2023 lists: 13 images Daniel Handler found while doing research

Daniel Handler: I am spending the last chunk of 2023 and the first of 2024 spelunking my way through some haphazard research into sculpture and other visual arts.  Here are thirteen images I came across in my research.

Design for a castle, 1539:

Back view of the Great Buddha of Kamakura (built in 1252):

Brancusi, Three Penguins:

Callot’s etching of Two Pantaloons:

Claes Oldenburg’s Giant BLT:

Deakin’s portrait of Barbara Hepworth:

Designers of Lincoln Center with its scale model:

Frank Lloyd Wright’s redesign of Suite 223 at the Plaza Hotel for his own use:

Gilbert and George as the Singing Sculpture:

Illustration of Jupiter seated triumphantly on a bed of defeated giants:

A drawing Paul Klee made at ten years of age:

Mignard, Child Blowing Bubbles, 1660:

portrait of Olga Wlassics:

2023 lists: Rob Pursey’s Top 10 Christmas Tree Baubles

Rob Pursey’s (Heavenly, Swansea Sound, The Catenary Wires, Skep Wax Records) Top 10 Christmas Tree Baubles:

I’m sorry, this is probably the most sentimental top 10 list you’ve ever read.   But I have just entered that melancholy phase when, looking at our Christmas Tree, I realise it has to come down soon – and then I’ll have to confront the rest of the winter without any twinkly distractions.

Christmas is a big deal in this house. It’s got nothing to do with religion: we are all atheists and so were our parents. It’s more like an accumulation of memories of all the other times you and your family did exactly the same things, every year: parents stopping work, kids getting presents, everyone playing old board games, eating special things. The winter is transformed, briefly, into something wonderful because of the people around you. And because of the baubles and twinkly lights.

So, my first bauble was a gift from Alexandra, who is the very skilful knitter and craftswoman and partner of John, head honcho of WIAIWYA Records. It’s a felt rendition of the first record by The Catenary Wires.

Bauble Two is a strange little stretchy man. He doesn’t dangle like the other baubles do, he grips the branch of the tree like a cartoon soldier. I don’t know why he entered the canon of baubles. One of the kids put him up on the tree a few years ago, he made us laugh, and now he comes out every year.

Bauble Three is the newest one. It was a present from Bob Collins, who plays guitar with us in Swansea Sound. It’s an image of Priestfield Stadium, where Gillingham FC play.  We went there (with Bob) a couple of days ago and saw Gillingham lose  2-0 to Crawley. It was a horrible experience, but we will be back there very soon.  And the Priestfield bauble will be back on the tree next year.

Bauble Four was made many years ago by our older daughter Dora. She made a lot of items in pottery class when she was a little kid.  I have a goblet, a candlestick holder, a vase and many other chunky, colourful items. This bauble is quite fragile and I worry about it surviving through all future Christmases.

The fifth bauble is this tiny stocking which clearly belonged to Ivy (our younger daughter).  I don’t know where it came from – maybe it was part of an advent calendar, or was attached to something bigger – but it is now an essential tree item.

I like this sixth bauble a lot.   It is the most substantial decoration on the tree as it includes the entire text of the first book of Paradise Lost by John Milton, which is my favourite poem. I am not sure that Milton, a fairly austere Protestant, would have approved of this frivolous and decorative use of his major work. But he might also be pleased that his poetry is honoured, four hundred years after it was written.

Bauble Seven. Some years ago, I can’t remember when, the kids were given a set of toy germs. This one is eColi, and he has become a regular fixture. There were five or six other germs, including halitosis and the common cold, but eColi is the one who got hung on the tree.

This little robin started life as a cake decoration, but got upgraded to the tree a few years ago. He has efficient claws and so he can perch on the branch, just like a real robin. Except he is only about an inch long. He is bauble number eight.

Sorry, not  a great picture, but the fairy is right at the top and I couldn’t get close enough without knocking the whole thing over. She is the oldest bauble – she sat on top of the Christmas Tree when I was a little kid. She is a bit lopsided, but she is hanging on.

Ok, Bauble Ten takes us back to music, and it’s another one by Alexandra, with Le Jardin de Heavenly-style butterflies on a little felt square. (I have no idea why people accused our old band of being twee.)

By the time anyone reads this the baubles will be heading back into their box, and winter will have resumed.  I hope you have a happy new year.

chickfactor 2023 lists, round three

image courtesy of Kim Baxter

Kim Baxter’s (All Girl Summer Fun Band) 
Top 10 Favorite Things About Reuniting with AGSFB in 2023


  1. The amazing feeling that occurred when the 3 of us got together and started playing music again. It was like no time had passed at all. I didn’t realize just how much I had missed playing with Jen & Kathy.
  2. Having friends come to our shows that we hadn’t seen in ages!
  3. Encountering the nicest and most helpful sound people that we have ever worked with.
  4. Jen’s contagious excitement for playing shows & recording music again, her awesome playlists & podcast selections, and her ability to drive for hours on end.
  5. Figuring out that if we rent an AirBnB with a garage, we don’t have to unload our gear each night. Our favorite new tour hack!
  6. Getting to play shows with so many awesome bands & people-Tony Molina, Mo Troper, The Softies, Growing Pains, Who Is She?, Love in Hell, Tony Jay, Kids on a Crime Spree, Rose Melberg, Lunchbox, Wifey, Field Drums.
  7. Catching up, cracking up, and built-in therapy + pep talks with Jen & Kathy at band practices and on the road.
  8. Hitting all of the health food co-ops on tour (Kathy is an expert at finding them) and being instantly transported back to the 90’s by the smell of nutritional yeast and nag champa.
  9. Sitting around in our PJs after shows and watching back-to-back episodes of Selling Sunset together (so bad, yet so good).
  10. Making plans for future shows and writing & recording new music!
Out Jan. 19!

Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney, Filthy Friends) 2023!!

Best Portland Thai Food – Rukdiew Cafe

Best Live Album – And the wind… MJ Lenderman

Favorite Live Show – The Cure at Corona Capital

Best sport trend – Pickle Ball

Favorite Youth Slang – LFG! (In a text, it means Let’s Fucking Go)

Great albums – Black Rainbows by Corinne Bailey Rae; The Water, The Sky by Black Belt Eagle Scout

Favorite Books – My Murder by Katie Williams and The Fraud by Zadie Smith

James McNew’s Favorite songs 2023:
Staple Singers, “The Gardener” (1970)
The Cyclones with Count Ossie, “Meditation” (1973)
Thin Lizzy, “The Friendly Ranger at Clontorf Castle” (1971)
Jimmy Flemion, “Oh Babe, What Would You Say” (2022)
Little Obsessions, “Can’t See What’s Mine” (2023)
Rob Sonic, “Mink” (2023)
Dave Edmunds, “Where Or When” (1977)
Flo and Eddie, “Keep It Warm” (1976)
Ceremony, “Your Life In France” (2015)
Yozoh, “Tommy” (2022)
The Notwist, “Sans Soleil” (2021)

Evelyn Hurley (Cotton Candy): Top fave shows of 2023

I watched a lot of good television shows this year, so in no real order, here’s a list of a few or my favorite tv shows for 2023:

Slow Horses – this TV show is on a lot of peoples “Best Of” lists and there’s a good reason for that, it’s really good! The acting and stories are super suspenseful, and it’s really funny. Highly recommend!

Rain Dogs – this is a British TV show which was really touching, even though the protagonists are somewhat unlikeable and flawed. The lead actress/writer/creator, Daisy May Cooper, is super talented, and she has another show on my list, which is called…

Am I Being Unreasonable? – this is the other Daisy May Cooper show on my list, and it’s completely different from Rain Dogs. The story is so compelling and the twist at the end had me literally screaming. Definitely watch this if you can, you will not forget it.

Schmigadoon – the second season of this show was based on the musical Chicago rather than Brigadoon, and songs are catchy, the story is clever, and the singing and acting is so good. It’s a great series, watch it if you get the chance, especially if you’re old an old theater kid like me.

Afterparty – this is also the second season of this show, and it’s really so well done with clever, jokes and great acting by everyone. I did not predict the ending at all!

Physical – this was the third and final season of the show and in my opinion it’s really one of the best TV shows I’ve seen in years. Rose Byrne is so excellent, which is saying a lot because every single actor in the show is fantastic. I can see why some people are uncomfortable with this show because it might trigger some trauma people have had with an eating disorder, but the way she portrays a working business woman in the 80’s, with all the references to exercise trends, clothing, foods, is really well done without being preachy or grating. Also, big shout out to Zooey Deschanel, whose portrayal of a zany character was so great.

Big Door Prize – the show was kind of a sleeper but I thought it was really good. Chris O’Dowd is really hilarious in an understated way, and Josh Segarra was so great as the almost-successful hockey player-has been. I still can’t really figure out what is going with the plot, show but it’s a good show!

Hijack – this Idris Elba show was so good, but it’s really suspenseful, so don’t watch it if you don’t like being stressed out.

Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields – this is an amazing documentary about Brooke Shields and how she grew up in the public eye in the 70’s & 80’s. I grew up the same time as Brooke, so all the footage of her childhood was a trip down memory lane for me, only this time I realized how incredibly exploited she was by almost everyone in her life. She handled every single man, woman, TV star, movie star, interviewer, journalist, etc… with such grace and respect, even though they were all usually acting like massive creeps. (Looking at you, Bob Hope.)It’s incredible how she turned out so well adjusted, because she seems like a really cool person.

WHAM! documentary – I’m a big George Michael & Wham! fan, and this documentary  was really well done and very sweet. It showed how incredibly talented and driven George Michael and Andrew Ridgely were. I especially loved how tormented George Michael was when he knew that his song “Last Christmas” wasn’t going to be the number one Christmas song because Band Aid would knock it off of its 1st place space, even though he was also on that song. But I especially loved the sweet friendship they had, and it makes me sad that Yog died way too young.

Sukhdev Sandhu (Photo: Gail O’Hara)

Sukhdev Sandhu (English professor, critic, event creator, and CF contributor/MC)

* Chiara Ambrosio is one of the most teeming, tireless people I know. She lives in London, is a writer and an artist and a filmmaker and a puppeteer and a publisher, and champions that which deserves championing. In this year alone: a linocut response to Yannis Ritsos’s MonochordsThe Book of Raft – a companion to an upcoming film championing cultural hubs/ holdouts in London; a wonderful event at The Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury – which featured broom-dancing children, Kurdish singing and mulled wine-enhanced wassailing deep into the December night.

* I’m not sure if Mike Rubin ever sleeps. Almost every night he ranges across New York, shows in places both lofty and busted, often attending more than one event – jazz, hip hop, soul and post-soul, mangled electronica, beats from all across the world. He documents these fastidiously, making sure musicians and performers are properly credited, and flagging them up on his crucial Instagram page. It’s a wonderful resource and, in the words of the Caught by the River magazine, ”an antidote to indifference”.

* Archive Books. These days, every bookshop, big or small, cussedly individual or corporate, deserves at least two cheers. And then there’s Archive Books in Marylebone, London. It’s hard enough to get inside, far less glide down its aisles. There’s no space – except to wonder. Its shelves tower and teeter. Edwardiana for a couple of quid. Cricketing autobiographies, collected journalism of long-forgotten Fleet Strack hacks, self-published cookery books, an Aladdin’s cave of a basement crammed with music scores. Impossible to leave, most likely hours later, without a couple of bags of unknown pleasures in hand.

* There are more famous names in food journalism, but Sheila Dillon is in a league of her own. Since the late 1980s, she’s been reporting for – and later presenting – BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme. Week after week, with clarity and dry wit, she has kept listeners in the now about topics such as the baneful power of the big supermarket chains, the BSE scandal, the fall of Communism’s impact on Russian food systems. Never talking down, pretending to be our pal, or following critical fashions, she is a truly great broadcaster.

* I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. If England still exists, it’s here in this BBC Radio 4 panel show that’s been running since 1972. Its first host was jazzbo Humphrey Lyttelton, about whom Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood said, “Without his direction, we’d never have recorded/ released ‘Life in a Glasshouse.” One of the programme’s quizzes – Mornington Crescent – is as recondite as any Fall lyric. Another – ‘Uxbridge English Dictionary’ – requires contestants to supply new definitions for existing terms; among those proposed in the Christmas 2024 edition were “aspic: disgusting habit”; “jacuzzi: French for ‘I blame myself'”, and “criteria: cafe for sad people”.

* Radio – live, now, happenstance – is still a thrill. My favourites are Andres Lokko on Sveriges Radio – 2pm every Sunday. Kevin Pearce-style Modernism forever! And Jack Rollo, half of Time Is Away, helming The Early Bird Show on Fridays from 7-9am. Aching folk, glassy ambient techno, worlds of echo, a hush and a huddle for everyone who’s just about made it through another week.

* Back in March, I was lucky enough to be allowed to stage a screening, the first in North America, of Being Mavis Nicholson. How I adored the Welsh TV interviewer when I was younger. So curious, warm, intelligent. She called herself “a natural gasser”. The documentary’s director Carolynn Hitt was closer to the truth: “When a conversation is good, you’re so engrossed in it, it’s like a blanket going round you both…”

* Art galleries: take them away. Too many pious shows, lumpy wall-text, the visitors samey-same. I’ve been going, more and more, to museums. More history, sense of place, modesty. More ‘there’ there. Among my favourites this year the Stadsmuseet in Stockholm, the Franziskaner Museum in Villingen (particularly the spectacularly alarming masks and colourful costumes associated with the annual Fastnacht festivities in southern Germany), and the KattenKabinet in Amsterdam Bob Meijer founded in 1990 to celebrate feline portraiture. There are sleepy cats in some of the townhouse rooms and in the garden. Everything about the place is purr-worthy.

* Monica Zetterlund and Sivuca performing together. That scarf!

* East Broadway, New York City. When you want to get away, when you want to stay, when you want to feel like you’re somewhere: East Broadway – in the autumn, Thursday afternoons, breezes and leaf-carpeted sidewalk. Stay outside, go inside – it doesn’t matter. Carol’s Bun, Ritualarium, The House of Sages. Walk your blues, walk into blue, walk off your blues.

As always: The Style Council, ‘It’s A Very Deep Sea’; Woo, ‘This Love Affair’; Kevin Ayers, ‘May I?’; Nico Fidenco, ‘Ligados’. But also: Erlend Øye & La Comitiva, ‘Mornings and Afternoons’; The Embassy, ‘Escape’; Guy Cabay, ‘Pôve Tièsse’; Romy, ‘She’s On My Mind’.

Gail O’Hara / CF editor/photographer’s ten songs stuck in my head:

The Zombies, “This Will Be Our Year”

Gene Wilder, “Pure Imagination”

“I’ve Got a Golden Ticket”

Little River Band, “Reminiscing” (because…karaoke)

Bee Gees, “How Deep Is Your Love”

Cynthia Erivo, “Alfie”

“Fairytale of New York” (because … karaoke and RIP, Shane, my old neighbor)

She and Him, “I Thought I Saw Your Face Today”

The Clientele, “Lady Gray”

All year: Connie Lovatt with Bill Callahan, “Kid”

Things I’m looking forward to: New Softies and Umbrellas albums, Heavenly and 69LS shows

Pete Paphides (Photo: Gail O)

Pete Paphides (author, critic, Needle Mythology records)

Condiment/seasoning of 2023: Vegan Smoky Bacon Nooch by Notorious Nooch Co.

Protein shake of 2023: Milk (semi-skimmed or oat), peanut butter, whey powder, one frozen banana, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, almonds. Blend. Drink. Oh my god.

Sandwich of 2023: The simple tomato sandwich. Trust me. Nothing else. Just some buttered bread and a sliced room-temperature tomato with a dash of salt.

Various artists anthology of 2023: Disco Discharge presents Box Of Sin. A four LP soundtrack to the gay clubbing experience of the 80s.

Single artist anthology of 2023: The Teardrop Explodes: The Teardrop Explodes: Culture Bunker 1978-1982

Music memoir of of 2023: Paul Simpson: Revolutionary Spirit – A Post-Punk Exorcism

Memoir of 2023: John Niven: O Brother

Most heroic, articulate and humane corrective to toxic masculinity of 2023: Caitlin Moran: What About Men?

Late to the party TV experience of 2023 (i): Better Call Saul

Late to the party TV experience of 2023 (ii): Season one of Fargo, especially Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo

Cereal of 2023: Robert Forster’s Spring Grain muesli

Football (soccer) hero of 2023: Spurs manager Ange Postecoglou in the interview after losing to Chelsea with two men sent off and refusing, on point of principle, to adjust to a defensive formation in order to avoid being pummelled by their eleven man opponents: “It’s just who we are, mate. As long as I’m here, that’s what we’re going to do. ‘Even with five men, we’ll have a go.’”

Carb replacement of 2023: Edamame spaghetti.

Gig of 2023, not including gigs by humans I had a hand in making: The Northern Soul Proms at The Royal Albert Hall; The Soup Dragons at Electric Ballroom; The Bluebells at Glasgow St Lukes

Gig of 2023, including gigs by humans I had a hand in making: Eaves Wilder’s last-minute set on the second stage at Glastonbury (replacing the also-brilliant Japanese Breakfast, who were/was stuck in transit).

Song of 2023, not including songs by humans I had a hand in making or artists whose album was released on my label: Nadine Shah: Topless Mother

Song of 2023, including songs by humans I had a hand in making: Eaves Wilder: Freefall. Literally my most played song of the year

Song of 2023, including songs by artists whose album was released on my label: Iraina Mancini: Cannonball. Or maybe this was my most played song. It’s close.

Album of 2023, including albums released on my label: Iraina Mancini: Undo The Blue.

Album of 2023, not including albums released on my label: Grian Chatten: Chaos For The Fly; Beatowls: Marma; Mitski: The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We

Exhibition of 2023: Women In Revolt!, Tate Britain

Parental pride moments of 2023: Seeing the results of Dora Paphides’ astonishing work for The Last Dinner Party’s My Lady Of Mercy, Fred Roberts’ Say and Chinchilla’s Cut You Off; Running along Brighton seafront to a Eaves Wilder’s just-released Hookey EP and thinking my heart was about burst (in an utterly wonderful way).

Inspired musical collision of 2023: John Douglas from Trashcan Sinatras on my Soho Radio show, creating a brand new acoustic accompaniment to the vocal of Stormzy’s Firebabe.

Lazarus-style return of 2023: The Bathers: Sirenesque

Label of 2023: Last Night From Glasgow

Drink of 2023: Sainsbury’s own brand peach iced tea. And you can have as much as you want because zero calories

Meet your heroes pinch-me moment of 2023: Interviewing Chrissie Hynde for Record Collector. I was told one hour. Three hours later, I left and somehow my car hadn’t been clamped or ticketed.

Best album recommended to me by one of my heroes: When I got to Chrissie Hynde’s apartment, she played me Spooky Two by Spooky Tooth. The first thing I had to do after I left was locate a copy.

Chocolate of 2023: Snacksy Raw Chocolate with Ginger

Cake of the year: McVities Jamaica Ginger Cake with Madagascan Vanilla Custard. In a teacup or mug, eaten with a teaspoon. Whilst watching Great British Bake-Off on the sofa.

Belated realisation of 2023: Boiled eggs make great hand warmers + once you’ve warmed your hands on them, you can eat them.

Record I Didn’t Realise I Most Needed In 2023: dEUS: How To Replace It

Most perplexingly ignored album of 2023: Keaton Henson: House Party

Best Instruction Given By An Artist When Telling Their Band How To Play Their Songs During The Recording Of An Album: “Just try and channel the soundtrack of Ten Things I Hate About You” – Keaton Henson

Big-hearted, perfectly judged, very very very funny movie of 2023: No Hard Feelings. Jennifer Lawrence and Andrew Barth Feldman both just utterly perfect in it.

Andrew Bulhak (music writer, DJ) Top Songs of 2023 (not necessarily in this order):
Emma Anderson – Clusters
the bv’s – warp
Hot Coppers – Hot Coppers
Jimmy Whispers – Ice Cream Truck
Lael Neale – I Am The River
Leah Senior – The Music That I Make
Pickle Darling – Kinds of Love
Slowdive – Kisses
Spearmint – tell me about my sister
Spunsugar – Metals
Strawberry Runners – Circle Circle
yeule – dazies

Borrowed from https://www.instagram.com/macsuperchunk/
Mac McCaughan (Superchunk, Merge Records): Fave Reissue / Archival Releases of 2023
Pharoah Sanders – Pharoah (Luaka Bop)
Reissue of an album by the jazz giant we lost last year that you pretty much just had to listen to on YouTube until now unless you had hundreds of dollars for an original copy. The music (incl a bonus LP of unrelease live performances) is amazing and the package includes a booklet, photographs, flyer reproductions and other ephemera.
Chin Chin – Cry In Vain (Sealed Records)
My fault for not knowing about this incredible all-girl Swiss punk group from the 80s. Amazing songs which remind me of a slightly more aggro Look Blue Go Purple. Can’t stop listening!
Milford Graves / Arthur Doyle / Hugh Glover – Children of the Forest (The Black Editions)
The Black Editions label has uncorked a flow of powerful free jazz archival releases over the last few years and this previously unreleased home-recorded by Graves performance from 1976 is essential. The world will be catching up with Milford Graves forever i think.
Masayuki Takayanagi – Mass Hysterism In Another Situation (The Black Editions)
Electric guitar destruction from ’83 and a two-guitar & drums trio led by Takayanagi. Massive.
Milford Graves / Don Pullen – The Complete Yale Concert 1966 (Corbett Vs Dempsey)
Speaking of Milford Graves, i keep trying to imagine what the audience expected / what they got when they attended this intense performance in 1966… Long out of print and lovingly put back together by the fine people at Corbett Vs Dempsey.
Arthur Russell – Picture of Bunny Rabbit (Rough Trade)
The Arthur Russell archive may be bottomless but if it’s all as listenable as what’s been excavated so far I hope they keep it coming.
Hiroshi Yoshimura – Surround (Light In The Attic)
“Environmental music” commissioned by a home builder to play in their living spaces or something like that… recorded the same year as one my favorite ambient records ever, Yoshimura’s Green LP and never reissued before, Surround is as liquid and beautiful as the sleeve suggests.
 
John Coltrane – Evenings At The Village Gate: John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy (Impulse)
 
Minor Threat – Out of Step Outtakes 7″ (Dischord)
The titles of these two releases tell you all you need to know!

2023 chickfactor lists, round two

Photo by Harmony Reynolds
The Umbrellas’ Top 10 San Francisco Date Spots
Hey… February is right around the corner… Love is in the air… Wink wink!1. Musée Mécanique
2. Vesuvio Cafe, City Lights and an Italian dinner
3. Top of the Mark
4. Lands End/ Sutro Baths
5. Audium, and THEN Tommy’s Joynt
6. Free Gold Watch
7. Royal Cuckoo on Sundays
8. Conservatory of Flowers
9. A cable car ride with a tallcan!
10. Giants game at Oracle Park

image courtesy of Theresa Kereakes

Theresa Kereakes, punk photographer and historian
When I was a kid, I recall reading a column in TV Guide called “Cheers & Jeers,” and I think that’s what 2023 calls for….

Cheers:
The World According to Joan Didion by Evelyn McDonnell.

All my dots connected in this book – California, women writers, inadvertent movers & shakers. The intellectual rigor combined with passion for their respective subject matters from both the author and her subject make this book a must-read. I don’t want it to end. More than a biography, it is a consideration of the times, and how Didion lived and wrote in them.

Maestro – believe it or not! If you know me in real life, you know I am no fan of Bradley Cooper and a huge fan of Leonard Bernstein. With low expectations, I watched it and was not disappointed. I don’t care that Cooper is not Jewish and he wore a prosthetic nose. Movies are smoke and mirrors and if one chooses to criticize on this point, then criticize the superb Irish actor, Liam Neeson for portraying the German Oskar Schindler in Schindler’s List. Bottom line: for a mainstream movie featuring the movie star as actor and director, this was most serviceable and Lenny is introduced to a whole new audience.

Tim: Let it Be Edition – The Replacements. My favorite album of 2023 is a reissue of an 80s record, remastered to sound the way it should. It’s perfect.

Eddie Izzard- The Rewind Tour. It was a delightful time hearing the old sketches and how prescient Izzard’s comedy was in the 80s. Dress to Kill is probably still my favorite stand up performance by anyone- seeing a reprise of “Tea & cake or death?” made my night.

The Algonquin Cat – best thing about Midtown Manhattan- the historic hotel has a cat. His name is Hamlet and whenever I am in NYC, I stop by the hotel JUST FOR THE CAT!

Jeers:
War
Barbie – subtle as a flying mallet
Media coverage of Taylor Swift’s dating life
For me, the overall vibe of 2023 is “hurry up 2024,” and I dream of more interesting times.

Top 8 shows Seablite went to in 2023
Sweeping Promises – The Chapel, San Francisco (LM)
Underworld – The Warfield, San Francisco (LM)
The Charlatans and Ride – The Fillmore, San Francisco (GT)
Suede – O2 Academy, Glasgow (GT)
Love and Rockets – Fox Theater, Oakland (JM)
Patti Smith – Golden State Theatre, Monterey (JM)
Mo Dotti – Permanent Records, Los Angeles (AP)

Aluminum – The Makeout Room, San Francisco (AP)

Papa Slumber (right) with Nommi and Gaylord, London, 2022 (photo: Gail O’Hara)

Papa Slumber’s Lucky 13
01 Joe Armon-Jones & Maxwell Owin – Archetype (Aquarii)
02 Autocamper – You Look Fabulous! (Discontinuous Innovation)
03 Nat Birchall – The Infinite (Ancient Archive of Sound)
04 The Clientele – I Am Not There Anymore (Merge)
05 John Haycock – Dorian Portrait (Second Thoughts Records)
06 Kode9 / Burial – Infirmary / Unknown Summer (Fabric)
07 The Lost Days – In The Store (Speakeasy Studios)
08 Malombo Jazz Makers – Down Lucky’s Way (Tapestry Works)
09 Primal Scream – Reverberations (Travelling In Time) BBC Radio Sessions & Creation Singles 1985-86 (Young Tiki)
10 The Southern University Jazz Ensemble – Goes To Africa With Love (Now Again)
11 Sam Wilkes & Jacob Mann – Perform The Compositions Of Sam Wilkes & Jacob Mann (Leaving Records)
12 Yaw Evans – The Bits (GD4YA)
13 The Oakland Weekender – great music, great friends, can’t wait to do it again!

Jennifer O’Connor’s favorite records
MeShell Ndegeocello – The Omnichord Real Book (Blue Note)
Steve Gunn & David Moore – Reflections Vol. 1: Let the Moon Be a Planet (RVNG Intl.)
Emahoy Tsege-Mariam Gebru – Jerusalem (Missippippi Records)
Armand Hammer – We Buy Diabetic Test Strips (Fat Possum)
Feist – Multitudes (Polydor)
King Krule – Space Heavy (Matador)
Meg Baird – Furling (Drag City)
Roge – Curyman (Diamond West)
Everything But The Girl – Fuse (Buzzin’ Fly/Virgin)
Mitski – The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We (Dead Oceans)

Rachel Blumberg (drummer): Top Ten Portland Area Pooches Who Have Spent Time At Our Humble Abode, The Two Fir in 2023…
1. Winnie Dean Underberg!  We adopted her in November and shortly thereafter learned she is a purebred McNab! Whoever knows what this is without googling it wins a prize. She is so sweet and super smart and we love her so much.
2. Arrow, fur child of Sarah Fennel (Night Brunch) and Matt Sheehy (Lostlander).
3. Tizate, also known as Sweet T, fur child of Joanna Bolme (many, many bands and also Reverse Cowgirl, the country cover band we both play in along with Rebecca Cole), and Gary Jarman (The Cribs). Sweet T quickly made her way to our heart with her snuggling ways and “dead bug in the sun” pose. She came to Joanna and Gary through Street Dog Hero, a great dog rescue organization based in Bend, OR.
4. Ringo, fur child of Adam Selzer (M.Ward, Norfolk & Western, Type Foundry Recording Studio). He is super smart and recently Adam discovered the most hilarious thing. Sometimes his recently baked sourdough bread would go missing. He could never find the missing bags that held said sourdough, until a few weeks ago he found a stash of  plastic bags hidden behind the cherry tree in the corner of their yard!  RIngo was hiding them there after eating the bread!
5. Sal, fur child of Sam Farrell (Fronjentress, Graves, Curly Cassettes, Family Reunion Music Festival) and Sarah Paradis ( Cush Upholstery)
6. Rankin, fur child of Rankin Renwick (Oregon Department of Kick Ass)
7. Oney, fur child of Cory Gray (Old Unconscious, Graves, Federale) and Nicky Kriara (Niko Far West Ceramics).
8. Bella, my sister’s pup, who is a golden sweetheart.
9. Sufi, my cousin’s pup. Tall elegant black poodle with sweet eyes.
10. Sparky,my father’s pup.
Cheers to these 13 wonderful  Music Related Things of 2023 that I either played  or enjoyed from the audience!
1. All Girl Summer Fun Band/Lunchbox/Field Drums summer house show in our basement!.
2. Your Heart Breaks/Matt Sheehy Magic Event/Cynthia Nelson Band house show in our courtyard!
3. Multiple shows and tours  and recording and releasing a new record (Villagers!) with Califone!
4. Friday night happy hour shows at the Laurelthirst drumming with Michael Hurley!
5. Two shows at Turn Turn Turn! with Field Drums, the first featuring Jeffrey’s songs based on Shel Silverstein poems, and the second with our new bass player!  Recording in 2024 is the goal!
6. Drumming and singing with the Cynthia Nelson Band at our house hosw and at Turn Turn Turn! on many several occasions!
7. Playing with Old Unconscious at the Curly Cassette Family Reunion Music Festival at Camp Wilkerson in August.  Playing with GSO there too!
8. Reverse Cowgirl shows and rehearsals. SO fun. Country dance covers with a band of ringers  (Joanna Bolme, Rebecca Cole, Anita Elliot and Arrin Schoedinger)
9. ESG at Polaris Hall!
10. The Papercuts at Mississippi Studios!
11. The Softies at Polaris Hall!
12. Quasi at The Doug Fir!
13. Yo La Tengo (two nights) at The Wonder Ballroom!

Michael Azerrad (author): Ten Best Vegetables of 2023
Puntarelle
Castelfranco radicchio
Salad Bowl lettuce
Sugar Snap peas
Leeks
Corn
Shishito peppers
La Ratte fingerling potatoes
Brussels sprouts
Fiddlehead ferns

CF contributor Julie Underwood’s Top 10 Albums: 

  1. boygenius – the record
  2. Olivia Rodrigo – Guts
  3. SZA – SOS
  4. Mitski – The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We
  5. L’Rain – I Killed Your Dog
  6. Girl Ray – Prestige
  7. The Tubs – Dead Meat
  8. The Reds, Pinks and Purples – The Town That Cursed Your Name
  9. En Attendant Ana – Principia
  10. Jess Williamson – Time Ain’t Accidental

Lyle Hysen (the Royal Arctic Institute, Das Damen):

“Slow Horses”
“Showing Up”
A History Of Rock Music In 500 Songs
“Godzilla Minus One”
“Eretz Nehederet/A Wonderful County”
Bun E’s Basement Bootlegs
Dapper Goose – Buffalo restaurant
Make It Stop by Jim Ruland  
I Must Be Dreaming by Roz Chast (that is findable!)
The Adventurists by Richard Butner (ok that was 2022)

Thomas Mosher (My Lil Underground label, A Certain Smile):
Top 10 Daycare Plagues we survived this year:
1) Covid (again) [all of us]
2) RSV (all of us)
3) Hand, Foot, and Mouth (Me and Tilly)
4) Influenza A (Me and Tilly so far)
5) Ear Infection (just Tilly)
6) Sinus infection (Me from RSV)
7) double bout of Food Poisoning (Me and Justine)
8) Medication Allergy Rash (Just Tilly)
9) at least half a dozen colds (all of us)
10) there is still 4 days so we will see…

Photo via Shawn B

(OG CF cartoonist) Shawn Belschwender’s Best 2023 “New to Me” Reading discoveries:

  1. Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner (1926). Title character is tired of being a dependable aunt. In midlife, moves to a remote village. Joins a coven. Speaks to the Devil himself and discovers him to be rather stupid, but also, and more importantly, that he will leave her alone. From the Devil, and even the well-meaning, Lolly Willowes wishes to escape.
  2. Lynne Tillman. You’ll know whether or not you’ll like Lynne Tillman if you read her “By the Book” in the NYTimes, as I did. I thought it was one of the best of those things they’ve published. This year I picked up and read What Would Lynne Tillman Do? (a collection of her nonfiction, from 2014) and her novel Men and Apparitions (2018), in which she diagnoses us, through her ethnographer narrator, as The Picture People. Men and Apparitions is about images and their place in our lives, and men and their place in the world after/under feminism. Next Tillman book I am going to track down and read: Weird Fucks.

Some of the tracks I listened to the most in 2023:

  • “A Sleep With No Dreaming,” k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang, from their album Sing it Loud (2011). Possibly my favorite track on definitely my favorite k.d. lang album, which I think is a tour de force. I got into k.d. lang that first pandemic summer, when I was coming unglued, but it took me until this year to hook on to this album in particular, hard.
  • “If I Could Breathe Underwater (feat. Mary Lattimore), Marissa Nadler, from her album The Path of Clouds (2021). I would insist that this is objectively Marissa Nadler’s best song. That it features another of my favorite musicians, Mary Lattimore, is a bonus. I saw Mary Lattimore at The Colony in Woodstock, NY in 2022, and it is one of the concert-going highlights of my life. Anyway, I built a “Summer” playlist around this track and the k.d. lang above, I love them both so much.
  • If you want to talk masterpieces, that Purple Mountains album is one, and the death of David Berman is a tragedy, I don’t need to tell you. I listened to “Nights That Won’t Happen” from it the most.
  • I was confused when Saint Etienne was at its peak, owing to the Fox Base Alpha album cover, which made them look like they were Camera Obscura only not good (I like Camera Obscura). There was just too much knitwear for me to digest, at the moment. Finally, I downloaded all the Saint Etienne, and now I can’t get enough of “Nothing Can Stop Us.” I was then thrilled to stumble upon the Dusty Springfield track it samples from (“I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face”).
  • “Au début c’était le début (feat. Bertrand Belin)”, The Limiñanas & Laurent Garnier, from the album De Película (2021). One day, before I die or they die, I wish to travel to France specifically to see The Limiñanas and Bertrand Belin perform, separately or together. If I could only see one, it would be Bertrand Belin. Sadly, I can’t find my fellow Belin Heads in the USA, and Limiñanas freaks are thin on the ground here, so I understand that I have to go to them.
  • “Anti-glory” by Horsegirl, from Versions of Modern Performance (2022). Wouldn’t have known about them if Gail O’Hara hadn’t alerted me to their existence. I missed a chance to meet ’em and take their picture, but it was the second pandemic spring and I was in the process of moving and falling fully apart. Are they referencing Conan O’Brien in this? Or the Barbarian? I don’t know what the lyrics mean, but I don’t care too much.
  • “Billy Jack,” Curtis Mayfield, from There’s No Place Like America Today (1975). It was written after that embarrassing movie Billy Jack, but it has nothing to do with it. “Ah, it can’t be no fun / Can’t be no fun / To be shot, shot with a handgun.” This is true. Peak Mayfield I’d known nothing about until this year.

chickfactor friends 2023 lists, round one

image courtesy of Alicia

Alicia Vanden Heuvel (Speakeasy Studios, The Aislers Set, Poundsign, Brigid Dawson and the Mothers Network):
My “2023 Top Ten Songs that Ripped by Heart Out”:
“Love is Overrated” by Lightheaded
“This Job Is Killing Me” by the Telephone Numbers
“For Today” by The Lost Days
“Shadow” by Ryan Wong
“Perfect Worlds” by Tony Jay
“Cheap Motel” by Michael James Tapscott
“Holdin’ On” by Anna Hillburg
“Cross Bay” by Meg Baird
“Here We Go Again” by Tony Molina
“Smudge Was A Fly” by Seablite

image courtesy of Kendall

Kendall Jane Meade’s Best IRL Music Experiences of 2023
Experienced the Joan Baez documentary I Am A Noise two nights in a row because she was in attendance at a Q&A after each screening. On the first night, Lana Del Rey led the Q&A and it was so great to see that Lana is a huge fan of Joan’s. She seemed to hold all of the same folk nerd facts about Joan that are also stored in my brain. Just to be in Joan’s presence was spiritual for me, and you could tell Lana felt the same way.

Saw Bonny Doon play at Golddiggers in LA. I have a lot of love for this Detroit-based band, and I loved hearing live versions of songs off of their new album Let There Be Music. Katie Crutchfield from Waxahatchee was also in the audience, and she joined them on a few tunes.

Went with my big sister Merritt to see Willie Nelson’s 90th Birthday concert at the Hollywood Bowl. It was so heartwarming to see so many people pay tribute to Willie including Beck and Keith Richards. My favorite performer of the night was Willie’s youngest son, who performs under the moniker Particle Kid.

Saw my dear old friends Mary Timony and Joan Wasser play in a backyard in Pasadena. So many friends I hadn’t seen in a while were in attendance, and it felt like no time had passed between us. Mary sounded transcendent and was joined by a quartet for a song, and Joan was so moving and entertaining—two ladies I love at the top of their game.

I did a two-week tour of the UK and Scotland, tagging along with songwriter Kris Gruen to promote our single “Heaven on a Car Ride.” We opened for Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express and completely fell in love with that band. Chuck is such a unique songwriter and the whole band are incredible performers, including Stephanie Finch who needs to be on the cover of Chickfactor as she is an incredible pop singer and songwriter in her own right.

Connie Lovatt (photo: Gail O’Hara)

Connie Lovatt’s Top 2023 things
Top Record Label: Enchanté (US)

Top devastating comment by rock critic: the one that compared my work to a viral video of baby ducks.

Top Sound: Bill Callahan going “plink” on a guitar string to bring to life the “wink” done by a character in a new song of his.

Top Coconut Mirror whisperer: Dawn Sutter Madell

Top Walk: From the White House to Georgetown with Ravi.

Top Heartbreak: Saying goodbye to St. Marks apartment.

Top Meal: A chickpea and rice soup my daughter and I love to make and eat when sick or blue.

Top Song: Mom singing anything to me over FaceTime. But she does too many country tunes. Needs to branch out.

Top Joe: Joe Wohlmuth

Top Honey: Avocado Honey. This year and every year.

Top Disgust: Canned Sardines.

Top Pain in the Ass: The leak in roof that could never get fully fixed no matter what anyone did. Have high hopes for a solve in 2024.

Top Image: Our dog in his winter puffy coat. He gets compliments from strangers. It’s that good a fit.

Top Gluten Free Sourdough: Knead Love Bakery.

Top Salad: arugula and sauerkraut. No one believes me.

Lois Maffeo (Photo: Gail O’Hara)

Lois Maffeo: 4 Radio Shows to listen to when you can’t take Marc Riley mansplaining everything on the Riley & Coe show on BBC6.

James McNew on NTS radio. I wish it was on every day.

Don Letts on BBC 6 on Saturday. It was a bit mellower when it was on Sunday, but he still hauls out 70s pop hits that “caught my imagination when I was a youth”. Contemporary dub and Stealers Wheel? Get in!

Night Tracks on BBC 3. Host Hannah Peel has a very quiet voice and faultless taste in off-piste music. Where else would I have found JJJJJerome and an ice orchestra?

And then there’s always good ol’ Gideon Coe when he flies solo on Thursdays on BBC6. Just great tunes and no fuss.

Photo by Riley Artsick

Riley from Artsick Favorites:

Tara Clerkin Trio – On The Turning Ground (music)

Anna Hillburg – Tired Girls (music)

Lightheaded – Good Good Great (music)

Mo Dotti – Blurring / Guided Imagery on Vinyl (music)

8th Day by Cindy Deachmann (art book)

Drive Here and Devastate Me by Megan Falley (poetry) (it didn’t come out in 2023, but it is one of my fav books read from this year)

Handsome Podcast with Tig Notaro, Fortune Feimster and Mae Martin

Show I watched: Rap Shit on MAX

Show I went to: All Girl Summer Fun Band, Kids On A Crime Spree and Tony Jay at Bottom Of The Hill

Show I played: Slumberland Records with Tunnel Records show – The Reds, Pinks & Purples, Chime School, Artsick with DJs Poindexter and Jessica B at The 4 Star Theatre in SF

Fav record store: Redwood Records, Santa Cruz

Award-winning music supervisor Dawn (via Agoraphone’s FBK page)

Dawn Sutter Madell’s top 15 live shows I saw in 2023

dry cleaning at pioneer works

john cale at prospect park

calexico at lpr

black duck at union pool

mosswood meltdown-oakland, ca (esg, avengers, bratmobile, le tigre, quintron and ms pussycat, 5,6,7,8s, morgan and the organ donors, etc)

plantasia at greenwood cemetery (alex zhang hungtai, angel bat dawid, laraaji, etc)

hand habits at webster hall

dromedary festival (das damen, antietam, sleepyhead, versus, etc) -catskill, ny

boygenius at msg

arca at armory

soul glo, zulu at monarch

girl ray at sultan room

frankie cosmos at warsaw

panda bear, sonic boom at knockdown center

mekons at good fork pub

Bridget at Mon Gala Papillons (a chickfactor event), Bush Hall, London, 2004. Photo: Gail O’Hara
Bridget St John: 5 things that have enriched my 2023
American Symphony
American Fiction

Candle Restaurant, NYC

30th Street Guitars
Feldenkrais – functional integration

image nicked from Glenn’s fbk

The Reds, Pinks & Purples favorite albums for 2023!
tested on multiple listens…

Vulture Feather – Liminal Fields

Parker Allen – Melon Kolly/Parker’s First Song Diary

Pumice – Phyllis

Wurld Series – The Giant’s Lawn

Ryan Davis – Dancing on the Edge

Cindy – Why Not Now?

Fortunato Durutti Marinetti – 8 Waves in Search of an Ocean

Truth Club – Running from the Chase

Outer World, from their bandcamp

Tracy and Kenny from Outer World’s list of ten music-related things that have made us very happy in 2023.
In no particular order.

1) Jane & Serge – A Family Album hardcover book from 2013, long out of print, but discovered in a local bookstore this year. It comes with so many fun bonus items: poster, sticker sheet, booklet, contact sheets, and photo prints.

2) Yogasleep Dohm Classic white noise sound machine to help with tinnitus ringing at bedtime. It is an actual small fan creating the relaxing sound of moving air so there isn’t a digital looping sample that can be troubling for musicians with a keen ear. For touring musicians – it is also relatively portable and helps to drown out snoring members.

3) Yoshitomo Nara Drumming Girl collectible figure #3

4) Apple AirPods

5) The Ekdahl Moisturizer from Knas is a spring reverb unit with exposed strings for manually manipulable sonic noise making

6) The Teenage Engineering K.O. II does it all: sample, sequence, compose, records sounds, loops, includes fun filters + stereo effects, compressor, and is super portable.

7) John Waters X Seth Bogart Pope of Trash socks from the Academy Museum exhibit in Los Angeles.

8) Custom color palette Shure SM58 microphone

9) The Buddha Box 1 2023 edition from FM3 (reissue)

10) BiLLY LiLLY’s Kate and Cindy sensational paintings on wood.

Jeffrey Underhill (right, with pals, HoneyBunch, Velvet Crush, Field Drums):
10 loosely chronological things that made my year.
1. The Island of Hawaii
2. The February 22nd snow storm.*
3. Velvet Crush Teenage Symphonies to God re-issue/Spanish tour
4. Michael Hurley & the Croakers last Friday shows at the Laurelthirst*
5. FieldDrums/Lunch Box/All Girl Summer Fun Band at The 2-Fir*
6. The 48 hour Drag-a-Thon at Darcelle XV*
7. The Family Reunion Festival July 27-29, in Rainier OR.
8. The entire month I turned 60.
9. All of the foods on and just off of 82nd Ave.*
10. Winnie Dean UnderBerg
*in Portland, OR

our 2022 lists: round two

Mark with Evelyn in Cotton Candy (Image via Teen-Beat)

Mark Robinson (Teen-Beat Records, Cotton Candy) 

1. Rochester, New York’s abandoned subway tunnels
2. Versus / Jawbox live performance at Le Poisson Rouge, July 21 — New York, NY 
3. Katherine Small Gallery book shop — Somerville, Massachusetts
4. Death Records
5. Mickie’s Dairy Bar — Madison, Wisconsin
6. Garbage Plate at Schaller’s Drive-In — Rochester, New York
7. Gerard Unger — Life in Letters (book)
8. Folke Rabe — What?? (LP)
9. Theodore Shapiro — Severance (soundtrack album)
10. Severance (television program)

Stephin Merritt

Ten Delightful Books of 2022 (or late 2021): 
Re-Sisters, Cosey Fanny Tutti 
Shy, Mary Rodgers 
This Time Tomorrow, Emma Straub 
Lookin’ for Lawrence, Lawrence 
The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, David Graeber and David Wengrow 
Instant: The Story of Polaroid, Christopher Bonanos 
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, George Saunders 
Essays Two, Lydia Davis 
Henry ‘Chips’ Channon: The Diaries 1918–1938 and 1938–1943 

Cate Le Bon photo by Dawn Sutter Madell

Dawn Sutter Madell

Top 17 live shows I saw in ’22

Cate Le Bon Bowery Ballroom 2/9
Kim Gordon Webster Hall 3/18/22
L’Rain BAM 3/30/22
Waxahatchee George’s Majestic Lounge 4/19/22
Linda Lindas Mercury Lounge 5/1/22
Sharon Van Etten Union Pool 5/7/22
Circuit Des Yeux Greenwood Cemetery 6/7/22
Phoebe Bridgers Prospect Park 6/15
Bikini Kill Pier 17 7/9/22
Soul Glo Knockdown Center 7/10/22
Wild Hearts tour Berkeley GreekTheatre 7/31/22
Porridge Radio Bowery Ballroom 9/24/22
Broken Social Scene (esp w Tracey Ullman and Meryl Streep) Webster Hall 10/17/22
Girl Scout Handbook/Dump/Jim Ruiz/Aluminum Group Chickfactor 30 Frying Pan 10/6/22
Nnamdi Baby’s Alright 10/30/22
Wet Leg Music Hall Of Williamsburg 12/17/22
Horsegirl/Yo La Tengo Bowery Ballroom 12/22/22

Nancy at Suomenlinna

Nancy Novotny:
Top Ten Reasons I Adored My Trip To Finland (Sept. 16-Oct. 2, 2022)

1. Seeing Richard Dawson & Circle perform (most of) their collaborative LP, Henki, live at a Psych Fest in Tampere.
2. Seeing Lau Nau perform live at an intimate venue in Helsinki. Also finally working up the courage to chat with her after the show.
3. Charity Shops & Flea Markets in Helsinki, Tampere, Rovaniemi & various small towns in Northern Finland. Holy crap, they’re great!
4. The Moomin Museum in Tampere.
5. My day trip to Tallinn, especially shopping for gorgeous/weird Soviet-era books and other treasures. And the Puppet Museum!
6. The beautiful, colorful autumn leaves.
7. Long drink! (Usually grapefruit soda & gin, sold in supermarkets & at bars. Helsinki Long Drink by the Helsinki Distilling Company was my clear favorite.)
8. Seeing reindeer along the road in Northern Finland. Also NOT seeing any reindeer roadkill.
9. Vintage shops in Helsinki. Special shouts out to Mekkomania (for vintage dresses by Marimekko, Vuokko, Pia & Paula, etc.), Lanterna Magica (for vintage photographs, ephemera & books), and Caratia (for vintage Finnish jewelry, especially mid-century silver and bronze design pieces).
10. Being able to watch Moomin cartoons on TV every night. Also seeing Moomin merch for sale literally everywhere.

Nancy is a musician, a karaoke queen, a DJ who does a show called Turtles Have Short Legs on XRAY FM, Portland, OR, and a CF contributor.

Birdie (Paul Kelly on the right)

Paul Kelly (Heavenly Films, Birdie, East Village) 

Nothing to do with 2022 I’m afraid…
Top Ten Beatles Songs

1. Yes It Is
2. We Can Work It Out
3. Paperback Writer
4. Every Little Thing
5. Strawberry Fields Forever
6. Ticket To Ride
7. If I Needed Someone
8. There’s A Place
9. Fool On The Hill
10. Can’t Buy Me Love

Gail O’Hara (chickfactor / Enchanté Records)

Phone Voice, Cradle Tape
Reds, Pinks & Purples, Summer at Land’s End & They Only Wanted Your Soul
Horsegirl, Versions of Modern Performance
Marisa Anderson, Still, Here
Alvvays, Blue Rev
Flinch, Enough Is Enough
Aoife Nessa Frances, Protector
Say Sue Me, The Last Thing Left
Nina Nastasia, Riderless Horse
Sinaïve, Super 45 t.
Lande Hekt, House Without a View
Jeanines, Don’t Wait for a Sign
Artsick, Fingers Crossed
Bill Callahan, YTI​⅃​A​Ǝ​Я
Dot Dash, Madman in the Rain
The Jazz Butcher (RIP), The Highest in the Land
Seablite, “Breadcrumbs”
The Umbrellas, “Write it in the Sky” 

Old and fresh: 
Mimi Roman, First of the Brooklyn Cowgirls
Joyce with Mauricio Maestro, Natureza
Tia Blake & Her Folk Group, Folk Songs & Ballads
Dotti Holmberg, Sometimes Happy Times
Norma Tanega, I​’​m the Sky: Studio and Demo Recordings, 1964​–​1971

from @instagram/house_of_edgertor

Sukhdev Sandhu (writer, professor, CF contributor!)

House of Edgertor. Every week a lifetime ago, when she was writing reviews for the Other Music newsletter, Robin Edgerton introduced me to treasure after treasure (Pauline Oliveros, Pascal Comelade, Tricatel and Millle Plateaux labels). Still a brilliant researcher and writer, these days she discovers glorious, distinctive apparel, sleuths its backstories, sometimes fixes minor blemishes. Then she offers it to the world. Really she’s a philanthropist.

Monorail Music. It’s 20 years old! Starting things – a club, a shop. a magazine – is easy. Plunging in, all hands together, the thrill of the news, our gang forever. Keeping things going is a lot harder. Holding on, moving forward, unchanging and changing at the same time. Glasgow’s Monorail does it – and how. As Stephen Pastel writes in a lovely ‘2022 Staff Favourites’ Risograph booklet, “Twenty down, twenty to come.”

Norwegian Seamen’s Church. It’s been there, on East 52nd Street in Manhattan, for years. Still, it feels like a secret. Spare, light-suffused, a place that feels like a retreat from the world. It offers free waffles with lingonberry jam. Free coffee too. The basement has an art gallery. Everyone who works there has an open face, the gift of easy friendship.

Kommuna Lux. My favourite music venue – KuBa (short for Kulturbahnhof) in Donaueschingen – is a cafe/ bar located on a railway platform in Germany’s Black Forest. Performances are often punctuated by the sound of incoming trains. This July, Kommuna Lux came to town to play what they called Klezmer, Odessa and Gangsta Folk. Think The Men They Couldn’t Hang. The all-age crowd, many of whom hadn’t been to a show in the last couple of years, didn’t – couldn’t – forget the terrible news headlines in the Ukraine. But they also whooped, jigged, knocked back Fürstenberg beer. That felt like its own kind of connection.

CARA. Its full name is the Center for Art, Research and Alliances; it’s on West 13th Street in Manhattan; it opened this summer. It has ceilings high enough to let you dream, light enough to think you may be floating, and Emmy Catedral who curates its public programs and is responsible for its dizzying bookshop, is a genius.

The Economist Christmas double issue. Page for page, it’s probably the best value magazine in the world. This year’s had articles on the myth of the holy cow, cricket’s increasing ascendancy over baseball, the future for the Baduy peoples in Kanekes (they’re a bit like the Amish of Indonesia), how the nitrogen cycle has shaped the world, a brilliant article on whether Tang poetry can survive translation. All that and a beautiful obituary of Daniel Brush, the private, almost hermet-like goldsmith in New York.

Sue Nixon, Homophone Dictionary. What a delightful book. Before she died at the age of 96 about three years ago, Sue Nixon, a former schoolteacher, decided to compile a book of homophones. She’d loved them all her life and had used them in class to teach her young pupils. They read like poems, lullabies, Molly Drake songs. According to her granddaughter Sarah, “Luckily the book was printed before she died: she was lying in bed, with her eyes closed but was able to hold a physical copy and commented on how thick and heavy it was.”

Air-India’s Maharaja: Advertising Gone Rogue. Air India had a mascot called ‘The Rogue’. He had a babu belly, a twangy moustache, and was endearing on the eye. He featured on any number of posters from 1946 through to the early 1970s – swapping turban for a beret and selling ‘naughty’ pictures of himself in Paris, dressed down as a Playgirl bunny in New York, donning monks’ garb in Rome. Poster House’s show devoted to Umesh Rao’s none-more charming creation was my favourite show of the year.

Paddington Railway Club. London’s black cab drivers deny it exists. But it does – and how.

Dovas, Cafe Giffi, Ronnells Antikvariat, Folkets Kebab, Herr Judit, Runstenen Wooden Horse Museum, Teater Tribunalen, Vintage Violence, Bacchus Antik, Cafe Tranan, Kurt Svensson Konsthandel, Kvarnen, Konstnarsbaren: Stockholm is such a lovely lovely city.

As always: Constantin Veis, ‘Memory-La’; Musette, ‘Datum’; Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, ‘Dr. Buzzard’s Original “Savannah” Band’; Swing Out Sister, ‘Breakout’.  But also: Wechsel Garland & World Service, ‘The Isle’; F.S. Blumm, ‘Summer Kling’; Plantar, ‘Forest, Sea, Harmony’; Penguins & Martingales, ‘What Might Have Been’.

Photo: Gail O’Hara

Thomas Andrew – a certain smile/My Vinyl Underground

Top 10 things I wish were (still) in Philly now that I’m back:

1. the Snow Fairies (Neal come home)

2. Lil baby’s ice cream (vegan strawberry pink peppercorn was my whole damn heart, they are very sorely missed)

3. Red Square Records (i mean they left pretty much months after I first arrived in 2001, but still)

4. Spaceboy records (I owe John and Chris from that shop so much for the person I am today)

5. All my new friends from Portland! (This is why visits exist)

6. Brian from Pizza Brain, the shop still exists but Brian was the heart. (He does make Washington state that much cooler now though.)

7. A Popfest (who knows what may come though)

8. The Hollywood Theater/Movie Madness (one of the hardest things to leave behind in Portland, I’m hopeful to find something similar out here)

9. More damn pinball (I was spoiled for Pinball in Portland. Nowhere can compare)

10. Lilys (I mean there are enough former members in town to fill a small neighborhood, but to have Kurt here playing music on the reg would make my damn heart/brain explode with joy)

Cotton Candy

Evelyn Hurley (Cotton Candy)

This past year, I watched and rewatched some movies from the ’80s, here are my highlights!

Room With a View
This movie came out when I was a freshman in high school, but I don’t think I actually saw it until it came out on video a few years later. I have to say, I really loved it then, and I really loved it again on this revisit! As a 14 year old, I think I imagined myself in the Helena Bonham Carter character role, but on this recent viewing I found myself absolutely smitten with the Judi Dench and Maggie Smith characters, who are absolute delights to watch! The movie is romance in action, and the scenery, plot, costumes, and acting are pure magic.
Grade: A+++

Witness
Another blockbuster from 1985, Witness was a movie I might have actually seen in the theater, and since Harrison Ford was such a huge movie star, I’m sure the theater must have been absolutely packed. On my rewatch, I was amazed at how really good the film is; the plot is thrilling, and the acting is top notch, especially the beautiful Kelly McGillis. The city elements of the story are scary, dark, and thrilling, which is in stark contrast with the Amish elements in this film, which are bright and clean. The noir twist in the film is riveting, but my favorite surprise are the quick scenes with Patti LuPone who plays Harrison Ford’s sister, she’s so great.
Grade: A+

Broadcast News
I never saw this movie when it came out in 1987, but I remember everyone loving it. The tv commercials for it were constantly showing, and I liked the scene where Joan Cusack nearly runs into the pulled out file drawer but ducks under just in time. Unfortunately, the movie is nothing like this clip, and in my opinion and in the opinion everyone who was watching it with me, it’s a terrible, terrible, movie. Holly Hunter and Albert Brooks epitomize the annoying characteristics of yuppies from the ’80s; self indulgent, self absorbed, and conceited. William Hurt is supposed to be a dummy who gets ahead in the broadcast world solely based on his looks, but in all honestly, he’s the only likable person in the movie, and seems pretty good at his job. I can’t tell you how it ended because we turned it off and absolutely wished we had never seen any of it. 
Grade: F-

Body Heat
This 1981 film also stars William Hurt, but I actually finished this movie. It’s also another neo-noir film, staring Hurt and the amazing Kathleen Turner, and while it was very good it wasn’t as good as Witness.
Grade: B

Here’s to 2023, and all the movies that we watch!

Photo courtesy of Rachel

Rachel Blumberg (Arch Cape)

Top Ten Favorite Shows I Played in 2022 in no particular order:

1. Agnes Varda Forever live film score collaboration with Kathy Foster – Holocene, PDX
2. Field Drums with Lunchbox – The Golden Bull, Oakland, CA
3. Arch Cape at the Arts Week Residency, Sou’Wester, Seaview, WA
4. Califone with BCMC, Judson and Moore Distillery, Chicago, IL
5. Encouragement Friendship Band w/Anis Mogiani & Laura Gibson – Mississippi Studios, PDX
6. Tara Jane O’Neil at Family Reunion Summer Fest – Kelley Point Park, PDX
6. Califone with Little Mazarn – Mississippi Studios 
7. Old Unconscious with Fronjentress – The Fixin’ To, PDX
8. Linsday Clark with Michael Hurley and Luke Wyland – The Old Church, PDX
9. Field Drums with Party Witch and Desir – Mississippi Studio, PDX
10. Califone – Vickers Theater, Three Oaks, Michigan

Top Ten Favorite Native Plants in 2022

1. Thimbleberry
2. Douglas Spirea
3. Douglas Aster
4.Huckleberry
5. Sword Fern
6. Piggyback Plant
7. Wild Ginger
8. Osoberry
9. Vine Maple
10. Snowberry

The late great Stella Bean (photo: Gail O)

Top Ten Dogs I Petted in 2022

1. Stella Bean, my sweetest heart, rest in peace.
2. Bella, my sister’s dog
3. Sal, Sam Farrel’s dog
4. Caramel and Ace,  Rob and Melissa Jones’s dogs
5. Rankin, Vanessa Renwick’s dog
6. Dylan, Sheri Hood’s dog
7. Gladys, Scotty McCaughey and Mary Winzig’s dog
8. Sparky and Zoey, my dad and Phillipa’s (his lady friend) dog
9. Dizzy, Janet Weiss’s dog, and Rooster, the dog she is fostering
10. Sugar, our neighbor’s dog

Top Ten Shows I saw in 2022, in no particular order, and I doubt I am remembering them all…

1. Belle and Sebastian, Roseland
2. Slumberland Showcase, The Doug Fir
3. Cate Le Bon, The Wonder Ballroom
4. Yo La Tengo, The Wonder Ballroom
5. Quasi, Pdx Pop Now Fest
6. Ural Thomas and The Pain, The Good Foot
7. Lonnie Holley, Hollywood Theater
8. Magnetic Fields, Aladdin Theater
9. Horsegirl, Polaris Hall
10. Pavement, Edgefield

our 2022 lists: round one

image courtesy of Christina

Christina Riley / Artsick
Chickfactor 30 NY and London
Oakland Weekender 2022 
Glasgow 
Breaks from social media  
Rock and Roll Vegan Donut bar in Monterey
White Lotus season 2 on HBO 
Simon Guild guitar pedals
Meditation
Chickfactor 19 issue, and shirt designed by Jen Sbragia 
Buzzcocks tribute compilation cassette for Oakland Weekender 2022

BONUS:
-Pop sockets for saving my phone from the swiper on a bike in London, haha! 

Bridget St John at our CF30 party in Brooklyn; Photo: Dean Keim

Bridget St John
my list: a collection of some of the meaningful/impactful/grateful and awe inspiring experiences of 2022

Nicola Walker – magnetic irresistible UK actor

                        Annika

                              River

                                  The Split –
I could make the whole list revolve around her and the other extraordinary actors she works with…

Colin Farrell & Jamie Lee Curtis Actors on Actors

Brady’s Irish Ground Coffee / Celtic Blend

Banshee’s of Inishereen

every Adirondack sunset 

the caeser’s salad at Da Umberto in NYC

Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard

WNYC – especially  The Brian Lehrer Show & Fresh Air

Hampstead – with Brendan Gleeson & Diane 

the daily, weekly, monthly endless resilience strength tenacity and spirit of the Ukrainian people

JOC / Photograph by Janette Beckman

Jennifer O’Connor / musician, owner of Kiam Records and Main Street Beat
Lizzo – Special (Atlantic)
Flock – Flock (Strut)
Mabe Fratti – Se Ve Desde Aqui (Tin Angel)
Beach House – Once Twice Melody (Sub Pop)
Megan Thee Stallion – Traumazine (300 Entertainment)
They Hate Change – Finally, New (Jagjaguwar)
Harry Styles – Harry’s House (Columbia)
Cass McCombs – Heartland (Anti)
Sudan Archives – Natural Brown Prom Queen (Stones Throw)
Madonna – Finally Enough Love (Rhino/Warner)

Daniel Handler’s favorite books this year:
Kathryn Davis, Aurelia Aurelia
Fadhil al-Azzawi, Fadhil al-Azzawi’s Beautiful Creatures
Jakuta Alikavazovic translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman, Night as it Falls
Chen Chen, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced An Emergency
Fanny Howe, London-rose/beauty will save the world
Hiromi Ito, translated by Jeffrey Angles, Wild Grass On the Riverbank
Geoffrey Nutter,  Giant Moth Perishes
Carl Phillips, Then The War
Keiler Roberts, The Joy of Quitting
Peter Rock, Passersthrough
Kathleen Scanlan, Kick The Latch

Photo: courtesy of the Jim Ruiz Set

Jim Ruiz and Emily Ruiz from Jim Ruiz Set

9 T.V. series from the ’60s that got us through the pandemic and beyond.
1. Danger Man (a.k.a. Secret Agent Man)
2. Gidget
3. The Saint
4. Batman
5. Hawaii 5-0
6. Mission Impossible
7. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
8. The Girl from U.N.C.L.E
9. Mannix

Royal Arctic Institute / image nicked from their website

Lyle Hysen (Bank Robber Music and Royal Arctic Institute)

Mike Baggetta / Jim Keltner / Mike Watt (Big Ego)
Everywhen We Go Dezron Douglas – Atalaya (International Anthem)
Hermanos Gutiérrez – El Bueno Y El Malo (Easy Eye Sound)
Hammered Hulls – Careening (Dischord) 
Horse Lords- Comradely Objects (Rvng Intl). 
Julian Lage – View With A Room (Blue Note) 
Beth Orton – Weather Alive (Partisan) 
Jeff Parker – Mondays at The Enfield Tennis Academy (Eremite Records) 
Romero –Turn It On – (Cool Death) 
Stella – Up and away (Sub-Pop)

Travis Elborough
In no particular order – I ended up listening to quite a few things on cassette this year, one consequence of spending 10 days in bed with Covid in April with only my walkman to hand for audio entertainment, and probably als0 vinyl pressing plant backlogs but here’s some stuff that hit my ears this year. – baker’s top 10 at 11 

Artist/Album 
Loop – Sonacy 
Kemper Norton – Rife (cassette) 
Opal X – Twister (cassette) 
Telefis –  a Dó (cassette)
Blue Spectre – Silver Screen 
Cosey Fanni Tutti – Delia Derbyshire soundtrack album 
Andrew Poppy – Jelly 
Robyn Hitchcock – Shuttlemania (cassette and LP) 
The Advisory Circle – Full Circle 
Xopher Davidson – Lux Perpetua 
Nkisi – NDOMBALA (A Journey to Avebury

Ed Shelflife / Photo: Gail O’Hara

Ed Mazzucco (Shelflife Records / Tears Run Rings)
1. Billow Observatory – Stareside
2. RxGibbs – Eternal 
3. Motifs – Remember A Stranger
4. Life On Venus – Homewards
5. Martin Courtney – Magic Sign
6. Marine Eyes – Chamomile
7. Humdrum – Superbloom
8. Foliage – Can’t Go Anywhere
9. Jeanines – Don’t Wait For A Sign
10. Korine – Mt. Airy

Julie Underwood (CF contributor!)  
1. Beyoncé – Renaissance 
2. Wet Leg – Wet Leg 
3. Alvvays – Blue Rev
4. Alex G – God Save The Animals 
5. Angel Olsen – Big Time 
6. The Beths – Expert In A Dying Field 
7. Plains – I Walked With You A Ways
8. Weyes Blood – And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow 
9. Sasami – Squeeze 
10. Yard Act – The Overload 

Kendall (right) with Jennifer O’Connor; courtesy of these two

Kendall Meade (Mascott, CF contributor)

Songs on repeat 2022
“San Francisco” Bonny Doon
“Problem With It” and “Abeline” Plains
“Mistakes” Sharon Van Etten
“It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” Weyes Blood
“Anti Hero” Taylor Swift
“Daylight” Harry Styles

art by Tae Won Yu

Beatrix Madell (Girl Scout Handbook)
My top ten songs of all time from the members of Boygenius:
1) “Night Shift,” Lucy Dacus
2) “Chelsea,” Phoebe Bridgers
3) “I Know the End,” Phoebe Bridgers
4) “Hot and Heavy,” Lucy Dacus
5) “Waiting Room,” Phoebe Bridgers
6) “Timefighter,” Lucy Dacus
7) “Graceland Too,” Phoebe Bridgers
8) “Me and My Dog,” Boygenius
9) “Song in E,” Julien Baker
10) “Punisher,” Phoebe Bridgers

Gilmore Tamny

Some Stars of 2022 Both Welcome and Unwelcome 

anxiety

air fryer

Excellent books that are also mysteries: 
The Book of the Most Precious Substance by Sara Gran
The Violin Conspiracy: a novel by Brendan Slocumb
Vera Kelly: Lost and Found by Rosalie Knecht
The Second Cut by Louise Welch
The Verifiers by Jane Pek
The Maid by Nita Prose
Homicide and Halo-Halo by Mia. P. Manansala
The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill
Confidence by Denise Mina 

despair over Ukraine (et al)

Podsies: my ability to tolerate current news became I guess you’d say…refracted (?) i.e. bearable only by hearing it through other countries’ news like The Rest is Politics, or through the lens of a specific frame like the art world, The Week in Art or The Art Angle (scammers too). Gave esotericism a twirl with The Secret History of Western Esotericism, yikes, I do not have any idea what Earl Fountainelle was talking about much of the time, but interesting all the same. Also enjoyed for different moods and needs: Shedunnit, Art Law Podcast, The Witch Wave, The Read, Bad Gays, Don’t Ask Tig, The Bald and the Beautiful, My Favorite Murder. 

I watched too much TV to remember any of it

found a perfect pop song not from 2022 

painting a giant gift box

Scottish Rite Masonic Museum, Salem Witch Board Museum (Ouija boards) 

what is the word where you don’t want to mention anything for fear of forgetting something, i.e. some standout 2022 shows: id m theft able outdoor show in Elfland, Paulownia at Waterworks. 

tried to figure out what to do about mortality

reading play aloud – The Mousetrap on a writing retreat – very fun, recommend

Desus and Mero breakup. All right, sad, but I console myself: a) performers-writers-artists need to grow and sometimes that means change b) think of all they gave us 

finally watched Lord of the Rings for details of that experience read here

Brittney Griner WTF and thank god 

if nothing else may I please recommend @archaeologyart on the instagrammo

Fairfield Church / Photo: Rob Pursey

Rob Pursey (The Catenary Wires, Skep Wax Records, Swansea Sound, Heavenly, etc.)
After a long pandemic period of not going out I made a list of ten places I liked to visit and was very very happy to re-visit.

1. Rye Church Tower.  
You have to pay, but not very much, to climb up to the top of this beautiful old building. Narrow stone corridors, creaking wooden staircases, and then you climb a rickety ladder right next to the huge church bells – try to not to do this at midday – and then you’re out onto the tower roof through a trapezium-shaped wooden door. You get to admire the aerial view of this perfect hill-town and of the marshes and Dungeness in the distance.
2. The Betsey Trotwood, London.
One of those venues that had to fight for survival during the pandemic. A warm, sanctuary of music.  Always has friends in it. 
3.  Larkins Ale House, Cranbrook.
A tiny purveyor of local ale. Very hospitable. On the first Sunday we went in, they asked if we wanted a free snack and handed over a plateful of them, like a free meal really.  The beer is perfect.  
4.  Fairfield Church. A peculiar, isolated survivor on the Kent Marsh and now a place where we are able to put on Skep Arts events.  No water, no electricity, no light.  Beautifully basic. 
5.  The Oast, Rainham.
Another lovely little venue where our friends at Careful Now Promotions somehow manage to book the best indie bands, every month.  
6.  The De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea.
An art gallery, a cafe, a great record shop (Music’s Not Dead), all housed in one of the most beautiful Twentieth Century public buildings, right by the sea.    
7.  Nutmeg Cafe, Tenterden.
Best local coffee, friendly staff, dangerous pastries.
8.  The Ellen Terry Theatre, Smallhythe.
Another place that became a Skep Arts venue this year. A thatched barn, converted into a theatre by a Suffragette group in the early Twentieth Century.  I don’t think there is anywhere else like this in the world. 
9.  London Bridge Station.  
I am still awestruck by the roof and the pillars of this huge building. It’s worth going to London just to see it.
10.  The Chinese Supermarket in Hastings.
Everything you need is here – all kinds of noodles, of rice, of spices.  And home-made bao buns in the steamer by the check-out.  

Joe Brooker (Pines / Foxgloves / CF contributor) 2022 Top 10

1 / Close-Up
I’d long known of Shoreditch’s Close-Up Film Centre, but only in 2022 did I actually pay for membership and start watching films here: Bergman’s Persona for the first time, Godard’s Le Mépris for at least the sixth, Spanish films of the 1970s, in the little cinema where film abruptly starts as a light in the darkness. I love the array of thousands of DVDs to browse any time. The place reminds me a little of the Poetry Café, which I once knew as another oasis of culture.

2 / Chloe
Under-the-radar BBC drama about identity and imposture, memory and teen friendship, social climbing and social media, all refreshingly based in the West Country.

3 / Ride
As a student in Norwich I missed seeing Ride though they played only a few hundred yards away from me. Now by contrast I travel a hundred miles back to Norwich to see them play their debut LP Nowhere. Some of the audience are younger than I was then. The music is marvellous and fresh, but above all I just love the idea of seeing Ride in Norwich.

4 / Bordando el manto terrestre
In the vast last room of Tate Modern’s Surrealism Beyond Borders exhibition I’m stunned to encounter Remedios Varo’s triptych of paintings Bordando el manto terrestre / Embroidering the Earth’s Crust (1961). I’ve read about this painting, looked at reproductions, so many times that I feel a rare awe before the original painting, with its size, texture and detail. In the same year, I might say something similar of Manet’s Un bar aux Folies Bergère (1882), which I’m taken aback to find in the Courtauld.

5 / Isokon Building
Hampstead is a storied place but not well known to this South Londoner. A friend shows me around it: mile after mile of avenues green with trees, well-preserved housing, modernist outliers. Down a side street, flowering suburbia like Tolkien’s Hobbiton, I see for the first time the art deco Lawn Road Flats, known as the Isokon Building. Cherished by the many lovers of modern architecture, it’s spectacular: pure white, curved, its stairwell magnificent; an ocean liner.

6 / Sandymount Strand
James Joyce’s Ulysses was published in 1922, and set in Dublin on 16th June. On 16th June 2022, a Joycean friend leads me out to Sandymount Strand, to retrace the steps of Stephen Dedalus in the novel’s third episode, as evening falls instead of the book’s morning. Almost alone amid the vast space we step across wet mud, puddles, treacherous ground, as a calm dusk slowly dims all around us. Finally we must take off our shoes and socks to paddle across streams, maybe similar ones to those that Dedalus feared would sweep him away with the tide.

7 / The Magnetic Fields
Touching down in West London they play Quickies and representatives from most of their other records; songs I think I’ve never heard live, like ‘Love Goes Home To Paris In The Spring’ and ‘It’s Only Time’. The encore yields ‘100,000 Fireflies’. I don’t recall them sounding better, and the set list offers what now feels like one standard after another, a great American songbook of its own.

8 / Ross Macdonald
Ross Macdonald is like Raymond Chandler twenty years on: still droll and tough, but private eye Lew Archer tours a changing California with meditative sympathy as well as pugilistic ability. I find that I can read one of his novels in a day, if I do nothing else. I could tell you the titles, but to a degree the novels are happily interchangeable, intricate permutations of recurring features: Archer’s police contacts and helpers, wealthy clients, runaway girls and boys, seedy trailer-park characters or desk clerks. I feel that I could read them forever; there are eighteen, but perhaps a sophisticated artificial intelligence could generate many more. Archer’s narrative voice is laconic, often very humorous, but also every couple of pages flashes into descriptive fire, a margin of writerly excess.

9 / Helen Saunders at the Courtauld
She was a modernist painter (1885-1963), associated with the Vorticist movement of the 1910s. Typically enough, the work of the era’s women artists often became obscured, and curators have lately sought to reclaim them from history: in Saunders’ case, culminating in this one-room gathering of her work at the Courtauld Gallery. The retrieval is worthwhile. Saunders’ lines and strokes are clear and bold. She seems to draw and paint with conviction and native talent. Some of her pictures are figurative, showing a mother and child, a house, a canal. Some are much more abstract, imagined patterns and designs, but often with some resemblance to a real-world object or experience. She would merit a larger exhibition, of whatever work has survived the decades of neglect.

10 / The Cure
I have loved The Cure for decades, from a distance; never seen them, and often had the impression that my last chance to see them had already passed. But when their lengthy European tour reaches Wembley Arena, at last I’m in the crowd: unusually early, standing as near the front as I can, waiting through a tedious support band. Before a bright picture of the turning Earth, Robert Smith tiptoes on to the stage like a child, peering shyly at the audience. They play numerous ‘new songs that will soon be old songs’, as Smith repeatedly says. They play relatively deep album cuts; few hits in the first two hours. The music is unblemished, the voice strong. Along the way, ‘Pictures of You’, ‘A Night Like This’, the extraordinary ‘Push’ which amazed me when I discovered it on vinyl aged 17. The final encore of rapid-fire bright hits Smith calls his ‘Sunday night disco’. I haven’t felt quite this way about a concert in a long time. Outside, snow is falling.

Read our lists from punk historian Theresa Kereakes and Angelina Capodanno here (both CF contributors and music obsessives!)

2022 list from angelina capodanno

Top ten parks I visited in 2022. 

10. Central Park, Manhattan. 
I pretty much only come here now to run races or see concerts, which is a shame, because it is such a gem. Whatever you might want to do, it is here. I ran the last 10 miles of the NYC marathon a week before I ran the marathon, and the energy inside the park and at the finish line area was like no other I have ever felt. It gave me a sense of belonging in a city of millions. 

9. Grant Park, Chicago. 
Seriously Chicago, how lucky are you to have this incredible park right smack in the middle of the Loop. The Bean, Buckingham Fountain, and Millennium Park all inside…I’m sure that is just scratching the surface. 

8. Al Buehler Cross Country Trail, Durham, NC. 
I don’t know if this is technically a park, but it’s Duke University’s cross country course loop around a golf course and it’s my favorite place to run in Durham. The trail is shaded and in certain months you are running on pine needles. Lots of bird watching and great mushroom viewing. A word of warning, watch out below, snakes have been spotted. 

Photo: Angelina Capodanno

7. Madison Square Park, Manhattan. 
My office is right next to this park, for which I am thankful. The flowers are incredible all year round. I love to eat lunch on a bench and people watch and just catch my breath there on the way to or from work. 

6. Palace Park, Oslo. 
Lovely park surrounding the Royal Palace in Oslo. There is a Sculpture Park within, with sculptures made by Norwegian children, for children, and specially chosen by the princess. They show the sketches the children made next to the finished sculptures, it’s wild. 

5. Volkspark, Friedrichshain, Berlin. 
Magical little park near Mitte in Berlin with lots of sculptures + paths.

Photo: Angelina Capodanno

4. Camel’s Back Park + Reserve, Boise. 
The landscape is so different out west. These hills and trails were quite steep and dramatic. Great views of the town of Boise below. 

Photo: Angelina Capodanno

3. Stadtpark, Hamburg. 
Urban Park with huge lake in the middle, lovely bridges, great running paths. Bonus points for lots of water fountains and public bathrooms. 

Photo: Angelina Capodanno

2. Frognerparken, Oslo. 
Drop dead gorgeous park that within it resides, Vigeland Sculpture Park. Vigeland has more than 200 sculptures by Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland. Some are grand in scale. 

Photo: Angelina Capodanno

1. Prospect Park, Brooklyn. 
My backyard park. It’s not a stretch to say I spend hundreds of hours here a year: running, walking, seeing concerts, bird watching, eating + drinking, just cutting through. You can get lost there, but it’s manageable size. I’ve lived here so long now, that pretty much every time I go to “the park”, I’ll run into someone I know. It keeps me sane.

Photo: Angelina Capodanno

Favorite shows I saw in 2022

Spoon, Baby’s All Right Brooklyn 8/23/22

MJ Lenderman @ the Pour House Raleigh, NC 9/9/22

Destroyer, Greenspan, Hamburg Germany 9/22/22

Weird Nightmare, Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn July 28, 2022

Kiwi Jr. @ Molotow, Hamburg 9/23/22

Quasi @ Korah Shrine, Boise Idaho 3/27/22

Hand Habits, Brooklyn Made, 5/24/22

Sadurn, Baby’s All Right, 6/3/22

Cate Le Bon, Bowery Ballroom, 2/8/22

Pavement, King’s Theater 9/30/22

Stereolab, Brooklyn Steel 10/11/22

2022 list from photographer theresa kereakes

Photograph by Theresa Kereakes

I love a whatever list!!

LIST 2022 by Theresa Kereakes

Wait a minute; 2022 is over? Because of COVID and working from home since early 2020, I’ve lost all track of time, and don’t even remember what happened this year in music, cinema and other culture.

1) RETROSPECTION.  I have a playlist entitled “What’s so Good About New Music?” and it’s full of my favorite songs that fit the sole criteria of being released prior to 1997.

2022 gave us some Super Deluxe box sets that were worthy as memory lane fodder, as well as a history lesson for younger people who wonder why us olds STILL fan-girl for Blondie.

These are my top 3 “investment” records:

Blondie – Against the Odds (1974-1982): I have been a fan since before I even heard their music. As a devotee of New York Rocker, I learned about all the NYC underground bands that helped create punk rock, and Blondie just jumped out as worth watching. Once I did hear them, they fulfilled all my niche pleasures: girl group sounds, surf guitar, B-movie kitsch themes, a pretty voice with a gritty band. Because they were always easy on the eyes and ears, and then had themselves a huge crossover hit with a disco-tinged single (“Heart of Glass”), it is easy to forget how trailblazing Blondie was since their career seemed to follow an organic progression. That would be overlooking the one thing that gives them their punk bonafides. They’ve always made the music they wanted to make. I have very little critical distance, as drummer Clem Burke has been a friend since the 70s, however, if you want to read an excellent take on this box set, I urge you to read Caryn Rose’s piece for Pitchfork.

The Beatles – Revolver  In 1966, Revolver was my favorite of all the phenomenal music released that year (AM radio played singles from Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde; The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds; Donovan’s Sunshine Superman; Nancy Sinatra’s Boots; The Byrds’ 5D).  Yes, my 8-year-old mind was blown. I was born at the right time for all this music to mold me and in retrospect, it was a life-saver, as I grew up in a conservative bubble in the otherwise super liberal, hippie Southern California. The Beatles made listening to my own music at home with the parents easy. “Eleanor Rigby” is beautiful regardless of your musical taste, so no one looked askance when I played the hypnotic “Tomorrow Never Knows” on repeat.

I am not a fan of the Super Deluxe Box set for any artist. In the case of Blondie, it was partly an opportunity to replace beat-up vinyl records, purchased in real time, AND the book of memories and photos. And for The Beatles, it was also about The Book full of beautiful photos that includes the essay by Paul McCartney. Except for the “Paperback Writer” demos, I’m not interested in the progress of any given song.  In fact, when The Beach Boys epic Pet Sounds Sessions were released 25 years ago, I refused to buy it because I am only interested in what Brian Wilson wanted to present in 1966. I feel like an album is a snapshot of its time, and a snapshot of the decisions of the time. Full stop. 

Revolver gives us a few demos of “Yellow Submarine,” which started as a sad narrative and it boggles my mind how it ended up as a weird ditty. Least liked track in 1966, and in 2022.  But “Paperback Writer” (and demos) is a revelation. Rumors in 1977 were that Glen Matlock was fired from the Sex Pistols because he was a Beatles fan. Great PR from Malcolm McLaren, trying to draw the line between the established and the upstart musicians BUT I think those Matlock compositions owe more than a passing nod to the rhythm tracks and structure of “Paperback Writer” and punk rock is the better for it!  The 2022 Remix/Remaster disc is the one I listen to. And I flip through the book.  

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Live at the Fillmore 1997 Now THIS is the kind of box set I can get behind. It satisfies on many levels. For me, it is highly personal. The band played a 20-night stand at San Francisco’s Fillmore in January and February 1997, and I attended 17 shows. No two were alike, and the document that is this box set cements memories for me. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers were the world’s very best bar band, whether they were covering The Kinks, JJ Cale, The Ventures, or going deep into their own (at that point) 20+ year career catalog. If you were going to invest a sizable chunk of cash for a box set, it pays for itself to have a piece of history, which thanks to recording technology is no longer a fugitive moment.  Was I imagining Roger McGuinn joining the band and playing the weirdo Byrds b-side “Drug Store Truck Driving Man” ? No. They did and they recorded it!  As a live music document, this set is in the pantheon with The Band’s The Last Waltz, The Rolling Stones’ Get Yer Ya Yas Out, Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison, The Who’s Live at Leeds and Jimi Hendrix Live at Monterey. No lie.

2) PATTI SMITH & CARYN ROSE – The poet who punked me, the woman whose own interests mirrored mine and tied a bow on it and gave me the first feeling of cultural inclusion—Patti Smith—has, 45 years later, once again taken a center stage position in my year, thanks to the writer, Caryn Rose. Released in the Spring of 2022, WHY PATTI SMITH MATTERS by Caryn Rose is the first book about the female artist written by a woman. In the book, Caryn eschews all the hackneyed linear biographical takes that have been published before and examines and contextualizes Patti’s WORK and WORK ETHIC, and unlocks the secret to Patti’s enduring career—the connection between performer and audience. In another essay, her review of A BOOK OF DAYS for VULTURE, Caryn again unpacks Patti’s abilities as a creator to illustrate why the poet is so good at social media, specifically Instagram. For those of us who have been following along, it is once again about WORK and WORK ETHIC and a direct connection with her audience. I am recommending both Caryn’s book on Patti, and Patti’s BOOK OF DAYS. If like me, you were influenced by Patti and her work, you will feel validated and vindicated for your own work ethic.

3) AMY RIGBY’S DIARY on Substack as Diary of Amy Rigby. I am thrilled that a woman of my generation writes so succinctly, emotionally, and realistically about being in this generation. Representation is everything.

4) SOLITUDE  I am spending 8 days of my holiday break staying in a hotel, alone, scanning negatives and slides for my upcoming (and overdue) photo books. I am writing this from there too. I recommend self-sequestering/vacationing to all. It was absolutely dead here Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but not THE SHINING dead/slow and creepy. I’ve been in my PJ’s for a few days and have done quite a bit of work. The “Do Not Disturb” sign has been on the door since I arrived. I have the blackout curtains drawn, and there is no clock here. This is my idea of a productive work week.

5) BOB DYLAN I traveled all over from NYC (late 2021) and across the South this year to see him. At one show, I saw Beck reprimanded by security for daring to bring out his cel phone, and also saw a fella in my row at the Chattanooga show get ejected for same. I’ve been a fan since I first heard “Positively Fourth Street” lo-fi blaring from my purse-sized Toshiba transistor radio as I played hopscotch in my driveway when I got home from the first day of school (I was 7).  I was drawn to the snotty tone as he sang “You’ve got a lot of nerve to say you are my friend.” It was not like anything I had heard before. The personage he was complaining about in the song sounded like so many people about whom my father complained. My father was 20 years older than Dylan, and the lyric and its delivery illustrated better than any class lesson I ever had in poetry/literature about a writer making the personal universal. Bob was a young guy trying to get ahead in his career; my dad was an old guy at the top of his career, and me, a kid, also recognized this personality trait in people. Bob made me wise. And as an old geezer, he still entertains me.

Read our interview with Theresa Kereakes from 2020 here. And also a piece where she talked about the L.A. punk scene with fellow photographer Melanie Nissen.

last of the lists!

image borrowed from Christen Press’ insta

Beatrix Madell: My top ten: soccer players of the year (this took forever, too many to choose from)
1. Christen Press
2. Alexia Putellas
3. Catarina Macario
4. Kristie Mewis
5. Katie McCabe 
6. Alyssa Naeher
7. Sophia Smith
8. Jenni Hermoso
9. Caprice Dydasco
10. Beth Mead
Beatrix Madell is a 13 year old who lives in Brooklyn and loves music (playing and listening), theatre and film, science, and women’s soccer.

image via Will Hermes site

Erin Moran, A Girl Called Eddy
1) Love Goes to Buildings on Fire. Best book I’ve read about music since Viv Albertine’s  Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys
2) Jim’s Organic French Roast Decaf 
3) Get Back
4) Singing on Burt Bacharach’s latest record Blue Umbrella
5) SolaWave Skincare Wand. It’s a red light therapy/microcurrent thingamajig doing yeoman’s work trying to lift my jowls
6) Call My Agent! on Netflix. French, funny, smart
7) The ramen at Menkoi Sato, 7 Cornelia St. NYC
8) Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold
9) Tom Ford’s Lost Cherry. Not a film about a young boys’ journey from Milan to Minsk, but a perfume. Oh the almond-y/Vidal Sassoon shampoo smell of it
10) The Dodo on instagram

Janice Headley (KEXP, chickfactor): Ten Things I Liked in 2021 (In No Particular Order)
1) Season 3 of Stath Lets Flats (to be fair, my partner Joe did not like it AT ALL, so your mileage may vary.)
2) Zoom karaoke w/ west coast pals
3) The podcast Films to Be Buried With with Brett Goldstein
4) Huichica Music Festival (I now wish every music festival was held at a winery.)
5) Japanese stationery store niconeco zakkaya [263 E 10th St in NYC]
6) HBO’s Insecure 
7) Glossier’s Monochromes eyeshadow sets (particularly in Heather)
8) Blake’s Hard Cider Strawberry Lemonade 
9) Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner
10)  Licorice Pizza (except for the unnecessary racist Japanese bullshit, and yes, I know Paul Thomas Anderson has a Japanese mother-in-law [Maya Rudolph’s stepmom], but that is still no excuse.)

Nancy Novotny’s top records
Rather than calling it a “best of” list, I’d say that these are the 30 albums & EPs (culled from a list of over a hundred favorites) that possessed something “je ne sais quoi, oh so very special”* for me. Your mileage, of course, may vary. In no particular order:
Merope – Salos (Stroom)
Andy Aquarius – Chapel (Hush Hush)
Meril Wubslin – Alors Quoi (Bongo Joe)
Blue Chemise – Flower Studies (B.A.A.D.M.)
Nathan Salsburg – Psalms (Quarterstick)
Vanishing Twin – Ookii Gekkou (Fire)
Conny Frischauf – Die Drift (Bureau B )
Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek – DOST 1 (Bongo Joe)
Dummy – Mandatory Enjoyment (Trouble In Mind)
Richard Dawson & Circle – Henki (Domino)
Mdou Moctar – Afrique Victim (Matador)
Monokultur – Ormens Väg (Mammas Mysteriska Jukebox & Ever/Never)
Hawthonn – Earth Mirror (Ba Da Bing!)
Henry the Rabbit, Beatrice Morel Journel & Semay Wu – Songs of the Marsh (Moon Glyph)
Tarta Relena – Fiat Lux (La Castanya)
Grouper – Shade (Kranky)
Hamilton Yarns – Outside (Hark!)
Steven R. Smith – In the Spires (Cold Moon/Worstward)
Oddfellow’s Casino – The Cult of Water (Nightjar)
Dechmont Woods – November ’79 (Woodford Halse)
Blod – Missväxt (Grapefruit)
Midwife – Luminol (The Flenser)
Green-House – Music for Living Spaces (Leaving)
Doran – Doran (Spinster)
Various Artists – Incantations (Seance Centre)
Beautify Junkyards – Cosmorama (Ghost Box)
Shirley Collins – Crowlink (Domino)
Laura Cannell & Kate Ellis – October Sounds (Brawl)
Jonny Nash & Ana Stamp – There Up, Behind The Moon (Melody as Truth)
You’ll Never Get to Heaven – Wave Your Moonlight Hat for the Snowfall Train (Seance Centre)

Some notable singles:
Claire Cronin – “Bloodless” (Orindal)
Bas Jan – “You Have Bewitched Me” (Lost Map)
Constant Follower – “The Merry Dancers on TV” (Shimmy-Disc)
Large Plants – “La Isla Bonita” (Ghost Box)
Astral Brain – “Five Thousand Miles” (Shelflife)
Burd Ellen – “The High Preistess and the Hierophant” (Thread)
Dean McPhee – “The Alchemist” (Hood Faire)
Garden Gate – “Tarot” (Library of the Occult)
La Luz – “Tale of My Lost Love” (Female Species cover) (Numero)

Some notable reissues/archival anthologies:
Persona – Som (Black Sweat)
Aurita y su Conjunto – Chambacu (Mississippi)
Alice Coltrane – Turiya Sings (Impulse!)
The Doubling Riders – Doublings & Silences Vol. 1 (Btx3R/F01101/Exe)
Aunt Sally – Aunt Sally (Mesh-Key)
Alison Knowles – Sounds from the Book of Bean (Recital)
Oh OK – The Complete Reissue (HHBTM)
Kiko Kids Jazz – Tanganyika Na Uhuru (Mississippi)
Pamela Z – Echolocation (Freedom to Spend)
Kiri-uu – Creak-whoosh (Stroom)
Joel Vandroogenbroeck – Far View (Drag City)
Michèle Bokanowski – Rhapsodia / Battements solaires (Recollection GRM)
Michael Ranta – Taiwan Years (Metaphon)
Roger Fakhr – Fine Anyway (Habibi Funk)

Nancy is a voice actor, a sacred harp singer and a DJ at Freeform.

courtesy of the dark web

Gail chickfactor’s top things of 2021
Roy Kent
Dairon Asprilla
Sophia Smith
Queer Eye (why can’t they release a new season every week!?)
Sex Education
Another Round

Vegan BBQ at Pure Soul
You people
Creativity
Comfort (loungewear, noodles, bobble hats, blankets, flannel, umami)
My own culinary skills: I am a genius
Horsegirl, Billy
Rachel Love, Picture in Mind
The Umbrellas, The Umbrellas
Magic Roundabout, Up
Marisa Anderson & William Tyler, Lost Futures
Pearl and the Oysters, Flowerland
H.E.R., Back of My Mind
La Luz, La Luz
OneTwoThree, OneTwoThree
Damon & Naomi, A Sky Record
Silk Sonic, An Evening with Silk Sonic
Jennifer O’Connor, Born at the Disco

Sukhdev Sandhu’s best of 2021 list

Jens Lekman’s ‘Smalltalk‘ column appears irregularly on his website. It’s always quiet and wise. One column dealt with going bald. “What bothered me the most was the pressure to be proud of myself. It didn’t allow for a natural transformation. I remember people shouting at me, ‘Be proud. Take off your hat. You look great.’ But my face had just made a U-turn. What used to be a frame for the canvas that was me had disappeared. I wanted to mourn.”

Lots of friends spent lots of time in hospitals this year. In December I read an old History Workshop Journal obituary of Clive Goodwin (1932-1977), widower of English pop artist Pauline Boty (1938-1966) – “In America, whoever calls for medical attention for another person is responsible for paying the bill. Clive was killed by capitalism.”

A track on Dutch electronic producer Legowelt’s Pancakes With Mist LP – “Side By Side We Ride Against The Hordes of EDM.”

Ancient historian Robin Lane Fox’s gardening column in the weekend edition of the Financial Times. He’s been writing it for over 51 years and is unfailingly equable except for his dislike of gnomes.

Andrew Tuck’s wry and calming weekly essay on Monocle on Saturday radio show. Common threads: walking the dog, the weather (meteorological or otherwise) in London, how to be a good work colleague.

Wanting to give Gabriel (played by Grégory Montel) a long hug every time he lost a client in Call My Agent. And an extra can of whipped cream.

Laura Barton’s impossibly sad account of travelling to Greece during the pandemic to begin a round of solo IVF. She wrote it in 2020, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it in 2021. “For a week I feel truly pregnant. And then suddenly I do not. One day I wake to feel a tangible distance between the synthetic hormones and my own body. I do not tell anyone. Instead I walk down to the water, stay out far beyond the mandated hour. I marvel at the flicker of tiny fish moving between the boats in the harbour. I look at the bright yellow tangle of fishing nets, the deep pink of wooden shutters, the distant mountains, snow-peaked against the bluest sky.”

Pallavi Aiyar’s The Global Jigsaw Substack. Aiyar writes about China, about cats, about travel. She’s also, unfashionably though not necessarily incorrectly, in favour of cultural appropriation. “As a writer, and as a person, I’ve desired to stretch my identities; to be supple. The imagination’s work is to bend and twist around the policing of boundaries— political, religious, gastronomic, temporal. The writer, the reader, or any curious person, really, has a proclivity towards inhabiting the past and the future, as much as the present. They extend themselves beyond their ethnicity, gender, colour, sexuality, and empirical experiences to imagine other lives in other places and times.”

Belatedly discovering the writing of Jewish educator and children’s rights champion Leila Berg (1917-2012). Her autobiography Flickerbook (1997—and republished last year by CB Editions) is a funny, raw, diaristic account of coming of age in the 1930s—“Fancy Joan Littlewood and Jimmy Miller getting married! We all talked about it. Fancy concentrating all that spikiness together, and having double-spiky agitprop children!”

As always: Everything But The Girl, Night and Day; The Style Council, The Paris Match; Blueboy, The Joy of Living. But also: Shelleyan Orphan, Beamheart; Steve Beresford, Vous qui passez sans me voir; Time Is Away on NTS Radio. And and and – all of Kings of Convenience’s first LP for 12 years, Peace Or Love. Sad, tender, bitterly gorgeous.