Vermont is known as pretty hippie place, bestowing upon the world its far out gifts in the form of Phish, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and socialist Senator Bernie Sanders. Some of those crazy hippies in Burlington (that’s the ‘big city’ in Vermont) apparently heard My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive at some point and bought some guitar pedals so they could start a shoegaze band called Sleeping In. And then they emailed me to see if I’d be interested in posting their stuff. And now, after sleeping on it for a month…
I’m actually planning on hitting up Burlington at the end of the month to get away from NYC for a couple days and do some creative writing, so if anyone wants to give a blogger a place to chill, hit me up.
Omar Souleyman‘s work has been oddly embraced by the Western independent dance and rock communities seemingly since Pitchfork started writing about his Sublime Frequencies-released albums about five or six years ago. It makes sense, though, that considering how much the West hears and talks about the Middle East and how little most Westerners actually understand its people and culture, that open-minded communities would look for an artist who could serve as a musical link between worlds. Souleyman has, for many, become just that, and as a result, the Syrian artist has gone from singing at weddings to playing international rock clubs and festivals, and working with acclaimed producers Four Tet and Modeselektor. Bahdeni Nami, his new album on the latter’s label Monkeytown, comes out July 27th, and Souleyman will be hitting up Le Poisson Rouge on May 22nd (with Toronto freak folk duo Tasseomancy, who are also great).
So far my favourite punk album of 2015 is without a doubt Hamilton, Ontario-based Black Baron‘s debut full-length Abject Skin. It drops may 26th on Bloodmoss Records. The band’s lo-fi mix of mangled vocals and melodic chorus-drenched guitar is just really badass.
Friend of the site and Ontario-based naturalist psych-folk artist Man meets Bear returns with a new album, Huronian Cadence, May 5th via his own Ur label. Following the band-ready Buffalo Comets and the folkier, mostly-acoustic Waagaaskingaa, Huronian Cadence finds Man meets Bear in fairly adventurous, experimental form, playing around with his usual aesthetics as well as new electronic and drone elements.
I was at MOCCA (Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art) Fest last weekend and it was glorious. There were two or three floors of independent comics, a little exhibit of great comic artwork, and a beautiful rooftop where everyone could chill, read, talk, and enjoy the spring. I would’ve loved to just stay there and soak it all in for hours but unfortunately my law school reading doesn’t read itself But while I was there I picked up a couple comics, including one that I loved too much to pass up: Jeremy Nguyen‘s Stranger Than Bushwick. (It didn’t hurt that he said I looked like Liev Schreiber, who I think is a super cool actor)
Stranger Than Bushwick is a short, humorous comic of little vignettes depicting life in Bushwick in 2015. So basically, yeah, it’s making fun of hipsters, but it does so from the ground floor of hipsterdom – which is basically what Bushwick is right now – so it’s not just the general stereotypes, but specifically Bushwick hipsters under the microscope. It also pays a lot of attention to the hook up culture in Bushwick, and let’s be honest, that’s what most peeps in their 20s (or early 30s) are most concerned with.
While Nguyen is poking fun at everything from the increasing ‘whiteness’ of the neighbourhood to the never-ending issues around paying rent in New York, he also can’t help but capture some of the beauty of Bushwick life, like the scrappy way in which life functions, especially with regard to parties, dating and art.
You can see many of Nguyen’s comics here at Bushwick Daily.