Sunday, April 14, 2019

Foals @ Brooklyn Steel (4/14/2019)



Preamble rant...  Seeing shows in NYC is kind of a pain.  Brooklyn Steel is less than 5 miles from my apartment, but it takes about an hour to get there via public transportation...especially when the MTA changes the subway routes/schedules due to weekend work.  Between that and my poorly picked spot in the crowd standing behind a group of giant (plausible basketball or volleyball player) dudes and next to a couple of groups of pot-smokers, the show started off with me feeling that I was getting too old for this concert-going business.

But after a good show and a fairly breezy journey home (pretty good timing on the subway, which was running the normal route by then), my mood has improved.  But not enough for a lengthy post - it's still pretty late.

I will give props to Foals for playing a lot of their older classics (though only one of my favorites) along with most of the new album (which is pretty strong, though a bit of a change in style).  Speaking of which, the new songs came off well.  They had lots of energy, and I think an extra couple of performers on stage.  Good stuff.

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Rating: 4.5/5

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Top Albums of 2018

Following a previous down year, 2018 was the downest of years in music for me.  According to my Last.fm statistics, I listened to less music in 2018 than I had in any other year since I joined the service in 2007.  These days my commutes are dominated by podcasts (I keep adding new ones, and have a hard time keeping up with the stream of episodes), and I can't really get into listening to music while at work.  So my music listening is mostly relegated to a bit of the time spent on my computer at home or on the weekends.  I still try to keep up with some of my usual avenues of discovering new music, but I seem destined to be stuck in the past in terms of music appreciation; who knows whether that will change at all this year.

Therefore...  In lieu of a meticulously considered ranking of favorite albums from last year, I will instead simply list some that I found noteworthy.  With no indication of which I thought were better than others.  I simply didn't listen to them enough to really form a decent opinion.  My main purpose in making these lists is to be able to look back in the future to get a sense of what I was really into in terms of music; maybe this will still be helpful in that regard.  I should note that having quantitative stats from Last.fm is also really good for retrospecting.  Anyway, here's the "list":

Mimicking Birds - Layers of Us
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan - Dirt
Exitmusic - The Recognitions
Hearts Hearts - Goods/Gods
Beach House - 7
Big Red Machine - Big Red Machine
Low - Double Negative
Lupe Fiasco - DROGAS WAVE
Rubblebucket - Sun Machine
Mirah - Understanding
Mumford & Sons - Delta
Jacob Banks - Village
Foxing - Nearer My God

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Mike Birbiglia's The New One @ Cort Theatre (1/12/2019)

Mike Birbiglia's new comedy special has a 3+ month long stint on Broadway - a pretty amazing accomplishment.  And I think the show is deserving of it.  I didn't know anything about the show going into it, and I'm not sure if that made it fresher or not.  You can read reviews about it online (e.g., this one) if you want to know more, but that may (or may not) spoil a couple of the surprises.  I'll just say that Mike really hits his stride doing his trademark autobiographical story-telling with plenty of funny anecdotes and a couple of profound moments mixed in.  I really enjoyed it, and Fran was in stitches the whole time.