Sunday, December 3, 2017

my 17 favorite songs of 2017





this list ended up being all over the place, but i guess my taste in music is, too. playlist available here. let's get to it!


honorable mention:
bad nerves - "bad kid"
adult mom - "full screen"
NE-HI - "rattled and strange"


17. logic f/ alessia cara and khalid - "1-800-273-8255"



let's start on a super-depressing note, shall we? this is a total downer of a tune, but one that has a positive message at the end (and is catchy as hell). logic's bummed-out verses and chorus meets alessia cara's gorgeous vocals for a powerful song that sticks with you and provides a welcome reprieve from the vapidness of top 40 radio. the number in the title? that's the national suicide prevention hotline.


16. BLOXX - "coke"



for the past year or so, british indie rockers BLOXX have been quietly churning out singles--all of which i've loved--but this may be my favorite so far. this one is obviously about drugzzz but also maybe about infidelity?! the intrigue and mystery (courtesy of kickass frontwoman ophelia booth) are set to slightly dark, new-wavey instrumentals and i'm here for all of it.

15. harry styles - "meet me in the hallway" 



even though one direction has disbanded, you better believe that i'm continuing their legacy on this list through its individual members. the ever-enigmatic harry has always been my favorite; the resemblance to a young mick jagger, the cheeky sense of humor, the inexplicable tattoos and old soul quality. while i enjoyed his bowie-esque, larger-than-life single, "sign of the times," this one (the opening track of his debut album) caught my attention immediately for its haunting, ethereal vibe. this live version actually showcases that really well. come on, what other boy bander would have a song with the lyrics"give me some morphine"?! only mr. styles.

14. portugal. the man - "feel it still"



i've mentioned before that i was late to the game when it came to loving this song, and only really came around when a classic convertible started blasting it on the streets of NYC, inspiring an impromptu pedestrian dance party. as youtube commenters have pointed out, the chorus DOES have a lot of similarities to the marvelettes' 1961 classic "please mr. postman," but hey, 60% of music today is derivative, and i can think of many worse offenses.

13. post malone f/ 21 savage - "rockstar"




i feel like post malone invented his own hip-hop subgenre. like, i'll get into moods where only the smooth, chilled-out r&b stoner swagger of posty will do. i mean, he talks about fuckin' hos and poppin' pillies and then in the next breath references AC/DC's bon scott. the addition of 21 savage on this track injects just a biiiit more rap flavor into the whole debaucherous affair. also, every time i hear the absurd line, "they like, "savage, why you got a 12-car garage and you only got six cars?"" i chuckle and go "saaaaame!"

12. walk the moon - "kamikaze"



the walk the moon that i know and love is back! i was crazy about them when they first hit the big tine (in fact, "anna sun" was #1 on my 2012 list), but they started to lose me when all the basic bitches started singing "shut up and dance." :( fortunately, i'm really digging their new stuff--it's soulful, catchy indie pop that still has their unique flavor. this song stood out to me immediately as the grooviest of the bunch.

11. tristen - "glass jar"



DAT CHORUS, THO. besides being a total earworm, "glass jar" perfectly, subtly, and sweetly gives the middle finger to some terrible dude without sounding bitter at all. "i don't have to say goodbye/you don't get to see me cry/you put me in a glass jar and tap, tap, tap to see how i move." sing it, sister. and yes, that's jenny lewis on backing vocals if you were feeling the rilo kiley vibes.

10. cloud nothings - "up to the surface"



it's been so cool to see cloud nothings mature from lo-fi one-man indie band to a polished four-piece outfit without losing the originality that made it special from the beginning. their most recent album, life without sound, has been vastly underrated IMO, considering i haven't really read or heard much about it on best-of lists. but this song is wonderful and poignant and just really pretty.

9. kesha f/ the dap-kings horns - "woman"




she's back, baby! kesha's transformation from hot mess party girl to wise, um, woman this year made me so happy. she looks and sounds great, and it seems like she's finally making the music she really wants to. and, in 2017 of all years, this song resonates more than ever. the explicit chorus is nothing but empowering, and the dap-kings horns give it a little something extra special.

8. charly bliss - "glitter"



another fabulous female vocalist, eva hendricks fronts charly bliss with sweet, squeaky vocals (she reminds me of a more low-key kim shattuck of the muffs). but lemme tell ya, i saw them live in june, and she was jumping, kicking, and twirling around in a pink sequined prom dress the whole set. punk af. i loved this whole album, but the real talk in this song made it my favorite. who hasn't wanted to ask someone "am i the best? or just the first person to say yes?"

7. the obsessives - "it's ok if"



this lil' nugget, by shaggy-haired slacker indie duo the obsessives, is two minutes of pure fun. from that crunchy riff after the chorus to the playful "la la la la"s. plus, the adorable lyrics about crushin' hard on someone just make me swoon: "i like your lips/they look like somethin' botticelli would have wanted to paint back when the moon first put us to sleep." sigh.

6. ZAYN f/ PARTYNEXTDOOR - "still got time"



sorry, harry, but this one was a total banger and deserved to be much more popular than it was. basically, "still got time" is just super chill and perfect for the activities depicted in the video: smoking joints, wearing cool beanies from urban outfitters, making out with aloof skater dudes at a party. you can definitely hear zayn smirking as he sings, "this could be somethin' if you let it be somethin'" and "you're already used to the games, babe." like, yeah, he's super hot, but you know he absolutely takes 4 days to text you back and then replies, "sorry, just saw this." i digress. great song!

5. courtney barnett & kurt vile - "over everything" 




these two officially take the crown for my favorite rock 'n roll friendship, and this video might just be my favorite of the year. a much less toxic kurt and courtney, my man KV's goofball demeanor and freewheeling, meandering style are the perfect complement to barnett's stream-of-consciousness lyrics. they both have a sly, deadpan delivery that just works so well. mellowest musical power couple ever.

4. beck - "up all night"



man, i'm so glad that beck got over whatever he was going through during that whole somber sea change phase, because he's much more fun to be around now. "dreams" was on my 2015 list, and "up all night" has that same carefree, electro-pop feel that brings a smile to your face and just makes you wanna moooooove and flirt and whip your hair. i lost track of how many times i danced my little heart out in my apartment to that "living up in the air" part at the end, but it was A LOT.

3. shawn mendes - "there's nothin' holdin' me back"




to borrow a term from my 23 year-old coworker, this one is a "total bop." i've been a shawn mendes fan since "stitches," and i feel like the fact that he's canadian has a lot to do with that? what i mean is that all of his songs have a distinctly canadian quality in that they're somehow much cooler than a pop song by an american artist in a way i can't put my finger on. a less extreme musical version of trudeau and trump, if you will. this song was also hittin' hard during my june trip to seattle and portland and it made me feel v, v adventurous and free-spirited, so points for that.

2. state champs - "slow burn"




pop-punk lives!! “slow burn” is a prime example of a perfectly-executed tune within the genre. it’s got fuck-yeah chorus about a girl, obvs (with references to “everlong” and gettin’ it on, to boot) and lead singer derek discanio's voice has that essential slightly nasally quality. on a completely unrelated note, this video is extremely aesthetically pleasing and i want to hang out with these dudes so bad. listen to this one with the windows down.


1. greta van fleet - "edge of darkness"




some years, my #1 song just comes flying out of nowhere at the 11th hour, and this is one of those years. my friend mike had turned me onto greta van fleet a couple months ago, telling me i was going to love them if i hadn't heard of them already, because they were the second coming of led zeppelin. spoiler alert: he was right.

i liked them well enough at first. yet, it wasn't until this tune from their new EP came on my spotify "release radar" that i stopped in my tracks and did what i do every time i hear THE song: listen to it in my house, in my car, at the office, everywhere, all day long, for like a week. lead singer josh kiszka's voice is rich and classic, like the best parts of robert plant, grace slick, and geddy lee. even better, three of the four dudes are brothers, two are twins, and none are older than the age of 21. CARRY THE TORCH, BOYS! the chorus is grand and magical, and you can also play air guitar, air drums, and belt the fuck outta it (very important #1 song qualities).

as part of my obsessive ritual, i ended up falling into a youtube vortex and watching live GVF performances for way too long. this one is my favorite, not only because of the incredible outfits and mannerisms, but also the damn kid playing the damn guitar solo behind his damn back at 5:38. i don't care if it's the same as playing it normally, it looks so sick and you can't deny it. ok bye!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

stranger things


am i the only one who has a whole boatload of fond/funny memories that involve complete strangers and/or people that you only interacted with for a minute, an hour, an evening, and then never saw or talked to again? i can't be. i just wanted to take a few minutes to give a shout out to the randos that brought a smile to my face, made me laugh, or unknowingly introduced me to one of my favorite albums (see #1). thanks, complete strangers who will never read this! i love y'all. feel free to contribute your own "stranger things" in the comments.

1. the boy on my very premature college tour of fordham's lincoln center campus in 10th grade, who was wearing a strokes t-shirt, which prompted me to listen to is this it for the first time

2. the employee at my hometown's now defunct ghetto movie theater, premier 8, who disdainfully poured an absolutely grody-looking dixie cup of room-temperature buttery substance--that had probably been sitting on the counter for hours--on a kid's popcorn in front of him 

3. the spunky older couple who befriended gleni and i at arnaud's french 75 bar in new orleans and bought us drinks (pictured)

4. the panera cashier who shouted "kim possible!" at me for no apparent reason while i was paying for my food

5. the unidentified member of kentucky band parlour boys who once left a provocative comment on my myspace that just said "fucking beautiful"

6. on that note, the unidentified secret admirer who sent me a carnation in 7th grade on valentine's day
 
7. this super weird girl named ruthanne, that my roommate and i met at a halloween phantom planet show at BU, who tried to get us to stalk them in their dressing room with her

8. a fellow extra on the set of kevin james' here comes the boom who i bonded with during the 12-hour shoot because we were the only relatively normal people

9. the gutter punk in haight-ashbury, san francisco who pointed at me and said "you're GROOVY!" as i passed

10. a guy from craigslist named bernard arnest who responded to a personal ad i posted in college 
saying, "you seem an anachronism, and that's cool." he immediately inspired the creation of a british character that my roommate at the time and i still quote to this day, obvs. 

11. norwegian band the megaphonic thrift who shared a shuttle van with gleni and i at SXSW, joked about "irish whores" because it was st. patrick's day, and escaped with us into traffic because our driver had weird jesus paraphernalia everywhere

12. the street magician/balloon artist (nicknamed "tony balloons") who i met on a family trip to baltimore when i was like 8 and who was the subject of my college essay

13. the bar back/grill dude at robert's western world in nashville who suddenly ran out from behind the bar, jumped onstage to flawlessly cover muddy waters with a harmonica, and jumped offstage to return to burger duty again

Monday, October 16, 2017

day trip: salem, massachusetts





halloween is my second favorite holiday, right behind thanksgiving. i love the scary movies, the candy, the costumes, and general spookiness that accompanies the time leading up to and including the glorious night. so, it only makes sense that i would also love salem, aka halloween central. my first visit to the city was actually ON halloween night in 2009, and i was immediately smitten. since, i've been several times (both in october and otherwise, because it's a dope town regardless of its history). but i started getting that witch itch again last week, and my lovely friend katie accompanied me for a little sunday funday yesterday. i have to say, it was perhaps my favorite visit to date.

once we arrived by t and commuter rail (DO NOT DRIVE. I REPEAT, DO NOT DRIVE), we kicked things off with brunch at the brand new ledger restaurant & bar, which is located in the former salem savings bank downtown.


the place is owned by the proprietor of the fabulous blue ox in lynn (i know, lynn is scary, but i had lobster risotto there once that was absolutely worth risking my life). anyway, like its sister restaurant, ledger did not disappoint. of course, we ordered brunch cocktails--a downsized bloody mary for katie, and an apple pie mimosa for me. 


i forgot to take a picture of the open-faced smoked salmon english muffins we both got, but they came with breakfast potatoes and mixed greens and were absolutely delicious. things were off to a great start!

next up was a stop in front of the ropes mansion ... better known to us millennials as alison's house in hocus pocus. we wandered through the gorgeous garden in the back of the property, and i was reminded that i'm old now because i care about flowers. :(




we then took a stroll down historic chestnut street, which is home to some of the most beautiful homes in town. leaves were falling and a breeze was blowing and it felt so perfectly fall i just wanted to cry into a mug of mulled cider.




and then! we saw those two magical words: open house. the couple who was walking behind us was talking about checking it out as well, but the girlfriend was all "the broker is going to ask us questions." i turned around immediately. "you don't owe them ANYTHING! let's all go in." and so we did.



y'all. this house will haunt my memory forever, it was so damn creepy. there were three floors of what seemed like eight rooms each, two kitchens, a million fireplaces, terrible floral wallpaper all over the place, and a weird-ass painted bathtub. at one point i honestly felt like we might not make it out so we took a selfie for posterity.


i'm shuddering just thinking about how eerie it was. to top it all off? it was nathaniel hawthorne's former home. that shit is 1000% haunted. but it was certainly an unforgettable and uniquely salem experience, so there's that.

after escaping the house of horrors, we made our way to the essex street pedestrian mall, which is full of artisan vendors, costumed characters offering photo ops, and top-notch people-watching. you can truly feel the energy of salem so i'd recommend that any first-time visitor take a stroll down here.


i'm not a big jewelry person, but when i see something super special, i gotta have it. such was the case with this gorgeous citrine pendant, handmade by the lovely ladies of freyja jewels, which i'm now obsessed with. they bill themselves as selling "mystical adornments for the modern goddess" and i'm all about that. oh, and that's a snail on top, because why wouldn't it be?


our last stop was the famed house of the seven gables. i'd somehow never been, and it seemed like the most worthy of all of the salem tourist traps (confirmed: very worthy). we grabbed some bomb iced coffee at nearby derby joe, and got on with it.


the house was so interesting and cool, and the woman that inherited the house in the 1800s, susanna ingersoll (nathaniel hawthorne's second cousin, natch), is my new role model. dig this: she ran her own business, turned down like 12 marriage proposals so she could keep all of her family money, and adopted a son by herself. ladies is pimps too.

they said no photos, but you're talking to a girl who snuck a selfie in the sistine chapel, so:


if you've never been to salem in october and have the opportunity to go, i highly recommend it! it's a quirky, crazy town that's a little bit spooky, a little bit campy, and a whole lot of fun.



Sunday, October 8, 2017

5 things i love right now


1. the collaboration between kurt vile and courtney barnett



pure joy and loveliness. a much less toxic kurt and courtney, KV & CB make meandering, beautiful autumnal music that's refreshing and familiar all at the same time. i especially love this video for their newest single, "continental breakfast," because it's so real and kurt's such a goof and his daughters are the cutest. imagine kurt vile being your dad, man.

2. pumpkin spice brulee oolong tea from teavana
OH GOD, I'VE BECOME A PUMPKIN PERSON. the mere thought of a pumpkin spice latte is enough to make me puke, and i'm extremely discriminatory when it comes to all other pumpkin incarnations. but i was shopping with my mom last weekend, and can't resist a good free sample, so i tried a lil' cup of this elixir at teavana and immediately spent a billion dollars on a tin of it in loose leaf form. it's somehow...creamy? and tastes like frolicking through foliage and snuggling in a blanket with a hot bearded guy. i know i'm not making sense, but that's what this tea has done to me. i'm obsessed.

3.  this new show, kevin probably saves the world


i'm typically into anything involving jason ritter, and this new show is no exception. the premise is silly, but interesting: "Kevin, a down-on-his-luck man, is tasked by God with a mission to save the world." a premise which is amusingly similar to the premise of one of the first shows he was on, joan of arcadia. regardless, the pilot had wit and charm and was super heartwarming, so i'm a fan thus far.

4. these apple pie bites i made today


i ain't much of a cook, but i DO love baking. partially because it's strangely therapeutic, and partially because i get to eat the fruits of my labor. and in this case, actual fruit. heyyyo. i found this recipe during a pinterest spree last week, and it seemed easy enough: crescent rolls filled with a mixture of brown sugar and apple pie spice, chopped pecans, and butter-dipped apple slices. 10 minutes in the oven, and bam. a homemade dessert that's fall af (and delicious af).

5. this dance routine to portugal. the man's "feel it still"



so, i didn't really "get" this song until about a month ago when i had just arrived in new york city for the weekend. as i lugged my bag with me to the subway station, a classic car rolled by, BLASTING it, and everyone on the sidewalk--myself included--instinctively started dancing. it felt like a movie scene IRL, and since then, i think of that joyful moment every time i hear it. this choreography perfectly captures that joy; i was smiling from ear to ear the entire time, and i hope you are, too.

Monday, September 18, 2017

around town: lynch family skatepark


it all started with a video game called tony hawk: pro skater 2. i was about 14 or 15, and babysitting for my next-door neighbor's kid, whose only interest seemed to be playing the game. i didn't mind one bit; this was my first exposure to the world of skateboarding, and i was immediately hooked.

i soon became privy to mctwists and ollies, and familiar with names like bob burnquist, bucky lasek, and andy macdonald (all ancient skating royalty these days). i actually went so far as to buy a board and try to teach myself for, ohh, about two weeks before admitting defeat and settling for being an enthusiastic fan. however, i am not ashamed to admit that i've dragged my poor friends to the dew tour with me multiple times, plan my schedule around the x games every year, can quote lords of dogtown line-for-line (RIP heath ledger, RIP jay adams) and hope to one day have a son that i can force into the sk8r boi lifestyle. kidding! or am i?

the point of all of this is that i've recently decided to take photography more seriously, and noticed that a photography group i'm in was having a meetup at lynch family skatepark in cambridge, one of the biggest and best of its kind on the east coast. in other words: hiiiighly relevant to all of my interests. so, i grabbed my lil' canon powershot and headed on up. on the real: we spent two hours there, but i could have easily spent all day, i had so much fun. not only did i get to witness some insane talent, but the guys (and three girls!!) had some big personalities, and most of them totally ate up the fact that they had a captive audience watching their every move. case in point: bro in the black pantera shirt messing up a trick, screaming "I'M SO SICK OF THIS SHIT!" and slamming his board down to the shock and amusement of onlookers. i didn't really know what to do with my favorite of the ohhhh, 200 or so pictures i took, so i'm throwing them on here. as you'll see, some of the ones i enjoyed the most were the candid, non-action shots. can someone pay me for this, please?!













side note: this blonde guy was totally my muse, which is why the next couple pictures are of him. quintessential tan skater-surfer dude.




 





 



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

40ish hours in new york



FRIDAY

remind me to never, EVER take megabus again. while i've taken bolt the past few years with success, the available times just didn't work for me this time around, and amtrak was like a zillion dollars. so, despite having multiple negative experiences--which included being stuck at a rest stop for more than 2 hours during one ride, and the bus driver shaking down passengers for money to pay for an oil change on another, i swallowed my pride and went with mega. we were an hour and a half late arriving in the city, the bus smelled, and i. just. couldn't.

my only source of amusement was this obviously insane girl who kept going "teehee!" every time her phone made noise as if she had no clue how to put it on vibrate, started writing on a roll of paper towels, and then proceeded to flat iron her (most likely fake) hair. i pretty much just rocked back and forth and listened to "legit tattoo gun" by the front bottoms on repeat for six hours.

once i finally got to brooklyn (at nearly 10pm), we wandered to this lovely little pizza place called wheated in ditmas park and i filled my face with whiskey, meatballs, and cheese. i would claim i was eating my feelings about the bus experience, but y'all know i would have done this anyway. there was also a very distinguished man at the bar who looked like a hipper kenny loggins and he just had such a PRESENCE. that's neither here nor there. just wanted to mention it.




then, it was beers on the back porch of this cozy, adorable, and low-key neighborhood joint called hinterlands bar down the street. kenny loggins was ALSO at the bar here! what a guy.


SATURDAY

after grabbing coffees at a hole-in-the-wall pakistani bakery near gleni's place, we strolled to brunch at the farm on adderley (which is neither a farm nor on adderley street, natch). the walk took us through this quaint, residential neighborhood that almost felt like the garden district in new orleans. big, well-kept, multi-family houses, including this one with some fake geese chillin' on the roof.



back to brunch, though. it was pretty good, but the highlight was seeing alia shawkat (of arrested development and search party...and the episode of broad city where she hooks up with ilana). i didn't even realize it was her at first, only noticing her male companion's absolutely terrible-looking bandana. celebs: they're not even as cool as us!


while it wasn't quite warm enough for the beach, we popped down to coney island for the afternoon.




  


first up were the art walls, and we spent aboooouut an hour posing in front of the RIOT one. i'm so bummed i didn't capture the moment when there were three girls in a row, just takin' selfies.





next up was the wonder wheel. we went for a swinging car and oh MAN did it swing. good old-fashioned fun.


after some hard orange cream ale and root beer at the freak bar, we decided to give into the gimmick and get tickets for the freak show. er, sorry, the circus sideshow if you wanna get real PC about it.





BEST $10 I'VE EVER SPENT. but for real, i had zero expectations for the show and it was so. much. fun. i figured that it would be all smoke and mirrors at a place like coney island, but y'aaaaall. we weren't allowed to take pictures or video, but it was a solid 45 minutes, and we saw:

-a little person shove an ice pick into his nasal cavity
-the same little person swallow an entire long balloon (like, it disappeared down his throat and we never saw it again)
-a guy who called himself "jelly boy the clown" swallow like 5 different swords, and later, pull a guy in a wheelchair across the stage with fish hooks hanging from the bottom of his eyes. the ONLY "clown" i've ever enjoyed, which is huge for me
- a contortionist pull his body through an empty tennis racket and do other insane things with his joints
-a tattooed hipster chick eat fire and set flame to her arms and tongue multiple times

i highly, highly encourage going if you find yourself at coney. it was like a live, more macabre version of a jackass episode. what i'm saying is that it was highly relevant to my interests and i loved every minute of it.

on the walk back home later that afternoon, we stopped into windsor coffee, which was a goddamn instagram dream and had half-priced pastries. hi, nutella scone!



the evening began with frose and tacos at el atoradero, a solid, intimate mexican joint in prospect heights.

then it was onto a cocktail bar called the bearded lady. i couldn't quite figure out the vibe here--it was a little retro, a little tiki--but it was totally fun and i dug it. the very strong "painkiller" cocktail didn't hurt, either.



we migrated to a party at gleni's friend's apartment around the corner, which was adorable. it should also be noted that this entire evening was supposed to be an all-female gathering called the "clam jam" and obviously there was a gorgeous poster designed for it, because it's brooklyn.


the night ended as all nights should: hanging out with a dog, drinking wine, doing the dougie, and listening to a playlist that included harry styles, natalie imbruglia, and the bodeans ("closer to free" is still such a jam).

SUNDAY 

soooo, a kind of major life event happened on sunday. as many of you know, i'm adopted, and upon meeting my birth parents (separately) at age 21, discovered that i have not 1, not 2, but 9 half-siblings. i know! long story short, i connected with one of my sisters via social media last year, who is in her second year at FIT, and we decided to meet up!




we grabbed breakfast at the grey dog in nolita and got to know each other a little better, went to a vintage shop (because we obviously both love thrifting) and then ducked into another cafe, oficina 1m, when it started to downpour outside. she's wonderful and there's absolutely no question (physically and otherwise) that we're biologically related. case in point: i instinctively went to take a photo of my cute cappuccino, and she goes "let's give it some color," swiftly moving the little flower vase into the shot. i'm so, so glad we got to meet, and it was a great end to the trip.



just remind me to take amtrak next time, okay?