I don’t know about you but those rare Fri-Sat-Sun weekend holidays almost invariably end for me with an anxious and slightly depressed Sunday morning. First, there’s the ugly form of another work-filled week looming ahead and just a few quick hours away. Then, again almost always, the most pleasing part of the extended weekend is over before it extends to Sunday. So last week, when the Easter weekend rolled by and the all-familiar dip began on Sunday morning, I was determined to fight it off. With a playlist. I wanted some happy music. So, weeks after I’d acquired Crazy For You, last year’s debut album by Best Coast, a Los Angeles indie band, but hadn’t really got down to listening, I popped it in and sat back. Read more

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The Urbanears Plattans are fashion-forward, stylish and very trendy. And they deliver a sound that is nicely bass-heavy and, while not excellent, very pleasing to the ears. No, the Urbanears Plattans aren’t a band—although I can well imagine encountering a band with that kind of a name. The Plattans are my newest addition to an embarrassingly large hoard of headphones and earphones that I have collected over the years.
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Not very long ago, the thing about New York’s lower east side (LES) used to be the grittiness and the sleaze. All that has changed and the gentrification of this near nether end of the grandest city in the world is complete. Almost. On a Sunday morning, LES is like a walk about in boutique couture-ville and more. You can buy your perfectly distressed RRL polo shirt, your 85th leather bag (with or without back-straps), score some silky smooth Blue Kimono coffee beans for which you could pay a chunk of your wages, sniff some real indigo at the little Self Edge store that stocks denim that you may have read about but never got to wear. But best of all, you can have a monstrously tall pastrami sandwich at Katz Deli, which is a pilgrimage I guess everyone makes if they’re in New York. Read more

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I have never been to South By Southwest, the annual music, film and interactive conference and festival that is held at Austin, Texas and has become, at least for contemporary music, the biggest platform that artists have for showcasing their talent. Even if I had been able to make it to this year’s version of the four-day music extravaganza (between March 16 and 20), I’m not sure how many bands or musicians I would have been able to listen to—there were at least 2000 bands playing round-the-clock at over 80 venues and that doesn’t include the impromptu venues at street corners, balconies and every nook and corner of the university town that hosts the non-stop extravaganza each year in spring. Bands come from all over the world and straddle every conceivable genre. Read more

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The reason why I avoid going for rock shows—here in India or anywhere else—is because it is hard to feel good if you’re like a dinosaur in an audience whose average age typically hovers around half of yours. You could, of course, ask me, perfectly legitimately too, what do I expect if I, plumb in the middle of middle-age, insist on listening to bands that people half my age or less than that find contemporary, interesting and hip. But I shall choose not to answer stupid questions. Read more

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