Giving “w h o k i l l” by tUnE-yArds another try on the strength of its Pazz & Jop win and today’s Klosterman piece on Grantland (and Maura’s educational follow-up.)
So far, it’s just like it was the first time. I love “My Country” in all its off-kilter, Radiohead-meets-Antibalas glory, and the “single,” “Bizness,” is pretty good. But the rest of it leaves me cold. In fact, it reminds me very much of Dirty Projectors’ Bitte Orca, an album that came close to topping Pazz & Jop two years ago and yielded for me one song I listen to all the time (“Cannibal Resource”) and nothing else.
This post (like many others) has far more parenthetical digressions than actual points. I guess I’m still surprised when an album (or movie, or book, or whatever) gets significant critical acclaim from people whose opinions I respect but leaves me cold. It’s the same way I feel about The Artist and Midnight in Paris, both of which got far more Oscar nominations (and plaudits from thoughtful critics and friends) than I think they deserved.
Opposed to SOPA/PIPA:
“I have next to no faith in the sort of person who would ever want to become President. I will vote for whoever most closely lines up with my views, but I am under no illusion that the things fucking over this planet will be solved by the person who manages to raise enough money and kiss enough ass to get elected.”—Mimi Smartypants pretty much nails it.
"As genres like ‘indie’ and ‘electro’ begin to fractal into chillwave, dubstep, and other made-up words, having a wide range of names that are strategically positioned on a flyer can change the entire consumer perception of a festival. Even if all of the wristbands are going to sell out no matter what."
“Between them, Cameron Crowe, Christopher Nolan, and Rob Reiner have eight DGA [Directors Guild of America] nominations — and zero Best Director Oscar nominations.”—
Just one of the pearls of wisdom from this week’s Oscarmetrics column on Grantland. Any movie buff should be reading what Mark Harris has to say.
Oh, and - seriously? No Best Director noms for Singles, Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Memento, The Dark Knight, Inception, Stand By Me, Misery, A Few Good Men, or The Princess Bride? That is some bullshit right there.
1. Sailing Shoes/Hey Julia/Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley
2. Give Me an Inch
3. Pressure Drop
4. Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor Doctor)
5. You’re Gonna Get What’s Coming
6. Looking For Clues
7. You Are in My System
1. I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On
2. Some Like It Hot
3. Addicted to Love
4. Simply Irresistible
5. Johnny and Mary
6. Man Smart (Woman Smarter)
7. Every Kind of People
“It’s not about fitting into those jeans that linger accusatorily in the back of the closet. It’s not about the scale. It’s about getting in touch with what we humans were meant to do – move around. It’s about taking the stairs. It’s about being able to play with your kids. It’s about those sweet, sweet endorphins. And it’s about knowing that though we’re all different, we’re all capable of greater wellness. Is it hard sometimes? Does it get boring at times, day in and day out? Sure. Is it achievable, and is it worth it? Always.”—Marybeth Williams. Amen.
“In the wake of the Tea Party, the Occupy movement, and a dozen or more episodes of real rebellion on the streets, in the legislatures of cities and towns, and in state and federal courthouses, this presidential race now feels like a banal bureaucratic sideshow to the real event – the real event being a looming confrontation between huge masses of disaffected citizens on both sides of the aisle, and a corrupt and increasingly ideologically bankrupt political establishment, represented in large part by the two parties dominating this race.”—"The Meaningless Side Show Begins": Matt Taibbi, as usual.
Baseball Hall of Fame Voting Is About To Get Interesting
Not this year, but soon. As Poz points out, fifteen players who are certain or borderline HoFers, many of whom have steroid issues, hit the ballot over the next three years:
First-time Players on the Hall of Fame Ballot
If I had a vote, I’d vote for 11 of them - everyone except Schilling, Sosa, Kent, and Mussina - and you might be able to convice me about Schilling and Mussina. It’s going to be interesting (until it gets boring hearing the steroid arguments over and over)…
Working my way through the Pitchfork Top 50, looking for good albums I haven’t heard before. If I filter out any reviews that use the words “chillwave,” “electronica,” or “Brooklyn,” there’s some great stuff on here: Iceage, Cults, Thee Oh Sees, Yuck…
“There should be a word for that feeling you get when an older person — and not much older, so quickly are things changing — shames him or herself by telling young people how to live. I’d vote for Bedeutungslosigkeitschmach, or “irrelevance shame,” (made up with the help of Google translate) or perhaps Rünschmerz, the horrifying gut pain one experiences watching Andy Rooney.”—Paul Ford, "Facebook and the Epiphanator"
“Overall, I think it’s a good time to have a girl in the 21st century because things are changing, with more opportunities for women. But girls are still the underdog, which means they’ll work harder, and everybody loves an underdog. The next Steve Jobs will totally be a chick, because girls are No. 2—and No. 2 always wins in America. Apple was a No. 2 company for years, and Apple embodies a lot of what have been defined as feminine traits: an emphasis on intuitive design, intellect, a strong sense of creativity, and that striving to always make the greatest version of something. Traditionally, men are more like Microsoft, where they’ll just make a fake version of what that chick made, then beat the shit out of her and try to intimidate everybody into using their product.”—Louis C.K. in Fast Company
Even more than they love Florence & the Machine (but not as much as Stephen Malkmus). I’m not sure why Business Insider is putting out a list of the best albums of the year, or why two-thirds of it are obscure, indie artists, but I’m not complaining because they put my brother’s band at #9:
9. Kleenex Girl Wonder, "Secret Thinking" — Criminally underappreciated, this gem from the band of indie lifer Graham Smith is sharp-edged punk-pop, with what are undoubtedly the year’s most stirring choruses. You will dance.
“One of my tenets as a musician is that there’s no absolute “taste hierarchy.” “Good taste” is culturally coded, so it’s not particularly instructive to point one’s finger at something and call it “bad art.” I find it much more interesting to examine something considered “bad” and see if I can’t transform it into something with artistic merit by changing a few conditions.”—
Scott Bradlee on Nickelback. I strongly believe this, not just about this song (though I think I have admitted my love of this song in the past) but about music in general.
“Calling [Bachmann] a bitch is too easy—it glosses over the actual concrete problems with her as a candidate—and more importantly, the woman-specific use of "bitch" toward people who allegedly ‘deserve’ it only serves to further crack open the door to it being used against any woman who’s trying to make her way in a male-dominated field.”—Well said, Maura.
“Pop songs as false emotional advertising and ideology as everydayness are themselves grounds for inquiry. Unless you have an awareness of your views as political manifestations, you won’t believe you can change them.”—
“Instead of attending what should have been the Orlando Magic’s season opener last night, I laid on the couch and caught up on my DVR…what I didn’t do was spend $9 on Coors Light from the tap and I didn’t stand in line for 20 minutes to use the bathroom while a bunch of jerkoffs cut the line by walking in through the exit door. I stayed at home, saved some cash and really didn’t think much about the NBA at all last night, and I imagine that’s pretty much par for the average NBA fan.”—I think Burnsy has it pretty much right…
“The corporate media died when it announced it was too sophisticated to understand simple declarative sentences. While the mainstream media expresses puzzlement and fear at these incomprehensible “protesters” with their oddly well-worded “signs,” the rest of us see our own concerns reflected back at us and understand perfectly.”—Dahlia Lithwick talks right down to Earth in a language that everybody here (except The Media) can easily understand.
“Generation X is a journeyman. It didn’t invent hip hop, or punk rock, or even electronica (it’s pretty sure those dudes in Kraftwerk are boomers) but it perfected all of them, and made them its own. It didn’t invent the Web, but it largely built the damn thing. Generation X gave you Google and Twitter and blogging; Run DMC and Radiohead and Nirvana and Notorious B.I.G. Not that it gets any credit.”—Generation X is sick of your bullshit.
Baseball, like life, revolves around anticlimax. That’s what you get most of the time. You stand in driver’s license lines, and watch Alfredo Aceves shake off signals, and sit through your children’s swim meets, and see bases loaded rallies die, and fill up your car’s tires with air and endure an inning with three pitching changes, a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk.
But then, every now and again, something happens. Something memorable. Something magnificent. Something staggering. Your child wins the race. Your team wins in the ninth. You get pulled over for speeding. And in that moment — awesome or lousy — you are living something you will never forget, something that jumps out of the toneless roar of day-to-day life.
The Braves failed to score. Papelbon blew the lead. Longoria homered in the 12th. Elation. Sadness. Mayhem. Champagne. Sleepless fury. Never been a night like it. Funny, if I was trying to explain baseball to someone who had never heard of it, I wouldn’t tell them about Wednesday night. No, it seems to me that it isn’t Wednesday night isn’t what makes baseball great. It’s all the years you spend waiting for Wednesday night that makes baseball great.
”—As expected, Joe Posnanski has the best write-up about what happened in Atlanta, Baltimore, and St. Petersburg last night.
Just substitute “Sausage McMuffin with Egg” for “Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit” and I could have written this; it captures my relationship with McDonalds perfectly (and also explains why I will probably always weigh as much as I do, if not more).
Guided By Voices classic ’90s line-up will release an album of new material in January 2012.
The cult, low-fi heroes - Robert Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Greg Demos, Mitch Mitchell and Kevin Fennell - have returned to the studio to record Let’s Go Eat The Factory. It will be this line-up’s first new LP since 1996’s fan favourite Under The Bushes, Under The Stars. The band have just completed a year-long reunion tour.
Let’s Go Eat The Factory will be released on January 1, 2012.
“The Cubs have exactly one young star in [Starlin] Castro, a decent farm system that’s been whittled down, a front office that will need an influx of new talent beyond the GM chair, a possible managerial change, and some big contracts to cycle through. Build the foundation for the next winning Cubs team, then hit the open market in 2013, 2014, or whenever the time’s right to find the next Pujols. When that time comes the ivy will still be green, the bleachers will still be full, and the drought will still be there, waiting to finally be broken.”—Wait ‘til next next year: Jonah Keri, writing smartly about what the Cubs need to do next, and why it shouldn’t involve signing a power-hitting NL Central first baseman.
“And here Democrats like Obama and his defenders, who bemoan the stranglehold of the Tea Party on American politics, have only themselves to blame. For decades, Democrats have collaborated in stripping back the American state in the vain hope that the market would work its magic. For a time it did, though mostly through debt; workers could compensate for stagnating wages with easy credit and low-interest mortgages. Now the debt’s due to be repaid, and wages – if people are lucky enough to be working – aren’t enough to cover the bills. The only thing that’s left for them is cutting taxes. And the imperialism of the peasants.”—
In The War on Tax, Corey Robin very intelligently references Marx’s Eighteenth Brumaire, Charles I, and the 1975 NYC financial crisis to explain how we got to where we are right now.