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Stormzy Takes Glastonbury to Church

Stormzy is a star in the UK and has the following to prove it. He’s the first black solo artist headlining at Glastonbury, but who’d have thought that a pop concert with tens of thousands of people–and no Kanye–would become a worship service? The lyrics are spectacular and the whole scene is profoundly moving.

ht JMGB

All I Want is a Wink from the Cross: Arcade Fire’s Everything Now

In Arcade Fire’s 2017 album, Everything Now, the pop rock crew provides a sweeping commentary on loneliness, relationships, and (the search for) rest in a digital age. While Arcade Fire stays true to its anthemic tracks, soaring vocals, and visceral sound, the heavy doses of loneliness leave me incrementally sadder with every listen. The album […]

October Playlist

Click here to listen to (a smaller portion of the playlist than usual) on Spotify. Also, be sure to check out Jenny Anne Mannan’s terrific, Mbird-influenced(!) new record Carnies & Cowboys.

On the Seculosity of Fandom, or How I Almost Got Beaten Up at a Guns N Roses Show

If you don’t move, I’ll f&%*-ing make you move, he said. I was standing in a stadium, watching the reunited Guns N Roses perform. A dream I’d harbored for actual decades, finally realized. Our seats were decent but a few rows up a large-ish party hadn’t shown, so me and my friend did what serious […]

Daniel Johnston Has Taken Off His Worried Shoes (RIP)

Saddened to hear the news of cult singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston’s death yesterday. Such a dear spirit and such a deep well of fractured beauty, Daniel gave us so much more than “True Love Will Find You in the End”–though that would have been enough. His songs don’t always seep in immediately but when they do, watch out. It’s hard to imagine a less contrived prayer than his “Lord Give Me Hope”:

“I know that you’re there / And you are a friend / So Lord give me hope / For the road I walk upon / The road it is long / And I fear.” Damn.

Those wanting more would do well to seek out the excellent documentary, The Devil and Daniel Johnston. May he rest in peace.

Taylor Swift and the Ministry of Retribution

True fans of Taylor Swift will smell something fishy about the New York Times headline, “Taylor Swift, Philosopher of Forgiveness.” Because when it comes to Taylor’s philosophy of forgiveness, what songs come to mind? Maybe her early hit “Picture to Burn”? Or its music video in which she fantasizes about breaking into an ex’s house […]

September Playlist

Click here to listen (to most of it) on Spotify. Oh, and a new episode of The Well of Sound dropped over the weekend, this one covering The Beach Boys in the 1970s. Catch a wave!

Singing Along with Annie Lennox on Bad Days

This one comes to us from Bo White. A few months ago, The New York Times covered an art exhibition put together by Annie Lennox. I was immediately intrigued because the piece dealt with death but was still being touted as life-giving. In the installation, Lennox buried some personal artifacts beneath a mound of dirt, to […]

I’ll Go With You

This one comes to us from Juliette Alvey. Moving through life can feel like a series of battles. You get through one just to face another. You win some, you lose some. We use battle language with all sorts of issues: cancer, depression, or just getting the kids dressed and in the car. Some battles last […]

A Song of Forgiveness

This one comes to us from Will Ryan. I have an hour-long one-way commute. I can drive that path without much thought anymore, so I get a little bored. I now have an Audible subscription, and that helps. I subscribe to any number of podcasts. Sometimes I even listen to a baseball game. Recently, though, […]

To Be Honest: Why It’s Hard (but Helpful) to Tell the Truth

“Before you print a poem, you should reflect on whether this verse could be of use to at least one person in the struggle with himself and with the world.” – Czeslaw Milosz Being honest is often a hard thing for me to do. I don’t actually mind it when someone prefaces their opinion with, […]

August Playlist

You can listen on Spotify here. And to get even more dialed into this stuff, check out The Well of Sound podcast.