It’s been a criminally long time since I’ve written a real live blog post about living in Jerusalem – which I’ve been doing for the past 8 weeks. That’s a long time! In those two months, I’ve lived through some incredible happenings.
I spent a Shabbat in the Old City, walking to the Western Wall on Friday night, surrounded by thousands of Orthodox and Haredi Jews partying and singing and dancing like the world was about to end. I’ve spent countless afternoons winding through the Arab quarter of the city in search of the best tiny, usually hidden falafel place. I’ve walked past Bibi Netanyahu’s house and wondered what he does right before bed (my guess: pray, fervently, and not for God to bless him). I’ve bought my produce, and, of course, my pastries, in Shuk Mahane Yehuda; I’ve drank at Jerusalem’s many pubs (compared to Tel Aviv’s many clubs). I’ve gone salsa dancing in a mall in Talpiyot, where there was a Bar Mitzvah going on in the banquet hall next door (read: yes, all this in a mall). I’ve sat in a nargilah bar filled with elderly Arab men smoking like the hose was a breathing tube… and stumbled out after just a few minutes. I’ve sat in the world’s biggest Ultra-Orthodox synagogue (seating for 10,000) and listened to a man tell me none of his 8 kids have ever been on the Internet. Continue reading
The sun rising over southern Israel’s sprawling Negev Desert paints the sky with bright oranges and reds and yellows, the light making the dry, rocky ground seem to glow. In a way, adding Shpongle to the dawn doesn’t seem so odd — if you’ve been up long enough to watch such a colorful, bold sunrise, chances are your mind is already in a place that Shpongle aims to take you: euphoric, buzzing, engulfed in sound.
Less than two hours south Israel’s hip, metropolitan center, Tel Aviv, Shpongle’s November 26 show, held at a middle-of-the-desert location undisclosed until that week, drew a few thousand from all over the country. Israel’s Moksha Project building a 24-hour festival of international DJ’s around Shpongle’s 3:30 am set only fanned the flames of one of the country’s most hyped shows of the year; that Shpongle’s show would be a rare, live band performance pushed the excitement over the edge. Continue reading
It didn’t take long for Tennis’ indie origin story to catch on: in 2010, Alaina Moore and her husband, Patrick Riley, bought a boat, sailed down the East Coast and posted online the quirky, catchy pop songs they wrote about the journey. Blogs loved the tracks, so the couple recorded a whole album, gained label support and became a real live band (with drummer James Barone). Tennis seemingly appeared out of nowhere; an A.V. Club headline even asked, “Who’s this Tennis band that everybody keeps talking about?”
The story matched the music-released by Fat Possum, 2011′s “Cape Dory” was warm, naive and bright.
Calling from her Colorado apartment, Moore is a bit more frank about her band: “We got home today to discover that our toilet is leaking, and spent all morning trying to fix it. Romance, adventure and toilet leaks. That’s us.” Continue reading
Before Sharon Van Etten became your favorite band’s favorite singer, before she recorded three deeply personal, haunting albums and definitely before she played “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” her best reason for playing music was just getting out of her parents’ New Jersey house.
“I would travel 30 miles just to take a nice drive, smoke a cigarette and play open-mic nights,” Van Etten says. But her first fan, discovered after playing at an Easton, Pa., dive, changed all that. “Someone came up to me crying after my set. She said, ‘You must keep playing.’ It was the first time I realized I could affect somebody. I realized why I was doing what I was doing.”
Today, Van Etten has more than just one fan awaiting her third album, “Tramp,” due Feb. 7 on Jagjaguwar. In fact, since releasing “Because I Was in Love” in 2009 and “Epic” in 2010, her fan base has kept swelling, as names like Bon Iver‘s Justin Vernon, TV on the Radio‘s Kyp Malone and the National’s Aaron Dessner (who produced “Tramp”) join the fold.