Skip navigation

Full Albums:

  • Action Bronson, The Program EP
  • The Gaslight Anthem, American Slang
  • Justice, Cross
  • Kings of Leon, Come Around Sundown

Random Excellence:

  • The Used, “Pretty Handsome Awkward”
  • The Rolling Stones, “Bitch”
  • The Roots, “Web”
  • Jay-Z, “Girls, Girls, Girls”
  • The Beastie Boys, “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun”1

Songs of the Week:

  • Television, “Friction”
  • Tom Vek, “The Lower the Sun”2
  • The Clash, “I’m Not Down”
  • Brand New, “Fork and Knife”
  • The Afghan Whigs, “Citi Soleil


1. The line, “24 is my age, 22 is my gauge,” always kills me; they made the album of their career while I was still working a retail job at the same age. It’s people like them and Keats that keep my life in perspective. Actually, one of my coworkers tells me I need to read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus because there’s nothing so heartbreaking for people who write right now than knowing she was 17 when she wrote it.

2. It doesn’t seem to be the case all the time recently–what with sleeping poorly during the week, working too hard during the day and whatnot–, but this song, his “On a Plate” and The Police’s “Bring on the Night” describe my life. If not my life, then just how I generally feel: like it should always be night time. Mornings are lame.


I’m not sure if it was was the combination of having read his stuff for the first time in a while and sleepy or just the former, but I shed a tear or two over David Foster Wallace back on Friday. Maybe it was my family’s history with suicide, but I was only about twenty minutes into reading a piece of his that Grantland republished and it was just so beautiful to read something by someone who knew more about grammar than me about writing.

A lot of my expertise comes from reading a lot and reading closely, but that’s recently been getting confused as bloggers around me leave periods outside quotation marks or throw in a hyperlink that actually tells more of the story than the story. The man’s footnotes had footnotes. That’s the kind of stuff I wish could be taught, but I’m kind of glad a lot of people don’t understand any of it because it exponentially increases my chances of getting hired for the copy editor or editor positions they’d never qualify for.

At any rate, I was reading that story on a bus down to Washington, D.C. and headed to the Virgin Mobile Freefest. It was exhausting and I got stung on the finger and friends were being dumb, but I had a genuinely good time. The food was terrible and everything was overpriced, but I saw Calvin Harris DJ an entire set. James Murphy accidentally bumped his own records hard enough to knock the needle out of their tracks–twice. I’ve seen him live twice now–more than any other band, I think–and he’s played Diana Ross’ “Love Hangover” both times. That song is beyond spectacular and for it to have such a central part in his DJ set just confirms it’s that good.

We all got muddy and sweaty, but I caught the tail end of TV on the Radio and saw The Black Keys, who ended with “I Got Mine.” The latter band’s performance was an incredible show that started with just some simple phrases: “Hi everyone. We’re the The Black Keys from Akron, Ohio.” They seemed like the two nicest, most humble guys you’ll ever meet and then they just killed it for the rest of the show. Two white dudes up on a nearly empty stage, playing some of the blackest blues you’ll ever hear for thousands of white kids. My head was spinning from dehydration and exhaustion, but fuck yes–they sure as shit got theirs.

I’m sad I missed Empire of the Sun and Cee Lo Green, but those were the sacrifices I decided to make for friends, food and performers. The festival itself was certainly better than I expected, despite our original plans falling apart almost from the second we arrived. I was even intimidated when I first got to Union Station in D.C.: this was the weekend of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and where some of the douchiest lawbros from college ended up, after all. If I had to wade through a sea of pleated khakis, coral shirts and ties or anachronistic Ray-Bans with eyewear retainers, I was going to stab everyone. And then arriving at Merriweather Post Pavilion made me terrified I’d trample a toddler or get just as mad at the underage hipsters as I was going to at the absentee lawbros.

But it all turned out okay. I lived. One of my friends got punched in the face (accidentally) and another (apparently) tried to break concrete with the back of her skull, but we’re all alive and no one’s concussed. We had a weekend. We listened to kids on the bus say things like, “I was talking to Two Door Cinema Club when he said he had to do an interview or something. Just because you listen to a band all the time doesn’t mean you have to know who they are or anything. Whatever, I stole their towels,” or “Omigod, Deadmau5 is awesome.”

Not to shit on Deadmau5 without listening to him much, but I don’t trust guys whose musical career is built on a joke. He started his career by recording a song making fun of house music and now he makes house music. I mean, he was one of the headliners and Patti Smith opened for TV on the Radio. I think my only hope is that at least some of the kids saw Patti and know there’s still art out there.

I don’t know; if we could survive despite not being kids anymore, maybe those kids will be alright, too.


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] and part of the assigned reading is a section from The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Ed. I’ve mentioned this before, but periods are not supposed to go outside quotation marks–but here’s the one […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: