Caroline Polachek Acoustic

Caroline played an intimate solo piano set in support of her new album Pang. The show was quite a contrast to the elaborate production at Bowery last year and the night before at Warsaw. I’ve already given my accolades on her album giving it the #1 slot for both song and album on my best of list. This performance was very special and quite magical the way her songs translated acoustically. Although the album came out in 2019 I finally got my hands on the vinyl release which was held up due to manufacturing  issues. No videos were allowed but below is a clip that comes close to capturing the performance. And be sure to check out her 1st TV appearance on Jimmy Kimmel.

My Top Songs of 2019

20. “Darjeeling”Barrie
19. “Rocket Fuel”DJ Shadow, De La Soul
18. “Lover”Noah Gunderson
17. “Darkness & Cold”Purple Mountains
16. “Kids in the Dark”Bat For Lashes
15. “Wasted Nun”Cherry Glazer
14. “Pink & Blue”Tycho, Saint Sinner, RAC
13. “Bruise”Yumi Zouma
12. “Ultrafiche of You”Com Truise
11. “Everyday”Weyes Blood
10. “Easy”Chaud
9. “Saying Goodbye”J.S. Ondara
8. “Con Altura”ROSALÍA, J Balvin, El Guinicho
7. “Not”Big Thief
6. “No Way Sit Back”And The Kids
5. “Harmony Hall”Vampire Weekend
4. “Far From Born Again”Alex Cameron
3. “Uncomfortably Numb”American Football
2. “Blood of the Fang”clipping.
1. “Pang”Caroline Palochek

Listen to the rest of the top 100 songs here on Spotify
Doublehalo best of 2019 

There was so much great music this year, its almost impossible to fit it all onto an arbitrarily numbered list.
Here’s another playlist of all the amazing tunes I also absolutely loved

More from 2019

Best Band Name Award: Ringo Deathstarr

If you liked the bands and hopefully introduced to new sounds, go and support them! Buy their music, merch, or better yet, see them live!

Happy New Year !!!
Very exited for what the next decade will bring.
As always, thanks for listening

My Best Albums of 2019

10. Purple Mountains – Self-Titled 
Heartbreak, grief, and disappointment. David Berman comes back after a long hiatus and then leaves us forever. The world will miss you.

9. Anamanaguchi – [USA] 
Bitpop, chiptune, digital soundjams. I never want to leave the video game world they created.

8. Freddie Gibbs, Madlib – Bandana
What do you expect when Freddie & Madlib get together? They just bring the best out of each other. Gritty and smooth at the same time.

7. Lightning Bolt – Sonic Citadel
Loud and punishing but still fun and melodic. Move fast, break everything. We need more intensity in this world. This band brings it.

6. Weyes Blood – Titanic Rising
Ambitious baroque pop with incredible production. Natalie Mering creates a fantasy full of magic and daydreams. Album is so lush you can feel it.

5. Alex Cameron – Miami Memory
A slight departure from his previous 2 albums that I loved, Miami Memory celebrates a 70’s soft rock sound. Alex does a good job of painting different personas but this release has an obvious lean into his own life with actress Jemima Kirke. The album is tender, playful and triumphant. The entertaining narrator explores love and masculinity through his male perspective by the use of witty pop songs. The way Alex expresses himself and doesn’t shy away from anything is admirable and alarming. The album is a non romantic celebration of love and truth. His live shows match his jubilation with a compelling on-stage persona and delightful dance moves. One of the most entertaining shows of the year.

4. black midi – Schlagenheim
Despite being named after a dense computer crashing composition, this uk-based debut album only borrows the disorienting feeling that the music genre produces. It is explosive, energetic and challenging. The band takes cues from mathematical noise rock and experimental post punk but fuse these genres into something bizarre and new. Because there are familiar musical qualities one can latch on to, when the band goes anarchistic into uncharted dark inhuman sounds there is still a sense of control in the uncontrollable. The album is full of detours but always returns to a creative center. The album is bold and reckless balancing vulnerability and chaos.

 3. Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell!
The sixth studio album is full of her best melodies to date. Blending allusive and romantic songs for this modern age we live in. Much like how the painter Rockwell depicted American life in highly stylized scenes, Del Ray depicts moments of old Hollywood, summertime and hope weaving them into a atmospheric personification of the American Dream. There is a Hemingway-esque quality to the songs with deliberate syllables and sounds which heighten the emotional tension contained within. It’s an honest masterpiece full unfiltered beauty, emotion and heartbreak.

2. clipping. – There Existed an Addiction to Blood
Clipping. always hits my “best of” lists, but this is the first time the band has delivered an album full of deep and powerful cuts. This release takes cues and draws inspiration from elements of horror and the occult. With this diabolical theme, Daveed and company is able to use anxiety to heighten the intensity of the songs. There Existed an Addiction to Blood has several layers of meaning seeping throughout, from invoking fear of your fellow man to exposing how we are all under siege. The album is a manifestation of the seemingly nightmarish times we seem to living in and the band’s sounds and lyrics invite this confrontation. The final 18 minutes is the sound of a piano burning (created by avant-garde Annea Lockwood) and it is a fitting end for such an apocalyptical album. A final scene that we would expect from a journey full of horror, pain and rage. The vinyl design on this release also matches the mood of the album.

 1. Caroline Palochek – Pang
Caroline Palochek has an uncanny ability to lure you into her unique musical world. Pang is her first album under her own name since ending Chairlift and although apprehensive at first, Caroline delivered a wondrous art pop album. She takes you on a journey from sweeping symphonic songs to intricate and delicate melodies. The album had its share of tension, pain and remorse but also intense bliss. Her enchanting voice guides you through such varied songs that can be natural or synthetic. Pang has such a musical range and is full of new surprises on every listen.

 

2019 Concert spotlights.

The Memorable

Daughters at Warsaw
I didn’t see how it was possible for Daughters to capture the intense mood and sense of dread that is found on their latest album. Listening to You Won’t Get What You Want drags you to such a state of unease anxiety, that a live setting would feel awkward. Boy was I wrong. The band pulled off the complicated abstract shrills in front of a ravenous crowd. The energy was palpable and downright scary being surrounded by possessed bodies.

clipping. at Zone One
Clipping previewed their new album to the smaller stage at Elsewhere. They played a tight set of their experimental hip-hop, including some of from their yet to be released There Existed an Addiction to Blood. Sharp dynamics and a great crowd.

Caoline Polachek at Bowery Ballroom
I was excited to see a live performance by Caroline as I was already immersed in the world of her new album Pang. The new songs came alive and made me appreciate them in an entirely different light. Her stage presence and visual backdrops were beautiful and technically clever. She plays again in January.

Ken Stringfellow at Mercury Lounge
Touched came out on a dubious release date of 9/11/2001. A day for me filled with confusion and sadness. Despite the timing, Ken’s album came out it exactly at the time we needed. The album was filled with songs of grief and healing. I was unsure of many things that week including whether anything would be back to normal. When Ken decided to play in NY nine days later it was the beginning of a return to something familiar and feeling safe. As the city still smoldered, Ken played an emotional set to about 50 people that were encapsulated with sadness but also needed some comfort. For Mercury Lounge’s 25th Anniversary Ken revisited Touched to reconnect with a city and to bring songs of the celebration of life, renewal, resilience and joy.

Youth Code at Elsewhere
Youth Code gave one of their best performances I’ve seen from them and gave one of the most intense shows of the year. They brought a total assault with their relentless energy. The set was full of their aggressive tracks as well as unveiling some incredible new ones.

Honorable Mentions

JPGMAFIA at Music Hall of Williamsburg
Sold out, sweaty, frenetic show. A one man tour de force who did not disappoint.

The Forgettable

Health at Elsewhere
I was very excited to catch HEALTH live supporting their solid V4. Slaves of Fear. However the lack of charisma and energy made the show boring, especially after being upstaged by openers Youth Code. HEALTH shows usually contain an intensity that makes their music even more captivating. They played one of the best shows ever at Market Hotel in 2016 but this show was a far departure from that. The sound, performance and crowd never really reached the frenetic pace you’d expect. They closed the evening with Youth Code coming out to play Innocence (my fav song of 2018) and was the only redeeming moment by blasting out the best closer of any show.

Black Midi at Warsaw
I unfortunately had to walk out on Black Midi. The sound at Warsaw was terrible and the live performance was bland and sloppy. Disappointed that the band couldn’t match the beautiful elements found on Schlagenheim, one of my favorite albums of this year.

2019 Aug-Nov: “Me and my melee and my melodrama”

It’s the home stretch!

So many great albums came out these past few months to close out the year it’s hard to keep up! This year’s Best List is going to be especially hard.

But before that chaos ensues, let’s take a look at who’s coming to town.

JPEGMAFIA drooped a new album and hits us with 2 shows. His last album was on my top 10 of 2018 and excited to see him live. I’ll be at the Williamsburg show.

Black Midi hits Warsaw with their incredible new album.

Guerilla Toss has a wild & wacky new EP record release at Trans-Pecos.

Alex Cameron plays Webster Hall and it is going to be awesome.

An intense double bill of Daughters & Health at Brooklyn Steel. I caught both bands already this year with Daughters playing one of the best shows and Health playing one of the worst shows, so I guess I’m 50/50 on this one.

Looking ahead to 2020, Caroline Polachek continues to tour under her new album Pang that is getting better on every listen. I was lucky to catch her last week and I might have to see her again.

Michael Kiwanuka’s album released a few days ago and it’s pretty wonderful so far.

full concert list
https://bit.ly/2GwlCOo

 

dh 2019_4 Aug – Nov playlist

Monster turns 25

Monster turns 25

I vividly remember hearing the opening guitar riff on What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? on Mtv. Back then that platform was one of the main ways I found out about new releases. By this time, I was already a huge R.E.M. fan and eager to see where their 9th record was going to go. The video encapsulated a new direction for the band while also making a commentary to their fame. Monster came out during an interesting age of media and music and its analysis is  sprinkled throughout the album. Despite it’s negative reception I immediately embraced its uniqueness and listening to it again, the songs hold up pretty strong. Definitely worth revisiting these songs again and the re-issue is physically beautiful.