I had some ambivalence about the small venue tour Sufjan went on last fall -- the music's Liberace-like indulgence, the way his band consciously abandoned structure but then, perhaps, overshot that effort and abandoned good taste. Philosophically it was intriguing; the music that resulted felt a bit forced.


Question: What do you do when you love a cover so much that you search out the original -- BUT YOU CANNOT FIND IT? That, my friends, is why YouTube was invented.


In the overmediated age we find ourselves in, I have a kind of kneejerk negative reaction to the entire notion of the recluse.


Say what you will about Kanye being a douchebag occasionally.


The short answer to that question is: "Yes, yes it is."


Last week there was something of a rights controversy over the cover photo used on Vampire Weekend's recent album "Contra." The model came forward saying they did not have proper permissions to use a Polaroid picture of her snapped by family members in the '80s.


The National, Dirty Projectors, Sharon Jones & St. Vincent all shared a stage earlier tonight (Central European Summer Time) at Les Nuits de Fourvière, a two-month long, multidisciplinary arts festival that happens every year in Lyon, France, about four hours Southeast of Paris by car.


Recently I had reason to reminisce about hardcore, a music very close to my heart. Want proof? Pictured below is the wall of my bedroom.


Why oh why are our best artists always so contrarian, so complicated?


As a brief preamble to this piece of writing about The National's new album "High Violet," I should offer this full disclosure: I've worked in close association with the band since 2001 when I put out their first album on my label Brassland.


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.