Thursday, April 29, 2021

The day I became a man.

The scene was Annapolis, Maryland, in a Catholic high school freshman english class, sometime around 1986. As the teacher went around the room calling roll call on the first day of class, we were supposed to answer with our preferred nickname, if we had one.

TEACHER: James [start trying to pronounce my last name]

ME: I go by Jimmy.

TEACHER: Boys are named Jimmy, men are named Jim.

ME: Jim it is!

And that is how I became a man.

Friday, April 09, 2021

St. Vincent's got me very stoked about her new album.

It's been a week since I heard the second song teasing St. Vincent's forthcoming Daddy's Home, and it's still stuck in my brain. Maybe it's the obvious Bolan + Bowie nods mixed with a weird psychedelic California vibe that makes me such a sucker for this track? Which is a little funny since the album is supposed to be very "New York," at least according to the narrative around it. But who cares? It sounds great! 

My personal history with Annie Clark goes back years and years to my initial shrugs at her early singer-songwriter, more straightforward indie efforts, but ever since her fourth self-titled album I have loved experiencing each step of her evolution. Early signs point to this being the album I always wanted from St. Vincent, even if I never knew it before now. I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Dancing in the sunshine with Psymon Spine.

Photo by Rachel Cabitt
Psymon Spine just really, really wants you to dance yrself ... into a frenzy. 

I've been trying to write about this album for months now, and kept running down an LCD Soundsystem rabbit hole since Psymon Spine clearly considers Murphy and his crew—and the general NYC scene of the early aughts—major influences. But music criticism 101 basically states that it's lazy to bring up other bands when making comparisons, so I kept struggling. It's not that Psymon Spine isn't their own band, with their own sound, but there is no way a tune like "Currents," which fires up halfway through the album, isn't gonna make you do a double-take and wonder if this is an unreleased LCD Soundsystem b-side.

Now that we've got that out of the way, it is important to state again that while Psymon Spine may have obvious influences, they are wholly their own band. And on Charismatic Megafauna they take you on a very particular journey. Lots of wobbly synths paired with steady rhythms initially dominate the music, but this ain't easy listening. They're just buttering you up and getting you comfortable so that when the dance party kicks in, your limbs are all relaxed jelly and ready to go with the beat. It's like a sunny autumnal mood slowly giving way to a hot summer night party, and you are ALL IN.

But this is also an album for the headphone set! There are all kinds of little production touches, creating the sensation you're really in a shared space and sounds keep popping out from various sonic corners to tickle your ears. It's a delight.

I just picked this up on vinyl this week, so if none of the above sways you, maybe the knowledge that even I plunked down my hard-earned cash for this album will be a strong endorsement to get you to give it a listen!