Small Tapes Series

In hopes to find more hobbies this summer, I am going to try my hand at blogging a little… I was thinking that “I would gently take care of two birds with one birdhouse,” by attaching some written words with the posting of my playlists. I have determined that my second Small Tape should be of established artists who released music in the last 5-6ish weeks. As I go forward I will be trying to highlight newer artists but in hopes of garnering some sort of audience, I thought it is prudent to cast a wider net hence the big name artists featured on this mix.

All that aside these songs bang! Gorillaz new album has been a blast to listen to the last few weeks, I keep finding myself slipping back into the hour long album. The song “She’s My Collar” feat. Kali Uchis bumpy synth hits hard throughout the track and Damon Albarn vocals hug the bounce. I am also amped with the following track off of Cashmere Cat’s debut album. The Kacy Hill feature it perfect to help promote her new album Like a Woman. Out June 30 via G.O.O.D Music/Def Jam, and is executive produced by Kanye West. Finally, The National, The War On Drugs, LCD Soundsystem are all back with some new music! All these bands are personal favorites and I can not wait until the full LPs are all release. I actually got a chance to buy Thinking of Places 12” on Record Store Day this year.

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Record Store Day 2017!

Here are my top picks for this year’s Record Store Day (4/22)

Go out and support your local record store!

The Doors – Live at the Matrix ’67

Lou Reed Perfect Night: Live in London 2 x LP

The Smiths – The Boy With The Thorn In His Side 7″

Spoon – Hot Thoughts (Record Store Day) Matador 12″

Animal Collective – Meeting of the Waters

Dave Matthews Band – Live At Red Rocks 8.15.09

Wes Montgomery / Wynton Kelly Trio Smokin’ In Seattle: Live at the Penthouse (1966)

Opinion: The Beauty of Track Order

Seeing as I have listened to Radiohead’s -‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ on repeat for the last 24 hours I am currently hearing it without headphones, so I might be going a tad nuts, what follows is a little disjointed.

In a time where musicians create albums just as a vehicle for their hit singles *cough VIEWS*. Here you have a band who has sculpted each of their albums with such care.

They saved this song for 21 years until it got a studio recording. Ending the album perfectly ‘True Love Waits’ is gut punching when taken with the rest of the album. That would not have been the case if the song was released at the back end of any other Radiohead album.

Sitting at just under an hour the album feels as grand as 3-hour symphony at points, but with Thom Yorke’s minimalist and dark and strange lyrics (that are his most human and relatable to date) it feels constrained under a common feeling/sounds/vibes/theme *cough lacking in music today.*

Just wanted to say I was in awe at this track, in particular, it fit so perfect as the ending of this album and that the band had the patience to save it for such an emotionally charged album just makes it that much more satisfying for music lovers.

Upcoming Artist Profile: Kacy Hill

Upcoming Artist Profile: Kacy Hill of Kanye’s G.O.O.D Music label

In September of last year, Kacy Hill, former American Apparel model hailing from Phoenix, left performing as a back-up dancer on Kanye West’s Yeezus tour to begin pursuing her music career. Soon after leaving the tour, she released her first single “Experience” a dreamy up-tempo electronic beat accompanied by Hill’s dark and sensual vocals locking the listener in from beginning to end. Coming off the buzz of that release, the previous employer Kanye signed her to his G.O.O.D Music label.

Now 21 and recently contributing a vocal feature on fellow G.O.O.D Music artist Travis Scott’s well-reviewed debut album Rodeo this year, Hill released her first project Bloo -EP earlier this week. Consisting of three new tacks and two remixes from DJ’s Yung Gud and Bodhi, Hill described the collection in a recent Fader interview as “a calm introduction to what I would like to accomplish musically.”

Fans of artists like James Blake, FKA Twigs, and CHVRCHES will find many similarities in production on the track “Foreign Fields” with a stripped back rework of Blake’s “Wilhelm Scream”. Vocally, Hill softly weaves deceivingly simple lyrics throughout the rise and fall of a haunting synth. The highlight of the project is “Arm’s length”, a powerfully empowering ballet where Hill sings from the point of view of a lover who is fed up from being strung along in a relationship. She delivers each line of the chorus with such force that it leaves the lyrics ringing in the listeners’ ears “You can’t love me this way/You can’t keep me in chains.”  

If you are looking for a new and upcoming female artist, give Kacy Hill a listen. You can find a download and stream of Bloo – EP on her website



Curation and hurt feelings

As the newsroom shrinks and the role of the media is being downplayed to the public, curation journalism is an important tool for a journalist to tell their narratives.

“the organizing of information filed by reporters into a deliverable package for readers.” – Barbara Iverson

When you gather all the fragments of the news into one space it allows people to better understand the content in a specialized and important order. We live in a truly global world where there is no more isolation of events/stories that go on in other countries. A reporter could tell a story about a small town in Egypt while writing it in Boston. With all these stories being told constantly from all over the world reports have a responsibility to curate public info and “media” it from the source to their readers. But who can help story telling journalism shift into a more curation mindset?

Those in big newsrooms should turn to their sport writers for help with curation. Where sport reports still pursue larger narrative stories, a big part of their job is to summarize how games play out. They have been packaging curated media for years. When someone missed their favorite team play, hearing the score isn’t enough they look to sites like Bleacher Report & House of Highlights , to see the big plays and a deeper score breakdown. When readers are in a rush, they what to understand the narrative of a story without having to dig through the full story and piecing it together themselves.

In curation journalism that is the role the journalist must take. However, if there is one thing that journalists should look out for when curating the media is to stay unbiased. It can be really easy while summarizing important events to give more coverage to one side then another. This should be avoided, the common thread between curators is that they are viewed as trustworthy sources of information and they can not jeopardize that trust.



Are sports reporters meeting the needs of their audience?

It is important to begin by defining a sports reporter and give context to their role. Robert Lipsyte in his discussion on sports media gives multiple roles a fan, comic, expert, and investigator all are important to developing a reporter that does not narrow their skills but works towards developing a larger range of skills.

The more sports reporters equip themselves with different skills the better chance they have to not get stuck with the “toy department” label. Of course, readers are still looking for general coverage of the game, but where I think audiences needs are heading is away from neutral-voiced based writing and wanting reporters to add a little of their own voice.

I am not suggesting that sports reporters turn their writing into tabloids, but to begin giving readers a different perspective. It is very difficult to balance the scales of objectivity and giving a unique perspective, but this is a challenge that sports writers will need to tackle especially when working in smaller sports markets.

That might mean taking a risk like The Boston Globe’s Billy Baker who used twitter to creatively string a store together. Maybe for a sports reporter interlaying your tweets with highlights from the game. Or on a darker note, take a new approach to sports obituaries.

Also, it might be time for sports reporters to speak up in the newsroom and look to challenge themselves in the stories they try to pursue. Sports can be a vehicle for a myriad of subject manner if it is handled in the right way. For example, when the Travel Ban was first signed into action, the NBA had to deal with how that may affect players traveling in and out of the country. This was a perfect crossover story for sports reporters where they could work outside the toy department framework and look to garner a broader audience.

The platform that national athletes have now to express themselves is immense some players can reach millions through a small interview. Other news beats and readers look to sports writers to present them the news.

Don’t get snowed in, get engaged!

I like to talk about a reporter who exemplifies the characteristics needed not to be snowed in online.

Bob Boilen host of NPR’s ‘All Songs Considered’  he has created and produced the Tiny Desk Concert series for NPR Music; hosting intimate performances at his office desk, with bands like The National, Ben Folds, Adele and Madison’s own PHOX.

What I find throughout Bolien’s work is his voice, a distinct personality when he is writing about music. Every writer has a style that comes off in his or her work, in one way or another, some journalist must keep their voice in the shadows to try to keep bias out. However, in the case of a music critic, his voice is arguably the most important aspect of their job. A reader will keep coming back to a reviewer, even if they disagree if it makes them think or feel. I respect Bob Bolien’s work because I can see that his opinions are his own and that he thinks out his ideas when he writes.

The way he expresses his ideas within his articles is worth of praise. I really admire the way Bolien communicates with the reader in his work, he makes easy to well constructed and easy to follow arguments.

Beyond this is his use of analytics to drive content is worthy of praise. As stated in the written by 

Three types of analytics that are important to take into account when integrating analysis in the workflow…

  • Rudimentary – offers a certain amount of data, but lacks cohesiveness with newsroom organization and culture;
  • Generic – multiple analytics tools are used, but the newsroom’s structure and mindset are optimized for short-term results;
  • Editorial – bespoke tools, supported by an organization and culture focused on short-term and long-term data-informed decisions, and flexible to evolve as the industry changes

The Tiny Desk uses the editorial data they receive from NPR’s in-house analytics platforms to select artists that fit within their popular music content to perform.

But as stated in the Media Shift article Bob Bolien does a good job with community outreach. He tries to use his twitter account to engage with his audience to either share something he believes fits into his content or respond to audience questions.

In music journalism, there are a lot of voice all shouting “read me!” It is easy to get snowed in, but the saturated market does not mean you can’t carve out a niche for you develop your audience. Bob Bolien truly has created a loyal engaged audience base that is expanding as he makes smarter social media choices as he receives new analytic data.


Tiny Desk Concert

Media Shift