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This week was brutal here in NYC as the city got hit with widespread panic and potentially unstoppable plague. Yes, dear readers, CMJ is back! We also had our hands full with plenty of great songs, including a few that didn’t make our 5 Best. There are two songs in particular that deserve a mention, but were too divisive to make the list: Taylor Swift’s “Welcome To New York” and Ariel Pink’s”Black Ballerina.” Those two songs couldn’t be more different musically, but both managed to spawn some pretty reverent and furious responses. In the end they canceled each other out, but that just made room for other stuff — just as worthy, maybe more so. Check ’em out.

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Since retiring from his position as the keyboardist in Passion Pit, Ayad Al Adhamy has become best known as frontman of the Brooklyn-based band Team Spirit, and founder of Black Bell Records. Team Spirit released their debut LP, Killing Time, last month, and if you’ve seen any of their videos, you know the band is just as committed to their visual aesthetic as they are to their off-kilter brand of aggressive garage-pop. At 29, Al Adhamy has acquired somewhere around 20 tattoos, adding between three and six new ones every year since he started “collecting” at 23. Aside from getting tattooed, Al Adhamy has been giving a few tattoos, decorating the bodies of some of his closest friends after acquiring his own bootleg equipment.

Smoke drifts through the trees like a premonition. Everywhere the scent of burning pine, so sharp it stings. Tongues of flame lick at rotting timber; an inrush of wind stokes the glow on the horizon. Everything burns. The rains come too late to save anything worth saving, and what’s left in the end? Soggy ash, smoking ruins, devastation wrought. And … scene.


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