Craft + Commerce Day 0.5

I am giddy right now.

I got into Boise, Idaho yesterday afternoon for what will technically be my first conference ever.

The conference hasn’t even started yet, but I’ve already gotten so much value out of it.

How’s that possible?

Well, I attended an early-bird meet-up dinner last night with other conference attendees, and left the dinner completely blown away.

Aside from my weekly mastermind group, the handful of people I met at this dinner were some of the most likeminded people I’ve ever encountered.

It was like simultaneously meeting 10 different people that I could see myself being lifelong friends with in the real world.

Suffice to say, it was a profound experience. Maybe this is the norm? Maybe it’s just so new to me? But I can’t wait to see what the rest of the weekend has in store.

Day 1 is today, and it’s jam-packed with more meet-ups, one of which I personally attempted to host at 6:30am at the Downtown Boise YMCA.

Nobody showed up. But it was alllll good!

I honestly didn’t expect anyone to show up. Plus, I got to play basketball and meet a few cool locals that have nothing to do with the conference. So I’m glad I powered through this morning and made it happen. I feel energized for the rest of the day.

Quick, off-topic side note: I feel like an idiot for renting a car.

While I didn’t pay for the rental itself, I will be paying $12/day for parking. This wouldn’t be a big deal if I actually had to drive to various places, but every part of this conference is within walking distance.

I actually think the car may just end up sitting in the hotel parking lot for the entire duration of my stay.

Oh well.

If you’re attending Craft + Commerce in the future, my recommendation would be to pass on the car rental and just take Lyfts/Ubers for the few things that aren’t within walking distance.

 

An introduction to Beach House

My friends and family are already well-aware of my obsession with the “dream pop” duo known as Beach House.

My sister introduced them to me back in 2013, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

What’s interesting about my love for Beach House however, is that I didn’t truly fall in love with them until I got to briefly see them perform live.

You see, they were playing at Coachella that year, and before the festival weekend, I was actively listening to artists I didn’t already know about.

Beach House was one of these artists, and they fit nicely into the schedule of artists I had already planned to go see.

So Coachella weekend came along, and I eventually found myself at the Outdoor Theater stage, patiently waiting in the dark amongst a pretty spread-out, comfortable crowd.

Once they came out and started playing, I was immediately entranced.

There was something so mysteriously beautiful about them, and maybe this was their intention.

Unfortunately, I had a lapse in judgment when I let my friends drag me away from the amazing experience (only 3 songs in) for the stage next door where the Yeah Yeah Yeahs would be playing.

During that whole YYY set, I longingly stared back at the stage where Beach House was performing, realizing that I had made a huge mistake.

It would be another 2 years before I had the opportunity to see them again live, but it was well worth the wait.

I’ve now seen them 4 times since that fateful night, and with each show, my obsession has only grown stronger and stronger.

The most recent show was at the breathtaking Red Rocks Amphitheater, opening for Fleet Foxes.

Rain was forecast for that night. And while it did eventually arrive, it waited until Beach House’s set was over. The stars definitely aligned that night.

So why the obsession?

When you first listen to Beach House you probably won’t get it.

The sound can be slow, melancholy, sleep-inducing, and dare-I-say…boring.

But this is only at the surface level, which is to say that the music Beach House make is more complex than one may initially perceive.

This may sound like a pretentious way of putting it, but let me try and back it up in a way that I can set aside my personal biases.

One reason I think Beach House makes complex music is that there is very little consensus amongst fans on what their best songs (and albums) are.

And sure, maybe this is true for just about every single artist out there, but with Beach House, it seems that the fans have an especially diverse appreciation for their music.

I know this because of the frequent threads that are started on BH’s subreddit, asking fans to list their favorite tracks across a single album or entire discography.

There is no overwhelming consensus in these threads, and there is seemingly never any track that gets singled out as the “worst”.

And maybe this speaks more to BH’s consistency than it does to their complexity, but it’s still pretty remarkable to me.

If there were consensus about anything when it comes to BH, it would probably be that the album a new fan should start their journey with is 2012’s Bloom.

This is the first BH album I was exposed to, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. If I had listened to one of their older albums first, I may not have ever become anything more than a casual fan.

This isn’t to say that the albums before Bloom are bad. In fact, 2010’s Teen Dream is arguably BH’s best record in their entire discography.

But BH music takes time to digest. Every album is a slow burner. And in my opinion, Bloom is the quickest to captivate the listener, given the more prominent production and pop aesthetics.

No matter which BH album you choose to start with, the true catalyst to appreciating their music is through their live performances.

When you see that BH is effectively only 2 people (3 when you include James Barone, their touring drummer), the love of their music reaches new heights.

How can a group of only 2-3 musicians produce such a full sound?

How can it be that many of BH’s live sessions are even better than their studio recordings (see ‘Holy Dances’ below)?

I mean, it’s not like BH is going to the studio and recording songs with the intention of outdoing them in a live setting.

Or maybe they are?

Maybe BH just wants to reward their fans with an experience that exceeds the recorded version. After all, isn’t this what any classic artist would do?

It could also simply be that they are talented enough to always improve upon their previous work.

After 7 albums, they seem to only be getting better and better with each release.

And yes, that means I do think their latest album, 7, is probably their best to-date. This is simply because every track is top-notch from start to finish.

Even Teen Dream and Bloom had some tracks that I still feel are more filler than anything.

With 7, this isn’t the case. It is BH’s most complete album.

There are both new sounds and old sounds, and just like a lot of BH music, a lot of the songs are easy to dismiss after only a couple of listens.

But once you move past this typical litmus test, you’ll likely be hooked.

And if you needed any more convincing at this point about why this band is so amazing, here’s a little bit of “social proof” of how they’ve influenced some of the biggest names in music…

The Weeknd

R&B sensation The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) sampled two BH tracks (Gila and Master of None) in Loft Music and The Party & The After Party respectively.

Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar, one of the biggest names in hip-hop, sampled BH’s Silver Soul in his classic track, Money Trees. This is a cool mini documentary that talks about the making of this track:

Jay-Z & Beyonce

Game recognize game? This is Jay-Z and Beyonce in attendance at BH’s 2010 Coachella set:

So there you have it, an introduction to Beach House.

Enjoy the ride!

Stopping to appreciate the Warriors dynasty

The Golden State Warriors have never been a dynasty.

But that all changed last night, when they swept their way to their 3rd NBA title in the last 4 years.

And sure, it may have happened in a dramatically anti-climactic way, but you still have to stop and appreciate what it has taken to get them here.

No, it wasn’t just Kevin Durant.

Sure, he has helped in a significant way, but the Warriors were already on their way to dynasty territory before KD arrived.

In fact, they were mere minutes away from becoming a dynasty back in 2016, when they were outplayed by LeBron and Kyrie in the waning minutes of Game 7 of the NBA finals.

It’s crazy to think that this could have been the Warriors’ 4th consecutive championship if a few plays went the other way.

But alas, LeBron wanted it more than anybody else at that point in time, putting to bed any doubt that he was (and is) the best basketball player in the world.

Still, there is definitely a lot of randomness in sports.

But one thing that isn’t so random is how expertly the Warriors organization was crafted since changing ownership.

Not all Warriors fans have been around long enough to remember the horrors of the Chris Cohan ownership years. The guy flat out refused to sell the team to Larry Ellison, as if to give Warriors fans one last “fuck you” on his way out.

In the end, the joke was on him though, because the second highest bidders were definitely the better fit.

Really, you have to give a ton of credit to Joe Lacob (I’m intentionally excluding Peter Guber because his role has less to do with the team’s organizational components) for what he has done to turn this organization around.

Hiring Bob Meyers as the Warriors Assistant GM (only to be promoted shortly thereafter to GM), giving the go-ahead on the controversial Monta Ellis trade, firing Mark Jackson and eventually replacing him with Steve Kerr…

The list of good moves goes on an on.

The Warriors are a well-oiled machine from the top down, and it has to be acknowledged.

Some people also need to be reminded that the Warriors had been pursuing Durant years before losing to the Cavs in 2016. This was not just a reactive move to piss off NBA fans (aside from Warriors fans of course).

At this point, the only thing the Warriors organization has yet to achieve is becoming the greatest franchise of all-time. And yes, it would be awesome if they got there.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…there is a long way to go.

And with the rise of a ton of young talent in the league, along with the question of where LeBron goes in the offseason, next year could be the most difficult road to a championship yet.

P.S. MJBRO47, show me where I gave up on this team.

When the Warriors went down 3-2 to Houston, I went to the social medias to specifically cite how much I hated seeing Chris Paul go down.

Why? Because I knew Houston fans would inevitably blame their ultimate series loss on his injury.

And wuddya know?

Book it.