Taylor Swift Celebrates Her 25th Birthday at the Z100 Jingle Ball to Screams of Adoration

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(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
Taylor Swift performs onstage during iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2014, hosted by Z100 New York and presented by Goldfish Puffs at Madison Square Garden on December 12, 2014, in New York City.
Better Than: Listening to these pop hits at a bar filled with SantaCon goons.

Attending Z100's Jingle Ball is like being thrust into a crash course on what's dominating today's Top 40 charts. On December 13 at Madison Square Garden, the annual holiday concert bill was the largest it's ever been: Sixteen different performers took the stage, many of them returning more than once for duets and collaborations over the course of the four-hour performance. As a result, the holiday show's pace was relentless and sometimes individual sets were so brief that only one song (or a dizzyingly fast medley) was spit out by the fresh-faced pop stars in the spotlight. The hurried pace of the night launched the audience into a state of constant stimulation -- it's a similar sensation to flipping through TV channels or absentmindedly surfing YouTube videos.

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Swans Punish a Sold-Out Crowd at Warsaw in Greenpoint

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Swans publicity photo via Facebook
Michael Gira at work with Swans
Better Than: Standing in front of a sputtering jet engine.

On Friday night at Warsaw (261 Driggs Avenue) in Greenpoint, Swans performed to a sold-out crowd of masochists, who seemed to welcome the punishing drone as though it were candy. Many in the crowd wisely wore earplugs. The sheer volume of Swans easily overpowered anyone who was silly enough to forget their pair at home. Speaking in purely referential terms, only My Bloody Valentine is louder. But while My Bloody Valentine's legendary 20-minute dissonant noise-pummeling takes place in the middle of "You Made Me Realise," Swans maintained that level of intensity for their two-hour set, giving in only occasionally for Michael Gira to scat-sing or for the band to transition between songs.

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John Waters & Music: A Love Story

Categories: John Waters

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Stage 48
John Waters just looks like he has a cool record collection.
This Sunday, the great John Waters brings his annual Christmas show to City Winery. An absolute Christmas fanatic, Waters also just so happens to be marking 10 years since the release of his curated compilation album A John Waters Christmas. While some were surprised at the time that the Baron of Bad Taste would be releasing a collection of holiday tunes, Waters has actually been very music-minded his entire career. To score your journey to hear him this weekend, we've put together this history of John Waters and the music of his life.

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The 10 Best Concerts in New York This Weekend, 12/12/14

Categories: Weekend

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Eric White
Cymbals Eat Guitars
For more shows throughout the weekend, check out our New York Concert Calendar, which we update daily.


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Punk Photographer Ben Trogdon Will Probably Just Give You His Photos for Free

Categories: Punk, Video

Ben Trogdon edits the cult punk fanzine Nuts!, plays drum in the band Ivy, and has been photographing the underground American punk scene since 2006. On November 13, Ben displayed his photographs in public for the very first time. The show was up for four days at Hell and Gone, a gallery housed in a shipping container in Bushwick that has since closed.

"I always thought that art galleries generally were pretty crappy," says Trogdon. "In New York there's not that much space, and there are these huge empty rooms [art galleries] and then there's also all these poor people sleeping on the street. It's so depressing. And there's all this really shitty artwork on the wall. I was like, 'I don't really want to be a part of that. It's so gross.' "

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The 10 Best Britpop Albums of All Time (or At Least Since 1993 or So)

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Oscilloscope Laboratories
Flying high: Jarvis Cocker and Pulp
True, the glowingly reviewed new Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets has bowed humbly out of NYC-area theaters -- though it is, ahem, available for rent or sale via iTunes -- but in any case our bet is that the Sheffield lads' doc signals just the tip of a looming iceberg. Surely, with Britpop's best-regarded exponents and their seminal records approaching 20-year jubilee status, we're in store for a whole lot more retrospective feting: reissues, remasters, deluxe editions; would a Justine Frischmann tell-all be too much to hope for?

Anyway, the presumptive coming flood led us to reflect on what "Britpop" even is, or encompasses. To keep things (relatively) brief, it's: bright, melody-forward, commercially intent guitar-band pop-rock; unabashedly British, of course, in pub-singalong sensibility and/or deployment of accent; and, crucially, for our purposes here, limited to post-'92 or thereabouts (the interregnum betwixt shoegaze and, well, Radiohead), meaning the some-might-say criminal exclusion of the progenitive Smiths and Stone Roses from consideration. All of which, naturally, then led to our wondering: If you absolutely gun-to-head had to choose, given these parameters, what would a list of 10 Best Britpop Albums of All Time, Ever, look like?

So, without further ado...

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Ask Andrew W.K.: My Holier-Than-Thou Girlfriend Is Demonic

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Photo by Drew Crozier
[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: AskAWK@villagevoice.com]

Dear Andrew,

About a year ago, I discovered that my self righteous, astrological, new age spiritual pseudo-artistic progressive, fake, socialist, feminist girlfriend cheated on me. Actually, she had been cheating on me with a bunch of random dudes for many months. In fact, it seems that I was the last to know, and all her idiotic politically correct piece-of-sh*t friends had been aware of this the whole time and didn't bother to tell me, which just made me look like an even bigger idiot. Obviously, I broke up with her immediately and tried to explain to her what an awful person she is. She was oblivious to this fact then and still is now. What really angers me is that she is constantly being praised and awarded for being such an "important and sophisticated and artistic" person. For some insane reason, she is successful in crappy independent art and film circles and is considered an "important artistic voice for women"; I guess some sort of feminist role model. The thing is, it's all complete bullsh*t. She is a horrible and talentless person who doesn't even live up to the standards she sets for everyone else. She's basically always been a loser whose career is based on her overcompensating for not having anything genuine in her soul, and I'm constantly trying to get people to call her on it. I just hate all these morons and their stupid art movements and political causes and holier-than-thou feminist messages. My question is, how can I convince all these idiots to stop worshipping this woman who doesn't deserve their praise and wake up to their own hypocrisy?

Thank you,
My Ex Is Evil


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Bridget Everett Wants to Meet You Under the Mistletoe at the Bell House

Categories: Comedy

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Photo by C.S. Muncy for the Village Voice
Bridget Everett
This week in Cheap Laughs, we have big titties, clamps for your titties, professionally exposed titties, vegan/queer titties, cynical black titties, and titties covered in marinara sauce. Even for us, that's...a lot of titties. Here's our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.

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The 10 Best Metal Albums of 2014: Our List Goes to 11

Categories: Metal

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Paolo Girardi
Here it is, metalheads: our take on the best metal albums of 2014. It's been a righteous year in metal, and 10 picks weren't quite enough. So in the spirit of the genre, our list goes to 11.

We listened for albums with a unique musical point of view, for fresh ideas that stand out from a crowd of trends. We looked for superior skill tempered by musicality. We listened to many, many hours of heavy metal. Without further ado, here's the best of the best.

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The Smashing Pumpkins TCOB in NYC with a Pop-Up Shop and Businesslike Gig

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All photos by Sachyn Mital for the Village Voice
Billy Corgan at Webster Hall
Better Than: Dave Grohl

The Smashing Pumpkins need no introduction. When they hit the stage, it's because it's time to hit the stage. There's no banter, no countdown, no pyrotechnics. Billy Corgan and his band of merry men, sans James Iha and any female presence, D'arcy Wretzky or otherwise, launched into "One and All (We Are)" from their new album, Monuments to an Elegy, with little warning on Monday night at Webster Hall. The show felt like a transaction, and Corgan wanted to make sure we got our money's worth. Along with Jeff Schroeder, Corgan brought on Killers bassist Mark Stoermer and Rage Against the Machine's Brad Wilk for the gig.

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