Category: Sadness

Personal playlist: Islands' Nick Thorburn on songs ruined by love

Maybe, wonders Islands' Nick Thorburn, he needs a therapist. Instead, he has a new album. His Valentine's Day release, "A Sleep & A Forgetting," is the latest addition to the never-ending library of rock 'n' roll breakup albums. "I miss my own bed and my old life," he sings at the album's mid-point, not leaving much to the imagination.

"A Sleep & A Forgetting" is classic pop at its most fragile. There's fuzzy, garage rock keyboards in "Can't Feel My Face," but the forlorn vocals keep the mood far from celebratory. The ballads are full of space, often marked by a slow-burning and redemptive piano, and tracks such as "No Crying" are folk-pop shaded with vintage soul.

"The idea," Thorburn said of the album. "was to get super stark by the end. I wanted there to be no hope."

The brokenhearted can gather for a record-release party/commiseration gala tonight at the Bootleg Theater. The Canadian-born Thorburn, who's also working on a comic, "This Is Howie Doo," recorded "A Sleep & A Forgetting" in Los Angeles. Getting so personal, he said, wasn't easy.

"I really wrestled with this," he said. "In the early draft of the songs, I kept trying to cloak the meaning in more obtuse metaphors. I had to fight with myself to be as honest as possible. I was in a vulnerable and raw emotional state. It wasn't calculated, like, 'I need to convey this to affect more people.' It was just feeling insincere and fraudulent. I felt like I should be as honest as I could without boring people to death." 

With today being Valentine's Day, Pop & Hiss asked Thorburn for something of a lonely-hearts playlist. What follows, essentially, are four songs Thorburn associates with love-gone-bust.

"They're songs that are sort of sacred," he said. "I don't seek them out. These are all songs that are evocative of my feelings of a time when relationships went south."

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Dinner House M is closing in June (the hipster apocalypse is nigh)

Dinner Whether or not the world ends this Saturday, for Echo Parkers with an ear for great music and a bad idea in their heads around 1:45 a.m., a far greater loss is looming next month.

According to a headline on its website, Dinner House M, the Japanese jazz lounge seemingly ripped from Michael Mann’s most vivid fantasies of a location for a shootout scene, is closing June 8.

Founded in 1987 by the jazz singer Miki Saito and her sister Maya, the Historic Filipinotown club had became a favorite prowling ground for nightlife vampires and the neighborhood’s musician-industrial-complex for its surreal '80s-noir mirror décor, off-the-grid location and, shall we say  unorthodox entry policies. Miki worked the door with a mix of neighborhood bonhomie and occasional cutting disapproval (which side you got generally depended on how late you were trying to get in).

And while it routinely presented jazz performances in the earlier hours, on late nights the club hosted some surprisingly ambitious DJs (we fondly remember a stint when Ashland Mines from the late, lamented Wildness spun deconstructed dance music on Wednesdays and booker Jennifer Tefft of the Satellite spun girl-group pop and old r&b jams).

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