Timothy Kilkenny

Best Music of 2013

Favorite Albums of 2013:

1. CHVRCHES – “The Bones Of What You Believe”

I first heard “The Mother We Share” this summer and instantly fell in love with the  Euro-electronic beats on this offering from CHVRCHES.  Waiting patiently for this album to drop, I bought the Japanese version of their EP that preceded this LP.  With just this small snippet of “Bones”, I could already tell that I was going to like the rest of what they brought to the table.  There’s a mystifying incorporation of Madonna/Cyndi Lauper-esque vocals from Lauren Mayberry on tracks like “Tether” and “Gun.”  While her voice enchants, the lyrics haunt and emanate of former lovers and bad breakups.  Listening closely to the words, there is a huge emphasis on the concept of the fury of a scorned lover.

Earlier this year, there was an article written lamenting the death of guitar rock.  The point of the article was that electronic music has taken over the airwaves, and where we used to see guitars and drum kits on stage, we now find MacBooks and drum machine software.  While some mourn the so-called “end of guitar rock”, I for one welcome our new electronic overlords.  Firstly, I see this as a gross overreaction to the recent surge of electronic-based music.  Secondly, electronic music as a genre label encompasses far too many styles of music.  There is a big difference between DJs like Avicii and Zedd, and bands like CHVRCHES and LCD Soundsystem (yes even though they’re technically retired.)

All four of these music artists are labelled as electronic musicians, but I feel there is more to it than to just slap that name on each one of them.  Avicii and Zedd mix music to create danceable beats en mass and sample from other musicians that are rarely recognized for their parts in the song.  A great example of this statement can be found on Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” – the uncredited Aloe Blacc is the musician who not only provided the vocals for this track, but also wrote the original song.  If you were to hear his original song though, I’m willing to bet you’d say, “Hey this is that Avecii song.”  On the flip-side though, bands like CHVRCHES write their own lyrics and create their own music.  Without digressing this album review any further, my main point is that the electronic music genre has more facets to it than I think people realize.

Favorite Track: “We Sink”

2. Arcade Fire – “Reflektor”

It’s hard to not have this album at #1, or rather a tie for first.

“Reflektor” was one of the most anticipated albums I can remember in recent history.  Hipsters and music aficionados alike couldn’t wait for it to come out after the title track dropped later this year.  Call me a fanboy but when you mix Arcade Fire with a guest appearance  by David Bowie, that’s pretty much nectar to me and you’ll have my attention no matter what you’re selling.

I enjoyed the fact that this was a double album in the sense that both albums had their each individual feel to themselves.  Across both discs though there is a heavy Haitian influence as credited to a trip they took recently.  While openly mocked by more than a few particular journalists, I thought the addition of marimbas and bongos added a whole new element to Arcade Fire’s ever growing catalogue of music.

The most overlooked piece of this album is that the great James Murphy produced the whole album.  Fans of the sadly defunct LCD Soundsystem will remember that he just recently retired a few years ago from the band.  He’s been very busy though, and it’s nice to see that he’s clearly still got the magic to create incredible albums.  If Arcade Fire makes a new album soon, I’m really hoping to see another AF/Murphy mashup.

Favorite Track: “Normal Person”

3. Lorde – “Pure Heroine”

There’s not a lot to be said about Lorde and her debut in the American music scene that hasn’t already been said a billion times already.  With that in mind, I’ll share my thoughts on the album itself.

This album is music for the misfits drenched in tones of the underdog.  My absolute favorite thing about this album is how relatable it is, how it’s not a cookie-cutter pop album.  Each lyric is thoughtfully crafted and mindful of her past.  I posed this theory to a few different people after I heard “Pure Heroine” a few times through: “It doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not and it glorifies the things in life that don’t always glitter.”  An example is the lyric from “Team”…

“We live in cities you’ll never see on screen, not very pretty but we sure know how to run things.”

Born a midwesterner and waving the flag of pride for my region, I relish lyrics like this.  Too often our ears are obnoxiously abused with songs about filling up the cup in Vegas and the crazy antics that happened in NYC one night.  For me, this is what alt-pop needs to break into the mainstream…true, honest lyrics about real life.

I expect we haven’t heard the last of Lorde and I can’t wait to see what projects await her in 2014.

Favorite Track: “A World Alone”

4. Vampire Weekend – “Modern Vampires Of The City”

Lead singer Ezra Koenig shows off his talent as a master poet of the lyric on this album.  For me, Vampire Weekend holds a lot of personal memories of my days on college radio.  Their self-titled album was a frequent play on “Radio Revolution” and they brought a hip/nerdy New England sound to college radio.  “Modern Vampires Of The City” expands upon the same sound that we’re used to from VW.  It’s clear though, they’ve graduated from the days of “A-Punk” when you sit down and listen to the story in “Hudson” and “Unbelievers” … they’ve draped themselves in a more mature and thoughtful persona unlike ever before.

Favorite Track: “Ya Hey”

5. Best Coast – “Fade Away”

When I first heard “When I’m With You” after BC’s SXSW debut a few years ago, I instantly loved their sound.  They teased us with tiny EP treasures here and there but never put out a full LP until “Crazy For You” came out.  Returning to this mentality, they gave us “Fade Away” this year.  Released later in the fall, Bethany Cosentino laments in the most melancholy voice about the fears of growing up too fast and not being the same person she was a few years back.  It’s soulful and soul-searching at the same time.  Singing about searching for love never sounded so wonderful.

Favorite Track: “I Don’t Know How”

6. A Great Big Pile Of Leaves – “You’re Always On My Mind”

I came across AGBPOL when they were opening up for Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin earlier this fall in Madison, WI at The Frequency.  The band spends time on the record discussing pet mice, slumber parties, and the kinks of relationships in dead-pan form:

“You never deliver
in the times when I need you
Tired from the day, I don’t blame you
I still need you to follow through” – “Snack Attack”

You could consider this an alternative supergroup considering members of the band hail from Farewell To Arms and Taking Back Sunday, but AGBPOL sounds like neither one of these groups on “You’re Always On My Mind”.  The overall sound of the album is alt-pop that could really gain a cult following in the college radio circuit if it hasn’t already.

Favorite Track: “Snack Attack”

7. Daft Punk – “Random Access Memories”

This is a very thoughtfully created album.  It’s been a few years since we’ve heard from Daft Punk, and “Random Access Memories” has not disappointed.  The French duo penned an unusually less dance-heavy album and by that, I mean it’s a departure from songs in their youth such as “Technologic” and “Robot Rock.”  For the most part, this is a very relaxed album with an appropriate amount of dance to still make it feel like you’re listening to Daft Punk.  While the casual listener will recognize “Get Lucky”, it’s worth giving the entire album a listen all the way through.  There’s some real gems on this creation.

Oh, and crank the volume on “Contact” as far as your music device will allow you.

Favorite Track: “Doin’ It Right”

8. Various Artists – “The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver”

John Denver was one of the original musicians that inspired me to begin playing the guitar over fifteen years ago.  His music continues to be timeless and magical, and this new album of covers is a fitting tribute to one of the most prolific songwriters of the last century.

There’s an overall country rock mentality to this record that captivates the listener.  Dave Matthews’ version of “Take Me To Tomorrow” was an instant favorite for me, as was Kathleen Edwards’ take on “All Of My Memories.”  I’m a fan of pretty much anything Mary Chapin Carpenter has put out in the last fifteen years, so I was also happy to see her name associated with this album.

As far as tribute albums go, this was bar none my favorite from the past five years.

Favorite Track: “Take Me To Tomorrow”


9. Volcano Choir – “Repave”

Bon Iver fans will recognize quickly some of the stylings of Justin Vernon on “Repave.”  Before the rest of you go, “Oh great, a Bon Iver knockoff album” I invite you to give it a chance.

Spoiler alert: It sounds nothing like Bon Iver.

I first made the comment to a friend that there seemed to be a nautical/ocean theme to a couple of the songs, and it didn’t help matters that the cover of the album has a picture of tossing waves in the sea.  The guitar work on songs like “Alaskans” definitely give off the feeling of being on a ship bound for somewhere cold…riding the waves and feeling the wind tackle your face.

Admittedly I’m not a Bon Iver so I know when I bring up the band’s name, many people might also turn from listening to this album.  However I strongly suggest listening to “Acetate”, “Alaskans”, and “Byegone” before you rush to judging this album.  You may surprised – I sure was.

Favorite Track: “Byegone”

10. Washed Out – “Paracosm”

I like many other people jumped on the Washed Out bandwagon when I first heard the opening song to Portlandia.  I have no shame in admitting that.

I decided to take a chance and buy “Paracosm” because I liked how “Feel It All Around” made me feel when I listened to it.  Right away this album took me to a place of serene relaxation and happiness.  Ernest Greene created such a blissfully happy sounding record that really made me rethink my previous beliefs of the genre “chillwave.”  I suddenly find myself riding the chillwave with no inhibitions whatsoever.

Something that unfortunately gets overlooked when reviewing albums and songs is the emotion you feel when you listen to it.  I think “Paracosm” is a great study of how an album can make you feel a certain way or take you to the place where you first heard it.

Favorite Track: “It All Feels Right”

Favorite Songs of 2013 (in no particular order at all:)

Dawes – “Most People”

CHVRCHES – “We Sink”

Arcade Fire – “Here Comes The Night”

Dave Matthews – “Take Me To Tomorrow”

TV On The Radio – “Million Miles

Remi – “Sangria”

Mapei – “Don’t Wait”

David Bowie – “Next Day”

Phosphorescent – “Song For Zula”

Yuck – “Rebirth”

Vampire Weekend – “Obvious Bicycle”

Best Coast – “I Don’t Know How”


Salute To Cleveland Cold Storage

Years ago, me and my family would pass by this big, clunky mass of concrete on the Innerbelt Bridge.  Even when I was young I always wondered what it was or what it had been in another life.  It looked like the most awful building anyone could ever work in let alone run a business.  Fast-forward to a couple years ago when I first took the 79 RTA bus downtown to an Indians game with one of my friends.  I’d never taken the bus on my own to go downtown and I was looking out the window at the inner-city landscape I’d only seen from the highway.  Suddenly we drove past this large concrete building and I put two and two together, realizing this was the building I’d always seen from the highway over and over again.

After that Indians game, I came home and researched how to get down to the building on my bike because I wanted to explore it more and see what I could learn.  I remember the first trip down there I was met with an incredibly weird smell and lots of broken glass and graffiti (before I found my love for the art of course).  I found an old sign on the south side of the building that had worn away from time and a bunch of trash…not a great way to start my research.

About a month later I found out from a fellow photographer that this was the Cleveland Cold Storage building, where frozen foods and other assorted products were housed up until about the 1980s.

I had seen photos online of the insides of this huge warehouse and really wanted to get inside to see what other urban explorers had seen.  I eventually got my chance earlier this year to make it to the top of CCS and it is one of those memories that will last me a lifetime.  Not because of the horrible and decrepit smells emanating from inside, but the view of Cleveland from the top.  Okay maybe the smells will stay with me, but all in all the view from above made up for it big time.

Since then, I’ve had many return visits to CCS over the summer and watched this lifeless building be the canvas for some amazing graffiti and in particular, local artist FACE of FACE Street Art.  Having read the history compiled by other people before me, it’s been fascinating to learn the early history of this building and how it’s impending death to make way for the new Innerbelt Bridge has brought a flock of street artists to paint, paste, and plaster all over its walls.  In the two years I’ve been following this area of Tremont where the building sits, I’ve almost fallen in love with this concrete block and it’ll be tough to see it come down, but at the same time I’m foaming at the mouth in anticipation for its demise…the walls are twelve inches of concrete, twelve inches of cork, and sixteen inch bearing walls…this building is not going down easy and I can’t wait to watch the demolition crew making attempts to bring it crumbling down.

The building itself isn’t anything amazing to look at; it’s a simplistic art-deco style building and the insides aren’t much to write home about.  The fact remains that when this is gone, the urban art fan is going to have to search for other places to get their fix of interesting artwork.  Yes this isn’t the only place in Cleveland you can see street or urban art, and some might argue that there are better places to see great art, but it’s allowed for some great artists with real potential to get their start and make good use out of a decaying building.

So as this building is slated to come down soon, I want to extend the opportunity for people to get one last look at it and what it has to offer as not only a historic building but a canvas to the city’s street artists.

-Tim  http://www.flickr.com/photos/theclevelandkid24/sets/72157623743188384/with/5151870389/ (My Cleveland Cold Storage pictures)

Happy Indie In The CLE

So once again, a reputable magazine/newspaper/media outlet has downed Cleveland once again, and no it wasn’t Charles Barkley or some drunk Steelers fan.  Forbes Magazine recently crowned us #1 in the category of most miserable cities in the United States and as true Clevelanders go, there’s been an online uproar in the community.  When you consider how awful Detroit is suffering, Toledo is barely keeping its head above water, and with all that Cleveland has to offer how could we be the most miserable city right?  Well many of my colleagues and fellow community members have done a great job of defending the city by mentioning what great assets we have with our sports teams, our museums, dining options, places to live and much more.  However there’s a few things they’ve left out, so here’s your indie guide to Cleveland:

The West Side Market

I’ve mentioned the market numerous times in my blog; West Side Market is the greatest place in Cleveland to satisfy your food/shopping needs.  One stop at Kim Se or Kate’s Fish can help you make a great meal for yourself, your significant other or your family.  Make sure that you stop by Ohio City Pasta and Maha’s Falafil if you’re in the mood for ready-made food on your way downtown!



This beautifully tiny suburb of Cleveland is literally a stone’s throw away from the Cuyahoga River and downtown.  Filled with bookstores, specialty stores, and great places to eat, Tremont is also home to Lolita, the restaurant owned by Cleveland’s Iron Chef, Michael Symon.  If the artist in you is looking for an adventure, keep a look out for colorfully painted signs on telephone posts, stop signs, and brick walls…if you see cartoon cats, birds, or rabbits with the phrase “TSG 1972” you’ve found an artistic creation by The Sign Guy!  TSG is Tremont’s street artist, who keeps his identity hidden from most, and hangs his creations all over Tremont and sometimes in other areas of Cleveland.




Ingenuity Festival

Every year, Cleveland is home to the Ingenuity Festival downtown.  Ingenuity brings together local artists, community members, and Clevelanders of all ages to discover new art, music, and demonstrations that vary from light shows, street art, hip hop dancing, and much more.  This year, the Festival is being moved to the subway level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge to open up this sacred piece of Cleveland history to its citizens.  The subway level was closed down in 1954 when subway transportation in Cleveland ceased to exist, but this space is an amazing area and has so much history inside of it.  A truly great place for an incredible festival!


Cleveland Cultural Gardens

So maybe all this city stuff isn’t exactly your style; you want to maybe seek out peace and become one with nature.  That’s okay, we have that too!  Forbes might not find it as jaw-dropping as Central Park but honestly wouldn’t you like somewhere that’s more personal and easy to enjoy and not have to worry about some Yankee fan running you over while you’re trying to walk across the street?

That’s just what you’ll find at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens on the east side.  On Martin Luther King Blvd. and only minutes away from the Museum of Art, the cultural gardens are an icon of Cleveland’s rich cultural history in Northeast Ohio.  Following the walking trail down the street, you can stop off at the many gardens that pepper MLK Blvd. including the Irish, Polish, Greek, and Hebrew Gardens.  While that is only a select number of the twenty-six gardens there are on the trail, it’s well worth bringing a lunch with you if you want to see all of the gardens in one day.  Being a photographer, I highly recommend bringing a camera with you because the only thing more beautiful than the flowers and trees in the gardens, are the statues and monuments in each garden too.


Public Square

An ever-bustling area of downtown, Public Square holds an amazing amount of history in such a small area.  With the Terminal Tower and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument within walking distance, history buffs will love the architecture and stories of how these buildings came to be.  The May Company building and Mall C are also well worth your time visiting, and if you head east on the brand new Euclid Corridor, be prepared to find concert venues, places to eat, and much more history than you can possibly imagine.


So maybe Forbes gave us an unfairly bad review, so what, we’re used to it…we’re Cleveland after all!  It really makes me happy to live here though when I see people defending the city not with petty remarks like “well you suck to Forbes”, but backing up Cleveland with the real facts; this is a great place to live and see, we’re friendly people and one trip here will prove that.  So if you’re ever in Cleveland make sure you stop by these great places and see just why it’s great to live on the lake!

Christmas In Cleveland

Seasons Greetings from Cleveland!

The semester is finally over and the search for work begins. I’m currently in the running to get an internship with the Salem Red Sox down in Salem, Virginia which would be great to get so wish me luck. Collision Bend is better than ever, we’re expanding faster than we know how to and we’re making a lot of sales on shirts for people coming home to Cleveland this Christmas. The snow is on the ground and not much is falling as of this post but the weatherman is predicting some more snow for Christmas Day.

I ended Radio Revolution last week after a three-year stint on WFAL Falcon Radio and I can honestly say it was one of the toughest things in the world to do.  It was also a great day because I had a lot of you international folks tune in and call/IM me saying thanks for a great show, I really appreciate it!  The show is going on the down-low for the next month or so while I re-tool some ideas I’ve had regarding making a RR 2.0, but it promises to be a great rejuvenation of the show.

I’ll be graduating in May but I won’t be at BGSU anymore, I’ll be home here in Cleveland taking online classes from BG to round out my degree and then come back at the end of spring semester for graduation.  It feels weird graduating finally but it couldn’t come sooner.  I’m ready for the next big phase of my life and come what may I think it’s going to be exciting.

Sorry this is such a short blog today but I’ll write more after the holidays, I hope you and everyone around you all have a very merry Christmas and a happy 2010!  God Bless.

Beauty Is Its Own Excuse For Being

“Beauty Is Its Own Excuse For Being”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Cleveland Museum of Art’s newest exhibit “Paul Gauguin: Paris; 1889” showcases more than 70 paintings, and other artistic works by Gauguin (pronounced ‘go-gan’) and some of the contemporary artists that both inspired, and worked with him.  Deborah Gribbon, the Museum’s new interim director has done a great job in one of her first moves since former director Timothy Rub went to work for the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

This exhibit really reflects Gauguin’s interests as an artist especially during the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris.  One of the more prolific works by Gauguin, “In The Waves” seen here was used more than once in Gauguin’s works, in fact this recognizable figure was used in a woodcraft piece that he created which is also on display in this exhibit.

Avenue De Clichy by Anquetin

Avenue De Clichy by Anquetin

As mentioned, Gauguin is not the only artist on display in this exhibit.  You can view Louis Anqetin’s 1887 piece, “Avenue De Clichy” and Charles Laval’s “Going To Market, Brittany” plus amazing photos of the Eiffel Tower being built in Paris.  Art fans may also be interested to know that there are also incredible Van Gogh paintings and sketches on display from when Gauguin worked alongside Van Gogh for a period of time; though they would argue about how to properly paint or who the great painters of history were, it’s clear from this exhibit that both artists were inspired by each other.

Click here to learn more about the exhibit and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Keep up to date with my photography, Radio Revolution and more by clicking “Projects” above.  Have a great rest of the weekend everybody!


This Summer

I am blessed.

Going into this summer I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, whether I was going to find any sort of work considering how the economy was and whether I’d be sitting around my family’s house being a bum wasting my summer away.  Thankfully God always has a plan for us and He did it again this summer.

I got the call from Jean one night in June asking me if “I was doing anything this summer”, and I figured she had heard of a job opening somewhere and I said, “absolutely not, I have an internship but that’s about it.”  Quite bluntly she asked me if I wanted to go to New Orleans.  I couldn’t believe it, a summer ago I’d been helping plan this trip knowing full-well I would only experience the trip in photos and stories from the group of whoever went…and now I’d been offered a free trip to the Gathering as a chaperone to eight kids.  I jumped at the offer and the rest they say is history.

The trip was amazing, and the senior high group we took couldn’t have been more perfect.  They wanted to spend as much time in the city and experiencing the gathering as humanly possible and I’m pretty sure we did.  What meant the most to me was two things that happened after the trip.  We all sat down with our church’s youth director to talk about what happened and what we enjoyed and I was thrilled to hear how spiritually moved they were when we were on our service project and spending time together as a group in the city.  The second best thing was all the kindness they showed me and Diane; constantly they were thanking us for a great trip and saying we were the best chaperones, etc.  It made me smile and constantly makes me smile whenever I think about it.  Thanks guys, it means a lot.

Fast-forward to this semester, and it finds me taking 18 credit hours, 6 hours a week at the radio station, and work at the front desk of my dorm.  Ordinarily, I’d say this sounded stressful but so far I’ve been really happy to be this busy, it’s kept me motivated to do better and I’ve been spending more time trying to read the Scripture, work out, and keep working on my photography even in the flat-terrain that is Bowling Green.  I’ll be glad to come home in December and find work and get going on life after college.

Next week I’ll be back to the usual entries, sorry this took so long to post!  God Bless.


New Orleans

I was offered a spot on my home church’s trip down to the National Lutheran Youth Gathering a few weeks ago so forgive me if I haven’t been blogging as regularly as I usually do.  The Gathering is going to be held in New Orleans this year and proves to be one of the most interesting trips I’ve ever been on-never before have I been told “watch out for fire ants on the streets” during my time in Europe, Texas, or any other place I’ve been to…

I had the opportunity to travel with my church as a participant to the same gathering three years ago in San Antonio and had a great time, and I believe it was a turning point in my faith.  Most of the kids for this trip I know from being at the church for God knows how many years and I think they’re going to have a great time.  I met with them two weeks ago to iron out some of the finer details (i.e. what trinkets to bring to give to other churches) and I had a really great vibe from them; I’d worked with some of them preparing this trip last year as the summer Youth Director but never got to see how the group progressed.  When I sat talking with them and my replacement I could tell that they’d really bonded and that they were ready and willing to do whatever was offered in NOLA.  My other chaperone that’s accompanying me told me that these kids were unlike the group I went, these kids wanted to participate and explore the Gathering as much as they could which was a welcome surprise to me since my group wanted to do nothing but sit in the hotel pool and go shopping next door at the massive three-story mall.  I’d always wished that our group was more interactive so maybe this is good karma coming around for me.

The internship at the magazine has been going great, I had the opportunity to write a full-page article about the Summer Teacher Institute at the Rock Hall for the August issue and I got to sit in on the photo-shoot for the front cover out in Beachwood.  It’s been great just getting to understand the behind-the-scenes at a magazine and it’s something I hope will help me once I graduate next May.

The creation of Collision Bend Clothing has been utterly amazing too, we’ve been able to sell a lot of shirts to some awesome Clevelanders near and far, many who have told us just how much the shirts remind them of home; that’s half the reward to me.  I always think it’s a shame that Cleveland gets a bad rap and I hoped that CBC would help push this recent renaissance of positive thinking in Cleveland…hopefully we can continue with that mentality!

That’s all for now, I’ll check back in before the trip.  Be sure to visit our company’s website at http://www.collisionbendclothing.wordpress.com and my Flickr account at http://www.flickr.com/photos/theclevelandkid24/

God Bless,