Views from the Women’s March: New York, 1/21/17


Still to this day you hear people saying, “I thought it was a joke that he was running.” But to me, it was never a joke. When you hear hateful rhetoric, it cannot be taken as a joke.

I remember the days leading up to the election feeling a mixture of dread and giddiness. On the one hand, we could be pushing women’s rights in this country further than ever by electing not only the first female president but one with a progressive campaign promise. On the other hand, we ended up with a man with no experience, spewing hate and making enemies with whomever he could.


When the news hit, when they sent everyone home from the Javits Center in the middle of the night, when he made is acceptance speech, I cried well into the night. I had friends who took the next day off. The unthinkable had happened, and not in the way we all wanted. And, while ‘we’ sounds like an oppressive term, remember, that he did not win the popular vote. Hell, forty percent of eligible voters did not show up.

Then came announcements of a Women’s March on Washington and it started growing, soon there were sister marches from Denver to New York being planned, and I knew that no matter where I was I would show up.


What I did not realize was that ‘we’ would show up. This was everyone’s march.  This was our time to come together, as Americans, and show what ‘we’ believe in. As a woman, I expected it to be mostly women and a few bad ass guys. Yet, the New York sister march was almost 50/50. I went to the march with three of my guy friends, which in it of itself was powerful. There was so much energy in the streets. According to the Mayor’s office, over 400,000 people marched from 42nd and 2nd Ave to 55th and 5th Ave. For us, it took over five hours.

This march was for so much more than women’s rights. The official organizers announced a radically progressive agenda they were marching for, and the people came through with signs about everything from sexual assault justice to ending the Electoral College to climate change to simply promoting love and kindness. This march stood up for ‘we’ the people and our major and legitimate concerns about the next four years.

Some of the chants that resonated through the canyons of buildings were, “My Body, My Choice!” Followed by, “Her Body! Her choice!” Some other popular ones were, “We are the popular vote!” Our voices all blended together and filled up all the air. Every way you turned there was someone holding up a sign and “fighting for their rights”.

At the end of the march, I was filled with hope and energy and a renewed faith that this is who my country is. And at the same time there was desperation, that not only were we marching for women’s rights, but LBGTQ rights, for a right to fair education, the legitimacy of climate change and our acceptance of all immigrants to our nation of immigrants.

As I rode the train home that night, the numbers began to spill in. Almost 800,000 in Los Angeles, 200,000 in Denver and a march too large it turned into a rally in Washington DC, not to mention the cities globally that joined in. ‘We’ the people had come through and shown we will not back down.


Nina Mascheroni


Roger Federer Wins Australian Open Grand Slam



After a 6 month break from tennis, Roger Federer of Switzerland returned to tennis and the Grand Slam stage in Australia. The former number 1 dropped in rankings the past few months and was ranked number 17 in the world going into the Australian Open. At age 35, he proved that age is only number when he made it all the way to the final to face his long time rival Rafael Nadal of Spain. The epic 5 set match last 3 hours and 35 minutes. This win marks his 18th Grand Slam win, making him have the most Grand Slam win of any male player in tennis history. Pete Sampras (USA) and Rafael Nadal (Spain) trail him with each having 14. Federer winning this match proves that he is the GOAT of men’s tennis.



via Australian Open

Jax Descloux

‘Our First 100 Days’ Recap: 1/20-1/27


Well, it’s been a week.  During his first week in office, President Trump has reinstated the Global Gag Rule, argued about the size of the crowd at his inauguration, confirmed that he plans to build the wall, and silenced various government agencies from making official statements.  While there’s already been a number of cons, there have been some good things to come out of it: the Women’s March, the punch heard ’round the world, and our first week of songs from Our First 100 Days.

Our First 100 Days is a compilation in a similar vein as the 30 Days, 30 Songs campaign.  Every day for Trump’s first 100 days in office, a new song will be added the the campaign’s bandcamp page.  The whole comp can be pre-ordered for $30 with all funds going towards organizations that Trump’s policies will affect.  It already boasts some artists that have released some of the best albums of last year, and it promises more big named artists.
As is often the case with large scale comps, Our First 100 Days is something of a mixed bag ranging in quality.  During the first week, just about everything is tolerable, at the very least.  The only real clunky song is Avey Tare’s demo of “Visit the Dojo,” which is mind-numbingly annoying.  The only other real complaints that could be made are about Women’s “Group Transport Hall,” which is too atmospheric for my taste, and Jason Molina’s “Royko.”  Molina’s song isn’t my cup of tea, but it also seems somewhat difficult to put a man who’s been dead for four years on a political compilation.  That being said, I never knew Molina’s politics, so who am I to judge?  Meat Wave’s “Dogs at Night” is another that is fine as a song, but there’s not much special about it.
Angel Olsen’s introductory song is a great little song.  Production wise, it bears a strong resemblance to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”  The song is surprisingly apolitical for the first song on an actively political compilation.  That being said, Olsen’s delivery and instrumentation at the beginning of the song sounds militant.  It is a sweet little number that would have easily fit on My Woman though.
PWR BTTM’s “Vacation” is easily the best.  The song begins like a sad, lazy song, but it ends with passionate shrieking.  Although this seems to be simply another unrequited love song, the sentiment of “it’s going to be a long day,” certainly echoes the feelings of the past week.
Suuns and Tilman Robinson & Luke Howard’s songs are the most interesting sonically.  Robinson & Howard’s “Requiem for 2016” is a dreary classical composition that certainly reflects some of the feelings of disassociation and numbness.  Suuns’ “Native Tongues” captures a similar emotion, but the distorted screeches in the background along with the processed vocals certainly seem more accurate to what we’re living in now.

Coffee Date: Harney & Son’s Japanese Sencha

Coffee Date is a new column that features discussions of beverages stemming from leaves and beans.  Whether you brew your own or need a hip barista pouring it in front of you, we’ve got you covered for brands to try at home, coffee shops with some personality, and what you should try or avoid from your regular coffee chains.

I’m not a tea drinker.  That’s not to say that I don’t drink tea.  I can enjoy a chamomile or some green tea, but neither is my go to.  I simply like Barry’s Gold Blend tea.  That’s my go to, if I’m writing music, reading, or just want an alternative to coffee.  Every now and then, I’ll try something else, if someone’s offering tea, but for the most part, I’m faithful to Barry’s.  That being said, if I’m going to drink any other tea, it’s typically a green tea or chamomile, which is why I tried Harney & Son’s Japanese Sencha green tea.

Harney & Son’s have a number of teas that would probably be fitting as I read Brief Interviews With Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace.  Tea and post-modern literature seem to go hand in hand.  The Japanese Sencha seems especially fitting since it mostly just gave me a headache.  Both scent and taste wise, there were hints of grassy flavors.  It was quite nice to smell and taste, but it also had something of a thick taste to it, which I think caused my headache.  This was fitting for reading stories about despicable people, but inappropriate in the sense that Wallace is fucking dense.

The Japanese Sencha tea wouldn’t really be something I’d itch to try again, but I wouldn’t completely knock it.  That being said, I wouldn’t drink it while reading post-postmodernist literature again.


James Crowley is on Twitter.

Japandroids-Near to the Wild Heart of Life


In Dylan Thomas’s 1952 poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,” he writes:

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 While Thomas would die the following year, his poem has endured from the way it captures the endurance of an eternal youth.  It’s been referenced by emo bands, Oscar nominees, and Rodney Dangerfield.  Japandroids’ Near to the Wild Heart of Life is the perfect adaptation of Thomas’s “Rage Against the Dying of the Light” poem.

The press surrounding the third Japandroids album has been calling this the Canadian duo’s most mature album yet, and it is.  Therefore, it must be more fitting that Celebration Rock was their “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,” and this must be something more akin to Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, right?  Wrong.  Celebration Rock was exactly that, a celebration of youth.  While Wild Heart has elements of coming-of-age, it also holds onto youth through tunes that are sure to incite nothing but rocking.  Songs such as the “North East South West” or are reminiscent of Japandroid songs on Celebration Rock and Post-Nothing, but the bad grows their sound to include acoustic guitars and electronic songs such as on “Arc of Bar” and “Midnight to Morning.”
Even though songs like “Near to the Wild Heart of Life” and “North East South West” are more than welcome, the most memorable songs are the ones where Brian King and David Prowse experiment or scale back ever so slightly.  This is least effective on “Arc of Bar,” where most of the song is overwhelmed by electronic sounds throughout the track’s 7-minutes, but it works best on “True Love and a Free Life of Free Will,” which is a Springsteen-like arena rocker about being in love and figuring out where you want the relationship to take you.  Still, some of the best songs sound like Japandroids songs just with a toe taken off the gas.  “No Known Drink or Drug” and “In A Body Like A Grave” could have easily appeared on Celebration Rock, but they don’t sound like a step backward.  “No Known Drink or Drug” helps keep the pacing from going stale on the album.  “In a Body Like A Grave” is a good mixture of the new sounds and old, while summing up the album in a perfect conclusion.
The largest part of Japandroid’s appeal are the joyous slogans that everyone loves to shout along to.  The chorus of the opening title track is perhaps the best example that the band are just as great as ever:
It got me all fired up
to go far away
and make some ears ring with the sound of my singing baby
so I left my home
and all I had
I used to be good, but now I’m bad. 
Also, love and commitment are now major themes of Wild Heart.  Where Celebration Rock sounded like the soundtrack to nights of liver pulverizing in search of one night stands and romance, Wild Heart has songs that glorify “plans to settle down” and reaffirm that
no known drink
and no one drug
could ever hold a candle to your love
It’s not love compared to drug use as much as it sees romance as necessary in lieu of drug abuse.  Still, none of these are restrained ballads.  Each song is still high energy, and even if you can’t mosh to it, you can’t fall asleep to it either.
Near to the Wild Heart of Life isn’t the same rip-roaring classic that Celebration Rock is.  Similarly, it’s not an album that’s for everyone.  The band ventures into territory that gives subpar performances like on “Arc of bar” or “I’m Sorry (For Not Finding You Sooner),” but this is still a loud, raucous collection that defies growing up as much as it embraces it.  Japandroids won’t go gently into any good nights any time soon.
James Crowley is near to the wild heart of Twitter.

Australian Open: Recap

The first week of the Australian Open was a week full of upsets for some of the top seeds in both the men’s and women’s draws. As the first of the 4 major Grand Slams of the year, it is the first major tournament of year and one of the most sought after titles of the tennis season.

On the women’s side, sisters Venus and Serena Williams are breezing through their rounds and secured spots in week 2. Number 3 player Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland was knocked in round 2 to an unranked player, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia. World Number 1 Angelique Kerber of Germany was knocked out to unranked American Coco Vandeweghe in the fourth round. With the rate that the Williams sisters are going, could there be another Williams sisters final? Could Serena win her 23rd Career Grand Slam?

On the men’s side, half of the Big Four were knocked out in the early rounds. The first major upset was when 6 time winner of the tournament, Serbian Novak Djokovic was knocked out in the second round to unranked player, Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan. Another major upset of the tournament was when current World Number 1 and 5 time finalist, Andy Murray of Great Britain was knocked by unranked German player Mischa Zverev. With two more of the Big Four players, they will be going to face to face with other veteran players of the ATP tour. Rafael Nadal of Spain has been making his way through the rounds with only one 5 set match. Considered one of the all time greats, Roger Federer of Switzerland made his return to the the Grand Slams after sitting out the 2016 French and US Opens.

The Australian Open can be watched online, on ESPN and the Tennis Channel.

*Note: Melbourne, Australia is 16 hours ahead of the East Coast of the US. The matches will be aired on TV at about 9pm ET on ESPN.*

Jax Descloux

Thomas Jefferson Aeroplane-Nailbiter EP

a2548718981_10           So many artists do an excellent job of hiding their influences down in their work.  Some of the obvious ones shine through, but there are some influences that require some digging.  Of course, John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats was influenced by Bob Dylan, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that this was the type of guy that regularly listened to the likes of Mayhem and Church of Misery (save for the references of “The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton”).  Despite this, there’s certainly something admirable in artists early works, where their influences are sewn firmly to their sleeve.

Thomas Jefferson Aeroplane are still in this early stage, and it’s certainly endearing.  In case the name hasn’t given it away, these guys are clearly fans of AJJ (formerly Andrew Jackson Jihad, catch my drift?) and Neutral Milk Hotel, and upon first listen, this trio clearly loves The Front Bottoms.  From the simple acoustic, folk punk format to the wordy, heart on their sleeves lyrics, it’d be easy to just call these guys a bunch of ripoff-artists, but their songs are really great.  Even the Atom Bomb Shelter Salesman, which was written and recorded in a day has solid songwriting (see: “Nuclear Winter”) that shows them evolving quickly.  The Nailbiter EP is 11 minutes of catchy lo-fi promise from an incredibly emotive trio.

Once listened to attentively, you start to realize that Nailbiter has something of an arc with the first and last songs ending with the lines:

But it’s all for you

I’ll do what you do.

Cause you told me to.

The seeds I grew

Flowers could have been blue”

The first closes with the line “It’s a noose or excuse, and I can’t choose,” but the last is more resignedly “and they never do.”  Where “Bitchin’ Nightmares” sounds hopeful with its jangling guitars and middle-paced tempo, the last verse sounds determined.  “Bitchin’ 2: The Bitchining” is much more frantic throughout until the refrain sounds much more defeated.  While there’s something of a story, the album’s shift I pretty quick making the back half much more bleak where it opened up with a pretty fun sounding release.

The EP is pretty standard folk-punk.  Mostly acoustic and clean guitars are accompanied by simple drums and bass, with a smattering of distortion.  The vocals are shaky and whiney, not unlike Sean Bonnette of AJJ.  When TJA’s lead vocalist really shouts is when he shines through the best.

As is the case with a number of folky punk bands, the lyrics are where this trio shines though.  The EP’s title track is incredibly wordy in just over 2 minutes.  “Nailbiter” has the best image on the EP, where it’s sung “I wanna swim in your black coffee/stir me up and then dissolve me.”  Imagery is really where the lyricism shines best.  The album opens with “Drunk in my room watching Kitchen Nightmares,” and it only gets better from there.  The seemingly timeless familiarity of things like multiple lives in video games mixed with the little time capsules such as Kitchen Nightmares makes it easy to insert one’s self into these narratives.  While these guys haven’t defined their voice just yet, one is definitely there, and for now, we can all sing along and pretend.


James Crowley is trying to start bitchin’ friendships on Twitter.