This year was a long but exciting first year for THE BOMBER JACKET. We moved our headquarters from Berlin to New York City, our initial staff of four writers expanded into a much larger group of people from all over the world, and we have started branding our first PR campaigns to help push the music we believe in the most. Thank you to all of our readers who have been consistently interested and have shared our work with others who like music just as much as we do. We will soon be announcing our first official BOMBER JACKET event–a one-year anniversary party/show that will happen in early March in Brooklyn.
To celebrate our writers’ hard work throughout the year, the following is a mix of articles that capture our literary movement during 2012.
FIRST ISSUE OF THE SITE
Starting this off by linking all of you to ISSUE #1 of TBJ. It was a long time in the making and it featured names from the U.S., Canada, Spain, and Germany. Each article was a nice introduction to the personality and perspective of our site, and our initial team of writers.
STRAFING RUN COLUMN BRILLIANTLY PAIRS A LOCAL MUSIC SCENE WITH PEDOPHILE JERRY SUNDUSKY
This was a thorough article that introduced writer RCE’s hometown. He managed to eloquently explain to the public what it is like to be in a college community where football draws the most spectators and local bars predominantly feature cover bands. The Strafing Run ended up being a very reflective, educational column that gave readers insight into a small town in the United States. RCE eventually discovered some really great acts in the town–all bands that play their original music, and NOT covers. Without his articles, many of the bands would have never received spins outside of Pennsylvania, let alone the town of State College. We’ve included them on our compilations, and we’re even thinking about booking some of them in New York.
SPITZER SPACE TELESCOPE DOES BIG THINGS
It shouldn’t be surprising that we are so intrigued by Spitzer Space Telescope. The multi-skilled musician/painter reels in his audiences so well, articulating his passions with extreme brevity. We were excited to share his Kickstarter video project with the world and we are very excited to see where he goes with his art in the future. This is one guy doing the work of many. He’s extremely talented.
LEE STARTS HIS EXPLORATION INTO THE SPANISH MUSIC SCENE
It’s always “who you know,” right? Well, when the website started, Lee was over in Spain and I had a German friend whose label worked with a Spanish act Za!, so it made sense that Lee would consider interviewing Za!. The interview went really well and Lee did a fine job of conveying the musicians’ idiosyncratic personalities and their abnormal but thoroughly pleasurable music. This was the first of many articles that Lee wrote about bands in Spain.
THE BOMBER JACKET MEETS RAFFERTIE
It was a freezing cold night in Berlin and we taxied out to Club Gretchen to see Ninja Tune’s Bonobo and Raffertie spin their jams. What a refreshing night it was. The two electronic producers exude an acute awareness of where the club scene is right now and how they can take it to the next level. Meeting Raffertie was a joy–we interviewed him and spoke a lot about the industry today. Hopefully we will see him in the U.S. sometime soon.
NOT ONLY A “TOP GERMAN BLOGGER,” BUT A VERY KIND PERSON: HENNING LAHMANN
Interviewing Henning was a real treat. I got to know him and his blog through the VICE Berlin office and I was immediately impressed: A German dude who can write about bands outside of Germany this well? And, in English, too? I ended up meeting Henning in person, and he was just as interesting and charming. I have a lot of respect for him because he leads a full-time non-music life outside of his blog and music-related pursuits. He loves helping musicians and he’s accomplished a great deal so far. Excited to see where he will go with things in 2013!
GRIMES ON GRIMES (OH YES)
Highlighting this review simply because of how hilarious it was/is. We all knew Grimes was going to be huge. I remember listening to her release at VICE early on and having this overwhelming feeling that her record was going to “explode.”It did. But just before it exploded, Joseph Ransom applied his sense of humor and creativity to writing a witty review of the record; the result was a GRIMES on GRIMES review where Ransom brought Rick Grimes from “The Walking Dead” to life and reviews Grimes’ music. Voila!
LAMBCHOP GETS WEIRD, REAL WEIRD
This review was the start of Lee Stepien’s alternative reviews where he used his creative writing background to kick some major ass. I still enjoy going back to this piece and reading it when I need a source of inspiration.
WE EXPLAIN HOW PRESS AND MUSIC COEXIST
Blogs today can be really annoying. PR people can be really annoying. The combination of the two, however, can be the most annoying. We talk about this and other things in this piece that looks into the relationship between PR companies, press people, and musicians.
WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE AN AMERICAN AT A FAMOUS GERMAN CLUB — BERGHAIN
My American friend Paul Senker who was also living in Berlin when I was in Berlin was pretty good at maintaining a social life and trying new dance nights. I was usually the tired one who avoided crowded places and tried not to drink too much. One night I went out with him and his friend to a local bar opening and we stayed out fairly late before he informed me that he and his friend were going to try to get into Berghain. They asked if I wanted to join and I said I was too exhausted, but I jokingly but sort of seriously suggested that he write a report about it for TBJ. When he said yes, I was excited, but I really had no idea how it would turn out. The piece ended up being informative and funny, and it also ended up being the most-viewed article on the website. Seriously. We get so many hits from this Berghain article. People Google the strangest things about Berghain, sex, drugs, and bomber jackets and Google directs them to us. Thanks, Google. Thanks, Paul Senker.
WOODROW WILSONS, AT LENGTH
Lee has written some very good, very long pieces over the last year. This is one of them. I hope people read it again and acknowledge the kind of detailed dedication Lee puts into his work. Gotta love it.
TALKING PUNK MUSIC WITH JOSH BALA
We had a small series of punk articles from Josh Bala in 2012. Josh doesn’t write too often, so his articles are always fresh, and void of pretention (although it may seem otherwise to the outside world because he has a sense of humor that not everyone gets and he is pretty cynical). I loved reading his writing and learning about punk music from a guy who knows it best. Maybe Josh will write for us again some day. Hopefully!
TV BUDDHAS GIVE US 1,000 REASONS TO LOVE THEM
Seriously. Read the interview.
RCE/THE STRAFING RUN INTERVIEWS SMALL, LOCAL LABEL ABOUT ITS BIG IDEAS
This is a piece that captures RCE at his best. He is a damn good interviewer. This piece was unique because it was about a compilation that Apache Records released that was full of cover songs and cover bands–and RCE isn’t a big fan of such things. But as the interview unfolded, we learned more about Apache and the label’s intentions, including the fact that they are strong advocates for original music in the local Pennsylvania community. Oh, and their compilation also features original songs! Score.
RCE SHOWS HIS SUPPORT FOR AARON FREEMAN’S SOLO WORK AND FREEMAN SHOWS HIS LOVE RIGHT BACK
RCE reviewed Aaron Freeman’s solo record. He is a big Ween fan, so he had the necessary background information to write something solid and pick the songs apart in an entertaining way. Mr. Freeman liked the article so much that he posted it on Ween’s Facebook page. Ween fans are incredibly loyal people, so everyone ended up clicking on our article and sharing it, all around Facebook and cyberspace. This article takes the award for getting the most hits in a 24-hour period. Hits hits!
LEE TEARS APART BRIGHT EYES, IN A GOOD WAY
Lee did this thing where he celebrated Bright Eyes’ reissues and reviewed every single one of them, which resulted in six very detailed reviews that shared Conor Oberst highs and lows with readers and really dissected the music in a lovely way. Oberst fans love this article. It is very clear why.
EMPEROR X AND WESTERN TELEPORT /// EMPEROR X GOES TO EUROPE
Lee and I are both big Emperor X fans. We want to see the man succeed. We want to bring his music to ears all over the world. The first time we wrote about Emperor X, it was an article by Lee that explored the meanings behind the musician’s latest release. The second time it was a much shorter article that premiered a new song of his and announced a European tour. Both times we were very excited to feature Emperor X. We will always be excited to feature him.
SO MANY DYNAMOS EMERGE FROM HIDING AND RELEASE EP AND WE LIKE IT
Yep, it is no secret, So Many Dynamos is really good. Tim Gilman explains how the band has evolved and what makes them unique in this well-crafted article. We’re stoked for the band’s upcoming full-length record. We also want them to tour. Their live shows are so damn good.
NPR’S INTERN BUMS US OUT A LOT BUT INSPIRES US TO WRITE SOMETHING MEANINGFUL
Please read it if you haven’t yet.
ZOE KOOL TELLS US ABOUT HIP-HOP IN MOROCCO
It is too often that we don’t push ourselves to get out of our comfort zones and explore unfamiliar territory outside of our everyday lives. Zoe Kool lived in Morocco for a while, so she had some great insight into the country’s controversially political hip-hop scene. This article focuses on one major player, Moroccan rapper Mouad Balghouat a k a El Haqed.
WE LEARN THAT GUIDED BY VOICES IS THE BEST BAND AT MAKING HITS
A guest writer of ours, Devin Daniels, decided to share his Guided By Voices expertise and tell us all about the band and the course of their career, including their three recent 2012 records. The article provides a very full, accurate depiction of the band. The lead singer liked it enough that he posted it all over the Internet.
FESTIVAL SPECIALIST NEIL MACH TELLS US ABOUT THE NETHERLANDS
Neil Mach loves European festivals. We like learning about European festivals. This festival in particular, the Incubate Festival in the Netherlands, draws thousands and thousands of people each year. We’re thankful that Neil shares such experiences with us.
A REFRESHING TAKE ON THE BULLSHIT PUSSY RIOT HAD TO EXPERIENCE
There is no need to explain why this band is a big deal, but we explained it all for you in this article, in case you are stupid and you don’t read the news. (It is a good article.)
RCE MEETS THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE AND CAN’T STOP SMILING
This was an excellent night. RCE has been a devout BJM fan for several years now, so when he got to see the band play live at their homecoming show in NYC, he was on cloud nine. But then when we went to the after-party and he got to meet some of the band members, his level of elation went up to an unfathomable place. He talks about it all in this article.
LEE WRITES A TRULY POETIC REVIEW OF A TRULY POETIC ALBUM
I think Lee has something serious going on with Mount Eerie. We’ve all been there. We connect with a work of art that touches in a way nothing else can, and we fawn over it, and spend loads of time with it, and get to know it back to front. That is what he did, I assume, in order to write such a beautiful piece of art.
MAQUINA SUPERVIUM MAKES BUSHWICK A BETTER PLACE
I had no idea that meeting a band over Twitter could be so much fun. Interviewing the brains behind the band on my fire escape on a rainy day after two previous failed attempts = victory. Jhedi Ayala has made my move to Bushwick/Brooklyn so much smoother, and I am grateful for the wonderful musicians he has introduced me to. Next year is the year of Maquina Supervium (I hope)!
EFTERKLANG CONNECTS WITH NATURE; BRANDON WHITE IS NOT IMPRESSED
This article welcomed a new writer, Brandon White, to our crazy team of passionate ooze. We’re looking forward to working with Brandon more in 2013. He is in a good band in Brooklyn. We met him because a guest writer for TBJ had reviewed one of his records, and voila! “The rest is history,” as everyone says.
RAW ISRAELI MEN AT CMJ, YUM YUM
Interviewing these dudes (The Raw Men Empire) was such a pleasure! Nadav is such a genuine guy and the band is really talented. It isn’t easy for a group to get outside of Israel and tour the U.S., but these guys did it and I’m really happy that they did. I hope they come back to the U.S. soon…please listen to their music and check out the interview. They are really worth your time.
JASON SYLVESTER GUIDES US THROUGH THE CANADIAN WATERS
Actually, there wasn’t any water involved. That just sounded fun. But Jason has been with the site since September and it has been nice getting to know him and learning more about musicians in Canada (he is Canadian, duh). In the particular article linked above, Jason introduces us to Andy Shauf, whose 2012 record was a real gem.
HIP-HOP IS ALIVE IN THE BOMBER JACKET’S WORLD
We met a pretty cool guy, Matt Schonfeld, through a friend of ours who also writes for the site, Samuel Sklar. Matt knows all there is to know about hip-hop and we are therefore stoked to have him as a part of our crew. In the well-written article linked above, he introduces three hip-hop acts that perform wonderfully live and incorporate new elements of music outside of the hip-hop realm.
CHEAP STORAGE IS THE PLACE TO BE
At this show, the Brooklyn music community pulled together to raise some serious $$$ for Hurricane Sandy. The bands were good, the crowd was jolly. It was a great show. We look forward to more Cheap Storage shows in 2013.
SOFT CANDY IS BEST SERVED IN CHICAGO
Tara Jayakar discovered this Chicago band and was excited enough about them that she pursued an interview with them. The interview turned into a really long, well-written article about the band and its inspired sound. This is what TBJ is about. We find music we love, and we talk about it with words that we care about. I never would have heard about Soft Candy if it weren’t for Tara. And I love that fact.