Two years ago, OC Weekly concert photographer Andrew Youssef was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. Two months ago, his oncologists informed him that his diagnosis was terminal. They gave him weeks — maybe months, if he was lucky — to live. Throughout his cancer battle, Youseff kept shooting concerts and writing about his experience in a column called “Last Shot.” He also continued to find comfort in music, especially his favorite band, Nine Inch Nails. Somewhere along the line, NIN’s frontman, Trent Reznor, caught wind of Youssef’s story and invited him to a rehearsal for their Tension 2013 world tour.
Reznor and Youssef had lunch together, talked about everything from “Breaking Bad” to how much cancer fucking sucks, and quickly became friends. Keep reading »
When I arrived at the basement of the Calvin Theater in Northampton, Massachusetts, I found folk musician Ani DiFranco in the midst of trying to get her six-month-old son Dante down for a nap. Minutes later I spotted the young baby — still very much awake — strapped into a carrier about to head out on a walk. This meshing of work and life happens daily for DiFranco, who is back on the road after having taken some time off to have her second child. Like his sister before him, Dante has joined DiFranco on tour, and the singer has been relearning how to split her time between motherhood and music.
While her son (hopefully) walked his way into a nap, DiFranco and I discussed everything from hitting the road as a mother of two, the notion of “having it all,” her ever-growing relationship with her fans and so much more. Keep reading »
“Call me Gabe Day, and not Gabe Day-Lewis/’cause if you’re trying to call me out, I’m about to Gabe Day-Lose it,” raps Gabe Day, son of, um, Daniel Day-Lewis in the “official” music video for his song “Green Auras.” See for yourself, as I am rendered completely unable to parse ANYTHING going on here at this time. The brain. It sputters, stops. [Huffington Post]
This morning on my way into work, John Mayer’s “Assassin” came on my iTunes, and I said “Ugh, this song is so underrated.” Then I realized I said it out loud on the train and the lady next to me shot me one of those “whatever you say” glares, having no idea what I was listening to. But the song speaks to me. It’s haunting in a beautiful way, but it was never pimped out like the majority of John’s other songs—which is probably why I love it.
I listened on to one of my favorite jams and realized there are SO many great tunes, by well-known and lesser known artists alike, that are completely underrated. Some songs just never made it big and others are simply underplayed and under appreciated for how freakin’ awesome they are. Because why listen to fantastic, fresh songs when every radio station can play Lady Gaga’s “Applause” one hundred times between breakfast and lunch, amiright? Keep reading »
Activities are wonderful, but sometimes, it’s fine to want to shut the world out for a couple of days, and make some serious time for you. Don’t be afraid of FOMO, either. There will always be another party, another pub crawl, another picnic. The time you’ll spend indulging in the things you want to do, alone, are well worth it. Here’s a handy list of awesome things to do this weekend!
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Village Voice: How do you feel about the critiques from the LGBTQ community about Macklemore being the figure delivering this message?
You mean, someone that’s a straight white male speaking on behalf of the entire gay community? [Laughs]. I’ve definitely heard that, and I understand where people are coming from. I think it’s also important to acknowledge what intention is and the actual lyrics of the song because the song is not appropriating the struggle of a gay person. It’s coming from his experience which is an ally. And I think he does it in a really peaceful, thoughtful way. I think anyone, to be on such a massive platform, who gives a nod to this, I think it’s really commendable. And sure, it would be great if it were someone else who were gay. The good news is that I’m gay and part of the song, too! [Laughs]. I feel like it’s just all the right pieces of the puzzle. It’s interesting how people are so negative! It’s important to question and deconstruct the straight institution, but it’s also important to stand back and think about [the fact] that this song actually exists and has taken off.
Mary Lambert is the voice who sings the heartstring-tugging chorus on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ smash hit “Same Love.” Although I know she’s been vocal about coming out in the Pentecostal church, as well her sexual abuse and bipolar disorder, I haven’t read her thoughts before on the criticisms that have been lobbed against Macklemore (aka Ben Haggerty). Keep reading »
Fiiiiinally! After a three-year hiatus, Lily Allen is back with a long overdue new single and music video … and it’s a FEMINIST ANTHEM, no less. “Hard Out Here” is awesome and fun and catchy in true Lily fashion, but the song itself serves to stand as commentary against celebrity culture and beyond, with none-too-subtle lyrics (“we’ve got a glass ceiling to break”) and a tongue-in-cheek look at female objectification and product placement. “Forget your balls and grow a pair of tits,” she sings. Welcome back, Lils! How I missed you, you beautiful, beautiful human. The goddess walks among us once again!
If you haven’t seen Ylvis’s “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say)” music video yet, stop what you’re doing right now and watch it. I’ll wait. You could call it weird or overplayed, but I still happen to think it’s hilarious. Apparently, so do the folks at Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Publishing because the song is coming to book form! On December 10, a picture book based on the song will be released for curious kids everywhere who are still wondering what in fact the fox actually says. (The verdict is still out on that one). Brothers Vegard and Bard Ylvisaker are behind Ylvis, the Norwegian comedy duo with a whole repertoire of laugh-worthy performances under their belts. This latest quirky creation has been viewed over 200 million times and counting on YouTube. Maybe with the money they’re getting from this book deal, they can put some towards researching what the fox actually does say. [ABC News]
Lou Reed said it himself: “My life is music.” The legendary Velvet Underground frontman, who passed away October 27 at the age of 71, wasn’t exactly known for his bedside manner, but that lovable curmudgeon sure did know a thing or two about sound. Lou gave what would be his final interview on September 21 as part of a photo shoot for French wireless company Parrot, for whom he had recently assisted with the optimization of their Parrot Zik headphones. “You do what you love, or you get arrested,” he deadpans at first, but when the topic shifts to music, his tone turns characteristically, well, lyrical. What a beautiful human being. [Rolling Stone]
This video of Celine Dion cracking up while watching a video of herself is making me crack up. It’s like some kind of glorious Celine Dion inception that I never want to end. I’m glad that Celine is just as confused and entertained by her Celine-ish antics (in this case, rehearsing “Loved Me Back To Life” in a bathroom) as the rest of us. [YouTube via Gawker]