Frontier Psychiatrist

Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn

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My fear of romantic commitment has been well hashed-over by my friends, family, and ex-boyfriends. But the commitment that’s been hardest for me to make is one to New York, despite the fact that I’ve lived in Brooklyn for a dozen years, written tender articles about New York’s subway system and abandoned buildings, and published a book about its cab drivers. Yet my feelings for the city are anything but soft and fluttery. Case in point: One of my favorite T-shirts, a gift from a friend, says: I Kind of  Heart New York

When I moved to New York in 2000, I had hoped to be a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters, but couldn’t swallow the required two-year commitment. By now I could have raised the child. When friends and family in the Midwest asked over the years how long I’d stay in the city, I always say “one more year.” After 12 years here, I still think of the congressman from my parents’ Ohio neighborhood as my own. And when I meet a guy who extols his love for New York, I inwardly grimace and turn away

I have always had a manic-depressive relationship with New York. I felt ecstatic dancing to skilled DJs at rooftop warehouse parties and seeing my first outdoor movie in Bryant Park, skyscraper lights shining above the screen like stars. The live music in beer-sticky bars captivated me, as did the talented, creative new friends who helped me uncover my own potential. Yet the city’s darker side haunts me in the form of cement. Forget grass and trees, “parks” are slabs of concrete with benches – Union Square or McCarren Park anyone? Everyone’s in a hurry, rushing somewhere “important,” people on top of each other, crawling over each other. And when some of these people stand in front of the subways doors, refusing to move aside as others board the train, I want to punch them.

Still, I haven’t stayed in New York by accident or by default. So this summer I decided to commit – at least to Brooklyn, where I live, and Manhattan, where I work (The other three boroughs seem like a bit of a stretch.) Like a woman in marriage counseling, I decided to have regular date nights with New York. My plan: First, soak up as many concerts as possible and re-forge my original connection with the city and its music. Second, say yes to people and possibilities. Third, be deliberate, recognize positive and negative feelings, focus on the positive, and take pictures for prosperity.

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D. Nurkse, A Night in Brooklyn

D. Nurkse, A Night in Brooklyn

New York City has long been a haven and a source of inspiration for writers, musicians, and artists. Young people regularly flock there to draw from its rich culture and history, just as I did almost 10 years ago when I moved to Brooklyn to study writing. D. Nurkse’s new poetry collection, A Night in Brooklyn, offers a glimpse into Brooklyn’s past—a time before Macbooks filled every coffee shop, before there was an Ikea in Red Hook. A Brooklyn native, Nurkse has witnessed the change in his lifetime, but the book doesn’t spend too much time on the transition. Instead, A Night in Brooklyn, Nurkse’s tenth collection, is more introspective, revealing snapshots of his younger self and offering a meditation on time and its fluidity: one moment you can be sitting at the bar, and the next you’re suddenly too young to be served.

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Bomb the Music Industry_Live_Chicago_Vacation

“We are beautiful complicated fucking snowflakes that blow wherever the wind takes us and you better fucking respect that shit, maaaan.”

This is how Nassau County via Brooklyn punk collective Bomb the Music Industry! announced their ambiguous, indefinite holiday from touring. The August 7th tumblr post was shaky, sad, hopeful, reasonable and open ended, just like group leader Jeff Rosenstock’s songwriting. Currently on their last nationwide tour (maybe?), BtMI! continue their tradition of holding all-ages shows for around $10 (the old Fugazi way, adjusted for inflation), before they hang up their Vans to mend their lives and continue as a recording project and creative outlet for Rosenstock. This counts as a win for the punk rock community, as Rosenstock’s songwriting has never been better, as evidenced by last year’s stellar and overlooked Vacation.

At a sweaty and enraptured show inside Chicago’s Subterranean—located on the second floor, oddly enough—BtMI! exploded with real catharsis and shameless rage. BtMI! make unorthodox punk rock for unorthodox punks. Songs wail and shift from emo to hardcore to ska to indie rock at the kick of a drum or the scrape of a pick. The crowd knows every skip, halt, crescendo and blast like they know their own malcontent. It felt like high school. It felt great.

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Like the culture it represents, hip hop music has gone through many changes in the last two decades. Producers continue to push their craft to new heights, while emcees are as nuanced as they are divisive. The free online mixtape formula has done just as many wonders for the proliferation of swag, as it has made it harder for progressive collectives to sustain as businesses. Simultaneously nostalgic and futuristic, R.A.P. Music—Killer Mike and El-P’s first collaboration album—is a product of two thoughtful artists working to question, define and give love to the world of underground hip hop.

Part love letter, part sound progression, R.A.P. Music finds both veterans on top of their game, working off each other as much as the concept itself. Throughout the record, El-P’s production feels like a retrospective of the many eras of hip hop–from the boom bap of the Bronx to the spacey synths of Graduation–with Killer Mike’s thoughtful, and sometimes radical flow. R.A.P. Music is a peak in both artists careers, who are scene and sound leaders in their own right. Which is refreshing, since both artists struggled through the late Aughts and early 10s to keep their relevance.

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In less than a week, we’ll be partnering with our friends at Brooklyn Industries to bring you coverage of SXSW 2012.  Yesterday, they dropped by to share a Spotify playlist of Brooklyn bands they’ll be catching at the festival.  Today, we see their bet and raise them with a playlist of some of our favorite non-Brooklyn acts (yes, such things exist).  Listed below are the bands, their hometowns, and their performance details; you can stream the songs below or hear the whole thing on Spotify.  And, if you’re getting overwhelmed at the prospect of catching all of these bands, fear not: BI’s Teddy Vuong returns tomorrow with his guide to SXSW survival.

1. Cloud Nothings (Cleveland, OH) – “Stay Useless” (Performing at 512 Rooftop on March 15)

2. Grimes (Montreal, QC) – “Genesis” (Performing at Clive Bar on March 16)

3. Schoolboy Q feat. Kendrick Lamar (Compton, CA) – “Blessed” (Both artists performing at Clive Bar on March 15)

4. Youth Lagoon (Boise, ID) – “Cannons” (Performing at Club de Ville on March 15)

5. Nicolas Jaar (Providence, RI) – “Space is Only Noise if You Can See” (Performing at Central Presbyterian Church on March 15)

6. Pure X (Austin, TX) – “Dry Ice” (Performing at Barbarella on March 14)

7. Quilt (Boston, MA) – “Penobska Oakwalk” (Performing at Sony Club @ Red 7 March 15)

8. Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Portland, OR) – “Ffunny Ffriends” (Performing at Red Eyed Fly March 14)

9. G-Side (Huntsville, AL) – “Rabbits” (Performing at Swan Dive March 13)

10. Purity Ring (Edmonton, AB) – “Belispeak” (Performing at Chevrolet Sound Garage March 13)

11. Peaking Lights (Madison, WI) – “All the Sun That Shines” (Performing at Sony Club @ Red 7 March 15)

12. Thee Oh Sees (San Francisco, CA) – “The Dream” (Performing at Beauty Bar Backyard March 14)

13. Lower Dens (Baltimore, MD) – “Brains” (Performing at Hype Hotel March 16)

14. Shabazz Palaces feat. THEESatisfaction (Seattle, WA) – “Swerve…the reaping of all that is worthwhile (noir not withstanding)” (THEESatisfaction performing at Kiss & Fly March 15)

From Left: Cox and Baer

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Jeremy Cox, guitarist for Royal Baths in a mop closet at The Empty Bottle over a few cans of Hamm’s. Their newest Better Luck Next Life is a jet-black piece of psychedelic rock, pulsing with unstable energy and reeking of bad intentions. Many thanks to Jeremy for meeting with me, and please take a moment to see Royal Baths when they come to your town, as they no doubt will. 

Frontier Psychiatrist: You guys just relocated to Brooklyn after building much of your career in San Francisco. Why move to Brooklyn, because everyone is there?

Jeremy Cox: (Laughs) We went through the City on tour a couple of times, and we noticed the audience was more receptive to what we were doing. And, obviously, there’s just a lot more people there. I was in San Francisco for about 4 years, Jigmae (vocals, guitar) was there for almost 8, so we certainly had our share of the Bay. [San Francisco] is one of, if not my favorite cities in the U.S., but obviously New York is a lot bigger, and it has a lot of history. We certainly have a budding romance with The City.

FP: Are you inspired by your time in New York?

JC: Well, we haven’t had much time, but it’s definitely inspiring and fast paced. Despite what everybody told me when I was moving out, there are a lot of very caring people in New York City; it’s quite the opposite of the notion that residents very cold and distant. I happen to think that with so much in New York, you’re bound to find a positive and supportive person everywhere and anywhere. The humanity is thick there. That said, I don’t know how much it directly affects our songwriting, but as people, it is putting us in a new headspace, which is definitely important to our songwriting process.

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Specifically: dead bodies.  What, you were expecting something else?

If you live in New York City and you have not yet visited Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, make it your New Year’s resolution to do so.  A mixture of bucolic beauty, historical interest, and general anachronistic oddity, the grounds were first laid out in 1838 and it remains an active cemetery.  Green-Wood has served as the inspiration for countless public green spaces, including Central Park, and was, at one time, one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the nation, along with Niagara Falls.

In the spirit of year-end list making, here are the top ten permanent residents of Green-Wood, each with a cocktail to their name.  To render this exercise more timely, each cocktail is taken from The PDT Cocktail Guide.  This book is the game changer for 2011.  Jim Meehan serves up every recipe for every cocktail served at his famous East Village cocktail den, including both classics from a variety of sources and all of PDT’s homegrown creations (a Benton’s Old-Fashioned anyone?).

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