SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

06/01/12 9:50am

Now that it’s officially official that Mitt Romney will be the Republican candidate against Barack Obama in November, we can finally start talking about what matters—Urban Outfitters t-shirts. Never one to let something that could be ironic go by without becoming ironic, Urban Outfitters has stocked its on-line store with shirts featuring both Romney and Obama (and Ron Paul, but haha). But which one is more ironic?

Let’s take a look.

Here’s Obama:

UOobama.jpg

And Romney:

UOromney.jpg

Although both shirts feature the candidates impersonating someone of a different race (Romney, MC Hammer; Obama, Tim Tebow), I’m going to have to give it to MC Romney. The Tebow thing, that’s so 2011; 2 Legit 2 Mitt, on the other hand, that’s referencing something “old” and in the 1990s. Therefore, it’s cool and ironic, which is the most ironic thing of all. Plus, that pun is pretty great.

05/24/12 1:36pm

Screen_shot_2012-05-24_at_1.10.31_PM.png

Four months from Memorial Day, on September 28, 2012, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center will host its very first event: a Jay-Z concert. After that, the arena’s scheduled shows include Barbra Streisand on October 11 and 13, Rush on October 22, and Justin Bieber on November 12 (as well as all those Brooklyn Nets games). With the exception of Jay-Z, there’s not much to get excited for there, unless you really like Roll the Bones. Below are suggestions of six big-name acts that could play Barclays and get us more excited than hearing “Boyfriend” for the 6,538th time.

05/21/12 1:31pm

To the surprise of few, Mick Jagger’s performances with Arcade Fire (featuring the Strokes’ Nikolai Fraiture on bass!) and the Foo Fighters on SNL this past weekend were pretty great – the former was an enthusiastic, raucous take on a seldom-heard Rolling Stones classic, “The Last Time” from Out of Our Heads (at least here in America), while the latter featured Dave Grohl & Co. blazing through a medley of “19th Nervous Breakdown”/”It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It).” Also, the Stones frontman impersonated Steven Tyler in a sketch called “So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival,” which was quite amusing and contained a now-obligatory mention of Burger King’s Crispy Chicken Strips.

What was unexpected, however, was how TERRIBLE Jagger’s collaboration with guitar hero Jeff Beck ended up being. They played “a blues that [he] wrote about the presidential election” called “Tea Party”; it contained such lines as, “If you want to sleep in the West Wing, yeah, you got to strategize a bit/If you want to sleep in the West Wing, you wanna keep that private boat, yeah, you got to strategize a bit/Yeah you’re gonna have to raise about 100 million dollars, or you’re gonna end up so deep down in the shit.” In case you weren’t sure who the song was about, Jagger clarified: “Mr. Romney, he’s a hard-working man and he always says his prayers/Yeah, but there’s one little thing about him/Don’t ever let him cut your hair.”

It was a slog to get through, and Jagger’s lyrical jabs weren’t pointed enough to really mean anything. Much better, however, was the episode’s capper: a tribute to Kristen Wiig who will soon depart the hallowed halls of Studio 8H for a career hopefully more successful than Rachel Dratch’s, set to “She’s a Rainbow,” sung by not only Jagger, Arcade Fire, the Foo Fighters, and the show’s entire cast, but also Steve Martin, Lorne Michaels, Amy Poehler, Chris Kattan, and Rachel Drat…oops. Jason Sudeikis and Andy Samberg, who are both also likely to leave SNL, bizarrely received less attention, though they do have Olivia Wilde and Joanna Newsom to go home to, so don’t cry any tears for them.

05/18/12 9:48am

Screen_shot_2012-05-18_at_9.51.30_AM.png

Jack White is not a happy guy right now. Sure, he’s wealthy and successful and everyone loves him and his first solo album is really good and he’s been on The Simpsons. BUT he’s not in the Guinness Book of World Records, so his life isn’t complete. It’s not because he hasn’t tried, though. In an interview with Buzz Aldrin (???) in Interview, the former-Stripe said:

“When we were in Newfoundland, the idea that I came up with at breakfast was, ‘Let’s play one note today’…I told Meg as we were getting out of the car. I said, ‘Make sure you grab your cymbal — when you hit the cymbal, grab it so that the note only lasts a millisecond.’ I was thinking that afterwards we could contact the Guinness World Records people and see if we could get the record for shortest concert of all time. So we did it, but ultimately they turned us down.”

The folks at Guinness have since explained why he was turned down (read about that here), but don’t worry, Jack, there’s plenty more music-related World Records you can try to break. Here are 10 of them!

05/17/12 4:33pm

Screen_shot_2012-05-17_at_3.35.28_PM.png

Unlike the album’s sun-tinged sound, Best Coast’s The Only Place, which came out on Tuesday, hasn’t been receiving a warm reaction from critics (our own Mike Conklin excluded). I don’t get where that’s coming from; Bethany feels like more of a presence this time around, no longer hiding behind an often impenetrable wall of reverb. In five years, she’s going to release an album that will be described as “Dusty Springfield-esque.” Can’t wait.

Anyway, last night, in support of The Only Place, she and the rest of Best Coast appeared on Late Show with David Letterman to discuss Snacks, naturally, and play the titular single. The performance falls somewhere in-between the two albums, not as clean as Only Place but not as hazy as Crazy, either. In other words: it’s exactly what Best Coast should sound like.

Check out the video below.

05/04/12 1:01pm

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_12.33.06_PM.png

“I too lived—Brooklyn, of ample hills, was mine; I too walk’d the streets of Manhattan Island, and bathed in the waters around it.” So goes Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” the poem that the National’s Dessner brothers, Aaron and Bryce, named their three-day festival at BAM after. Were they to chose another passage to use for the event, they could do worse than, “You’re the reason why I’ll move to the city/Or why I’ll need to leave.”

OK, maybe that message would be a tough sell to advertisers (and calling it the Give Out Festival might be confusing), but there’s a truth in that sentence, about risking everything you have on a literal person or a figurative goal, that’s hyper-specific to New York. L Magazine cover icon Sharon Van Etten, who wrote the line, she moved to Brooklyn for her music, and hasn’t needed to leave. Same with Aaron (via Cincinnati), who joined Sharon on stage last night to play two or three songs, including “Magic Chords,” during her 45-minute set. She was engaged, focused, and determined while making her way through her excellent album Tramp, even with a jag-off heckler bothering her throughout her time on stage. It was occasionally haunting, often tender, sometimes even volcanic (fuck, that voice), always great.

The Walkmen, too, are from out of town (Washington), yet made their name here. They headlines night one, and with good reason: Hamilton Leithauser & Co. have the unique ability to make every show of theirs at seem special. His red-in-the-face singing style, which filled up the entirety of the massive Howard Gilman Opera House, only works if he gives it his all (he does), and the other four members (two of whom, after a decade, finally got to sing harmony for a new song that will appear on their upcoming seventh record, Heaven, due out May 29) are uniquely talented, able to make their songs sound rough around the edges, yet actually keep things tightly composed.

Wonderful start to a wonderful festival in a wonderful city.

Photos by Nadia Chaudhury of Sharon and the Walkmen, as well as Jherek Bischoff and Twin Shadow, are below.

Jherek Bischoff, Ymusic, Amanda Palmer and David Byrne

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_10.43.01_AM.png

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_10.43.22_AM.png

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_10.44.15_AM.png

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_10.44.35_AM.png

Twin Shadow

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_10.44.48_AM.png

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_12.41.15_PM.png

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_12.41.00_PM.png

Sharon Van Etten (with Aaron Dessner)

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_10.48.51_AM.png

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_12.46.09_PM.png

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_10.49.16_AM.png

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_12.44.31_PM.png

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_12.43.32_PM.png

The Walkmen

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_10.52.27_AM.png

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_10.53.20_AM.png

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_10.54.23_AM.png

Screen_shot_2012-05-04_at_12.48.17_PM.png

05/01/12 1:03pm

I don’t say this lightly, but “And the Buttercream Cupcakes” was the worst episode of 2 Broke Girls yet. It was so bad, in fact, that I couldn’t even keep track of the stink bombs that were coming out of Oleg and Caroline’s mouths. Instead, I took five screencaps from the episode, so you, too, can feel misery. And hey, did I mention Peach, quite possibly the single worst character on TV, is back? BRING BACK THE HORSE.

04/26/12 3:33pm

New logo? Or a scheme by Nas?

  • New logo? Or a scheme by Nas?

Three-part step on how to get fired:

1. Do IT work at the Barclays Center, the soon-to-be home of the Brooklyn Nets

2. Take a picture of the Nets logo, which isn’t supposed to be seen publicly until next Monday

3. Upload to Twitter

According to Deadspin, “The photo [you see to the right] was posted on Twitter by some guy who’s doing IT work at the Barclays Center, and Tweeting photos as he goes…There’s no reason to think that logo mounted on an office wall isn’t the real thing.” Minus the blue tape, of course. Deadspin didn’t link or reveal the Twitter information of the guy who uploaded the pic (who’s going to be SO fired), but I hope the account was a phony opened by Nas, Jay-Z’s one-time enemy. He’s been waiting six years for this moment.

04/24/12 9:46am

Refused.jpg

Only hours after presumably kicking ass at the spacious Terminal 5, recently reunited Swedish hardcore punk legends Refused played the slightly smaller DIY space The Acheron in Bushwick. As in, can’t fit more than roughly 120 people, and now I hate myself for not being on Twitter and hearing about it.

Piecing together tweets from throughout and after the show, I can firmly say that the show was: “#amazing.” Another relevant Twitter update: “Skipping the ‘secret’ refused show at Acheron to go to sleep.” Good stuff there. According to setlist.fm, Refused’s set began with a cover of Earth Crisis’ “Firestorm,” followed by much of 1998 classic The Shape of Punk to Come, with “Rather Be Dead” and “Coup D’√Čtat,” both from 1996’s Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent, making appearances, too.

And now I hate myself even more. Here are some pictures, via Twitter:

(Courtesy of @frankinjection)

  • (Courtesy of @frankinjection)

(Courtesy of @chaile27)

  • (Courtesy of @chaile27)

(Courtesy of @coolrnchdoritos)

  • (Courtesy of @coolrnchdoritos)
04/19/12 1:53pm

eleanor1.png

Eleanor Friedberger released Last Summer, her first solo album/our sixth favorite record of 2011, last July, and she’s basically been on the road behind it ever since. Last night at the Bell House was the second time I’ve seen her since, well, last summer, and it’s clear that because she and her band play, essentially, the same 15 or so songs every night, they’ve been tinkering with their material, making the tracks not only more interesting for themselves, but also for us. Overall, songs like set-opener “My Mistake,” complete with an instrumental intro, and “Scenes from Bensonhurst” breathe more than they do on Last Summer (its Todd Rundgren-like production occasionally feels a little restrictive). But outside of the studio, and led by the increasingly impressive lead guitarist John Eatherly, the songs sway a little more, with highlight “I Won’t Fall Apart on You Tonight,” in particular, getting a mellower rearranging. Eleanor’s voice, too, is more playful now, ever-so-slightly tweaking the emphasis on certain words in her observational, stream-of-consciousness narratives about New York City, less poetic than Lou Reed but equally cool-without-trying-to-be-cool. Plus, her set ended with Bob Dylan’s “True Love Tends to Forget,” a great, underappreciated song to end a great, appreciated set.

Photos of the show by Nadia Chaudhury of Eleanor — as well as openers Hospitality, who may just end up on our end-of-year 2012 list — are below.

Amber Papini of Hospitality.

  • Amber Papini of Hospitality.

Screen_shot_2012-04-19_at_12.35.22_PM.png

Screen_shot_2012-04-19_at_1.25.58_PM.png

eleanor4.png

Screen_shot_2012-04-19_at_1.25.45_PM.png

Screen_shot_2012-04-19_at_1.26.30_PM.png