Started a new feature over at Dust Up Magazine today highlighting the best Richmond Bandcamp release of the week. It’s something I’m really excited about heading up — there is a ton of amazing music that goes up on that medium, most of which goes undiscovered for far too long (The Talkies, Hot Reader, Aerica Lauren, Yotipo, ad infinitum). The best part was I got to start the feature off with a bang, talking about the incredible new album by Sid Kingsley, Good Way Home. Here’s my description of the glorious title track that opens up the record: More
Another year, another wave of groans and jeers directed at the Grammys and the Recording Academy. There was a lot of good stuff on last night’s broadcast, but sadly it’s all going to get overlooked because of some awkward moments, some bad moments, and some results that I’m sure resulted in some remote controls becoming embedded in a flat screen. Those feelings are completely justified too, but I’ll talk more about them below. Here are some of my thoughts from this year’s ceremony, including that terrible shut-out.
– First up, just want to say I went a respectable (not) 33 for 84 on my Grammy predictions, while my wife’s predictions four hours beforehand ended up 24 for 84. Of the ones I actually talked about last Friday, I went 14 for 27 while my wife went 12 for 27. Interesting to note: if I had gone with my picks for “Who Should Win” instead of “Who’s Going To Win,” I would have still gone for 14 for 27 here, and that’s with getting the Big Four wrong in that regard.
– Also before we really dive into things… I can understand people why are tired of James Corden’s antics, but his hosting was infinitely better than LL Cool J’s robotic glad-handing of the last several years. He was a breath of fresh air and actually made it fun to watch at times last night. Grammy producers, please have him come back next year or get someone similar. We need personality in a host, not regurgitation.
– The Bey-snub. Man, it was just disheartening for everyone in that room it seems, no more so than Adele who handled the situation as best as she possibly could. More
For some reason, I look forward to the Grammys every year. I know they’re a joke. I know they represent the worst of the industry. I know it’s just an exploitive ploy for winter ratings. But I still look forward to them every year, and I continue to carve out time each February to sit through the ridiculously long broadcast even though it baffles me more than it entertains me. I’m a glutton for punishment I guess, but also a hopeless idealist who believes in what they could be.
Sadly, there’s no quick fix for the Grammys. The eligibility period, the “tributes,” the voting criteria, the sheer number of awards; it’s all troubling and can make your head hurt if you really think about how bad it’s gotten, though you have to wonder if it was ever that good when you look at past winners (cough-Christopher-cough-Cross-cough). Despite all of this though, it’s still a chance to look back on a year of music, celebrate some deserving artists, and make a lasting memory or two, and it’s always been this way even at its worst moments. More
2016 was an interesting year, wouldn’t you say? So interesting in fact that I still haven’t fully processed it — emotionally or mentally. You’ll notice my end of the year coverage is a little late this go ’round — a respectable three weeks — but I hope you’ll write this tardiness off as a slight casualty of a blood-thirsty calendar year. Plus, it’s not like I’ve been living in a cave all this time. Tomorrow morning, everyone should have close to a day’s worth of music to shift through on a new project I think you’re really going to like. Until then though, let’s briefly look back on 2016 and what was actually good about it: the music! More
Phew. Landlady took a lot out of me on Saturday. A lot. I felt musically winded walking out of Hardywood, my ears just completely overcome by the band’s aural onslaught and my eyes just tired from frantically darting across the stage to capture it all. That feeling was… well, just awesome.
Somewhere between having my senses blown out and getting lost in the moment, I found myself really thinking about “art rock” and how it gets thrown at the band. It just seemed so insufficient while I watched them live. Maybe it’s because art rock has become so stylized over the last decade, far removed from bands like Talking Heads and The Velvet Underground… but then Landlady’s pretty removed from those bands as well. Really, the band’s music seems more like a happy medium between Brian Wilson and Buddy Rich, with the sonic side leaning towards Wilson and the visual side bypassing Rich altogether. More
Here’s some of the most triumphant and distressing music I’ve heard all year.
For Everest’s debut record We Are At Home In The Body is an impassioned declaration of apprehensive feelings and canorous tones. It’s right at home in the current emo renaissance movement (emossance?), but also feels much more than the genre. Of course, you’re always going to come back to the emo scene when talking about this record. The record was amazingly produced by Chris Teti, who also did Harmlessness by The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, and speaking of that band, David Bello even pops up on this record as a guest vocalist for a song. This music is very much rooted in the current scene, but much like Harmlessness last year, the resolve of the transcendent sounds and tender words really make it stand on its own as a solitary statement.
Song by song, this is a record that builds on ideas and concepts, with meticulous pacing and deliberate structure that pushes you to dig deeper. More
Photo credit: the wonderful Andrew Cothern.
My head is still spinning this morning from seeing Doors Wide Open last night at In Your Ear studios for this month’s Shockoe Session. So much so that I don’t even know where to start with this jazz fusion band or their stunning performance.
I’ll be honest: jazz fusion, outside of a few heavyweights impossible to ignore, isn’t really my thing. I blame The Rippingtons and their absurd brand of cheesiness, but this was so far removed from that style that it’s shameful they share a similar description.
It was mesmerizing watching the band play their set with every member bringing something cool, fun, and exciting to the mix. Matt Zavitz’s saxophone playing was just exhilarating. When the rest of the band is shaking their heads in disbelief at somebody doing a blues interlude — you know it’s great. More