i want to live forever: A Review of Glitter Density’s “Make Ya Mother Proud”

i want to live forever: A Review of Glitter Density’s “Make Ya Mother Proud”

Almost a century ago a woman named Edith Wharton became the first person to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction when she published The Age of Innocence, a tragic love story set in New York City during the 1870’s about a doomed romance between a man with a bright future and a woman with a questionable past. Towards the end of the novel the protagonist, Archer Newland, is talking to himself about his son’s generation and recalling his own difficult decision to choose duty over love, and says: “The difference is that these young people take it for granted that they’re going to get whatever they want, and that we almost always took it for granted that we shouldn’t. Only, I wonder— the thing one’s so certain of in advance: can it ever make one’s heart beat as wildly.” The generation of young people right now taking their first tentative steps into the real world is the first generation in a long time that must exert a tremendous amount of effort to accomplish any kind of life that is either comfortable or fulfilling, to say nothing of both at the same time, and this burden seemingly has freed them to more seriously consider how best to apply that effort, forced them to consider what kind of life might actually be worth that effort. The kind of permanence and normalcy that one could eke out of a life as a bored housewife or a unionized factory cog isn’t all that easy to find in today’s fast food kitchens and ride-share apps. The economic security that accompanied a white picket fence...
Waka Flocka Flame, Mike Floss at ISU Ag Center, Oct. 11

Waka Flocka Flame, Mike Floss at ISU Ag Center, Oct. 11

Whether he’s rapping overtop marching horns or making light of the time he got shot, it’s pretty certain Waka Flocka Flame goes hard in da mutha fucking paint. Waka Flocka, born Juaquin James Malphurs, grew up in the music scene with his mom, Debra Antney, as the former manager of Gucci Mane. Mane gets to take credit for being the brains behind the creative name of “Flocka Flame” while “waka” came from the Muppets character Fozzie Bear’s catch phrase, “waka waka.” Since Waka Flocka was surrounded by musicians, it was no surprise when the then 24-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia, jumped into the music scene with his first album, Flockaveli, in 2010. “No Hands,” his third single from the album features Roscoe Dash and Wale and peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, which is his highest charting single in the US. While Waka Flocka maybe hasn’t garnered the national spotlight like N.W.A. quite yet, he holds the same aggressive adrenaline and isn’t afraid to speak his opinions. In all his albums and mixtapes, he gives off a “no one can stop me” temperament. And he’s right. He won’t take any bullshit from people and you best believe it. Perhaps one of his biggest attributes, though, is his choice of collaborations. Waka Flocka brings in a variety of musicians on his recordings, which is evident on his 2012 sophomore album Triple F Life: Friends, Fans & Family, which features Drake, Nicki Minaj, B.o.B., Ludacris and more. Although he hasn’t released a full album in four years, his 10 mixtapes and attempt at running for President of the US has...
The Savage Young Taterbug “Shadow of Marlboro Man”

The Savage Young Taterbug “Shadow of Marlboro Man”

“I’ll never break your heart if you never break mine.” – The Savage Young Taterbug I first encountered the eternal highway drifter and perennial grinning ghost Charles Free (a.k.a. The Savage Young Taterbug) on 4th Street before I ever knew who he was or heard any of his music. Whenever I’d see him, he was usually sitting behind the Vaudeville Mews with a group of two or more crusty boys, constantly smoking cigarettes and frequently smiling as he searched the pavement for answers. I never interacted with him. He seemed to be something that was placed downtown, like a potted plant or lightpole, more forged into the scenery of brick and spackle than separate from it. I did, however, remember his face. It wasn’t until a few years later, when the underground tape scene was growing to be a larger part of my life, that I stumbled across his musical output. Immediately, his gnarled and hissy Americana collages and dusty songs struck me as something truly unique. I had never heard anything quite like it, and to this day I can’t say I’ve heard anything similar since. His live shows are the type of thing traveling bands still emphatically talk about when they come back through Iowa. His tapes, too, are something of legend, often fetching triple or more than their initial price on sites like Discogs whenever they infrequently appear. There’s a mystery to Taterbug that is all but lost in the information-saturated world of modern music. His presence is hardly felt first-hand. Instead, it’s through stories told of dumpster diving or getting kicked out of bars with the man; from faded photos which seem like they’re thirty years old. It...
Glitter Density at Vaudeville Mews, July 2

Glitter Density at Vaudeville Mews, July 2

Glitter Density is a great name, isn’t it? I mean like, truly great. I try not to put too much stock in judging band names for the standard, obvious, book-by-a-cover reasons but Glitter Density really is just spot-on. I can’t think of any other name that could as accurately describe, like philosophically and aesthetically, what this band is all about. I feel like I could spend pages and pages trying to explain what Glitter Density’s music means but I don’t think I’d ever be able to explain it as well as their name does. On the one hand it’s telling you all about your glitter, glitz, glamour, your summertime, your basic teeny-bopper bubblegum romance, on the other hand it’s warning you all about your dense, heavy, deep, your slime/ruckus, your basic gritty, stone-faced, fuck-this-shit punk. It really is just the perfect name for this promising young band. There was a time shortly after I first saw these dudes play when I thought that they were pretty fucking good for their age. There was an era in the life of this band when the songs these kids wrote or covered and sang showcased a level of talent that was impressive on account of the fact that they are both just out of middle school. That era is over. I’m not sure when exactly it ended but I know I saw them drive the final nail into its coffin at their GDP pop-up show at Preservation in the East Village. What I saw sitting on the counter that afternoon was one of the most talented and impressive bands in Des Moines,...
Interview with Leyla McCalla

Interview with Leyla McCalla

When you first hear Leyla McCalla’s voice emerge on her new record it feels like it has come a very, very long distance to get there, miles and miles and decades and decades away. And you’d be right. Leyla McCalla was born in New York to Haitian immigrants and, after training in classical music at Smith College and New York University, she moved to New Orleans to more deeply embrace her roots as a Haitian, as an immigrant, as an American, and as an inheritor of African-American culture. The result is an album that is steeped in 300 years of history and emotion. You hear the determination and resolve of rebels in Saint-Domingue and the German Coast in Louisiana. You hear the pain and loss felt by women who had their children ripped from their arms, never to be seen again. You hear the hopes and fears of migrants standing on a dock trying desperately to make a momentous and irreversible decision. You hear almost the whole sweep of post-colonial history in the Americas, in all it’s monstrosity and grace. On top of all that, her songs are just stunningly arranged. She has combined classical and jazz influences with Haitian and Creole folk traditions in a way that feels both freshly original and prehistorically natural. I had the incredible luck to ask McCalla a few questions about her art before her June 14 show at the Des Moines Social Club. I’m pleased and proud to present her answers below. CE: The long standing misconception that folk and Americana music is primarily a white genre dominated by legends such as...
Radkey, SWMRS, The Frights at Lefty’s, March 19

Radkey, SWMRS, The Frights at Lefty’s, March 19

Radkey caught my eye on this one. Y’see, about a year ago our website and the Des Moines Bike Collective collaborated on an after-party show for the Des Moines Social Club’s over-attended Food Truck Throwdown. As I recall, hungry swarms of people flooded into The Basement after waiting in food truck lines for hours only to have many of the vendors sell out of food entirely. As they converged on the relatively small underground venue, they were near rioting from starvation before Radkey took the stage and managed to calm the raging crowd with their snot-nose punk antics and three-piece sonic assault. The sudden 180-degree turnaround created a kind of bubble of ecstacy for the rest of the night. I don’t recall ever seeing more smiling faces as the chairs and tables were cleared and one of the sassiest and sweatiest dance parties I have ever seen proceeded to explode into existence driven by waves of pure satiation. Oh, you missed it? WELL THAT WILL TEACH YOU TO MISS ONE OF OUR “DSMSHOWS.COM PRESENTS” SHOWS EVER AGAIN, WON’T IT?! Alright, it didn’t really happen like that, but the show was pretty cool and Radkey has been back through Des Moines a couple times since then. This time around, they’ll be playing Lefty’s with The Frights and Oakland’s SWMRS who do that youthful Bay Area garage rock thing to perfection. Check out the video for their song “Miley” below if you don’t belieeeeeve me.   March 19 5 PM Lefty’s All Ages $12 SWMRS The Frights Radkey More information available from the Lefty’s...