About a year ago, I found myself on the set of a late night television show on the same afternoon as a taping by the California group, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.


So you've heard Kanye West talking shit like he's the next Michael Jackson, no? If not try this one on for size: "As far as rapping goes, how can I say this? Jordan, Michael Jackson - it's what I do."


In 2010, Sufjan Stevens came out of a self-imposed bout of musical silence. In 2011, Iron & Wine releases his first major label statement. What do they have in common? Here is some musical mathematics.


In last December's issue of the British magazine Prospect, the musician and producer Brian Eno explained that gone are the days of distinct stylistic trends -- "this season's color" or "Abstract Expressionism" or "psychedelic music."


And now for a darker start to 2011. One thing the year end always brings is memories of those who did not make it into the year upcoming. Ergo, the passing of Captain Beefheart.


A quick shot of video optimism to start off your new year.


Generally speaking I find Christmas to be a bummer time of year. Quiet too quiet. Friends have headed home. Not enough ambient buzz to distract me from...A few months ago I began advising a young pop musician from New York named Ian Axel. He's recorded a holiday song with an equally young YouTube phenom named Julia Nunes.


Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson was a co-founder of Throbbing Gristle, partner of the amazing graphic design studio Hipgnosis, and a video director for artists as likely as Sepultura and Nine Inch Nails -- and as unlikely as Yes.


Terry Teachout's love of theater, his leisurely pacing, and his old-fashioned-ish musical tastes sometimes leave me with the impression that he's a bit out-of-step with contemporary culture. But then he contributes a column that's so on it snaps into focus just how with it he is, how much he understands the pulse of contemporary life.


Five years ago was a crazy time. Lots of artists I knew on the cusp of this and that. Below is one of the boys, below that ma' boy, and farther down still is the boy -- all of them in photos from half a decade ago, long before anyone cared.


Alec Hanley Bemis's picture
Alec Hanley Bemis

Alec Hanley Bemis lives in Brooklyn, NY but spends a lot of time in California. He obtained his B.A. in History from Yale University. His writing has appeared in LA Weekly, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Spin, AsthmaticKitty.com, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. In 2001, he co-founded Brassland, a record label that documents the work of a growing community of musicians, including The National and Nico Muhly. Currently he continues to run Brassland, consults for the UK-based music company All Tomorrow's Parties, co-manages The Dirty Projectors, and acts as general manager at Cantaloupe Music. In the past, he has taught in New York University's graduate journalism program, produced projects for the new media-design firm, Funny Garbage, and written for Faith Popcorn's BrainReserve.