. Take a listen here, his name is Danny Ross! exclamation point intended, and he's pretty good. His live show (more so than his recordings) reminds me of Ryan Adams, who he said was an influence on his work during the performance.

And it's a little strange, to see someone living out their dreams, as I'm letting mine die.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Hairy Situation

I've gotten questions about my hair all of my life. From the other little girls in my ballet class, from my high school theater group, from my college freshman year roommate.

Inquiries have significantly increased since I've gone 'natural.' Understandable curiosity has been replaced with outright inappropriateness. A fellow at work has been asking me 'hair questions' for a few months now, but went a bit too far on Friday afternoon.

For the most part, I don't mind answering questions and addressing people's ignorance

but

I never asked the little girls in my ballet class why they washed their hair everyday. I never asked my high school theater group why they went to the salon to 'frost their tips.' I never asked my college freshman year roommate why she flat-ironed her hair every morning. And I never asked my coworker if I could touch. his. hair.

Something to think about.

Props to India.Arie for breaking it down.

India.Arie - I Am Not My Hair

Friday, August 17, 2007

Gracias A La Vida

Last night, I think I said goodbye to my childhood best friend for good.



I also saw an excellent documentary called Favela Rising, about a musical group that emerged after a grisly tragedy in one of Brazil’s infamous favelas. AfroReggae was formed after police massacred 21 innocent favela residents in 1993. Since then, violence has subsided significantly in the Vigario Geral neighborhood, as music has become a viable alternative in the community. “God writes wise words in crude penmanship,” one group member said, about how the determined group has been able to mobilize for peace and change against corrupt police forces and tyrannical drug armies. The power of the arts to influence public discourse and social change is real, and no one can take that away.

Perspective can be so tricky at times. Happiness has always been a transient concept. Friendships, lovers, jobs, all come and go. Sometimes it is near impossible to find centeredness and peace.

But I’m so very thankful, that living amidst violence is not my piercing reality, that I am independent and I have a sound mind, that my family and I are all in moderately good health. My editor friend Deb says, “Aren’t we blessed, that we don’t make a living off of our bodies?” Yes we are. After a hellish year, I’m still here. And I can honestly say that’s enough.

Violeta Parra - Gracias A La Vida

This is one of my favorite songs of all time. Violeta Parra was a Chilean political activist and singer songwriter who spoke out about the U.S. backed-coup against Salvador Allende in the early 1970’s (sorry, I was a history major.) You can read the lyrics, and more about her amazing story here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Sam Cooke Double Feature



I've been listening to a lot of Sam Cooke lately, mostly because I recently saw two very good movies that feature Cooke songs in them. His is a voice I've known for quite some time, but I didn't realize the breadth nor magnitude of Cooke's work until listening to "A Change is Gonna Come" for the first time in the film "Talk to Me."

Sam Cooke – A Change is Gonna Come


It's a song that will make you notice a new thing upon each listen. Cooke's pristine tenor appears clearer around the third play, the way he sings 'ever-y since' astounds on the fifth. It always means something. Cooke's story is almost as fascinating as his music, the tragedy of a young fallen star. It's the stuff legends are made of really.

This is another Cooke classic
Sam Cooke - Bring It On Home To Me

And here's some footage of Cooke singing "For Sentimental Reasons" on through "You Send Me" followed by audio of a poor excuse for an interview (Youtube is one helluva drug.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Look At Me

Blonde Redhead - Publisher

They sit on the train, his arm draped over her shoulders, her hand gently resting on her expanding belly.

A young child is sitting a few seats away. She waves at the little boy, he waves back. The pregnancy has made her desperately want to be liked by children. She makes silly faces, the boy smiles.

The kid spills a cup of juice when the train turns. "WHY?" The boy's mother screams. "Pick it up!" she barks.

The couple shake their heads in disapproval, as good citizens usually do before looking the other way. The child drops the cup again. The mother grows irate.

The man pulls his wife closer to him.

Geez, he huffs.

Yeah, she whispers.

Suddenly a childhood memory hits them, the kind they'd like to forget. The time his stepfather called him stupid, that one afternoon her mother forgot to pick her up from dance practice. And they mourn a little.
She still isn't sure she even wants kids.

He takes her hand, squeezing it until her wedding band uncomfortably digs into his skin. There they sit, afraid of what they will become.

6 Weeks Notice



Well, I try my best
To be just like I am,
But everybody wants you
To be just like them.
They sing while you work and I just get bored.
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Zap Mama


I stepped out of the house Sunday afternoon, looking to take up in a bookstore or cafĂ©, an activity that’s usually only fit for me myself and I. But a friend from school texted me about joining her for some music in Central Park, and in an eternal effort to break out of my loner tendencies, I obliged. It’s funny how that happens. Sometimes I feel all alone in this big city, and then there are times when it’s nearly impossible to find the time to be on my own. I’ve come to appreciate both instances.

On this week's Summerstage bill was Belgian Afro-fusion group Zap Mama. What can I say about this group of misfits… they’re strange, but happily content with their outcast lot. They’re also very talented, and lead singer Marie Daulne’s vocals sound so familiar, like I’ve heard them on a Thievery Corporation track (a possibility I haven’t had the chance to look into yet.)

This song was a stand-out from the band’s performance, and is a track from the group’s brand spanking new album, Supermoon.

Zap Mama - Affection


According to this press release, “Affection” was written after a good friend of Daulne passed away. That makes it all the more special for me. I’m glad that she decided to share her story with all of us.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

2 Days in Paris


I saw 2 Days in Paris last night and loved it. Yes, I was that person in Lincoln Cinema theatre five, row 7, seat 13, laughing hysterically. My apologies. I couldn't help it. Writer/Director/Actress Julie Delpy has a mind for crafting witty conversation, however fleeting or verbose. I loved watching the energy bounce back and forth between the film's smart verbally sparring couple, Delpy's Marion and Adam Goldberg's perfectly neurotic Jack.

2 Days was almost entirely Delpy's doing, and it seems like a partially auto-biographical labor of love which I think is great. It certainly had personal touches here and there; Marion is a Parisian expat with extreme sight impairment much like the real Julie Delpy. Delpy's real life parents are hilarious as her hippie mum and dad in the film, while Delpy and Goldberg supposedly used to date, which would explain the comfortable familiarity that exists between them (I know, I'm an IMDB nerd.)

The music featured in the film is also a treat. I've been trying to find information on a soundtrack but no luck, which is really too bad.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Fort Nightly

Last night I checked out The Cribs at the Bowery Ballroom. Hunter Wry and I were front and center to see the Jarman brothers for a bit, but we just couldn’t take it.



The night's lessons boys and girls:
1. Cribs’ fans are absolutely crazy.
2. Bowery Ballroom security is practically non-existent. Until someone gets elbowed in the eye and there’s a bloody mess. I’m just sayin’.
3. Guitarist Ryan Jarman’s fly was open for the entire night.
4. Guitarist Ryan Jarman was also piss-drunk, which might explain the open fly, but doesn’t explain his great guitar work in spite of it. Not my favorite, but these guys do put on a proper live show.
5. White Rabbits are awesome.

I finally discovered what all the fuss around the White Rabbits is about. I haven’t been this excited about a band in awhile. They’ve got a fantastic rhythm section; two drum sets, a rocking keyboardist who has a penchant for banging on a drum himself (and! reminds me of the dude from Jack's Mannequin and Something Corporate! Agree?), I was in heaven. I think these fellows are going to blow up. Real soon.



The band opened with this roaring number

White Rabbits - Kid On My Shoulder

This is the song the boys played on Letterman recently and another early favorite of mine

White Rabbits - The Plot

The rabbits ended their set with a riotous version of “Maggie’s Farm.” It was pretty swell. Next up the guys are doing an in-store at Soundfix in Brooklyn, and after that they’re set to open for the Kaiser Chiefs in September. That’s the word.

Oh, and do buy White Rabbits' album, Fort Nightly. It is a solid gold hit.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

You Are Such A P.Y.T.

Justice - D.A.N.C.E.

I think this has been the best DJ track to come out in a long time. I read yesterday that the song's music video was nominated for "Video of the Year" by the folks at the MTV Video Music Awards (I know, I don't really care either,) but then I was like, hold up...

there's a video?

Yes, and there's enough fabulousness to go around.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

I had to see it for myself. Although I’m not sure I can say I’m glad that I did. Sure I’ve read all of the scandalous stories so my expectations weren’t incredibly high. But last night, Lauryn Hill did the unthinkable; she dissed Brooklyn.

The evening show, held in Wingate Park, started with a late opening set by a feeble Sean Kingston. Seriously, how did this kid get a record contract? Please don’t let the young ones sing unless they have talent, they will indeed get their feelings hurt. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but Stevie Wonder was a phenom. I know it’s a tough act to follow, but it is possible.

I digress.

Almost two hours passed before Lauryn’s back up band made it onto the stage to jam. That’s right, her back-up band; they played for a good fifteen minutes before Lauryn decided to grace us with her presence. I’m sorry but you are no James Brown, what do you need a theme song for? When Lauryn finally appeared, it was to sing an unrecognizable song that was practically inaudible. Nobody had a clue as to what she was saying. She was also sweating profusely a la Whitney Houston, but I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt in regards to any illegal substance use. She was wearing what appeared to be layers of extraneous fabric in the middle of August.

She paused to speak to us. “I wanna see if any of you remember meeee!” Well, let’s see, you have filled a stadium to capacity, with people hanging onto the bordering fence to get a glimpse of you – ah yes, I think we remember you. Who do you think we’re here for, Sean Kingston?!

People in the audience began to talk.

“Crack hits hard.”

“She’s completely lost her voice.”

“She’s gone crazy.”

Chunks of the crowd started to leave. After staying for three songs or so, I felt sad for her. My friends and I left as she struggled to sing “When It Hurts So Bad.” It was beyond painful. Before I turned my back on Lauryn, I heard her croak, “I tried, and I tried, and I tried/ to keep him in my life.” We were near the gate, when I began to hear a pathetic rendition of “Sinnerman.” Nina Simone she is not.

Truth be told, I don’t think it is drugs. I think it’s a false sense of grandeur and unwarranted diva antics, the idea that she can live off of one CD and still be a legend like Bob Marley. Sometimes this works. But when you disrespect your fans like this, I have nothing to say.

I still have a picture of Lauryn up in my bedroom at my parents’ house. I still enjoy listening to Miseducation and The Score. I also believe that Ms. Hill has indeed lost her voice, in which case perhaps this is all any of us can do, remember the Lauryn from back when, a woman who lived for her children and was crazy in love.

This is one of my favorites.
Lauryn Hill – To Zion

Here's a recent interview

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Ain't No Party Like A Pool Party


Ventured out to Billysburg this afternoon to see Blonde Redhead at McCarren Pool. On my way to meet Hunter Wry, I randomly ran into the TA from this drawing class I took during college. We exchanged mild pleasantries, going over the usual surface topics. Turns out we both graduated last year. She's from Florida, Tampa area, she said. I told her I'm from Texas. We agreed that it's nice to be able to get away. We both live in Brooklyn, she's a painter although she watches a six-month old baby to make extra bucks. I told her I wish I majored in art in school, and I'm now slumming it at a magazine. "Life can be hectic here," she said. I agreed.

We finally made it to the show, which was great, despite our late arrival. Kazu actually spoke to the audience this time, admitting to tossing back a few prior to the show, and expressing her relief to be back in the States after touring in Japan. To be among us, who she called, "freaks like me."

They played a lot of tracks from 23, including this song during the encore.

Blonde Redhead - Silently

The Edge of Brooklyn

Yesterday afternoon I made it out to the edge of Brooklyn for Zune Live at the BBQ, a cross country hip hop music event hosted by Microsoft that started in LA and ended in my very own backyard.

If you didn't hear about it, all good, it wasn't advertised, I myself heard about it from a friend, and the band shell looked like a ghost town for most of the night. An aside but, how is such a low turnout going to do anything for Microsoft's marketing? I would think that being more visible would have worked in their favor. And truth be told, my girlfriends and I had a blast, but I still don't want a Zune mp3 player. Not that I minded. It made for a personal touch, like the brilliant sunset behind the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge was just for us.

The first act I recognized was the Clipse. Although I'm not a hip hop head, I have to say I do enjoy some Pusha-T and Malice, their wordplay is a special something.

This was one of the numbers that got the crowd hyped.
Clipse - Mr. Me Too

Next was the Lox and... wait is that JadaKiss?! We totally bum-rushed the stage after that realization. He closed out the set with his ubiquitous "Why?" hit, that song where he opines, "Why the whole world love my voice?" Why?

I made it through the Brand Nubians' set, and though I would have stayed for the super extra guest of the night, a Mr. LL Cool J, (oh yes), the booze got to me a little. Word to the wise, when you are spending hours on end in the sun and are feeling mildly dehydrated, do not opt for beer instead of water, it will be the end of you.

Feeling much better now.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Common Sense


My roommate let me borrow her new Common album. Been listening to it for the last hour and, some initial reactions; the track with Lily Allen vocals is a bit underwhelming, and Kanye's exec producing works when he is quiet (a track called "Southside" screams Mr. West! and not in a good way.) "Black Maybe" is raw and powerful, Bilal guests, and Common as always brings the real. D'Angelo says hello on a track called "So Far to Go" (it sure has been a minute), sounding great as ever despite his recent troubles.

I think my early favorite is "I Want You." But how could I possibly enjoy a song that references Jen and Vince Vaughn? WillIAm's night-prowl beat that's how, his midnight pleads bode well in between Common's tight verses.

Common feat. WillIAm - I Want You


Who does he want? The entire album seems to be an ode to a relationship getting off to a rocky start desperately on the outs. I imagine the premise of the lyrics, hanging up on a phone conversation that didn't go so well, stubborn pride inevitably delaying the call back to apologize.

Finding Forever is out now.

Friday, August 3, 2007

M.I.A. Sticks It To The Man

Well, a major indie-music website to start

M.I.A. did a phone interview with Pitchfork, and it appears venom was on the menu along with those pancakes...
The rapper spoke out about creative ownership of her image and music, as well as those pesky rumors about her Sri Lankan warlord father.

I'm glad that M.I.A. took this chance to say enough is enough.

The entire interview is chock full of excellent comebacks (I highly encourage a read through), but here are a few I enjoyed:

"I just find it a bit upsetting and kind of insulting that I can't have any ideas on my own because I'm a female or that people from undeveloped countries can't have ideas of their own unless it's backed up by someone who's blond-haired and blue-eyed. After the first time it's cool, the second time it's cool, but after like the third, fourth, fifth time, maybe it's an issue that we need to talk about, maybe that's something important, you know."

"That's what I'm saying. There is an issue especially with what male journalists write about me and say "this MUST have come from a guy." I can understand that, I can follow that, that's fine. But when female journalists as well put your work and things down to it being all coming from a man, that really fucks me up. It's bullshit. I mean, for me especially, I felt like this is the only thing I have, and if I can stick my neck out and go for the issues and go through my life as it is, the least I can have is my creativity. … I'm not going to give that credit, whatever my life is and whatever my lifestyle and whatever people in Sri Lanka feel is right, like somebody masterminded it. You know what I mean? I think that's bullshit."

"I have no ties to my dad, I had no communications with him, it didn't shape who I am or anything like that, I'm actually a product of my mom. And I think that I find really surprising [the fact that] I paid the price for not having a father and it granted me strength, but I'm having to pay again. Even though I've kind of made it, I still have to go through my dad and get good at certain situations with people that are ignoring the fact that I didn't have him in my life. You don't really get to choose where you're born and who you're born to."


Right on sister.

You can take a listen to M.I.A.'s new jam in a GvB link.

The new album, Kala, is out this month.

and I love this video

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Why'd You Have To Be So Cute?

Imogen Heap - Goodnight and Go

For a whole two weeks, while working at Pinky's Funhouse Amusement Park during summer vacation, Anna Ortiz was in love with Justin Bessinger.

His shaggy hair always hung low over his eyes revealing only an obtrusive nose and a line of acne that rimmed his jaw. His classic rock t-shirts were holey and wrinkled, his jeans consistently tattered at the same spot on the knee. His black Chuck Taylors were so worn that his right pinky toe revealed itself through a sliver where fabric and sole didn't quite meet. His fingernails had permanent Doritos stains. He never came to work on time, and never got around to doing any work once he got there. Instead he'd close his eyes and tilt his head back as he sat, arms crossed over his chest, mouthing the words to some nameless Zeppelin song.

The managers warned him about his behavior.

Anna idolized his rebelliousness. She wondered what he wondered as he blew air bubbles through his spit and strummed an air guitar during lunch break.

Sadly the forces of the universe decided to split the two could-be lovers before true romance blossomed. Justin was fired, and forced to leave Pinky's per management's bequest at the end of the day.

Anna steered clear of Justin during his last day, until her glorious moment with him alone, where she'd hoped to tell him of her growing affections.

She slyly sidled up to Justin as he collected his things at 5 p.m.

He spotted her coming. "What up."

"Not much."

"I'm outta here."

"Oh yeah?" Anna feigned ignorance.

"Yeah, this place blows, I'm over it..." his voice trailed off, as if in the midst of some deep important thought. He looked down at his sneakers, then flicked his neck back in a vision of unkept curls to flash a crooked wily smile at Anna.

"Will you miss me?"

"Shut the fuck up," she quipped.

Justin flinched from the sting of her careless words, and for a minute almost proved sincere.

Did he really want to know? Because she wanted to tell him the truth. She would miss him. She was almost sure she could love him.

"Ha, I'm just bullshitting you," he recovered. "Later l-o-s-e-r."

He spit into the sky and winked at Anna as he walked off into the sunset.

In another six months this wouldn't matter, the insignificance of this tiny crack in her heart, this loss of her very first crush.

Belaire

I decided that I needed some new tunes to whistle to while I work, and Hype Machine always hooks it up. Found a prize in Belaire, a band out of Austin with members from Voxtrot and twin sisters who belt out harmonies like a gem. I've been listening to them all morning, some really choice stuff.

Check out Music for Cybernetics' write up about the cool and zany band,
as well as Belaire's Myspace and rather outdated website.