2016 was incredible, and I mean that with every dynamic of that word stretched to its limit. I wasn’t going to post this, but again, I never really do. Even hasted and rushed, these things still say much later on. So, here’s a ‘list’ of creative efforts, experiences, and more that I am OK with sharing. In no way is this the totality of my life this year. This is just what I am ok sharing with the *internet*. It’s enough skin. So, thanks:
There were three major, monumental albums that impacted me this year. Those were:
Blood Orange – Freetown Sound
Angel Olsen – My Woman
Frank Ocean – Blonde
These albums also had the three songs I listened to most:
Angel Olsen – “Intern”
-The casual feel of how this was just released on a facebook post stopped my heart. A mantra to live by that most of us live with, for worse, for better.
Blood Orange – “Best to You”
-Dev and Lorely’s crowned jewel on Freetown Sound.
Frank Ocean – “Ivy”
-We are all Frank Ocean, have been Frank Ocean, or will be the Frank Ocean in this song.
The best of the rest:
Despite the total matanza of celebrity and cult personality death, this was a tremendous year for music. So much good came out. This is my list of albums that also commanded much of my listening.
Xenia Rubinos – Black Terry Cat
Mitski – Puberty 2
Anohni – Hopelessness
Zayn – Mind of Mine
Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition
Jay Som – Turn Into
Bernardino Femminieli – Plaisirs Americains
Mannequin Pussy – Romantic
Geneva Jacuzzi – Technophelia
Nerve Quakes – A New State
CC Dust – EP
Vesuvio Solo – LP
Super – Human Music
David Bowie – Black Star
Control Top – s/t
Molly Nilsson – Money Never Dreams
Kero Kero Bonito – bonito generation
Frankie Cosmos – Next Thing
Merchandise – a corpse wired for sound
Pine Grove – Cardinal
Sneaks – Gymnastics
Drab Majesty – Completely Careless
Jenny Hval – blood bitch
Jesika – Hora Mistica
Kanye West – the Life of Pablo
Nite Jewel – Liquid Cool
2016 in experience:
–Galax Z Fair 2016. Having Mykki Blanco at Galax Z Fair is a memory that’ll remain sunk in there for a while. For personal reasons, I’d rather not share too much. Some things are better kept to ourselves. But it changed me up. For the better. Mykki’s real, and we live in Mykki’s world, we just don’t know it.
-Further, and personally, it was surreal to have so many artists literally in the same room. So of many of my favorite musicians and artists, sharing stories, having a beer, a joke here and there, getting to know one another. I’d imagine this happens at much larget fests, but probably not on this level of sincerity, this size.
-Downtown Boys, again, ripped.
-She Shreds Showcase – unofficial sxsw 2016 – backlot, Mitski performance.
-Peter Muprhy: I respect the artist, but I can’t un-experience the person.
-Going to New York and experiencing Summerslam was awesome. The event had its major problems, but having AJ Styles, who is arguably the best wrestler in the world, beat John Cena, the most marquee name in the world, and also a phenomenal wrestler, clean, was something to take in. Especially with the Brooklyn crowd. On that same note, and on that same note, seeing one of my new heroes, Sasha Banks, lose cleanly to Charlotte Flair, was such a heartbreak. I know this isn’t about music, but having recently been ok with sharing my passion for the art of wrestling and lucha was also a major thing that really leaped up this year. So it feels ok.
–Meeting Alice Bag at PhilaMOCA. This whole event, which I only caught the latter chunk of, looked amazing. Though I only saw Alice Bag, and later, a Jenn Pelly spoken word, it was tremendous.
-We beat the city of McAllen. Yerberia Cultura, and a bunch of other places, survived a very strange political foil thanks to the work and energy of so many good folks in the South Texas music realm. It was an incredible ordeal, despite being a perplexing and dark one as well – why was the city doing this? Those who claim the city had the interests of the people in mind with regards to a noise + all ages ban would be wise to actually get to know those involved in making those decisions. It wasn’t about that. Which made the whole ordeal much more discomforting. Regardless, we tamed it, and while I wish it didn’t even have to happen, I’m grateful for everyone who stepped up to show their support. They know who they are. Thank you.
-While in NYC this summer, I was lucky enough to catch a Dev Hynes set. A friend brought me to watch him play in a tiny back room of a bar, where he played much of Freetown Sound on a small white piano. I’ve been a long time admirer of Dev Hynes over the years, and I feel Freetown Sound is a masterpiece. Literally sitting an arms length behind him in a crowded space was something I never imagined doing. It was beautiful.
-Seeing my friends grow into themselves and pursue their interests. Watching my dudes in the Young Maths form a new band, Slow Attack. Watching my friend Andres start to book more shows and start BLASST. My friend Sandra take control and start her new clothing project. The Queremos Bailar crew book more and more shows. Denni booking more shows. There’s so much more to add. But it was awesome seeing this happen. I like to surround myself with people who challenge themselves, and as a person who still needs much more growth, it’s healthy to be around others who are doing it, regardless of age.
This list is vastly incomplete, but I’m ok with it. Godspeed, and here’s to 2017.