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Juliette Jules - “Black Crow” EP Review

Juliette Jules is just sixteen. Let that sink in as you press play on her new EP, entitled “Black Crow” - a beautiful twenty minute excursion into the wise-beyond-her-years mind of this young darling. With help from her producer/engineer, Peter Karroll, Jules pursues the tried tales of love, nostalgia, happiness and sadness. She manages to fill her brief EP with a full spectrum of emotions, even tackling Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in a stunning rendition of the beloved tune. “Johnny Was,” opens the record with soulful strumming, and, before long, Jules showcases her unique voice - a tender, angelic, whisper that’s nuanced like no one else her age. She ponders how “Johnny was,” how “Johnny drowned all his pictures to forget his baby son,” because “Johnny left his wife at home.”  But Johnny was a liar, a man filled with “madness and despair,” who “walked in the rain, and never came back again.” The pristine storytelling, matched with the limber musical soundtrack is a staple of this EP. Jules’ voice warbles and trembles throughout, such as when she mourns for the “black crow,” who left his nest just to “break its wings,or fantasizes about going “where the sun is shining,” on “To The Mountains.” The Parisian artist’s voice swings from meaningful whispers to flailing falsettos, almost never stretching beyond the her limits (if she even has any). The weakest track on the EP, “The Game,” is the only one reserved purely to the idea of “the game of love.” While the other tracks are bubbling with subtleties that yearn for a repeated listens, “The Game” is rather simplistic, and, for once, her unique delivery seems to strain a bit. Her repetition of “in this game,” being, perhaps, the only misstep on an otherwise excitingly excellent release. Download her release on BandCamp, which comes with various artwork for the separate tracks. All in all, “Black Crow” is a powerful EP from a immensely talented young lady. The potential seems endless.

Ras Xix - “Self-titled” Album Review

Ras Xix’s self-titled full length album is an exercise in versatility. Hailing from Los Angeles and Singapore, Xix has been traveling the globe to satiate his evident desire to create engaging and eclectic music, as well as reach a broader audience to share his passions with. With a voice that’s reminiscent of past punk-rock greats, such as At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Xix croons and shrieks his way through this project in equal bursts of energy. “Weightless With You” starts the album off in fantastic ballad fashion, introducing us to Xix’s reverberating yet understated vocals. The instrumentation carries the drive of a standard rock affair but effortlessly blends electronic elements in the negative space. Rather than build on the first tracks somber yet energetic flair, “Nora 5” immediately showcases this record’s versatility with an acoustic number. “Eclipse the sun, and taste the night, as you dance across the sky,” Xix ruminates, carrying you through the blissful harmony of the song.  But before long, and never missing a beat, “Over” and “Consent” batter the listener with post-rock, post-hardcore build ups and breakdowns - intense yet never crass or overextended. The album works well in this area of build ups and releases, with smooth, melodic lulls in between the louder, bolder, peaks. Powerful in its patience and control, the self-titled album is never overreaching or haphazard. The genre shifts or melding of different influences such as with “Las Arenas de Cartagena,” are always tasteful and purposeful, and Xix’s admittedly infectious harmonizing helps tie the entire project together where a lesser artist may have allowed it to falter. The infusion of genres spanning electronic, post-rock, punk, acoustic, and war Xix himself describes as “world beats,” serve as an alluring backdrop to even the most secondary tracks (such as the electronic breakdowns on the backend of “New Religion,” or the fleeting acoustic nature of “If It’s Gone”). Ras Xix sense of control and quality taste in harmonies can be found even as the 45 minute album draws to a close, as he allows the final track, “Machine” to whistle and bounce somberly into the light. The album is a feel good experience, fit for a fun summer but still accompanied with a meaningful vision thanks to Xix.

Mad Men S7EP04 - “The Monolith” (REVIEW)

God damn what a fucking episode. 

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FILM REVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 

*VAGUE-ISH SPOILERS AHEAD (no more than the trailers though)*

Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man is essential to the success of this series.

Incessantly humorous, his swagger is OD - from humming his own theme song to making out with Gwen when graduating, both Peter Parker and Spider-Man are in Garfield’s capable hands. The sheer flexibility he inhabits in his every motion and the fluidity of his actions add life to the wavering film; not unlike Robert Downey Jr, he may as well be the definitive incarnation of this superhero.

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Instax Film of Moon Temple for positivexposure by Elizabeth Foster. Doodles courtesy of Moon Temple herself.

A portrait of the artist being enveloped by darkness. A photograph of the artist's work space.

AN INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDRA NAUGHTON

Alexandra Naughton’s ghost can be found hovering over the skeleton of the East Bay extension, or sometimes in a forest tracing the rings of a cut redwood. Here she was born (South Philly, 1985), and there she died (in your arms).

Elizabeth Foster: I know you currently reside in Oakland, CA, but where are you from originally?

Alexandra Naughton: Philadelphia. I moved here (Oakland) in 2008. I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I lived there until I was 22 and it felt super stagnant, you know? It’s not a small city, but it felt really small to me. Especially, you know, going there all four years of college and high school. I just wanted to get out and I had a friend who lived out here, (we’re not friends anymore) but I was like “yeah, I want to come visit you!” So, I came out and I visited her. I was like “oh yeah, I’m moving here,” so I kinda just made a jump and moved, but it’s been good. I think if I hadn’t done that I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing right now, at all.

EF: If you hadn’t moved to Oakland what do you think you would be doing?

AN: I’d be living with my parents or trying to be a criminal. Which… Who wants to do that? Like, I feel like I’m too old to even find that idea romantic.

EF: How long have you been writing for? Seriously or otherwise.

AN: Oh, I mean… Since I was a little kid. Like writing stories or like writing songs in my head and like, you know, singing them out. I used to be on the softball team and I hated it; my dad made me do it. I just remember standing in the outfield picking weeds out of the grass and like, making up songs about why I hated softball.

EF: Have your parents read your writing?

AN: Yeah, they follow my blog. They know what I’m doing… It’s weird. My mom would say like, “Oh, these poems are like, really depressing… Are you like, okay?” and I’m like “I’m fine, it’s just a poem mom. Ya know? Don’t have a cow,” but… They’re pretty cool. They’re supportive. I think I’m lucky. My dad’s an artist. He’s a commercial artist. He always encouraged me to draw and stuff… you know, be creative when I was younger. I owe a lot to him. I am happy that that was the case. I think it would totally suck to grow up in a household where that wasn’t encouraged, like, it wasn’t permitted. I can’t imagine that.

EF: What feelings, what people, what state of mind do you feel influences your writing the most?

AN: I don’t know if other people do this, but… I wrote this thing for htmlgiant about how like I have to write I have to get my thoughts down because if I don’t I’m just going to go crazy, blah blah blah. And some guy was like “you know, that’s not writing, that’s an addiction, so congratulations on your addiction,” but that’s how I feel. If I’m confused about something or I’m trying to understand something, writing it out and analyzing it from different view points is the best way for me to understand a situation or a feeling, or something. So, I feel like confusion is typically the motivation factor when I write.

EF: How do you deal with negative criticism from strangers on the internet, such as the person you just mentioned? 

AN: Yeah, that was funny because I didn’t even see that until I… I Google my name every once and a while, just to see if there’s links up about me or something. Someone reviewed something that I didn’t know about and that’s how I found that. That was just a tweet on Twitter that guy wrote about like “congrats on your addiction,” but… uhm… I haven’t gotten that much negative feedback, so far. I mean with this book I haven’t. Or my online writing… Not really, but uhm, when I make music videos, those get a lot of negative attention from 4chan people and stuff like that. Like, just idiot teenage boys, who because I don’t fit into their, you know, idealized version of a woman, like I don’t have big tits and I don’t brush my hair the way I’m supposed to or whatever, they just like to comment on my appearance or the fact that I’m not really that great at rapping or whatever… Which is fine. I don’t really care, but I don’t know. I think it’s just interesting to see what people have to say and I don’t really take it too much to heart because I think I am doing good work and I think the people that I care about think I am doing good work. I don’t think I’m hot shit. I always want to improve. I just hate that attitude, like that smug attitude that I feel like is prevalent with a lot of people who are big names in the lit scene. I’m really not crazy about that and I wouldn’t want to perpetuate that in any way

EF: Do you believe there is a limit to what can and can’t be considered poetry?

AN: Poetry is like porn. I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it. Not really. Anything could be poetry, but not anything could be good poetry. And of course it’s always up to the individual. My favorite thing is talking with a friend and hearing them use a new turn of phrase or a funny sentence and saying, “That right there was a poem.”

EF: How do you imagine Billy Corgan would react if he were to get his hands on a copy of I Will Always Be Your Whore/Love Songs for Billy Corgan?

AN: I don’t know. I hope he would be into it, but I’m not sure how he would take it. If he already knows about the book, he probably thinks I’m some crazed fan making crazed fan art. But that’s not what it is at all. I’d like to send him the book so he could see that.

EF: You’re going to be going on a book tour for I Will Always Be Your Whore/Love Songs for Billy Corgan this summer. What are your strongest feelings about that?

AN: I’m excited, and really nervous, and also kind of dreading it. I don’t dread the readings or meeting people and all the fun stuff that will happen, but we are going to be on the road for a hella long time. I’m talking like, taking a bus from Boston to Washington D.C., and bussing from Baltimore to Atlanta then to Nashville. Thankfully, I am traveling with my friend and fellow writer, Jesse Prado, so I will have someone to have talk to and have adventures with while riding on Greyhound.

EF: Do you have any advice for writers looking to publish their first book?

AN: I want to say that if you are writing something and you think it’s good and it’s something you’ve been working on for a while and truly believe is amazing, don’t be shy to just send a message to someone you know in indie publishing, or some place you’ve heard of. Just do it. 

EF: How do you feel when someone approaches you to tell you that they find your work easy to relate to?

AN: It is seriously the best feeling. I think it’s not an easy thing to do to approach someone whose writing you’ve read, like it’s kind of anxiety-inducing for me when I walk up to some writer I admire, but it’s such a reward to know that someone likes your work and gets it. 

EF: Do you think you’ll be writing for a substantial amount of your life?

AN: I can’t imagine doing anything else. I can’t imagine not writing. I would die.

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You can purchase Alexandra’s book I Will Always Be Your Whore/Love Songs for Billy Corgan from Punk Hostage Press  here

To find more of her work follow her personal blog and check her out on Facebook. As well as the blog and Facebook page for her zine BE ABOUT IT.

Insant film of Moon Temple in Brooklyn taken by Elizabeth Foster A photograph of the artist's work space (location undisclosed)

AN INTERVIEW WITH MOON TEMPLE

Moon Temple is a 20 year old living in Brooklyn who dropped out of high school to pursue her dream of becoming a satellite orbiting Earth. We are currently unsure whether she is dead or alive as the new iOS update has caused a ~300 trillion year delay on iMessages sent to space. The last message received by earth from the Moon Temple satellite included a scrambled message. Once decoded it read “moon temple sucks” in all lower case letters.

Elizabeth Foster: How long have you been writing for?
Moon Temple: I think I started writing… It’s hard to say. I think I started writing a lot of poetry when I was 11? It was pretty “depressing” stuff, because I was going through a lot of like, “pre-teen angst”. I think I started writing more seriously when I was maybe 14 or 15.

EF: What are the biggest influences on your writing? 
MT: I think I get a lot of overwhelming explosive emotions sometimes and that tends to go into my writing a lot. I dunno, I am always trying to get something big. I dunno how to explain that any better, but something big. Bigger than I have experienced before. 

EF: Do you have any sort of ritual you follow when you want to write something?
MT: No, I’m bad about that. I’m really bad.

EF: Do you feel that your writing style has changed or progressed much since you started gaining more notoriety?
MT: I think so, I think I have found more of my own voice. Not entirely, of course, I still have a long way to go… but I think I have gone from sounding a lot more directly influenced by other people towards actually finding something that actually sounds like me.

EF: Some say that literature is a more male dominated field. How do you feel about this? do you agree?
MT: I think it’s true, it’s true of most arts, and I’m not really sure what to do about it. There’s a lot of women writers that have been grouped under the umbrella of feminist writers and I think while feminist writing is important it’s also kind of… I don’t know how to explain this exactly, other than that I want my writing to somehow transcend the barrier of writing for, or within, a movement.

EF: Have you received much criticism from your male audience or peers? How do you react to it if you do?
MT: I’ve definitely gotten the criticism of not really being an artist, that I only get attention for being an attractive female. The only thing I can think to do is to try to laugh it off, because there is no other thing that makes any sense. It definitely hurts me on some level, especially because I have an intuitive desire to be found attractive by others but also know I don’t want to be just that. It gets confusing. But if I get caught up in thinking about it too much, letting it hurt me, i feel it will negatively impact my ability to write. If I ignore it and keep writing, I’ll be happier. And I can prove it, you know, that I am an artist and not just a pretty girl.

EF: Have you received any weird anonymous messages? I’ve noticed this more prevalent among female artists. Can you tell me the oddest one you remember?
MT: I can’t remember anything specific, but I have gotten a lot. I have gotten things where people *gasp* Oh! I do remember the weirdest one! Someone said that “I imagine that i would ‘love’ you and ‘care’ for you and [Editor’s note: omitted due to trigger warning and inappropriateness].” It was just completely out of the blue, I dunno. I dunno what inspires people to write those types of messages at all, because it’s just completely inappropriate. Again, all I can do is just ignore it or laugh at it because if I think about it too hard it’s just going to hurt me.

EF: Do you think the internet has made it easier for our generation to find a platform for their art?
MT: Absolutely, I think in the past maybe 40 years or so most of writing has been really academic from what I’ve read and seen. Now people don’t have to go to college, they don’t have to get an MFA, they don’t have to be a teacher, they don’t have to have anything to do with academia to be an artist, be a writer, or have an influence in the world because of the internet and I think that’s awesome. 

EF: Do you have any words for young writers you wish someone would have told you when you were starting out?
MT: I think not to feel overwhelmed or intimidated by other people who have more exposure than you. Uhm, and also not to worry about how far you have gotten compared to others your same age. Because sometimes, especially with the internet, something gets seen by the right person and then it can take off and become a snowball. It feels great when it happens to you, but sometimes you’ll see it happen to other people and you’ll feel bad about yourself and it doesn’t necessarily mean they are more talented that you, it just means that you need to keep trying. I feel like I would have had a lot less self doubt if I had fully understood that. 

EF: Do you feel there are any substantial differences between reading your work in person and reading over webcam? Which do you prefer?
MT: I think I like reading in person more because it feels more real to me. When I’m reading over webcam I feel a lot less nervous because I can just close out the entire tab that it’s happening in and look at my writing and that’s all I’m looking at. When I’m in front of people I have all these people in front of me, but it makes me feel like I am actually connecting to them. When I am on webcam I feel like I am in my own little space and I can just go away as fast as I want to. 

EF: You discontinued publishing Now That’s What I Call Alt Lit a while ago, any plans for reviving it?
MT: I’ve been considering reviving it, I always felt satisfied when I finished an issue, but I also felt really stressed out having to make judgment calls on what writing is good and bad. As much as it’s really fun to promote people whose writing you feel really confident about it’s also really hard to tell people you’re not interested in what they’re writing. I don’t know, it made me feel horrible. I’ve been going back and forth on starting it up again, it’s been hard for me to get up the courage to actually look at people’s writing and decide if that’s what I want to put out there or not. 

EF: Do you ever think you are going to grow out of writing?
MT: I fucking hope not. I don’t have any other talents, so if I grow out of writing I’m just going to be another person, like, subscribing to the status quo of working and paying rent and just doing the same old boring thing. I think writing is my only chance at having a little bit more than that and I want a little bit more than that. 

You can find Moon Temple’s blog here

I am going skydiving and tampering with my own parachute ©Louis Packard The artist's work space.

AN INTERVIEW WITH LOUIS PACKARD

Louis Packard is a 21 year old poet from Milwaukee, WI. He is the current reigning world champion of dropping out of college. He fought to the death in hand to hand combat with a community college dropout from Cold Springs, CO for the title. Earlier in the year, it was revealed that he is actually two trash cans stacked on top of each other wearing a long trench coat, his OkCupid inbox has been full ever since. He even dunked on your dad to beat him in a game of 21 (that’s why your dad looks dead inside.) He regularly wins arm wrestling matches against his dog.

Elizabeth Foster: When did you start writing?

Louis Packard: Uhh, I started writing I wanna say when I was 19 maybe? I made like really shitty poems right when I turned 20, so the summer of 2012. I was writing shit poems in a notebook I got from the local police force from my town. 

EF: How did you get that?

LP: Well, at my work they (police officers) would come in and we would just give them free food because they were in uniform, so one day they just gave us a bunch of Wauwatosa PD notebooks. I wrote a lot of poems in there and then I stopped for a bit. [I] tried to write novellas and novels. They sucked too, so I stopped doing those. I went back to poems and they sucked at first, but started getting better in my eyes. I think I’m at a good place right now.

EF: What would you say mostly influences your writing?

LP: Definitely, Sam. Sam Pink is my favorite author in the world right now. #1 big homie. Shouts out to www.sampink.com. So, yeah, Sam Pink and assorted people in my life. One of my friends Colin is a big influence on me. My early poetry, I showed it to him and he told me it was terrible. It totally was. Shouts out to him for that. Ever since then I’ve always showed him my shit. (I always take it with a grain of salt though because he’s also a lil shithead.)

EF: I noticed you allude to a lot of rap in your writing. Are you greatly influenced by the genre?

LP: I love all music. Which is a really stupid response, but I do. And I’m a huge fan of rap in general, too. I’ve got a bunch of friends who rap and a couple of friends who produce as well and I sort of rap. It’s mostly drunk free-styling, but I’m pretty good. I think…

EF: What do you think about people who believe you have to write in a certain way proper grammar, formatting etc?

LP: Oh, that’s bullshit. Because poetry is definitely an art and art is defined by the artist. Who are they to say “Oh, this poem isn’t in MLA format, it’s shit. I don’t think that’s correct for poetry at all.” I haven’t been in school for a while, so I don’t really have to deal with that. 

EF: What is your creative process? Do you have a ritual you follow or do you just let it happen?

LP: I try to get a ritual going, but it’s always very random. One night I’ll get drunk, take some pills and write something I thoroughly enjoy and another night I’ll do the same thing and roll around on my floor because I can’t think of anything to write ever. Or sometimes I’ll be at work and think of a line and go into the walk in cooler and write it down and just go from there. It’s very random, I think.

EF: Do you think you’ll be writing for a substantial amount of your life?

LP: Yeah, I think I’ll keep writing. I think I’m pretty good at it. You gotta keep doing things that you think you’re good at. Frick all the haters.

 

You can read his eBook here

Sometimes Lou throws up and it looks like letters.

Temple Of Plenty // Somos

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LABEL: Tiny Engines
RELEASE DATE: March 25th, 2014
OVERALL RATING: 9.0
STANDOUT TRACK: “Dead Wrong”, “Lives Of Others”, “Distorted Vision”
IN A SENTENCE: “Just turn it up and drive”
Buy HERE

Earlier this year I wrote about Somos’ yet to be released debut album and how I had an inkling that it would be phenomenal. Fast forward a couple of months/listens and bingo, Temple Of Plenty is exceedingly impressive. 

The Boston, MA four piece are taking their own path, steering clear of any breadcrumbs their peers and label mates (who are all brilliant I might add! Tiny Engines is the label to watch) may be following. By diverting current trends and crafting their own no frills form of modern punk rock, Somos have polished off a record of plenty.

Despite rounding out at just nine tracks, the considered layers that Somos carefully constructed on each song keep the listener from actually realising the album’s fleeting length until they check out the track listing in writing. Temple Of Plenty features nine satisfying courses of what Somos is capable of, laid them out ever so seamlessly.

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Asking “Why?”

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Addiction is an ancient tragedy. 

It is an unquenchable need, an insatiable want, and a misunderstood truth. In a society so adherent to outdated and vague standards, both moral and social, the dismissal of addiction as fleeting or its manifestation as a lack of focus and/or direction is entirely too common - it takes no stretch of the imagination to perceive the feigned chagrin collectively whispered (or tweeted) by the millions of fans, critics, admirers, “haters,” and anyone else removed from the actual human being who passed away with a syringe found in his arm. 

We are supposed to be inherently good, and empathetic, and conscious, the same way we’re born grasping at our father’s fingers or nestled in our mother’s bosom. But from the moment you’re born, there are a million factors at play. Precise and poignant wavelengths oscillating and reverberating, tangling and twisting, forming the context for your growth - the reason why a poor man can steal to feed his family and still preach the Bible to his children, the reason why adoptive parents can fill the same, seemingly “inherent,” role of birth parents, the reason why black and white create a shade of gray. 

There is no inherent, no absolute, when dealing with the human psyche.

There is a bold and powerful mind, capable of creating, processing, and visualizing the heavens, but still as malleable as a ball of clay exhibiting every impression etched into its mold. 

How Philip Seymour Hoffman was found in his hotel room is unnecessary. Which drugs led to his death is irrelevant. Your point of view on drug use, or the man, or films in general, are unwanted. Even what Philip Seymour Hoffman himself achieved in his brief time on Earth is beside the point. These are all minuscule elements playing into ultimately flawed conjecture.

Take the time to ask why

Why a man amidst an illustrious career, with a full life ahead of him, would want to puncture his skin with the needle.

Why a man with three children and a wife, despite marital issues, would push the plunger all the way, repeatedly.

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Most Anticipated Releases of 2014 // Hailey Hill

I’ve never actually compiled a most anticipated releases list before, my mistake. Creating this post has raised my excitement levels and allowed me to realise how many of my favourite bands will have new songs to please my ears soon. Last year I was far too lazy in checking out new records so hopefully 2014 sees me remove myself from hibernation.

Bayside // Cult // Hopeless Records – 18 February image Please email me if you can think of one bad song to Bayside’s name because I can’t fault them. Bayside has consistently and gradually evolved over the years. Although staying true to their timeless pop punk, the veterans never fail to bring something modern to the table, reminding me with every release why they are always a go-to band when I need a pick me up or just don’t know what I feel like listening to. Bayside should be a staple in your iTunes library and if you aren’t on the ball just yet, hook on to Cult. If new single “Pigsty" is any indication, it’s going to be a banger. (Pre Order)

Closure In Moscow // Pink Lemonade // Self Released – February

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Welcome back, Closure In Moscow. Debut full length First Temple was released in 2009 and after what feels like forever the infectiously odd Melbournites will release follow up Pink Lemonade next month. Closure do what they want, how they want, which results in a particularly unique progressive rock concoction. I’d be shocked if Pink Lemonade wasn’t indeed a brightly coloured, bubbly, fizzy brew that makes us all go a little hyper. (Pre Order)

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Top Eleven Films of 2013

2013 was a strong, if a bit sporadic, year for Hollywood and film in general. From the commercial heavyweights like Iron Man 3, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, or The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, to the drastically polarizing indie flicks like Spring Breakers or Only God Forgives (one of which is one this list). The dramas that are really shockingly dark comedies (The Wolf of Wall Street) to the group of famous stoner figures that made a surprisingly hilarious apocalyptic parody (This is the End). This is a list of my top eleven favorite films - why eleven? Because Oliva Wilde needed to be on here. 

Even after the slight delay and a bit more catching up, I unfortunately wasn’t able to catch all the movies I wanted to.

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Hailey Hill’s 2013

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I am getting old. Old and lazy. 2013 was a year of not listening to an extensive amount of new music compared to usual, and contently spinning 1990’s Silverchair due to my slack ways.

While I may not have listened to a vast quantity of music, importantly what I did listen to was of high quality (hence the three way tie for AOTY below).

Despite my sloth persona, I still ventured into some dark and dingy venues to see some fantastic shows, some of the best I’ve seen to date.

I don’t make New Years resolutions but in 2014 I aim to not be old or lazy because as this list shows, there’s potential to miss out on brilliance.

TOP 10 RELEASES OF 2013

8. Is Survived By  // Touché Amore   
An impressive release from Touché showing why they’re the best in the business. Wasn’t as infectious as Parting The Sea… but certainly presented how cohesive the band is.

7. Laika // Wil Wagner
If you love dogs and music then listen to the title track because you will cry like a baby. It’s perhaps the saddest song in the world. “More Like Signals Midwest” is also a banger.

6. Don’t Fuck With Our Dreams  // The Smith Street Band
This EP won over a lot of people I know that had slept on Smith Street. Very cool seeing a band from my city touring the world. 2013 was a massive year for them and with tours lined up out of Australia, they’ll probably be bringing their Melbourne punk rock to you sometime soon. Check out “Ducks Fly Together.”

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Negative Space // A Balance Between

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LABEL: Broken English Records
RELEASE DATE: January 7th 2014
OVERALL RATING: 8.0 - Awesome
STANDOUT TRACK: ”Reaching Out”
IN A SENTENCE:  Negative Space, post-hardcore New Jersey quintet A Balance Between’s debut EP, brings us 6 tracks full of intensity and the promise of more to come.
Listen HERE



Despite the sound of feedback leading into a full band groove, the verses of “Your Own Hell” are practically unplugged, only to jump right back into the full sound. This can be tricky live, but I’m glad A Balance Between took the risk because it switched things up and changed my expectations of the music. Although a great track, especially the bass and drum driven bits near the end, it feels too familiar and enough like other bands like Circa Survive that it is actually distracting - I need to hunt down the song “Stale Hearts Sway” reminds me of. ”Reaching Out” almost sounds like something from The Starting Line’s Based on a True Story era, perfectly blending softer vocals and subtle harmonies with a heavy, fuller sound. It’s the most unique and well-executed song on the album. 

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Portrait of Shelbie Dimond ©Todd Hido ©Shelbie Dimond ©Shelbie Dimond ©Shelbie Dimond ©Shelbie Dimond ©Shelbie Dimond ©Shelbie Dimond ©Shelbie Dimond Shelbie's Favorite ©Shelbie Dimond ©Shelbie Dimond

AN INTERVIEW WITH PHOTOGRAPHER SHELBIE DIMOND, A 21 YEAR OLD FROM DELTON, MICHIGAN. WE THINK YOU SHOULD KNOW HER BECAUSE SHE DOCUMENTS HER EVERY DAY LIFE AND INVOKES FEELINGS OF NOSTALGIA THROUGH HER USE OF ANALOG AND VINTAGE CAMERAS.

How did you get into photography?
Out of boredom during a long cold winter during my 16th year.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Everywhere! Films, nature, people, books, Tumblr…basically everything around me.

What message do you want to send through your art?
I’m not necessarily looking to send an exact message with my work, but rather make the viewer feel something emotionally.

Do you have a favorite photographer? 
I have a seemingly never-ending list of favorites. A few of my favorites include my good friends Hana Haley and Todd HIdo, Mark Cohen, Carri Ann Wayman, Anna Hatzakis, Erica Segovia, Erin Wilson, Mariam Sitchinava, Kate & Amanda Pulley, Neil Krug, Lukasz Wierzbowski…. There are so many! I could go on and on!

Do you have a favorite subject to shoot? 
Pretty girls, anything that brings a sense of nostalgia, the documentation of my life.  

What gear do you use? 
SX-70, Polaroid Land Cameras 440/450, Canon A-1, Instax mini, Yashica t4.  

Do you have a favorite camera to use?
My Polaroid SX-70 and the land cameras definitely, as well as my trusty Yashica point and shoot.  

If you could go anywhere in the world to take pictures, where would you go? 
If I’m going specifically to take photos, I would have to say Cuba. Cuba is still stuck in the 1950s due to the trade embargo in ’69. And not to mention the colors of all the buildings! I’d love to go sometime soon, before it becomes completely gentrified.

Do you believe that anyone can be a photographer?
If it’s something you’re really passionate about then absolutely!  

What’s your favorite thing about photography?  
Eternalizing a moment, or an emotion.  

What’s your least favorite thing about photography?  
Let’s put it this way, a shoot or a roll of film can make me very very very happy, or very very very destroyed. Definitely have shed some tears in my time due to a faulty roll or too high of expectations.

What is your favorite picture you’ve taken?  
I love this photo of my cousin. It was one of my very first photos I was ever really proud of. It was taken in my grandma’s basement where I spent a good (huge) chunk of my childhood. I have only fond memories of this basement.  

Do you think photography will always be a part of your life?  
Absolutely. I take pictures because I need to. I go crazy if I don’t.

Is there an element you think every photograph should always have?
Yes, I feel that any good photograph needs to hold some sort of emotive. A photograph can be perfect technically, but does it move the viewer?

Portrait of Shelbie in the blue dress taken by Todd Hido

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