Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

“The TV makes me so angry, I don’t even know what to do.”

February 6, 2016

“I’ve maybe turned on the TV twice since I’ve been home. The TV makes me so angry, I don’t even know what to do,” said the frustrated white girl seated in back of me tonight at my local coffeeshop. One day, I hope she finds a way to solve her problem. I pray that she is granted reprive from the weight of this issue that bares heavy on her soul.

Barista or Tweaker?

February 6, 2016

There is a barista competition in Kansas City this week. Lots of shaky, jittery people in town right now.

At first, I thought they were just the regular downtown tweakers and bath salt smokers. However, I then realized most were wearing flannel. “Nice ironic beard, Shaky McShakerson.”

I had also forgotten that the folk conference isn’t until the end of the month. The main difference between the barista convention and the folk conference is that the folky folks are carrying a banjo. #whitepeopleproblems #firstworldproblems

My Favorite Photos: January 2016.

February 5, 2016

Here is a collection of my favorite photos I shot in January of 2016.

Being So Hip You’re Ahead of Yourself.

January 16, 2016

I had a friend of mine in college that was playing a mix CD he had made of new music. I asked him about what some of tunes were. “I don’t know yet. I’ll find out what I’m listening to tomorrow.” The tunes were so new, the guy that made the CD didn’t even know them yet. He is so hip, he is ahead of himself.

My Thoughts on G-Easy and Success.

January 14, 2016
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G-Easy at the Midland, 1/12/16

Walking up to the massive crowd lined up for the G-Easy show on Tuesday night, my mind was blown. He had sold out the 3,000 capacity Midland Theater, in Kansas City, months in advance. The crowd was mostly young white kids, between the ages of 13 and 19. It was like a teen riot outside the Midland.

I went to college with G-Easy, at Loyola University New Orleans. His fashion sense was always over the top and he had a vision for himself even back then. I hadn’t seen G-Easy live in at least eight years. The Oakland-based rapper has improved greatly since his NOLA days.

It seems like the mainstream has really caught up to G-Easy. His rapping was strong and on-point all night and the beats were fresh and lush. Backed by a drummer and a DJ, he rapped with confidence and ability throughout his show. His stage set up had a very NOLA vibe. The Saint bar scene was a nice shout out to the CBD dive bar. It was like some amped up version of NOLA run through the G-Easy filter.

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G-Easy at the Midland, 1/12/16

Over the years, G-Easy has stayed focused on his vision of grinding hard and moving towards success. His party-centric music seems true to who he is as a person. His music feels like a natural extension of himself and he’s not trying to be a poser. Maybe that’s why he does so well with younger rap fans. He held the crowd’s attention during his 1 hour and 40 minute set. As local music critic Bill Brownlee put it in his review of the show, “The immediately accessible music is ideal for party-minded young adults who have outgrown the output of boy bands but aren’t yet prepared to embrace more challenging sounds.”

His style of rap might not be for everyone, but it’s great to see someone be successful and do what they love. You can hate all you want, but no one can argue with a sold out tour. Tech N9ne even joined him onstage in KC. That is some serious business. G-Easy is doing something right and knows his market. It’s amazing  to see him go from the basement of the student center at Loyola to selling out a venue that holds 3,000 people in Kansas City. Never give up on your dreams and keep pushing forward. G-Easy knew that a long time ago.

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G-Easy crowd at the Midland, 1/12/16

Best Dance Moves of 2015: Samuel T. Herring of Future Islands.

January 3, 2016
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Samuel T. Herring, of Future Islands (Image via Flood Magazine)

Samuel T. Herring, of Future Islands, displayed some of the best dance moves I caught in 2015. It may seem overblown at times, but he really leaves it all out on the stage.

Future Islands set was one of the “whitest” performances I saw all year. Everything good and frustrating about that idea was on display during their set at the Pitchfork Music Festival. At times, the music seemed cold, distant and sterile. At other points during the set, it was invigorating and life affirming. It was a strange mix of highs and lows, sometimes within the same song.

Through it all, Herring’s dance moves kept lighting up the crowd. He dances like a man without fear. He doesn’t give a damn about looking cool and gets lost in his music. It’s a beautiful thing. Herring’s moves are a a gloriously funky, freaked out extension of himself. Keep on grooving!

The Wilco Double Up.

December 30, 2015
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Wilco at Pitchfork Music Festival 2015 (July 17, 2015)

Wilco proved (yet again) this year why they are one of the best live bands ever. I was able to catch two Wilco shows in one week this year. It was my attempt at the Wilco Double Up. I was was also finally able to catch the famed Chicago band in a hometown show, which was nice to cross off of my concert goals list.

One of the criticisms I’ve heard thrown at Wilco over the years is that some people label it as “dad rock.” You wish your dad was Nels Cline. When he uncorks solos like this on “Impossible Germany,” it will melt your face off of your face.

Like many great live bands, I respect that Wilco never play the same set/show twice. They will play some tracks you love, some songs you would never expect and some curve balls. The quality of Jeff Tweedy’s songwriting is best showcased at a Wilco gig, because you get so many songs from different eras of the band. Sometimes, they remind you how great some deeper cuts can be. They got really expansive on “One Wing” and covered the Uncle Tupelo song “New Madrid” at the Kansas City show. The Crossroads KC show also served as a great use of dynamics. The majority of the show was rocked out, fully electric. However, the encore was acoustic. This was a nice change in pace and made for a very well-rounded show.

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Wilco at Crossroads KC (July 15, 2015)

After over 20 years, it would be easy for a band to rest on their laurels and phone it in. This is not the case with Wilco. Between the KC gig on Wednesday and the Pitchfork Music Festival set in Chicago on Friday, Wilco dropped their first album in four years Star Wars.

At the Pitchfork set, Wilco played the entire new album, released the day before, live for the first time. Playing a whole new album live is risky, but Wilco is constantly pushing forward and being innovative. The new songs have a looser, carefree quality. The sprawl of some of the new songs reminded me of Sonic Youth. The crowd seemed confused at first, but warmed up at the songs wafted through the Chicago breeze. They followed up Star Wars with a bunch of classics. Watching people freak out to “Handshake Drugs” in the summer sun can be a glorious thing.

Wilco had a big 2015. They showed why they are still one of the best live bands touring today by never settling, consistently busting out setlists that clear 25 songs, and always being willing to surprise. The shows are always solid and the sense of something unexpected happening can create so much joy. Even after over 20 years, it will be fun to see what the future holds for Wilco.

 

 

Hip Fashion Report: Scarves.

December 28, 2015

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I recently did an audio piece about a hip fashion trend: Scarves. Listen to the piece here.

 

My Favorite Music and Concerts of 2015.

December 15, 2015
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Kraftwerk at the Midland Theatre, in Kansas City.

With 2015 wrapping up, it’s time to look back on some of my favorite music and gigs of the year.

Canadian noise rockers Viet Cong put out my favorite album of the year. The sprawling, weird soundscapes of their self-titled debut make for quality extended listening. Serious shoegaze vibes that hit hard.

I also really loved the Chvrches album Every Open Eye. Their sound has really grown from their debut record. A track like “Keep You On My Side” peaks really well and brings the energy. The vocals are on-point (as always), but the beats hit harder and the songs are more epic.

Gigs:

German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk put on a show for the ages at the Midland this year. Kraftwerk perfected the idea of the “man machine” and raved the way for nearly every form of modern electronic music. It was my first 3D sit down rave. Visually, the show was stunning and the music wasn’t just a nostalgia trip. For something so robotic, it felt so lively, fresh and new. The show also marked Kraftwerk’s first Kansas City show in 45 years.

Stevie Wonder’s epic show at the Sprint Center was also one of the best of the year. He played for over three hours. The setlist included his classic album Songs in the Key of Life. He approaches music from a totally different angle. The hits were there, the jams were there, something for everyone. Janelle Monae sat in with Stevie in KC, which made the gig even better. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime show.

Favorite tracks:

The demo version of “Realiti” by Grimes is my favorite song of the year. Her whole sound really comes together on this track. An updated version of the song ended up on Art Angels, but the demo version has more rawness and punch.

I really dug the house vibes of Caribou’s “Can’t Do Without You.” I was lucky enough to catch him live at Pitchfork Fest in Chicago this year. It’s a glorious feeling hearing a song like this wash over a festival crowd.

New Orleans-based rapper Curren$y showed why he is one of the best rappers out there today with “Speed.” His vibe is singular and different. The production on this record is one of the best I’ve heard all year. This beat is so fresh!

The laid back, chill vibes of Martin Courtney’s “Airport Bar” made it one of my favorite tracks of 2015. The lead singer of Real Estate displayed a subtle shift in tone on his debut solo album. Courtney knows how to craft a really quality song.

What were your favorite music moments of 2015?

A Sticky Situation: $13.99 Almond Butter.

December 14, 2015

AlmondButter

This jar of almond butter costs $13.99. It seems so hip, it should be featured on http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/ I think I will smear it on artisan bread, crafted by monks in the Himalayas, and combine it with rare African cultivated jelly. Time to make a $55 peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I am afraid to try this almond butter, because I know I will probably like it too much. It will be like tasting the Mount Olympus of almond butter. All other spreads will become irreverent and my life up until that point will become a fallacy. A terribly sticky situation.


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