Sean Gadd was brought to my attention via a mutual friend with very good taste, and you’re in luck, because the former Grouplove bassist will be his first show of the year on Thursday, January 25th at The Moroccan Lounge in Los Angeles. His forthcoming album, ‘The Dark Way Back,’ gives listeners an intimate look the his journey.
Originally from London, Gadd moved to Los Angeles where he co-founded the band Grouplove, which he left in 2014 amidst turmoil in his personal life. Of his previous struggle with addiction, Gadd says, “It felt that everything I’d worked for my whole life was gone overnight.” However sometimes you have to lose everything to find out who you really are. “In a way, for me it actually became the most enlightening time of my life. I had to find out who I was without all the things that came with being in a successful band. I’d lost friends. I’d lost my band. My record deal was gone. Who was I now?” Listen to a track of his new album below. For tickets to his upcoming show, click HERE.
The account of Aziz Ansari’s alleged sexual assault might be the most important yet. It underlines the necessity of nuance, and it offers both men and women an opportunity to dissect the sometimes difficult dichotomy between sexual assault and a severe misunderstanding. I’ve read the reactions on twitter, and there are a few things worth noting. First, I believe that this woman felt sexually assaulted, and my heart breaks for her.
Her very detailed account begins with a beautiful date that seemingly went well, which took place at an “Oyster bar on board a historic wooden schooner on the Hudson River.” She then sensed Ansari was “eager to leave,” despite the remaining wine in her glass. Since there is no provided timeline, it’s unclear how long they were on the boat before Ansari suggested they depart. Is it possible, as she suggests, that Ansari hurried their meal as a means to get to the sex? Sure. Is it also possible he was simply sick of sitting on a boat? Also sure. According to Grace, when they entered his apartment “He said something along the lines of, “‘How about you hop up and take a seat?’ Within moments, he was kissing her. ‘In a second, his hand was on my breast.’ Then he was undressing her, then he undressed himself. She remembers feeling uncomfortable at how quickly things escalated.'” For starters, I want to be clear that a woman entering a man’s apartment after a date in no way warrants a blanket assumption that she is game for sex. I also want to be clear that as a general rule, a man SHOULD NEVER undress himself. Endless coffee conversations with many of my best girlfriends have involved that very specific subject, and each and every one of them was horrified when the man undressed himself. My male friends like rules for clarity, and that is one of them. Your pants don’t come off until we take them off. Is it a double standard? Yes. But there you have it. As for a kiss immediately escalating into undressing, while it might feel fast, there are certain rip-each-other’s-clothes-off circumstances that we’ve all been in, and they often involve a “game on” approach. As in, I know it’s soon, but I’m so turned on I can’t wait one minute longer. If that turned-on feeling is not mutual, it’s a mess.
Grace also notes that Ansari “told her he was going to grab a condom within minutes of their first kiss, [and she] voiced her hesitation explicitly.” I’m about to give my male friends and readers another general rule. NEVER get a condom unless the woman asks if you have it. I too have been in a situation when I was heavily making out with someone who then grabbed a condom and I took the condom out of his hand, threw it across the room, and said, “Who is f-g you?” He looked at me perplexed and I said, “We are fooling around. We are not having sex. That is not happening.” I’d like to note that this occurred with a very close friend, who is an incredibly good guy, and he misread the signals. He literally thought that foreplay inevitably turned into sex, and he made the assumption. Had he followed my “never grab the condom” rule, he’d have been fine. In fact, I’d argue that the first time two people have sex, the women should be the one asking. After that first time, the man can ask first (another rule). I’d like to also note that not all women are as blunt as me. Those who know me might say I’m too blunt. But for a women who is greatly uncomfortable and ALSO shy, I can imagine the horror associated with the severe down-shift between, “Hey I’m kissing this cute guy,” and “Wait, this cute guy thinks we are going to have sex tonight?”
Grace then describes how Ansari would “[take] his two fingers in a V-shape and [put] them in [her] mouth, in [her] throat to wet his fingers, because the moment he’d stick his fingers in [her] throat he’d go straight for my vagina and try to finger me.” Another note here. It is not in it of itself objectionable to do this move. Wetting a girls fingers with her own saliva to then insert into her vagina can be hot if the woman is actually turned on. Many dirty moves take place during sex that could appeal to one person while horrifying another. For instance, some women like to be spanked during sex, while others might find this to be a complete violation. While it’s important to read cues, some men can’t, which brings us to this circumstance. Grace’s most damning allegation is when she says Ansari “physically pulled her hand towards his penis multiple times throughout the night, from the time he first kissed her on the counter-top onward. ‘He probably moved my hand to his dick five to seven times,’” she said, furthering that “he really kept doing it after I moved it away.” Another rule here. A man should NEVER put a women’s hand on his dick while hooking up for the first time. Anytime thereafter, a man should only put a woman’s hand on his dick ONCE. If she says no or physically moves her hand away, that means no. She should not feel pressured into performing any type of sexual act, and excessive hand-rejection presents a pretty clear understanding of what the woman wants. She also says that Ansari continued to ask where she wants to be f-ked,which was a confusing question considering she did not want to be f-kd at all. I too have been in situations where the man executes some type of dirty talk that falls flat, and it’s NOT FUN. Also, since he previously grabbed a condom, it’s fair to assume this was a literal question and not just dirty talk, but there is no way to know.
Once Grace shifted her non-verbal cues to verbally saying, “I don’t want to feel forced because then I’ll hate you, and I’d rather not hate you,” she assumed Ansari’s moves would cease. Instead, he pointed to his penis and motioned for her to give him oral sex. How Ansari did not then understand that she was uncomfortable is beyond my comprehension. In law, intent means “know or should have known,” and it’s for this very reason. Though it’s possible he did not KNOW, he definitely SHOULD HAVE known. And we’ve learned from the Times Up movement that just because a woman engages in a sexual act does not mean that the consent is clear. If you bully a woman, or if you ask multiple times after being told no, the consent becomes very muddy. And no man should want muddy consent. It’s a sad fact that if this were the standard for sexual assault, nearly every man I hooked up with in my twenties would be in prison. Saying “no” more than once was basically a hobby for a very old virgin such as myself at the time, and though I have the personality to have no problem with repetitive rejections, many women don’t. They give up and give in. What is it about the male psyche that enjoys a sexual encounter such as this? You’d have to ask a man.
Grace alerted Ansari to her feelings the next day, and Ansari’s surprised reply indicates his interpretation was completely amiss. Ansari said how said he was sad to hear it and it was never his intention to make her feel that way. Clearly he missed something, he said. Their text exchange brings up another question. What is the point of bringing this public? If Ansari were a serial sexual predator and others needed to be warned, then okay. But what if he’s simply a guy who got it wrong? He was explicitly told, he apologized, and perhaps he learned something from her very blunt text about his deplorable behavior. I think it’s important she went public for many reasons. The first is that a lot of nuance is ignored during conversations about sexual assault. As it stands in the media at the moment, you are either good or evil, and there is no in between. We are not allowed to examine each individual story to have an honest conversation about the details. Some men need that honest conversation, and they need to feel free to ask important questions to further understand. One sentence on twitter does not allow for that. And while women are in no way bound to divulge every detail of a traumatic encounter, I commend Grace for doing so. It opens dialogue in a way that lets us examine what is and what is not okay. Maybe if more men read this story, the norm will shift, which will make it far easier for us women.
Mark Wahlberg just tried to un-stink the pile of dung into which he stepped. TMZ
Millie Bobby Brown loves the Kardashians. E! Online
Ewen McGregor’s ex-wife did not appreciate being thanked during his speech. Wonderwall
Woody Allen’s time might be up. Too Fab
Katie Couric responded to the Matt Lauer allegations. LA Times
Michelle Williams found love. Ok! Magazine
Ryan Lochte is married. MSNBC
Tonya Harding’s publicist quit. The Wrap
Britney Spears and her boyfriend are going strong. Pop Sugar
Rob Lowe and Bella Thorne are exchanging barbs. The Blemish
The Oasis brothers continue to battle. The Sun
Anne Heche and James Tupper split after 10 years together. RTVW
Brandi Glanville blames social media for her failed romance. Contact Music
Today’s Artist on the Rise spotlight shines on singer/songwriter Dana Williams, who was previously featured on The Dishmaster for her collaboration with Leighton Meester on a Fleetwood Mac cover. Her new single, “There You Go,”is now available on all streaming platforms. Co-written by Harlan Silverman, the sweetly simple song perfectly highlights her beautiful voice. You might recognize Williams from her appearance in a 2014 apple commercial. Williams also had an original song in the in Oscar nominated film, ‘Whiplash, ‘ and she was featured in Interview Magazine, where you can learn more tid bits about her life, including that her dad was a guitarist for Michael Jackson.
The Huntress and Holder of Hands will be joining The Devil Makes Three on tour, and if you’ve ever seen MorganEve Swain live, this is something you do not want to miss. I was first exposed to her unforgettable stage presence when I saw her perform with Brown Bird alongside her extremely talented husband, the late David Lamb, who left us much too early due to the monster that is leukemia. I’ve listened to just about every Brown Bird song on repeat, and I closely followed their love story, which they often shared with fans. I am greatly pleased to learn that MorganEve is using music to express her grief rather than leaving the industry behind. She is now in The Huntress and Holder of Hands, a 5-musician band with cello, string bass, electric bass, voice and drums, with Swain primarily on five-string viola and guitar. Watch below to see their new video for “Creatures in Flight.” It is directed by Rich Ferri and choreographed by ali kenner brodsky & co.
There is constant criticism from internet trolls about whether Mariah Carey can hit the same notes she once hit in her prime. Personally, I find this talk enraging. For starters, I could give a collective zero sh*ts about whether Carey can still sing like a piercing dolphin to prove her vocal prowess. And this type of talk leads to lip-syncing, which I despise. If an artist sounds less than stellar due to technical errors, sickness, cold temperatures, or simply vocal wear-and-tear, that’s okay. I want authenticity over anything else, and we should stop bullying our artists into feeling as if they need to deliver perfection at all times. In fact, the best I’ve ever seen Sheryl Crow was in the midst of an alarming cold. She was phenomenal — rasp and all.
I’ve been hard on Mariah Carey, not because of her voice, but because she’s lost the authenticity that made her famous. In her attempt to keep up with her younger cohorts, she’s been wearing ludicrous leotards, trying her hand at terrible choreography, and lip-syncing (allegedly). She has also engaged in cartoonish, reveal-nothing interviews which involve the excessive use of “Dahhh—lings” while dripping with diamonds. I’ve had enough. I’ve also had enough of her finger-pointing at everyone but herself. You are captain of your career. Own it.
Now for New Year’s Eve. To say she redeemed herself is an understatement. It was shockingly cold, and she flawlessly sang two of her hits. She also made mention of missing tea, which was both funny and genuine. The cold weather made her cover up, which was a blessing. There was also zero choreography – thank goodness.
Mariah Carey’s performance of Hero (continued) pic.twitter.com/F3NiD3Urvb
— mariah carey archive (@mariaharchive) January 1, 2018
It’s a new year folks, and there are no words to describe 2018’s first pick for this week’s Artist on the Rise. It’s Valerie June, and her voice is so hauntingly beautiful it hurts my soul. To top it off, The Memphis-born singer-songwriter’s albums have incredible original material, with one track being better than the next. Her most recent record, “The Order of Time,” is no exception. June began her love of music singing gospel at her church three times a week sans instruments. She recounts her unique vocals, saying “My parents couldn’t get over how weird I sounded—like an old man when I was just a toddler! But no one was gonna shut me up.” Years later, she found it important to learn an instrument. Of the process, June said, “I’d had so much fun in the dirty dives in Memphis or heading to Mississippi or Arkansas, it felt like something huge was missing when I couldn’t play shows, so I decided I needed to learn to play guitar because I’d never get gigs if I couldn’t accompany myself.” She now also plays the banjo and ukulele, and she later generated the funds for her first album via kickstarter, which led to convincing Black Keys front man Dan Auerbach to co-produce, simply by sending him samples.
On March 17, June will perform with one of my favorite bands of all time, The Wood Brothers. I’ve seen The Wood Brothers live, and there’s no better show on the planet. Head to Nashville to see these powerhouses come together for an incredible show. Find out about other performances HERE. Listen below, you’ll be hooked immediately.
Here at The Dishmaster, I love to feature new artists. By “new,” I mean I recently learned of their music, whether I’m the last to know or not. I draw this distinction because this week’s feature is Lewis Capaldi, and his YouTube count suggests I’m late to the party. I discovered Lewis when I let last week’s feature, Freya Ridings, run endlessly until Capaldi’s videos began to play. Apparently YouTube is aware of my taste. His EP, Bruises, has satisfied my itch for a new release from Hozier, given that they share the same lane. The Scottish singer/songwriter wrote the single, “Fade,” with Grammy winner, Malay, and he was nominated for “Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award’ at the Scottish Music Awards. Listen below.
For my Los Angeles friends looking for tickets, he’ll be performing at Moroccan Lounge on April 1, 2018. For everyone else, click HERE to see if you’re lucky enough to see him visit your city.