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.

***

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.

Audio

Survivor Man

I’ve recently seen several articles about artists that are battling assorted types of loss pop up on my radar. I think I’m most looking forward to Richard Edwards’ new solo album, Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset. The first single, “Disappeared Planets,” paints a pretty accurate picture of the massive feelings that are associated with losing something; in Edwards’ case it’s a relationship. But feelings of loss translate to and permeate other types of loss, which is why I think I’m particularly drawn to it as a theme in songs.

Begrudgingly, I am not a musician. I don’t have a catalog of songs that speak my own emotions, but I like to think that I’m pretty well-equipped to carve out paths for myself in other musicians’ works. I think the same can be said of any music lover.

This playlist is something that I’ve been working on for the past five months and some change. It is simultaneously personal and impersonal in that only a few songs speak directly to the subject of my own grief. I sort of couldn’t bare to include artists or songs that were too relevant. The rest of the songs speak only to me – they quantify the huge emotions that I have felt in this last near-half a year of my life. I guess the criteria for this collection was any song that thematically or in a single line shook me to my very core, made me think, Yeah, they get it. If it seems like the entire thing is a tribute to Sam Phillips, well, I can only say, she gets it.

I don’t usually configure playlists in a specific order, but I’ve tried to achieve some sort of narrative here that covers all of the major waves: confusion, dissatisfaction, anger, sadness. It covers emotional black holes like being jilted, misguided elation, facing an impasse, feeling forced to reinvent the wheel. It twists and turns and loops back around to the beginning, because surviving loss is as much a process as it is a journey.

 

“Survivor Man” is:

  1. Hole in My Pocket – Sam Phillips
  2. Kicking Roses – Benjamin Francis Leftwich
  3. Unfucktheworld – Angel Olsen
  4. Okkervil River R.I.P. – Okkervil River
  5. The Industry – Okkervil River
  6. Broken Stones – Paul Weller
  7. One Less Bell to Answer – The 5th Dimension
  8.  I’m Not a Part of Me – Cloud Nothings
  9. I Did Something Weird Last Night – Jeff Rosenstock
  10. I Love You, What Are You? – Gene
  11. Working Titles – Damien Jurado
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