James Supercave: Better Strange

If there was no place to go, if you had to just be you, completely exposed, for all to see — what would they witness? All the good parts, the scary parts, the ugly parts; the best parts, the hairy parts, and the lazy parts, the OCD parts, the lying parts, and the unfiltered parts: all of the oddities we are coached to hide, to fit in, as if fitting in were the same thing as being the same.

While the vulnerable yet defiant lyrics speak to the places and the parts we hide, the music seeks to make you move, to crack veneer of normalcy we all work so hard to maintain. “You’re so much better strange,” echoes on the title track and debut album opener. “I’m still trying to become someone I’m not,” sung like an admission, quickly followed by, “whatever you want,” the coverup, the chameleon emerging for others, despite the someone underneath. I want these guys to go global because I like where their heads are at and how their mouth sounds when it sings. I want these guys to collect fans because when new ears hear the songs and feel the fire, it will make them want to be as strange as they feel.

You want these guys to catch on so you can bear witness to their live display. Despite their quiet coolness, their set will get you hot. Opening their album release show at Resident in downtown LA with “Burn” is a prime example. On the record, a series of full-stops in the song raise the stakes with each subsequent drop. Live, when the song should have been over, a ninja bonus sequence snuck up on us all. I was trying to figure out what song they were playing next, cause I’m into it, and then it started to sound familiar, and then another full-stop, and we were dropped right back in for another go round of the chorus. With their long awaited, dazzling debut out in the world, these guys are ready to take you for a ride.

It’s a little bit Bowie, a little bit Tame Impala, a little bit funky, and a good amount strange: a 12-course meal with thoughtful lyrics throughout that underwrite this contract between toe-tapping, guitar galavanting, and meditative indie rock. When everyone is watching, dance like they aren’t.

Hurricane Baio: Yes Bow Tie, Yes

All the way up in the second row, I was surrounded by madness. One gum chewing, not-having-any-of-it woman at 3 o’clock, two hammered gentleman bobbing and making somewhat correlated movements between professions of love for one another at 4 o’clock, what began as 6 o’clock — a screaming, unapologetic blonde basketcase — came crashing through my group of friends and up to 9 o’clock before throwing her bra on the stage, screaming some more, puking and then finally being lead away by some man that appeared more a babysitter than a boyfriend, whom only moments after her mad dash to front and center stage exclaimed “not my problem.” Guess he changed his mind.

Cue the traveling joint, lit by a woman standing dead center in the front row who passed it from one willing participant to the next and finally to the girl in front of me, who managed to take a healthy pull and handoff the roach moments before a security guard reached in non-chalantly, broke the gravy train and turned away, only to be accosted by the sloppy joint lighter woman, offended that he wouldn’t pass the joint back to her for another deep pull, so inebriated to be unaware that this guard was doing her a favor by not kicking her out. When I leaned toward the girl in front of me to congratulate her on the quick release, I found myself confronted with a pre-teen face and dimpled smile that terrified me, sending bolts of regret through my jubilant joking as I’d just unwittingly complimented a young child on her zeal for marijuana and passing the smoking gun. Simultaneously, I prayed she didn’t think I was hitting on her. The scenario played out with my hypothetical rebuttal: “I don’t know what vibes you think you’re getting, but you’re not getting those.” It was at this moment that an oddly shaped object caught my attention. Pre-teen’s friend to her left held a black plastic skull the size of an average grapefruit that she kept raising toward Baio like an offering, finally getting his attention only to receive a kurt nod and brief smile, triggering Baby Druggy and her other friend to her right to encourage Skull Sacrafice to “throw it up there! Throw it up there!” She didn’t. And I’m glad. My friend Charlotte (the badass and photographer responsible for the pictures in the article) asked me, “What? Are they Hamlet fans?”

Bow to Baio

Photo cred: Charlotte Johnson

In the eye of the storm, with a group of friends, I managed to dance my way through the encircling sideshows. Performances by Michl and Elohim, enchanting and nauseating respectively, effectively cleansed my brain like a tart sorbet for the main course: Vampire Weekend bassist Chris Baio taking his debut solo album on the road. His bologna colored bowtie counterbalanced his crotch-hugging, tantalizingly tight black pants that played host to his whimsical toe-tapping, knee-bending, hip-whips and tail-wagging. Tight pants envy became a thing at El Rey Theatre on Thu, Feb 4th 2016.

At one point, the screen behind Baio silently asked the audience some questions: Do you know who I am? Do you know who you are? Do you want to talk? I trust the third question being asked is dependent on favorable answers to the first two. But with this crowd, be careful what you wish for. In defense of the antics of those around me, I too lost my mind for the hour, choosing to dance my mania into submission. Who was I to resist the bow tie and those clingy plants and the enchanting sonic layers and body aching bass lines and Baio’s breathy, confident dance-talk?

Check out his upcoming tour dates.



Not Your Usual Sermon: The Songstress in the Rabbit Fur Coat

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of her debut album Rabbit Fur Coat, Jenny Lewis preformed three nights at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles last night. M. Ward warmed up the concrete cathedral as fans of all ages filed into the pews. The high wood backs and short wooden armrests divide each pew into individual seats without much wiggle room. Clearly most services held here demand sitting up straight, keeping to yourself, and facing forward. How fitting then, after M. Ward disappeared and the lights lowered after the intermission — (Where is that singing coming from?) down the aisle from behind the congregation, holding a candle each, Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins in-tow sang “Run Devil Run.” You could have heard a hypocritical priest slipping a crumpled dollar bill in his robes.

An album with themes of faith that speaks to prayer and the devil performed in a church? I’m in. Listening to the album for the first time ever under these circumstances? Yup. Instead of soaking in the album beforehand so I could sing along, I chose to resist, chose to be baptized this time, this time in a rabbit fur coat. With stained glass Jesus illuminated high above the alter, I worshiped this goddess of swag folk as she sang, “I’m not betting on the afterlife.”

When I came out to my catholic parents, they embraced me with open arms.

When I told my catholic parents I wasn’t sure I believed in god, it challenged our relationship.

When I experienced Rabbit Fur Coat in a church, the interaction between the music and the setting stunned me into silent reflection. This album is about much more than faith in something high above. It’s about faith in oneself and the faith we put in others. I’m betting on my relationships with family and friends. I believe in the inter- and intrapersonal work. I believe if we show reverence in community, we can save each other.


The Internet’s Favorite Albums of 2015

In an effort to quantify the internet’s opinion of music released in 2015 I compiled a sort of meta-analysis of 20 different “Best Albums of 2015” lists. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the hundreds of albums the year-end lists suggest you listen to, browse the lists below and consider starting with the internet’s favorite albums of 2015.

The Rules:

In order for a list to be included, it had to be at least 25 albums long and it needed to be ordered.

If a list was greater than 50 albums, only the top 50 albums were included in the data.

An album ranked #1 on a list received 50 points, an album ranks #2 received 49 points, and an album ranked #50 received 1 point.

In order for an album to be included in the breakdowns below, the album had to be mentioned on at least 3 different lists.

The Data:

The information below were constructed using “Best of 2015” lists from NME, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Spin, Complex, Billboard, Paste, MOJO, The Guardian, Stereogum, Pretty Much Amazing, Slant Magazine, Consequence of Sound, Uncut, Quietus, KEXP, Pigeons and Planes, Entertainment Weekly, PopMatters, Noisey.


By Points

1 – Kendrick LamarTo Pimp A Butterfly – 938 Points

2 – Jamie xxIn Colour – 683 Points

3 – Courtney BarnettSometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit – 668 Points

4 – Father John MistyI Love You, Honeybear – 652 Points

5 – Tame ImpalaCurrents – 637 Points

6 – GrimesArt Angels – 615 Points

7 – Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell – 554 Points

8 – Sleater-KinneyNo Cities to Love – 531 Points

9 – Vince StaplesSummertime ’06 – 528 Points

10 – Carly Rae JepsenE•MO•TION – 425 Points

11 – DrakeIf You’re Reading This Its Too Late – 408 Points

12 – BjörkVulnicura – 375 Points

13 – Donnie Trumpet & The Social ExperimentSurf – 373 Points

14 – Joanna NewsomDivers – 355 Points

15 – MiguelWildheart – 352 Points

16 – FutureDS2 – 331 Points

17 – Kamasi WashingtonThe Epic – 307 Points

18 – DeerhunterFading Frontier – 299 Points

19 – Alabama ShakesSound & Color – 297 Points

20 – Kurt Vileb’lieve i’m goin’ down – 269 Points

21 – D’AngeloBlack Messiah – 262 Points

22 – Oneohtrix Point NeverGarden of Delete – 249 Points

23 – Julia HolterHave You In My Wilderness – 248 Points

24 – CHVRCHESEvery Eye Open – 225 Points

24 – Adele25 – 225 Points

25 – Jason IsbellSomething More Than Free – 219 Points


By # of Appearances

1 – Kendrick LamarTo Pimp a Butterfly – 19 Appearances

2 – Courtney BarnettSometimes I Sit and Think… – 18 Appearances

3 – Jamie xxIn Colour – 17 Appearances

4 – Father John MistyI Love You, Honeybear – 16 Appearances

4 – Tame ImpalaCurrents – 16 Appearances

4 – Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell – 16 Appearances

4 – BjörkVulnicura – 16 Appearances

5 – GrimesArt Angels – 15 Appearances

5 – Vince StapesSummertime ’06 – 15 Appearances

6 – Sleater-KinneyNo Cities to Love – 14 Appearances

6 – Carly Rae Jepsen – E•MO•TION – 14 Appearances

7 – DrakeIf You’re Reading This Its Too Late – 12 Appearances

7 – Donnie Trumpet & The Social ExperimentSurf – 12 Appearances

7 – Joanna NewsomDivers – 12 Appearances

8 – Kamasi WashingtonThe Epic – 11 Appearances

8 – DeerhunterFading Frontier – 11 Appearances

8 – Alabama ShakesSound & Color – 11 Appearances

8 – Kurt Vileb’lieve i’m goin’ down – 11 Appearances

9 – MiguelWildheart – 10 Appearances

9 – FutureDS2 – 10 Appearances

9 – CHVRCHESEvery Eye Open – 10 Appearances

9 – Holly HerndonPlatform – 10 Appearances

10 – Julia HolterHave You In My Wilderness – 9 Appearances

10 – Beach HouseDepression Cherry – 9 Appearances

10 – Florence + The MachineHow Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – 9 Appearances



1 – Kendrick LamarTo Pimp A Butterfly – 49.37 Pts/App

2 – Adele25 – 45 Pts/App

3 – D’AngeloBlack Messiah – 43.67 Pts/App

4 – Wolf AliceMy Love Is Cool – 41.33 Pts/App

5 – GrimesArt Angels – 41 Pts/App

6 – Father John MistyI Love You, Honeybear – 40.75 Pts/App

7 – Jamie xxIn Colour – 40.18 Pts/App

8 – Tame ImpalaCurrents – 39.81 Pts/App

9 – Sleater-KinneyNo Cities to Love – 37.93 Pts/App

10 – Lana Del ReyHoneymoon – 37.40 Pts/App

11 – Courtney BarnettSometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit – 37.11 Pts/App

12 – Various ArtistsHamilton: Original Broadway Soundtrack – 37 Pts/App

13 – Vince StaplesSummertime ’06 – 35.3 Pts/App

14 – MiguelWildheart – 35.2 Pts/App

15 – Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell – 34.63 Pts/App

16 – Chris StapletonTraveller – 34.33 Pts/App

17 – DrakeIf You’re Reading This Its Too Late – 34 Pts/App

17 – Mbongwana StarFrom Kinshasa – 34 Pts/App

18 – A$AP RockyAt. Long. Last. A$AP. – 33.5 Pts/App

19 – Floating PointsElaenia – 33.33 Pts/App

20 – FutureDS2 – 33.1 Pts/App

21 – Jack ÜSkrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü – 32.33 Pts/App

22 – Jim O’RourkeSimple Songs – 32.25 Pts/App

23 – ProtomartyrThe Agent Intellect – 31.8 Pts/App

24 – Oneohtrix Point NeverGarden of Delete – 31.13 Pts/App

25 – Donnie Trumpet & The Social ExperimentSurf – 31.08 Pts/App



345 albums mentioned

149 (43.2%) albums mentioned at least 2 times

91 (26.4%) albums mentioned at least 3 times

65 (18.8%) albums mentioned at least 4 times

53 (15.4%) albums mentioned at least 5 times

43 (12.5%) albums mentioned at least 6 times

33 (9.6%) albums mentioned at least 7 times

29 (8.4%) albums mentioned at least 8 times

25 (7.2%) albums mentioned at least 9 times

22 (6.4%) albums mentioned at least 10 times


The Best 47 Albums of 2015

We decided to try something different this year. The albums below were all released this year and for whatever reason were in our writers’ heavy rotation at some point.

Rather than focus on the technical aspects, we focused on our personal connection with each album and wrote about it.

By clicking album artwork below, you’ll be redirected to another page, where you can read blurbs about our personal connections with that specific album, see our suggested starting song (The First Bite) and one other fun item. On each page there is also the opportunity to stream the album.

So, maybe we shouldn’t have titled this “The Best 47 Albums of 2015,” but how else were we going to get your attention.


  • Best of 2015


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