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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Losing the Art of Conversation

I love conversation. I love to debate and argue. But sometimes I get a little carried away, and start engaging in dueling monologues with someone and calling that a "conversation". So I thought it was a good time for me to revisit some basic rules of conversation.

The art of conversation is actually quite simple. It takes at least two people. Each person asks the other questions in an attempt to identify a topic of mutual interest. Once that topic is identified, one person starts talking about it, and the other person listens, and thinks of ways to expand on the topic based on what the other has said. If one is going to change the topic, one asks the other's permission first.

If, on the other hand, despite earnest attempts, no topic of mutual interest can be agreed upon, both parties may gracefully withdraw by saying "Well, it was nice speaking with you."

I think whether a conversation is a discussion, debate, or an argument is determined, again, by the mutual agreement of the parties. Some people like to stroll, some like to jog, and others like to sprint.

So what are appropriate topics of conversation?

The rules of appropriate topics of conversation change based on culture and context. A generation or two ago, for example, religion, politics, or money were considered inappropriate for polite conversation other than among the most intimate friends or close family.

Today, we are a less genteel and private culture, and I think these topics, and perhaps others (sex, personal hygiene habits, etc) are fair game, provided, as discussed above, all parties to the conversation consider them of mutual interest.

There is an old rule that bears mention, attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, that says "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people".

This always sounded snooty to me. We can't always be up in the higher altitudes of thought (the light may be brighter above the clouds but the air is cold and thin) -- and I can't believe that Einstein, between working out the theory of relativity during his coffee breaks, never gossiped among the other patent clerks about who was kissing the boss's ass.

One of the most interesting conversations I have had in the last year was with an airline mechanic about all the work that goes into keeping commercial aircraft flying. Not only did I learn some new stuff, but I had the pleasure of learning it from a guy who is passionate about his work. And the greater pleasure of getting to know someone new.

Anthropologists tell us that language evolved originally not to convey information, but as a bonding activity for social cohesion. So maybe conversation isn't really about improving oneself or learning something new. Maybe its about connection and the simple joy of sharing time and space with other human beings.

What do you think?

Foxygen, MHOW 10.22.13

Foxygen, MHOW 10.22.13

"Cold Winter, brought to you by Hot Summer" was one of the many non-sequitors Sam France uttered at Tuesday nights packed concert at Brooklyn's MHOW.

France, and Jonathan Rado, are the duo behind Foxygen.  They are, quite simply, a jubilant and eccentric collection of personalities, talents, egos...  Well, that's just it.  They cannot be defined "simply."

"Partly truth/partly fiction...  a walking contradiction."  Those lyrics, written long ago by Kris Kristofferson, seem to capture the essence that is Foxygen.

Are they the band that flaked out and cut several shows short at last years SXSW? 

Or are they the ambititious go-getters who announce not 1, but 3 forthcoming albums?

They have had a Yoko Ono moment over the past few months.  

France broke his leg jumping off a monitor earlier this year forcing the cancellation of their fall tour.

That was then.  They may have saved their best, for last in 2013.  It centered around 2 nights in New York City.  Late October nights too: which meant a Halloween theme.  Rado took the stage first, in a mad scientist outfit (with the name "Dr Love" on his lapel.)  His high hair and pale complexion made the outfit quite convincing.  He played with some knobs and set the mood for whatever the hell was coming next.  A zombie janitor on guitar...  a mummy behind the drum kit...  and France, the master of ceremonies, was a spot on Beetlejuice.  "It's Showtime" he dead panned.

Indeed it was.  This will most likely put a bow on shows promoting their trippy, groovy and aptly titled We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic.  With all the controversy, in-fighting and overall drama it might be best for these chaps to get back in the studio and see if they can make continue to make things work.

Because when things are working- like Tuesday night- things are pretty freaking cool.

The boys are clearly inspired by the 60s mod movement.   "On Blue Mountain", with its bold organ, screeching vocals and laid back bass line, traces its roots to The Stones circa 1968.   France's theatrics, here helped with an electronic walking cane, are also a nod to Mick Jagger.  He was limited due to lingering effects from his leg injury, but he gamely roamed the stage.  He likes the eyes on him.  Tuesday he was overly thankful for those in attendance and any sort of rock star attitude was replaced with sincerity and a fun loving vibe.

Peace, magic and some funky rock and roll.  Theatre, goofiness and playful irreverence.

Two of the finer moments were mid set.  First, the bands live interpretation of "Shuggie" was a stand out.  Their first single, released way back in January, allowed the band to show off a bit.  France and Rado changed the momentum of the song in all the right spots.  From one moment it was gospel sing-a-long.  The next, guitar happy jam fest.  It was hard to contain a smile and the crowd ate it up.

"No Destruction" was important for other reasons.  Mainly, the lyric "You don't have to be an as*hole anymore/You're not in Brooklyn anymore" appears in it.   Also, the song is a timeless gem.  1965 meets 2013.  Naturally the crowd (mostly non-Brooklyn as*holes) loved the shout out.  And let's be honest, Brooklyn, although awesome, can be kinda pretentious.  Foxygen knows that.  They are too!  If you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

For a night Foxygen will be remembered for all the right things.  They may be wondering if they can do every gig in costume.  Maybe they can be a cross between GWAR and The New York Dolls?

Who knows if that will happen?  Or if they will indeed head to the studio to make 3 more records.  Hell, if they break up tomorrow no one will be surprised.

Like a great many bands working today the future is tenuous, at best.

Why should they be any different?  

Sam France as Beetlejuice, Jonathan Rado as "Dr Love"

The projected images of skulls and Keith Haring like creatures were amazing!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We Can't Lose

I watch/read very little news, to the point where I am borderline ignorant.  Do trending videos count as news?  Didn't think so.  But in the past few hours one story made its way past my nonsense filters.  A lopsided high school football win is the subject of a bullying case.  Texas high school football is a pretty big deal.  Buzz Bissinger documented it, quite nicely, in his book Friday Night Lights.  Peter Berg made a pretty crappy movie about said movie.  Then NBC picked it up and created a revered show making you almost forget Berg's crappy movie.

As in most things, the truth is stranger than the fiction.  And truth is, sometimes one team is pretty darn good, and the opponent, not so much.  All accounts from this game suggest the winning coach called off the dogs when the rout was on.  He had his return men call fair catches.  He emptied his bench and played the second and third team all of the second half.

Most importantly, the losing coach saw nothing wrong with what happened, how the opposing team and coach and team handled their business, or the insane final score.  91-0 is a straight up beating.

But, this is 2013.  This is the age of bullying.   More specifically, its the age of bullying laws.

This is not to discount the reality of bullying and its sometimes brutal consequences.  In Florida for instance a young girl took her life and her online abusers were arrested.  Calling someone awful names, day in and day out, is wrong, plain and simple.

Putting two teams against one another and keeping score is called competitive athletics.  There should be a result: win, lose or tie.

Having been through my share of wins and defeats I can tell you this, they are both essential learning/teaching moments.  For the record, a loss by 1 point stings a whole lot more than 91.  Clearly the losing team was overmatched.  That should give them an incentive to do better, or perhaps give their school's athletic director some careful consideration before scheduling that opponent next year.  One loss does not define a season, or career.  How one responds to said loss can define a kid, and his or her character, for the rest of his or her life.

An angry parent decided to cry bully and take the winning team/coach to task about it.  The protest and attempt to convict the team only shone a light on a game this nation did NOT need to know about.  All around this great land this weekend teams will take a beating not unlike 91-0.  Coaches will do their best (in most cases) to stop the bleeding.

But we have to stop short of taking the effort out of the game at hand.  How do you tell a kid to ease up, or not try so hard?

Will that help the outcome?  What does it teach?

And if the opponent hears that their counterpart is not trying their hardest, how will that effect their (already fragile) psyche?

You win some, and yes, you lose some!!

There is no shame in defeat, only if you fail to learn anything from it.

Let's all understand the difference between losing and being bullied.  Please!!

It is the only way we can get better.  In sports, in politics, in life.

Which gets me back to why I stay away from the news in the first place.  It is, mostly,  a sea of negativity and a countless tally of our losses.

Can a brother get a feel good story???

And if the opponent hears that their counterpart is not trying their hardest, how will that effect their (already fragile) psyche?

You win some, and yes, you lose some!!

There is no shame in defeat, only if you fail to learn anything from it.

Let's all understand the difference between losing and being bullied.  Please!!

It is the only way we can get better.  In sports, in politics, in life.

Which gets me back to why I stay away from the news in the first place.  It is, mostly,  a sea of negativity and a countless tally of our losses.

Can a brother get a feel good story???

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Sounds at MHOW, 10.14.13

The Sounds, MHOW 10.14.13

I am still trying to figure out the outfit.

My wife and I have been discussing the inevitable Arcade Fire tour.  It's coming.  And I want to see it!  They are performing this weekend as their altar ego's The Reflektors.  On one hand these cats from Montreal might be the most important band working today.  After the commercial and critical success of The Suburbs, there is high anticipation, and expectation for the new material.  And when they do hit the road they will more than likely sell out arenas around the globe.  Expect the entire arena to be packed too, not just the lower bill.  Nine Inch Nails and The Killers are the mast few acts that passed through the mammoth Prudential Center.  Tarps covered much of the venue.  

They demand a big stage.  After all, there are like 30 band members.  

Arcade Fire are willing to bring theatre and performance art too.  Their Roman Coppola directed short, "Here Comes the Night Time", is the freshest and most innovative music promotion in recent memory.  A network tv special/concert film?  Smart.  And effective!  Oh, and the new songs are pretty friggin good.

I know what you are thinking?  Am I supposed to be reading a recap of the Swedish pop band The Sounds?

Well, yeah.  But it goes back to what my wife and I discuss.  She will not entertain seeing Arcade Fire because they don't "look" like rock and roll.  That's the second hand if you are scoring at home.  That isn't to say they are ugly- or maybe it is.  I am not saying that!  Someone I know is :-)

Let's be honest.  The look of a show is super important.  Which is why, Monday night in Brooklyn, things took an unfortunate turn.

Maja Ivarsson, lead singer for The Sounds, was not in top form.  In November, 2011 I was highly entertained as she dominated a packed Webster Hall with her high energy and good grooves.  It did not hurt that Ivarsson was heavy on bravado (chain smoking/short skirt wearing/supremely confident.)  She had the moves and swagger like a 70s punk goddess- somewhere between Blondie and Joan Jett, with a dash of Abba.   I was a little smitten.

The last record was pretty special too.  And the NYC show was on the tail end of a long, long tour.  

Monday Ivarsson looked several years older than her age, 34.  Making the new record... or the cigarettes... or simply the everyday toll of life as a musician...  have caught up to her.  She was quick to mention the band was celebrating "15 years as an fu**ing band."  Impressive.  From age 19 she and her mates have been living the dream.    The short skirt was replaced with an odd jump suit and her hair was poorly kept.  She looked very different indeed.

For a Monday night show the crowd was 1) large and 2) ready to rock.  We arrived right before they hit the stage and there was a buzz.  They opened with "No One Sleeps When I'm Awake" and everything seemed promising.  She sounded better than average and that song choice was fun.  If anything, they were mic'd too loud and not all on the same page.  No sweat, it was the first song, first set of shows, etc.  They were shaking off the rust.

A few songs later when Ivarsson totally forgot several verses and the band abruptly ended "Something to Die For", their most successful track from their last record, it all went downhill.

I couldn't fully engage with the new material, which has some winners.  Notably, the first single, "Shake, Shake, Shake" and "The Weekend" are both groovy tunes.

It was the dropped verse that sent my ears packing.  Then my eyes started to wonder.  Is Ivarsson ill?  Is she getting along with these guys?  15 years is a long time to be together?  Can you name 10 other bands who play today with their original lineup that long?  It is not many, trust me.

They weren't looking at each other on stage.  The chemistry was messy.  

At least that is what I saw...  and I was not alone.  My posse felt the same way- and there were four of them.

Even a drunk or two that poured out were heard muttering "Too bad about The Sounds tonight.  They sucked."

Maybe not that bad.  And you can't trust every drunken hipster you hear.

Something was missing though.  I understand it is shallow and superficial to want to see a band for its leading lady.    Madonna did not get to where she is because of her voice.  Adele she is not.

Looks are part of the show.  When you fail to remember your own lyrics and struggle through a set you should be expect to be judged harshly.  It happens.  Try harder to make sure it does not happen again.  And I will try not to be such an ugly American.

The truth is a nasty thing.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Get Busy Living...

Viva La Caveman Band!!!

There are forces around me that suggest we are living in End Days.  There is a Nor'Easter headed our way this weekend.  Naturally, it is October.  Recent history predicts nasty weather this time of year.  In fact, my daughter has not gone trick or treating the past few Halloweens.  Two years ago we were hit with a colossal snow storm that crippled the area for several days.  Last year, a little thing called Super Storm Sandy, well, ya know.  Tomorrow we will take the little one to NYC for our annual fall visit.  That day usually begins with a stop in New York Costumes located in the West Village.  Dare we buy an overpriced costume for a Holiday that Mother Nature is determined to destroy?  Will it be locusts or frogs that take it out this year?

And that does not speak to the mess our political system finds itself in.  Never mind the ongoing shut down and looming debt ceiling crisis.  Even if we manage to claw our way back to "normalcy" the landscape still looks pretty shitty.

Has Syria been resolved?  Iran?  North Korea?  We still fighting in Afghanistan?  Iraq?  Wall Street?

Let's not get me started on global health either.  Have you seen Contagion?  One bad virus and things can get real up in here.

Wait, that sounds like I am buying in.  And I am not.

There are way too many good things out there.  Have you seen the sunsets lately?  Autumn's colors are vibrant and life affirming.

It's fall movie season.  Tom Hanks once again portrays a heroic "everyman."  Gravity is busy blowing people's minds.  Not to mention Katniss Everdeen coming soon to a theatre near you.

The fall classic is days away too.  The Red Sox, love them or hate them, are competing for baseball's title.  The Pittsburgh Pirates, away from postseason baseball for two decades, just wrapped up a tremendous season in one of America's great stadiums, in one of America's finest cities.  They brought back feelings of Clemente, Stargell and Tekulve, and not so much Barry Bonds.   

Oakland and Detroit, two cities with their share of problems, will vie for a trip to the ALCS tonight.  Win or go home.  All hands on deck.  Sport as metaphor.

Me?  I dig on music.  More specifically, I likes seeing it live.  It is on stage,  without the smooth trickery of an MIT trained producer, that an artist can really shine or crack.

Either way, it's a worthy endeavor.  Will the crowd buy in?  Will the performers surprise?  Engage?  Recoil?  

How will the energy from headliner be?  From audience?

It can be visceral.  It can volatile.  It can be highly rewarding.  It can be deeply disappointing.  

It is never the same.  Venue, band, crowd and any/all intangibles all add up to an unpredictable endeavor.  Why should art be any different?

At least it is honest.  That, in itself, is worth the effort.

 There were about a dozen shows last night, including a special SiriusXM album release party by Cage, the Elephant, at The Studio at Webster Hall.  You can't see them all.  England post-punk rockers Palma Violets were in the Grand Ballroom.  And they had the floor rocking. They played to a modest group of cleaned up young folk.  It was a respectful and well behaved crew considering the band, duel frontmen Samuel Fryer (vocals/guitar) and Alexander "Chill" Jesson (vocals/bass) were heavy on guitar and not lacking in energy.  It has been the year of post-punk, at least in my world.  Savages, Parquet Courts, and Wire are some other bands this space has covered within the past few months.  Everything is cyclical in music.  80s synths are back big- Holy Ghost, The Naked and The Famous are just a few acts playing to sold out NYC crowds in the coming weeks.  90s grunge is gaining steam too... Diiv comes to mind.   The innovators and forward thinkers are harder and harder to find.

That does not mean the music scene is dormant and uninspired.  Palma Violets are accomplished rookies in the unrelenting world of rock.  They have one record, 180, which was released in February.  Formed a mere 2 years ago, Palma Violets has earned its stripes touring the World.  Last night's show marked their biggest NYC event and they were game to please.  A couple of chords, blissfully ignorant and boyish lyrics/vocals and a whole lot of attitude.  An ancient formula started long ago that hasn't aged a bit.  Good stuff, especially their break-out single "Best of Friends".  Not only did they make that single soar, they played it mid-set, not as their encore.  The enthusiasm, both with artist and audience, often peaks mid show.  Why not capture that energy and kill your signature song?  They did, in a big way!

Palma Violets, Webster Hall 10.9.13

Those familiar with this space should know that NY based Caveman are my personal favorite.  The final transcending moments of "Old Friends", from their debut record CoCo Beware, made me an instant devotee several years ago.  I am hooked.  I am a groupie.  I, like many who have seen them live and fallen in love with their songs (including this years self titled sophomore record) wants desperately for them to succeed.

They have been on the road most of the year supporting, and clearly crafting/perfecting, the new material.  My friends and I worried that the sophomore record was too soon in the making.  Not everyone heard and responded to CoCo Beware like they should have.  How can Toro Y Moi and Youth Lagoon make inroads and open arena shows and these guys not catch on?  The sound is so full, so rich, so beautiful.

It was with some reluctance I ventured uptown to the soulless monolith calledTerminal 5.  Last time I was there security gave me a hard time about something...  can't remember what.  Logistically it is difficult.  57th and 12th Ave??  That's Weehawken, NJ as far as I am concerned.

Then there is the issue with the sound.  It is NEVER right.  Did Caveman stand a chance against the vicious engineering that makes bigger bands crumble?

The answer was no.  Which is not to say Caveman were not, as they always are, incredible.  There were plenty of folks around me who were caught up in their dizzying and effective set.  Many were there for the headliners, Ra Ra Riot.  It is safe to say Caveman converted more than a few.

"My Time", (fast paced rock-a-billy) and "Thankful" (moody and introspective) were both goose bump inducing.

But it was Caveman's new work that stood out.  "Where's the Time?" is a groovy and elegant piece.  "In the City", something of a return to town anthem last night, paints an elegant picture of longing, regret and hope.

Like Palma Violets, Caveman are not out to rewrite the blue print.  Matt Iwanusa, singer/guitarist/drummer, is not your typical leading man.  He has a lot more swagger than when I first saw him few years ago.  But Mick Jagger he is not.  What he does have is a presence and the ability to engage the listener/viewer.  His voice is soft, yet powerful.  His demeanor, that of someone genuinely grateful to be doing what he loves to do, is apparent.

His cast mates, Jimmy "Cobra" Carbonetti (guitar), Jeff Berrall (bass), Stefan Marolachakis (drums) and Sam Hopkins (keyboards) are all equally "in the moment." There are no wasted movements or insincere gestures.  They were once again joined by Matt Clark, drummer for another NY band, White Rabbits.  He has become the de facto 6th member and when he has added a fuller sound(!) to an already formidable staff.  It is no nonsense jam, vibe, tribal, pop, rock.  Berrall adds smooth harmonies. Cobra's howling guitar fills are mesmerizing.  And Hopkins goes about the business of adding layers, and layers, and layers.

Were there misses last night?  Yes.  As I mentioned, this was Terminal 5.  Matt's microphone was turned up too high and dissonant on more than one occasion.  Jeff and Cobra were turned too low on the other hand.  The mix, as is often the case, was not ideal.

But the local kids were on the big stage, where they belong.  Next time maybe The Beacon or Hammerstein.  Someplace where the climate suits there clothes.

Terminal 5 once again proved itself the tundra to rock's Mediterranean sensibilities.  Fret not Caveman, you are still beloved and I was not the only one who walked away with praise and admiration last night.  That is the good news.  This place needs more Caveman fans.

Caveman, Terminal 5, 10.9.13

The Parquet Courts show left me a little disappointed last week.  It could have been the 11pm start coupled with a 5am wake up call the next day.  Whatever the case, they were a fine post punk act who left me wanting more.  There were some fine moments, sure, but too often one song sounded eerily similar to the previous one.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Best of September, 2013

Arcade Fire, love them or hate them, you cannot ignore them.

Its funny, cause I have no idea why our Government is shut down today.  I mean, a little bit I guess.  The Affordable Healthcare Act of a few years back is now the law of our dysfunctional land today.  House Republicans, it appears, are not thrilled about it.  I have heard things about "Single Payer" options and "Tea Party backlash" in the limited media coverage I paid any attention to.  Are The New York Post and Brooklyn Vegan reputable and accurate news sources?  What of The Today Show and Project Runway?  Modern Family and Ray Donovan?

I do know that my wife and I have to work, pretty hard, to afford a mortgage, raise a family and try to make through each and every day alive, and hopefully happy.  There are days we settle for alive.  There are days that end with little, if any smiles.  It's damn hard.

So you will excuse me for being uninformed.  After all, how has our Government helped me to this point?  Are they relevant to my World at all?

After high school I began a career of financing them.  It started with student loans.  That was about 15 years of my life.  The final payment, made late last year, remains a highlight in my adulthood.  Sad, but true.

When we bought our money pit, er, house,  our taxes have sucked up a nice chunk of our humbled coin.  Sure, I choose to live in the heavily taxed Garden State.   I can still bitch about it though, no?  Self deprecating humor is every Jersey kids birth right.

We have fought in several wars over the past decade too.  I don't remember wanting any part of that.  And I was witness to the fire coming from the One World Trade Center.  I remember attempting to drive someone into Manhattan a few days after the attack.  We were all still shocked and most likely not believing the news/footage/reality that was 9.11.  Why else would the woman think I would be able to drive her to Wall Street office?  Why On Earth was I agreeing to take her?

That drive was eerie.  I remember thinking this road should be so quiet for a NYC morning commute.  It was gray too.  Whereas 9.11 was a picture perfect day, the clouds were dark.  It was all dark.  Many, many days after.  It still depresses me down there.  I have no desire to see the Memorial.  And I am leery what the Freedom Tower will ultimately do for Lower Manhattan.

It didn't help that the economy shit the bed shortly thereafter.   Did we all have to bail out Fannie and Freddie back then?  Were our taxes poached to bail out the big banks?

My memory is clouded, probably because I was living check to check around then and trying to keep a marriage together and raise a child.

But right, about the wars.  We hit Iraq.  We hit Afghanistan.  Syria and Iran are concerns too, they say.

Those are four countries I have no desire to visit.  Those are four places that should really have nothing to do with us as a Nation, let alone me as an everyday Joe.

Yeah, they have oil.

But I really don't want to need oil.  It would be far better if our ailing transit system was more advanced than those in developed countries like Germany or China.  I have a train to NYC mere blocks from my home.  20 miles west to the greatest city on Earth.

Today there was a delay due to wire problems.  Yesterday it was congestion on the Northeast corridor. Tomorrow, who knows?  But make no mistake there will be issues.  And the 45 minute ride it should be will turn into a three hour tour.

How much have the wars cost us?  What if we never spent a dollar on any of it?

What if we spent money went into re-imaging and re-inventing our trains and transport system.  Imagine bullet trains connecting LA to Boston.  What if freight wasfound more on commercial tracks. than clogging our freeways.

Could those small steps lessen our demand, eh, voracious thirst for oil?  And ultimately foreign oil.

It's hard.  Eye for an eye they say.  It quenches our collective thirst.  Its why people clapped and celebrated at the news of Bin Laden's death.

Its primal.  Its human nature.

Its the kind of nonsense that lands us here, today, October 1st, 2013.

And there is nothing we can do about it.

Sure, you can vote the bum out, in your district...  in your state....  in your Nation.

But do any us really like the guy or gal on the ballot in the first place?  Who wants that job?  Yeah, the guy and gal who just shut down the government (all the while collecting their checks to do so.)

These clowns have no idea how I live?  They do not know what I really need.  How could they?

They rep a guy, from a group, that will undoubtably pay them handsomely to be his/her spokesperson.  Special Interests.  Lobbyists.  Make believers.

They will not help me decide what to do with my kitchen renovation.  They will not guide me on the best high school for my daughter.  They debate things that should be decided long ago.

Seriously?  Gay marriage, decriminalizing drugs, eliminating the dh...  these are all things that states should have handled, long ago.  But we can't even commit to laws that have already passed.

We are failing to compromise.  Everyone wants to win so no one understands what it means to lose.  And more importantly how to act when you do lose.

So, we can never get better.

We all fail.  We all make mistakes.  I have been using that lecture with my 6th grade girls basketball team.

Last week we lost for the first time in two years.  And I loved it.  During the game I was out coached and lost focus during a critical point in the game.  Not being able to adjust, call time out, and find a way to stop a pivotal run by my opponent transformed a close game turned into sound defeat.

The girls were upset, and so was I.  But here is the thing,  we are now a better group as a result.  I was able to see some weaknesses, both with me and my team.  We can work on things.  We are going to take what we learned last week and make adjustments, find each others skill set, and become a better unit.

Accountability.  It is lost around here these days.  We gonna be able to find it?  Before it's too late?

I gotta go on living.  This is my only life, and I have already wasted enough time addressing that happy horse shit.

Its friggin Rocktober.  Concerts galore start tomorrow in Brooklyn.  Thank you art for being the diversion needed to escape the madness.

Find your love.  Enjoy the lovely Autumn season.

Take a look and listen to the crop below.  It is once again a bountiful, eclectic and riveting list.  What say you?  Join the discussion and tell us your favorite tune/album/artist of 2013.

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White Denim "Pretty Green"

Texas rockers played a average gig promoting their upcoming record, Corsicana Lemonade last month. They bring the guitars and a sound very similar to that of The Black Keys.  This first single has a simple, but effective hook.

Empire of The Sun "Alive"

Pure dance pop from these costume wearing Aussies.   My guess is they saw a lot of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert when they were young.  Seeing Patrick Swayze in drag can do this to you.  Swayze would dig this tune though.  It is very easy to picture him and "Baby" in a carefully choreographed routine to this diddy.   Thinking a montage scene trying to nail their signature move.  Finally he has her above his head spinning, and spinning, and spinning.  "And I, had, the time of my life..."

Au Revoir Simone "Crazy" and "Somebody Who"

Williamburg, Brooklyn gals have two songs on this months list and for good reason.  First, both songs are terrific, as is their record, Move in Spectrums.  Maybe the best part of the trio, Erika Forster, Annie Hart and Heather D'Angelo, have a sly sense of humor.  The video for "Crazy" is a fun little parody/homage to Martin Scorsese's under rated and amazing 80s film After Hours.

Cults "High Road"

NY duo Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion are back with their second album, Static, which is due out 10.15.  They scored big a few years back with "Go Outside".  The catchy hooks and dreamy vocals are still intact and this album promises to be a nice soundtrack to Sunday morning by the fire.

Arcade Fire "Reflecktor"

Unsure if there is a bigger band on the planet right now.  They have spent several years crafting their follow up to the Grammy winning and game changing 2010 album, The Suburbs.  October 29th they will release Relecktor, produced by LCD Soundsystem visionary James Murphy.  They were the guests on the premiere of SNL and even had 30 minutes devoted to them with the pretentious, but fascinating short film "Here Comes the Night."   This is as much theatre as it is music.  Costumes, make up, and creepy paper mache masks don't necessarily scream rock star.  Subtract all of that and what you are left with is song.  And then songs are usually pretty darn good.  The build on the title track is infectious and joyous.  I want to hate them and Murphy.  Instead, I anxiously await absorbing every track.

Naked and Famous "Hearts of Ours"

The alt World is very diverse.  Here New Zealand is represented.  Like Cults, they rely on a dreamy female voice, here Alisa Xayalith.  Synth pop straight outta 80s Manchester.  Nothing fancy here, but sometimes that is the best kind.  Think little, smile lots.

Kendra Morris "Banshee"  from Ray Donovan finale

It seems like I might be the only person who was not caught up in the Breaking Bad phenomenon.  Whole seasons of shows are a difficult proposition in this house.  Over the past few weeks of summer, and a little into September, I managed to binge watch the first seasons of Netflix's House of Cards and Showtime's Ray Donovan.  They were both fantastic and left me wanting more.  Apologies Walter White.  And RIP.  This song played as the end credits rolled on the finale of Ray Donovan.  NYC blues gal with a voice and style not unlike Amy Winehouse or Adele.  Not saying she is either, just in the ball park.

Franz Ferdinand "Right Action"

Post-punk is still all the rage, at least in my World.  This year I will have seen Savages, Palma Violets,  and Parquet Courts.  There are about a dozen acts doing the same thing.  These guys from Glasgow have been doing it for over a decade.  They have another record, Right Thoughts, Right Actions, that was released in late August.   The traditionalists have become the tradition.

Frank Turner "Recovery"

Turner started off as a post-punk.  He was the singer for post-hardcore band Million Dead.  When they split he put away the electric guitar in favor of acoustic.  Think David Gray with more balls.  It's pub rock.  Raise a pint and revel.  No fuss.  No muss.

Chvrches "Lies"

Like Franz Ferdinand, these kids hail from Scotland.  Unlike them, they favor the keyboards over guitars.  They recently released their much played and much buzzed about debut record The Bones of What You Believe.  I dismissed many of their initial offerings, due mostly to the voice of their pixie singer Lauren Mayberry.  This song won me over.  Her voice is strong (and probably enhanced/aided.) But it is the simple hook on the keys, reminiscent of Human League or Thomas Dolby, Danny Elfman, that really gets your attention.

San Fermin "Sonsick"

Sometimes I get to a band/song before they have an internet presence.  Ellis Ludwig-Leone is the brainchild behind San Fermin.  He is NY based and champions "Chamber pop."  Well he must, because that is how his debut record has been described.  Why?  Guess cause it has horns, and Ludwig-Leone is a composer, not front man.  His background is in in Classical music and it can be assumed he grew putting tracks together incorporating both Garage Band and reel to reels.  This song is both gritty and elegant.  It is dissonant and melodic.  It's my daughters new favorite, and ain't that enough?