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Spinning Singles: EDMONDSON, “Meanwhile”

Legendary producer and so-called “Fifth Beatle,” George Martin, once told a story about the 1967 classic “Strawberry Fields Forever.” According to Martin, the track’s slow build, its fusion of traditional rock elements with studio innovation, came about after a frustrated John Lennon decided to join two different versions of the song together in the studio. Beatles comparisons are a lot—but “Meanwhile,” the new track off EDMONDSON’s upcoming record, Strange Durations, recalls some of their later work like “Fields” in its willingness to push the listener in unexpected directions. Beginning with bittersweet piano licks, the track veers into new territory midway, eventually settling into a horn-driven groove, as sassy as its first bars are reflective. It includes shakers, changing time signatures and what sounds like a circus whistle. “Meanwhile” assembles its pieces into an intriguingly new sound, one that challenges the listener while inviting her in.

GUEST ROOM | A Donald Trump is Coming for Pro Basketball

The NBA, like America, is on an unsustainable course of growth and excess. The league is taking more and more three-pointers every year, and playing at a faster and faster pace — and just two teams, the top one percent of the league, have a near monopoly on elite players. The Warriors and Cavs will likely face each other in this year’s championship for the third consecutive time. A backlash is coming. America, too, has experienced a backlash: in this case, to the accelerated pace of global finance, demographic change and widening inequality.

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VAN ZILE | Kanye’s Albums, Ranked

Kanye West is a visionary genius whose career will be remembered as one of the most superior documents of this thoroughly bizarre era. His egotism is part of his artistic genius, because both draw from the same traits: total confidence and limitless ambition. If you don’t appreciate him, your punishment is that you don’t get to enjoy him. I am a Kanye scholar and I am prepared to objectively rank these albums. All judgments made in this piece are correct. No dissent, please.

GUEST ROOM | Four Ridiculous Opinions About Trump

In these ridiculous times, it’s tempting to take ridiculous positions; after all, we have a ridiculous President-elect. From his golden hair to his stubby fingers, Trump is a caricature of American wealth, power and superficiality. Of course he’ll lead us into outlandish positions. These are a few such positions. Regardless of your political beliefs, don’t let yourself fall into any of these traps, and you’ll be an island of sanity in the ocean of weirdness that political debate has become.

The community labyrinth constructed behind Sacred Root Kava Bar.

VAN ZILE | Secret Rituals and Mild Narcotics In Downtown Ithaca

If you walk west down the Ithaca Commons late on a Saturday night, past Moonies and the State Theatre, the vibe starts getting weird. You see fewer and fewer people, and the people you do see don’t look like students going out to party. The thumping music coming from the bars gives way to a strange quiet. Head down to Geneva and State and you’ll find a “community labyrinth” behind the office of The Sun. This labyrinth, a set of jagged rocks arranged in spirals, is next to a stairway that leads down to a door.

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TEST SPIN: Danny Brown — Atrocity Exhibition

Right off the bat, I want to let you know that I’m not going to review this new record, Atrocity Exhibition by the Detroit rapper Danny Brown, objectively. Danny Brown is my favorite rapper of all time, I’m disposed to review this record positively, and it’d be dishonest to pretend otherwise. I also want to let you know that even though Danny Brown is a great, great rapper, he’s also extremely transgressive and sometimes difficult to listen to; his music is so weird that it inspires obsessive love in some while alienating many more. Accordingly, Atrocity Exhibition is as uncompromising and bizarre as it is brilliant. Danny raps in a nasal, high-pitched squeal that mimics the effects of stimulant abuse, and his music is dissonant, arrhythmic and stressful.

GUEST ROOM | President Mark Cuban, 2020

It’s a balmy June morning in 2018, and President Hillary Clinton fires up her tablet to find that a mysterious new candidate is running against her in the 2020 Democratic primary. Faced with domestic terror attacks and a government shutdown forced by congressional Republicans, Hillary has grown unpopular. Young voters want something fresh. At noon, eccentric Texas billionaire and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban livestreams a press conference on YouTube and Snapchat. Wearing jeans and unpretentious Silicon Valley sneakers, Cuban lays out a platform for the 21st century — heavy investment in self-driving cars, private space travel and biotechnological human enhancement, the complete divestment of U.S. energy from foreign oil, and legalization of all drugs.

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VAN ZILE | Stay Awake For Fun

Today I have a challenge for you. A simple one, yes, and maybe a pointless one too, but a challenge. For no immediate reason, try and stay up for as long as you possibly can. Most people, in my experience, do not want to do this. I like asking casual acquaintances how long they’ve ever stayed awake at a time, and after people tell me, they almost always say something like, “Ugh, it was awful.

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VAN ZILE | The Tao of Beer Pong

I was standing somewhere on a Friday night during my freshman year when a stranger asked if I wanted to hear the secret of beer pong. I don’t remember what he looked like, just that his face held an expression of profound serenity and compassion. “The secret of beer pong,” he said, “is to throw the ball into the cup.” I asked him what the hell he meant by that. “Beer pong is a metaphor for life,” he said. “What is it to exist but to throw a ball into a cup?

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TEST SPIN: Drake — Views

Drake has become the kind of generational figure that comes along once or twice a decade in pop music. Part of why he’s pulled it off is because, like Johnny Cash or a young Jay-Z, he communicates exclusively in a relatable, easy-to-understand way. Given a few seconds of a Drake song, the listener can identify that it’s Drake, decide if they relate to what he’s saying and make up their mind about it. He has mastered personal musings that seem like grand statements, journal entries aimed at a crowd. He kicks off Views with another one of them: “All of my let’s-just-be-friends are friends I don’t have anymore,” on “Keep The Family Close.” If this sentiment seems familiar, it might be because you’ve heard versions of it all over his past few albums. Don’t expect much innovation on Views, since it sticks to the themes that Drake has turned into a cottage industry: failed relationships, wistful nostalgia and the occasional chest-thumping taunt.