When Did It Get Like This?

6 months since my last blog post. Here’s where my head’s at tonight (music and article recommendations at the bottom):

Made in America has done a phenomenal job giving Philadelphia its own festival. 70,000 people a day took over the Parkway for two days, and the only possible complaint is that there’s not enough room to hold them all. Would love to see them expand further towards Center City and add a few more general attractions and art installations, but they’ve done a great job solidifying their lineup identity and bringing Philly on-board. Shorter lines on the food trucks would be good too.

Made in America performances were pretty tight across the board, though the Weeknd’s material probably would’ve played better in a club. First time ever seeing the Queen, and I loved how theatrical Beyoncé’s headlining set was—it’s beautiful that arguably the biggest pop star on the planet (give or take a TSwizzy) has IDEAS about what her art means. Continue reading

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2014 In Music (Part 3): Albums #5-1

favoritealbums2014graphc For Part 1 (Albums 15-11), click here.
For Part 2 (Albums 10-6), click here.

As I get to writing about my five favorite albums of 2014, I remember heard a lot of people say that 2014 was a “bad” year for music. The implication was that a lack of high-profile releases made it harder to gravitate around certain albums. The consensus was that their was no consensus.

That’s crazy to me. While I’m certainly hoping with the rest of the world that stars like Kanye West, Adele, Frank Ocean, and  Kendrick Lamar (one of these artists is not like the others) will drop their highly anticipated follow-ups this year, it was a total blessing that a mainstream album didn’t dominate the conversation this year. Most of the 30 albums on my 2014 list (which is printed in full at the bottom) came out of nowhere for me, and it gave me the chance to relisten to a lot of stuff that I normally wouldn’t have given a second chance to. Anyway, thanks for reading this retrospective, and I hope a few of these albums connect with you like they did with me. (Let me know if they did!)

Continue reading

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2014 In Music (Part 2): Albums #10-6


I’m back to write about five more albums I loved this year (for Part 1, click here).

I’ll get to writing in a bit, but first I thought it might be fun to break down my top 30 list a little bit more. First, there’s release month:

Now, what’s this mean? Continue reading

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2014 In Music (Part 1): Albums #15-11


Random blurb to start the future blurb-age:

My favorite albums from this year came on like an absolute head rush. This list is packed with surprises of all kinds for me: the obligatory half dozen artists I’d never heard of; albums I never thought I’d get to hear; complete gems from bands that I’d all but written off…it’s all below, soundtracking the last 12 months (albums #15-11 at least).

If you’re looking for new tunes, I included links to some representative tracks at the end of each write-up. Albums #10-1 coming soon, and I’m also hopefully writing about some songs that meant a lot to me in a future post. Continue reading

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Recommended Track: “My Wrecking Ball” by Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams Self-Titled

“My Wrecking Ball” is a simple song, even by Ryan Adams’ standards: a stripped-down arrangement, quietly sung verses, and an unadorned, repeating chorus. I’d be surprised if the whole song is more than ten sentences long. But the beautiful thing about Adams’ songwriting is that he doesn’t need to do a lot to break you in two.

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Poem: “out of range”


out of range

it’s been a few months since I’ve written
poems about something
other than people I know getting swallowed
up by the spaces between the stars.

scientists say there’s light everywhere
in an infinite universe
but the dark spaces have always given me
a place to sit,
a warmth that hasn’t reached
the corner between my refrigerator and the floor.

I don’t always recognize myself in the swill
of the river and its unknown bodies,
there’s no lighthouse on my coast.

so I don’t always conduct that poetic spark
and I don’t always feel good about finding
a way through the mirrored glass
to meet the central bulb.
but I’d still like to think that wherever you look
there’s light
even if it’s out of range.


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For David L. Carpenter


I haven’t written much since David passed. I’ve wanted to, I’ve felt the words inside me, but when I sit down to get them out on a page the spring doesn’t produce. It’s like having an ache you can’t describe, pointing to a general spot near your chest and saying, “It’s somewhere around there.”

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