ABC Best Of The Year Part 2: Elliott Smith, Fidlar, Perfume Genius And Hanni El Khatib
I have decided to look back at this past year in alphabetic order,… what did I listen to this year? Some new and old stuff, but overall some very good stuff! I went to many concerts, although there are many of these artists I haven’t seen live… yet! Four by four, the challenge will be to find an artist, who has been significant for this year, for each letter of the alphabet, and I already have an idea for almost each letter, although Z will be a challenge. This time, let’s examine the letters E, F, G and H.
E as in Elliott Smith: Elliott was once again in the news this year, because of the release of Nickolas Rossi’s documentary ‘Heaven Adores You’. The movie is a meditative, tasteful and honest portrait of the beloved singer-songwriter, which largely ignores the ‘tabloid aspect’ of his tragic story and doesn’t go into details about his personal life… contrarily to what we do here at Rock NYC. I appreciate they stayed neutral on the subject of his mysterious death, and we got to hear a lot of previously unreleased music, which will be soon officially released as the soundtrack album. Anyway, Elliott is always in the news for me, and I am always amazed to see how many musicians are mentioning him as an inspiration.
F as in Fidlar: I can say I have been following them since the beginning, I was at one of their first shows at the Echo and proud of it. This year, they have released their second album, simply called ‘Too’ and if people think they have softened because they have calmer and more focused songs, or because the album focuses on singer Zac Carper’s road to sobriety, they surely haven’t attended any live shows of theirs… it’s a wild ride and I usually take a step back since the front rows are at great risk to be crushed under a pile of bodies. This year, they played once again Burgerama which was bigger than ever as Weezer was headlining just after Fidlar. The little band has totally grown up.
G as in perfume Genius: I cheated a bit for this one, but the P was already taken by Panda Bear…. Sure ‘Too Bright’ is already old news, because it was released in 2014, but I saw Perfume Genius opening for Interpol this year, and he is still among my top artists, an amazing performer who can reconcile vulnerability and boldness in the same act… something extremely rare. The poignancy of his songs only equals the range of raw emotions Mike Hadreas can express live, from violent and piercing screams, to fierce and touching vocals.
H as in Hanni El Khatib: As for Fidlar, I can proudly say I wrote about him years ago, and now look at him, he is produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and starts a riot at each show,… at least this is what almost happened during his set at Echo Park Rising this year. His style is raw and abrasive, and he plays his bluesy trashy numbers like a hunted wolf… Hanni smells like danger!