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ABC Best Of The Year, Farther John Misty, Nick Cave, Chris Owens, Panda Bear

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I have decided to look back at this past year in alphabetic order,… and this is the fourth part of the series….

M as in John Father Misty: He managed to stay in the news all year long! We first heard about him because of his critically acclaimed ‘I Love You, Honeybear’, which is on many ‘best of the year’ lists, then there was a tour, then he began to take his cynical Father John Misty character a bit too seriously, mocking Ryan Adams, covering Taylor Swift in the style of the Velvet Underground, then taking down the covers because of a Lou Reed dream,… I am not sure what he was smoking at the time, but he sure knew how to keep Pitchfork busy. Beside his eccentricity, I truly enjoyed him in concert, as you get the full package, beside his ‘weird ass country’ music, which I like a lot, there are the hip moves, the theatrical drama, and the sarcastic humor between the songs. He even proposed to get rid of the bands at Coachella, and let the people take selfies on ecstasy,…the fervor and the music save the day otherwise all this theatricality could have easily sunk into gimmickry.

N as in Nick Cave: It started like a great year for Nick Cave, I saw him at the Egyptian theater for the releaese of his new book ‘The Sick Bag Song’, a long piece he wrote during his tour, although it s certainly not a diary of a musician on tour. People who had a huge influence on him (Bryan Ferry, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Jim Morrison, Patti Smith….) make an apparition throughout the pages, ‘Everybody is sucking everybody else, everybody is feeding on everybody else’,… he described his book as what is happening inside the mind of a musician on tour. When reading excerpts, he looked like the mythic character ‘who is being injected in the thigh with a steroid shot that will transform the jet-lagged, flu-ridden singer into a deity’. Yeah, then he lost his 15 year old son in the middle of July and nothing of all this mattered anymore. I hope he is okay.

O as in Chris Owens: He is not with Girls anymore, but still making very loveable music, full of bright guitars and slices of the 60’s-70’s, heartbreaking tunes, sounding very familiar at the first listening. After the release of his new album ‘Chrissybaby Forever’, that he droped by surprise on Bandcamp. I saw him at the Echo, and I took tons of pictures,… He looked frail and vulnerable, his vocals were fragile and the show was fantastic with a few louder, more distorted numbers floating above the jangling guitars, upbeat drums, shy harmonica and the mix of numerous noises from birds chirping to light whistling. I barely could see his face, buried behind his blonde hair, and girls and guys were equally in awe.

P as in Panda Bear: He released a new album ‘Panda bear Meets the Grim Reaper’ at the beginning of this year and I saw him at the Roxy in April. The show was as visual as musical, and if calling his music a kaleidoscope of sounds, may be too obvious by now, it still is the best description. There was a strong psychedelic texture and cinematic vibe in his music, intertwined in the swirling and strange visual projections, while he seemed to sing in another language, The seducing weirdness in his complex music seemed to occupy a new and strange dimension, a luminous dimension despite the death theme of the album.

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