2010-Death and Re-Birth at the end of the Century’s first Decade

In my entire 27 years of living there has not been another year that has been as equally challenging  and rewarding as 2010.  Aside from moving around from job to job and struggling to find creative inspiration, I have also watched as my and all of my friend’s lives have been challenged in similar fashions.  The romantic DNA of 2010 has been the most tangled and complicated I’ve borne witness to.  The relationships of those closest to me were all set upon by a cosmic clouding these last 12 months that has made consistent engagement and a tracking of time close to impossible.  It is the general census of most of those around me that this year has been hard to re-cap in terms of things that happened outside of ourselves.  While we all seem to remember where we were when shit hit the fan and where the revelations our collective and individual healing processes have brought forth started to take place, we find it harder remembering when certain movies, albums, songs, art openings, theatrical events and other artistic and/or public happenings went down.  This is detrimental to creating an end of the year list that’s in any way comprehensive because unlike other years where art events serve as touchstones to my emotional life, this year that logic was reversed.

The main thing I will say in 2010’s favor is that it is by far the most present I have felt in a long while.  While I don’t wish any sort of overarching hardships for me or for any of my favorite people in the universe, the timing of the events this year that resulted in a psychic domino effect beginning at the start of summer and trailing us all right up into the holidays, has fused us all closer together as a unit than I had ever formerly thought possible.  In the background of our crisises and at the forefront of our celebrations, here is some of what we were listening to.

My ten most re occurring favorites of 2010 in ascending order:

After the Jump…

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Ecstatic Music Festival: Experimentations in Music

We’re going to be covering the Ecstatic Music Festival!

This winter, more than 150 composers, songwriters and performers re-defining contemporary music come together for collaborations exploring the fertile terrain between classical and popular music. The 15-concert festival kicks off with a FREE 7-hour marathon on Monday, January 17, 2011 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) from 2-9 pm. You can get subscription good for the entire event or purchase single tickets.

Artists like Dan Deacon, Owen Pallet, and Nico Muhly have committed to playing the festival + so many more! We are really honored to get the pleasure of covering the event, and obviously hope those we hold dear are able to join us as we celebrate the diversity of music and the joy of song. JT has been trying to get me to a Dan Deacon show for ages and ages, and I’ve wanted to go, but something has always prevented me from being able to go. Surely this time I will make it to the show! The Ecstatic Music Festival is pushing artists to offer audiences something artists don’t normally get the chance to do, experiment. This isn’t just another night of parroting one-hit-wonders, nope, this will be an experience to remember. Continue reading

Owen Pallett (formerly Final Fantasy) live at Webster Hall!

When I last checked in with Owen Pallett, his band was still called Final Fantasy and he was playing with the Brooklyn Philharmonic at BAM opening up for a little Brooklyn band called Grizzly Bear.  The show was promising, but at times the full orchestra felt a bit bombastic playing against instead of in support of Pallett’s overtly theatrical and melodramatic songwriting.  Pallett’s choices for orchestration on record are consistently spot on and his confessional, sometimes nearly whispered vocal stylings were lost at times under the sound of all those loud, lush interments.  He was not swallowed alive however and his performance left me in a very hopeful place.

A few months ago Pallett decided to change Final Fantasy’s name to his own and he released a new full length record, “Heartland,” to impressive critical response under his new moniker. This past Thursday night, Pallett played at New York’s Webster Hall to a full but easy to sift through crowd, playing many songs solo and being joined for others on guitar, percussion and vocals by the extremely talented Thomas Gill.  Prior to Thursday night I felt myself really liking his new album, but finding it hard to fall in love with as deeply did with his previous full length “He Poo’s Clouds.”  I’d realized that the album had an evolved sense of confidence and that it pushed his music forward in terms of both production and conceptual structure.  I’d also realized that it contained a beautiful and deft  sense of confidence that is unquestionably an improvement from his earlier work, but there was still something that wasn’t clicking.  Thursday’s performance however changed all of that for me.  The immediacy of the new “Heartland” material in this stripped down setting, with spot on sound and a devoted audience was exactly what I needed to see in order to “get” what I’d been missing.

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Utah’s Newest Saint – Boy of Bark

Shaun Saunders (aka Boy of Bark) added me one day on myspace probably about a year back. Since it was myspace I was prepared for the worst (let’s be serious here), so I was shocked and amazed when I actually liked it… a lot. Then I was equally thrown about when I realized he was living in SLC Utah… UTAH? I’m sure I have a prejudice because their Mormons just won an election that took away the civil rights of gay people in the state that I live in, but I’ve always imagined Utah to be terrifying. He sounds like he should be from Portland, Brooklyn, Seattle, Chicago or the Bay Area. However, he explained to me once that he did live in the Bay Area for a short period of time, but moved back. Huh? I didn’t get it so I had to ask. Continue reading