I recently dug through my old photo boxes and discovered negatives for a bunch of old shows I shot in the late 90s. I actually thought I'd lost them all in a house fire about 15 years ago, so I was pretty thrilled to come across them.
I'll post more shows as I get them scanned, but here are some images from Fugazi's stop in Eau Claire on their End Hits tour in 1998.
You can check out the setlist or buy a recording of the show at the Fugazi Live Series on the Dischord site.
According to Rdio alone, I spent the equivalent of twenty-three full days listening to music in 2014. No one's kept track of how much time we spent listening to records at home, but I'm certain it is similar. Considering I spent 13% of my year with music on, I feel it's appropriate to document the records, mixes, and EPs that mattered most to me.
Every year I do this, and every year I'm conflicted about what constitutes a "favorite." If I simply looked at playcounts, the final list would be very different than the one below (Mac DeMarco would have been the clear number one by several hundred plays). But in the end, I mash together some combination of plays, the work's complexity, statement, or risk (and my appreciation for those things) with the overall affect the art had on me.
Numbers one and two on my list (Swans and Grouper) share almost no superficial similarities. At first blush, you'd probably label them opposites. They both, however, affected me in a tangible and visceral way. To me that outweighs, but doesn't remove from consideration, records that I enjoyed three times as often.
My favorite music of 2014
- Swans - To Be Kind
- Grouper - Ruins
- Sharon Van Etten - Are We There
- Dean Blunt - Black Metal
- Lotic - Damsel in Distress
- Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden
- Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else
- Yob - Clearing the Path to Ascend
- Winterfylleth - The Divination of Antiquity
- Arca - Xen
- Mac Demarco - Salad Days
- Spoon - They Want My Soul
- Angel Olson - Burn Your Fire for No Witness
- Run The Jewels - 2
- Inter Arma - The Cavern
- Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers
- White Lung - Deep Fantasy
- Protomartyr - Under Color of Official Right
- Meatbodies - Meatbodies
- Flying Lotus - You’re Dead
21-40, not ranked:
- Adult Jazz - Gist Is
- Amen Dunes - Love
- Aphex Twin - Syro
- D’Angelo - Black Messiah
- Morgan Delt - Morgan Delt
- Earth - Primitive & Deadly
- Electric Wizard - Time to Die
- Ex Hex - Rips
- FKA Twigs - LP1
- Steve Gunn - Way Out Weather
- Hookworms - The Hum
- Outcast - EP
- Makthaverskan - II
- Pharmakon - Bestial Burden
- Ty Segall - Manipulator
- Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty
- St. Vincent - St. Vincent
- Thou - Heathen
- Total Control - Typical System
- Triptykon - Melana Chasmata
- Wrekmeister Harmonies - Then it All Came Down
Building communities has always been important to me, and it's really driven all the event work I've done to date. I feel like this change gives me the best opportunity to continue doing so on a wider scale.
I've had the good fortune to work on events that focus on the things I care deeply about: equality, open access, quality over quantity, and building safe and respectful spaces. I love creating inclusive events that make everyone feel welcome, and I'm excited to make that happen at even more events.
It is my hope to work with folks interested in these same tenets, and to help build their communities through meaningful, memorable, and seamless events for all attendees, speakers, and sponsors.
So get in touch, and let's build stuff together.
A few weeks ago, the Whistler announced their Friends and Family Cocktail Challenge. Twenty-four hours later, I started experimenting. Who cares if I don't live in Chicago anymore? It's still my favorite bar. Billy, Eric, and (formerly) Paul played a huge part in forming/fueling both my palate and my love for interesting, well-made cocktails. I jumped at the chance to get on their menu.
I found out today that my cocktail, Oh My Word, had been selected from over 60 entries as one of the ten winners, and it will appear on tonight's menu. Since I've always been really interested in how certain cocktails came to be, I figure I'd share my own process.
I've always been pretty obsessed with The Last Word—I'd probably consider it my favorite of the classic cocktails—so I knew I wanted to start there. We'd also been drinking a fair amount of Gamle Ode's dill aquavit at Westra manor (we're Minnesotan, give me a break), and I knew that Bittercube's Nicholas Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz had created their own Last Word variation, Det Sista Ordet, swapping dill aquavit in as the base spirit.
I like the Det Sista Ordet, but I wanted to try upping the bitter factor. Enter: Malört.
If you don't live in Chicago, or drink a LOT of booze, you might not know Malört. Swedish for Wormwood, it's an unrelentingly bitter liquor. Jeppson's is the classic Chicago brand (though, actually distilled in Florida since the 70s), but it's not going into a cocktail. Jeppson's is going in your body as a shot, or not at all. Recently, Chicago's Letherbee distillery started making their own version of Malört, which is arguably more drinkable. It's a little more anise-y on the front, and in the right amount, theoretically perfect for my needs here.
My first few iterations were fucking horrible. Horrible. But there seemed to be something there (or my tastebuds were so blown out I had no business tasting anything else that night). Each early variation of the dill, Malört, and standard Last Word ingredients (Green Chartreuse, lime, maraschino) were clashing. I thought that maybe dialing back the dill, splitting the Chartreuse and Malört, and bringing gin back into the fold would help balance things out. It did.
So where did I end up? Well... with a shitload of ingredients. BUT, they all work, even in these smallish amounts. I did try to drop one or two of them out (for example, using just Maraschino or simple syrup instead of both) but it threw everything out of whack again. Cocktails are weird like that.
In the end, I'm really pleased with it. It's an extremely herbal, full-flavored drink that's bitter but still refreshing. It's also strong. Real strong.
Oh My Word
- .75 oz Gamle Ode Dill Aquavit
- .5 oz Letherbee Gin
- .25 oz Letherbee Malört
- .25 oz Green Chartreuse
- .5 oz Maraschino liqueur
- .5 fresh lime juice
- .25 simple syrup
Combine all ingredients, shake, strain, and serve down in a rocks glass with a lime wheel
If you're in Chicago, head to the Whistler tonight and try it. Best of all, 25% of the proceeds will be going to Logan Square charities. Otherwise, make it at home. I'd love to hear what you think.
Earlier this month we launched our fifth issue of Contents with the announcement of a new book club. Intended to celebrate the multiple ways we find connections between our readings, we picked a book, The Library at Night, by Alberto Manguel, that does the same.
I started reading the opening section, “The Library as Myth”, while Frank Ocean's Nostalgia: Ultra played in the next room. In a curious moment of synchronicity, what I was reading and what I was hearing converged.
From The Library at Night:
In Elias Canetti’s 1935 novel Die Blendung (Auto da Fe), Peter Kien, the scholar who in the last pages sets fire to himself and to his books when he feels that the outside world has become too unbearably intrusive, incarnates every inheritor of the Library, as a reader whose very self is enmeshed in the books he possesses and who, like one of the ancient Alexandrian scholars, must himself become dust in the night when the library is no more. Dust indeed, the poet Francisco de Quevedo noted, early in the seventeenth century. And then added, with the same faith in the survival of the spirit that the Library of Alexandria embodied, “Dust it shall be, but dust in love.”
From Dust by Frank Ocean:
Who’s that talking in the library?
Who’s that talking in my library?
Is that you? No I won’t put you out
Cause what would this place be without my muse
Nothing special, every book in here I wrote
Some I’m not too proud of some I wish I could burn
So many pages I wrote, wish I could revise them
But there’s no erasing and the best advice I got
Was keep writing, and keep living, and keep loving
And when the ink dries and the pages turn to dustSo will we turn to dust, so will we dust,dust.
This is why I love words; why I love music and why I love art. It’s also why I love this book club. In less than five minutes on a January afternoon, a depression-era Bulgarian Nobel Laureate, a seventeenth-century Spanish poet, and 25-year-old singer-songwriter from New Orleans became inextricably linked within a new archive; my archive.
These are the connections we seek to celebrate.
December: The reason for the season is lists—and every person with an opinion about anything forcing them down your throat.
I AM NO EXCEPTION.
I’ll be doing a series of these, but here is the first (and most important to me): my favorite records of 2012. If you like them, buy them from your local record broker.
Also, if you are interested, I made a playlist of my favorite Rdio-available songs. There are 119 of them. Take a listen.
So, then. Enjoy:
20) Matthew Dear - Beams
19) Raime - Quarter Turns Over a Living Line
18) Neneh Cherry & The Thing - The Cherry Thing
17) Goat - World Music
16) Laurel Halo - Quarantine
15) Holy Other - Held
14) Steve Hauschildt - Tragedy & Geometry
13) Thee Oh Sees - Putrifiers II
12) Holly Herndon - Movement
11) Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
10) King Tuff - King Tuff
9) Julia Holter - Ekstasis
8) Mac Demarco - Rock n’ Roll Nightclub
7) Swans - The Seer
6) Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music
5) Lotus Plaza - Spooky Action at a Distance
4) Daughn Gibson - All Hell
3) Andy Stott - Luxury Problems
2) Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
1) Death Grips - The Money Store
I almost just high-fived the mailman for bringing this to my door. #legend
Herndon builds most of her own instruments and real-time synth effects in Max/MSP (Max Signal Processing), and considers pushing the limits of our technology a key part of her creation process.
"The laptop is the most intimate instrument we have at our disposal, engaging and absorbing our confessions and inspirations" says Herndon. "Its influence has both devastated and invigorated music as we know it. We’ve only just begun unlocking the possibilities at our fingertips. Those possibilities are what I work towards and against."
So, there are couple of steps here now. First, listen to this preview single, Fade. Then, pre-order the record from RVNG. The first 50 records sent out will be on gold vinyl.
FINALLY, we have some new Buke and Gase (formerly Buke and Gass). If you didn’t get tired of me talking about this band incessantly in 2010 when they released the unbelievably amazing Riposte, you will be soon. I ♥ this band.
You can stream the new EP, Function Falls, over at their Bandcamp. Bonus points for a not-shitty cover of New Order’s Blue Monday (Seriously, have you ever heard a good cover of that song before?)
Holy shit. I will buy this, no matter what, the moment it is released.
Check out this demo video for the soon-to-be-released interactive granular sampler by Christopher Carlson. More info here: modulationindex.com
Just finished up another back-and-forth collaborative playlist on Rdio with the illustrious Frank Chimero. This is our second, and is comprised entirely of cover songs (the first was an alternating alphabet series and is also embedded below).
Cover to Cover:Odds by Frank, evens by Erik.
(Note: Having some trouble with the embedding here, head over to Rdio for this one.)
The Alphabet Series:Odds by Erik, evens by Frank.
“I will wait for 11,000 nights, I will wait for 11,000 days - the whisky that takes longest to mature, the 30 years, is represented by the moon and the sun etched and charred onto the lid of a barrel.”
Glenfiddich barrel art at the Scotch Whisky Heritage Museum in Edinburgh, Scotland.