Margaret Glaspy

So Emotions and Math is one of my favorite albums from 2016. Ironically my other favorite album from 2016 is probably guitarist and former child prodigy Julian Lage’s Arclight. I recently learned that Glaspy and Lage are together. After I became aware of this fact I felt unintelligent for not already knowing it because Lage and Glaspy have performed together on numerous occasions and the videos are all over the internet. But alas following music need not mean following which musicians are dating.

Back to the music. Glaspy has a commanding voice. Deep and a little raspy, to me she embodies modern blues vocal performance. Glaspy is an intriguing blend of country, alt rock and blues-y vocals. All together her voice is deeply emotional and is heard deep in your gut and heart. With influences from a crowd as diverse as Joni Mitchell to Janis Joplin to Patti Smith to Bonnie Raitt to Amy Winehouse I hardly even know what to think about Glaspy other than that I love it.

And then there is her guitar playing. Tight and delicate but beautiful and forceful, Glaspy knows exactly when to leave notes hanging and when to fill them in. I am so glad that she is her own guitarist because I wouldn’t want anyone else to be responsible for when to leave that crazy commanding voice alone and when to accompany it. Listen to her guitar come in at 2:16 on the track below, “Anthony.”

And then there is her songwriting. Personal and raw and often crude her lyrics add an interesting element to her music. Her commanding vocals in many ways require commanding and attention grabbing lyrics, but her guitar playing and her band are often much more delicate and measured. I guess this is what works so well about Glaspy and makes her so unique. The instrumentals are tight, spare jazz sequences but her vocals and lyrics are emotional indie rock. It all comes together in a hybrid, bluesy masterpiece.

Back to Lage. I’m bringing up Julian this time to make a musical point not a romantic one (although those two things aren’t so different). Listen to the link below. They sound incredibly good together which is in some ways surprising! Glaspy’s voice seems to shine most on her albums with more minimalist accompaniment. However, interestingly, with Lage’s complex fancy finger work Glaspy still shines.

HAPPY N E W YEAR

SALES is wonderful . . . this song is wonderful . . . please enjoy with a glass of champagne.

2016 wasn’t so wonderful for the world. I started college and graduated from SFUHS which was wonderful, but I can’t help but focus on the election of a fascist to the highest office of the US govt. For all the upsetting things that happened in 2016 (pulse, Aleppo, Trump, the many many shootings of unarmed young black men by cops, the many many other shootings of innocent people by people who shouldn’t have guns . . .) there are actions we can take to try and be better personally and also to better the world. Give to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood, call your congressperson about issues you think are important, stay informed and read quality journalism (this blog does not count), and above all treat others with kindness and love one another.

During Pinegrove’s show at Irving Plaza Evan talked about how their songs are principally about love and how he’s hopeful that each person singing along to his lyrics follows their message and lives a life of love not hate. On a slightly different but related note, music is always what heals me when I’m hurting. When things become overwhelming and shitty put on a record. And do what Evan said. Learn to be better from the music you listen to. Listen to the lyrics, think critically. Hopefully sometimes reading this blog and listening to the content I share with you makes you feel and live a little bit better.

I’m sending you absolutely all my love for the New Year. Let’s make it great, we have the power don’t forget it!

Concert Review: Marc Ribot and Ceramic Dog at The Stone

So I’m interning for WKCR (89.9FM New York or online at wkcr.com) Columbia’s PREMIER radio station and also the first FM station (kinda). It’s wonderful. Good people and great music and a legitimate commitment to noncommercial and alternative broadcasting. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying learning  and listening.

I’m interning for jazz and new music. The jazz department is really top notch but also maybe a little pretentious. The new music department is very kind and weird and wonderful. During one new music listening session a senior department member put on Ceramic Dog’s album Party Intellectuals, and it was so cool. I’d enjoyed Ribot’s guitar playing many a time before (mostly with Ribot y Los Cubanos), but I’d never heard it quite like that. Ches Smith’s wild drumming and the wonderfully emo and weird vocals brought it all home for me.

Sunday I went with some new music department people to see Ceramic Dog at The Stone, John Zorn’s space devoted wholly to experimental music. The Stone is a magical place that was enthusiastically introduced to me by KCR folks the minute I announced my intention to pursue new music. It was as cool as promised.

The show was wild. I was thoroughly engrossed by Ribot’s ingenious playing and Ches Smith’s absurd energy. The vocals they did were also pretty cool. Some creepy whispered vocals done by Ribot were notable. Ches Smith though was conceivably my favorite part of the show. His drumming was unlike most drumming I’d seen / heard before just for its sheer constant energy. Also that fucking bass . . .

People Like You

My iTunes is being really crazy and not working lately, so I’ve just been listening to stuff on bandcamp which is actually nice because I’ve found some cool new things. This band from Boston is so cool. It’s very The World Is A Beautiful Place-y  obviously but is super post-jazz too. Broken World Media is an incredible label, and I’m so happy they’ve got these guys. If you don’t already follow BWM and their bands you must start doing so.

But really listen to this album it’s incredible.

Concert Review: The Growlers

I saw the Growlers at Webster Hall two Fridays ago. It was a great show. So surfy so groovy. They played essentially everything I wanted to hear except for Love Test, but that’s okay. You can’t have it all. The show was a real party, dancing, smoking, drinking etc. Different vibe and crowd than I’m used to at my weird punk rock emo shows.

Webster Hall is really just okay–too big but not bad at all.

It was also their album release show so they played some new stuff which was super cool.

^Can you really consider this a review? Probably not but listen to some Growlers!