FREEwilliamsburg’s Top 25 Albums Of 2016

2016 was the dirt fucking worst. There’s no other way to put it. It seems almost absurd to talk about what a great year it was for music, in light of all of the terrible things that have happened, but music helped us cope a lot over the last twelve months. And serendipitously, a wealth of great records were released this year, as everything else seemed to go for broke. Here are twenty-five of them that allowed us to forget the cruel dystopia that has become our reality, if only for a little while. We needed both their comforts and catharsis, perhaps more than ever before.

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FREEwilliamsburg reviews CMJ 2015

CMJ Solids Cake Shop

The 35th annual CMJ Music Marathon – aka everyone’s best chance to burn through their remaining sick days by year’s end – took place last week and as always, the FREEwilliamsburg team was on hand taking in the sights and, more importantly, the sounds of the five day festival. Here’s what we took away from it all, aside from raging head colds.

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Price-gouging CEO Martin Shkreli is one of Brooklyn-based Collect Records’ investors

shkreliIt turns out that colossal dirtbag pharma CEO Martin Shkreli, who has been all over the news for increasing the price of Daraprim, a drug used to treat AIDS and cancer patients, from $13.50 to $750 per pill is one of the major investors in one of my own personal favorite labels, Collect Records, which is run by Geoff Rickley (best known as the frontman of Thursday, United Nations and No Devotion.) The news has put Rickley and his roster of bands, which includes Nothing, Sick Feeling, Creepoid and Wax Idols in an awkward spot.

Rickley spoke with Noisey about his relationship with Shkreli, and said that he first became aware of the firestorm on Twitter. He initially chalked it up to Shkreli’s “history of saying things that are very provocative,” but he soon learned that there was more to this than the sorts of garbage spewed from the mouth of Donald Trump.

Rickley was asked if he’d continue his relationship with Shkreli, and had the following to say:

My head is still spinning, and though I want to believe that there is some reason that he would do this that is some remotely positive way, the only thing I can see is that it is totally and completely heartbreaking.

I can’t see my future at all in the label. I have to see what the bands want first, and see if there is any meaning or any mission following all of this. More than anything, I want the bands to see that I hold art as the guiding force in my life. Ultimately I see this going in the same way it always does, where all the artists get blamed for everything and capitalism is never held accountable. I really think that if Collect is going to be scrutinized as being capitalism, but that is how music survives. I’m not making excuses for what has happened, but there is no corner of the music industry that doesn’t live and breathe from subsidies from business. It’s reductive and hypocritical to hold us and only us accountable though, we are all at fault in some greater way.

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FREEwilliamsburg’s Top 25 Albums of 2014

Photo via BK Mag

2014 will be a year bookended by loss in Williamsburg. When 285 Kent closed its doors in January, it was like a shotgun blast through the heart of the local music community. While it was true that Williamsburg had been condofying for years, and spots like Monster Island, Secret Project Robot, Zebulon and Galapagos had been long shuttered, it was first of the area’s “last stand” to fall. Death By Audio followed months later, and in a little more than a week, Glasslands will follow to close out the year.

“DIY” in Williamsburg may be a dead concept, but it’s important to remember that independent music venues are always transient. It’s particularly depressing that everything closed in the blink of an eye, but there are still lots of venues keeping it real in and around Williamsburg. Times change and places close, but great music never goes away, and the twenty-five albums below prove that.

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Nothing covered Nirvana at Saint Vitus

Stage dive- and mosh pit friendly shoegazers Nothing played a sold out show at Saint Vitus in Greenpoint last night. Celebrating the release of their debut album “Guilty of Everything” on Relapse Records, the Philly quartet played most of the new record. However, they closed out the night with a song from a musical era that heavily influenced them. Watch Nothing re-imagining Nirvana’s classic “Sliver” below, alongside a couple of their own 120Minutes worshipping cuts.

Nothing – Endlessly

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Cold Cave & Nothing played Red Bull Sound Select

Cold Cave and MBV worshippers Nothing played last night’s East Village Radio curated Red Bull Sound Select party at Tammany Hall in Manhattan. Despite it being the umpteenth time for both bands to play New York City this year, the dimly lit room on Orchard Street was packed to the gills. Watch out for more Red Bull Sound Select shows in the near future as the Austrian soft drink giant is planning to turn this into a monthly fixture. Footage and set list info from last night is below.

Cold Cave – The Great Pan Is Dead

Nothing – Downward Years To Come

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