Friday, July 26, 2002

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Need a good laugh? Well, who doesn't. Here's where I got mine today:

Pitchfork does it again, and how- Andrew W.K. gets what he shoulda got long before his debut album was recorded. A teaser: W.K.= Def Leppard+Gary Glitter+The Baha Men.

For some ol' nostalgic humor, saunter on down to Lileks' Flotsam Cove, and laugh at what passed for clever advertising 50 years ago.

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

slowly getting back into this...

todays goods:

our good friend N.Z. Bear has himself a new design, and a new location. and finally, a decent logo.

The coolest lego work I have seen in forever, probably. get your mathematic lego kick on here. Enjoy the guy's lego site as well, and see his many lego creations. You thought you were the biggest lego geek you knew until you found out there were guys running computer applications for optimum design plans. impressive, I say. (ps I'm not linking to the blog which directed me to this lego-topia, because said blog is currently displaying some unrelated nudity on its front page.)

that's it for now. good night, and I will return!

Monday, June 24, 2002

I'm so sorry for the neglect- I know I've been gone a while. To the three readers who stuck around, clicking refresh in vain, I thank you for your loyalty. The reason I've been absent is I'm moving and changing jobs at the same time, which makes for long days and tired nights. I promise, I'll be back and blogging soon. Don't forget me! but it may be a few more days yet. In the meanwhile, patronize my good friends whom I've listed on the left.

Sunday, June 16, 2002

LIKE THE HIVES, MY WORLD DOMINATION is eminent: in e-pression's worst-lyrics-ever contest, I get three mentions. What did I submit, you ask? I'll tell you:
Ricky Martin- She Bangs

"Talk to me
Tell me your name
I'm just a link in your daisy chain
Your rap sounds like a diamond
Map to the stars
Yeah, Baby

a-ha- Take on me "Take on me, take me on, I'll be gone, In a day or two"

Smashmouth- All Star "Well, the years start comin' and they don't stop comin'..."

get all the sordid details at e-pression.
ADD HIVES: some killer photos of their recent NYC show. Found this via Traveler's Diagram.

Friday, June 14, 2002

So I saw both The Strokes on the Tonight Show and The Hives on Conan O'Brien. Which reminds me that I saw Alicia Keys on TV the other day, but I'll get to her in a second. There's a reason the Hives will become international superstars (or flame out dramatically; either is as likely as it is entertaining), while the Strokes will continue to get the critical raves, hollywood standard-issue girlfriends (see: Drew Barrymore, Winona the Anti-Muse, etc), and indiferent audiences. Actually there are many reasons. One of these is that the Hives know what they are, and know what they are not. They are entertainment, they are a rock band- they are peppy; they are not saving rock and roll, they are rock and roll. And they are Swedish. The Strokes seem confused about many things- are they entertainers or lecturers? Are they influencing the times or a product of the times? Are they important or misunderstood?
From the above descriptions, guess which band was more fun to watch.
Now, I have heard but two Strokes songs while I own the latest Hives release, but there is much to be said for a band's stage demeanor. The Strokes played tight, and they all looked very drunk and bored and a little tired of having to play their music for people. The only time I have seen them look reasonably happyis in photo shoots. Draw your own conclusions, but I think the Strokes take themselves a little too seriously.
The Hives, however, know that rock is a joke; the Hives are the punchline. rock stars all dress like they are trying too hard? The Hives have style, and they don't deny it. The Strokes sleepwalk through their set; the Hives command your attention. And not that it matters (but this is America, and this one thing is more important to us than most will admit), but the Strokes are pretty, while the Hives are ... less than pretty. The Hives are the Saturday Night Live cast to the Strokes' Friends cast. And that is as many cheeseball lines as I will write on these two bands today.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Today's Feature: The Wisdom of Moby, Deflated

Pulse! magazine has a feature on Moby the Marketable in which he talks of his album, his methods, and his theory of independent versus mainstream music. Guess where I disagree.

That's right, his indy/mainstream theory. here it is, in his own words:

"If I think about my favorite music of the last 50 years, most of it was extremely successful mainstream music: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Public Enemy, Massive Attack, Nirvana, Roxy Music, David Bowie," he says. "There's this problem with underground music culture where people think that for music to be mainstream inherently renders it compromised. Most of the best music has been mainstream music, from my perspective at least."
"I mean, I think of someone like Prince. You know, Prince was about as mainstream as you can get, but also absolutely remarkable. The Rolling Stones, from 1963 until 1979, were unbelievable. Led Zeppelin, etc. You could go on and on and on. There's such a tradition of successful mainstream music also being amazing.

He makes a good point here, one that most indie snobs pretend doesn't exist. I go one step further to say that most of my favorite music, and most others', would remain unheard if not for their mainstream distribution, marketing, etc. You can see why this isn't a popular idea: the System, so evil and scabrous, is the same System that brought my favorite bands to me, and gave them the recognition they deserve, and gave them the means to grow and create artistically. Moving on...

I think one of the failings of the underground of the last six or seven years has been to abandon the mainstream. And as you've had underground musicians making willfully obscure underground records, it means that the mainstream has been left to charlatans.

One of my royal pet peeves (regarding music) is the assumption that 'the underground', or non-mainstream music and musicians, is/are inherently pure, righteous, and of better quality. This is such crapola. Have you ever been to a local show? I have. Some of the worst music I've ever heard was played live by local, small-label bands. By far the singular worst record I have ever heard- the worst record ever pressed, although I haven't perused the rest of this band's catalog- is U.S. Maple's Talker. Dissection of that hideous offense of nature will not occur now, but suffice to say it is unthinkably horrible. Surprisingly (or not), you will find no such opinion in any review of this album. My beloved Pitchfork gave it an 8.5 out of 10. The Onion called it engrosing and lovely. It was misleading reviews like these that pushed me to buy it in the first place. There's no accounting for taste, but I say with complete confidence that everyone who hears this album will dislike it; anyone who says otherwise is a liar. Not to wander too far from the path, but that is just one example of how the underground music scene is much, much worse in quality than its champions (see: Moby) want you to think.
And it's not just the sound that is offensive. Moby, et al, want you to think that independent bands are hardworking, talented boys and girls who deserve respect; conversely, all those mainstreamers are callow fools who would steal from their own mothers. This, of course, is wrong. It almost seems silly to explain: indie musicians are as shallow, self-serving, and greedy (as well as amoral) as the mainstream musicians they revile. The more famous musicians simply have more opportunity to act on these impulses, and they get more publicity when they do. But people are the same everywhere. I won't provide examples now because that's a waste of space, and needless; rather, I challenge you to show me an example of how this is not true.

Back to Moby.

And not to be a name-dropper, but I had a conversation about this with Bono, and he was complaining about Radiohead. And we both agreed that Radiohead are wonderful and they've made great records, but the fact that Radiohead have made two really willfully obscure records--it's interesting, and they're good records--but it means whereas Radiohead could have made willfully obscure records with one hit single on it, and that one hit single would have gotten played on the radio and that would have been one less time that people had to listen to, like, mercenary, commerce-driven music. If people in the underground want to have nothing to do with the mainstream, it just means that the mainstream's gonna suck."

Well that is really and truly stupid. Bands now have an obligation to act for the good of the mainstream scene? I don't think so, Bono. How out of place and obviously contrived would a 'hit single' sound on Kid A? The worst thing we can do is encourage artists to work for that hit song. That kind of thinking brings us pop music at its most grating and unoriginal. What a crock; it is no surprise that Bono and Moby shared such a foolish conversation. They should be attacking bands like the Strokes who take big-time $$ to record an album with a lo-fi 'sound' to it to retain/gain credibility. Or, blame themselves: it's overexposed, spotlight-hugging monkeys like these two (coincidentally, each one has a one-word stage name...) who make big-label success look so unappetizing to small-time bands with talent, and thus denying a larger audience the chance to hear the next Nirvana, the next Rolling Stones, the next ... Radiohead?
Over at Slate some moron makes this suggestion for how the Nets can win a game against the Lakers: Hack-a-Shaq. It seems obvious to me that he never checked any stats before vomiting up this tripe 5 minutes before his deadline. How do writers like this get paid, and I don't?
Some absolutely stunning photos of the latest partial solar eclipse, and the shadows it created. found this via Photodude.