Thursday, September 12, 2013

Schizophrenic like Syd Barret, on one. Edgar Allen Ho screamin', "Reynolds", on one.

So happy to share with you the first video from the artist I've been working with for over a year now. 

It has been an amazing experience watching her grow from an incredible but raw MC to a gifted songwriter and person with a bank account (but still no driver's license). 

I'm so proud of our über-talented girl, Nova Paholek and all the hard work she's done to get here. Congratulations kid, and to the best team in the world, Jensen Karp & Evan Kidd Bogart, let's do this. 

Produced by Chest Rockwell, managed by Jensen Karp (Hot Karl, y'all), and Executive Produced by Evan Bogart and myself, I present to you Nova Rockafeller in, "Problem".

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I guess it's just a thought, though my mind is kinda name is Justin, baby.


We were sitting backstage at the Masquerade, a decades-old
Goth leaning club we’d played many times before, the latter
“we” being my band, She Wants Revenge, and the former,
Jarobi White and myself. Jarobi, once known as “The Mystic
Man” was a founding member of A Tribe Called Quest and an
old, dear friend from my hip-hop years in the early 90’s. For
those who only know me as the guy who sang, “Tear You
Apart” and “the Popsicle song”, a little backstory…

I released my first single, the QD3 produced “Season Of The
Vic” in 1991 at the age of 17 and was immediately signed by
Quincy Jones to his label, Qwest/Warner Bros. The song was a
laid-back, California, sun-kissed hip-hop hippie tale of people
taking your shit. I used my own name, dressed like Jim Morrison
and was in love with the Jungle Brothers and their fellow Native

The song got radio play, entered the urban charts, and was in
heavy rotation on Yo! MTV Raps. I hosted Pump It Up,
appeared on BET, would later perform on Soul Train and played
shows throughout LA and the bay while coming up along
fellow LA artists Wil-I-Am (then Will 1X), The Pharcyde, Cypress
Hill, Kev Hicks and Mannish, Freestyle Fellowship, Ras-Kas, The
Whooliganz, The Wascals, The Funkytown Pros, and House Of

The song was a bona-fide hit, and despite comparisons to Q-Tip
(a good friend at the time) was well received in most quarters.
Before I’d even graduated high school I was a semi-famous
rapper in one of the most creative and prolific moments in hip-hop.

But in 2010, I was fronting She Wants Revenge, a band I’d
started with another hip-hop kid from Los Angeles, Adam
Bravin, which is where we began the story, in Atlanta, at The

Jarobi was living there at the time, and had come to the show
to catch up and see Adam and myself play. Before the show
we talked story, laughed our asses off and it was like 1992 all
over again, only now we were pushing 40 and had kids of our
own. We discussed hip-hop, and he told me that he’d put
together a group of his own with Dres of Black Sheep fame.

Though still bubbling and undeveloped, I told him about the
urge I’d been having for the last year: the feeling I thought
would never return, the relationship I thought long-severed, yet
still I heard myself say it out loud with Jarobi as witness, “I’m
thinking about making a hip-hop album”. I went on to tell him
that for the first time in ages I was feeling pulled, compelled if
you will to do something.

The only caveat being I didn’t know what to talk about, and
since hip-hop is at it’s best a vehicle for an artist with something
he or she hasto say, a point of view given voice over beats,
and that if you had nothing to say, well…then better to not say
anything at all. (A point lost on some modern rappers, and
more importantly, the ever-growing audience that gobbles it

I told Jarobi I had the itch, but until I knew what I wanted to talk
about, that it was nothing more than that, the faintest of ideas,
an inkling of an idea. But for someone who had retired from
rapping after releasing only one album and a handful of UK
singles over the years, even considering it at all was a leap
forward and verging on shocking.

Fast forward to a bar in New York City, and Jarobi and I are
yelling at the top of our lungs at a group of younger hip-hop
kids we’re seated with, debating the “G.O.A.T.” or Greatest Of
All Time to the layman.

The debate spilled onto the street, and
soon we were in a dark Soho club while Adam 12 and Stretch
Armstrong played classic cut after classic cut and Jarobi and I
reminisced about “that night at Red Alert’s club when shit got
wild”, the uptown girls who’d bring us home-cooked soul food
and nickel bags of “machine gun funk”, and about a hundred
other stories from the glory days of hip-hop – reveling in our past
like two hippies telling the kids about Woodstock.

And rightly so, because from the late 80’s to the mid-90’sthis
was our Woodstock, but instead of The Who it was L.O.N.S,
while they had Jimi we had Chuck and Kris, and our Janis was
MC Lyte.

Back then when I went to NYC to meet with producers for my
first LP, Jarobi, whom I’d met when I drove Tribe to their first LA
show, was my guide and narrator, teaching me all about the
city, it’s people and it’s hip-hop past. He brought me into the
inner sanctum of the NYC hip-hop culture and introduced me
to everyone, from Brooklyn to the Bronx as his “cousin”.
I hung with Guru and Primo, De La, Black Sheep, The Flavor Unit,
Nice & Smooth, Busta Rhymes, The Bomb Squad, members of
BDP, Brand Nubian, Main Source, Chris Lighty, Red Alert,
Grandmaster Flash, and many, many others. Needless to say
my experience in hip-hop was first hand and with the people
who created the music and culture. I was an 18-year-old
member of The Universal Zulu Nation who’d travelled from
Laurel Canyon to find like-minded people to make an
unconventional hip-hop album.

But I digress. Back to the present. 2011.
Several tours, a few bolts of inspiration and some great
conversations with trusted confidants later and I found myself
at the end of a co-headline tour with Peter Murphy of Bauhaus.
It had been a great tour, culminating with Adam and myself
joining Peter and his band onstage to play a cover of Bauhaus’
“Dark Entries”, a dream on so many levels, both for us and the
fans in attendance.

Later that night after the final show as we prepared to head
home for the holidays I sat with a friend whom I’d known since I
was 11 years old. We were discussing our plans for the future.
It was loud in the bar so I leaned in close and half-smiling said to
her, “When I get home I’m going to start recording a mixtape”.
She smiled and went on to tell me how now was precisely the
right time and why it was a great idea. Her encouragement
was great, but saying it out loud was the important part. Now I
had to do it.

I went home, the holidays came and went, and on January 1st,
2012, I went into the studio and recorded the 1st rap song I’d
done in many years. Recently I’d been making some incredible
beats, so I knew I still had that, but the rhyming was the
unknown. Could I still do it?

Not that I was ever the greatest rapper, but despite not being
blessed with a God-given rhyming voice like Rakim or Jay-Z I’d
managed to turn my private school intellect and obsessive
fandom of all things hip-hop and pop-culture into a somewhat
groundbreaking hybrid of music….at least that’s what people
had been telling me for the last few decades.

The first song sounded good, and the second even better, but
by the third it was clear to me that not only did I still have it, but
that I was better than I’d EVER been, that my lyrics were
sharper, my wit drier, my flow hotter, and my voice
deeper….truly I had found my rap voice, both figuratively and
literally, and any doubts about subject matter flew out the
window when I found myself rapping about the only thing I
could – what it was to be me at 39 - Happily married but having
lived many heavy lives of love since I first called myself Teenage
Caligula. The narrator was more hardened, and even though
the lyrics of Drugstore Cowboy were at the time pure
imagination, the years that followed made them almost
prescient. The music and the rhyming was angrier, less
polished, more impactful, funnier, smarter, more developed,
and much, much more original.

The years of songwriting, performing live shows around the
world and working in rock & roll, indie-rock, pop and
electronica paid off, as the sound was as one friend and early
listener described, a mélange of everything I’d done before
and perhaps the most honest piece of music I’d ever created.
Here were the words of a father, a husband, a record
producer, and a sober motorcycle-riding singer and from an
internationally recognizable dark-rock band with an obsessive
devotion to the Los Angeles Lakers and a Gossip Girl addiction
to rival any tween from Malibu to the U.E.S. A life-long skater
with equal affection for Jay Electronica, The Band, Broadcast
and Jane’s Addiction whose Twitter bio still reads Universal Zulu

The lyrics were from my life, my experiences, my thoughts, fears,
feelings, rants, and freestyled flows come alive in the recording
studio, just myself at the mixing board with a drum machine
and a microphone, just as I had some 20 years before.
I came up with a concept, The Black Hesh Cult, and started
designing t-shirts and jackets, stickers and merch. It would be a
brand based on the two cultures which were of great
significance to me – the black biker set; motorcyclists from the
bay area and Los Angeles who rode as outlaws in a
predominantly white biker world, and the jean jacket wearing,
bongwater scented Heshers of the San Fernando Valley where I
grew up.

The intersection of those two things set against a hip-hop road movie
soundtrack started to shape a vision for not only the artwork for the
mixtape and the segues that would join the songs, but for the brand as well.

I made a shirt, and a song, and another song, and another….
Soon I got busy with producing other projects, mainly Nova
Rockafeller, which coincidentally was brought to me after
playing her manager, Jensen Karp some songs, and as Nova
and I continued to make music, the Black Hesh Cult Mixtape
sat in waiting.

Time passed, the NBA season progressed, lyrics about Andrew
Bynum turned to lyrics about Dwight Howard, songs were
discarded, beats changed, and new songs were born, and this
mixtape started to become a real album.
After having done all the tracks to date myself, I enlisted my old
friend Balthazar Getty to send some beats my way, and after
sorting through email after email of his tracks, I settled on 3
bangers which spoke to me and felt appropriate, the beats
which would become, “So” “.22”, & “Diary”.
I told Adam from She Wants Revenge what I was doing and
asked if he had any beats he wanted to send my way, and he
sent what was to become, “Up And Bounce”, one of my

I had a file of music set aside for segues to go between songs,
and after carefully selecting the music and dialogue that
would help move the narrative forward, I placed them
between songs with the precision of a surgeon. Everything was
important – the in’s, the out’s, the downbeats, each moment
contributing to the overall feel of the piece.
And when I listened back to the whole thing I was amazed to
find that I’d not made a mixtape, I’d made an album, an
album so close to Planet 9 that there was no question this was
it’s spiritual follow-up.

All in all with other projects popping up, both my own and as a
producer, it took me about a year to finish the mixtape, but if
you tally the time I spent actually in the studio making it, it’s
closer to two months of man hours….but it felt like a lost

It came so easy, from such a pure, unadulterated, imaginative
exploratory place that it was almost déjà vu, for it was exactly
the same feelings I’d had while making my first album so many
moons ago.

While sitting outside my friend’s guitar shop recently we began
talking about the work he’d been doing in hip-hop. I realized
I’d not told him what I’d been up to, so I said, “dude, I made a
mixtape!”. Being that he was around and involved when I
made my first LP, he was thrilled to hear this, but more
importantly he dropped a question - “When’s the 20th
anniversary of Planet 9?”.

The crazy thing is that before that moment it had never even
crossed my mind, and before I could do the math he said,
“dude, its next month”.

I couldn’t believe it. Had it really been 20 years? Forget the age
implications, I was simply blown away that I released an album
so long ago it could be considered “vintage”. This was a
milestone in my life; I’d just turned 40 and my 1st LP turned 20.
A few tweets from some hip-hop bloggers with a love of the
glory days, a dust-covered trip into my garage to dig through
the archives and it was decided; I would release the mixtape in
celebration of the 20th anniversary of my 1st album.
Fitting. Appropriate. Like it was by design.

I’d been waffling on whether or not to release this, as I had
some other things I was working on which I was eager to share
with the world, but in the end, documenting something that
meant so much to me and letting people hear it felt right. If
making it was so effortless and natural, why not let the kids hear
the old man do his thing.

I couldn’t be more proud of what I’ve created, both alone with
my thoughts in a darkened studio, as well as with the help of a
few close friends whom I’ve known since I was the teenager
who first experienced this music. It all makes sense.

Thank you to all who heard it along the way and voiced words
of encouragement, because even though I was going to and
had to do this regardless of what anyone thought or felt, it sure
was nice to hear the feedback and know that perhaps I wasn’t
crazy, and perhaps I’d not only found my voice and what to
say, but that it might speak to others as well.

In the weeks to come I will be releasing some rare b-sides and
instrumentals from the Planet 9 sessions, and down the line, an
accompanying essay, describing the making of the album and
the back story that led to it.

I’ve been archiving and going through the past, and there’s a
lot there.

In interviews across the country Adam and myself used to
always say, “We’re just two b-boys from the valley”, and after
20 years it was nice to know that some things never change.
I hope you enjoy,

Justin Warfield August, 21st, 2013

And now, The Black Hesh Cult Mixtape


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Better than Dynasty or Hill Street Blues.

So you’re going to complain about Coachella?


Cause it totally sucks having a rad 3-day vacation with your best friends wherein everyone is having fun, eating your favorite food(trucks), dancing, smiling, bonding and sharing memories all to a carefully curated live-music soundtrack for your listening and viewing enjoyment.

Yeah, that’s terrible.

Let’s instead look at the top of each days’ bill and pass snap judgment without looking at the 10 bands a day you’d go see at the Echo or El Rey anyway.

Let’s talk about the bands that have already played there in the past, let’s complain about the band that we think in our infinite wisdom is reuniting solely for the money when really we’re just pissed it wasn’t The Smiths.

Let’s complain about ticket prices when we’re all getting comps anyway. Let’s complain about the hip-hop influence that’s pervading recent years while following A$AP on Twitter and watching the video for Thrift Store when no one is looking.

Let’s complain about the Red Hot Chili Peppers, never mind that they helped invent alternative music when you were 3 and your older sister who now likes Deap Valley was super into New Kids On The Block.  

Let’s post ironic fake lineups to hide the fact that you’re bummed your shitty band isn’t on the bill.

But it’s such a long drive, and the traffic, and no one has reception, and the rooms are booked, and you have to wait in line for a drink, and there’s no enough water, and there’s too much dance music, and.....YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE.

It’s fucking awesome. Get over it, get over yourself and HAVE FUN.

I will be there with my better half, as we go every year and have an incredible time, like an annual honeymoon, kissing under the stars, knowing every inch of the terrain from going year after year (Yes I went to the 1st one, very proud of that), dancing to bands from all across the country, laughing, sweating, catching up with friends, making plans to meet up at designated times then getting distracted by something awesome and meeting up by accident later anyway, being at the outdoor theater at Sunset, having flashbacks to playing there (twice, let me enjoy that, OK?), getting years confused when discussing past performances, buying the app, getting a tan, beating the crowd, knowing the shortcuts, having the special wristband, standing side stage, saying, “remember that year when….”, living the dream and living our lives instead of typing about it.

And to those who say, "easy for you to say, you get the good passes, you can use the golf carts, you don't get get bullied by security and rounded up like cattle and told where not to go", I say - 

"Exactly. I worked hard under-earning in middling bands and making good music for years to finally have a band be fortunate enough to achieve some kind of success and afford me the luxury of fading into obscurity with an artist wristband on my 39 year old wrist. And security doesn't discriminate, I have just as many problems in the Gen Pop area as I do in the shaded, beverage laden promised land. Having said that, I've gone with the worst passes and had the best time, so just suck it up and don't be a pussy. I'm old and need to be pampered, I don't like dust and hate being around other people, so I need a little more. Now can we continue?

You say the lineup sucks, I call bullshit on that and I'll take it one step further.....I think if you went you would have a blast, let your hair down, come home like Cameron after he wrecked his dad's car and just maybe your cold frozen heart would warm enough to realize that there's more to life than KindKreme and being against everything. 

Here’s what I’ll be watching, no irony, no bullshit, just a list of bands I’m curious to ecstatic to see. Color commentary is dead honest, not trying to be funny, but if it is, feel free to hire me for your writer's room.

Day 1 

* The Stone Roses

* Blur

* Lou Reed - (I know, but he’s Lou Reed, and I’ll be hanging out with him and you won’t, so suck it Sweet Jane)

* Grinderman - (People I trust love and apparently awesome, but I’ve yet to hear them, much like I’ve never seen the Deer Hunter or all of 2001 A Space Odyssey)


* Tegan And Sara - (I gave in)

* Band Of Horses - (I think)

* Beach House - (Do I like them?)

* Foals - (I remember a really good song).

* Tommy Trash - (I say I want to see this and dance with my wife but we’ll end up watching someone else who’s on at the same time so we can hang with that friend who we never get to see cause their friend is the tour manager/tech/singer)


* SPARKS!!!! - (Age appropriate rock which will erase the memory of Squeeze last year)

* Dam Funk - (He’s meant to be awesome, right?)

* Palma Violets


* The Neighbourhood!!

Day 2 

* Phoenix - (30 minutes ago I would have said, "ehh", but in keeping with the spirit of the above words I realized it will be a radical dance party and time to stop being a dick and enjoy the Rich French Strokes).

* New Order - (I’ve seen them be good ONCE, and I was about as far from sober as I’ve ever been and it was in a palace in England with the Chemical Brothers and Underworld, so that’s not an accurate gauge of how good they actually were, having said that Hooky isn’t in the band (as of now), but it’s New Order, so you pray Bernard sings in key while you dance and sing along. Meanwhile I’ll be dancing with one of my favorite people who happens to be a lovely woman as well as their agent. - And while we’re at it, it is not lost on me that my perspective is of one who is in the music industry and has been for 24 years, so sorry if I say agent a lot, or reference managers and friends in bands. It's my JOB. If I worked at Starbucks I'd tell you all about how people pretend to order coffee only dip out when no one is watching to nuke the bathroom, OK?)

* Benny Bennassi - (Like 10 other I’ll list and say I want to see but in the end I will end up missing for Kogi or waiting for a golf cart to meet up with someone who’s no longer there)



* Puscifer - (Friend of a friend, seems fun, never heard)


* Bat For Lashes

* Major Lazer - (Accept it, Diplo is a fucking genius)

* 2 Chainz - (White people love ignorant black music even more than they love Radiohead).

* Danny Brown

* Trash Talk 

* Pusha T - (Clipse is all-time, I ain’t new to this)

* Baauer - (White people and trap music, again…but this is where the good looking kids like AJ Anglais will be, so natch I want to lurk).

* Action Bronson


Day 3 

* RHCP - (Best live band in the world, not debatable, shut the fuck up, how about you learn to play your instrument like these guys, be on your own shit creatively for over 25 years without compromise all while making more money than god, THEN come back and talk shit you tempeh eating fan of bad music)

* Bad Seeds - (I’m gonna be honest, I saw them in the dusty field in one of the early, early ones, or an early Lolla – don’t know a lot of their music, but I like the vibe a lot)

* VAMPIRE WEEKEND - (Four words – GOSSIP GIRL SEASON ONE. Two more words – WHITE PEOPLE. One more word – Graceland. These dudes are awesome, and apart from seeing them be very condescending to a black security guard a previous year (basically just like the scene in Breakfast Club where Bender mocks Carl the janitor), they are fun and make you want to put a sweater around your neck, live off your father’s Amex, punch Carter Baizen and eat a macaroon)

*  Wu-Tang Clan - (why not?)

* Tame Impala

* La Roux - (Again, will probably miss for a Cool Haus ice cream sandwich I’ll put off until I can no longer stick to my no-sugar diet)

* Grimes

* Gaslight Anthem - (Same manager, good dudes, Bruce adjacent)

 * The Faint -  (Def subliminally influenced SWR, and I will rock the fuck out hard when they play their Nebraska-wave dance macabre madness)

* Dinosaur Jr. - (Almost lost my hearing in the pit at Lolla 92 (I think 92) watching these dudes. Now he has grey hair, what’s not to like?)

* Raider Klan -(Don’t know but sounds essential)

* Disclosure - (If you don’t know and you say you like dance music you are in a fraternity and drink beer inverted and have herpes)

* Father John Misty - (Same agent and he’s weird, right?)

* DIIV - (The future, even if it sounds like the past. Same manager. I know...I know)

* Little Green Cars - (Best of the Irish-invasion, with the exception of Hudson Taylor who should score a Graduate type movie that I should one day make)

* White Arrows - (Never heard, but Mickey is a nice enough kid, and I like it when local boys and friends of friends succeed).

So see you there, right?

Everybody's a critic, it's gettin' kinda hectic...

1996, maybe 5, but let's just say 96. 

Gianni and I are living on Arlington Road at the corner of Parkway in the heart of Camden. I won't say Camden Town, because that feels a bit '78, and besides, no one I knew actually called it that. This was the HEIGHT of Brit-Pop, and the newsstand beside the pub we lived above had the butcher boards bearing the news of the day, and on more than one occasion the headline was about Blur vs. Oasis. (I never chose sides, I was too obsessed with both to commit, and while What's The Story was worlds better than Parklife, I would have to say at the time it was the big O, though a year later when Graham Coxon caught wind of Pavement and Damon raided his CD collection, their self-titled LP blur was a a revelation and incredibly ironic, but not in a Beck sort of way, literally ironic - for just a year before the band who sang about milky tea, mods, country houses and epitomized all things Britannia were now mining Slanted And Enchanted and name-checking Spiral Stairs. Bug I digress.

Gianni was "dating" a girl. I couldn't tell you her name, what she looked like, her ethnicity or any one thing in particular about her, all I remember is that he was not in a good place and was busy in his room and had no time for her presence, so feeling dejected and bored she came to my room to say hello. I was busy myself, however my activities were of the recording variety and didn't involve aluminium foil. (Obnoxious spelling intentional). She knocks on my door and I push stop on my 8 track Tascam tape recorder, set down my headphones and reluctantly get up to see what she wants. She says hello, asks if she can come in. I say why not, hoping her stay is brief; after all, I'm currently in a relationship, so it's not like I have any business with his shunned girl other than listen to her complain about by best friend and bandmate for what I hope will be a minimum amount of time.

She tells me he's busy getting high and is ignoring her. I'm sure I nodded in acknowledgment and understanding while feigning interest in whatever she was saying, but the truth is I would have told her the bearded Italian from the valley was my gay lover if I thought she would leave me alone and let me record, but instead I listened. But being that she was British and not some rich girl from the valley (like the last one), she spoke in short terse sentences, nearly devoid of emotion, so the kvetching was mild and she mostly sat and looked around the sparsely furnished but very nice living quarters these two strange Americans inhabited. 

She had a Walkman, yes, a real life Walkman if you can believe, and mind you this was not only pre-"phone as media consumption device", but headphones were a curved piece of silver metal with grey-black foam over the ears, a far cry from painful white ear buds, and the only thing Dre was making at this point was music. I asked her what she was listening to and she said three words that looking back were sweeter than any three words a woman had ever said to me before; My Bloody Valentine. 

My interest was piqued, for all I knew of the band was the album covers I'd seen in the closet whenever I went to my record label and scavenged the bins for CD's to listen to or more likely, trade for the measly living expenses of a 20-something in the 90's. I remembered the CD art I'd seen beside The Flaming Lips, REM and Jane's, and I always remember digging the artwork and the font, but for some reason I thought it was going to be vaguely metal, so I'm pretty sure if I ever did grab it that the only time it was opened was when they checked to make sure it wasn't an empty case when I placed it on the counter at The Wherehouse. 

But this time I was interested, mainly because only weeks before, while doing press, a journalist in Paris told me that our band's live show reminded him of My Bloody Valentine, both in terms of sheer volume as well as the dizzying array of sounds coming from the samplers on stage and bass and guitar overtones. (Mind you there were zero musical similarities, but he was French and he made it sound convincing and cool, and yeah, we used samplers back then). So it was fresh on my mind when this sad looking cute girl sat on the edge of my bed with her bad posture (probably a contrivance to further this narrative, but it paints a more vivid picture) and her Walkman in her lap.

"Can I hear?", I queried? "Sure", as she handed me the Walkman, first rewinding it to the top. (I'm not entirely sure she did this, but I'm guessing she must have, as it was cued to the very top of the first song). 

I pushed play, and......
OK, wait.
I'm not going to do that thing.

I'm not going to do that thing where I tell you that the snare hit three times and my life changed.

I’m not going to do that thing where I tell you that the cacophony that followed was so powerful and all consuming that it was as if I'd mainlined Sgt. Pepper's, Pet Sounds and Houses Of The Holy all at once.

It would be pretentious to tell you that I actually saw and heard the music in terms of colour and this was as pink and hazy as the cover I would later come to know and love.

It would be so terribly predictable if I told you I’d found my new desert island disc and the most important record of my generation, an album that would make Nevermind look like The Bay City Rollers on bad black tar and rendered them as irrelevant as Candlebox (I know the chronology is off, relax).

But I did do that thing, and I am pretentious, and I am predictable, and more than anything else, I am hopelessly sentimental.

What I must tell you, simply because it is the truth is that it felt like falling in love for the first time, that my entire conception of what an album could sound like had changed and rather than kick myself for being 5 years late all I wanted to do was lie in bed forever and listen to this wonderful, wonderful cassette.

Now that the 33 1/3 intro, the post-Pitchfork obligatory Christ like exaltation has been handled, I can state the facts:

After those 4 snare hits the music started on a song I would later come to know was "Only Shallow". I got as far as the vocals (24 seconds in) and pushed stop. 

I took off the headphones and calmly said, "Can I be alone and listen to this, please?", to which she replied, "Sure", got up off the bed, walked to the door and exited.

I stood, walked to the door, shut it, lay back on the bed, put the headphones on, rewound the cassette, closed my eyes, and pushed play.

I don't remember if it was the type of Walkman that would automatically flip the tape (raise your hand if you remember auto-reverse), or whether I had to physically flip it. I assume the girl went back into Gianni's room and vied for his attention, but I can't be sure, all I know is that I listened to the album front to back twice before I reluctantly gave the Walkman back to her along with the cassette which had just cracked open my 23 year old mind.

I don't remember when I went out and bought it for myself, I feel like I walked up to Camden Lock to the nearby record store only to find out it was sold out, but I can't be sure, and even then, I have no idea when I actually purchased it for myself, but regardless of when I got my first copy, I can tell you with 100% honestly and certainty that it was one of the most beautiful, pure, and stunning musical moments of my life and remains so to this day.

I am well aware of the fact that some "important" albums suck, how some "must haves" are overrated, and some "modern classics" are over hyped, but this is not one of those albums. Sure there are those who keep their hard copy on hand like a copy of Helter Skelter on the coffee table: a cultural signifier more than indicator of one's true taste, like having an Unknown Pleasures shirt before they sold them at Urban or a RHCP sticker on your bumper in '92, but that's more to do with the listener than the music.

The music is timeless, both in terms of how fresh it still sounds as well as it's disorienting and swirly nature, swaying in and out of time, all tremolo bar wobble and reverse reverb wash. The music is also  wordless, as no one truly knows the lyrics, and if they say they do they're lying. (Which is also what makes it such a truly unique experience in the context of modern rock and roll music, in that it elicits such great emotion and we feel a connectedness to the DNA of the songs purely through melody and texture and the words are whispered signposts that merely point in a general direction rather than tell you a story. We make our own stories from the sounds. Pretty heady stuff for a rock band that started out making fuzzy punky indie-rock).

I can be as cynical as the next guy when listening to or talking about music, but when I just lay down in bed, laptop on my chest, Beats By Dre strapped to my ears, and I pushed play, I got a similar feeling as when sitting on the edge of my bed in Camden. 

Sure, this time it wasn't a revelation, it wasn't a "game changer" (definitely the most overused term in relation to any media....apologies), on the contrary, it was familiar, warm, comforting, and it brought a smile to my face like seeing an old friend who moved away long ago but came back looking just like you'd remembered.

So as we all listen to and digest this new My Bloody Valentine record, "M B V", which was just released tonight, the first TRUE My Bloody Valentine album since 1991, as we praise, judge, debate in 140 characters, tag friends in battles and compare to the previous LP’s with the dry wit of a generation of cynics raised on cat memes and single origin espresso, as we play armchair Greil Marcus and fancy ourselves the Lester Bangs of our very own IP address, I thought I would share with you not my OPINION, but my experience as outlined above.

So when I pushed play on my Macbook and listened to the first song, "She Found Now", I smiled to myself.

It was all there. 

I played the song till the end, and as the second song started I pushed pause and wrote this. 

Whatever follows in the remaining 8 1/2 songs doesn't matter; the friend was back in town and made us feel just like they did when last we saw them, and to quote Lou Reed, "And it was alright".