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Announcement!

2 Mar

What’s up y’all (a Briticism)? Who of you would be interested in seeing Okkervil River, Titus Andronicus, and Future Islands (??) at the 9:30 Club on June 2nd (a Thursday)? I would! Tickets go on sale April 21st and considering that My Chemical Romance is coming in late May and already sold out, I have a proposition. If you guys RSVP to this event (Facebook?) by commenting I will go ahead and buy your ticket if I can snag one and you can pay me back in US Dollars. Okay, just throw up a comment in you’re interested, there’s plenty of time.

Just a warning: Yeasayer in on the way to 930 June 16th, so keep an eye out for tickets May 5th!

 

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Riceboy Sleeps by Jonsi and Alex

27 Feb

YES, goodnight listening schema

By no means is Jonsi and Alex a necessary project for Sigur Ros leadman and his boyfriend, but that’s half of what takes Riceboy Sleeps directly from music to emotion. The other half is genius. The idea that Jonsi and Alex didn’t care about what people thought when they recorded this melodic drone record puts Jonsi somewhere great artists all yearn to be. A stage in which personal emotion can be translated globally. Nothing about this album tries to do anything or go anywhere. It doesn’t have a destination or a reason. It meanders, latches hold of a moment and explains it forgoing the traditional song structures, brands, and preconceptions bands subconsciously uphold. Riceboy Sleeps is nothing short of emotion translated and spilling out from the heart on the sleeve all over the front of your shirt.

I’ve blogged before about Christmas Day and the inescapable unhappiness that washes over me. It is at these times I hug my music and nothing closer than this album which, the Christmas before the blog I spent listening to Jonsi and Alex instead of sleeping. It is as if all of the materialism swimming around in the back of your head during gift-exchange, all of the possible disappointments are gone and in it’s place isn’t perfection, but an embraceable moment that will explore with you, not tell you what it is. And so it is fitting that Happiness the nine minute opening track comes with no explanation for why it isn’t happy. The track is never about Jonsi and Alex telling you what Happiness is, rather it is Jonsi and Alex asking you what happiness is, yearning with its strings, letting you lead until a parade of instruments changes slowly enough into happiness that you barely realize you’ve found something before Atlas Song’s childhood clinking and boy-choir sounds fill the space. This Satori-like roving is what makes Riceboy so special.

The highlights of the album are tough to pin down, and with an hour and seven minutes divided into just nine tracks, no track is without imperfections but neither is there a track without transcendent points that hit emotions on the head in a way lyrics sometimes can’t. Boy 1904 is a predecessor to Julianna Barwick who herself just scored a best new music while channeling Gregorian music albeit with none of the kitschy qualities, mostly removed by couching it between more modern sounds. The theme of innocence is prevalent both in the oft-employed choir and the distance from the politics of it’s musical references. No where do Jonsi and Alex impose their emotions or ideas about emotions onto their tracks, instead they propose childhood. It culminates with Danell and the Sea, employing repetition more lightly than the dark I Know You Are But What Am I? of Mogwai, and concludes with the imaginative Howl complete with noises similar to oaks creaking in the wind before falling away with a gentle Sleeping Giant. None of the songs will leave you depressed without a predisposition for sadness, and the ability to intensify any emotion makes Riceboy Sleeps an all-purpose album.

Pitchfork complained of Riceboy Sleeps occupying a liminal space between active listening and soundscape but that’s the accidental inventiveness that put this album in a place other albums don’t and can’t go. Sometimes the noises disturb it’s created state, but mostly they situate the listening conscious in a novel state impossible without Jonsi and Alex’s contribution to music.

Reviews Philosophy

21 Feb

The new review system* i’d like to put up in a separate place in this blog I will attempt to illustrate here. The underlying philosophies are all I can encapsulate and of course as this is more forum than publication let this be open to all revisions. The key is that it has something for everyone in its two parts. At once it is an instant recommendation system* encapsulated by a simple YES or NO followed by a one line to one word additive stressing wit with clarity not necessary. An example would be MGMT’s Congratulations as ‘NO, and why?’. Then beneath the hook, would be an in-depth explanation as to why it doesn’t merit a listen (for me because the formula of ingenious hooks combined with philosophical lyrics was a formula sustainable for at least one more album and their new sound hasn’t caught up to their old direction). For a YES album (or book, or film, I think this system works for all media) the review would focus on exactly what works from the concept to the emotions, from the lyrics to the music, from the approach to the product. Sharing good art is the goal here. Evaluating pieces qualitatively and not quantitatively is a challenge no one wants to undertake. Pitchfork often hides behind a number and then writes glowing reviews of 6s or scathing reviews of 7s. This system will be impossible to equivocate within the P4k system, meaning you cannot envision a number cut off for the YES or NO. YESes are not figurative 8s or above but instead albums that have changed something about you. This isn’t about ‘good’ music, it’s about worthwhile music which brings me to the second part.

In this system, like the rest of the blog we ought to focus on discussion rather than argument. If someone were to post a ‘YES, glory’ hook for Congratulations my job wouldn’t be to directly respond to their review, but rather to write my review in the same way with an understanding of the previous post to prevent rehash. This means more ground is covered as opposed to the same ground with different opinions. The second idea is to focus on more obscure albums. Of course we know that Arcade Fire and Animal Collective are doing something special, but who are Cloud Cult and what do they mean? Who are God is an Astronaut? Lastly the albums you choose to review, you should have pretty good mastery of them. I know music tastes will change slowly over time, but after four or five sifts you are usually left with something close to your final opinion. And hopefully that product allows us a new dimension not on other sites. Reviewing not as a way to hegemonize our opinion but as a way to share new music and connect within the dusty cellar oft overlooked art. Because somewhere there I think lies what all of this is all about.

All ideas marked with * and probably most or not all of the other ideas belong to Derek.

One last Hro.

16 Feb

Dear Carles

luv u / miss u

remember all the good times we had snarking via brainwaves at lamestreamers who didn’t ‘get’ your

post-post-cynacism/nihilism?

remember when u used to post about ‘culturally important’ things and show how the ‘meaninglessness of it all’ rlly meant something?

thinking hro might be ‘dying’. noticed youve started ‘outsourcing your posts’ to other ‘carlesian’ bros. capitalism doesnt seem 2 indie carles…

seems like ur site has become a ‘let down’ (via the radioheads).

worried abt u. worried we will nvr talk like we used to. worried ur hot when ur cold ur yes when ur no. worried hro rlly doesnt ‘mean anything’. r u really just a ‘sad despondant lamestream reject’? do u ‘sit at the table w/o bringing anything 2 it’ (via lil wayne’s world).

disappointed, yall (4 a while). but then something weird happened. u came back to me. thinking my ‘heart will go on’ (via james cameroon). thinking we will all ‘float on’ (via the modest mice). pretty sure my life has ‘meaning’ again (via hro).

this last post is ‘all I evr wanted from u’

thx carles

do yall think carles’s post is ‘a retrospective’?

do yall ❤ carles or think hro is ‘too nihilistic’?

r u worried bout him?

r u worried bout hro?

do u think carles has ‘abandoned his brand’?

is carles ‘hiding somewhere but probably dead’ (via osama bin salmon)?

Here are the highlights from Carles’s post about the implications of Arcade Fire winning a Grammy:

For the past _ years, I have listened to indie music, been on a never-ending quest to discover buzzbands before they were mainstream and potentially harvest them as they matured in2 a crop that provided our society with mad benefits. It is more than just constructing my identity in an attempt 2 control consumer forces before they shape me–it is my identity at the point. It is more than just some 2k0s hipster bashing meme. I form a deep, emotional connection with these bands, because I see enough potential in them to share them with my closest friends who share a similar taste in musical aesthetics.

Being an indie music fan meant being more active than just turning on a radio and accepting the content stream provided by a lame radio station… I had created my own content stream and authentic values system which was about to override ‘the mainstream.’

Lame blogs were ‘excited’ about the victory because they still live in the past. Progressive blogs offered some ‘snarky, insightful/distanced take that offered some pretty decent commentary on the state_of_indie.’

I was alone with my thoughts and memes. I felt excited and h

Lame blogs were ‘excited’ about the victory because they still live in the past. Progressive blogs offered some ‘snarky, insightful/distanced take that offered some pretty decent commentary on the state_of_indie.’

I was alone with my thoughts and memes. I felt excited and happy, but I am not sure if that is a ‘marketable angle’ in the modern blogosphere [via entry-level feelings].

Every time I had burned a CD for some1 who wanted to know more abt ‘cool, obscure bands’ was worth it.
Every time I had purchased a mainstream indie CD that was ‘good’ for my old parents who were still trying to be ‘cool and connected’ paid off.
Every time I made fun of some1 for listening to terrible music–I was finally ‘right.’
I thought abt every time I had allowed myself to ‘get caught up’ in an ‘epic’ live show and wanted to tell some1 what it felt like to be experiencing something like that with so many other ppl.
I thought abt when my bros and I went on that one roadtrip, and listened to some killer albums.

For years, I have been ‘really into indie music.’ I even started a relatively popular blog about indie and alternative music and culture, probably because it is something I care about. Something that I am ‘genuinely interested in.’ Something that I ‘want to promote’ and ‘see evolve.‘ But now that the Arcade Fire has won, we can finally take a deep breath, and look back on what exists, what we built, what ‘means something’, what ‘will last forever.’

Maybe it’s time 4 me 2 change.
Maybe I should reconnect with the past.
Maybe I should allow myself to get excited abt new music again, instead of just evaluating it on an impossible scale/resenting it if it achieves too much success too soon.
Maybe the buzz blogging hype machine is more efficient + productive than ever… but maybe our vibes + hypercritical analysis won’t [help] new buzzbands [in] the long term

That ‘indie’ as they know it
Isn’t the way it used 2 be

This is a standard generational battle
2 preserve our identity & attempt to control our legacy
but please try to listen to me
and try to understand
That what these blogs/ppl on twitter have been saying
Isn’t really how it is/was

*Please remember*
*Don’t ever forget*
Indie used 2 mean something.

Dirty Projects

14 Feb

Guys! I think we have some good minds, so lets not let them go to waste. This summer we are going to get the ball rolling with some films. Use this post as a place to jot down those ideas. The original conception of this blog was for that anyway. (anyone can and should edit this post)

1. The Ryan Show-A meta-account of the ordinary life of an extraordinary individual. Follow him in his  various exploits at work, in leisure time, and his many love pursuits. Shot à la The Office, if the show was a book it might be called creative non-fiction. Ryan’s self-consciousness of self-consciousness could lead to a frightening comedic loop.
2. Remugging- The fittest man in all of England (or whatever) gets mugged while jogging. He recovers himself, decides to continue on jogging and about a half-mile away runs into the original mugger who he remugs! (Alternate: could also do a sort of play of the Pay-it-Forward idea where he mugs someone else because he needs money and on down the line.)
3. Cooking with a Beastly Crew of Two- an overly simple cooking show for college students including easy-mac, peanut butter and bread sandy, and bananas!
4. StuporHeroes- The super powerful and gifted superheroes are suddenly faced with real life bewilderment and intellectual confoundment. Some ideas include getting the wrong change at a grocery store and arguing about it. Getting the wrong order at a fast food restaurant. Getting a C on a paper plagarized from the professor’s own essay.
5. Contrainception- a take on the Nolan film but in a public school health class. The teacher has taken liberties with the curriculum and filmed a cinematographic version of the sex-ed film! Unfortunately, no one has any idea what is going on (via Inception) and they are all left to wonder if they should spin their tops or not.
6. Springfield Interviews-Influenced by (plagarized from) David Lynch’s http://interviewproject.davidlynch.com/www/, we scavenge Springfield and the surrounding area for people and points of interest. We capture those PoI’s and analyze and interpret them like the art they are. What remarkable things can be found in so stale an area as the 703?

7. The 10th Street Art Show-A shabby youth who’s failed to get into college and is unable to obtain a job seeks fulfillment in a local art contest. Can he use the contest to transcend the malaise of suburban failure?

8. Veggie Fails- What happens when Christian vegetables stray from the church?

9. Academia- three professors have a conversation about some book that secretly none of them have read

10. Philo Frat- Derek will know where this comes from. Basically the concept is a world where everything is exactly the same but everyone knows a whole ton of philosophy. Some highlights include a drunk girl stumbling home wanting to avoid going up to this boys room for the inevitable and slurring ‘stop giving me le regard’.

Engzend

2 Feb

I wanted to talk a little about global culture. I’ve now settled in England and of course am willing to answer any questions about it. Bath is an amazing city and that is where the problems begin. I see things around that the English do better and that the English do worse. But why is this true? I’ll take a look at the food here:

The eats are sold in amazing inventive ways. There are quaint shops with back stories all individually owned. Also the drinking culture here is fantastic for the most part. There is nothing dense such as beer pong; it is all conversational. It gets somewhere sometimes. But in America there is much more awareness about health. Almost none of these ingenious shops have healthy choices. Today I enjoyed a Cornish pasty which was essentially buttered puff pastry surrounding white potatoes, turnips, and gravy. Of course this is just one example in one area but I think it occurs over many countries and in nearly all categories.

Now of course there are differences in what is available (though with the globalism rampant in first world countries there aren’t many excuses), but shouldn’t the best pizza recipe from Italy be sold in every country? Shouldn’t the best fish and chips find its way to the states? Shouldn’t the best burger exist here? I think the selfishness and the fear of too much intercommunication leading to blurring of cultures (and ultimately maybe possibly one single culture?) is winning out.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance does well to inform this:

‘faster-paced radio, movies and TV, and it seems to me the change was not entirely an improvement. Perhaps because of these changes the stream of national consciousness moves faster now, and is broader, but it seems to run less deep. The old channels cannot contain it and in its search for new ones there seems to be growing havoc and destruction along its banks. […] I would like not to cut any new channels of consciousness but simply dig deeper into old ones that have become silted in with the debris of thoughts grown stale and platitudes too often repeated. […] I would like instead to be concerned with the question “What is best?”‘

He advocates ‘What is best?’ instead of ‘What is new?’. Do we? Should we? I think so.

All of Your Wishes Came True

10 Jan

From Freakonomics which I am currently reading:

It was John Kenneth Galbraith the hyperliterate economic sage, who coined the phrase “conventional wisdom”. He did not consider it a compliment. “We associate truth with convenience,” he wrote, “with what most closely accords with self-interest and personal well-being or promises best to avoid awkward effort or unwelcome dislocation of life. We also find highly acceptable what contributes most to self-esteem.” Economic and social behaviors, Galbraith continued, “are complex, and to comprehend their character is mentally tiring. Therefore we adhere, as though to a raft, to those ideas which represent our understanding.”

So the conventional wisdom in Galbraith’s view must be simple, convenient, comfortable, and comforting- though not necessarily true.

[now two examples that challenge what was and maybe still is conventional thinking]

In 1995 criminologist James Alan Fox wrote a report for the U.S. attorney general that grimly detailed the coming spike in murders by teenagers. […] In the optimistic scenario, he believed, the rate of teen homicide would rise another 15 percent over the next decade; in the pessimistic, it would more than double. […] similarly learned forecasters laid out the same horrible future, as did President Clinton. “We know we’ve got about six years to turn this juvenile crime thing around,” Clinton said […] “to keep body and soul together for people on the streets of these cities.”

And then instead of going up and up, crime began to fall. […] By 2000 the overall murder rate in the United States had dropped to its lowest level in thrity-five years. So had the rate of just about every other sort of crime, from assault to car theft.

[…] the experts had failed to anticipate the crime drop […] they now hurried to explain it. Most of their theories sounded perfectly logical. It was the roaring 1990s economy […] it was the proliferation of gun control laws […] it was […] innovative policing strategies. [These theories] in short course became conventional wisdom. There was only one problem: they weren’t true.

[turns out the crime drop was because of the legalization of abortion*. many aborted children were to be born into situations where they would be inclined to turn to a life of crime. just as they were to come into their crime prime, they did not exist. thus] the pool of potential criminals had dramatically shrunk.

[example two is shorter; you are welcome]

Conviction rates declined in the 1960s [… and] at the same time politicians were growing increasingly softer on crimes “for fear of sounding racist,” as the economist Gary Becker has written, “since African-Americans and Hispanics commit a disproportionate share of felonies.”

*I do not support this morally. I am still deciding holistically. It seems beneficial socially.