Between Heaven and Hell: Ariana Grande and My Everything

Categories: Essay

Ariana Grande is in purgatory. That's the major takeaway from her endlessly listenable sophomore album, My Everything, which, for all its hits (I count at least two more potential radio cuts after the trio of "Problem," "Break Free," and "Bang Bang") still finds the 21 year old without a firm identity or even one you can sum up in a single sentence. Near every song on the album finds her torn between two poles.

Her love life tends to find her sitting on a precipice, unsure whether or not to DMTFA, as Dan Savage would have it, or to commit to something more. But Grande, a lapsed Catholic who's confessed to a belief in both ghosts and demons, can also sound as if she's quite literally hovering on edge between heaven and hell.

See also: How Not To Write About Female Musicians: A Handy Guide

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The Best Noise Music in August: Springsteen Shitshower, Bryan Eubanks, Pagan Cops


[Ed. Note: In Please Enjoy Responsibly, columnist Raymond Cummings tracks down the best noise music of the month, while keeping an eye out for the best of recent months and saluting noise triumphs of yesteryear.]

There's no pleasant way to say this, so I'll just say it: if I didn't know better, I'd swear there's rotting a corpse in the dumpster behind my apartment building. Two likely culprits are to blame - the college kids swarming the 'hood now that school's back in session and the out-of-nowhere high temperatures scorching the small town I live in. Probably not a corpse; probably just raw chicken or something, but when I'm downwind from that dumpster, the stench leaps out and smacks me around a little. Very rude, very brusque, very noise. For some reason I've never invested in stereo speakers. Maybe, now, it's finally time. Here's a taste of some of what I'll blast, once I finally do.

See also: The Best Noise Music in July: "Liberace Regaling Ghouls in a Mausoleum"

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The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 8/29/14

Categories: Weekend

Credit: Loren Wohl
Catch David Guetta at Electric Zoo this weekend on Randall's Island
For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.

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The Internet Couldn't Kill Brad Paisley, and That's a Good Thing

Categories: Country

Paisley, helpfully leaving room for you to Photshop in Cool J.
One of the many things off about "Accidental Racist" was its thudding bluntness. Savvy Brad Paisley, long the country star of choice of people who don't buy music at Wal-Mart, had always been more sly than that. On ace hits like "American Saturday Night" and "Welcome to the Future" he stormed radio with progressive truisms -- immigration is good! A black president is worth celebrating! -- that he cannily embedded in country-music themes. He was a master of inception, making his gently lefty beliefs feel like they had actually been part of Nashville thinking all along. In short, he brought listeners with him.

See also: Even Country Music Is Ready for Marijuana Legalization

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Help a Local Sound Engineer Fund Her Dream

Categories: NYC Report

via gofundme
Dana Wachs/ Vorhees
Dana Wachs is a longtime Brooklyn-based audio engineer who has most likely run the sound for a few concerts you've been to around town. She's also traveled the world running sound for acts like M.I.A., St. Vincent, Cat Power, MGMT, and Lykki Ly. She's good at her job, and also happens to have a band, the beautifully atmospheric Vorhees, her one-woman show. The music she creates as Vorhees is hard to describe, but her soundcloud page gives it an admirable effort:

See also: H. Jon Benjamin's Absurd Kickstarter Illustrates the Absurdity of Most Kickstarters

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Slash Explains the Difference Between Touring With Aerosmith Today Vs. in 1988

Categories: Live

Photo by Travis Shinn
"I didn't walk into their dressing room with a bag of blow and an open bottle of Jack Daniels; we weren't going to do, those [drugs] were mine!" recalls Slash, laughing. The mono-monikered guitar star is flashing back to when Guns 'N' Roses opened for Aerosmith in 1988. "We had a blast, and it was one of the best professional experiences of my career--having Guns open up for Aerosmith and having our band fucking finally cross that wave. That was just really cool."

Cut to 26 years later, and he's again opening for Aerosmith, this time gone from Guns for 18 years, sober for nine, and with his band of about three years--Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. The iconic, large-than-life cartoon character that is Slash hasn't outgrown his rock ''n' roll all night and party every day (and night) lifestyle, though these days, the father of two lives it minus booze and substances. A sober Slash is a busy Slash: "I enjoy what I do and I get bored easily. I need to play. If I'm not on tour, I'm jamming. And if not I'm doing a session; I'm always playing."

See also: The 10 Best Punk Rock Movies

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Ask Andrew W.K.: How to Cope With All This Terribly Tragic News

Photo by Mario Dane
[Editor's note: Every Wednesday New York City's own Andrew W.K. takes your life questions, and sets you safely down the right path to a solution, a purpose or -- no surprise here -- a party. Need his help? Just ask:]

Dear Andrew,

Thanks for writing your column. It's really helped me lately, which is why I'm writing to ask you about this: It feels like the world is ending. Every time I turn on the TV, there's a new crisis: War, riots, environmental catastrophes, disease, financial collapse, cyber crime, religious rage, not to mention the boring little problems of my own regular life.

In one week, I literally saw the top stories in the newspaper all describing various versions of Armageddon, one after another -- just a big list of apocalyptic events. And it seems like every recent Hollywood movie focuses on some apocalyptic disaster or dystopian vision of the not-too-distant future. If someone would've told me 15 years ago that things would get this bad, I would've found it hard to believe. And now I'm wondering, in 15 more years will they be even worse? What the hell is going on? How can things keep going this way? Is the world ending?

Please help,
Afraid and Paranoid

See also: Ask Andrew W.K.: My Dad Is a Right-Wing Asshole

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The 10 Best Punk Rock Movies

Categories: Lists

Punk rock has been a part of cinema ever since the music blasted out of New York, Los Angeles, and London in the mid to late '70s. In film and on TV, portrayals of punk are often misguided or straight laughable (Hello Quincy! Hi C.H.I.P.S! Hey, CBGB movie!) But sometimes they get it kinda sorta right. Here now, our list of 10 punk movies we can live with. (Note: not included here are punk documentaries, only feature films.)

See also: Six Punk Bands We Don't Need To Talk About Anymore

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How Mega Rave Electric Zoo Will Try to Keep the Drugs Out

Categories: Electric Zoo

All photos Kaitlin Perry
Electric Zoo
As many as 100,000 EDM fans will descend on Randall's Island this weekend for the return of Electric Zoo. Over three days, the mostly 20-something crowd will hear an impressive roster of DJs that includes superstars David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren, Paul Van Dyk, Victor Calderone, Kaskade, and Sasha.

But first they will have to have their wristbands electronically validated after proving they have viewed — either online or there on site — a video on the dangers of Molly, the Ecstasy derivative responsible for several recent deaths at EDM events. Written and directed by James Manos, Jr., creator of the popular Showtime series, Dexter, and his teenage daughter, Ellie, the two-minute PSA shows a young man getting so high on the dance floor that he ends up alone in a very dark head space.

It's only one of the steps the festival's producer, Made Event, is taking after last year, when two attendees died, and several others were reportedly hospitalized. In the wake of intense media scrutiny and criticism, and after a strong recommendation by the mayor's office, the third day was abruptly canceled.

This year, attendees will be greeted by drug-sniffing dogs and "Amnesty Bins," which offer a last chance to trash the stash, no questions asked.

See also: GIFs: The Anti-Drug PSA All Electric Zoo Concertgoers Are Required to Watch This Year

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Cheap Laughs: The Best Indie Comedy in NYC This Week 8/27 - 9/2

Categories: Comedy

The Mortified Show takes over Littlefield this Tuesday at 8pm
This week in Cheap Laughs, we have Harvard grads, bitches in plaid, slavery fans, Labor Day plans, and a shame too great to hide. Let's do it. Here's our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.

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