Cultural Consumption: 1/8/24

Cultural Consumption: 1/8/24
Delaware Water Gap

Today's musical roulette wheel landed on Del Water Gap's 2023 release I Miss You Already + I Haven't Left Yet. Prior to diving into the record in question, I didn't know anything about this act, but I'd enjoyed a couple other cuts, so I decided today was the day to learn more.

The timing was perfect. This is fine listening for a cold Monday when there's snow on the ground, and I mean that in the nicest way: The production has an icy '80s sheen, but the music, lyrics, and vocals are pure, aching emotion. While it sounds nothing like John Mayer, I think the overall vibe is close to what Mayer's Sob Rock might have been like if he hadn't had his tongue partly lodged in his cheek.

According to the Del Water Gap bio, this is "the indie pop solo project of S. Holden Jaffe, an American musician and record producer based in Brooklyn, New York," and I have to hand it to S. Holden — that's about the most Brooklyn indie pop name I can remember coming across. That being said, there's nothing particularly "Brooklyn" or even "indie pop" about this music; while certain tracks have a more of a slight 21st-century edge, quite a lot of it is spiritually and sonically rooted in the impeccably produced singer-songwriter pop-rock of the late '80s. This is not a complaint. Check out "NFU":

Del Water Gap, "NFU"

Watching: After finishing The Godfather Part II, the 16-year-old urged us on to Part III, which we bailed on through tears of laughter after Andy Garcia gave Sofia Coppola a lesson in gnocchi-making and first-cousin sex. It was pretty rough before that — we were hanging on through a thread during the helicopter attack and explosive diabetes episode — but the sight of those two breathlessly pawing at each other in a commercial kitchen was the final nail. We have since moved on to the Godfather-adjacent comedy The Freshman, which was next on the 16-year-old's WTS list. I remember enjoying this movie quite a bit the year it came out (when I was 16, good lord), and hadn't laid eyes on it in decades; so far, it remains a goofy good time.

If you've never seen it or read the synopsis, here's the short version: A college freshman (Matthew Broderick) comes to big bad New York City and promptly falls prey to a fast-talking con man (Bruno Kirby) who makes off with everything he owns. Later that day, he just so happens to spot said con man outside his campus, at which point he gives chase, catches the guy, and learns that his money has been lost on a bad bet... but to make things right, the thief offers to get him a job working for his uncle, who is played by Marlon Brando. The joke is that the movie takes place in a world where The Godfather exists AND Brando's character not only looks exactly like Vito Corleone, but may or may not have inspired Mario Puzo to create him. Anyway, if you've ever wanted to see late-period Brando on ice skates, here's where you need to look.

Reading: Nearing the halfway point with William Diehl's Thai Horse. Our hero is now in Hong Kong, where he's being pursued by old enemies who've sworn to see him dead and reconnecting with an old pal who just happens to be a Jewish Bostonian who ended up controlling illegal river trade in the region and earning the nickname China Cohen. Look, this book isn't subtle. Moves at a quick clip, though!