Clean Water Restores Life to a Village in Desperate Need

“THE WATER WAS TROUBLE. IT WAS DARK.”

Liliana and her older sister gathered water several times a day from a reservoir that Liliana says was “left by the ancestors” — a manmade pond just outside of town. In the rainy season, the water was plentiful. In the dry season, they would scrape new holes in the ground and wait for them to fill with groundwater. Sometimes it worked, often it didn’t.

But the rain brought with it more than water. As it swept through the village towards the reservoir, waste and trash got washed along, too. “We could see the dirty things in the water when it rained,” Liliana said. She knew it was bad. “The water was trouble. It was dark.”

Liliana’s brothers and sisters got sick from the water, and so did she. Concern Worldwide got involved.

Concern Worldwide’s mission is to help people living in extreme poverty achieve major improvements in their lives that last and spread without ongoing support from Concern.

Concern Worldwide U.S. was established in 1993 in recognition of the Irish community in America, whose relatives and friends contributed so much early in Concern’s history. Today, they are a renowned international organization that sends more than 90 cents of every dollar directly to some of the world’s poorest countries. But the staff at Concern cannot continue to combat disaster and famine alone. Just like in 1968, there is a famine in Africa today and disaster around the world. Concern has teams on the ground in locations from Syria to Haiti and everywhere in between. What they need is us.

“WHEN WE DRANK THAT WATER, WE GOT STOMACH PAIN. BUT I DRANK IT BECAUSE THERE WAS NO OTHER CHOICE.”

Liliana remembers when Concern first arrived in Mulombwa. They presented to people in the village and told them that they would build a water pump, but in the meantime the community was told they should boil their drinking water to make it safe. They spoke about lots of other things, too, like the importance of handwashing and keeping household plots tidy, and they helped families to construct latrines. They also asked the community to gather materials to help construct an enclosure for the pump. Everyone got involved. The pump was finally constructed last year and Liliana couldn’t be happier.

Liliana says that if the pump ever broke down and she had to go back to the old water source, now she knows to boil water first. But she’s not worried about that anyway. The pump is looked after by a water management committee elected by the village, and the community is fundraising to pay for ongoing maintenance.

From its 1968 origins of friends helping friends, Concern continues its mission to help those in need, to treat all struggling citizens, whatever their race, age, or background, like friends. What started with the Irish has now expanded to the world. We need to do our part and support the beautiful mission of helping others in devastating circumstances.

There is nothing more essential to a healthy life than clean water. This statement couldn’t be truer for Liliana and her entire community. Thank you so much for your support in bringing clean water to Mulombwa and other communities around the world.

Do your part and donate to Concern Worldwide U.S. today

Lead singer of LINKIN PARK, Chester Bennington, commits suicide

Popdust is sad to report Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington has committed suicide by hanging himself.

Chester Charles Bennington was a musician, singer, songwriter and actor. He was best known as the lead vocalist of rock/hip-hop band Linkin Park, but also performed in Dead by Sunrise, and live rock cover band Bucket of Weenies.

Law enforcement reports that the singer had hung himself at a residence in Palos Verdes Estates in Los Angeles County. Bennington’s body was discovered Thursday just before 9 AM.

musicfeeds.com.au

Chester struggled with drugs and alcohol for years. He had said in the past he had considered committing suicide because he had been abused as a child by an older male.

Chester was very close with Chris Cornell, who himself committed suicide by hanging in May. Today would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday. Chester wrote an open letter to Chris on the day of Chris’ suicide.

The band has had a string of hits over the years, including “Faint,” “In the End” and “Crawling.” Linkin Park crossed music genres, collaborating with Jay-Z.

The band’s album, “Meteroa,” was one of the biggest alt. albums in music history.

Bennington was 41. Chester was married with 6 children from 2 marriages.


Dan Victor is editor in chief of Popdust and producer of Popdust Presents. He is also a music producer, bassist for Low Profile (live hip hop) & The Coldpress (indie rap) and front-man for Ductape Halo (indie rock). Follow on Youtube.


WATCH | DUNKIRK lets the film convey the story, rather than say it

Endure an epic journey to fight the ultimate battle.

It has little dialogue and puts the situation as one you experience with the characters. It is meant to be a journey that challenges film making. Could this be Christopher Nolan‘s best movie to date? It has an original take on a story we know only too well, such as the Steven Spielberg classic Saving Private Ryan.

“It places you so absolutely in the situation of conflict — you don’t learn the details of characters’ backstories or even their surnames, you just see how this group reacts in this situation, make it a nail-biting encounter,” Branagh explained to The Hollywood Reporter on the black carpet at AMC Lincoln Square in New York. “He wanted it to be an experiential ‘fight or flight’ test, and it’s unrelenting in its engagement and doesn’t let the audience off the hook. You’re invited in to experience it as they’re experiencing it — as in, with not enough time to think or process things.”

Dunkirk hits the water with Mark Rylance as a small boat owner crossing the channel, flies with a Spitfire pilot (Tom Hardy) dogfighting German Messerschmitt planes and dodges bombardments on the beach through the eyes of young soldier Tommy (20-year-old newcomer Fionn Whitehead).

“It’s terrifying. I cannot imagine anything worse than being thrust into the situation these guys were thrown into,” says Nolan in his office on the Warner Bros. lot. “The survival instinct is just pretty remarkable.”

2nd P: STATS

Christopher Nolan‘s latest is sitting pretty at a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of this writing (here’s our own decidedly positive review). And while it’s received close to no negative criticism on a cinematic or storytelling level, it has — as is inevitable for any “based on a true story” film — been criticized on the basis of historical accuracy. In this particular case, the aggrieved party is the country of France.

Dunkirk arrived stateside on Tuesday night, with Christopher Nolan, Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Harry Styles and Fionn Whitehead in tow at the Warner Bros. film’s U.S. premiere.While the actors’ favorite (pre-Dunkirk) war movies range from the Steven Spielberg classic to Saving Private Ryan to last year’s foreign Oscar nominee Land of Mine — they all applauded Nolan for making “something that captures the chaos and panic of warfare,” said newcomer Whitehead. The critically-acclaimed WWII drama, out Friday, centers on the British military evacuation of the titular French city in 1940, one of the biggest battles.

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II. In May 1940, Germany advanced into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. Under air and ground cover from British and French forces, troops were slowly and methodically evacuated from the beach using every serviceable naval and civilian vessel that could be found. At the end of this heroic mission, 330,000 French, British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers were safely evacuated.

The result of Nolan’s long journey is Dunkirk, the Dark Knight trilogy director’s audaciously ambitious foray into real battle with epic scope. Nolan produced, directed and wrote the screenplay that follows three viewpoints during the bleak days when 400,000 troops were pinned down on French beaches before being miraculously evacuated.

Collins: “He’s on me.”

Farrier: “I’m on him.”

This looks like a very good movie for historical war movies, but it could also be made for the notoriously dry British taste. See people dig that, I am reserving my opinion until after I see it. If you are looking for a Blockbuster Action movie for the summer, this might be your ticket to hop on a non-stop thrill-ride. Comes out on Friday, July 21st.

IMDb


DUNKIRK
[purchase tickets]

RELEASE DATE: July 21st, 2017 | GENRE: Historical drama, War | RATING: PG-13 | TIME: 1 hr 47 min

CAST: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh
DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan

Follow on DUNKIRK Website | Facebook | Twitter


Dan Victor is editor in chief of Popdust and producer of Popdust Presents. He is also a music producer, bassist for Low Profile (live hip hop) & The Coldpress (indie rap) and front-man for Ductape Halo (indie rock). Follow on Youtube.

Sources: Movie Phone, Fandango, IMDB, Indie Wire


Official DUNKIRK Trailer on Youtube:

Soundcloud: Could this be the end?

By Massimo Tornambe

Soundcloud, a company valued at around $700-900 million could be approaching a bitter end. Last week, Soundcloud announced it was laying off 40% of its staff (179 employees). This surprising and completely unprecedented action took those who were being fired by surprise, while also putting the remaining employees into an understandable state of panic. The questions users like me, and former employees are asking are: Why would they do this? Will my favorite music service be around much longer? The answer unknown to everybody except for Soundcloud owner Alexander Ljung and co-owner Eric Wahlforss. Ever since its launch in 2007, Soundcloud has had to battle with other music services such as Spotify, and Apple Music, among many others. The niche Soundcloud manages to hit is their abundance of unsigned artists being able to upload their work, along with mashups and remixes. However, the most likely reason behind these cost-cutting tactics is lack of revenue. However, even with all this saved money, Soundcloud only has enough funding for their fourth yearly quarter.

Soundcloud has, however, insisted that they’ll be fine. CEO Alexander Ljung stated on the soundcloud blog: “The music you love on SoundCloud isn’t going away, the music you shared or uploaded isn’t going away, because SoundCloud is not going away. Not in 50 days, not in 80 days or anytime in the foreseeable future. Your music is safe.” His confidence steadied my nerves pertaining towards the future of my favorite music streaming service, as I hope it does to all other users. The mystery of all this lies within how Soundcloud plans to cover these losses. In no way have they mentioned their plan in handling this crisis.

The origin of this issue is within the foundation of Soundcloud’s ideals. Free music, and easy posting for unknown artists. However, up until recently, Soundcloud was totally free. In order to catch up with other streaming companies, Soundcloud now offers a pro membership for $7 a month and a pro unlimited membership for $15 a month. While users can still listen to tracks for free, many popular songs are restricted (pro and pro unlimited memberships required). Either way, Soundcloud now has a steady income.

Optimistic Underground

Even though it seems that Soundcloud is struggling, they have plenty of opportunities to raise more capital. Worst case scenario for them, Soundcloud is sold for its value of around $700 million. The buyers? Deals have been discussed with Twitter and Spotify, but they both fell through. The most recent contender is Deezer, a similar streaming service.

Rumors have arose about Soundcloud being saved by the musician, Chance the Rapper. Chance posted about having a very lucrative call with Soundcloud owner, Alexander Ljung. Perhaps Chance decided to invest in Soundcloud in order to save the service. This theory makes sense considering that Soundcloud was the platform Chance was discovered on. Rumors aside, Soundcloud has made it loud and clear that they are here to stay. I, and many other listeners hope they’re true to their word on this one.


REVIEW | Tyler Gets Real?

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything from Tyler. Since releasing Cherry Bomb two years back in 2015, he hasn’t been around the scene too much. Sure, he hasn’t totally disappeared but like most of the Odd Future gang, he doesn’t hang around the spotlight too much. He’ll pop and do something characteristically weird here and there but music wise he’s been quite. Since making it big, he never really has been one to hop on someone else’s track anyway. So while other artists try to stay relevant by getting some features in the interim between their projects, Tyler just sticks to focuses on his own.

On the other hand, a lot of artists recently have seemed eager to jump on the Creator’s tracks. On Cherry Bomb, he got features for Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Pharrell Williams, among others. Over the past week or so, Tyler had been teasing at some new content in typical Tyler fashion. His countdown culminated in a video for his new song “Who Dat Boy” with none other than A$AP Rocky. This song and video, along with other teasers, have been released to hype up his soon-to-be-released album Scum Fuck Flower Boy (which has all the charm of an album you would hear and say “yeah, that’s definitely a Tyler album”). The album will feature other collaborations such as Wolfgang brother Frank Ocean, former collaborator Lil Wayne, and singer Estelle.

The video accompanying the song “Who Dat Boy” is just as oddly creepy as the opening dark synth strings of the track would suggest. It opens on Tyler, back facing us, as we move through a dark hallway that frames him working on something. The kind of strange experimentation you would expect. Next thing you know, Tyler emerges outside and walks down the street with a severe gash across his face.

Then A$AP Rocky shows up, evidently to save the day by giving Tyler some facial reconstructive surgery. While performing the operation, a few cops bust in on them and they are forced to flee. Then it’s revealed to us that A$AP has sewed some sort of white-face surgical mask on to Tyler and damn, it is creepy as hell. The pair continue to rap around outside until all of a sudden Tyler is driving down the highway, cops in pursuit, with a random teenage dude that seems to come out of nowhere. This is all before the song and video abruptly transition into another song on the album “911”. This part of the video features multiple Tylers in a Cherry Blossom field or park.

All components of this video are pretty disconcerting but at the same time not at all something to be unexpected from an artist like Tyler. So much of his career has been based on a particular brand of strange antics and shock value. There could some potential race and/or police commentary going on in this video but like anything out The Creator, it’s distinctly difficult to pick out the pieces between absurd and direct.

A few other tracks from Scum Fuck Flower Boy have either been released or made their way out on to the Internet, including a song with Frank Ocean and the song “Boredom”. “Boredom”, the eighth track on the upcoming album, features Rex Orange County and Anna of the North. Some of this track rings back to the ending parts of Cherry Bomb, such as “Too Fucking Young/Perfect” and “Keep Da O’s”, with cuts of smoothness and Tyler swooning you don’t often get to hear. Unlike “Who Dat Boy” that very much sticks to the sonic canon of Tyler’s work, “Boredom” moves in a less abrasive direction.

The lyrical contemplation on “Boredom” hits with the same earnestness that likely has endeared Tyler to fans over the years. It’s a simple subject, generally just waiting for something to happen and trying to find the peace of mind to accept that nothing is going to happen. It’s the classic battle of trying to turn boredom into being simply content. This is evident in how the verses contrast the hooks sung by the features.

Giphy

In a similar vein, the track “Mr. Lonely” (part of the “9/11/Mr. Lonely”), which has made its way online as well, deals with the theme of Tyler waiting on something or someone. The track, which features Frank Ocean, is another honest deluge of thoughts and emotions from Tyler who clearly has no trouble baring it all for fans. Although, I did mention earlier that discerning the meaningful from the prank-like wildness of Tyler can often be hard, many of his tracks are very cut and dry about his real feelings. Even though he often time goes extremely overboard, especially in his earlier work, it’s pretty easy to tell the difference between raunchy tangents from his more poignant moments.

On top of that, apparently the whole album has already leaked online. This have given hardcore fans a chance to devour the content and flood the internet with speculation about even deeper moments on the album. Evidently Tyler gets even more personal on the album and on at least one track may or may not come out of the closet? While, this is all operating on the lyrics of the album and not on statements from The Creator, given that this album seems to be a departure for him, it would stand to reason that his lyrics reflect reality this time.

As other have pointed out, Tyler no longer seems to be making jokes and messing around. While he has retained much of the style of his antics, the earnestness level seems to have been bumped way up. Perhaps it has lended itself to making him a better artist and rapper as he is ready to get real with his fans.

It may have been a long time coming to some but I’m sure there will be those who miss his old ways. Although, once the album drops officially, we will be able to listen and see if there is enough for both camps of fans to be satisfied.

Dog Day is here! Chicago rivalries heat up with a long-time beef

Written by: Laurie Cairns

It’s a Chicago thing…

If you put ketchup on your hot dog you’re not a true Chicagoan. And the conversation is heating up as July 19National Hot Dog Day – approaches. Portillo’s and Buona, two longtime Chicago-area purveyors of street food, are both celebrating the food holiday with dollar dogs. Portillo’s came out first – offering $1 regular sized hot dogs on July 19th with the purchase of any sandwich, entrée salad, entrée pasta or ribs. Buona responded: they’re offering $1 hot dogs the DAY BEFORE National Hot Dog Day (July 18) with the purchase of a drink and a side. The caveat? They’re charging $1.50 if it’s ordered with ketchup.

TShirt Laundry

Forget about Chicago-style pizza – the Chicago hot dog is the stuff of street food legend. The Windy City classic includes yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled sport peppers and a dash of celery salt. No ketchup. Ever. At least if you’re over 18. This Chicago-centric viewpoint has the support of the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (the official trade association based in Washington, DC). The council published a paper on “Hot Dog Etiquette and Everyday Guidance for Eating America’s Sacred Food” in which they stated “Don’t use ketchup on your hot dog after the age of 18.”

Chicagoans’ obsession with assembling their hot dog by “dragging it through the garden” is something its residents take very seriously. The city’s roots in hot dog love are deep – dating back to the late 1800s. With the introduction of steam-powered meat choppers, Chicago’s famous Union Stock Yards plants began to churn out early versions of today’s hot dog. Chicago’s first hot dog brand was David Berg (founded in 1860). Many others followed, with Vienna Beef (founded in 1893) emerging as one of Chicago’s most beloved hot dog brands.

California Through My Lens

National chain Portillo’s started selling hot dogs in the western Chicago suburb of Villa Park in 1963, and has since become one of the city’s most famous purveyors of dogs. In 2014, the company’s Founder, Dick Portillo, sold the chain to Boston-based private-equity firm Berkshire Partners. The chain had grown to 38 restaurants, and the deal was rumored to be around $1 billion. Since the sale, Portillo’s has expanded to 50 restaurants and counting – 40 of which are in Illinois.

Buona, on the other hand, is a family-owned business that’s famous for Chicago’s OTHER iconic sandwich – the Italian beef. Relatives of the Buonavolanto family – AKA Buona’s owners – were among the group who first introduced Chicagoans to the sandwich. Like the hot dog, Italian beef was a product Chicago’s Stockyards, with its invention dating back to the time of the Great Depression. Buona has 20 locations across Chicagoland today, and is expanding at a rapid rate. Buona opened its first beef stand in Berwyn, IL in 1981, and today it is the Official Italian Beef of Chicago’s beloved baseball teams, the Cubs and White Sox. While Italian beef is their legacy and mainstay, they have been serving Chicago-style hot dogs since Day One. Notably, Portillo’s also sells Italian beef sandwiches.

Eater Chicago

The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, publicizes, sponsors and supports events and activities that commemorate the day. The Council designates July as National Hot Dog Month, with the date for National Hot Dog Day varying from year to year. It usually falls on the day on which the North American Meat Institute hosts its annual Hot Dog Lunch on Capitol Hill.

Stay tuned to see how Portillo’s and Buona duke it out next #NationalItalianBeefDay, which falls on the Saturday before Memorial Day – an official food holiday designation that the Buonavolanto family lobbied for and obtained in 2017.

See how they stack up. Visit the competition.


Portillo’s | Beef. Burgers. Salads.

Portillo’s is home to America’s favorite Italian beef, burgers, salads,
Chicago-style hot dogs, and chocolate cake.

www.portillos.com


Buona | The Original Italian Beef …

We’ve Got BBQ Ribs, Salads, Pizza, And Other Great Stuff, Too.

www.buona.com

Raffaello Hotel


Laurie Cairns is a Chicagoan, food aficionado, writer, publicist and mother. I have worked with some of Chicago’s leading chefs and restaurants, and have helped create editorial content on the history of iconic foods in Chicago, including Italian beef and the little-known story of Chicago-style BBQ.


WATCH | New “BLADE RUNNER 2049” Trailer: What’s Harrison Ford got to say to Ryan Gosling?

Be careful what you look for, you might just find it

A new trailer for ”
Blade Runner 2049″ has dropped over 2 months after the first preview was released. “Good Morning America” debuted the extended look at the long-awaited sequel Monday morning. While the first trailer introduced us to Ryan Gosling‘s character, LAPD Blade Runner, Officer K, this new clip reveals more about Harrison Ford‘s character, who says that he and his fellow Blade Runners were being hunted. Previews haven’t focused on Decker thus far because it’s rumored Ford doesn’t appear until the last third of the movie.

From executive producer
Ridley Scott and director Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049 stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana De Armas, MacKenzie Davis, Sylvia Hoeks, Lennie James, Carla Juri, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista and Jared Leto as Neander Wallace, a replicant manufacturer.

Deadline

Thirty years after the events of the first
film, a new Blade Runner, Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former Los Angeles Police Department Blade Runner who had disappeared 30 years before. As the trailer unfolds, it turns out that K may be the key to the future of humanity. It’s not perfectly clear whether or not replicants will succeed in replacing humans, but exposing the truth could start a war.

“You’re a cop?” Decker asks his successor, adding, “I had your job once.” “What happened?” responds Gosling, before being told, “We were being hunted!”

Hampton Fancher and Michael Green wrote the screenplay, which follows the initial story by Fancher and David Peoples, based on Philip K. Dick‘s novella “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” Ridley Scott‘s original movie was set in Los Angeles in 2019. It chronicles Harrison Ford’s Deckard, who hunted down replicants that had violently escaped an off-world colony to make their way to Earth. Replicants were not allowed inhabit the planet, with a life span of 5 years, after which they would ‘die’ or begin to shut down. They came back to their maker to discover how to reverse the process.

The cinematography in this next sneak peak is just as visually exotic as past previews, but featured more of Johann Johannsson’s synthesizer-induced score that pays homage to Vangelis’ original score for 1982’s Blade Runner. The first film was characterized so much by it’s sounds scape as well as every frame treated as if a photograph on a gallery wall. Johannsson has said his work on the movie was “an enormous challenge of mythical proportion.”

An Oculus-powered VR experience for Blade Runner 2049 will be premiered at San Diego’s Comic-Con. The experience is said to put visitors immersed within the futuristic world of Blade Runner. Visitors will be able to walk around the neon-lit streets, will be tested to see if they’re replicants or humans. The Spinner, the flying car from the movie, will also be on display.

Popdust eagerly awaits the release of this soon to be classic that seems to be doing a good job of a continuation to a highly regarded classic. Blade Runner 2049 will officially be released on October 6th, 2017.


BLADE RUNNER 2049 [purchase tickets]

RELEASE DATE: October 6th, 2017 | GENRE: SCI FI, THRILLER | NOT YET RATED

CAST:Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James

DIRECTOR: Denis Villeneuve


Watch “Time to Live” Featurette below:

Follow #BladeRunner2049 on: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Dan Victor is editor in chief of Popdust and producer of Popdust Presents. He is also a music producer, bassist for Low Profile (live hip hop) & The Coldpress (indie rap) and front-man for Ductape Halo (indie rock). Follow on Youtube.

Sources:
Variety, The Verge, MovieWeb

YouTube

Hollywood Reporter

INTERVIEW | Hamilton Leithauser tells us his favorite Walkmen albums

“I used to spend all my Saturdays at used vinyl shops and you could actually get great stuff for like $3.”

It was 2004 and Hamilton Leithauser was asking if you could hear him while he was pounding your door and calling your name. He was in his late mid-twenties then, having spent the past decades toiling in the indie scenes of D.C., Boston and finally New York, a bare few years after Is This It blew alway London and recorded right before “Mr. Brightside” would strangle it to death. Leithauser’s band, The Walkmen, had broken through the ice with a single that forcefully jabbed jabbed the air like the Interpol song you belted at the bar but left you more unsettled than Carlos D’s sneery bass throb ever could. Five more albums would follow before the band took an “extreme hiatus” with a shrug, profiled excellently by Ryan Leas at Stereogum: “No drama, no in-fighting. Just a collective agreement: This thing is over. At least for now.”

Leithauser has stayed busy. His solo debut, Black Hours, came out in 2014 to the perfunctory praise given to a solo debut from a charismatic frontman. It was a very fine album, polished oldie pop meant to shake off the rock band reputation, made by a man who clearly admired Frank Sinatra. Good job, now get the gang back together. His latest offering however, a collaboration with Vampire Weekend’s former songwriter and keyboardist, Rostam Batmanglij, was a big deal. Turning into Leithauser’s staccato into reveries frozen in acoustic mist, I Had a Dream That You Were Mine was one of the most gorgeous albums released last year.

Shortly before Leithauser takes the stage at this weekend’s Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, I had the chance to shoot him a few questions.


Were you surprised by the amount of acclaim that I Had a Dream That You Were Mine received last year? Did making it feel like a large departure from your earlier solo work?

Everything I’ve done in the last couple years has felt like a big departure to me, because I was working with the same gang for so long…it’s very different being on my own. So every new personality that comes along ends up having a big influence on what I’m doing. I spend so much of my time working alone. I like working with other people…it’s like the reward at the end of the day…hanging out with your friends again.

Before that you did an album with your old bandmate, Paul Maroon called Dear God. I think it was vinyl-only, and you guys hand-delivered some of them?

No more hand deliveries! It was actually pretty fun for a while…showing up at people’s offices, apartments, or synagogues at weird hours. Waking hungover people up at about 8 am on a Sunday morning with my 3 year old daughter. But we ended up scheduling so many more of those than we should have, and the NYC traffic started to make it “not so fun”. I got a $300 speeding ticket at Grant’s Tomb during one delivery, so I did the math like “well I guess that negated that sale…and about 30 other sales”.

Speaking of vinyl, has the resurgence of record-collecting felt validating?

It’s great that everyone puts out records on vinyl, but now it’s so expensive! I used to spend all my Saturdays at used vinyl shops and you could actually get great stuff for like $3. No way would that happen any more…anywhere in the US. [So] in like 1996, vinyl was like a great investment. Who would have thunk?

More nostalgia: everyone seems to be misty-eyed over the whole old East Village thing.

I do feel connected to the East Village more than anywhere else in the city. I’ve lived all over. Probably just because it was the first place I lived, and where the band really got going. It’s changed a whole lot, but whenever I’m there, not very often any more, I do get a little nostalgic tug at the heart strings.

You also used to work at the Met back then as well, I believe. Arranging their art history into a timeline of sorts. What was your favorite period to work with?

Can’t say I had a favorite. On thing my office was in charge of was “cold storage”, which was all the old films and a lot of photographs and digital media. It was all kept in this refrigerated box right down the hall. One summer at the very beginning, I was put in charge of archiving films–why in the hell was an 18 year old kid archiving all this stuff? The Met isn’t exactly run like Microsoft. Anyhow, it was this summer where every day was like 100 degrees in New York, and I was spending all day in a full down coat, scarf, mittens, snow pants, and snow boots in this freezing cave in the basement by myself.

Back then, you were more in touch with the underground scene. Do you feel like its harder for acts to find the kind of recognition you found?

It was hard then. Before the Walkmen, in college, I had this band the Recoys. We lived in Boston then moved to NYC. We played all around the East Village and Williamsburg for a few years with basically zero success. It wasn’t until a little into the Walkmen that we got the ball rolling…it took us a little while too. I will say that when I started as a solo act I wasn’t fully prepared for how few people would connect my name to the Walkmen name. I think I’ve finally got my own name now, but it’s been like 4 years….that’s a lotta work!

How would you rank your Walkmen records?

Yikes…can’t do that. Too close to the heart. You & Me is my favorite, but I got a real weak spot for Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone…was just a great new frontier for us in making it.

Hamilton Leithauser is playing the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago on July 16th.


I Had a Dream That You Were Mine is out on Glassnote Records.


Andrew Karpan really doesn’t have better material. He’s sorry. You can follow him on Twitter.

INTERVIEW | Catching up with The Feelies: “It’s not a particularly joyous time to be alive.”

Band reunions get a bad rap.

It breaks the mythology: bands that have been going on for decades, your Pearl Jam or (until this decade) your Sonic Youth or R.E.M. unchallenged. But the breakup, an essential element of the rock band myth, so perpetuated by Jack Black, is supposed to be definitive. We’re supposed to wish they would get back together but they never actually should.

The Feelies were an icon of the late ’70s scene, a group of New Jersey kids who commuted to CBGBs to pall around Television, Johnny Thunders and Patti Smith, adding to the punk din simmering over the summer of ’79. Their debut, 1980’s Crazy Rhythms, would become an iconic piece of New York cool, glibly referenced by Weezer on the cover of their own debut a decade and a half later. More important was the version of punk the Feelies perfected: long, tense jams made out of the pop-inflected noise the Ramones were serving deep-dish from Queens. Spin “Fa Cé-La” and you’ve never heard anything like it before except for everything trying to sound like it. But that’s history, stuff for the press release on the Hall of Fame tour. The band is playing their first music festival this weekend in Chicago, an event following the release of their second album since the end of their extended hiatus, In Between, which came out on Bar/None this February.

Before giving it a rest in ’92, right before the music festival boom hit the alternative scene big time, they had released four records of tightly packed post-punk pop, a complete-enough discography for confessed fans like Rivers Cuomo and Martin Courtney of Real Estate to find and name check in interviews on their own press tours. So, why come back?

(John baumgartner)

“I’m not really up on new music,” Glenn Mercer admitted when I called him by phone the other day. His voice was courteous, yet firmly curt. Polite but not too chatty. I asked if he had checked out any of these newfangled music festivals that the kids seems to be into these days and, without a moment thought, he answered: “Once, 1972,” referring to a festival in Long Pond, Pennsylvania where Rod Stewart opened for Three Dog Night before being rained out and Perry Farrell had barely plucked his first string. It wasn’t that big of a deal, back then, Mercer said.

He hadn’t cared much, either, for making it in the alternative rock rat race that he and his band abandoned sometime after appearing in a Jonathan Demme movie and before “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was in every radio DJ’s hands. Mercer gives me a story about doing a video segment, never used, for a forgotten music television program in 1990. “It was ill-conceived,” he said, before dropping the subject.

In Between is dark piece of melancholy, charging against the present with the moaning noises of a past that’s pat-pat-patting against today’s obelisk. Where most band’s post-reunion careers showcase attempts to rehash old glories, the Feelies’ latest offering depicts “an ongoing struggle against doubt,” per Ed Whitelock at PopMatters. “It’s not a particularly joyous time to be alive,” Mercer told me when I brought up the message behind songs like “Been Replaced,” where his icy voice chattered the song’s title like the empty desks at an abandoned office.

“The world has gotten so loud that we have shut our ears off, we’re in self-preservation mode,” Mercer went on. “We shut our ears off and we start to hear things. There’s minimalism and emptiness and space. There’s no total lack of sound but subtleties emerge.”

The Feelies are playing the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago on July 15th.


In Between is out on Bar/None. Check it out.


Andrew Karpan really doesn’t have better material. He’s sorry. You can follow him on Twitter.