Monthly Archives: January 2014

2013 Wrap Up

It’s standard practice for music review sites and blogs to give a year-end, best-of list and seeing as I’ve reached the end of my first year as a ‘blogger’ I’ve decided to join the festivities albeit a li’l bit late. I guess my criteria for a great album is pretty straightforward, I like catchy songs which hopefully have something to say or express. Basically the Oliver Sachs notion of an ‘earworm’, tunes which stick in your brain…but in a good way. Anyway, here are some of my picks for the best albums of 2013.
Quasi – Mole City: Label:Kill Rock Stars
Crunchy, inventive, psychedelic rock from one of my favorite bands. Sam Coomes (vox, guitar, roxichord (his invention)) never disappoints with sometimes cryptic lyrics which are nonetheless affecting especially as they are supported by beautiful melodic lines. A double album to boot!!

Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana: Label: Carpark
It’s no small wonder our lead singer, Sadie, was formerly in a Pavement cover band. I continue to listen to this album and have yet to get sick of it! Plus they’re pretty damn righteous live (

Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold: Label: What’s Your Rupture
Punk pop fun songs. Laid back cool guy singer name-checking NYC neighborhoods. How can you go wrong with a lyric like “Socrates died in the fucking gutter!”? heh

Savages – Silence Yourself: Label: Matador
I cannot get This song out of my head and you know what? I don’t care!! Great power here, Jehnny Beth (lead singer) has drawn comparisons to Siouxsie of Siouxsie and The Banshees and rightly so but Savages a faster rock, more edge less gloom.

Julia Holter – Loud City Song: Label: Domino
Atmospheric and mysterious. I really enjoy this album. It’s a nighttime album. Julia is a very interesting composer arranger performer. Spend some time with this one the pay-off is well worth it.

I Heard The Angels Singing, Electrifying Black Gospel From the Nashboro Label 1951 – 1983:
I am not a religious person and I was in the midst of telling a friend this upon entering Other Music (15 East 4th Street, NYC) and they were playing this album which immediately shut my mouth and turned my head on it’s ear!! i.e. seems obvious but this is some of the most inspired music there is plus there are 4 glorious discs!!

David Bowie – Next Day: Label: ISO Records
Everyone and their grandmother seem to be focusing on the design of Next Day, Bowies album ‘Heroes’ cover with a white square over it. What impresses me most about this album is that David can afford to kick off the album with a more middle-of-the-road track rather than something attention grabbing. As you listen further the songs get better and better and then you realize what a great overall album this is. A true return to form! (not that I’m “against” Heathen or the Tin Machine stuff but this is better)

Califone – Stitches: Label: Dead Oceans Records
I love the Red Red Meat album ‘Bunny Gets Paid’. When that band disbanded and formed Califone Tim Rutili carried on with a similar aesthetic and man oh man I couldn’t be happier. Acoustic fuzz, broken imagery and the beauty of persisting despite it all.

Let’s all have a great 2014!!


Album Art: Barney Bubbles

As I begin work on the design of the Philip Lynch album produced by James Beaudreau, I have been searching the internet like mad for ways to come up with an appealing visual representation of the music we’ve made. In so doing I came across an artist whom I’ve never heard of before, Barney Bubbles (Colin Fulcher). Now some rock fans may know the name Roger Dean, he did the covers for Yes, colorful fantasy landscapes:

Some jazz fans may know the designer Reid Miles who designed over 500 LP covers for Blue Note in the 1950’s and 60’s:

blue train


Before Reid Miles, Paul Bacon designed 10″ LP’s for Blue Note then went on to become the lead Designer for Riverside Records. In the 50’s Paul Bacon designed book covers and became famous for the “Big Book Look”. The Catch-22 jacket is a recognizable representation. Large print of title and author with a small image:

But back to Barney, he was a graphic designer and music video director who worked in the British Independent music scene in the 70’s and 80’s. He worked with various design companies once out of college but for our purposes I’m concentrating on his album sleeve design. He knew the members of Hawkwind and did graphic work for them. He was a designer and art director for Stiff Records in 1977. He made sleeves for The Damned, Elvis Costello, Ian Dury and The Blockheads. He freelanced for the likes of Generation X, Billy Bragg, Big Star, and The Psychedelic Furs. He worked for Radar Records and F Beat Records. Unfortunately he suffered from bipolar disorder and due to personal and financial woes killed himself at 41. Below are examples of his work:




your generation

A couple of his videos:

The Specials-Ghost Town

Elvis Costello-New Lace Sleeveshttp:

For more info pick up ‘Reasons to Be Cheerful: The Life & Work of Barney Bubbles’ by Paul Gorman
Thanks again for reading! Have a great weekend!! -p

Homemade Posters

Over the last year, in order to promote shows online, I’ve been making ‘posters’ to attach to invitations and to post on facebook. I would find an image or images on the internet appropriate to the venue, print it out on 8 1/2 x 11 paper and scrawl the details of the show usually with a Sharpie marker. Not complicated but it’s been kind of fun. See some examples below:

way station

Goodbye Blue Monday

The Way Sta. 11-30-13



Nightingale Sept 4th

Le Cheile

Art of The Anti-Song

I love songs which reference either themselves or other songs. In jazz I think it’s called ‘quoting’. It can be fun and effective but one does run the risk of being cheesy. I haven’t tried it yet in my own songwriting. I recently came upon a song from a band called Denim which inspired this post. I had never heard of them. The track I found “Middle of The Road” was released in 1993. Pure pop catchiness but with ethos of punk in that our narrator begins with “I hate the Stones and I hate blues, Eddie Cochran and blue suede shoes, I hate the King, I hate Chuck Berry, I hate Hooker, I hate Leadbelly, alright” He goes on to list types of music he dislikes, drugs and all of the things which accompany the typical rock-n-roll trope. It works (for me) in this day and age of folks who profess to not care much about lyrics. Dig this:

The indie rock band Built to Spill made a song of quoting (lyrically) many rock songs which proceeded them. Plus I just love the opening line “You were wrong when you said everything’s going to be alright”.

The Replacements ‘I Hate Music’ is a perfectly joyous contradiction. Bob Stinson’s blistering playing is sorely missed.

Many folks feel as though music should be either a.) uplifting OR b.) dance-able with not too much to think about (aww c’mon more thinking? do I have to?) cutting out whole swaths of our collective human experience. Yes we get furious and yes we get sad and thankfully there are still artists who give voice to that.
Thanks, as always, for reading/listening!

Next up:
Goodbye Blue Monday, 1087 Broadway, Bklyn NYC Friday, January 10th
Philip Lynch 8PM
Cameramen 9PM
The Rotary Club 10PM
Combat Jazz 11PM