Best of 2011: J. Eric Smith’s Top Album

December 13th, 2011, 1:00 pm by Greg

We’re not sure whether one album title actually constitutes a list or not, and well, quite frankly, we don’t care…

1. Planningtorock’s “W”
“Planningtorock is the stage name of Janine Rostron, an Englishwoman currently living and working in Berlin. Her music is richly arranged, merging organic and electronic elements, and she heavily processes/treats/masks both her voice and her physical appearance to create a compellingly angrogynous, mysterious musical character. She writes abstract, yet evocative, lyrics, and as weird as much of her music is, you can pretty much tap your feet or shake your hips to all of it. It’s brain music that speaks to your pelvis, if you know what I mean…”

By J. Eric Smith, Indie Albany

For more info…

Fred Rudofsky’s Top 10 Theater Concerts
Paste Magazine’s Top 20 New Bands


MediaWatch: Let’s Put On A…Blog!

October 1st, 2010, 1:01 pm by Sara


As we mentioned previously, J. Eric Smith has retired his Time Union based blog, but rather than set out all on his own, he’s invited a large and varied group of free-wheeling writers to join him at Here’s his initial manifesto and an update.

As he wrote to us in a note:

This initiative is designed to provide a non-commercial outlet for a collection of very-loosely-affiliated independent bloggers (me among them). There are 10 of us now, with plans to go to 16 and stay there for a while, to see how the model works at that level.

If you’ve enjoyed my piffle and tripe over the years at, at Metroland, at my Times Union blog, at Shipmate, or any of the other places where I’ve blathered, then this is where that sort of stuff will reside for the foreseeable future, along with a lot of other good stuff written by others.

Cool beans, we say.

Media Watch: J. Eric Smith Picks Up His Ball And Goes Home

September 9th, 2010, 5:26 pm by Sara

A bit of a kerfuffle over at the Times Union blogverse – J. Eric Smith, who has been writing his popular, entertaining blog (tagline: “Incongruity, Southernism, Feats of Strength, Art”) for over 3 1/2 years now, has taken issue with the Times Union ad policy and has suspended his blog postings on the TU site until after the November elections.

Smith noticed yesterday that the Times Union was running political ads on his blog’s page, and noted:

I am the Executive Director of a nonprofit corporation that works under contract on behalf of a State-funded University, need you be reminded, and I do not wish, even indirectly, even accidentally, to be perceived as personally violating the Legislative and Political Activities Test that my organization itself must pass. I will not allow my personal blog to be used as a political platform. For anyone.

No, I’m not a chump, and I understood that when I signed up to be a Times Union blogger, I accepted the gift of media exposure and promotion, at the expense of having advertising associated with my writing, often for commercial organizations that I do not personally support, or favor, or even like.

But this is the first time I’ve ever seen a paid political advertisement here, and I am hopping, fuming, boiling mad about it. Business is business, but politics is personal.

The good news is that Nippertowners (Nippertownies? Nipertonites?) don’t have to go through J. Eric Smith withdrawal; in a followup post, he writes that in the meantime, he’ll be posting new stuff on his own blog site.

Media Watch: The Newspaper Junkie Speaks (Again)

April 27th, 2010, 12:30 pm by Sara

J. Eric Smith has posted a nice little compare and contrast between The Albany Times Union and The Daily Gazette newspapers. The TU: great online presence, but kinda thin in print. The Gazette: boffo print edition, not so great website.

J. Eric Smith’s Top 10 Albums of 2009

December 22nd, 2009, 4:05 pm by Greg

mosDefJ. ERIC SMITH (Times Union blogger, former host of “Soundboard,” former Metroland music writer)

10 The Big Pink – “A Brief History of Love”
09 Matt and Kim – “Grand”
08 The Veils – “Sun Gangs”
07 Super Furry Animals – “Dark Days/Light Years”
06 Clutch – “Strange Cousins from the West”
05 The Clean – “Mister Pop”
04 Niwel Tsumbu – “Song of the Nations”
03 Napalm Death – “Time Waits for No Slave”
02 Pere Ubu – “Long Live Pere Ubu!”
01 Mos Def – “The Ecstatic”

We want to know what readers listened to (and liked) in 2009. Send your list of Top 10 Albums to

Let your voice be heard!

Odds & Ends @ The End Of The Week

November 27th, 2009, 3:55 pm by Sara

ON YOUR MARK, GET SET…: It’s that special time of the year once again. That’s right, it’s almost time for the Santa Speedo Sprint.

The fourth annual .5K benefit run takes place on Saturday, December 12. Registration starts at 12noon at Tess’ Lark Tavern and the Oh Bar, and the race itself begins at 2pm. Registration and pledge sheets are also available in advance online. All runners must make a minimum donation of $25, but runners are encouraged to collect donations from sponsors.

The Santa Speedo Sprint will benefit the Albany Damian Center. (As a public service, we’re not publishing a photo in this item.)

The Royal Palace in Brussels

The Royal Palace in Brussels

Four months, 29 assistants, 1.6 million beetle shells. That, my friend, is how Jim Fabre decorated the ceiling of the Royal Palace in Brussels.

Hmmm, what do you think the R-Value of beetle shells is?

Calling Berkshire Photographers! The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts has issued a call for photography for an upcoming juried exhibit of contemporary photography, entitled BerkshireCity: Pittsfield on Film that aims to celebrate the unique urban landscape and architecture of Pittsfield. There is no entry fee and artists may submit up to six works.

Applications are open to everyone and will be accepted until Monday, December 7 at 5pm. The exhibition runs from January 15 – March 6, 2010. More info here.

Making lists is always a seriously fun time suck. Reading other people’s lists? Well, maybe not so much fun. Unless, of course, the list-maker is our old pal J. Eric Smith, former Metroland writer and host of the unfortunately defunct local music TV show, “Sounding Board.” These days, he’s chewing up the Times Union’s blogosphere, and he recently spit out the delightfully entertaining “My Ten Most Memorable Concerts.” Anybody who’s got ears big enough to embrace Nick Cave, Rush and Nippertown’s own Clay People is AOK in our book.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: The Lake George Arts Project is presenting “Peoples Pixel Project,” a video festival of original video shorts of 3-5 minutes in length. Entries are open to anyone living within 75 miles of Lake George, NY. The deadline has been extended to Thursday, December 31. For list of catagories, guidelines and entry form go here. The festival and award night will take place at the Charles Wood Theater in Glens Falls on Saturday, February 6.

File it under: The Crooks Were Stupid, The Mark Was Stupider (Alternate title: Some people just have way too much money….)

A Utah couple has been charged with selling six fake Andy Warhol silkscreens of Matthew Baldwin, one of Alec Baldwin’s brothers, that the artist created in 1996.

There probably is a Matthew Baldwin, but not in the family of actor Alec Baldwin. Andy Warhol died in 1987. So the burning question in our minds is why would someone have laid out a $25,000 down payment for those works?

Theremin Alert!! The Mable Ensemble videos shows 14 musicians simultaneously performing on theremins in the shape of Matrioshkas (Russian nesting dolls):

Bubble Wrap: End of Days

October 28th, 2009, 3:31 pm by Sara

J. Eric Smith alerted us to the existence of Arthur Metcalf’s very funny (in a sick way) Fantaisie in Bubblewrap (audio is NSFW):

Caffe LenaCartoonist John CaldwellHolly & EvanJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantAdvertise on Nippertown!Albany PoetsLeave Regular Radio BehindBerkshire On StageAustralian Cattle Dog Rescue Association