When A Tribe Called Quest member Phife Dawg passed away at just 45 years of age in March of 2016, it bore echoes of the Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch’s death four years earlier – another legendary and tight-knit collective from the earlier days of hip-hop left stunned by the far-too-early loss of an indispensable member.
Yauch now has a park in Brooklyn named for him. And in another of what will surely be many more tributes to Phife, ATCQ have just released an exclusive capsule apparel collection in conjunction with Sony Music’s The Thread Shop.
In includes a black trucker cap, a white tee with an image from the 1991 Low End Theory photo shoot, and a striking Safety Green Hoodie bearing Phife’s name in black lettering (all limited edition). The collection is released today, November 20 – which happens to also be the late rapper’s birthday.
The Beasties, of course, called it quits immediately after the loss of Yauch in 2012. But Quest had carried on, releasing in 2016 their first new album – We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service – since 1998; killing it with a Phife tribute performance on SNL on November 12, 2016; and touring the album up until an emotional final show at the UK’s Bestival on September 10.
We’ve been fans of musical Renaissance man Oli Chang since his debut High Highs album Open Season in 2013. Now living in Brooklyn, he remains one-half of the Aussie dreampoppers, while also cultivating his more dance oriented project Animal Feelings – which we first brought to your attention when we premiered the track “Chemical Love” in September of 2016.
The newest Animal Feelings single is the soulful “Falling (feat. Thief),” which was released just last month. Now BlackBook premieres this fab 37-minutes Deep Disco Mix, something to help you shake off all the gloom and negativity of our current socio-political climate…and give you a genuinely fabulous reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving week.
“These tracks are a mix of frivolous vibes mixed with journeys of shameless optimism,” Chang explains. “I hope that if you listen to this you’ll feel like everything’s going to be better than you expected it to be.”
It’s definitely working for us.
Animal Feelings tracklist
1. Chook Tribes – Animal Feelings
2. Rinse And Repet – Riton Ft. Kah-Lo
3. Way Back Home (Tiger & Woods Remix) – Ivar, Kraak & Smaak
Considering their long history of associating with the pop/contemporary art world (Nagel album covers, Warhol and Keith Haring collabs), it’s rather fitting that Duran Duran would wish to find themselves providing at least some of the soundtrack to the annual schmooze fest that is Art Basel, Miami edition.
And so it is that they will be playing a particularly special show for SiriusXM on December 9, at the Faena Theater in Miami Beach. It will mark the penultimate date on their more than two-year Paper Gods Tour – with the final performance taking place at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on December 30 (which might just be far cooler than actually going out on New Year’s Eve.)
Duran’s John Taylor enthuses on the Miami concert, “As long-time fans of SiriusXM, we are really looking forward to performing this special show at such a beautiful and intimate venue. It’s going to be an up close and personal affair, a truly one-of-a-kind evening, and we look forward to getting to know everyone who attends.”
The band return to the studio in early 2018, to begin recording the follow-up to 2015’s critically acclaimed Paper Gods. Art Basel takes place December 7-10 in Miami.
Born in Tel-Aviv but now living in LA, Dan Farber found himself collaborating with / producing notable Israeli hip-hop acts while still a teen. Newly signed to Big Beat, a series of strikingly original singles (check out “Take Me High”) had already begun to stir up the buzz Stateside over the last couple of years (he counts Bella Thorne and Sonia Ben Ammar amongst his famous fans).
His latest is the hopefully titled “Time For Living,” which includes a stunningly shot video, part of a trilogy collaboration with director Gigi Ben Artzi.
“The visual is a big part of the song,” he explains. “Working with director Gigi was a dream come true, I’m a big fan of his short films and aesthetics. He brought the concept to life, shooting everything on 16mm film, giving the song a very cinematic feeling.”
And sensing the need to “put an emphasis on the message of the song,” for the video he also recorded a moving, stripped-down interpretation, which BlackBook premieres here. For the new version (echoes of Radiohead and Jeff Buckley), he enlisted fellow Israeli musician Roy Kariok, who has worked with Rita Ora and Jay Sean, emphasizing that, “we share a [musical] language.”
“It was very important to me to create an acoustic version of ‘Time For Living,” says Farber, “taking away the sonic boundaries and genre limitations and just feeling the song on one clean instrument…without too many digital manipulations.”
“Sitting here wide awake / Letting go of my mistakes / I was looking too far away / When time is not forgiving,” he lyrically confesses. And who hasn’t felt that way sometimes?
Azzedine Alaia image from Joe McKenna’s untitled documentary
The fashion world mourned, as news came yesterday that eminent designer Azzedine Alaia had passed away in Paris, aged 77. The cause of death was apparently heart failure.
Born in Tunisia in 1940, he started his career in the City of Light as a teen working for Dior, then Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler. He shot to genuine fame in the 80s with his own ready-to-wear label, eventually dressing Grace Jones, Madonna, Janet Jackson – and becoming the unofficial designer to the first wave of supermodels. His form-fitting creations notably and stunningly adorned the likes Linda Evangelista, Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell. In recent years, his devotees included Lady Gaga, Victoria Beckham, Rihanna…even First Lady Michelle Obama.
Earlier in 2017 Joe McKenna had released an untitled but beautifully shot documentary on Alaia.
Celebrity friends took to Twitter to share their love, tributes and lamentations.
A true artist, genius and master. He was always kind, friendly and supportive of me. He welcomed me when I first came to Paris. We had some great adventures and many good times. His talent is unparalleled and his character playfully generous… https://t.co/ThOXufGTaXpic.twitter.com/SsgzNR3zl7
Sometimes it’s all in the name. And Dallas songsmith Boy Epic is indeed not one for middling musical gestures. His 2014 breakout “50 Shades” (yes, it was inspired by the film) was dark, dramatic and theatrical…and it racked up 12 million views on YouTube.
Since then he has intrigued with his ethereal presence, soulful, androgynous vocals, and dark, visceral songwriting. Now newly signed to Hollywood Records, his latest single is the sultry but anxious “Wolf” (Get it? The Boy Epic who cried “Wolf”?). It is a compelling bit of haunted, cinematic Euro-R&B-pop, a disquieting meditation on self-doubt and the need for connection: “I hate this city / It’s bad for my health / I want a lover that hates themselves / So I can pity and feel like I can help.”
But it’s the accompanying horror-vérité video that genuinely gave us chills. Directed by the singer himself, it depicts something of a post-apocalyptic post-op, as he tries to grimly dance away the pain.
Genuinely compelling stuff – and makes one wonder just what this Boy is capable of.
Of course, not everyone can be with family for the Thanksgiving holiday. So if you’re not going to be stuffing yourself with mom’s mashed potatoes, why not gather your similarly stranded friends and mix it up a bit? We consulted two of our fave NYC restaurants on how to do an alt-T-Day at each – and even got a couple of exclusive recipes, should you opt to stay home and fire up the stove.
At John DeLucie‘s groovy reboot of Chelsea’s legendary Empire Diner, give thanks for the pleasures of comfort food and old-school cocktails. Start with the buttermilk biscuits and Exec Chef Justin Nuebeck’s cheeky butternut squash bisque, with lobster stock and peekytoe crab; then substitute sourdough pretzel fried chicken for the gobbler…or maybe a prime hanger steak with apple cider roasted brussels sprouts; and ditch the tired old pumpkin pie for a mad decadent signature Empire Sundae with peanut butter ice cream. Sorry mom!
Feeling exotic? Why not do a Middle Eastern Thanksgiving at Tarik Fallous’s Au Za’atar in the East Village? Kick off the feast with grilled halloumi salad; then do Lebanese turkey, in the form of their Fattet Djaj – shredded chicken with chickpeas and yogurt. Or, to make it really feel like a T-Day table, order up a few dishes from the extensive mezze menu (fried & herbed cauliflower, lamb tartar, minced meat with onions) and pass lovingly around. Dessert? Do the nammoura, a semolina and orange blossom cake.
Butternut Squash Bisque from Executive Chef Justin Nuebeck of Empire Diner
1qt butternut squash puree
2qt lobster stock
¼ cup chili pickling liquid
1oz peekytoe crab
2oz shaved delicata squash
Minced chives as needed
1lb butternut squash roasted and separated from the skin
1/4C onion sliced
1tbsp. garlic sliced
2C vegetable stock
Grapeseed oil as needed
Salt and pepper as needed
In a medium size saucepan over low heat sweat onions and garlic till tender and roasted squash and saute for about 3 minutes to cook out any excess water. Add vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes then transfer to a blender. Puree till it has a smooth consistency without any grains of squash. Then transfer back to a clean medium size sauce pot. Over low heat add lobster stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Season the soup with chili pickling liquid, salt, and pepper. Season shaved delicata squash and crab with extra virgin olive oil and heat in a 350F oven till hot. Place soup in each bowl and garnish with squash crab, and chives
FattetDjaj from Executive Chef Tarik Fallous of Au Za’atar
Image by Liz Clayman
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
3 pita breads, cut into small square
1 cup boiled chickpeas
2 cloves of garlic, mashed
2 cups plain yogurt
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts and sliced almonds to garnish
Chopped parsley to garnish
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Toast the pita square until golden brown. Prepare the sauce by combining the mashed garlic and the yogurt. Whisk until smooth. Add the tahini while whisking and, finally, the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Make sure your shredded chicken and boiled chickpeas are warm before assembling the FattetDjaj and work quickly so everything is still warm when you serve it. In a servingplatter, start with the pita squares, evenly distributed in a single layer. The next layer is the chickpeas and finally 2/3 of the chicken mixture. Top with the yogurt sauce and the remaining chicken and finish by sprinkling the toasted nuts, melted butter, chopped parsley and touch of cumin.
Working a serious Frank Ocean by way of Marvin Gaye vibe, neo-soul crooner Lui Hill has grabbed our ears and attention in a big way, with his impassioned vocal delivery and stunning falsetto. His sultry, dreamlike new single “5000 Miles,” in fact, has been on endless repeat.
The striking accompanying video is particularly compelling, with its mysterious, Lynchian noir aesthetic. Shot on the very noir-ish streets of LA, it tells a story replete with enigma and metaphor – just begging for multiple explanations and interpretations. Let it lull you equivocally into the weekend…
Lording over his three-Michelin-starred Masa above NYC’s Columbus Circle, he could arguably be called the the greatest sushi chef in America. Indeed, Masa Takayama has been causing critics and devotees to swoon and wax endlessly rhapsodic since opening in 2004 – even more so since expanding the empire in 2014 to include Kappo Masa at the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue.
Now he’s at last brought his particular brand of Japanese culinary alchemy to Downtown, this week opening his new robata grill Tetsu on Tribeca’s buzzy Leonard Street. In a striking interior that marries stark Asian minimalism with a sort of industrial-rustic-gothic, the new restaurant manages to be both cooly chic and alluringly sensual/romantic.
But the menu is definitely “approachable” Masa. Most plates are under $20, and include raw items like seared tako ceviche with bottarga, and kanpachi poke seaweed; surimi pasta dishes like squid pasta with garlic, bacon & chili; and specialities from the robata including yellowtail tataki skewer, and salmon belly himono. Oh, and a deceptively decadent lamb burger.
Pair with a rum milk punch (with Japanese horchata) or a Soju Thai Basil cocktail.