The 10 Best Jazz Albums For Continuing Your Jazz Studies

Written by Vinyl Me, Please on / The 10 Best

by Andrew Martin and Ryan Kowal

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Oh, you thought we were done?

Given that we’re talking about an entire genre here, especially one with such a huge number of important players, it’s impossible to just throw out a single list of 10 records that newbies need in their collection. Hell, it’s difficult to just stick to 20! But look, once you get through those first 10 records and this additional batch, we’re confident that you’ll at least have a better grasp on the genre.

Or maybe you’ve already fallen in love with the music. I know I have, but I also know that didn’t happen overnight. As taken as I was by John Coltrane, I didn’t really feel like I “got” his approach for several years (and I still don’t think I’ve completely “got” it, either). But that’s OK! These albums are classics and their leaders are masters for a reason—you don’t just throw these on and instantly understand what you’re hearing.

For me, and hopefully you, too, those repeated listens are part of what makes listening to jazz so goddamn fun. You may be taken by the sax or trumpet at first, only to get swallowed by the bass, drums, piano, etc. during your next listen. It’s like binge-watching Arrested Development for the fifth time and thinking to yourself, “Holy shit, I never picked up on that joke before.”

And just like last time, I have the honor of my buddy/all-around jazz cat Ryan Kowal providing bits of insight for each selection on this list, which he also helped put together.
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How to Be A Human Being: A Day At Forecastle With Glass Animals

Written by Vinyl Me, Please on August 23, 2016 / Album of the Month, Liner Notes

We sent a writer to spend an entire day with Glass Animals, makers of our September Album of the Month, while they headlined Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Kentucky. Words & Photos By Brittany Hallberg

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When you arrive to the festival grounds unexpectedly delayed at 7AM the day of your gig, you wake up at noon like a rockstar. Except, of course, if you’re the band’s tour manager. Then you’re greeting strangers, people like me, into your world around 10 a.m. with a smile and British-accented apologies. Suddenly, the band was up, gone in a flash of cigarette puffs, on a mission to a hotel for the necessary after-tour-bus-sleep showers, leaving me on the Forecastle Festival grounds in a whirlwind. A lot of things in Glass Animals world are like that right now.  

I was sent to Forecastle to capture Glass Animals as they are; on the cusp of mega indie stardom before the release of their anticipated sophomore album, How to Be a Human Being. Their first LP, 2014’s Zaba shot them from semi-obscurity to that level of indie rock fame where they can rack up an impressive amount of Spotify streams, sell out shows across the UK and America, and still be relatively unknown. 

Yet with their current success metrics and my I-memorized-your-lyrics giddiness set aside, spending a day on tour with Glass Animals was more like kicking it back with college friends vs being the coffee-runner intern. I found a friendly band that has the easier rapport and inside jokes of the schoolyard friends they are, seemingly unencumbered by the pressures that come with their anticipated sophomore album.

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On “FDT Part 2” and the Awkward Allyship of White Rappers

Written by Vinyl Me, Please on / Guardian of the Rap, Takes

by Michael Penn II

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On this very site, I’ve called the original “FDT” a classic: a moment in modern-day gangsta rap symbolizing the power of its pundits, YG and Nipsey Hussle, as political actors utilizing their platform as a tool to amplify the marginalized communities that serve as their origin points. A Blood and a Crip realizing the ills of a political nightmare, and electing to fight with whatever they have, seizing hold of their own narratives to combat a normalized dismissal of the thug and accepting the responsibility that comes when standing on the soapbox in a moment when clearly no one else will do it, or do it effectively.

The record proved so effective, it ended up censored on YG’s Still Brazy album.

YG is about to embark on the FDT tour in support of that album, but spent the last few months alongside Yo Gotti on the Endless Summer Tour, with G-Eazy (a white male) and Logic (a biracial male) as the headliners. It appears this spawned the “FDT Part 2” update, featuring G-Eazy in a pissed-off pivot stance and a focused Macklemore with his gold rings and an American flag wrapped semi-ironically around his collar. While the former visual focused on a centering of Black and brown bodies in concert, siphoning their anger into a search for their freedom, this video is a collage of protest footage culminating in scenes from a concert on the aforementioned tour, showcasing the trio with thousands of white fans cursing Donald Trump’s name in unison.

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VMP Podcast: Interview with Angel Olsen

Written by Vinyl Me, Please on August 22, 2016 / Podcast

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This week we had a very special guest on the show. Angel Olsen stopped by to talk about her upcoming album My Woman (which drops on Sept. 2nd) and in the process, we ended up talking quite a bit about traveling, how cities are a lot like people, and what it’s like to navigate life in the midst of the web of modern and historical narratives that shape it even more than we may think.

Suffice to say, I learned a lot from her about all of those topics as well as what went into her new record and I think you will too. You can stream the episode below or check it out in iTunes here. (more…)

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