Wednesday, January 27, 2021
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Album Review – Burial: Truant/Rough Sleeper





Burial:          Truant/Rough Sleeper EP

Score:          9/10


Similar artists – none (only cheap imitators)

Genre – Dubstep, Vocal Manipulation, Abstract Ambient


Most EPs don’t leave the lasting impression that Burial’s last few have. With 2011’s “Street Halo”, last year’s “Kindred”, and now this, London’s finest producer has released the best material of his career thus far. Personally, i have always been an album man, but with the quality of these EP’s I wouldn’t mind if Burial never released a full length LP again!  With each release, William Bevan has continued to evolve his distinctive sound. While he is certainly a dubstep producer, Bevan’s music sounds like nothing else in that genre, and I often find myself describing his music as being emotive ambient music disguised as dubstep.

The two tracks here clock in at around 25 minutes, which is considerably shorter than Kindred, but this work is arguably more dense. Kindred closed with the revolutionary “Ashtray Wasp”, which was the longest and most surprising Burial track to date. The form of these two tracks is similar to the multi-part suite of that track, and they continue to explore the unexpected turns that his music can take.

“Truant” is the first of the two tracks. It opens the way you’d likely expect a Burial track to (foreboding ambiance, trademark vocal warble [a female voice saying “I Fell In Love With You], thumping bass), but then the track cuts out completely, giving a 1-2 measure of suspensful pause before the sounds re-enter and the momentum is turned up a notch. This is a trick being used by many these days, including “James Blake” and “The xx”, that is used excellently throughout this release. It is great to be reminded of how masterfully meticulous the vocal samples are in Burial’s music. Plenty of followers have attempted to adopt the ghostly vocal samples that permeate Burial’s work, but always fail in comparison. The track is riddled with other surprises as well, such as sudden rising chord sequences, but the main surprise is that the best is yet to come.

I will come out and say it, “Rough Sleeper”, is the track of the year thus far, and it’s going to be a tough one to beat. The first third of the track is led by an organ, which contains a specific tone that is so deep and affecting I could spend the rest of this review talking about it. I swear, it would be impossible for anyone to get bored with music this labored over. After a dozen or so miniature sections of bass and ambience, a new voice emerges stating, “Lights surrounding you”, when we are greeted by a heavenly bell section that carries the track for the remaining minutes. Describing all of this sounds like the track would be chaotic, or a take on maximalist electronic music recently popularized by “Rustie” or “Lone”, but the 13 minute length and the extent of this artist’s talent assures that all these components are in their proper place.

It should not be taken as an exaggeration when people say that Burial is the single greatest electronic producer of the time. He has clearly established himself as an unimitatable artist who is restless in his inventiveness and the extent at which he will challenge himself. While he clearly could have made a career out of repeating what he did on his “Untrue” album, he finds that making us scratch our heads is much more fun. We should be grateful.


Track Listing

1.) Truant

2.) Rough Sleeper*

* – Album Highlight

Confessions of an Online Shop-Aholic

Shopping Online

Hello fellow fashion lovers.  My name is Jessica and I am an online shopping addict. Well kind of, my new obsession this year is online shopping.  With so many apps for your phone and shopping websites it’s easy to “ball on a budget.”  I decided I should share some of my favorite online shopping finds with all of you.

Shopping Online

First of all, my favorite iPhone app for shopping is WANELO.  It is free to download and displays pictures of trending items daily.  It’s kind of like Pinterest (another addicting iPhone app) but you actually get to buy the amazing finds.  Prices on WANELO items vary because they are posted off of many shopping sites.  But if you are determined you can weed out the bargain buys.

 Recently my preferred place to do my online shopping is www.Amazon.comAmazon has EVERYTHING!  I always thought Amazon was just books, but I just discovered the array of products you can purchase on the website.  I bought most of my Christmas presents from, everything from jewelry to clothing to toys for my brother.  Amazon offers free shipping and most orders ship immediately and get to you quickly.  My most current buy was a teeth whitening gel and UV light.  I will let you know how white my teeth get.

 Another incredible online shopping site is www.Storenvy.comStorenvy is like the Wanelo app, on the iPhone, except it is online and everything on there is reasonably priced.  The goods on Storenvy are from merchants around the world, so the selection is considerable and the fashions are unique.  Storenvy exhibits products for women, men, and babies.  They also market art, media, and tech gadgets.  I have bought numerous items I discovered on Storenvy and have no grievances.  Although the delivery time can be pretty long when you purchase from out of the country, the products have all been perfect!

 To end with, my latest discovery is  Because most of the items are sold as wholesale items TIDESTORE is an online clothing store that can sell clothes at inexpensive and affordable prices.  Some of the items must be purchased in large quantities but most do not.  This is one more site with clothing from around the world.  I recently received an oversized gray, turn down collar, hoodie and am absolutely in hoodie heaven.  Thus far, has met all of my online shopping needs and desires.

 My online shopping addiction has not caused any negative repercussions, yet, and because of the aforementioned apps and websites, has not made a huge dent in my bank account.  I recently gained weight and shopping for new clothes, which fit and look good, has helped me accept my new shape.  I hope you guys got something from this and feel free to comment any sites I haven’t tried or your feedback with the ones I mentioned.


Nasty Pig- Edgy meets Fashion (and attractive men)

Abel Ink Blot
Credit: Frederick Kerney at Nasty Pig

If you live in New York City or are visiting, there is always the option to go to a variety of amazing clothing stores, both ones on a national level and ones that are local to the greatest city in the world.  As great as the national ones are (and not so great) there happens to be one particular store located in the heart of Chelsea that gets it in many ways.  What do I mean by it?  Eye-catching, edgy, fashion-forward and above all customer service at its best.  I am talking about none other than Nasty Pig, which is celebrating its 20th year in business next year.

I started going to this store roughly two years ago when I moved back to New York City from Rhode Island where I went to college.  The store is moderately sized yet at the same time doesn’t need to be huge and have a zillion signs to get people to buy their stuff.  It speaks for itself with the decor and amazing fashions that they have.  I call it “kink meets edgy” because a lot of their clothing can work in a variety of venues yet still have a unique edge to it.  They have a fantastic use of color and the pattern work is truly amazing.


The clothing ranges from the norm such a t-shirts, pants, sweaters, etc but it can go into a completely different realm with a variety of jockstraps and rubber gear as well.  If you are local to NYC and happen to be going to, oh let’s say Boxers or Gymbar, they will have you covered.  At the same time, if you are going to a particular night at the Eagle, they have stuff for that too.  It really is versatile and have great pricing at the same time.

Overall, especially coming from someone who worked in customer service for 3 billion years, this store tops in in terms of that aspect.  When people think of Chelsea, something that always comes to mind is bad attitudes amongst gay men, which happens to be true to a certain extent.  Not in this situation.  You are always greeted when you walk through the door and they are always willing to make that extra step and help you out.  Go see guys like Jay and Chris for example.  You won’t be let down.

Credit goes to Frederick Kerney at Nasty Pig
Credit goes to Frederick Kerney at Nasty Pig

Dave Hughes, the VP of Marketing and Public Relations at Nasty Pig, had this to say about 2013-  “In 2013 Nasty Pig has big plans to keep the serious growth we’ve experienced in the last two years going. At our NYC flagship we’re going to continue to offer our popular Choice Cuts limited edition items, and this year the line will expand to include hyper-limited-edition swimwear; we know that Nasty Pigs all over enjoy their time at the beach, so our swimwear program will also be extended to our wholesale accounts and website customers. Without getting too deep into the details, this spring we will partner with a major NYC-based LGBTQ charity on a project that we hope will raise a lot of money and a lot of awareness for some of our community’s most at-risk members. Additionally, we’re going to follow up the successful launch of our #iamNASTYPIG campaign with new video content throughout the year. And of course we’ll keep releasing plenty of hot gear that gets our customers laid, including our largest Spring/Summer collection ever and plenty of hot new underwear.”

So as stated before, if you are local to the NYC area, go and check it out.  If you happen to be far, go on the site.  You will not be disappointed.

Nasty Pig

265A West 19th Street

New York City, NY 10011

(212) 691-6067

Beyonce- did she or didn’t she lip-sync? Stars weigh in.


There has been quite a lot of hooplah over whether or not Beyonce lip-synched the National Anthem this past Monday at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration.  One thing that is fact- Kelly Clarkson did actually sing (and got famously photo-bombed by Bill Clinton).  Beyonce herself has been under quite a lot of scrutiny for not telling the truth over the past couple of yegty_beyonce_inauguration_jef_130121_wblogars, most notably several people thinking her pregnancy was fake.

Several celebrities from Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez and Aretha Franklin have come to the star’s side.  Aretha said- “I thought it was funny because the weather down there was about 46 or 44 degrees and for most singers that is just not good singing weather…” she told ABC News. “When I heard that I just really cracked up. I thought it was really funny, but she did a beautiful job with the pre-record.”  Preach Aretha, preach.

Jennifer Lopez, another star who has been in trouble in the past for her lip syncs, stated- “Sometimes it happens when you are in certain stadiums and certain venues and things, they do pre-record stuff because you’re going to have that terrible slapback,” on Jon Stewart.

This is going to be an interesting story for a while and will linger? Why? She is the freaking half time show at the Superbowl.  Many artists in the past have to lip-sync in those types of atmospheres based off of how big the actual stadium is (Britney, I am not giving you a pass here).  She is rumored to reunite with Destiny’s Child that night, which should make for quite an interesting show as she usually puts out all the stops in arenas like this.

My personal opinion? WHO CARES.  Who really freaking cares if she did or not.  She’s an amazing artist, we’ve all heard her perform live.  She’s got a billion Grammy’s under her belt and has stayed relevant so effortlessly it’s hard to believe that she has been in the public personal for 15 years now since the days of Destiny’s Child.  Is this gonna hinder her career? No.  The haters need to stop and see how they would feel in that type of area.  I wouldn’t mind Bill Clinton photo-bombing me though, so there might be some jealousy for Kelly there.

Clip-On Earrings: Not Just For The 65+ Babes

Some of my clip-on earrings. Obsessed. Yes, I have them color coordinated. Guilty
Some of my clip-on earrings. Obsessed. Yes, I have them color coordinated. Guilty

GFs meet one of my fashion loves…. my costume/vintage clip-on earrings (I know I have a lot of clip-on earrings). Yes, I know 65+ babes only wear clip-ons and you have pierced ears. Which is exactly my point, no one else is! Be a trendsetter and rock a pair of clip-ons. These little time capsules are a classic look since they’re a blast from the fashion past. Honestly, I get compliments on my clip-ons all time… which why I know clip-ons will be making a comeback. MENTAL NOTE! Ladies, you’ve heard it from HonestFrugalChaos first .

Album Review – Vatican Shadow: Ornamented Walls

Album Cover
Vatican Shadow

Album Cover

Vatican Shadow:          Ornamented Walls

Score:          7/10


Similar artists – Pete Swanson, Demdike Stare, Andy Stott, Ital

Genre – Noise Techno, Hipster House, Dark Ambient


      Dominick Fernow has been a lead contributor to the highly prolific noise scene through his many aliases (most notably “Prurient”). As opposed to his peers in the genre, such as Wolf Eyes or Black Dice, Dominick’s music has always been more harsh, more disorienting, and certainly more damaging to the eardrums. This is an artist who is not kidding around. His music is relentless and unforgiving, and many of his tracks have featured high pitched alarms and sirens that scrape and gnaw at your mind for dozens of minutes on end. This most likely does not sound pleasant, and it certainly isn’t, but there is also a not-so-easy-to-write-down aspect of his music that is rewarding and addicting; mark my words, after you have listened to one of his releases you will want more.

His newest release compiles nine highlights from a new military inspired alias. These tracks were previously released as singles/EP’s on his own “Hospital Productions” label, but in this collection they are being put out through the much-loved, and very modern “Modern Love” label. If you haven’t heard of this label, dark might be one word to describe its output, but a more apt phrase would be suffocatingly bleak.

This release’s sound fits right alongside label mates “Andy Stott”, and to an even greater degree – Manchester’s, “Demdike Stare”. Both acts craft harrowing soundscapes out of buzz-saws and dozens of other non-musical entities, as well as embracing influences from various cultures. These sounds are conjoined to create a morphed, and entirely un-danceable form of ambient-leaning techno/house. The difference is that Vatican Shadow does this at higher on average, bpm than Demdike Stare. Still, many of Dominick Fernow’s previous releases have seemed to exist in a category all their own, and this one seems easy to corner in comparison.

One could also lump this into the newly cited “Hipster House” tag (meaning no disrespect), which speaks of techno/house music being created by artists pertaining to non-house backgrounds. Fellow noise brethren “Pete Swanson” recently made his first foray into the techno scene with the fantastic “Man with Potential”, and his results were similarly un-danceable. For these reasons, Ornamented Walls is somewhat more accessible and predictable when compared to  his earlier material – although clearly not in the traditional sense of these words.

As I’ve stated before, this is a compilation, not an album. I mean this in the truest sense, as this release has no discernible flow, and the highlights are all front loaded. Here lies the release’s main flaw, as this leaves for a very uneven listening experience. Despite this complaint, Ornamented Walls remains a successful and well done direction for the artist. When the project gets a proper, fully developed full length it will be much more deserving of our attention.

Track Listing

1.) Operation Neptune Spear Part 1 (Live Rehearsal Mix)*

2.) Operation Neptune Spear Part 2 (Live Rehearsal Mix)*

3.) Operation Neptune Spear Part 3 (Live Rehearsal Mix)*

4.) Cairo is a Haunted City (Mythic Chords)

5.) Nightforce Scopes

6.) Yemeni Telephone Number

7.) India has just Tested a Nuclear Device

8.) Church of All Images (Church of the NSA)

9.) Boxes Were Wired to Batteries then Loaded into a Brown Toyota Cargo Truck

*- Album Highlight

Role Playing, Not Just For School Girls Anymore

meet at a bar

meet at a bar

Tired of the same role playing routines?  Role playing no longer has to be limited to school girls and playing doctor.  Try these new themes when it comes to tantalizing your partner and bringing more excitement to the relationship!

1. TSA

Surprisingly, numerous women love TSAs.  Just think of how many dirty thoughts can run through your mind as your wait in that long security check-point line.  And hey, many of those TSAs are well, not bad at all.  If you own a blue button-up shirt and black dress pants you have a similar outfit for your signifiant other.  Pair this with handcuffs, gloves and a bat.  Talk dirty to your partner about them smuggling drugs or trying to bring a gun onto a plane and how they will have a price to pay for it.  They are sure to give up what you are looking for in no time.

2. The Workplace

Ever been an intern at a company and had a secret yet vivid crush on a person of authority?  Well, fulfill that fantasy now.  If you have a desk and business casual clothes you can always make this happen.  Tell your partner about the scenario, who the person of power was and let them do the rest.  What can you make happen with a few office supplies and an overly comfortable office chair?

3. Stranger

Go to a bar alone and tell your partner to meet you a little later.  Act as though you are single and just looking to meet new people by mixing and mingling at the bar.  When your signifiant other comes to hang out with you at the bar act as if you have never seen them before.  Do this by making up another name and identity for yourself.  Be someone you think would have unbelievable sex and try to stay in character for the rest of the night!  Find out what you two truly can do.  (This can also be applied to a hotel for an extra element of danger and adrenaline!)

4. Dominatrix

(Of course this will only be role playing if it is not something your are normally into.) Pretend you found your partner cheating and now need to teach them a lesson.   Numerous items can be used here, but try whips, handcuffs, blindfolds, small bats, beer bottles, hot wax, chains and more.   Know your partner’s limits, but make every moment worth it!

5. For Intellectuals

Do you get both heated and aroused by a good argument?  If so, pick a topic, do a little research, grab a bottle of wine and simply have at it!  Make a sexual prize for whomever wins the debate.  It’s a great opportunity to stimulate both the mind and body.

Is role playing something you enjoy often?  Share your stories…don’t worry, you don’t have to share you name, although you can if you wish!

Bacon has a killer TV debut in The Following

Kevin Bacon (l.) and James Purefoy (r.), stars of Fox’s The Following.

Last night marked the debut of the heavily hyped Kevin Bacon thriller The Following on FOX.The show, which tells the tale of retired FBI Agent Ryan Hardy (played by Kevin Bacon) being called back into duty to chase down recently escaped serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy).

Rather than break down the plot due to it’s very twist-heavy nature (and to not spoil anything), I instead will take the opportunity to discuss what I liked and didn’t like:

What I liked: First and foremost, Kevin Bacon does an excellent job in the role of Ryan Hardy, in that he presents Hardy as a fully fleshed out and occasionally flawed loose cannon. Similarly, James Purefoy’s portrayal of Joe Carroll gives off shades of Hannibal Lecter, in that both are charismatic, persuasive, and clearly unhinged, however at no point did I ever get the impression that Carroll was a knockoff of the classic movie villain.

I also feel the show established its’ premise excellently. What initially gives off the vibe of a long chase for Carroll instead sets off a chain in which you are never really sure who is a hero and who is one of Carroll’s disciples, and the show ending twist sets up a clear end goal for the season.

The gore in the show is incredible, if a little over the top at points, with such cringe-worthy moments including a “follower” stabbing herself in the eye on cue and the blood laden garage with a murdered police officer, with enough excess blood to cleanly scrawl the word NEVERMORE on one of the walls.

What I didn’t like: The show seemed to rely on jump scares and scare chords to the same degree you would expect of a d-grade horror film. While one can argue that this is done to create a sense of paranoia, it eventually gets distracting when you’re dealing with scare chords and fake scares every two to three minutes, and the tactic felt old by the end of the episode.

While Hardy and Carroll are well developed characters, it seems like almost everyone else in the background come off wooden and two-dimensional at points. This is particularly evident in Ryan Hardy’s FBI compatriots who only speak in an excessively matter-of-fact tone, and exist solely to be the only characters in the show that do not see Ryan Hardy’s value (at this stage in the game the phrase “ (s)he’ll only talk to you, Hardy” may as well be the shows catchphrase). While I get that the show is primarily a vehicle for Kevin Bacon to work on TV, I don’t feel that the action should only run through him (especially since the premise is clearly horror inspired, and what is a more standard horror trope than people splitting up at their own peril for seemingly no good reason).

Final Verdict: The Following laid a foundation for an excellent thrill ride in its’ pilot episode and I am interested to see where the plot goes forth from this point in time. However, while I understand most pilots tend to be beta-versions of their fully realized selves, I would like to see a little more actual character development for many of the side characters as opposed to the two dimensional cutout treatment they actually receive. Overall, the show will have me hooked for at least a few more episodes and hopefully The Following can blossom into the sort of show that matches the incredible amount of hype that was laid for it before the premiere.

On an unrelated note: As the resident TV junkie of Manhattan Digest, is there anything you, the readers, would like to see covered? If so, please do not hesitate to post a comment (I tend to skew towards smart and madcap comedies, but if there’s something that’s grabbing your attention in the big 1000+ channel morass that is TV, I would love to know so I can look into it!).

Zero Dark Thirty: 2012’s Most Controversial Film?



For at least a few weeks before it’s release (and for the subsequent month afterwards), Kathryn Bigelow’s latest film Zero Dark Thirty has been achieving a gargantuan amount of press. There’s been plenty of good word, with the film receiving nearly unanimous praise from critics for it’s deft  and relevant subject matter and appearing on many top ten lists. There have been more troubling headlines, however, with some sources calling the film a glorification of torture, an improper exposure to classified material, as well as a shallow reenactment on the war of terror that ultimately gives Osama bin Laden the last laugh (This Rolling Stone article is particularly damning). It’s certainly one of the most challenging films of the year in that regard, and I myself have found myself agreeing with both camps at times. Still, I feel that this a film that must be seen, judged and contemplated by each viewer on his/her own philosophies.

Zero Dark Thirty is very much a follow up film to The Hurt Locker, but it is in some ways an even more important film. The Hurt Locker is an intense study of American soldiers fighting a brutal conflict in Iraq,  while Zero Dark Thirty is a political thriller that acts as a reminder of the paranoia that plagued are nation based on the livelihood of one particular terrorist. As many of you are aware, Zero Dark Thirty is a dramatized account of the decade-long hunt for Osama Bin Laden. The film’s action orbits around central protagonist Maya (Jessica Chastain) a CIA operative with an obsessive need to find Osama Bin Laden. Through a chronological narrative that spans the September 11 attacks right up to the killing of Osama Bin Laden on May 2nd, 2011, Maya acts as our declassified government document that examines what happened to track down the Al Quaida leader. Bribery, speculation, interrogation and the much discussed graphic scenes of torture are the methods that follows in the film’s 157 minute running time.

The allegations that Zero Dark Thirty is exposing unwanted American secrets is not entirely unfounded, but it’s necessary for this type of film to be as truthful as the momentum would allow. Interestingly, the film could have been so much less than what it was, and it can indeed be attributed to the sudden slaying of Osama Bin Laden two years ago. Director Kathryn Bigelow and writer/journalist Mark Boal were planning to make a film about the 2001 siege of the Tora Bora where Osama was believed to have escaped without a trace, but then when he was actually killed in a raid the duo decided to change the film’s concept entirely. Using the research they had accumulated over the last year, the writing/directing pair composed a new film that would center around the whole zeitgeist for America’s hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

1134604 - Zero Dark Thirty

I have to admit, while watching the film I was a bit frustrated at times. The film does indeed begin with a torture scene, which immediately grabbed me, but afterwards I couldn’t help but ask if the filmmakers were suggesting that the actions of the Americans was fully justified. I was fully immersed in the film’s story and performances, and in all honesty it hardly felt like the move was over two-and-a-half hours. Still, my frustrations remained for most of the running time too (perhaps in no small part as we all knew what the ending would be), and I found myself wondering if the film could have posed more questions about did the ends justify the means.

Then…the final shot happened. After a visceral and dynamic climax where I couldn’t stand to blink for a moment, Bigelow and Boal gave us the final shot that the film needed. Not to spoil much, but it was a tender and emotional moment with the film’s lead of Maya. Up to this point we had indeed been seeing this war on terror through her determined mind. Now that it was over, however, both Maya and us viewers were left to ponder what it all meant. Perhaps I’m trying to over-analyze a film that is in many ways just an action film, but I personally don’t think that the filmmakers could have capped off such a compelling work of cinema with a more long-lasting image.

At the end of the day, Zero Dark Thirty is a fabulous political thriller, and the most satisfying American film of the year overall. Whether the filmmakers intended the film to attract this much public outcry is hard to say, but I’m certain they aren’t appreciative that their hard work is being judged as amoral. It’s also an absolute shame that Kathryn Bigelow  was denied a best director nomination this year (along with other shoe-ins like Paul Thomas Anderson, Ben Affleck, and Wes Anderson), but it seems the film has earned itself another merit. Zero Dark Thirty is easily the most controversial film, amidst the most controversial Oscar season in years.


Max Brenner- Whimsy, unique and freaking delicious


A couple of months back I was introduced to an amazing restaurant based in the heart of Union Square called Max Brenner’s.  It boasts itself as a great place for yummy food and a variety of great desserts, most notably chocolate.  I went there last week with a good friend of mine, and once again, was not disappointed at all.  Even though we went at peak time on a Friday night, we were seated relatively quickly and had some great conversations with our overtly friendly waitress.  That was just the beginning and it kept getting better.
I have had my experience with mac n cheese in my entire life.  Most of the time it comes from a box and takes a simple ten minutes to make, yet it is still delicious.  I decided to go with the Really Cheesy-Really Crunchy Mac N Cheese they have their.  It comes with five different cheeses, tomatoes and smoked applewood bacon.  When I first laid eyes on it, it was like heaven on a whole other level.  The variety of cheeses really explode in your mouth on top of the crunchy bacon and fresh tomatoes.  It even comes with a side of marinara sauce, something that I never in my life thought would work for this kind of a dish, but it makes it that much more homier and yummy at the same time.  Hands down the best mac n cheese I have ever had in my life.

That is just one part of how decadent this place really is.  You can’t finish a good meal like that and not try out the dessert.  Just walking in there it feels like you are in Willy Wonka’s world, and it’s one you don’t want to leave.  There are chocolate fountains and a variety of every type of candy and chocolate you can possibly imagine.  That’s just walking in too!  The dessert menu is like the guest list at the Oscar’s, top notch and you know it’s going to be one hell of a treat.  From their fondue (YES FONDUE!!!)  to unique items like Chocolate Pizza, there is something for everyone in that department (especially this pic which easily satisfied me and my friend).

By the end we were stuffed but beyond satisfied.  If you are in Manhattan or are visiting, this is the place to go and have a great time.

Max Brenner
841 Broadway  New York, NY 10003
(646) 467-8803