We love selfies in the reflections of ornaments. Leica M, 50mm Summilux ASPH.
There will soon come a time — it may be now — when people quit referring to Magic Trick as the side project of The Fresh & Onlys’ Tim Cohen. For really, when the merits are weighed, the better description is that The Fresh & Onlys are Magic Trick frontman’s Tim Cohen’s side project.
River Of Souls made it in just under the wire, and we would convene the editorial team at Tulip Frenzy World HQ to have a serious discussion of which worthy band it must bump to make it on our pretty much already formed Top Ten List, if only we could get them to stop dancing to the Kelley Stoltzy “The Store,” or nodding their heads to the fun “My World.”
This is an album that is at once so tastefully tuneful, so catchy and pretty, sweet and bright that we are already making up the seating charts for Holiday parties in the weeks ahead — just so we can play it at dinner! The fire crackling, suckling spam coming from the roti, the claret decorked — oh, the festivities this brilliant disk will get going. It’s going to be a helluva warm’n'toasty finish to 2013, now that said bright platter’s plopped on the old victrola.
If ever you want that perfect example of how someone who doesn’t always hit the notes can be said to have a great voice, don’t invoke Lou or Bob. Tim Cohen can either over- or undershoot the melody, but on average his singing’s marvelous, and he long ago learned the pro tip that wrapping his vox in the soft flannel of a pretty girl’s voice, better yet two, would make everyone feel warm inside. We loved last year’s Ruler Of The Night, which sounded like what would happen if the Brian Eno of Tiger Mountain had been kidnapped and fed mushrooms in Mendocino. In fact, we’d venture that “Weird Memories” was our single favorite song of the year. But here’s the thing, River of Souls is better. It’s a smoky, mysterious, sinuous dip into complex folk rock with psychedelic undertones and a soupçon of Beggars Banquet-like country added to the mix.
Download “Salvation” and your ears will respond like you’ve just filled them with melted chocolate that’s been left to cool in the warm breeze of a Baja California night. One song later, when the gorgeous “Bridge of Gold” comes on, you’ll find yourself shushing loved ones while saying not a word. That’s right, you won’t have to tell them what to listen for. They’ll just start nodding their heads to the beat, and will thank you for allowing them to listen.
So we promised Magic Trick that we would wait for River Of Souls, out Tuesday, before locking the ballot box on the Tulip Frenzy 2013 Top Ten List ™. We will save them a spot on the shortlist, okay? Below, in NO PARTICULAR ORDER are the bands in consideration.
At Tulip Frenzy World HQ, the horse trading, lobbying, and outright bribery are in full force. We’ve cast a sideways glance at our competitors, and let us just say that this was one of the rare years in which we did not automatically scoff at the Uncut Top 50 list, and they did settle one thing for us: yes, the Parquet Courts album is to be considered this year, even though it actually was released last November. But no one listened to it until January 1, when we were all suddenly forced to grapple with a) 2013, and b) the Parquet Courts’ greatness. But mbv as the Album of The Year? Please, nice to have Kevin Shields back but it’s not really that good. Still, could have been worse.
We should note that we are NOT considering the Bob Dylan 1969 Isle of Wight release, even though it finally came out this year, and even though it is simply amazing. Why is it ruled out by the judges? Because we don’t think that’s right to knock a band in their prime out of consideration just because another incredible album fought its way out of the Dylan archives. But here’s a pretty great set of bands/artists who will be considered:
Thee Oh Sees
First Communion Afterparty
In consideration: 18 artists. It’s going to be a long few days of wrangling in these here parts. Stay tuned.
So funny, we’d been thinking this morning how unhappy we are not to be in Brooklyn tonight to see Television play at Rough Trade. And then we got this email…
For a long time, we’ve loved listening to Richard Hell’s music, particularly the two albums he recorded with the Voidoids – Blank Generation and the original Destiny Street. But since the ’90s, we’ve also enjoyed reading his fiction (Go Now), and then his excellent memoir, I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp, which we absolutely adored.
Today, Richard contacted us out of the blue to let us know that he had just re-issued his compilation SPURTS AKA The Richard Hell Story because… well, we’ll let him tell it:
Leica M, 50mm Summilux Asph.
We loved the way Saul Leiter a) shot almost all of his best images in portrait aspect, b) used the frost on windows as something to focus on while the world took shape outside. We thought of Saul this morning, on a cold beautiful day. He was a master, and an inspiration.
The New York Times obit this morning was quite wonderful. R.I.P., Saul Leiter.