Hey, hope everyone’s doing well out there — I haven’t had a lot of time to spend on Tumblr over the last few months. Between my senior design project, a standard load of classes, and a freelancing schedule that gets more and more packed (I haven’t yet learned to say “no”) it’s been a struggle just to find time to sleep, never mind to write new stuff for here. I feel bad about it, and not out of some sense of obligation to the people who are reading this, but simply because I think writing in this space helps me to get better and cool down in a way that writing for money can’t. I only have four weeks of class left and a handful of exams, and then I’ll be finished, at which point I should be simply swimming in free time. We’ll see. Anyway, here are some things I’ve written over the last few weeks.
- I reviewed Major Lazer’s mediocre new EP Apocalypse Soon for Pitchfork.
- I reviewed Danish producer Tomas Barfod’s decent new EP Pulsing for Pitchfork.
- I reviewed Pharrell’s fun new record G I R L for TIME. I have some really exciting news about this review coming in a few days — probably just after the weekend — so stay tuned for that, you’ll definitely understand my excitement when you see it.
- Moving outside of the world of music criticism for a second, I’ve accepted an offer to work here at the University of Waterloo for a year starting in May. (I know, I’m counting down the days until I wrap up a degree here and then I’m coming right back, it’s ridiculous.) I’ll be returning to the department I’ve been working at in both full-time and part-time capacities for the last 16 months in a slightly upgraded role, and I’m so glad that they had a slot for me to come back as a Real Adult, at least for a while. I’m not sure what’s in store after the contract runs its course, but I’d happily continue moving up in the institutional sector if the work’s there.
- I’m going to see a real apartment tomorrow, and meeting with a financial planner next week. Adulthood: a little bit terrifying, but mostly totally thrilling!
- We bought a heater a few weeks ago and it sits by our patio doors. We sleep in the basement in this place, it’s our only source of outside light. I keep looking towards the doors as I’m writing this: the sun is out and it’s bright, and if I look at the window with the right focus I can see the waves of heat rising from the heater, shimmering and slightly warping the image of the glass. There’s magic in being able to see heat; we take it for granted because it typically moves unseen. I wanted to get that image down on paper in case I forget about it.
- I’ve been listening to the Clientele a lot over the next 24 hours, so before saying goodbye for now, here’s "I Hope I Know You." How does this band make it look so easy? See you in a few days/weeks.
I wrote about seeing the Yeezus Tour in Montreal for Noisey Canada -
This was a spur-of-the-moment purchase that turned into one of my most satisfying concert experiences ever. In terms of creative ambition, musicality, and sheer gutsiness, the Justin Timberlake show I saw three days before this one belongs on some other, lesser planet. A lot of other writers have taken their crack at the Kanye West live experience over the past few months, so it was rewarding and challenging to try my own hand at it. I hope I brought something new to the tour’s universe of coverage — and if not, I just hope it’s a satisfying read.
LIVING IN FEAR
I reviewed a new record by Kalle Mattson for Pitchfork -
The 23-year-old Ottawa singer-songwriter Kalle Mattson’s third album, Someday, the Moon Will Be Gold, is a document of personal growth set against the backdrop of his mother’s death. His sound’s never been this fully realized, and he has never drawn himself in such clear, unflinching light.
This album landed in my inbox one day and was such a pleasant surprise: warm, ambitious, familiar. If you’re into indie rock — esp. the sort that came out of the Canadian indie golden age of the ’00s — I think you’ll find a lot to love in this record.
1) A programming announcement: I’ve been curious for a while about using Medium as a writing platform. Speaking personally, I think it has potential in the short-term as a complement for Tumblr: there are some things that will be better suited to the form, and some that should remain on the latter. I wrote something there about how the changing nature of my readership has gradually made me a better writer, and you can read that here. I’m going to split it like this for the foreseeable future: short posts about songs and albums and personal items (so maybe like ~80% of things) will remain on Tumblr, and broader thoughts on writing/media/trendy issues (the other ~20%) will find a new home on Medium. We’ll see how it goes.
2) Next week is our school’s Reading Week, which means a week off to catch up on all the assignments, projects, and readings I’ve been avoiding since the term started. (I will spend most of it worrying about my senior design project, a.k.a. the project that haunts my waking and dreaming hours, a.k.a. the item without which my life would be pretty much ***flawless.) My boyfriend and I are heading to Toronto tomorrow night to see Justin Timberlake, staying the night, and then leaving for Montreal Saturday afternoon. We’ll be there until next Wednesday morning.
This is going to be my first trip to a province other than Ontario, which is pretty strange and very exciting for me. Neither of us has ever been to Montreal, and I don’t have much idea about what to do there except search for bagels and smoked meat sandwiches. So if you live in Montreal or have been to the city and have any recommendations for stuff to do/eat, I would really, really appreciate them. (Leave a reply to this post, askbox it, email, whatever.) Here’s hoping my weeks of sporadic French practice using Duolingo will prove even 1% helpful.
3) I just updated this blog’s “other writing" section — a collection of major clips that serves as a decently comprehensive introduction to my freelancing over the last few years — so feel free to check that out.
I reviewed Katy B's new album for TIME -
This is a very good pop record, and listening to it on repeat for the last week or so has been a total joy.
Allie X Drops a Pristine Debut Single with “Catch” -
This is my second post for TIME’s Entertainment section — I wrote about Miguel’s new song for Girls yesterday — and this song is great, up there with some of my favourite singles from the likes of Chvrches, Charli XCX, etc. (who are all operating in similar pop spheres)
I’ve expressed similar sentiments before, but here it is again, for old time’s sake: never in a million, billion years did I think starting a Tumblr (because I was lonely, depressed, in the closet, and desperate for a creative outlet) would lead to a TIME byline, or a byline anywhere for that matter. What a weird, dumb, cool life.
Confessions of an Earbud Apologist -
I wrote about growing up on Apple earbuds, and learning to leave them behind, for Pitchfork’s staff blog. I’ve been thinking about this for a while — and have written about it before here, a bit — and it felt good to finally put fingers to keys and explore my personal history as a listener.
I recommend reading Mark Richardson’s piece for the staff blog from last July about vinyl sound quality if you’re interested in this topic — it’s not directly related to what I wrote, but he articulates a few things that ended up sparking what I wrote about, and it’s a good read re: the subjectivity of sound and the role our personal preference plays in our listening experience.