Sunday, October 10, 2021

James Blake @ Radio City Music Hall (10/9/2021)


This was my first concert since the pandemic started, and I took Fran along with me. It was also my first show using the continuously refreshing ticket barcodes from the Ticketmaster app - seems like a solid strategy to combat ticket scams, but time will tell how effective it is (and there are probably downsides that I'm ignoring, like requiring a smartphone).

Notable points include:

  • Personal favorites "Life Round Here", "Mile High", and "Retrograde" were played, though I would have liked a couple more. The "Retrograde" hum part was live looped, and each time it played you could hear the crowd's wild reaction upon recognizing the song at the beginning.
  • The live performances helped me dig a couple of tunes off the just released (the day before) new album even more - "Famous Last Words", "Foot Forward", "Life is not the Same".
  • There was a bit of a dance party interlude for a couple of songs. Fran really appreciated the opportunity to get up and dance. In general she really liked the show, and enjoyed that many of the songs threw in unexpected aspects.
  • James had nice banter with some good humor and showed a lot of appreciation for the crowd.

Setlist here.


Rating: 4.4/5

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Top albums of 2020

As I write this, I realize that the last time I posted to this (or any) blog was the top albums list a year ago. I guess 2020 killed the 2 things that I still blog about these days - concerts and trips. 2020 was also not a great year in music listening for me. While I listened to more music than in 2019 (total # tracks up 101%), my new music discovery rate was much lower (down ~45%, depending on the metric used; and has some great metrics for this). I think this is because a significant percentage of my listens were from my "Running" playlist, which includes a lot of my favorite songs that I play on shuffle - I tried to take on running (really, short slow jogging) this year since I didn't have soccer leagues to keep me active.
As I did for 2018, I'm not going to rank the albums this year. This will just be a list of notable albums I enjoyed that were released this year.

Torres - Silver Tongue
String Orchestra of Brooklyn - afterimage
Tame Impala - The Slow Rush
Grimes - Miss Anthropocene
Moses Sumney - græ
Phantogram - Ceremony
Kangstof - The Noise You Make is Silent
The-Dream - SXTP4
dvsn - A Muse In Her Feelings
Other Lives - For Their Love
I Break Horses - Warnings
Sufjan Stevens - The Ascension
Fleet Foxes - Shore
Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon III: The Chosen