According2g.com’s Top 15 Albums & Songs of 2015

Posted by The G on December 1, 2015 under G Reviews | 8 Comments to Read

Photos, videos, words and autographs obtained by G.

If you are unfamiliar with any of these bands, songs or albums listed below, I urge you to open your mind and check them out.  Maybe they won’t be your taste or maybe they will change your life!  And now… According2g.com’s top 15 albums + songs of 2015!!!

Currents by Tame Impala

Currents by Tame Impala

  1. “Currents” by Tame Impala.  By now you should know I am obsessed with this band.  They fuse psychedelic rock and and pop seamlessly on this album, their third, and I can’t get enough of it.  Lead singer Kevin Parker’s voice sounds like a fusion of John Lennon and George Harrison with a little bit of reverb on his vocals.  The opening track “Let It Happen” is over 7 minutes long and I listen to it over and over and over again and months later, I am still not sick of it.  By now you’d think I’d have the lyrics memorized, but the processing on his voice makes the end part sound like he’s signing “Shoobie doobie doobie” to me.  And I’m not complaining!  It makes me smile every time I put this song on repeat.  The songs on “Currents” move away from being so rock oriented and this collection of tracks are the grooviest songs Tame Impala has done to date.  If this is the direction they are headed in, I am ready to take the ride.  I recommend this album, but if albums aren’t your thing, check out “The Less I Know The Better,” “Let It Happen,” “Eventually,” “Cause I’m A Man” and “New Person, Same Old Mistakes.”  If those songs don’t rock your world, we are no longer friends 🙂
Honeymoon by Lana Del Rey

Honeymoon by Lana Del Rey

2. “Honeymoon” by Lana Del Rey.  I’m really glad the world finally stopped hating Lana Del Rey and came to the realization that there is no one else out there in the music scene that is like her.  From her dark lyrics to her noir-esque music, Lana’s songs sound like mini 5 minute soundtracks to David Lynch films that don’t exist yet.  Love her or hate her, no one else opens an album with a 6 minute song that is nearly a capella, save for an orchestral arrangement when the name of the song is sung.  Her lyrics are badass (“you could be a bad motherfucker, but that don’t make you a man”) but she still gets her heart broken (“Ever since my baby went away, it’s been the blackest day/ All I hear is Billie Holliday/ It’s all that I play”) and in between she name checks legends and talks about many of our favorite subjects including getting high by the beach, appreciating art deco and invites you to move to California and become a freak like her.  Oh Lana, you have my heart!

Alex Kapranos of FFS (Franz Ferdinand and Sparks)

Alex Kapranos of FFS (Franz Ferdinand and Sparks)

3. “FFS” by FFS (Franz Ferdinand and Sparks).  Who would have thought pairing 90s rockers Franz Ferdinand and 70s duo Sparks would have been such a great idea, but whoever matched these two bands up deserves a medal.  The 16 song (if you have the deluxe edition) album is as theatrical as a Broadway show and has enough grooves and quirky lyrics to make you listen to this album repeatedly, whilst occasionally laughing out loud at the absurdity.  The opener “Johnny Delusional” talks about not being attractive and trying to impress a hot woman.  With song titles like “Dictator’s Son,” “The Man Without a Tan,” “The Power Couple,” the band knows how to take the piss out of themselves.  In fact, the regular edition of the album closes out with “Collaborations Don’t Work,” and “Piss Off” which is obviously telling critics to piss off, since the results of this collaboration (that does work!) are some of the best work either band has done.  The deluxe edition features the song “So Many Bridges” and just from hearing the title, you think it’s going to be a reflective song, and instead they sing about how there are “so many bridges in the world to jump off from.”  This album rules!

Jarryd James

Jarryd James

4. “Thirty One” by Jarryd James.  Jarryd James is a singer/songwriter from Australia who has a nice mixture of soul, R&B and pop in his songs.  In the age of the piano ballad that makes you want to slit your wrists, Jarryd James is the relief as his music has a beat and many times, a funky little groove.  His album has yet to make a splash in America, but I think with the right marketing, he has the potential to be a big star.  I happened to see that he was playing a concert in New York and the promoter inserted a youtube link to his track “Do You Remember?” and I pressed play, heard about 5 seconds of the song and said “I need to see this guy sing.”  It was a great decision and I enjoyed every song I heard that night and when his album came out, I found the same love for every track on the record.  If you are looking for a starting point, let me recommend “Give Me Something” (for a more upbeat taste) and if you need a slow jam, check out “High.”  I really hope Jarryd’s career takes off because I love this album so much.  I am looking forward to hearing more from Jarryd James and you should be too!

Adele

Adele

5. “25” by Adele.  Hello!  A brilliant album of sad songs.  Adele is so charming when she is interviewed (I’ve met her 3 times and I can confirm the charm), her laugh makes the world a brighter place.  But sad songs are her specialty, so we’ve gotta let Adele be Adele.  Luckily songs like “Send my Love (To Your New Lover)” and “Water Under the Bridge” give us a glimpse of Adele when she is at her most up beat.  The world is her oyster, so hopefully we will get a tour and more music without having to wait years in between.  But Adele lives by her schedule perhaps if more artists did that, we’d get more artful works such as “25.”

Borns

Borns

6. “Dopamine” by Borns.  If T. Rex were alive and making music with the band MGMT in the age of the millennial, it would sound a lot like Borns.  His songs are groovy and soulful with a little bit of psychedelia mixed in.  You’ve got to watch the video for his single “Electric Love,” and if the song and video don’t blow you away, then try the title track “Dopamine,” which will have you repeating the chorus “wanna feel that stream of dopamine” over and over again.  “10,000 Emerald Pools” and “The Emotion” are two of my favorite songs on this great debut.  If you scour the archives of this site, you will find videos of Garrett Borns covering Bowie and Elton John.  You’re welcome!

Judith Hill

Judith Hill

7. “Back In Time” by Judith Hill.  Judith Hill is so bad ass!  She’s sung backing vocals for a list of legends including Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson and for her latest album “Back in Time,” Prince produced it!  This production gives us a throwback to the purple proteges of the 1980s when every song on the record is great and it sounds like a Prince production.  I saw Judith Hill perform a few of these songs live and the studio renditions don’t do her voice justice because this woman can SING!  If you don’t throw your hands up church style when you hear songs like “Cry Cry Cry,” you might need to get your ears checked.  “As Trains Go By,” the album’s opener is that funk that is sorely missing from Prince’s own output these days and “Jammin’ in the Basement” will make you do just that.  Hopefully the world will catch on to the amazing Judith Hill because she deserves to have a career as great and powerful as her voice.

Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue

8. “Kylie Christmas” by Kylie Minogue.  Aside from a handful of rock songs, I typically despise Christmas music.  I was pleasantly surprised to find Kylie Minogue’s Christmas record to be a mix of classic x-mas songs with traditional arrangements (“It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” “Santa Claus is Coming To Town,” where they’ve seamlessly spliced in Frank Sinatra’s voice) to 1980’s covers (“2000 Miles” by the Pretenders, “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses – but Kylie’s version is paired with Iggy Pop! and “Only You,” a Yaz(oo) cover “Only You” paired with funny man James Corden – proving he’s got a nice set of pipes) to a disco Christmas song – “100 Degrees,” a duet with her sister, Danii Minogue.  It’s got a little something for everyone and you’ll need the deluxe edition if you want some of the better tracks on the album.  Ho Ho Ho!

Disclosure

Disclosure

9. “Caracal” by Disclosure.  Not as strong as their debut, the sophomore release from the cute Lawrence brothers has some really strong tracks.  In fact, when the tracks are strong, they hit it out of the park and when they are weak, they are little more than album filler.  Their collaborations with The Weeknd (“Nocturnal”), Sam Smith (“Omen”) and Lorde (“Magnets”) make you wish they would do full albums with these artists.

Mark Ronson

Mark Ronson

10 “Uptown Special” by Mark Ronson.  Mark Ronson + Kevin Parker of Tame Impala = G Heaven.  There are in fact 3 collaborations with the pair including “Daffodils,” which is a track so funky, I’ve had it on repeat a lot this year.  But the collaborations don’t stop there, Ronson also works again with Andrew Wyatt of the electronic group Miike Snow (sic) as well as producer Jeff Bhasker and there’s even a little bit of Stevie Wonder’s harmonica featured to open the album.  The record also features the mega smash “Uptown Funk” with Bruno Mars, and to be honest, Bruno’s music is so derivative to my ears that this song sort of sounds like a Saturday Night Live parody of Eddie Murphy doing James Brown, but that’s just me.  The music is funky though, and that’s what matters.  This record is a little patchy in comparison to Ronson’s last effort “Record Collection,” but I still love it.

Young Empires

Young Empires

11. “The Gates” by Young Empires.   There is no greater champion for this band than me, and I was so excited that their full length debut record has finally seen the light of day.  Their music is dance rock, funk punk or “haute rock” as they like to say.  Call it what you want, there are 10 tracks to shake your ass on the dance floor and some of my favorite songs are the reggae tinged “Never Die Young,” “So Cruel,” and “Mercy.”  Below, you can check out a live version of “Sunshine.”  Apologies for it being so dark – that’s rock and roll!

Matt Bellamy of Muse

Matt Bellamy of Muse

12. “Drones” by Muse.  Not their strongest album, but there are so many Muse moments, from their very political lyrics, to Matt Bellamy’s high pitched voice, stadium anthem ready choruses and my favorite moment on the album – the song “Revolt” where Matt Bellamy tells the listener to do exactly that!  FUCK YEAH MUSE!

Bernard Sumner of New Order

Bernard Sumner of New Order

13. “Music Complete” by New Order.  Peter Hook is noticeably absent on bass, but there are guest stars a plenty that range from good “Superheated” (featuring Brandon Flowers of The Killers) to really good “Tutti Frutti” and “People on the High Line” (featuring Elly Jackson of LaRoux) to cringe worthy “Stray Dog” (featuring Iggy Pop).  The strongest tracks on the record, according2g are the obvious tribute to Peter Hook “Unlearn This Hatred” and “Plastic.”

 

Simon LeBon of Duran Duran

Simon LeBon of Duran Duran

14. “Paper Gods” by Duran Duran.  Duran Duran’s career in the 2000s has been all over the map as they released the near-career killing, but mostly pleasant “Pop Trash,” the comeback, but not hugely popular album “Astronaut,” the absolutely horrible “Red Carpet Massacre” (PLEASE don’t ever work with Timbaland again), the criminally underrated “All You Need Is Now” and the spotty “Paper Gods.”  As FFS somewhat rightly noted in entry number 3, collaborations don’t work.  This rings true for some truly WTF moments as DD have collaborated with Kieza on the otherwise good track “Last Night In the City” but she over-divas her vocals and that has no business on a Duran Duran album.  The first single “Pressure Off” also suffers from the ill conceived collaboration with Janelle Monae.  Don’t count Duran Duran out though – their live show is still great and Simon LeBon’s voice sounds better than it has in years.  They perhaps need to just focus on their strengths which are best made with the 4 remaining members of the band.

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson

15. “Unbreakable” by Janet Jackson.   It’s just so good to hear Janet sing again after the death of her brother and almost a decade long hiatus, she could sing the phone book and it would have made the list.  Don’t ever leave us again Janet!  And check out “No Sleeep” (sic).  It’s classic JJ!

Deluxe Edition:

Madonna, D'Angelo

Madonna, D’Angelo

16 / 17.  “Rebel Heart” by Madonna and “Black Messiah” by D’Angelo and The Vanguard.  Both of these albums were released at the end of 2014, so they don’t really count.  Well, Madonna’s record leaked over 6 months early and didn’t see an official release until 2015, but the versions she picked to give the fans something different than what leaked are nearly all inferior to the leaked versions.   A pity, since this was Madonna’s strongest studio effort in a decade!  On the other hand, “Black Messiah” is a fucking masterpiece by the recluse of R&B, D’Angelo.  Every song on it is not only great, but essential listening.  Let’s hope he is inspired, after the universal love he got for this album, to continue to release music in intervals shorter than every 14 years.

Here are my Top 15 songs of 2015.  I’m going to save the commentary, so seek out these tracks!

  1. Erik Hassle – “No Words”
  2. Nervo (featuring Jake Shears, Kylie Minogue, Nile Rodgers) – “The Other Boys”
  3. Mac Demarco – “Just To Put Me Down”
  4. Father John Misty – “I Love You Honeybear”
  5. Yacht – “Matter”
  6. Leon Bridges – “River”
  7. Charli XCX – “Sucker”
  8. Duffy – “Whole Lotta Love”
  9. The Maccabees – “Marks To Prove It”
  10. Penguin Prison – “Show Me The Way”
  11. Guy Garvey – “Angela’s Eyes”
  12. Beck – “Dreams”
  13. Van Hunt – “The Fun Rises The Fun Sets”
  14. Lianne LaHavas – “Unstoppable”
  15. Courtney Barnett – “Small Poppies”

 

What’s on your list?

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A2G’s Top 10 Picks from the Affordable Art Fair, NYC

Posted by The G on September 10, 2015 under Artsy Fartsy | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.  Various Artists.

Donadini

Donadini

It’s art season again!  Hooray!!!  New York is kicking things off with the Affordable Art Fair.  Typically I am not a fan of art fairs because there is so much art to digest, but this fair is different.  Because the prices are low (by art standards), you can open your heart and mind a little more easily and you can fall in love without facing financial ruin.  I attended the press preview on September 9, 2015 and below are 10 of my favorite pieces that I saw (in no particular order).  The variety of what you will see below is just a small preview of the many types of styles and genres that you will see at the Affordable Art Fair.  You can find all the details on attending the fair, which runs from September 10 – 13, 2015 at this link, which will open in a new window.

You’ll find thousands of original paintings, prints, sculptures and photographs all under one roof, ranging from $100-$10,000, with more than half priced under $5,000!  There’s something for everyone and for all price ranges, so this is the perfect occasion to start or spice up your art collection.   Get your tickets here!

Blu Smith

Blu Smith

 

Christiaan Lieverse

Christiaan Lieverse

 

Gary Betts

Gary Betts

 

Corda

Corda

 

Nemo Jantzen

Nemo Jantzen

 

Rodrigo Manzo

Rodrigo Manzo

 

Maurizio Savini

Maurizio Savini (made out of Bubble Tape!)

 

Skylar Fein

Skylar Fein

 

Sarah Bahbah

Sarah Bahbah

 

The Affordable Art Fair is located at 125 West 18th Street and the hours are as follows:

Thursday, Sept. 10, 11am – 8pm
Friday, Sept. 11, 11am – 8pm
Free admission Friday: 6-8pm
Saturday, Sept. 12, 11am – 8pm
Sunday, Sept. 13, 11am – 5pm

 

Must See Art: FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds at Brooklyn Museum

Posted by The G on August 20, 2015 under Artsy Fartsy | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.  Art by FAILE (& BAST).

Faile and Bast - Deluxx Fluxx Arcade at Brooklyn Museum

Faile and Bast – Deluxx Fluxx Arcade at Brooklyn Museum

Thank the lord for mind-blowing art exhibits.  The Brooklyn Museum has one that is sure to make your head explode.  It is by street artists FAILE (and BAST) and it’s called “Savage/Sacred Young Minds.”  It consists of 3 parts:  canvases by FAILE, the Deluxx Fluxx Arcade (with BAST) and Temple.  I’ll quickly take you through each one.

FAILE

Faile

If you live in New York, you’ve surely seen FAILE’s art on the streets (and they’ve put it up in many other cities in the world).  The above picture is not a great representation, but if you look closely at their works (use Google!), there are so many things going on in each painting.  Intricate phrases, imagery and other worlds exist in each work and you could spend hours looking at just one painting without getting bored.

Faile/Bast- Deluxx Fluxx Arcade at Brooklyn Museum

Faile/Bast- Deluxx Fluxx Arcade

Next is the Deluxx Fluxx Arcade.  A literal arcade with Faile/Bast art lining the walls, so with that alone, you could be in there for days just staring at all the millions of things going on in each work, but if there were “only” all that going on, it wouldn’t be enough.  So add to that, about 30 video game machines that also feature the art of Faile/Bast that are fully playable, and rather than just being normal arcade games, they are all one of a kind games featuring their art.  Once again, it would be really cool if the arcade stopped there, but alas, you go into the next room which is bathed in black light!

Deluxx Fluxx Arcade

Deluxx Fluxx Arcade

If your head hasn’t exploded by the time you reach this room, I don’t think we can be friends!

Deluxx Fluxx Arcade

Deluxx Fluxx Arcade

 

Deluxx Fluxx Arcade

G inside Deluxx Fluxx Arcade. Photo by Gail.

So after you’ve picked your brain up off the floor from exploding, this exhibit is not done yet!

Temple

Temple

Finally, a temple in ruins, entitled “Temple,” is housed in an atrium of the museum and like everything you’ve seen in the exhibit, there’s a million things going on.

Temple

Temple Sculpture

Inside the temple

Temple Sculpture

View of the inside of the temple

Partial view of the inside of the temple

These pictures don’t do this art justice, so make sure you head down to the Brooklyn Museum to see this amazing exhibit. FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds runs through October 4, 2015 and should not be missed!  Click here for more information.

Deluxx Fluxx Arcade

 

Photos: Saturday Night Live – The Exhibit

Posted by The G on August 19, 2015 under G Reviews | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.

Weekend Update Desk - SNL Exhibit

Weekend Update Desk – SNL Exhibit

It’s hard to believe that the sketch comedy TV show Saturday Night Live celebrated its 40th year on the air in 2015.  A major retrospective exhibit was put together to honor this milestone, and naturally, it’s in New York.  Entitled SNL – The Exhibition, if you have ever been a fan of the show, you are sure to get your money’s worth as you will be taken through the process of putting the show together, see all kinds of cool ephemera from the 40 years of the show as well as major set pieces and costumes of a lot of the most beloved characters.

Bass O Matic

A display case featuring many SNL commercial parodies including Super Bass O Matic and Colon Blow

Before I leave you to enjoy a lot of pictures from the exhibit, let me say that you will be reminded of the brilliance of the show and you will laugh out loud as you relive clips from some of the funniest moments of the shows illustrious history.  The exhibit will take about an hour to go through it all and you are allowed to take non-flash photos of all of the items and you can even sit on the actual “Wayne’s World” set or the Weekend Update anchor desk (but they charge an extra fee for that one), plus there is a gift shop (which you exit through – ha!), so you can buy your loved ones SNL-themed merch if that floats your boat.

And now, live from According2g.com…. It’s Saturday Night… the exhibit!

SNL (Good for photo ops!)

SNL (Good for photo ops!)

Church Lady Costume

Church Lady Costume

Coneheads Mask

Coneheads Mask

Dick in a Box costume

Dick in a Box costume

SNL Costumes including Barry Gibb costume, Matt Foley Motivational Speaker, Opera Man, Coneheads

SNL Costumes including Barry Gibb costume, Matt Foley Motivational Speaker, Opera Man, Coneheads

 

Baby Spanx / Oops!  I Crapped My Pants Adult Diapers

Baby Spanx / Oops! I Crapped My Pants Adult Diapers

Eddie Murphy Buckwheat Costume - SNL Exhibit

Eddie Murphy Buckwheat Costume – SNL Exhibit

G on the Wayne's World Set

G on the Wayne’s World Set.  Photo by Gail.

Gilly Costume - SNL Exhibit

Gilly Costume – SNL Exhibit

Celebrity Jeopardy Set

Celebrity Jeopardy Set

Cast Member Photos of the Not Ready For Prime Time Players

Cast Member Photos of the Not Ready For Prime Time Players

Layout of the hosts and musical guests for the 1993 season.

Layout of the hosts and musical guests for the 1993 season.

Click to enlarge so you can see the list of amazing musical guests that were on in the 1993 season.  One of my only complaints of the exhibit was they were very light on the music guest ephemera.  Aside from a Lady Gaga costume and mini TV screens that showed some performance highlights from each season (but positioned in a way you couldn’t really watch them for too long), there was almost nothing of the historical music performances that took place on the show.

The Opening Monologue Stage

The Opening Monologue Stage

Stuart Smalley

Stuart Smalley

The Control Room

The Control Room

Wayne and Garth Costumes - SNL Exhibit

Wayne and Garth Costumes – SNL Exhibit

Turd Furguson

Turd Furguson (Photo by Gail)

SNL Merch

SNL Merch

The Merch!

The Merch!

SNL Exhibit

SNL Exhibit

The Saturday Night Live exhibit is showing through the end of 2015 at 417 5th Avenue in Manhattan (between 37th and 38th Street).  You can probably find cheaper tickets than the suggested price on the official website if you do a little googling.  These pictures are just a sample of what is on display, so if you are an SNL fanatic, do not miss this exhibit!

“Vision Quest” by Dima Drjuchin at The Cotton Candy Machine

Posted by The G on August 17, 2015 under Artsy Fartsy | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.  Art by Dima Drjuchin.

Vision Quest by Dima Drjuchin

Vision Quest by Dima Drjuchin

I’ve been a fan of Dima Drjuchin’s art for many years and although art is subjective, I don’t see how you could not like it.  In his latest exhibit, “Vision Quest,” at The Cotton Candy Machine in Brooklyn, Dima once again will blow your mind with the fantastical worlds he creates with colors and detail that will have you saying “how does he do that?!”

Vision Quest

Vision Quest

These pictures (which you can enlarge by clicking on them) do not do justice to the amount of detail in each work, so I encourage you to see these in person.  If you’re not a huge art fan but you are into music, you might know Dima’s art from the cover art of Father John Misty’s smash debut album “Fear Fun,” which he brilliantly designed. Dima’s art is surprisingly still reasonably priced, so if you want to own one of his works, I recommend you get on it sooner rather than later.

Vision Quest

Vision Quest

I spoke with Dima at the opening of “Vision Quest” and I asked him 2 of my burning questions about the creation of his works.  I had mentioned that if I had the rest of my life to create paintings, I could never even come close to the brilliance of one of his smaller works, let alone the big ones, so I asked for a ball park estimate of how long it takes him to create a painting.  He said that some of his smaller pieces are made in a single sitting!  Whoa!  Also, since there is so much going on in his works, I wanted to know if each time he looks at a painting if he starts to think of ways he could change or improve (in his eyes, not ours) the painting and he said that he has an easy time separating himself from his works and once he says it’s done, it’s done.  I’ve spoken with many artists over the years who can barely even look at their own paintings because they only see flaws and things they would change if they could, so I found it interesting and inspiring that sometimes there is a definitive stopping point.

Vision Quest by Dima Drjuchin

Vision Quest by Dima Drjuchin

Don’t miss “Vision Quest” by Dima Drjuchin at The Cotton Candy Machine in Brooklyn, which is located at 235 South 1st Street and is showing until September 6, 2015.

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