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Bryce Rudow is a freelance political/pop-culture journalist and he likes music. You can send all hatemail to [email protected] and tweet vitriol at him @brycetrudow. Go to his website and read interesting things: BryceTaylorRudow.com

The past few weeks I’ve thrown tons and tons of strong adamant opinions, esoteric deep thoughts, and niche investigative journalism at you, and for some reason you’re still here. To thank you, there’s no introduction today.

Just please check out:

–  The Tunes You Should Know in 2014 playlist on Spotify
–  Me, on Twitter.

Onto the music!


  • Spirit Animal – “Come To Christmas” and “Party in the Back” 

The other day I was driving with Paperhaus’ Alex Tebeleff and discussing Young Rapids’ glorious return from the dead when he interjected with a slight chuckle and said, “You know, you’re one of those people that can really appreciate a band like Young Rapids but then yet you still go nuts for something like Spirit Animal,” before continuing on with his point.

I don’t know exactly what that says about me or Spirit Animal, but it’s true. I have been known to, on occasion, go nuts for this band.

But I defy you to listen to “Come To Christmas” and not go a little nuts. It’s one of the best Christmas rock songs of all times.

However, if you need a little more funk in your respective holiday party’s trunk, Steve Cooper and Spirit Animal have you covered with their newest release, “Party In The Back.”

When I asked Steve to elaborate on this, one of their more (let’s be honest with ourselves) pandering party songs, he replied:

When most people hear the phrase, ‘business in the front, party in the back’ they think of mullet haircuts. I’m not sure if that’s even the original use of the phrase or when we reached peak irony. But when I thought of it as a song lyric, I was fixated on the business aspect. This party game is no joke! The die hard partiers have to put in mad work to keep their party knob on 11. It ain’t all jame’o shots and back alley blunts, yao ming? There are naysayers who tell you to grow up. There are other hurdles, like bank accounts and your physical well-being. I mean, honestly. You have to ignore a lot of obvious drawbacks to having a good time…to constantly have a good time. I’m not workin’, but you know I ain’t playin’. Yao ming?

Sometimes I think I know what Alex meant by that Young Rapids/Spirit Animal line…

But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to sweat any less when I dance my legs numb next Tuesday when they play Black Cat with Paperhaus and Jamaican Queens (a band who was content to make 3 GREAT songs then take the rest of their album off but are still worth seeing).

Get tickets here. Come to Christmas…shows with Spirit Animal.


  • Nick Jonas – “Teacher”

And with this song, Nick Jonas has now thrown his hat into the ring as the next possible Great White Hype when it comes to commercial pop funk.

We tried to force Justin Timberlake to reprise the role and ended up getting disappointed with a dual-album that looks terrible in 20/20 hindsight and we’re all but burning straw man effigies of Robin Thicke to celebrate his legally-induced confessions of blurred mediocrity, but I guess it’s time we let The Middle Jonas have a turn at the wheel.

Because after releasing two forgettable singles (“Chains” and “Jealous” (the non-gospel one)) to promote a forgettable solo album that I fortunately was unaware of until earlier this week, Nick Jonas shocked the blogosphere last week with his third single, the more-than-suggestive song “Teacher,” that’s most shocking quality is that it is really good.

Well, good for a Prince homage the way “Blurred Lines” was a good Marvin Gaye homage…

But who cares? Because this song BUMPS and, in the long run, it can only lead to good things.

Remember this time last year when it was Joe Jonas that was turning bad-boy and made headlines thanks to gossip-filled interviews where he spilled the beans about losing his V-Card to Ashley Greene and smoking weed for the first time thanks to Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez?

Well if Nick Jonas — a former beau of Miss Cyrus, mind you — is about to start his own Jonas Brother All Grown Up Funky Sex Machine media blitz, then we should all start drooling now in advance of all the juicy pop-culture gold coming our way.

Just don’t get too jealous when you find out all the shit Miley and him got into…


  • Frank Ocean – “Memrise” 

A thought to stretch your mind: If Frank Ocean releases a song and no one’s there to hype it, is it actually amazing?

Now another, less rhetorical question: Do you know why uber-famous comedians start to get disengaged with the public post-rise to fame? Because they can’t trust the public anymore when it comes to their laughs. Jerry Seinfeld could go on stage and start his set by saying, “What’s the deal with…” and finish that with any Mad-Libbed noun he could think of and at least 25% of an audience would laugh solely because he’s Jerry Seinfeld, meaning Seinfeld isn’t able to properly gauge the jokes’ worth.

I think Frank Ocean is at that point when it comes to ‘experimental’ R&B.

I mean, is this song good? Is it just Frank Ocean playing with effects pedals, staccato-talking like an Audible.com’ed Langston Hughes poem and then falsettoing his way to an ‘it’s-over-already?’ ending?

There’s no way of knowing.

I’ve even gone ahead and thrown it on my ‘Be Chill;Do Work’ playlist because it’s just easier to let it happen. The hype machine’s already got TIME; what hope do the rest of us non-atmospheric mortals have?

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  • The Dig – Their Show Tomorrow at Black Cat 

I have been known to shamelessly plug bands that I like over and over again on this column (see: Spirit Animal above), but I shouldn’t be the only person that gets to selfishly take advantage of your desire to procrastinate doing that thing you need to do with awesome new music, so (without his knowledge) I’m turning the last entry in this week’s column over to Chris Naoum of Listen Local First, who sent me the sweetest email yesterday that I’m now passing along to you.

Hey Kids,

I know there are tons of shows this week and people have holiday plans, but very close friends of mine from The Dig will be playing the Black Cat backstage with two amazing local acts Pree and The Sea Life.

(also calling out all Chappaqua folk)


As a favor to friends I always want to pack the place and The Dig are going back into studio to write and record a new album so this is probably the last time you will get to see them live in a while if you have not seen them yet.

For those of you not pre committed with tickets to other shows, let’s grab drinks and hang out on Thursday and go see some awesome music.


Get tickets here.