June 9, 2010

Music in Video Form

Frankly, I was disappointed with the squirmy PG-13 implied violence / homoerotica (not to mention the gimmicky bowlcuts) of “Alejandro”—especially because I thoroughly enjoyed “Telephone”—though Gaga is clearly (and perhaps commendably) going for broke on the Madonna ‘gay-man-in-a-woman’s-body’ schtick.

Perhaps I was unimpressed with Gaga’s latest S&Meh-tinged (as they say on Brooklyn Vegan) effort because I’d recently seen the entirety of the Cremaster cycle for the first time, over the past two weeks at the IFC Center. (Despite the datedness of the special effects, the scope of Matthew Barney’s vision can only be described as epic, and I have yet to fully digest the visual language of the five-part arc, much less form an opinion about it.)

Of course, the comparison is patently unfair to both artists, and, to Gaga’s credit, “Bad Romance” is easily one on my favorite music videos of all time. Now, let’s see if Klaus Biesenbach can get them together for some kind of blockbuster collaboration…

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via Pitchfork

It’s tempting to peg the video as a metaphor for the album—drifting along, lacking ambition yet not unpleasant—but I haven’t listened to LP4 quite enough to pass judgment. Also, interview with Mike Stroud (½ of Ratatat) on Nowness.

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I liked the video from the start, but it’s taken a few views to get into the song itself.

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More jams:

Japandroids – Younger Us (Pfork) (A little too pop-punky on first listen…)

Yeasayer – O.N.E. (Clancy & Build Remix) (’Sup)

Crystal Castles Suffocation (Memory Tapes Remix) (Pfork)

Kid Cudi [vs. LCD Soundsystem] – All Talk (ft. Chip Tha Ripper & Christian Bale)

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May 20, 2010

Imagery

Like Images… but, you know, ending with “-ry” instead of “-s”

http://tinyvices.verbsite.net/__data/tinyvices_andrew-kuo.jpg

  • Andrew Kuo’s “My Wheel of Worry, May 2010″ (Tiny Vices via TWBE)

cremaster-cycle-via-ifc

matthew-barney-bjork-marina-via-moma-flickr

paco-blancas-participating-in-the-artist-is-present-via-flickr

lichtenstein-at-gagosian-via-arrested-motion

When we think of still lifes, we think of paintings that have a certain atmosphere or ambience. My still life paintings have none of those qualities, they just have pictures of certain things that are in a still life, like lemons and grapefruits and so forth. It’s not meant to have the usual still life meaning.

–Roy Lichtenstein.

Roy Lichtenstein
Still Lifes
Gagosian
555 W 24th St (at 11th)
New York NY 10011 [map]
212 / 741-1111
May 8, 2010 – July 30, 2010

Banksy_NYC_2010-via-animal

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May 14, 2010

Guilty As Charged

Look at this Fucking Hipster Edition

What Does Hipster Mean to Meme?

via Buzzfeed

I appreciate the Sartre call-out (1:17); however, to her point(s), I just happened upon the latest installment of Nitsuh Abebe’s monthly column for Pitchfork, in which he addresses the concept of irony as the guiding tenet of indie (read: hipster) culture, citing LCD Soundsystem and Hipster Runoff (both of which I’ve written about in a similar context).

You can’t possibly navigate the Internet without being able to understand both arch, knowing irony and all-out earnestness– but no matter how good your ability to figure out which is which, you will eventually run into items where you have no earthly idea how serious the author is.

–Nitsuh Abebe, Why We Fight #3: A Brief History of Knowingness and Irony,
Pitchfork, May 7 2010

In Abebe’s inaugural essay, he draws parallels between Joanna Newsom and Lady Gaga; the former recently spoke about the latter in an interview with the Guardian. (I was less impressed with the extended analogy of musical evolution that marked his second effort, though I’d like to read the Calvino story he mentions.)

dont-feed-the-hipsters-by-trustocorp-mccarren-park-via-gothamist

More to come soon…

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April 23, 2010

Pop Mu$ic

Ke$ha made a minor PR spla$h in the blog ocean (a drop in the Photobucket?) with a mediocre-to-bad performance on $NL last week (I’ll spare you the clips, but you can find them here). Yet pop pundits from across the internets have come to her defen$e, speculating that the “not dumb” pop$tar/rapper will eventually command some kind long-term po$t-reinvention cult following. In other words, we can already fondly look back at the passable Uffie-meets-Gaga single “TiK ToK,” because $he’s charting a path back to Na$hville.

Fred Falke transforms the bubbly electro party jam into a disco-funk banger, which I like about as much as the original (i.e. I’ve heard worse):

» Ke$ha – TiK ToK (Fred Falke Remix Radio Edit) (3:55) – 6MB mp3 @ 208kbps

Ke$ha in Interview Magazine; via Buzzfeed

Ke$ha in Interview Magazine; via Buzzfeed

Of course, Ke$ha is almost willfully eclipsed by the mega-ego of Lady Gaga’s hair alone, to say nothing of the Celebrity Incarnate herself. Indeed, insofar as Stefanie Germanotta’s alter ego represents pop-cultural cynosure the world over, she is regarded as a symbol (or symptom) of postmodernity, the subject and object of an ever-growing body of meta-commentary… not to mention a shitload of YouTube covers. There’s the usual conspiracy theories and folk psychological drivel, not to mention the sort of cultural criticism that is slightly too smart for its own good, namely Mark Dery’s recent ‘rockist’ retort to Sasha Frere-Jones’ review of Gaga from a year ago. (My own analysis, below, is decidedly less clever.)

Dery’s dissection of Lady Gaga and her (purportedly) apocryphal brilliance is worth reading, though I should caution that it’s on the heavy side: in a brief riposte from the pro-Gaga camp,* one commenter characterizes [Lord] Dery’s essay as “ridiculous long, very smart, [and] very namedroppy.” As far as I can tell, it comes down to a matter of whether fun and intelligence are mutually exclusive.

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April 8, 2010

Too Much, Too Much

logo3

Pitchfork has just announced the final lineup for their wildly successful eponymous music festival, and it’s pretty much an indie kid’s dream come true: Liars, Wolf Parade, Major Lazer, Beach House, Why?, Big Boi, Robyn, and several other independent music luminaries will be playing across three days in Chicago come July, alongside previously-announced headliners Pavement, LCD Soundsystem and Modest Mouse… not to mention the likes of Broken Social Scene, Panda Bear, Raekwon, Titus Andronicus, Dâm-Funk, Sleigh Bells et al.

Prepped-out Malkmus

Prepped-out Malkmus

Liars stole the show in 2006—they’re easily one of my favorite live acts—and Stephen Malkmus was a highlight in 2007, but Pitchfork has really outdone themselves for the fifth time around. Honestly, the lineup is basically too stacked at this point (if the previous run-on paragraph is any indication), an extreme case of ‘festival oversaturation’: there’s simply no way that one would have the opportunity to see every single band he or she wanted to see.

liars2006

Liars' Angus Andrew shredding

Related: Liars, St. Vincent (also playing this festival this year) and ’fork fest veterans Os Mutantes covering INXS for Beck’s Record Club (Stereogum); Awesome interview with Angus from Liars (Motherboard); LCD Soundsystem dates for what may or may not be a final tour (BV).

Shameless self-promotion, because it’s been a while:

» The Purple Ribbon Allstars – Kryptokraft 400 (K Hessel’s On It) (3:42) – 6.6MB mp3 @ 246kbps

» Das Racist – Combination Pon de Floor and Wallpaper (K Hessel’s Mas Lazer Mashup) (3:27) – 7.9MB mp3 @ 320kbps

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April 1, 2010

LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

http://dfarecords.com/main/wp-content/uploads/LCD_600.jpg

So somehow I missed this, but LCD Soundsystem has (sort of) released a new track from their forthcoming (and possibly last, as reported earlier) album. In addition to over an hour of new music from James Murphy & co., they’ve also come up with a name and album art to spite Stereogum’s crowdsourcing campaign.

Just as Sisterworld is the Liars’ L.A. album, This Is Happening represents the same for LCD, and the different roads from NYC to the City of Angels to illustrate just how far we’ve come from the dance-punk glory days of the early 00′s.

Of course, if the Pitchfork-approved single “Drunk Girls” (below) is any indication, I imagine that the one-time disco savior has crafted a radically different sound from the art-punk experimentalists: it’s a matter of timelessness vs. timeliness, respectively, insofar as rock music evolves through a dialectic* of the two principles.

But I digress: “Drunk Girls,” for your listening pleasure.

via Stereogum, which also posted a clip of another track on the forthcoming LP: “Pow Pow

In other album art news, D*Face × X*Tina: never would’ve seen it coming, but I can dig it. At least it sets a precendent for some kind of blockbuster Shepard Fairey / Lady Gaga collabo.

christina-bionic

*Yes I dropped a d-bomb. No, I don’t really know what it means, and I’m not proud of it.

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March 16, 2010

Daylight Saving Time & Other Items

» Aesop Rock – Daylight (4:25) – 4.1MB m4a @ 128kbps

The Persistence of Trite Imagery

The Persistence of Trite Imagery

Since this Sunday marked Daylight Saving Time, I decided to put my philosophy degree to good use by pondering the psychology and metaphysics of this semi-annual ritual.

First of all, there is technically only one daylight to be saved: contrary to folk wisdom that might suggest otherwise, daylight is an indivisible entity. In a sense, daylight is like money—which is also grammatically singular but conceptually plural (insofar as one would hope to have more than one money)—such that daylight is quantifiable, at least in terms of daylight hours. In other words, official terminology denotes that summer is ‘Time to Save Daylight’—i.e., Time for Daylight-Saving—while the colloquial (if not altogether prevalent) shorthand “Daylight Savings” is a gerund, as per the nominal usage of “Savings” for that type of  bank account. (Even the Wikipedia URL for the Daylight Saving Time entry is Daylight_savings.)

The monetary metaphor is useful in illustrating how DST’s pithy essence “spring forward, fall back” belies the curious phenomenon that either occasion—the turning of the clocks in spring or in fall—can be described as gaining or losing an hour. Common parlance suggests that we have indeed acquired a full 60 minutes, yet this increment simultaneously seems to have slipped through a mysterious temporal rift in the wee hours of Sunday morning. It appears that we have both gained and lost an hour on Sunday, a discrepancy that reveals two divergent systems of belief concerning time and how it is measured: absolute vs. relative. The two views correspond to a scientific picture of an independent physical world and a pragmatic ‘lived’ experience of time, respectively.

The former system holds that time marches forward of its own accord and that to push a clock forward—from 2AM to 3AM, say—disturbs the clockwork of the universe to the effect that humans have erased an hour from their day. Here the bank analogy must be modified: on Sunday, we withdrew an hour on credit, which we will pay back in October; for the next six months, we owe one hour to the universe, or nature, or whatever. We have lost it in the interest of practicality—we need to borrow the hour for the better half of the year—though we plan on restoring balance in six months or so. For the absolutist, the hour is deferred.

Those who abide by the second perspective, on the other hand, see time as more malleable, where chronology is purely pragmatic: we gained an hour on Sunday because we now have an extra hour of sunlight—and, ostensibly, productivity—to the effect that the days themselves grow longer. By springing forward, we stake a claim to the greater daylight afforded by the rotation of the Earth, silently folding one hour into the shroud of slumber in order to extend each and every day in those six months. For the relativist, it’s possible to save daylight like money albeit not in the interest of yielding a long-term dividend: everyone cashes out the same predetermined amount at the end of each day.

Of course, both schools of thought understand that the actual demarcation of time to be incidental (i.e. pragmatic in a broad sense)—otherwise we wouldn’t have license to give and take (or take and give) hours as we please. Nevertheless, I wonder if there is any correlation between the saving(s) locution and the gain/loss dichotomy: are relativists more predisposed to regarding DST as a savings account, as opposed to absolutists who treat the extra time as a line of credit?

Does that even make sense? Rather, does it even matter?

Now for the real news:

  • Advertising 2.0: This Time, It’s Personal. FaceBook is now crowdsourcing targeted advertising like social AdSense (=AdBook?). (NYT, Future Perfect) Also, Product Placement: Geolocation is so hot right now (NYT)
  • Mattel Mentality x Mad Men = Barbie. WTF. (NYT)
  • Google Maps now has (spotty) bike directions: Gothamist blurbs, Streetsblog mentions, Wired crowdsources; Bike Snob NYC is more thorough, with an incisive riposte to the Post
  • Big ups to the Alma Mater in the Times. But seriously, the prospect of digitally tracking writers’ inspiration and composition process is quite fascinating.
  • Stanley Fish on Pragmatism’s Gift.
  • I’ve always been a stickler for free throws (i.e. I don’t understand why every player isn’t shooting 90+% from the line), so I was pleased to see that Wired has posted a guide on How to Nail a Free Throw.
  • Old news, but here’s a couple of interesting articles on sports video games and their source material; specifically, how video games are have become increasingly true to life for athletes: League of Gamers (ESPN); Gamechangers: How Videogames Trained a Generation of Athletes (Wired)
  • Speaking of video games, Virtusphere. Just watch the damn video.
  • G4 (correctly, I think) identifies Chatroulette’s ‘Merton.’ NYMag’s Vulture (correctly, I think) identifies Ben Folds as a “Fin de siècle singer-songwriter.” Just watch the damn video.
  • (Over)analysis of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” music video. (Vigilant Citizen)

Music news:

  • What Would They Know: Matthew Perpetua interviews Liars for Pitchfork.
  • Time to Get Away: LCD Soundsystem finishing up their last record. (Daily Swarm)
  • Wanna Be Startin’ Something: MJ posthumously lands a massive record deal. (WSJ, NYT)

Art news:

Bonus Trailer:

Ride, Rise, Roar trailer via Wired.

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