Scene’s summer favorites
Adam Ramos | Thursday, August 17, 2017
In the next couple of weeks, Scene will be reviewing a handful of our favorite albums and movies released this past summer, but there was much more content we were regretfully unable to cover while on break. Below is short list of various works in a myriad of mediums that are worth checking out during a free moment over Welcome Weekend.
“Meet Me In The Bathroom”
By Lizzy Goodman
Already causing controversy, “Meet Me in The Bathroom” is a vibrant and detailed account of the progression of rock music in New York City from 2000 to 2011. In her new 600-page work, veteran music journalist Lizzy Goodman is an artist when it comes to quotes, seamlessly splicing together interviews from well over a hundred musicians, journalists and other influential industry leaders. The result is a stimulating collage of rock star debauchery, industry insights and ultimately the history of a brief but tumultuous period in the world’s greatest city.
The juxtaposition of New York bands Interpol and The Strokes as the beacons for the rebirth of rock leads the majority of the narrative. Yet, Goodman takes great strides in interjecting the main narrative with mini-histories of other storied NYC bands — namely Yeah Yeah Yeahs, White Stripes, The Kings of Leon and Vampire Weekend — making the book a must-have for any music nerd.
“What’s Good with Stretch & Bobbito”
By Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia
Broadcast from Columbia University throughout much of ’90s, “The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show” provided many of the most influential hip-hop artists — including Nas, JAY-Z and Wu-Tang Clan — their very first shot on air. Avid hip-hop fans and New York natives, Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia hosted the show and on it created a new forum for the development and evolution of the genre’s sound. This summer found the dynamic duo back on the airwaves together for the first time in 19 years via a conversational National Public Radio music podcast titled “What’s Good with Stretch & Bobbito.”
On their new show, Stretch and Bobbito bring with them years of experience in radio and unique insights into the history of hip-hop and its culture. Yet, the conversations often focus on non-music topics. Whether its discussing how actor Mahershala Ali’s Muslim faith informs his acting or Dave Chappelle’s experience on “Saturday Night Live,” the two seasoned hosts are constantly reverent and thoughtful in creating provoking and important conversations that will likely help propel their new show to fame similar to what the two achieved in the ’90s.
“Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century”
By Chuck Klosterman
Whether it was through writing his past books, or through his contributions to the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Spin, Grantland or GQ, writer Chuck Klosterman has seen a lot. In his latest effort, “Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century,” the 45-year-old has a chance to reflect on his past exploits via a compilation of selected works.
The articles chosen for “X” feature a mixed bag of particularly detailed and opinionated pieces mostly about music, sports and the cultural topics hovering in-between the two poles. The book functions like a “greatest hits” album, yet the careful curation creates a unique narrative that reflects U.S. culture as well as Klosterman’s space and perspectives within in it. While Klosterman may have built a niche audience throughout the years, his latest book’s breadth of subject matter ensures that any casual reader will find much of it interesting.
By Malcolm Gladwell
The podcast, now in its second season, basically functions as an audible book. And like many of Gladwell’s other celebrated works, “Revisionist History” features a central theme but unrelated episodes (think: chapters). Revisiting “overlooked and misunderstood” areas of history is Gladwell’s latest obsession, and each episode delves into an independent topic under this larger umbrella. The second season of the podcast finds Gladwell introducing an even greater topic range, covering a mostly overlooked FBI informant, golf and Brown v. Board of Ed. — just to name a few.
The new medium provides Gladwell more elements to work with in crafting his brilliantly researched and delivered stories. From the excellent music coordination, excerpts from riveting interviews and Gladwell’s smooth delivery, readers familiar with past works will find the podcast inviting, while those who are not will find a great introduction into the strange and fascinating mind of Malcolm Gladwell.
Directed by Allen Hughes
In 2014, Apple purchased Beats Electronics for $3 billion dollars. The deal — Apple’s largest acquisition to date — propelled the headphone company’s co-founders, former Interscope Geffen A&M Records chairman Jimmy Iovine and music producer and rapper Dr. Dre, into new heights within the music industry. In a new HBO four-part documentary, director Allen Hughes aims to illuminate the deal, as well as the turbulent history of the partnership behind it.
Filmed over the course of four years and covering over 40, “Defiant Ones” is ambitious in its scope but largely successful thanks to its guided storytelling and fascinating insights provided by some of the industry’s most revered characters. The duality evoked by the narrative’s treatment of Dr. Dre and Iovine is a major focal point throughout the work — a duality that helps ultimately put into context the often fickle relationship between music as art and music as business.