Penguin Prison is back!

Posted by The G on March 13, 2015 under G Reviews | Be the First to Comment

Photos by G.

Chris Glover of Penguin Prison

Chris Glover of Penguin Prison

Great news music fans!  Penguin Prison is back!  After touring the world as a DJ and producing remixes for the likes of Lana Del Rey and Imagine Dragons (just to name a few), Chris Glover and his band Penguin Prison have announced their second album “Lost In New York,” which drops on May 5, 2015.  Penguin Prison debuted a handful of new tracks at a sold out show, their first full band show in 2 years, at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade on March 12, 2015.  If you liked the funky and extremely catchy dance/ pop songs on their debut, you will not be disappointed with the material on “Lost in New York.”  Pre-order the new album at this link (which will open in a new window).

You can stream the new track “Try To Lose” below.

 

After the show, Chris revealed that Penguin Prison will be playing Music Hall of Williamsburg some time during the release week for “Lost In New York,” so be sure you don’t miss it.  Welcome back Penguin Prison!  We’ve missed you!!!

Penguin Prison - Rough Trade Setlist

Penguin Prison – Rough Trade Setlist

The setlist was:

Calling Out (new song) / Golden Train / The Worse It Gets / Try To Lose (new song) / Multi-Millionaire / Caught In A Daze (new song) / Never Gets Old (new song) / Don’t Tell Me (new song) / Show Me The Way (new song) / Don’t Fuck With My Money.

Encore:

Hollywood

 

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Report: “Bjork” at MoMA

Posted by The G on March 9, 2015 under Artsy Fartsy | Read the First Comment

Photos by G.  Various Artists.

Bjork wears Marjan Pejoski’s Swan Dress (2001)

Bjork wears Marjan Pejoski’s Swan Dress (2001)

As a big fan of singer/artist Bjork, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the Museum of Modern Art would host a “mid-career retrospective” on the Icelandic goddess in 2015.  I will report on the exhibit in a moment because by now, if you’ve seen any press on this exhibit, it has been overwhelmingly negative.  I have to agree, but only because Bjork is such a unique and amazing artist, the exhibit does not do her career much justice, especially to those who use this exhibit to get an education in all things Bjork.  I enjoyed myself, but for a retrospective, so many great possibilities for a wonderful exhibit fell through the cracks.

Partial gallery view of Bjork's singles covers.

Partial gallery view of Bjork’s singles covers.

The show opened to the public on March 8, 2015, so naturally Gail of Worleygig and I checked the show out on the first day.  I cannot say this is how your experience will go, but we got to the museum around 11 o’clock am and our timed ticket to view the exhibit was for 12:45, but you may want to prepare for a longer line, just in case.  The exhibit consists of 3 parts:  1. A screening room with a video for the song “Black Lake,” which has been specially commissioned for this exhibit.  The video is about 10 minutes long and is about Bjork’s breakup with artist Matthew Barney (whose collaborations with Bjork are ignored in the exhibit).  Second (and this is what you need timed tickets for) is “Songlines,” a quasi-immersive experience into each of Bjork’s solo albums, featuring handwritten lyrics, costumes and miscellaneous ephemera from her solo work.  Last, a screening room features all of Bjork’s music videos (though her last album “Biophilia”).

Bjork - All Is Full of Love

Bjork – All Is Full of Love

I guess this is as good as any place to start talking about what the exhibit lacks.  Bjork’s early career is completely ignored – from her childhood singing (she released her first album in 1977, in case you didn’t know) to her beginnings in various Icelandic punk bands (and one of them was called Tippi Tikarrass which translates to “Cork the Bitch’s Ass.”  The public at large should be educated in this!)  Also ignored, the band that put Bjork on the world map in the late 1980s – The Sugarcubes.  Instead, you start with Bjork’s solo album “Debut” (1993).  You walk through a hallway that features running loops of each of Bjork’s tours – packaged in a room that is not conducive to spending lots of time and makes the non-diehard gloss over the amazing performance artist that Bjork is in concert.  You are given a headset and you get to hear a story that has nothing to do with the recording of the music and instead tells you the journey of a girl, whose story may or may not be true, but again taking the focus away from all the rules Bjork was breaking as she embarked on her solo career – working with cutting edge producers, making artistic videos, making singles that had extremely diverse (even if sometimes annoying) remixes, her usage of interesting artwork for her releases and most of all, her carving out a place in the music landscape with her unique lyrics and quirky personality, never selling out by going mainstream and always remaining a true avant-garde artist.

Bjork - Venus as a Boy Lyrics

Bjork – Venus as a Boy Lyrics

Typically each room focuses on one of her solo albums (aside from the remix album “Telegram,” the soundtrack to her collaboration with Matthew Barney “Drawing Restraint 9″ her own “Selmasongs” record, which is the soundtrack to the critically acclaimed film she starred in called “Dancer in the Dark” and even the “Army of Me” cover album, where 20 versions of that song which were submitted by fans and the moneys from the project went to 2004 Tsunami victim relief).  The exhibit does not benefit from having the music videos separated from the props on display from each album because as you see the evolution of her videos, you will also hear the evolution of her music.  For the die-hards, we already know this, but to someone discovering the world of Bjork for the first time, they have to dig really deep to get some answers, and Bjork’s music can be extremely challenging at times.  Besides, seeing clips of appropriate videos would at least give the uninitiated a bigger clue into what Bjork is all about, as they are not likely to sit down for 2 hours to watch Bjork’s videos in a separate part of the museum.

Bjork by Alexander McQueen

Bjork by Alexander McQueen

Some of the most iconic outfits Bjork has worn are on display from a dress made by Alexander McQueen to the infamous Swan Dress, and in fact, the mannequins look eerily like Bjork.  There’s nothing in the exhibit to tell you how she ended up working with these people or how the costumes fit into the theme from the album.  Also absent are sales figures, track lists, several officially released coffee table books about Bjork’s work, awards and any sort of mention of her collaborations with the likes of Thom Yorke of Radiohead or writing the title track for Madonna’s album “Bedtime Stories.”  Even the groundbreaking interactive “Biophilia” app, which was acquired by MoMA, doesn’t even make an appearance!  Whoever curated this exhibit did a huge disservice to Bjork’s career.

Bjork - Biophilia Era

Bjork – Biophilia Era

The items on display are certainly cool and interesting, and if you are a die-hard, seeing so many infamous Bjork-items are a treat, so I enjoyed the exhibit, as did Gail, a lover of art and not a huge fan of Bjork’s music.  However, there have been many exhibits where I was unfamiliar with the artist on display as I walked into the show and when I left, I felt I had a much better understanding of their work.  With this Bjork show, it is definitely not the case.

Bjork - Volta Era

Bjork – Volta Era

I think you can appreciate this exhibit no matter what your level of Bjork fandom, but if you don’t take the time to dig deep with her work, which many viewers will not, the true artistry of Bjork’s career will not be seen or heard, and that is a tragedy.  Let us know what you think if you go in the comments section.

Bjork” at MoMa runs through June 7, 2015.

Bjork - Volta Era

Bjork – Volta Era

Bjork - Joga Costume

Bjork – Joga Costume

Bjork - Hyperballad Shoes

Bjork – Hyperballad Shoes

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“Rebel Heart” by Madonna – The G Review

Posted by The G on March 4, 2015 under G Reviews | Be the First to Comment

Photo by G. “I Won The Internet!” art by Troy Gua.

Rebel Heart vs I Won The Internet

Rebel Heart vs I Won The Internet!

Hello!  Remember me?  Since we last spoke, I released my third book, “I Won The Internet!” which is available now on sites like Amazon.com.   I took a break after the release of the book to do some promotion and also to get my nervous system back.  For 5 years, I’ve been going out pretty much 7 nights a week in search of letting you all know the best art and music you should focus your energies on.  To this day, there is not another website on the internet that has ever done the things I have done – experiencing, photographing and writing about all the content that appears on their site.  It’s really sad to me that the world isn’t any the wiser as they continue to read sites written by people who rip off and re purpose content off the web and try pass it off as their own, but that is not my problem – it’s yours for supporting it!  Readers have kindly been nudging me to return to this site for a few months and the love has been overwhelming.  I thank you kindly for your love and support.  You shouldn’t consider this my full return to According2g.com, but I will try pop in from time to time and let you know what’s up.  You can also follow me on Instagram or Twitter @according2g for updates.

What better way to kick things off than with one of my favorite love-to-hate subjects – Madonna.  I’ve been a fan of her since the beginning of her career and to her death, I will probably always be interested in what she’s up to.  What I despise about her is that she has never lived a “practice what you preach existence,” and pretty much anyone that has been around her that has not signed a non-disclosure agreement rarely has a nice thing to say about her. It’s a shame since she is always singing about love and peace, but it fascinates me that people (myself included) continue to be captivated by someone whose only care for you is how she can carefully take your money.  If you think that sentence is egregious in any way, you are in serious denial and you need help.

Regardless, I go into all of her albums with an open mind, because I will not lie, when her music ‘does it’ for me, it makes my world a happier place and I will always be grateful for that, and this new album has those moments from time to time, although fleeting.  Her 13th studio album “Rebel Heart” has been a disaster since before the album even had a title.  In December 2014, before the record even had a release date or a title, 13 songs in perfect quality, but in demo form, leaked to the internet in full.  To try and do some damage control, Madonna oh so kindly, finished up 6 tracks and let people who pre-ordered the album have those songs instantly.  She called it her Christmas present to fans.  Insulting since her real fans (the people still interested in supporting her career) downloaded the songs for free days before (deny it all you want, but you and I both know that is the truth – not just for her but for any veteran act), but I digress….   In the interim, she announced the full album would be 19 songs long (except for a 26 song deluxe edition) and would be released in March of 2015.  Before the end of 2014, an additional 19 songs leaked in full, so the grand total of songs that were “out there for free” at this point was 32.  Madonna’s PR team went on a manhunt to find the person that hacked into her computer and released these songs into the wild and a person was captured.  Leaks over, right?  Not!   A few days later, the finished version of the deluxe edition (25 songs) leaked onto the internet in perfect quality.  And before the official release of the album, an additional few songs leaked, bringing the grand total number of tracks (including multiple different versions of certain tracks) to over 50!  Makes you wonder – was the leak a publicity stunt?  Is she having trouble with her mega-deal and she wants out?  Rarely any information “officially released” these days is the truth, and so many of her fans are sheep that actually believe she’s a kind hearted person, so we may never know the truth.

It’s a good time to be a fan because there is certainly a lot of material to choose from and some of it is her best work in over a decade.  Whoever sequenced the album and chose certain producers did a really crappy job as many of the demos were great and subsequently ruined by over (or under) production.  Also many great songs were scrapped from the official release in favor of much worse songs.  She’s been pulling the ageism card in interviews to try and gain sympathy and attention for the album, and to some extent she is right – the world caters to the youth and that sucks – but awesomeness always rises to the top.  Frankly I think, Madonna looks amazing “for her age” (since she went there).  Her plastic surgery doesn’t look as scary as it used to and she works out so much, she has a really great body.  I am not really sure if I enjoy seeing her put her tits and pussy on display anymore, but sex sells and that’s always been part of the winning formula for Madonna, so why stop now?

After the jump, see my brief track by track review, as I try and make some sense out of this mess.

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Video: “No One Is To Blame” live by Howard Jones at the Retro Futura Tour

Posted by The G on August 22, 2014 under Encounters with G, G Videos | Be the First to Comment

HD Video, Pix and words by G.

Howard Jones 2014

Howard Jones 2014

Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Hey According2g.com readers!  I know it’s been a minute since we’ve seen each other.  I’ve been exploring other projects and I’ll be sharing the details of my latest book (or how I spent my summer break) very soon, so please stay tuned.  But let’s get back to the matter at hand which was the Retro Futura Tour, which made a stop in New York on August 21, 2014 at the Best Buy Theater.  We were treated to sets by 1980s music titans Katrina and the Waves, China Crisis and Midge Ure before Howard Jones (and Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins – more on Tom coming soon) took the stage.  Decked out in a fabulous orange suit, Howard played a bunch of his hits including “Everlasting Love,” “What Is Love?” “Like To Get To Know You Well,” “The Prisoner,” “New Song,” “Things Can Only Get Better” (and after he played the version we all know and love from the 80s, he played a dance version of it, which was thumpin!) as well as the video you are about to see “No One Is To Blame.” The set showed that Howard has so many other great songs that there was not time to play (read: come back soon Howard!) including “Look Mama,” “Life in One Day,” “You Know I Love You… Don’t You” and more recent songs such as “Tomorrow Is Now” and  “Let The People Have Their Say.”  If you get the chance to see the Retro Futura Tour, I recommend it as you’ll have many flashbacks to our beloved 80s and you’ll see how great these bands and their music have aged.

And now, the mega-hit “No One Is To Blame.”

Enjoy, dear readers!  I know I did!

Howard Jones and Geoffrey Dicker 2014.  Photo by Joe.

Howard Jones and Geoffrey Dicker 2014. Photo by Joe.

Thanks again, Howard!  Great seeing you again!

Review: Sam Smith Live at the Apollo + “Nirvana” Live

Posted by The G on June 18, 2014 under Encounters with G, G Reviews, G Videos | Be the First to Comment

Photos, video and words by G.

Sam Smith

Sam Smith

I am so proud of Sam Smith!  In August of 2013, he was playing to 250 people at Mercury Lounge and less than one year later, he headlined the legendary Apollo Theater!  The very sold out show took place in Harlem on June 17, 2014.  The blue-eyed soul singer is 21 years old and in this important year of his life, he’s traveled around the world and back, had a few club hits by lending his voice to songs by dance duo Disclosure, was outed by the media after he matter-of-factly mentioned that the songs on his album were about a guy that didn’t love him back (how come the media doesn’t make straight people do this?), and of course on June 17, 2014 his debut album “In The Lonely Hour,” was released officially in the USA and will be battling with Lana Del Rey for the #1 spot this week.

During the show, Sam Smith thanked the crowd multiple times and mentioned how mind blowing it was to share the same stage that so many of his heroes (including Luther Vandross and Michael Jackson) have performed on.  He told the stories of the songs before they were played with his tight band (that featured 3 backing singers and a string section), and he played nearly every track from “In The Lonely Hour” whilst also throwing in “La La La,” a stripped down version of “Latch,” “Nirvana” from the EP with the same name (and below, you can see a video of it) and for the final song of the night “Stay With Me,” Sam Smith brought out Mary J. Blige to perform the song as a duet, which of course was the perfect cherry on top to a fantastic evening.  Apparently the show was being recorded, so let’s hope for a DVD or live album because the show was EXCELLENT!

Mary J Blige and Sam Smith

Mary J Blige and Sam Smith

I wish Sam Smith tremendous success and I have no doubt that he will be a name you won’t be forgetting.  And now… let Sam Smith take you to Nirvana!

The setlist was:

Intro / Nirvana / Together / Leave Your Lover / I’m Not the Only One / I Told You Now / Like I Can / Restart / Good Thing – Berlin / La La La / Lay Me Down / Money On My Mind

Encore:

Latch / Make it To Me / Stay With Me (with Mary J. Blige).

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