They walked through Bedford Stuy alone / Photo by bgh
Thank you so, so, so much to everybody who came out to the Vaudeville Mews on Tuesday night. For the third straight year, the Vaudeville Mews gave me a chance to spend my New Year's Eve playing records I like with Bob Nastanovich and whoever else cared to listen and/or dance. The Mews' lease only goes through the end of 2014, so it's possible this was the last time Bob and I will get to do an "NYE throwdown," at least at my favorite venue's current location. But let's not worry about that yet.

Thanks to Joe and TJ at the bar, Bob at the door, and Derek for running sound. Thanks to my neighbors for making their first-ever visit to the Vaude. Thanks to the young women who asked me to play Beyoncé three times and posed for pictures with me and my B'Day record cover. Thanks to the dude who asked me to play Matt Valentine and Erika Elder from his phone. Thanks also to the couple of people who requested R. Kelly — I'm sorry I was too lame to put "Ignition (Remix)" in my crate this year, but with all the strangers in the room, I just didn't think it was right to risk bringing up painful associations for anyone. (There's nothing wrong with "Bump and Grind," but at least this once I figured we could leave that to the Bumps McGhee song.) Thanks to Ladd for booking us, and thanks as always to Amedeo for running the place.

The new year is about new beginnings, and flubbed song transitions (all by me, sorry), and wondering how in the world you're going to follow the Special AKA's "Nelson Mandela." Oh, and by the way: Thanks also to all my friends who made it out. You really shouldn't have bought me those shots.

Here's what we played, plus the closest Spotify approximation:

The Reverend Gary Davis - You Got to Move
Echo & the Bunnymen - The Original Cutter [Bob]
Scott & Charlene's Wedding - Two Weeks
The Gun Club - Sex Beat [Bob]
Courtney Barnett - History Eraser
Barry White - Barry's Theme [Bob]
Digable Planets - 9th Wonder (Blackitolism)
The Special AKA - Nelson Mandela [Bob]
Bahumutsi Drama Group - To the Comrades
Baby Mammoth - Tasty Maloney [Bob]
Joanna Gruesome - Do You Really Wanna Know Why You're Still in Love With Me?
Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing [Bob]
Kingdom feat. Kelela - Bank Head
The Cure - Grinding Halt [Bob]
Lydia Loveless - Steve Earle
Musical Youth - Pass the Dutchie [Bob]
Deerhunter - Pensacola
Donna Summer - Hot Stuff [Bob]
Jonathan Richman - This Kind of Music
The Velvet Underground - We're Gonna Have a Real Good Time Together [Bob]
The Field - A Paw in My Face
Pierre Henry - Jericho Jerk [Bob]
Sky Ferreira - I Blame Myself
The Beastie Boys - So What'cha Want [Bob]
Arthur Russell - A Little Lost
Blancmange - Don't Tell Me [Bob]
Blood Orange feat. Samantha Urbani - You're Not Good Enough
The Feelies - The Boy With the Perpetual Nervousness [Bob]
Frank Ocean - Lost
Bumps McGhee & His Twisters - Bumps and Grinds [Bob]
ESG - Moody [attempted, totally played wrong track]
The B-52's - Rock Lobster [Bob]
Disclosure feat. AlunaGeorge - White Noise
Booker T & the M.G.'s - Born Under a Bad Sign [Bob]
Quiet Village - Circus of Horror
Nancy Sinatra - Sugar Town [Bob]
Camera Obscura - New Year's Resolution
Chic - Le Freak [Bob]
TNGHT - Bugg'n
Blondie - One Way or Another [Bob]
Run-DMC - King of Rock [Bob]
Doris Day - Everybody Loves a Lover [Bob]
Wilson Pickett - In the Midnight Hour
Les Rita Mitsouko - Andy [Bob]
Liars - Let's Not Wrestle Mt. Heart Attack
Jack Hylton Orchestra - Gold Diggers of 1933: We're in the Money! [Bob]
LCD Soundsystem - Losing My Edge
Nightmares on Wax feat. De La Soul - Keep On [Bob]
G-Clefs: "I Understand (Just How You Feel) - Auld Lang Syne"
Peggy Lee - Mack the Knife [Bob]
Jessie Ware - If You're Never Gonna Move
Dinosaur Jr. - Freak Scene [Bob]
Beyonce - Get Me Bodied
Kool and the Gang - Ladies Night [Bob]
Beyonce - Freakum Dress
Beastie Boys - Something's Got to Give [Bob]
M.I.A. - Come Walk With Me
Soft Cell - Tainted Love [Bob]
Robyn - Konichiwa Bitches
ABBA - Dancing Queen [Bob]
Beyonce - Ring the Alarm (I think? I may also have played "Freakum Dress" again!)
Hot Chocolate - Beautiful Lady [Bob]
Curtis Vodka - Hey Girl
Heart - Crazy on You [Bob]
Justin Timberlake - SexyBack
Run-DMC - It's Like That [Bob]
Toro Y Moi - Say That
R.E.M. - The One I Love [Bob]
Madonna - Into the Groove
Cozy Cole - Topsy Part 1 [Bob]
Drake feat. Rihanna - Take Care
Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls [Bob]
Jackie Wilson - (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher
MC Shy-D - Shake It [Bob]
Big Tymers feat. Boo and Gotti - Oh Yeah!
Billy Joel - You May Be Right [Bob]
Prince - Kiss
The Ray Mirijanian Oud and Clarinet - Bint El Shalabiyeh [Bob]
Whitney Houston - I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) (12" Remix - Radio Edit)



"Oh, no, I would never claim to be an actual DJ..."
Had another excuse to spin records and type up my best approximation of what I played and post it here! Friday night was the birthday of Patrick Tape Fleming, of local bands the Poison Control Center, Gloom Balloon, and Dickweed, among probably others, and the Vaudeville Mews put together an evening to celebrate. Tony Galloro aka DJ Tone Zone kindly brought (and shared) his turntables, and we both spun at the venue's outdoor "PBR" bar. I DJed the earlier shift, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., so we could get home before too late for the babysitter. That in mind, I mostly brought a bunch of scrappy indie records I thought Patrick might like, but it turned out my tweeted promise to play "Work It" got around to our friends, so I ended up leaving a lot in the crate and focusing on records to keep a few of 'em dancing. My iPhone notes always get a little sketchy -- I'm gonna blame AutoCorrect -- but I think this is pretty close to what I played. Thanks to Tony, Ladd, Patrick, Joe, John, Clint, Brandon, and everyone who helped! And huge thanks to everyone who came out! I caught awesome sets beforehand by Wolves in the Attic, Pure Gut, and A Quick Piss -- thanks to those guys, too. I guess I'll be DJing a full set again on September 28 so let's hope it's not too cold or rainy or Oktoberfest-y? (Oh also I should mention it was brutally hot this night.)

Pure Ecstasy - You're In It Now
George Jackson - Aretha, Sing One for Me
Arctic Monkeys - R U Mine?
Laura Marling - Master Hunter
Sly & the Family Stone - Higher (Mono Single Master)
Missy Elliott - Work It
Aaliyah - Are You That Somebody?
Taylor Swift - I Knew You Were Trouble
David Bowie - Fame
Kleenex Girl Wonder - Migration Scripts
Life Without Buildings - The Leanover
TLC - No Scrubs
Paramore - Ain't It Fun
No Doubt - Hella Good > No Doubt - Hey Baby
R. Kelly - Feelin' on Yo Booty (Dirty South Mix)
Free Energy - Something in Common
Pulp - After You
LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends
Cibo Matto - Know Your Chicken
Whitney Houston - How Will I Know?
Muuy Biien - Another Degradation
Delorean - Deli (or another track from this EP)
Dom - Living in America
Chemical Brothers - Block Rockin Beats
Beyonce - Upgrade U (probably) and Ring the Alarm (possibly)
The Boy Least Likely To - Be Gentle With Me

Tony and me
Dance-party photo stolen from Tony's Instagram



With DJ Tone Zone / Photos via Instagram
Last night was GDP, an annual festival downtown here showcasing local music.

A bunch of groups were playing, and one of the more talked-about shows was packed gig by reunited band House of Large Sizes at Vaudeville Mews. I managed to catch continuously game-raising young rock'n'rollers the Seed of Something once again, plus I finally saw all-around nice dude Dustin Smith and his group the Sunday Silos -- they had an outdoors free-stage crowd eating from their hands with a deftly played set of old-fashioned soul. Heard a bit of perennial noise-rock favorites Wolves in the Attic over at Vaudeville Mews, too, but did I mention that place was packed?

Anyway, over at local bar the Lift, which this month has art on the walls from our friend Ashley Tape Fleming, the Des Moines Music Coalition had organized a series of DJs. Another pal, Tony Galloro, kindly offered up his turntables for the night, and a bunch of us got to spin for an hour each, including former Pavement auxiliary drummer and my New Year's Eve DJing partner Bob Nastanovich. My wife and I showed up around 5 p.m. for the too-modestly named DJs Pretty Good and Pretty Bad, and then somehow my old waking-up-early self needed to stay alert until midnight for my own set.

So eventually I spun a few records. Here's what I played:

Hello Saferide - The Quiz
Deerhunter - Wash Off
Frank Ocean - Lost
CFCF - Cometrue (feat. the late Jason Molina)
Blur - Tender (Cornelius Remix)
Chromatics - Kill for Love
Robyn - With Every Heartbeat
Das Racist - Rainbow in the Dark
LOL Boys - Changes (feat. Heart Streets)
Vondelpark - Hipbone
Sade - By Your Side (Neptunes Remix)
D'Angelo - The Root
John Mayer - Who Says
Solange - Losing You
Air France - No Way Down

With DJ Bob Nastanovich

With DJs Pretty Bad and Pretty Good



Professional and everything.
So last night Bob and I spun records at Vaudeville Mews.Thanks to Ladd, Bradie, Patrick, Dustin and everybody who came out to ring in 2013 with us. Here's what we played:



These guys listen to music.
So I've been putting together a little online radio station for eMusic the past few months. (If you don't know eMusic, it's a subscription music discovery service, and I'm honored to contribute alongside all of the super-knowledgeable critics who write there.) While I don't necessarily expect anyone to want to trawl through all of my playlists, I figured I might as well share the songs I've added so far.

Maybe bands will Google themselves and see I'm not a big jerk all of the time? Maybe you'll skim the names and either nod your head in agreement or spit out your coffee in frustration, wondering why I put x on my list but not y? Maybe nobody will ever see this? Who cares!

P.S. If you're in town, please don't forget, Bob Nastanovich and I will be spinning records until we fall down over at Vaudeville Mews on New Year's Eve.



Sleigh Bells' best song of 2012: "End of the Line"

1. Frank Ocean: channel ORANGE
2. Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
3. Beach House: Bloom
7. Killer Mike: R.A.P. Music
8. Japandroids: Celebration Rock


Elite Gymnastics: "Andreja 4-ever"



That's me facing away from the camera, talking to my friend's ex-boyfriend.
Today, eMusic published an interview I did recently with Jens Lekman, along with a review I wrote of his new album, I Know What Love Isn't. I last interviewed him and reviewed his album five years ago for Pitchfork, when he put out Night Falls Over Kortedala. So this was sort of a big moment for me. Although I was at first resistant to the appeal of this Swedish singer, songwriter, and producer, he has turned out to be one of the musicians whose work has meant the most to me over the past five years.

Still, when I saw him at New York City's Webster Hall in April 2008, and then headed back to my Brooklyn neighborhood for the nearby house show posted above, I remember already wondering how he would ever top Kortedala. It was more than an album for me; it captured a moment, a moment that might've been as naive and idealistic as the presidential campaign themes that fall can seem after four years of polarized gridlock. You can always make another album, but moments are out of our hands.

I tried to mention this to Jens, but it didn't really come out in the form of a question, and I'm not sure what I said made sense. Toward the end of our interview, though, I was able to bring up the small but significant role he played in my current whereabouts: As my wife was suggesting we move from Brooklyn to downtown Des Moines, she used local venue Vaudeville Mews' recent and upcoming shows as a lure, and I was thrilled to see had played here.

"I remember that show in Des Moines," Jens told me, in a portion of the interview it didn't make sense to file for eMusic. "It was really fun. Like, there was a big crowd, and everyone was really excited. It seemed like a really cool town, actually." After I talked a bit about how nice it is to see performers away from situations where they know their every move might be dissected by the blogs and media, he said in agreement, "Those shows are just so much more fun, to be honest."

So there you have it. Lekman seemingly remembers playing Des Moines -- his description of the show definitely matches what I heard about it, though maybe every stop in his tour was that way. And while I'm not sure his current album of low-key heartbreak will be embraced in the same way Kortedala was five years ago, to me it's an even better album, of a piece with recent records by Tracey Thorn and Jonathan Richman. Lekman and I are in different places now, different moments, but his music still has a power over me I can't quite explain. I'm looking forward to sticking with it for another four or five years.

see also: "I was a seapunk when I was 12"