THE SUPER EDIT: 05/21 + 05/28
A Bite-size run-down of the best stuff of the (last two) week(s)
1. Our National Parks, Y'all!
This very special, "super" edition of the weekly edit is coming to you care of the 10-day camping trip I went on with my sister.
Frequently out of cell service-range, which was blissful (except for when I got withdrawals from my lack of regular exposure to Tobias Jesso Jr.'s dog videos on Instagram), I was unable to write or publish last week's summary, so I smushed together two weeks worth of goodies.
Anyways, spending time in the Redwoods, Lassen, and Yosemite National Parks--and special shoutout to Bass Lake/no special denouncement of the campground in Red Bluffs where there were snakes and we almost got kidnapped--was incredibly cleansing, inspiring, and just what I needed to reset myself for a busy summer. Plus, they make the perfect backdrop for any playlist. I highly recommend a visit.
2. This 'Guide To Nina Simone In 10 Songs'
An informative look through the catalog of an imposing, brilliant, and troubled artist--that's slightly akin to our own "Essentials" series, except, you know, with classy-ass production. Though this was done by Pitchfork, their particular brand of snob is largely absent here. With an artist as powerful as Simone, it's a music guide and history lesson all in one. A must.
3. I Me Mine by George Harrison EXTENDED EDITION
If you didn't know already, I'm a massive George Harrison fan, so of course I own a copy of his 1980 autobiography, I Me Mine. Color-me-shocked when I was aimlessly wandering the non-fiction section of Barnes & Noble only to be smacked in the face by the newer, fatter, fancy-ass version of it sitting right in front of me. Printed in color for the first time, expanded, more photos, I mean, this thing is gorgeous.
It's been sitting in my Amazon cart ever since, waiting for when I have enough pocket money to justify buying a more expensive copy of a book I already own. You can add it to your cart--either to actually purchase, or to lust over like me--right here.
4. "Champagne Corolla" by Justin Townes Earle
Justin Townes Earle's name gives you a pretty good idea of what he sounds like. The "Townes" comes from Townes Van Zandt, while the "Earle" comes from his father, Steve. A satisfying blend of country, folk, and rock was practically given to him along with his social security number. His new album, Kids In The Street, is out now, but I still can't shake the first single. Maybe it's because I've been driving the same, beat-up Honda Civic since high school.
5. Tim Darcy's Tiny Desk Concert
As much as I love NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts for discovering new artists and feeling like I'm watching something productive instead of another Vine compilation (R.I.P.), I rarely watch one through to the end. For a reason I still can't totally pin down, Tim Darcy's had me mesmerized from start to finish. Maybe because he sounds like Roy Orbison, maybe because it's just him and his guitar, maybe because the lyrics are so beautiful and beguiling I wanted to catch every word. Whatever the case I'm a fan. Check out his album, Saturday Night. Oh, and he's playing Resident in LA on June 13. See ya there.
6. Early Stream of Benjamin Booker's Witness
I've been waiting for Booker's follow-up to his self-titled debut since the moment the final track first faded out. That was 2014. Imagine my joy when it arrived a few days early thanks to NPR's First Listen, as well as my annoyance that I haven't had enough time to properly--and I mean PROPERLY--listen to it. Regardless, I'm already telling you it was worth the wait. Click here to listen to it now, or wait until it drops on June 02. But like, why?
7. "Video" by Guantanamo Baywatch
I first came across this band when they opened for The Buttertones here in LA and was impressed by their vintage-tinged, surfy riffs and INSANELY catchy melodies. Their latest, "Video," is no different. The single comes with the announcement that an album will be dropping August 04. My guess is that by the time that rolls around, this will still be stuck in my head.
8. Solange's Letter to her Teenage Self
For her recent cover story with Teen Vogue--yes this link is from Teen Vogue, get over it!--Solange penned a stunning poem/letter to her younger self. Specific to her experience, yet skillfully managing to stay universal, the letter is powerful, moving, and inspiring. A celebration of youth, individuality, womanhood, and journeys. I don't care who you are, it's worth a read.
My favorite part comes early on.
"there will be fear. a lot of it. there will be triumph. a lot of it. there will be constellations you want to reach for but can’t put your finger on. you will trace them like the scars on your body you got from trouble and the times of your life. you will take the long way to get to these Orions. the long way will become a theme in your life, but a journey you learn to love."
9. "Tyrant" by Kali Uchis ft. Jorja Smith
You know when you've been on a long road-trip, and you're driving home, and it's been six or seven hours, and suddenly you hit LA traffic? It's pretty much the worst, and I tend to get a little hysteric. Maybe it's the shock of being on wide-open, two-lane highways for a week and returning to stop-and go traffic--the pummeling realization that your vacation is over manifested in smog and rude honking. I was listening to new releases in an attempt to keep myself from going crazy, and this got me through. About the tenth time someone cut me off, I too wanted to "disappear like El Chapo."
10. Noisey's Under The Influence: Glam Rock Documentary
Glam Rock, a particular favorite genre of mine, and the recent recipient of lots of attention due to the continuing tributes and send-ups in light of David Bowie's passing is defined as follows: "a style of rock and pop music that developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s performed by musicians who wore outrageous costumes, makeup, and hairstyles, particularly platform shoes and glitter."
I tend to think of it as badass tunes--with big guitar riffs and ear-worm melodies--performed with a hefty gender-bending flair and plenty of decadent, over-painted imagery. Oh, and lots of hair.
This pithy doc, courtesy of Noisey, expertly traces the line from Bowie to Børns, touching on Bolan, Bingenheimer, and everything in between--all in less than 30 minutes. Bang a gong.