There’s no question that we’re living in an uncertain, tension-filled time, and the importance of art has never been greater. Thankfully, one of the few positive takeaways from a year filled with gloom was the monumentally terrific outpouring of excellent music.
In a year where hip-hop kicked up tufts of multicolored chalk while celebrating Chance the Rapper’s fluorescent fun house of swelling choruses and syrupy intonations, we almost forgot about the yellowed sidewalks and hallowed Jordans of Vince Staples.
I spent a significant portion of 2016 unspooled in a heap of tears and saline smudged hospital paperwork. I witnessed my dad’s ashes being poured into a phlegmatic sea before tossing a single flower to meet him. I stomped my eggshell colored Converse around downtown Portland, easing a kitchen’s worth of pint glasses to my lips.
Artists across all genres delivered a plethora of powerful, insightful, confrontational tunes throughout all twelve squares in the calendar, and there was no shortage of important entries in the EP department.
From Niki & The Dove’s saltwater splashed “Everybody’s Heart is Broken Now” to Vince Staple’s sardonic and saliva flecked “Prima Donna”, there was a wealth of important voices and challenging dialogue.
In shorthand, Alfred Howard has a great mind. In wanting to bother one of my favorite people, I decided to ask him about the carnival of terror that was 2016, the social relevance of Myspace, and the greatness of The Redwoods.
There’s distinct danger in the bluing of an Essex County sky, a spectral rumble more gossamer than soapy dishwater. Director Kenneth Lonergan doesn’t rack the shotgun when it comes to weather as motif, but in his latest film, “Manchester by the Sea”, you know its there in both indifference and might.
Her voice is like a balm for bruised hearts and people who think Dusty Springfield should have a statue out in front of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame. There’s a definite nod toward Burt Bacharach and early sixties Hi-Fi standards in the way she plays and sings.
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The band – Megan Liscomb, vocals and guitar; Ana Ramundo, keys and vocals; Jon Bonser, drums – get lost in a parallel universe of broken pastels, syrupy lamentations, tonal juxtapositions, and visceral expressions of rage.