feel free to disagree, but i seriously hate christmas music. for about two months every year (let’s be honest it definitely starts right after Halloween) i have to endure songs about baking, wrapping, and general jollyness. imagine if happy got resurrected every year and played non-stop for weeks. all my grandma wants to listen to is christmas music. i can’t turn on the radio without hearing it! pleas to listen to anything else get ignored! the tyranny of christmas, folks. generally dislike the holiday, for a lot of reasons, but if ur all into it don’t worry i won’t judge.
today! i warned you! upcoming shows is sparse, but I made sure to pull all the NYE shows into one spot to make up for it. also, while i’ve made my stance on xmas music clear, i did want to compromise and showcase some xmas songs that have been released recently. that’s pretty lengthy, so no discourse section this week.
12/30 | Booked By Grandma Presents: Early Bird Social w/ JaneLovesU! and DJ Gay Panic @ H0L0 ~ Free
1/2 - 1/21 | Gustaf January Residency @ Baby's All Right ~ 21+
1/15 | Tony or Tony, Poppies, Greta @ Jones Beach Bar
1/31 | Hank Wood and the Hammerheads, Chubby and the Gang, Stigmatism, Pinocchio @ Market Hotel ~ all ages
2/18 | U.S. Girls @ The Dance ~ 21+
2/28 | PNTHN @ Baby’s All Right ~ all ages
last minute nye tickets
12/31 | Cloud Nothings, Field Mouse, Patio @ Knitting Factory ~ all ages
12/31 | BABY'S NYE BLOWOUT ft. WAVVES @ Baby’s All Right ~ 21+
Stuyedeyed added to the lineup! also 2 hr open bar
12/31 | NYE: Gnarcissists / Native Sun / Max Pain and The Groovies / Sunflower Bean DJ set @ The Broadway ~ 21+
12/31 | Femme Fatale's Space Cowgirl NYE 2020 Party! @ Home Sweet Home
lineup is Jonny Couch, Beechwood, Modern Whale, Razorbraids
12/31 | Priests w/ Russian Baths and Ani Ivry-Block (of Palberta) @ Rough Trade ~ 18+
This will be Priests last show before their indefinite hiatus
in my queue
silly christmas covers! the silver lining in this otherwise (for me!) dismal holiday. i personally love these because the ones i’ve seen cropping up recently go to supporting a charity, which I’ll list so you know:
“Stop The Calvary” by Hotel Lux
the proceeds for this go to whitechapel mission (london)
i don’t know if this will make sense, but you know that dance that the dad from the addams family does with his brother? this song feels like that. i’ve also never heard the original, is this a british xmas thing?
“A Very Allston Christmas Vol. 5” by Various Artists
a massive (51 song) compilation album by Allston Pudding and Disposable America featuring local acts. Benefits Rosie's Place and Bridge Over Troubled Waters.
i’m originally from MA and i feel really bad about looking down on what is a thriving, undervalued scene in Allston (and Boston). there’s so much to love about this, and the rats kissing on the cover with santa hats on is *chef’s kiss*
For those interested in Australia, and the bushfire crisis there, two bands have put out new music about it. The Chats posted a song about PM Scott Morrison (a climate denier) to their social media and Dr Sure's Unusual Practice (amazing band name) have released a mini-album from the point of view of said PM vacationing in Hawaii while Australia burns. The mini album is available to buy, with all proceeds going to the Rural Fire Service.
how to explain why i love this? turning christmas on its head by releasing “christmas” music that is political and donates to charity — that’s a xmas miracle right there.
in other news, apparently The Cramps frontman Lux Interior was a fan of making mixtapes and made an xmas mixtape a while back that has resurfaced and been compiled online! check it out below:
finally! outside of christmas music, The Rhythm Method have released a new song on Youtube that will be on their forthcoming second album (it apparently won’t be up for long, so open ur ears now). I think it’s named after a running joke between the duo and their fans about the MINDSLAMMER (also the name of their very funny podcast), but i think i joined the party too late on that to understand it. check it out, along with the band’s much-anticipated debut:
what i’ve read
this section is kind of disparate. I’ve been trying to stave off including “end of the year” and “end of the decade” pieces and that means pulling from a much smaller pool of digital content for the next couple weeks until the race to put out decade lists ends.
We can’t rely on those in power to save independent culture ~ by Luke Cartledge
As we enter the new year and are thinking about all the wonderful venues we've lost (RIP the glove), it's probably also a good time to think about how we can keep the ones left still alive. While I don’t entirely agree with the view that the burden of keeping these venues alive rests on individuals (there needs to be bottom-up change, not just us masses struggling forever against the corporate elite), Cartledge makes the important point that we have to be our own advocates, because those in power don’t really care. Of course, this article is only so applicable to the US context, but it's still worth mulling over how we can keep independent culture alive (think of this article as sparking the convo rather than leading it)
“Real social change, particularly of this nature, is built at street level. We all know that Spotify and Amazon do fuck all for the artists whose value they extract so horribly efficiently; we must seek to redress the balance at an individual level, by directly supporting and participating in the independent culture from which we all benefit.”
keywords: DIY, grass-roots
Rico Nasty and the Importance of Black Women’s Anger in Rap ~ by Natelegé Whaley
A great piece that's about rico nasty (but not really) and where she fits into the lineage who have dared to be angry out loud in a culture that actively demonizes them for expressing themselves (god forbid) like men get to. A must read. the blurb is short because the article says it all.
“The same could be said of the visionary black women in music who dared to rage. Their anger oftentimes came at a cost to their careers and lives, however. Nina Simone flourished among highbrow jazz types until she started releasing pointed protest anthems like “Mississippi Goddam,” a heart-wrenching ode to two racist tragedies from 1963 (the assassination of Medgar Evers in Mississippi, and the 16th Street church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama).”
keywords: “angry black woman”, positive rage
Genre-bending and the Pop Music Stigma ~ by Liz Lemerand
i’ve been thinking about this a lot, mostly since all the feigned outrage over spotify categorizing some of the music listeners consume as “pop rap”. i understand the desire to have niche music taste is derived from the desire to be “special” and different, but i also find it incredibly pointless at this stage. spotify has (for better or worse) destroyed whatever alliance a listener may feel to a particular kind of music — we just don’t consume music like we used to, and people in my generation (gen z, or zoomers) tend to listen to a wide array of music. genre matters less (or maybe never mattered), to the point where subcultures devoted to them seem anachronistic. so why all the hate for pop still? we all go thru that phase where we think pop music is just one big shallow cash grab (as if rock isn’t guilty of this), and i’m just emerging from it. and to diverge from that thread a little, to be mad that your sonic diet of brockhampton, tyler the creator and frank ocean got labeled “pop rap” is disingenuous — these aren’t even niche artists! it’s fair to call them popular rap, because they are incredibly popular and (kinda) fit into the rap genre. who cares if everyone is listening to an artist you listen to? does that make them less? not really. i’m still teasing out how i feel about this particular divide between “popular” and “underground” music — how much underground music is truly that? but i think in 2020 we can all think about these weird grudges we hold against music and maybe reconsider them. i still won’t listen to taylor swift tho.
“The stigma against pop begins with claims that it all sounds the same and that it isn’t real music when multiple writers and producers are involved. There is a good amount of pop music that is garbage, but can’t that be said for any genre?”
what i’ve written
this is an older piece, but perhaps a good companion to Cartledge’s piece on independent culture. also, i think it’s worth bringing back up after DaBaby went viral for calling out the Charlotte PD for harassing him and making it hard for him to book shows in his hometown — this is not a new, or isolated phenomenon. it happens all over the world, especially to black artists.
The most recent example in New York was the NYPD ‘requesting’ that Rolling Loud remove artists from its line up. You can read more about what happened here, as well as some context on how police suppression of black artists has manifested around the world (in Boston and London).
As always, a song to go with it. Whenever I think about this topic, and the unwarranted harassment that black artists face, three songs come to mind: “Fuck Tha Police” by N.W.A., “New York City Cops” by The Strokes, and this one:
What album meant the most to you this year?
it doesn’t have to be your favorite album of all time, or even the best. it just has to be one that resonated with you on a personal level.
or if you take offense to me hating xmas music
submit ur fav xmas songs by replying to this email (i would actually love a link to a playlist of just xmas covers by rock bands. the sillier, the better).
happy holidays, especially to people who don’t celebrate christmas and live in a country where we are force-fed it (i feel u). outside of its “secular” value (the sham is believing that we have somehow made it into a secular holiday), xmas is generally a time of great excess. in his newsletter, Dan Ozzi spoke about physical excess (materialism) and how artists want you to support them outside of buying physical copies of albums or merch. i’ll link it here so that you can read it yourself.
major left turn: i’ve been thinking a lot about bands that release stems and such online for free. it’s immensely fascinating to me, and i think a carry-on from brewing post-internet conversation last week. I’m still mulling over those articles, particularly the one by Eli Enis (on 100 gecs), and actually listened to a really interesting podcast that featured him. he mentioned 100 gecs releasing their stems and encouraging fans to toy with their songs in the hopes of eventually aggregating all the different versions for a “remix” album. a few other bands that I know about have released their stems, and i would love to do more reading on this.
this was sent out later than i expected, and the next will follow closely. if ur wild and check ur email on the holidays like me, the next one will (hopefully) be released on nye. till then, go to a show and live dangerously.