A Celebration of Stormzy: “Gang Signs and Prayer,” One Year Later

In anticipation of the one-year anniversary of rapper Stormzy’s debut solo album “Gang Signs and Prayer,” I thought I’d talk about why the record is so unique and important.


Stormzy is a musician that has helped introduce the world to grime and paved his own path as one of the U.K.’s most innovative artists. At 24, he’s already accomplished an impressive variety of feats. His debut solo album, released almost exactly one year ago, just went platinum in the U.K., and he received two awards at the Brit Awards 2018 last night for Best British Album and Best Male Artist. The man doesn’t fuck around, and he’s gradually gaining the acclaim he deserves.

A charismatic MC with a towering demeanor at 6’ 5” and a charming smile, Stormzy is a rapper who blends genres, spits rapid-fire verses and knows how to create powerful music videos.  Following the stylings of grime aficionados like Skepta and Wiley, Stormzy goes hard and appeals to the youth of U.K. (and hopefully more and more American rap fans). He reps his roots of South London, stands up to injustice and always celebrates black excellence. He also delivered one of the best albums of 2017, “Gang Signs and Prayer.”

Continue reading A Celebration of Stormzy: “Gang Signs and Prayer,” One Year Later


A gushy review of “Moon River,” Frank Edition

We may only be 50 days into 2018, but Frank Ocean has yet again proved he is our generations’ top crooner with the years’ best vocal performance thus far. With the gripping delicateness of man who has proved time and time again  his ability to give a ballad so much genuine emotion, Ocean’s cover of “Moon River” is really a beautiful thing.

The track, written by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini, was made famous by Audrey Hepburn’s performance of it in the classic film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hepburn sits along a windowsill and sings of a beautiful night shared by “two drifters.” The song won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1961 and two Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1962. So you could say it touched a few hearts back then.

Continue reading A gushy review of “Moon River,” Frank Edition


An Essay: by Patrick McKenna

He walks along the mud-splattered sidewalk while cars drive through puddles and a crackling guitar is his only soundtrack. Decade. One of those walks where he needed to tune everything out and focus on two goals: get from point A to point B and let the riffs of Neil Young guide your path.

It starts with a flimsy, scratchy guitar run in “Cowgirl in the sand.” The music has some bizarre power of ultimate transportation, as if a few notes together have some interlocking command of the senses. The repetitious solo gets tiresome around minute seven, and he makes a decision. Skip.

All of a sudden, gentle piano and gentler singing graces his ears. “I was thinking of what a friend had said, I was hoping it was a lie.” Those words transitioning into that horn park speaks to him like nothing else could. Thoughts of self-doubt and shame float about, but the beautiful tune squashes those out. “All in a dream, in a dream…” He thinks about his own love for Mother Nature, his own new home in this world.

Just like that, a brewing, boisterous opening to “Tonight’s the Night” enters. The bass thumps and pumps with the rest of Crazy Horse. A wagging finger and bitter call for a friend is all Neil Young has. He probably knew this night would happen eventually. He knew the tale of Bruce Berry’s life isn’t sustainable. But a good jam might help the pain.

The walk is almost over. He knows how he wants to end it.

He puts on “Heart of Gold,” and it’s like a weight on his back falls to the floor. He knows what its like to get old, to search fall and in between for a heart of gold.

He wants to experience life. He wants to always, always keep searching.

He’ll find his heart of gold. And when he does, he’ll remember Neil Young. He’ll remember what music has the power to do to his brain.

And he’ll remember this walk.

Playlist 5 – Acid Surf, Peyote Western

Oh, my estranged music mashers from lands east and west. How are you? You wouldn’t believe how electrifying it is to blast you with ironic conversational tone once again. Is this blog back from the grave? I doubt it. Pat’s blowing up your newsfeed with pictures of national landmarks and I’m only about halfway through watching every WWE royal rumble. But as i was daydreaming and weaving through sluggish and dazed Montana traffic today, i thought of this ghost of projects past. There’s so much to update you on, there’s been monumental musical mood swings. I’ve discovered and smashed headfirst into jazz. I’ve sworn off and begged back dream pop, wicker park indie, and burger core. I sold out and bought into the spotify generation, mainly so i could make scatter plot playlists with bizarro titles like “Chicken feed for the children” and so on and so forth. Time goes on. But above all this I’ve been listening. I mean really listening. What else is there? A short summary: Continue reading Playlist 5 – Acid Surf, Peyote Western

The story of the Stage Manager

This year, I volunteered at Columbia’s True False Film Festival as a Stage Manager at the Odd Fellows Lodge.

All within three days, I had the chance to watch six full-length films and 14 shorts. I heard the insights of directors who spent years with their film’s subjects, discussing what it means to offer a narrative that while subjective aims to inform to uninformed, to bring light to the hidden shadows that haunt different facets of our society.

I had the chance to literally discuss each director’s him with the actual director, which was less of a “star struck” moment as it was just something enlightening. How often does someone actually get the chance to meet someone so passionate about their artwork?

Continue reading The story of the Stage Manager

Fox’s Fourth

Wowie guys, its been a steamy minute since i’ve done one of these little playlists.

I’ve been keeping busy… discovering the natural wonders of the world through part time factory jobs and old time literature courses. The music hasn’t stopped though. Here’s a short showcase of the music munchies i’ve been macking on lately: Continue reading Fox’s Fourth

Singing about love without bullshit: The Father John Misty Story

The Hound gives this album 5 out of 5 stars

Father John Misty has presented 45 minutes of music that takes an outlook on love so original listeners will be weeping tears of bliss, heartbreak, sadness and laughter all throughout each second.

After reigning as drummer/godlike harmonizer in indie-folk group Fleet Foxes and releasing multiple solo albums under his real name Josh Tillman, the moniker of Father John Misty was created. The character evolved into the Jim Morrison-meets-modern day cynic/lady swooner that released the critically acclaimed psychedelic-folk Fear Fun (2012) and amazed audiences with his semi-deranged onstage banter and the mind-blowing delight his voice can bring.

With his most recent output I Love You, Honeybear, Tillman takes storytelling alongside a delicate acoustic guitar and a beautiful, Laurel Canyon-esque production to a place of raw honesty and truer-than-true romantic confession. Labeled by Tillman as a concept album “about Josh Tillman,” nearly every song’s lyrical content has a strong influence of the artist’s recent marriage to photographer Emma Elizabeth Tillman.

Continue reading Singing about love without bullshit: The Father John Misty Story

Fox & Hound saving your ears One album at a time.