Lotus – Colorado

Somewhere in East Village, a recent grad wakes up, hungover and late for his first real job. Meanwhile, at the 23rd M stop, a portly, elderly man from Harlem clears his throat as his backup guitarist, a 28-year-old from Koreatown, adjusts the treble on his amp. A man is screaming at a cashier in Chelsea. On the second car of the A train, a struggling actor falls in love with the woman across from him but doesn’t get the courage to say hello. The guy beside her thinks he’s staring at him and gets annoyed. On the fifth car of that same A train, an elderly woman bumps into her high school boyfriend – they’re both surprised that they’re still awkward. Moments later, a boy gets “doored” on the way to work, bruises his knees and shoulders, and verbally announces he’ll wear a helmet more often.

At any given moment, New York City resembles an oversized pinball machine with far too many balls in play: constant and utterly unpredictable interactions.

The grid design creates massive, endless, parallel halls. It feels like there are only two directions: where you’re going and where you came from.

Yet in rare moments, even the most seasoned New Yorker is derailed from the unidirectional march. These moments present a third option: pause. It’s a treasonous word in the city that never sleeps but truly it takes a moment of observing, rather than acting, to notice the beauty that quietly trumps the frictions in all chaos.


Star Slinger – IV/IV

You may be familiar with the name Star Slinger. I most closely associate him with the remix he did of an 80’s indie song by Elizabeth Fraser and the Cocteau Twins. He’s also the dude with the happy go-lucky track Mornin’. You know him.

Well if you don’t you should. He’s the creative mastermind behind some of the grooviest dance beats and on his way to mainstream success.

IV/IV kicks off our Thursday playlist.


Fat freddy’s drop

I called my Mom on my way to the show. I was nervous. It had only been three days since the horror of this weekend; the images of bloodshed and grief burned in my mind’s eye, fear and disbelief subtle but palpable in my home city. At work, we reported and wrote and thought about it all day. At lunch, the street next to our office was cordoned off with police tape. A suspicious looking car parked halfway down the street and a string of small explosions – though how far away we couldn’t tell – turned out to be a false alarm.

I didn’t feel brave. It was raining and I talked to my Mom, looking for reassurance. It seemed foolish to go to a concert; foolish not to. We can’t let these things limit our freedom, we both said.

As I’m checking my coat, wine glass in hand, drinking fast, a little claustrophobic in the crowd, my phone buzzes. My Mom, and then my brother, both suddenly anxious, both asking me to leave. I just don’t understand why you have to be there, my brother says – usually so even-keel, so quick to make fun of my tendency to overthink. I don’t know what to tell them – that’s what I say. I tell them I love them and I hang up.

I slip into the crowd. And into a dream. It’s ecstatic, delirious, loud. Everyone’s getting down. I keep my head down a little while, and start to move. The beat is so smooth. I feel safe and intensely lucky. Alive and totally enraptured. Fat Freddy’s Drop reminded me of the good things tonight. I’m so fucking grateful.


We got a new look

Some of you may have noticed that The Aftermath adopted a new look. After much internal back and forth, everyone admitted that despite how much we loved Kelly Slater ‘s image sitting atop our website, it was time for something different.

The new layout isn’t perfect. But it’s nice to scroll through The Aftermath without without so much clicking. We think it will be a better experience for everyone. And actually, we probably will bring Slater back at some point…

Now that we’ve sent it, it’s time to stop worrying about decision making and get back to sharing the tunes that matter.

With that. Cue the music!


Tom Misch

Sitting in a bus station this summer, amongst the dense cornfields of Idaho, I experienced music acting as a lens. It all took place on a walk to and from a White Castle:

On the walk to the White Castle, the town of Rexburg, Idaho felt lifeless. It felt like an empty vault of a great Egyptian tomb, which had long been looted of its vast treasures. I passed one lady who was planting flowers in the hood of a rusted Pontiac, it looked like it had sunken into the front of her patchy yard decades ago.

On the walk back from White Castle, now with tom Tom Misch narrating my steps, the town of Rexburg, Idaho suddenly had color. I began to better appreciate my surroundings, and the streets I had walked on before now felt like they had a place in some sort of journey. The rusted Pontiac now looked like it belonged in an art museum.


Willy Tea Taylor – Jake the Frog

Willy Tea Taylor at Mountain Sage

When I walked over to introduce myself to Willy Tea Taylor, I felt nervous. His performance had blown me away. A natural story teller and a talented guitar player, Willy Tea held our small audience captivated for two hours, standing on a newly constructed stage with just a Ukelele and a cup of white wine. Between songs he went off on amazing tangents. He’d picked up a runaway named Jesus in his brown Ford van, jammed with Tom Petty’s keyboardist and once befriended a frog named Jake.

I kept it simple and led with the first thing that came to mind, “Really enjoyed that, man. And for the record, I throw a mean knuckle curve.” Willy Tea laughed, stroked his beard and asked where I was from. My answer set him off on another story about the time he’d opened for The Dropkick Murphy’s at the House of Blues on St. Patty’s Day. He’d led the entire bar in a toast and said that afterwards he felt like he could die a happy man. “It was fucking sick, man.” We sipped some whiskey and chuckled about it. 
When I left Grovedale that night, it dawned on me that I’d arrived at Willy Tea’s show by total coincidence. I was in Yosemite with a volunteer group called In Good Company. There were twenty-five of us working to clean up after a terrible forest fire that wreaked havoc in the Stanislaus National Forest. Which lead us to Willy Tea’s hometown, Grovedale, CA – a sleepy cowboy town twenty-five miles West of Yosemite.

Our van rolled through the misty Yosemite night on our way back to camp and I couldn’t stop analyzing the string of events that had brought me to the creaky plastic chair in the Mountain Sage barn to hear Willy Tea croon. It felt so fragile, as if one disjuncture would’ve thrown off everything. Was it luck? Fate? Probably neither. Willy Tea was too authentic for any bullshit fatalistic theory. I was content basking in the experience, eager to spread the word about the cowboy from Grovedale who talked about baseball in a cool, raspy voice.