Welcome to HIGHLY RECOMMENDED number twelve, the re-occurring feature where I ask a person of the internet to give us all some recommendations from their top shelf of life's 5 most important categories: Music, TV/Film, Books, Internet-ing, and ANYTHING (to make sure all bases are completely covered).
Today we're joined by Dan Knishkowy, the excellent music maker also known as Adeline Hotel (and also a member of the ace Horse Teeth) and who just so happens to have a very lovely new album called 'It's Alright, Just The Same' that is officially released TODAY. You are probably thinking that me posting Dan's HIGHLY RECOMMENDEDon the day his new album came out was all planned in advance, but I swear that I just discovered this fateful coincidence myself. In fact, I kinda feel stupid now that I didn't plan it this way, as that seems like a pretty obvious move, in hindsight.
But enough worrying about not making the plans that ended up working out perfectly on their own anyway, let's get some good recommendations in…
#1 - WHAT IS THE ONE ALBUM (OR EP OR SONG) THAT YOU THINK SHOULD BE THE VERY NEXT MUSICAL THING THAT EVERYONE PRESSES PLAY ON THE NEXT TIME THEY FIND THEMSELVES THINKING “WHAT SHOULD I LISTEN TO NOW”?.
The very next thing everyone reading this should do is to open a new tab, listen to the 2 singles from the new Big Thief album, jam out super hard and then make a big mark in their calendar to buy that record when it comes out later this month.
Otherwise, I think everyone should spend significant time sitting with Gillian Welch’s Time (The Revelator). It's always written up as being about a folk duo that really wants to be in a rock n roll band, and that's a huge part of it, but there's so much more. There’s all this American mythology, first loves, lost loves, the 21st century cultural devaluation of music, the being sick and stoned and driving and playing shows for no one and it still being the best feeling in the world…it’s such a huge undertaking, thematically, but it’s so cohesive and the rare record that makes you think and feel in equal measure.
I’m getting together with my two oldest friends this May to record a reimagining of the record as the rock band Gillian and Dave's characters want to be, which is exciting and a little overwhelming. We're hoping to put that out somewhere, somehow, later this summer.
#2 - WHAT IS THE ONE MOVIE OR TV SHOW THAT YOU THINK SHOULD BE NEXT IN EVERYBODY’S NETFLIX QUEUE (OK, DOESN’T HAVE TO BE NETFLIX, WE’RE ALL INTERNET ADULTS HERE AND KNOW HOW TO FIND ANYTHING ONLINE, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER)?
I’m a pretty intense binge watcher. Right now, I think the best shows are both on Amazon: Catastrophe and Transparent. The first is a hilarious dark comedy, very British. The second is one of the most thoughtful and well-acted shows I’ve ever seen.
3. I (AND BY “I” I MEAN “THE PERSON THAT IS READING THIS”) AM GOING TO THE BOOK STORE (OK, PROBABLY AMAZON) TO FIND THE VERY NEXT BOOK THAT I WILL BE PUTTING SOME EXTREMELY VALUABLE ‘ME-TIME' ASIDE FOR. WHICH BOOK WOULD YOU GET, IF YOU WERE ME (AND, I SUPPOSE, YOU HADN’T ALREADY READ WHAT YOU’RE ABOUT TO SUGGEST)?
I think it should be mandatory that ever person read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In fact, I think in 30 years it will be standard that every kid (in America, at least) has to read this book in school the way every kid reads To Kill A Mockingbird. It's a beautiful story and the way it talks about race and the immigrant experience in America is so moving and so necessary.
If you want to really spend some "me" time, Immortality by Milan Kundera will seriously fuck with your head and forever change the way you relate to the world. Or at least it did for me.
#4 - WHAT IS THE ONE WEBSITE (OR JUST ANY OLD INTERNET THING: APP, GIF, SERVICE, WHATEVER) THAT YOU WOULD GET REALLY DOWN IN THE DUMPS ABOUT IF IT WERE TO SUDDENLY GO AWAY?
Sadly, that happened last year. My internet usage consists of music, recapping whatever TV show I'm binge watching, politics and being an insane soccer fan. Grantland was the perfect intersection for sports, music and culture. They had the best writers, funny and interesting but never snobby, which is so rare in cultural crit. It’s worth it to go through their archives and read all of Steven Hyden’s music writing. RIP
#5 - AND FINALLY… PLEASE GIVE ONE COMPLETELY UNAIDED RECOMMENDATION THAT YOU THINK EVERYONE SHOULD START DOING / USING / WATCHING / EATING / THINKING / QUITING / ETC-ING TO MAKE THEIR LIVES A LITTLE BIT MORE BETTER AND/OR BEARABLE.
I'm not particularly good at this but one thing I've been thinking about lately is being willing to be more flexible in the pursuit of goals. I tend to surround myself with creative and extremely strong willed people, capable of so many things...but we all seem to beat up on ourselves very quickly when our lives don't perfectly match the identities we'd constructed in our mind. As much as achieving artist vision is important to me, happiness is even more so; the way we interpret, react to and appreciate the things we accomplish are often much more linked to happiness than the actual accomplishing of them. So having a little rethink, and being willing to move the goal posts of what you're aiming for every now and then is really refreshing.
My other three recommendations for making life more bearable: watch and rewatch the Richard Linklater "Before" trilogy, get a haircut when you’re sad or hungover, and listen to Big Star (loudly) with your best friends.
OK folks, there you have it. Things that Dan thinks you should consider incorporating into your day/life. Before you dump out that hair of the dog and head out the door to get your hair cut, go follow Dan on Twitter & like on Facebook… and go press play on that so-brand-new-it-came-out-today Adeline Hotel album.
And maybe we can all agree to meet up here again next week, yeah?