2013 has been a year of marvelous releases. A few personal favorites have been Kanye’s Yeezus, James Blake’s Overgrown, Streetlight Manifesto’s The Hands That Thieve, and Daft Punk’s triumphant return with Random Access Memories, but these don’t even begin to comprise a complete highlight list. Coming up with my list of Top Albums for the year is going to be an intensive process and I’m looking forward to it; in between debating the merits of different albums, I get to listen to all of them again. It’s going to be something truly magical. A much easier list to make, though, is my favorite albums of the semester. While a lot of the heavy hitters for the year were released outside of that time period, there’s a great amount of quality for just these ~3 months. In my opinion, these were the cream of the crop (presented in alphabetical order by artist). [Read more...]
I admit, we all know Marvin Gaye as one of the all time greats. But do most of us know Marvin Gaye beyond “Let’s Get it On”? I have 8 less appreciated tracks from the legendary soul singer’s more popular albums that you can appreciate whether you’re hip to crooner’s catalogue or just taking your first listen. [Read more...]
There’s a golden rule that it’s generally impermissible to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s to contain everyone’s excitement; maybe — as my girlfriend likes to remind me — it’s to preserve the sanctity of Thanksgiving, the best holiday. My mom, in the past a proponent of this rule, announced with guilt that she’s been sneaking Christmas music: “I’m usually able to hold off until Thanksgiving but I was weak this year.”
In the past, I would’ve groaned; I was, like her, a staunch proponent of the Thanksgiving Rule. But this year even I find myself slipping into a Christmas mood earlier than usual. So I broke. I listened to Barry Manilow’s Christmas album, then all of my Christmas favorites. And I feel phenomenal. Christmas is the itch, and its music is the salve.
It’s been one of those weekends that wasn’t any sort of break from the action of the week, but definitely in a good way. Things got started with a bang when I scored free tickets to see Fitz and the Tantrums, Capital Cities, and Beat Club at Marathon Music Works on Thursday night. All three bands started in Los Angeles, but each has a distinct sound within the broader category of indie pop-rock. Beat Club has a very retro feel and their sound is very influenced by The Strokes, which makes sense because they are connected with Julian Casablancas. Capital Cities is straightforward synth-pop and put on a very energetic show, closing with a fifteen minute rendition of “Safe and Sound” that turned into an electro-dance party. Other than the last song, however, I didn’t find their music terribly engaging; all the songs sounded very similar but lacked the catchy hook of “Safe and Sound.” This is only natural, though, since they have released just one LP. The fact that they already have a Top 10 single at this point in their existence is very promising. Unfortunately for Capital Cities, their performance was totally upstaged by that of Fitz and the Tantrums, whose neo-soul had a perfect dancing groove but didn’t feel superficial. ”Moneygrabber” was a highlight, leading off the encore and featuring a confetti explosion in the middle of the song. Overall, the night of music was supremely satisfying, and there should be a lot of buzz about these three bands. Here’s some of the better songs that were played.
The real highlight of the weekend, however, was going home for a weekend of summer camp-related festivites: a bar mitzvah, an official camp reunion, and lots of running around to see as many friends as possible before heading back to school this morning.