Tag Archives: brooklyn

The Best Albums of 2014: #5 Hospitality – Trouble

Hospitality - Trouble cover

There’s times when I wonder if this might in fact be favorite record of the year. Amber Papini’s voice captures a condition that used to be described this way in the mid-90’s; The mundane, yet solitarily-significant happenings of the 20-something woman. This is alternative. It calls to mind the temporal voices of Juliana Hatfield, Hope Sandoval, Tanya Donnelly and Suzanne Vega. But Papini and Hospitality trade the post-grunge angst for a quaint and cute hipster-vibe and Papini’s delicate-cum-powerful articulation that makes you want to hold her hand while walking together through a summer field.

Hospitality’s debut album was filled with simple poppy jams like “Friends of Friends” and “Eighth Avenue” that were easy to adore. But Trouble is more ambitious in it’s production and instrumentation. On the album’s opening track “Nightingale,” Papini’s voice is layered over itself into the fierce hook. Spontaneous moments of excellent guitars are splashed into the track at different moments as we settle into Papini’s self-harmonies. “Going Out” creates a comfortable stillness that freezes time for a moment. You give in to how chilled out the melody and bass line are.

Perhaps the album’s best track, is the preciously galactic “Rockets and Jets.” It’s about a day outside, gazing at the sky with the apple of her eye. Papini sings:

It was a perfect day for planes in the sky
I saw rather stripes and silver
Shining until it blew a star

It’s the beauty in the mundane. The Kodak moments we never capture. All with a sticky bass line and again, the guitar solo which is a signature of sorts on most tracks off of Trouble. This recipe that Brooklyn’s Hospitality lays forward for the songs on this record, is exactly what I want out of an indie rock record. That “indie” label that gets thrown out there all too often, is firmly appropriate here. This isn’t a far cry from the indie I grew up with and loved in the 90’s.  And when it’s all said and done, it’s the sound of my favorite pure indie rock record of 2014: Trouble by Hospitality.


Top 18 Albums of 2012 – #12 Tanlines – Mixed Emotions

So this is the album that everyone’s gonna rip off. Cause it was THAT infectious. At the surface, this feels like a standard indie rock record, but as you get into it and discover 80’s inspired tracks like ‘Rain Delay’ and ‘Nonesuch’, mixed in with dancier tunes like ‘Yes Way’ and the tribal ‘Real Life’ (check the fantastic live clip from their set at the Seattle-based KEXP station below), you start to understand what a unique LP this was:

I love how many different sounds this Brooklyn-based duo create in just this one track. Eric Emm, of Don Caballero fame is the singer/guitarist on the clip and Jesse Cohen is making the seemingly hundreds of crazy sounds beside him. Mixed Emotions (On True Panther Sounds) just has a certain energy that sets it apart…an energy that they’re able to temper on slower tracks like the beautifully melancholy ‘Abby’, thus showing the versatility of this project.

My Tanlines moment of the year was at the tiny Brick and Mortar Music Hall in the Mission district of SF.The good people at Popscene SF booked this show and these guys absolutely killed the venue. It helped that 15-20 of my closest friends were taking up the 100 or so person house just not giving a shit and having a ball. Rocking out to the single ‘All of Me’ or the aptly-named “bro” anthem ‘Brothers’. The small stage appearing larger than life with the energy emanating from the on-stage duo.

Spin this alum, i dare you to not have a good time listening to it and want to go out and dance with your friends like the folks in the ‘All of Me’ video:

And lastly, big ups to Large Hearted Boy for listing me on his 2012 year end online music lists database. Click the link and check out his site. I’ve gotten a ton of readers from this. Thanks!