I do what I want, you won’t see me anymore: half waif @ baby’s all right // 3.27.18

What a beautiful way to hear an album for the first time: live in its entirety on release day. Set against the shimmering Baby’s backdrop, everything was that much more magical, and I can’t help but conjure those images in my head when I listen to the album now.

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i’m like a shitty child: Jeff Rosenstock, Martha @ warsaw // 4.20.18

Ah the elusive (second) back-to-back gig…

Jeff Rosenstock was still The Man™, Martha were still The Best Band™. What more is there to say?

Saxophone Boss vid under the cut…

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nothing makes me happy: Jeff Rosenstock, Martha @ warsaw // 4.19.18

Jeff Rosenstock has always been on my radar, but it wasn’t until I took an almost impossible day-after-New- Years’-Day bus ride from the Poconos to New York City with my newfound Favorite Person of All Time™ that I finally got it. We shared earbuds and listened to his newest album, Post, (which had surprise-dropped the day before) in full for the first time. Honestly, I can’t say why it (and Rosenstock in general) clicked for me. Perhaps it shouldn’t have; at that time, on that bus ride, I was arguably the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, so you’d think an album fraught with anxiety (political, economical, towards life in general) would not exactly light my fire. But it did, and I don’t know, I guess it hasn’t stopped.

Sometimes something passively sits on your horizon until you have the emotional experience to connect to it. (Don’t get me started on the situation that caused me to stop dead in my tracks the first time I heard the chorus of “I’m Serious, I’m Sorry”… I have no evidence to back this up other than this song, but I think Jeff Rosenstock is watching me…)

We saw Rosenstock acoustic about a month ago at a benefit for The Silent Barn, a Brooklyn D.I.Y. venue that is sadly slated to close at the end of April. I had to make a blind entry for that show, because we were packed like sardines and instructed to not take photographs and just experience and I knew I’d be seeing him again in less than a month, so I figured I’d save my words (but it was awesome and my first taste of his fan base being as enthusiastic as I’d hoped and imagined).

But seeing him in a 1k person venue really drove home the camaraderie between him and his fans. The crowd participation frequently elicited chills all over my body, and it was impossible to not feel gleeful whilst watching him (even despite being pretty sick with a head cold at the time). The “et tu, USA” outro to “USA.” was deafening. Plus, he’s so funny – I remember at Silent Barn someone heckled him and in the funniest tone he said DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO! He’s got a great and goofy stage presence.

Despite feeling like a new inductee to the Jeff Rosenstock Fan Club, I suppose I still don’t feel the deepest connection imaginable to his music, but I know that he’s an act I’ll gladly be going to see again and again because there’s nothing quite like it.

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And Martha!!! Oh, god, brilliant bubbly Martha. My aforementioned Favorite Person of All Time™ also turned me onto them, and at first they didn’t do too much for me, but then I heard “Ice Cream and Sunscreen” and it was all over.  They are BRILLIANT. It was so rad to see them, because I felt like it’s been a while since I truly craved going to a random city in England and seeing a virtually unknown band I loved (I’m looking at you, Dog is Dead), but this definitely rekindled that desire and made me feel like I was somewhat living it, even though my dearest friend refers to Warsaw as “The Polish Knights of Columbus.” I’d jumped into their older stuff which I guess recently went up on Spotify because I’d had no previous knowledge that it existed, and it was a thrill to hear some favorites from their catalog over the span of two days. They are just plain cool, and in my humble opinion the entire world is sleeping on them.

your image in the eyes of someone else: the horrors @ rough trade // 9.18.17

Alex Turner, my musical hero who will no doubt grace the caverns of this blog many a time, made a compilation for the jukebox in The Bowery, a pub in Sheffield that Arctic Monkeys ex-bassist, Andy Nicholson, and reigning drummer, Matt Helders opened in 2008. In 2010 or so, a friend who had visited the pub posted a photo of Al’s compilation to our internet forum.

In addition to giving me a catalog of his own roughly 100 songs that are all my most beloved, through this compilation Alex gave me “Draw Japan” by The Horrors. It didn’t take long for me to start noticing him wearing their totally sweet – and forever coveted by me – “I Am a Horror” shirt, or the rad football scarf with the roses. He’d perhaps unintentionally informed me that I should be paying attention to this band, so I started to listen, and I fell hard for them.

Purely out of interest, I wish I could know how many times I’ve listened to their 2009 release “Primary Colours.” I don’t think my Last.FM would be accurate in this case, because I had that album on every .mp3 player I owned and would spend hours with it. I remember thinking that I had never heard anything like it. I remember going to England to study abroad and playing “I Only Think of You” while I sat in my window and looked down at the Trinity College dining hall with a breeze blowing through the slightly ajar window on one of my first nights there.

I remember the first time I saw the music video for “Who Can Say” – the dark-yet-whimsical Faris at the microphone aesthetic, particularly during the spoken part in the middle (and when I told her I didn’t love her anymore, she cried/and when I told her her kisses were not like before, she cried/and when I told her another girl had caught my eye, she cried/and I kissed her with a kiss that could only mean, goodbye), was so reminiscent of a Gothic school prom, that it actually made me laugh. The image has yet to leave my head and I’ve never stopped getting a rush of adrenaline when the synth kicks in after that “goodbye.” It’s a perfect example of when the words in a sentence end, but the music behind it serves to say something else.

I want to enumerate what The Horrors mean to me and really break it down, but the only way I can think to do so is to share two words: “Scarlet Fields.” That song is in every way the all-encompassing summary of why I love them, why they have not left my mind for nearly a decade, etc. If I had to elaborate beyond that – I mean, if I were really forced – I’d say that I didn’t believe or want to believe the journalists who said that their second single from 2017’s V, “Something to Remember Me By” was the best song they had ever made… and then I heard it. It completely and totally blew my mind. It is flawless.

The Horrors are endlessly cool and very, very good live. They’re also stupid hard to photograph because they’re all twenty feet tall and have extremely harsh lighting. So the above ended up being my most useful shot. It is obviously significant distorted, but in that way it’s actually a perfect representation of them.

I loved this show. I loved the way it felt to be pressed against the stage, dodging the reckless whip of Faris Badwan’s microphone cord. Hearing the girl behind me sing along in perfect time. Playfully shaking my limbs in unison with my show companion, the only other person I’ve met in real life but not through Arctic Monkeys who knew of The Horrors – he even saw them before I did! Staring at the scar on Tom Furse’s cheek from across the room. Closing my eyes and being hit with a wall of sound.

And when the last song played out and they left the stage, I (all but) cried.