Michael Lee-The Only Worlds We Know

The hardest part about poetry is that so many great poems come from loss.  Michael Lee’s poetry is often haunted by a great sense of loss, and his ruminations on memory, death, and recovery are often difficult to process, as they are so loaded with weight.  In his first full-length collection The Only Worlds We Know,  Lee memorializes those he’s lost in one of the most emotional collections in recent memory. Continue reading

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The Rolling Stones-Metlife Stadium-8/5/19

In Marc Maron’s 2017 special, Too Real, he recounts seeing a Rolling Stones reunion show and all his fears that it would be bad.  One of the jokes many twists is that almost immediately after the show started, Maron starts weeping in awe of seeing The Stones live.  While I was not as nervous as the WTF host on Monday night, I was certainly on the more reserved end of excitement in Metlife Stadium for The Stones’ No Filter tour, and, like Maron, I was absolutely floored by how great the band are fifty years into their career.

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Slaughter Beach, Dog-Safe and Also No Fear

On his third record under the Slaughter Beach, Dog moniker, Jake Ewald has found a way to be an emotional and interesting storyteller.  Safe and Also No Fear is the former Modern Baseball singer’s most consistent effort with the project yet.  While the musician still paints very specific sketches of people and places, he isn’t as concerned about stories, as he was on Welcome, or finding a new voice for himself, as he was on Birdie.  Safe has the confidence of a band that have finally found their voice and wanted to make a great record that expands on what they’ve built. Continue reading

Views from Sad Summer Fest-Philadelphia 2019

sad-summer-wonder-years

            After the anti-climatic “end” of the Warped Tour last year, there was a gap left open for a touring festival that caters to a faction of teenagers that feel disenfranchised and adults that suffer from Peter Pan-syndrome.  Enter the inaugural year of the Alt Press-sponsored Sad Summer fest, a new touring festival marketed toward Millenials that went to Warped and Gen Z-ers who probably never got the chance.  On the Philadelphia date of the tour, Sad Summer brought a huge amount of nostalgia with a looming sense of irony that only a bunch of once-depressed teens could indulge. Continue reading

Aziz Ansari-Right Now

            With the release of Right Now, the largest comeback attempt yet of the #MeToo moment has been enacted.  Yes, Louis CK has popped up at comedy festivals, and Kevin Spacey releases weird videos into the internet’s void, but Aziz Ansari’s new special is a Netflix-cosigned release where Ansari is trying to rediscover himself in a post-Babe.net world.  The previously larger-than-life comic’s return to the stage with a candid, casual, and most importantly thoughtful special that is second most importantly, his best.

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Kim Petras-Clarity

Kim Petras’ debut single “I Don’t Want It At All” was an electric, fun burst of sugary pop with 80’s inspired instrumentation and a compelling personality at the forefront.  Her further singles continued the magic that “I Don’t Want It At All” started.  On her debut album, Clarity, Petras lacks the charisma and instrumentals that her singles provided. Continue reading

Titus Andronicus-6/21/19 at Rough Trade, Brooklyn, NY

Jack White was in the building earlier that day.  On a day when The Raconteurs put out their first album in over ten years, the band played a small in-store that afternoon at Rough Trade in Brooklyn-the first of three intimate NY shows for the band.  The Raconteurs would go onto play Rough Trade Saturday night and Coney Island Baby Sunday afternoon.  Jack White exists within a realm that few working rock musicians do; Dave Grohl is probably his only true contemporary.  This is all to say that these 200-250 cap rooms are a rarity for someone of Jack White’s stature to perform in.  He’s a rockstar in the truest definition of the word, which is very different from how someone would perceived Titus Andronicus who headlined Rough Trade on Friday Night for the release show for their new record An Obelisk.

 

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Telethon-Hard Pop

It’s been a longtime since there’s been a pure, feelgood rock record that’s really offered to dominate the summer.  That’s not to say that there haven’t been great rock records released in the summer, but none are quite as catchy or uplifting as Telethon’s Hard Pop.  The Midwestern band is equal parts Green Day, Jeff Rosenstock, and Van Halen-ambitious, experimental, and shredding.

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Jonas Brothers-Happiness Begins

In 2009, if you had told me that I’d willing listen to a Jonas Brothers record in 2019, I’d probably say something that I’d be ashamed of in 2019.  While it’s difficult for me to discuss what qualified as insanely popular and well-discussed pop music at that point in time, I can tell you that the Jonas Brothers were hits in the eighth and ninth grade circa 2007-2009.  Their 2019 return as a mature pop act is an easy sell to nostalgic twenty-somethings and a chance for reassessment from pretentious Marilyn Manson fans.  With Happiness Begins, the trio’s reinvention cements their credibility beyond teenie-boppers, but does little to set them apart from their new contemporaries. Continue reading

The National-I Am Easy to Find

Sometimes, I tend to forget that the guys in The National are both thoughtful and innovative musicians.  Despite being a group that shifted the sound of indie rock, it’s easy to think they’ve mostly done the same thing on every album.  I Am Easy to Find is the first album since Alligator that feels like a significant shift for The National, and it’s a really grand thing. Continue reading