Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
12. The Fiery Furnaces "Lost At Sea" (Thrill Jockey)
13. Speak Onion " " (No Label)
14. Mya feat. Nicky Minaj "Ponytail" (Planet 9/Young Empire Music Group/Fontana)
15. Islands "No You Don't" (ANTI-)
16. Adam Lambert "Aftermath" (RCA/19 Productions)
17. The Black Eyed Peas "Boom Boom Pow" (Interscope)
18. Anni Rossi "Las Vegas" (4AD)
19. N.A.S.A. feat. ODB and Karen O "Strange Enough" (ANTI-)
20. Scarface feat. Bilal "Can't Get Right" (Rap-A-Lot/Asylum)
21. Suckers "Afterthoughts & TV"
22. Lotus Plaza "What Grows?" (Kranky)
23. Chairlift "Bruises"
24. Lars Horntveth "Kaleidoscopic"
25. Mirah "The River" (K)
26. Pill "Pain In They Eyes"
27. Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Zero" (Interscope)
28. Clipse feat. Cam'rom "Back By Popular Demand (Popeye's)" (Re-up/Star Trak)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
12. Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II (EMI)
13. Telecult Powers, Twilight of the Oscillators (Temple of Pei)
14. The Bran Flakes, I Have Hands (Illegal Art)
15. HEALTH, Die Slow (Lovepump United)
16. Sonic Suicide Squad, Hardline American Overdrive (Sounds from the Pocket)
17. Cam'ron, Crime Pays (Diplomats/Asylum)
18. Storm of Corpses, Bite Your Tongue (Bug Incision)
19. Anthony Pirog, Beginning to End (Sonic Mass)
20. The Fiery Furnaces, I'm Going Away (Thrill Jockey)
21. Pissed Jeans, King of Jeans (Sub Pop)
22. Richard Youngs, Beyond the Valley of Ultrahits (Sonic Oyster)
23. Robert Inhuman, Drowning in Betrayal (MT6)
24. Twig Harper, Music for Higher Dimensional Consciousness (HereSee)
25. Newagehillbilly, Arctic (MT6)
26. Jason Urick, Husbands (Thrill Jockey)
27. Playboy Tre, Liquor Store Mascot (self-released)
28. Apes in the Aviary, Strange Town (self-released)
29. Khate, Detrivore (Just Not Normal)
30. Mya, Beauty & The Streets Vol. I (Planet 9/Young Empire Music Group/Fontana)
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
Friday, December 04, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
For Your Entertainment
During his run as an American Idol contestant, camp theatrics and gratuitous glam were important weapons in Adam Lambert's arsenal: stratospheric vocal runs, flamboyant costumes, stage-lighting fusillades. This out-and-proud rocker's weekly re-invigoration of the hoariest standards was nothing short of awe-inspiring. So it's hardly shocking that For Your Entertainment plays like a gender-bent hit parade, celebrating Lambert's performance personae while saluting the pop prerogative of co-songwriters/producers like Pink, Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, the Darkness' Justin Hawkins, Lady Gaga and Max Martin.
Everything is on the table: stirring-despite-itself MOR tear-jerkery ("Time for Miracles"), Elton John-maudlin, California-comedown weariness ("Soaked"), trippy space-rock operatics ("A Loaded Smile") and hard, fake Queen destined to surplant Kevin Rudolf's "Let It Rock" as sports-arena fist-pimping anthems ("Music Again," "Sure Fire Winners.") On "Broken Open," Lambert revisits the sumptuous, buttery croon he nailed while covering Tears for Fears' "Mad World" on Idol. Inspiring and varied, Entertainment nonetheless loses points for playing it a bit too safe.
"Ain't nobody out there making shit/Quite like me, quite like this," boasts Chicago MC Kid Sister on "Big N Bad" from her debut album, Ultraviolet. That's debatable. Quite a few people make shit like this, and many more made it in hip-hop's formative years: It's known as party rap. For some genre purists, the oft-delayed and re-contextualized Ultraviolet will kindle fond memories of Monie Love, Salt-N-Pepa and other femcee veterans, as Kid Sis sprays Romper Room synth-lollipop club beats with squirts of lyrical Cheez Whiz even mentor Kanye West would know to leave on the cutting-room floor. Why? Largely because 2009 isn't 1989, a time when attitude, shamelessness and the ability to string together rhymes — any old rhymes — were all a person needed to declare him or herself an MC. Here, gleeful, middling ineptitude scuttles our heroine's regular-Jane bona fides, infectious personality and promising singing voice. One thing's for sure: These tracks will sound awesome when real mixtape rappers spit on 'em.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
2. Animal Collective "Brother Sport" (Domino)
3. Mariah Carey "Ribbon" (Island)
4. Grasshopper "Death Compass" (No Label)
5. Cold Cave "Life Magazine" (Heartworm/Matador)
6. Cam'ron "Cookin' Up" (Diplomat/Asylum)
7. Eat Skull "Cooking A Way To Be Happy" (Siltbreeze)
8. Young Money Fam "Every Girl" (Cash Money)
9. Cryptacize "Mythomania" (Asthmatic Kitty)
10. Oneida "Brownout in Lagos" (Jagjaguwar)
2. Jason Crumer, Walk With Me (Misanthropic Agenda)
3. Acidic Jews, Clean Rigs (self-released)
4. Aaron Dilloway, Chain Shot (Hanson)
5. Atlas Sound, Logos (Kranky)
6. Halflings, Self Esteem (RRRecords)
7. Nancy Garcia, Be The Climb (Ecstatic Peace!)
8. John Wiese, Circle Snare (No Fun)
9. Aquarelle, Slow Circles (Rest + Noise)
10. Ascites, Incisional Drainage (self-released)
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Phrazes for the Young
Ah, advice: almost always directed towards the young yet so rarely solicited. In proffering received-albeit-stylized wisdom of his own, Julian Casablancas' motives aren't entirely altruistic: his saving-rawk-in-the-aughts Strokes haven't been a going concern for a couple years now. Phrazes for the Young represents Jules' attempt to keep his fire stoked and demonstrate his versatility, and all things considered, it's reasonably successful. If it's new-wave sparkle-spackle you're after, check out epic synth orgasm "11th Dimension" and the treadmilling, Dirty Harry-channeling "Out of the Blue." Gerry Rafferty-indebted co-minglings of dour childhood remembrance and cougar maligning? See "Left & Right in the Dark." A gospel-tinged blues that erupts into a metal-lite cataclysm? "4 Chords of the Apocalypse" invites you to testify. As for the quality of Casablancas' advice, it doesn't get much deeper than "Don't be shy, oh no/At least deliberately," but it doesn't really need to.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Totally sincere, totally unsnarky questions for anyone who'd care to answer (in the comments section, if you don't mind): if you have a Twitter account, what initially prompted you to start one? Are you able to post anywhere near as often as you wish you could? Do you have as many followers as you wish you did? Does that even matter to you? Is it just a matter of having an online venue available for out-loud thinking? Do you use the word "tweet" in everyday conversation without wincing? Does this blog post represent the first time anyone has asked you questions like this? I really do want to know, and not in a mean way, I swear.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Friday, October 09, 2009
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Friday, October 02, 2009
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Thank you for your interest in Stylus.
Unfortunately you have not been successful in placing your work on this occasion.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
One doesn’t automatically expect level-headed pragmatism from the young. At the tender age of 23, Jenn Wasner already has it. The Wye Oak singer-guitarist is possessed of the sort of realist’s worldview that most don’t arrive at until staring down the barrel of 30 – or sadly waving it goodbye. In a phone interview, Wasner tempers her ebullient chatter with the sobered gravitas of an indie-rock lifer. She’s sitting on her porch in Baltimore a few days before leaving on tour, enthusing over the wedding band she put together for the nuptials of the brother of her Wye Oak partner and boyfriend, Andy Stack, and gushing over B’more underground pals like “miniature, nature-oriented” folkie Small Sur and rapper Height.
“When Andy and I work, I work at a restaurant, and Andy’s family is in the film business, so he freelances film stuff. He’s the lowest guy on the totem pole … working the sound, fetching people from the airport, getting coffee – which is nice,” she says. “We both kind of [scramble] and scrounge for money as we can. We’re getting to a point where we’re making the majority of our money from music stuff, and I think that’s because we’re a duo; we have low overhead.”
That “music stuff” – two Merge-issued albums, 2008’s If Children and this year’s The Knot – has transformed Wasner and Stack into indie-rock demigods. The pair’s nuanced yet explosive songwriting recalls the noisy napalm of early Yo La Tengo even as it touches on sweet-and-sour folk and folds in reams of autumnal strings. Like so many other rock greats, Wye Oak surreptitiously couch bad vibes in triumphant tuneage. If Children explored rocky family dynamics and prematurely aged psyches, while The Knot finds Wye Oak wading through scarier, more foreboding territory than before, daring to write the kind of dark, dusky love and life songs endemic to their elders. Smoky, heart-wrenching ballad “That I Do” diagrams painful lovers’ disconnects; “For Prayer” eases slowly in and out of an epic spat. Ironically, given the subject matter, Knot finds the pair at its most creatively integrated, Wasner says.
“[If Children] was an individual endeavor. We had songs we’d written separately over three years,” says Wasner. “‘Family Glue’ I wrote when I was 17, and had it kicking around. On most of the Knot songs, lyrics and tunes are me but the arrangements are very collaborative. It was interesting because I’ve always been very private with lyrics, but I felt a lot more comfortable reaching out to Andy for help finishing a thought or a tune.”
If Knot has a centerpiece, it’s undoubtedly “Siamese,” a lullaby-like amble of weeping violins, caressing guitar figures and ambivalently delivered intimations like “Don’t look back/Hit him right between the eyes,” “’Cause if you leave and I lose you/I lose my life and lose you, too” and “You couldn’t scare me if you tried/Because I’m ready to die tonight.” It’s difficult to say whether “Siamese” represents the last will and testament of a Brave One–style vigilante or a lunatic’s declaration of undying love. Either way, the track is deeply resonant in a way that no other Wye Oak song has been up to now – on par with Radiohead’s haunting “A Wolf at the Door.”
“A lot of people hear the arrangement and strings and think, ‘Oh, this is fun.’ I like to hide things, to shroud them,” laughs Wasner. “‘Siamese’ is one of the happiest-sounding songs, and lyrically, the darkest. I think the urge was to temper light with darkness. I live in Hampden and I work at a restaurant near my house, and I find myself walking home with tip money, trying not to get raped or mugged. ‘Siamese’ captures the sense of being so out of it, cerebrally, that I no longer care what happens to me – which is a shitty place to be.”
Friday, September 25, 2009
Only got two SDRE-related memories:
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Set in 1984, "Discovering Japan" follows aging rock 'n' roll Godzilla Bryan Metro during a several-day tour sojourn in the titular country, through bouts of groupie abuse, drug binges, darkly comedic business meetings, and varying degrees of penthouse suite desecration. Metro's core tragedy? Chemically fried, he exists in a bewildered, Neanderthal stupor that leaves him socially and emotionally impotent, stripping him of the ability to recognize that his nursemaid-cum-enabler-cum-manager is casually robbing him blind. The act of one man adjusting another's sunglasses has never seemed quite so sinister.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
The Blueprint 3
Invincibility is the pot of gold at the end of hip-hop's proverbial rainbow, the brass ring every rising MC aspires to seize. Jay-Z has had it for the better part of a decade: consistent album sales, unimpeachable crossover appeal, a decent if unspectacular run as president of Def Jam, marriage to modern R&B's flyest multimedia diva and fashion bona fides by way of Rocawear and special-edition Nikes. Since 2002's The Blueprint 2, dispatches from Hovito's penthouse have scanned as victory-lap variations — affirmations of his cultural and financial dominance, and the monied musings of a rap don intent on keeping his legend alive and vital in a marketplace flooded with mixtape-slinging whippersnappers and biters. "Thank You" establishes a swank Vegas issuance that harkens back to 2007's American Gangster both in tone and ad libs before Jay-Z snaps into an elaborate 9/11 riff that demonstrates why he's king: "Not only did they brick, they put a building up as well/They ran a plane into that building, and when that building fell/Ran to the crash site with no masks, and inhaled/Toxins deep into they lungs until both of them was felled." On "Hate," Jay and Kanye West trade the mic in haughty, needle-sharp disgust, while "Off That" finds Hova breathing new, nimble life into the ahead-of-his-time song with renaissance new jack Drake. Throughout, Jay sounds relaxed, revitalized, even hungry. Wide-ranging, forward-thinking beats from his usual stable of top-shelf producers amplify all the frankly reiterative fun he's having here.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Best Place To Witness A Street Brawl Randomly Break Out: Oh, man. I suck at identifying places in explicitly specific terms. But I can tell you this: it was an ATM near that historic port building where they filmed The Wire (or maybe Homicide: Life on The Street) - just around the corner from Soundgarden, on the same block as that historic hotel. The ATM - which was a BoA ATM for a bit - is cattycorner to Max's bar and faces out into the brick-paved "park" full of benches that used to be home to a sort of tiered pyramid thing before the merchants teamed up to have it torn down because skaters were doing tricks on it and kids liked to congregate there. I think there used to be a piercing/tattoo place a few feet away from the ATM, maybe it's still there. I don't know if all of that confused the issue further or what :)
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Friday, August 07, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
So there I was, the other week, feeling all dejected and spurned over Assembing The Lord's dismal sales. Sure, I haven't done any signings or readings - there are reasons for that, believe me - and poetry isn't a hot commodity or anything, but I genuinely believed that we could move more than twelve copies of this thing by now. (Did I mention that ten of those copies were purchased by my dad? My dad rocks.) So we're coming up on ninety days since the book came out, and we just logged our thirteenth sale! Go us! That means, like, good luck, right? I divided 90 by 13 in our cheap basic calculator and I guess it works out to one copy sold for every seven days or something. (Not quite, but I'm not typing out all the decimals right now. I mean, I just stained a side porch today, and I'm wiped, you know?)
Anyhow, sweet! And that's a Jay-Z-on-American Gangster "sweet," like it's the 1970s and things can only get better from here. Onward and upward, etc.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Friday, July 03, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
By Marty Beckerman
Early on in his tenure as a *Rolling Stone* contributing editor, Matt Taibbi was routinely derided as a beggar's Hunter S. Thompson. The charge was harsh, but predictable: Taibbi's semi-regular cutting bromides stood in the towering, wavy-gravy shadows of Thompson's LSD-soaked politi-populist dispatches. The key differences? Taibbi isn't an active user of recreational narcotics, doesn't weave preposterous hallucinations into his venomous punditry, and is more sharp-eyed humorist than journalist proper. The Thompson comparisons probably aren't keeping him up at night, but the author of *Hostile Takeover* might take comfort in knowing that a poor man's Matt Taibbi is out there, making him look better just by drawing breath. His name? Marty Beckerman.
*Dumbocracy*, Beckerman's second book, proceeds from the premise that radical-fringe elements of the two major American political parties can claim one commonality: they're equally batshit insane. The Playboy, New York Press, and Huffington Post contributor seeks to prove this thesis by wading into the fray of various politically-charged events, actions, and gatherings and posing patently asinine questions to anyone within the range of his voice. At an anti-war rally outside the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, he asks an especially vociferous protester - who chants "No more blood for oil and no more oil in the first place!" - "What if we designed cares powered by Iraqi blood?" only to receive no response. His recommendation to another, at a March 2005 Marriage Equality Rally in Dupont Circle? To appease straights and gays alike, the U.S. should invade Cuba and transform it into a "Tropical Gay Israel." These on-the-scene inquisitions seem designed to cast Beckerman as someone who really, really wants to have his lights knocked out. Occasionally, though, he strikes gold just by being in the right place with the right people at the right time - as at an Aptil 2004 D.C. event protesting violence against abortion clinics:
Katrina and Maddie, a pair of teenage lesbians, distribute posters that that proclaim: "QUEER RIGHTS ARE REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS!"
"What does that *mean*?" I ask. "Gay people can't *reproduce*--at least not without scientists."
"Exactly," chirps one of the girls. "Gay people will *never* have abortions! So I think *everyone* should be gay! So nobody has to argue!"
Indeed, for most of *Dumbocracy*'s 200-page length, it's *that* kind of book: an extrapolation of sardonic, previously published articles into a half-assed pundit's manifesto that isn't as gut-busting as the author believes it is. Beckerman's the sort of guy who thinks cracking wise about Hitler, addressing others as "Jew Bastards," and pretending that Hamas is something "you eat with pita and falafel" while attending a Global Summit for Young Jewish Innovators in Jerusalem is hilarious. Worse: he blows his page-count wad on quotes from oodles of sources and seems to have difficulty wearing his snarky trucker's cap and responsible journalist's fedora at the same time - resulting in long, dry passages where an issue is explored straight-faced, only to be encapped with a lame joke in parenthesis. Someone should really gift Beckerman a copy of Jon Ronson's *Them* as a Passover present.
In modern society, there's nothing especially scandalous about practicing witchcraft. In the eyes of many, it's just another lifestyle choice - a hip, holistic alternative to participating in dowdy old organized religions. Certainly, the 'rents might not be thrilled that the apparent soulmate you're bringing home for dinner is an avowed Wiccan with a back tattoo of the sea-god Neptune - but they're less likely to outright disown you for shacking up with somebody whose ancient VW sports a "My Other Car Is A Broom" bumper sticker.
The world has changed so much that it's easy to forget that, once upon a time, accusations of spell-casting could equal death sentences. In The Enemy Within, historian John Demos explores the literal - and to a lesser extent, figurative - manifestations of witch hunting in microscopic sociological detail.
Demos roots the origins of witch hunting in the Middle Ages, as Christianity rose to prominence and sought to define itself by honing a "God vs. the Devil" dualism. A pre-Age of Reason pattern establishes itself: practicioners of magic, actual or accused, tended to fall under suspicion in periods of great societal upheavel, in towns or villages more often than in urban areas. More often than not, the accused were women the accusers knew well, and the singling out of sorceresses often followed a personal setback, calamity, or crop failure.
In the young American colonies, witch hunting was essentially perpetuated by the settlers' Puritanism, and transformed from a phenomenon based on wrongs-done into something more performance-based. As illustrated in The Crucible - Arthur Miller's acclaimed play, which Demos idenifies as Red Scare parody and defining Salem witch trial simulation rolled into one - trials become spectacles in which accusers are driven into convultions at the mere touch of the accused.
To his credit, Demos stays in scholar-mode throughout, allowing readers to draw our own skeptal inferrences in cases where dots might have been connected - or citing passages from the small mountain of related texts he absorbed prior to sitting down to write this book. It would have been easy - very easy - to dismiss the resulting tortures, convictions, jailings, and executions as the runoff of collective hysteria - or to condemn the visions and beyond-the-grave visitations reported by teenaged accusers in hundreds of New England witch hunts as psychosis taken at face value.
The Enemy Within winds down with a trawl through assorted nineteenth and twentieth century "witch hunts": the anti-labor aftermath of the Haymarket Riots, the Sen. Joseph McCarthy-perpetuated Red Scare, and a notorious child sex-abuse fright that continues to reverberate to this day. But, Inquisition-like horrors aside, what lingers is Demos' droll description of present-day Salem, Mass. "Witchery is the lifeblood of local commerce," he notes, singling out businesses like Witch City Repo Services, the Witch Brew Café, and the Witch Dungeon Museum. Everything, finally, can be reduced to some form of commerce.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
A few tracks into The Demo Tape, DJ Drama informs us that we're witnessing history in the making. "I think this is a first!" he yells. "An R&B Gangsta Grillz! Floodgates are open!" You've gotta wonder how R. Kelly feels about that. I mean, here's a dude with a house full of gold and platinum face who's more or less the face of contemporary R&B raunch, right? "Trapped in the Closet," you know? "I Believe I Can Fly?" "Feelin' on Yo Booty"? Yet here he is, dropping a free internet mixtape in order to drum up buzz for an upcoming album that's been delayed once or twice (and now due in September), as though he were some unknown, MySpace-spamming punchline rapper lacking significant crew affliations. Of course, with our collective national attention span shrinking by the hour - 07's Double Up was sooooo four centuries ago - a reintroduction is probably in order; until recently, Kells and his legal team were too busy battling child sex abuse charges to focus on recording and releasing new grown'n'sexy jams. But I wish The Demo Tape was more memorable and substantial than it is; this tape is fun and all, but I wasn't able to come up with more than 9 songs I really needed to hear ever again and it doesn't do much more than remind the world that R. Kelly exists! Which may have been the whole point. And DJ Drama: please start editing original vocals out of the tracks you're jacking. It isn't that hard to do, is it?
2. "Kelly's 12 Play Remix": Producer extraordinare The-Dream (Rihanna, Mariah Carey) clearly sees himself as the second coming of Kells, and earlier this year he gave his idol some dap with "Kelly's 12 Play," where he sang about sexing a special lady to Kelly's classic 12 Play album. Given his gargantuan self-regard, it was inevitable that Kells would flip the track for this mixtape. Pull quote: "Makin' your body shake like a horror movie/And then I'll put that ass to sleep." More fright-night imagery, please; it's an interesting direction.
4. "Disrespect My Shorty": Oh, please. A don't-hurt-my-girl-by-accosting-me-in-public plea from the co-author of unrepentent horndog banger "I'm A Flirt"?
5. "Fuck Every Girl": This was inevitable, too. Young Money Entertainment - Lil Wayne plus a bunch of wannabe rappers you've never heard of, basically - imagined "Every Girl" as a dewey, springtime-y ode to perpetual hetero-male arousal where all participants would pretend to be Kanye West; as such, this is right up Kells' alley. "I've got a dick and a half/So ladies don't argue" is a boast for the books, though, Robert? You should never, ever use Auto-tune again. You're better than that, for real.
6. "Best I Ever Had": "She the fucking best/And I'm the fucking best/So we the fucking best/Mixtape!" With my secret Little Orphan Annie decoder ring, I've translated this verse; decoded, it reads "Buy my album when it drops for lyrics of unfuckwithable quality."
7. "Banging The Headboard": Imagine what'd it be like if Kells was your next-door neighbor in a rowhouse! You'd never, ever get any sleep, and his jealous exes and the parents of his underage, undercompensated paramours would constantly be throwing rocks through your window by mistake. Bad times!
8. "Pussy Cry": Man! Being a smooth, suave lothario sure sounds like a lot of hassle: making that body scream, buying bubbly by the crate, organizing shopping sprees, listening attentively, texting incessantly, "talking that freaky shit to you." But hey, Kells is here to do all that stuff for you and make it sound super alluring, even with Auto-Tune. All you have to do is hit play.
13. "Supa Dupa Man": You think Kells ever hits the gym? I don't think he even has to, what with all the round-the-clock, post-nightclub sex he's having.
14. "Tip the Waiter": God only knows what Kells' idea of a fair waitstaff tip is. This song, about patiently trying to coax a honey into his ride and ultimately into his bed, doesn't really clue us in. "Girl, I want some patootie, and I don't mean cash," he explains before launching back into the titular chorus, which feels so superfluous as to be ludicrous.
18. "Chopped & Screwed Remix": You heard right, ladies - play your cards right, and Kells will treat you to breakfast at IHOP. Those pancakes are slammin'.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
About words handcuffed to phrases to bastardized
Venacular, arrayed in sober couplets, stanzas,
Compartmentalized as mise-en-scene
Haiku, swallowed and shivering at the arctic
Center of a bone-white sheet, eleven by eight
And a half, lonesome, lachrymorse, a crush
Of ink characters huddling close for warmth
Excuse me. This poem is taking a breather.
Putting on airs, daydreaming. Oh, to be short
Fiction, a novella, the teeny-tiny legal text at
The botton of an Absolut ad! To be truly read,
To signify something unquestionable
And this poem is back to work, Alaskan all
Over again, imperishably impenetrable, female
And male conduits conveying bolts in screws,
Balled fists stuffing trouser pockets, receivers
Fast asleep In hard plastic cradles, oval pills
Rattling in clear orange-brown bottles. This
Poem knows, it knows: you bought in, you
Committed, you hoped for something deeper,
Something truer without being too obvious and
Smug about being true. This poem is someone
Dear to you, who let you down in some way, an
Illusion you projected onto an actual person, who,
After all, was only human. This poem is you.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Given that SY excursions mimic hazy, dog-day atmospheres, anyway – heat-exposure prose unspooling into bouts of sweaty, noisy fret-copulation – this gambit made sense. While The Eternal hews to this post–Memorial Day schedule, it pulls the storied sequel trick of shuffling the deck without actually shifting the paradigm: new label (Matador), new sidekick (ex-Pavement member Mark Ibold on bass) and new-and-improved schtick (all three singers harmonize at times). Draped in what appears to be a swirling portal to hell – a John Fahey ass painting, as it happens – Eternal is Sonic Youth’s most self-indulgent album since Flowers. No longer under the corporate-rock whip, they forgo even the appearance of mainstream capitulation, drifting into a water-treading, if enlivened, limbo that shrugs off the (largely) battened-hatch creep of 2004’s Sonic Nurse and 2006’s Rather Ripped. Ripped ended with rote interview-query murmurs, and the punk-lite “Sacred Trickster” kicks Eternal off with one more as Kim Gordon yelps, “What’s it like to be a girl in a band?/I just don’t understand!”
From there, we’re off to SY’s bohemian paradise, all urgent verse-chorus-verse buildups surging into manicured noise-pop gullies. Immediate crowd-pleasers – like the barbed, stinging “Malibu Gas Station,” which perpetuates Gordon’s celeb fetish by drooling over Britney Spears through the paparazzi’s massed camera eye – yield to fare like the drowsy, adoring Thurston Moore ballad “Antenna,” the is-it-stalking-or-caring-too-much? snarl of “What We Know” and the sunnysided “Walkin Blue,” which finds Lee Ranaldo at his most unashamedly hippie yet. Eternal earns its place in your six-disc changer by degrees, and does its next-installment duty just well enough. You’ll laugh, you’ll sigh, you’ll check for Sonic Youth’s next comfort-food ear-flick whenever it’s on the horizon.
Sunday, June 07, 2009
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
The Scarcity of Tanks
(Textile/Total Life Society)
Scarcity of Tanks frontman Matthew Wascovich hails from Cleveland, but to ears still ringing from the noisy rock - distinct from "noise rock," thank you very much - of Shellac, the Jesus Lizards, and other Touch & Go-affiliated acts, the group's jazzbo-fied clang and din comes across as decidedly Chicago in feel. Trolley-cable basslines sproooing, saxes squawk, and spincter-tight drum fits combust - while hot-shit chicken-wire guitar riffs snake in and around to tie these 11 anti-songs up into nasty, gristle-stuffed little care packages. "Hedge Over Height" frantically skins its knees on the gritty whiplash of spindled guitars and Uzi-like kitwork, while "March Toward Crash" is a more haphazard creature, borne of scuzz-psych accents and incidental feedback congealed; much of Endowments suggests early Sonic Youth wasted on shrooms, which is no bad thing. But for all the stormy nihilism spun, Wascovich is Scarcity of Tanks' main attraction, intensely overenunciating nightmarish, impressionistic verse like Steve Albini rudely riffling through Lee Ranaldo's poetry journals. "The humans were decimated, but the animals restored," he bemusedly declares on "Motto for the Parked," where sparse instrumental seethe and harmonica whinny puncture near-silence like sabers. He pauses dramatically, as if he were the late Mitch Hedberg allowng space for delayed audience applause, then mutters darkly: "Evolve, or improve the atrophy."
Friday, May 29, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Imagine a block party that swallows an entire city. Block parties are synonymous, it often seems, with shootings and violence, but this block party is peaceful; it's as though the entire metropolis has been transformed, briefly, into a gigantic speakeasy. You wander along streets, in and out of strangers' homes, and the chill vibe is all pervasive: different LPs spinning on different hi-fis, senior citizens enjoying breakdance spectacles, cops joking with junkies, tough guys teaching kids to shoot hoops, red plastic cups dangling from everyone's hands. As you walk, the soundtrack changes, shifts, and mutates with an almost intoxicating ease: lite jazz, snippets of funk, blaxploitation soundtracks, classic Pete Rock cuts, Chitlin' Circuit comedy bits, Herbie Hancock thunder, and much more besides.
Such is the delerious ambiance generated by "Live at Chocolate City," a Madlib mix I listened to almost obsessively in 2007. At the time, I lived with my mother during the weeks in Owings Mills, Maryland, while still working at SAIC; I'd drive up to Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania to stay with Alecia and Nodin in our rented townhouse there. On weeknights, I'd aimlessly wander suburban Queen Anne's Village, immersing myself in "Chocolate City" while tracing sidestreets and cul-de-sacs. Madlib's alchemy had a relaxing, drug-like quality; it allowed me to put aside the various stresses associated with constantly hunting for work closer to home with no success, with wearying commutes, with the indignity of being 30 years old and sleeping on my mom's lumpy couch most of the time. Owings Mills suburbia can be pretty lonely, empty, and anonymous; the rows upon rows of late 70s/early 80s-era townhomes are depressingly uniform, and, generally, nobody's out after 6 or 7 p.m. except for other folks similarly determined to work constitutionals into their busy schedules. With Madlib wafting up from my iPod headphones, I could make believe, for an hour, that I was somewhere else: a warm, inviting somewhere, glowing and familiar and conciliatory, where a sense of acceptance and good feeling intensified with each successive stride.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Super Animal Brothers III
If a pop-techno album ever warranted its own Surgeon General's Warning label, Super Animal Brothers III is it. Something along the lines of: "This disc contains high does of sacharrine and obnoxious cuteness that may trigger diabetic comas in some listeners. Do not ingest more than once in a single 72-hour period."
What Ear Pwr's Sarah Reynolds and Devin Booze - formerly based outta North Carolina, now carpetbagger nesting in Bodymore - proffer is gut-pummelling, Fruity Pebbles bpms and madcap, dance-til-you-drop twee that's all puerile, cartoon surface. And it flashes by in a neon blur as dumb-happy as it is pleasure-point stabbing: tension-racheting "You Are The Bomb" taking that bit of urban-originating vernacular seriously in thirty fleeting seconds of MacGruber silliness, "Boys II Volcanoes" squishing chopped chimes and virtuoso melisma into relentless nonsense about skulls in the sea, aerobic "Beam of Light" pressing and holding the "puree" button on the synth blender until you're afraid your ears will pop - at which point the song begins to careen from that churn into I Am The World Trade Center ripoff fodder, and back. (See also: "Future Eyes.") Both bands employ bright, halogen synths and shameless pop hooks, but IATWTC's music had the benefit of being about actual emotions; Ear Pwr aim for giggles. The title track spikes Woody Woodpecker glowstick hyperactivity with hip-hop woot-woots and animal-buddy babble; "Sparkley Sweater" is a chiptune earworm about a sparkley sweater, while cheeseballin' skitterfest "Cats is People, Too" has something to do with kittens in pyramids and randomly quotes Rammstein's 1997 hit "Du Hast."
Yet there's something to be said for music this singlemindedly uninhibited, this merrily shallow, this steamrollering: it allows those of us who'll never mix twenty Twinkies and a can of Jolt into a Love It-sized milkshake from Cold Stone Creamery to imagine how the experience of gulping that down en route to a dancefloor might feel. Ear Pwr harness and simulate the heedless energy spring is supposed to trigger within us all. Who can blame them for channeling it into charmingly vapid songs like "Diamonds Liquor Leather," with its helium-balloon synth-squiggles and nyah-nyah "I'll do the dealing if you'll do the wheeling/We'll make lots of money and it will be funny" refrains? And, honestly, who among us doesn't just need this kind of cut-loose malarkey now and again?
Dan Deacon, watch your back; everybody else, keep a watchful eye on your glucose levels while reeling in Ear Pwr's Super Happy Fun Ball (still legal in most states) zone.