Part two of the haunted three-part instrumental which runs throughout Era Extraña due out on September 13. You should also watch Neon Indian’s 80’s synthfommercial for his PAL198X-thing, which you can now purchase on their website. Pre-order Era Extraña while you’re there too.
One time I was reading at a starbucks and some guys next to me were talking about models that they hook up with. On e dude said that “back in the 90s there were all these Estonian models I’d hook up with and they were gorgeous with their fake tits and yada yada yada,” then his interlocutor cut him off, incredulously interjecting, “Models? With fake tits?” to which the boaster replied, “well, yeah it was the 90s y’know.” This seemed to satisfy everyone.
Late friday night I was driving home from a beautiful wedding when I caught this report on the Estonian religion of Maausk. It turns out that Estonia is Europe’s least religious country, with only 16% endorsing any of the major organized religions. Naturalist pagan religions like Maausk or Taaraism are not counted in these surveys and seem to be enjoying large and growing followings however. I think that in the face of impeding ecological and biogenetical catastrophese, that this is where we need to go, as a society with our civic religious beliefs.
My lingering question then is what about manmade things like buildings, cell phones, and bubble gum? Do we exclude these things that fill our world from a naturalist religion, or should we consider manmade items with the same reverence that people in Estonia have for trees. I think that perhaps we already do revere our own constructions enough, until they become our trash that is. I think it was Zizek who said that the new ecologists will be those who learn to love garbage as a part of nature. He talks so much he’s said everything though, so it’s a safe bet to attribute to him almost any position on any subject.
Here are a couple songs from a long time ago for dancing.
Most people in music journalism that I read seem to be over dubstep. Carles at Hipster Runoff has been taking the piss out of it for a while now. Back in Atlanta, friends who were loyal to the genre now lament that entire fraternities show up to the clubs seeking only the dubbiest of steps. Even some of the genres own practitioners are acknowledging the backlash, in this interview from January Rusko, the king of “face-melting” dubstep, talks brostep and when bass goes too far:
Further, one of the innovators of dubstep, Zomby, himself coined the term post-dubstep and his music has never quite returned to the signature dubstep sound that he helped pioneer back in 2007/8 (I write all about him for QRO mag here).
Just when it seemed that everybody and their brother was hating on dubstep…my brother wrote this hilarious blog post hating on dubstep. Here’s just a taste,
“My friend was in rehab for a long time and he told me that people would inhale whatever products they could, shoe polish, paint, glue and it would give them the sensation of the “Wah Wahs” where they would hear “wahwahwahwahwah” ringing in their head for a minute or two. Being at a dub step show I think destroys your brain in a similar way.”
Call it a coincidence (or “ironic” in the Alanis Morisette way) that shortly after reading my brother’s post @DubstepNYC started following me on twitter. I don’t have a ton of followers, about 90, so I thought that this was pretty cool, kind of a recognition in a way despite how pathetically narcissistic it is to get excited by a new follower on twitter.
Not to go too far off subject, but a Pitchfork article about Minneapolis duo, Elite Gymnastics speaks directly to this point by drawing a distinction between internet use that is narcissistic - twitter/tumblr - and internet use that builds community - message boards. I’ll admit that in the last year or so I’ve made a shift to the narcissistic forms, almost totally abandoning message boards and only occasionally engaging in discussions via comment sections on articles or videos. Perhaps my shift is a product of my re-immersion in academia. The idea being that in class I get enough opportunity to engage in dialogue that I no longer feel the need to seek out anonymous people on a message board. Also, academic culture values creation of original scholarship, not saying that I’m doing that by keeping up a tumblr, but it is writing practice in one form or another.
Anyways! Shortly after being followed by @DubstepNYC, I get a mention from @djwhatt:
I click the link and sure enough someone named DOSVEC has made a 79 minute Dubstep Mashup mixtape complete with music videos from the vocal tracks spliced together. This is a lot to take in, and it’s clear that a lot of time (6 months) has been put into its production. While the opening track or two seem a little uneven in the mix, things quickly settle into a really listenable groove, something that can’t be said for a lot of dubstep. Essentially this guy is doing a dubstep Girl Talk album with fewer total tracks per minute. Now it’s not fair to compare the this mixtape with the last 3 Girl Talk albums - Night Ripper, Feed the Animals, All Day - when he hit his stride and cleared out the glitch that crowded his first two albums (and made the first one borderline unlistenable). This mixtape instead is more straight forward, with most tracks containing one song’s vocals on top of one dubstep track with some original dubstep production flourishes added to hip hop beats as well. In this way its actually closer to a Hood Internet mixtape, similarly co-opting pop music like Paramore and Glee Cast recordings to a greater extent than we find on Girl Talk albums (save the incredible Kelly Clarkson/Nine Inch Nails mashup on Feed the Animals).
At the end of the tape, I’ve gotta say that I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought that I would. At times the bass gets monotonous, I for one am just not interested in listening to a stuttered snare and motorcycle-rev bass for an hour and a half straight. The pop of the track selection though makes the tape work, and the smoothness of the transitions makes it hard to turn off. From Kanye’s Power as an opener to Big Sean near the end, the album covers about 18 months of pop music reimagined through the lens of that crazy post-apocalyptic rave at the end of the second matrix movie.
While I don’t have enough time to do a track-by-track breakdown of the tape, and unfortunately the tape is only available as a streaming soundcloud or vimeo, I will point out a few highlights. The first is at 30:43 mark when some throwback jungle/trance sounds are introduced that just feel much more vital to me today than hackneyed bass synths. The second is when a dubstep remix of “Look at Me Now” is blended into Birdman and Lil’ Wayne’s “Stuntin Like my Daddy,” over the “Big Pimpin” beat. All three of these songs deserve to make the top 200 hip hop songs of all time list, so this works for me. There’s also a dubstep “Gucci Gucci” by Kreyashawn. I’m surprised how few remixes there are to this song despite its popularity, so I was glad to see it on here.
There’s definitely more to be discovered though, so take a look/listen for yourself and decide where you and dubstep stand today.
Do you remember the other day when I said some friends rolled through my place for a couple of days? Well I was sweeping up my floor today and when I put the broom under my bed, I pulled out what I thought was a dirty rag. I was sure that they had left it, and I found myself wondering what they had spilled that they needed to use the rag for. I then took a closer look at the now more visible object laying at my feet to relize that it was no rag at all, but instead crumpled, heavily used women’s underware. That 19 year old half filipino girl that I had never met before left/forgot her dirty panties under my bed. What could this mean?
First of all let me say that I did not flirt with this girl, I did not make eyes with her, she was cute, but 5 years younger than me and not very mature, so I wasn’t even attracted to her. Nevertheless, in contemplation of these panties, there are options:
a) They were shoved down there in the heat of the moment and forgotten about.
b) She is marking her territory by leaving her scent.
c) She did it to get under my skin.
i) She didn’t care for me, and this act was to upset me.
ii) She was crushing on me, and this is how she’s letting me know she’s interested.
iii) It is a purely “punk” act done for the idea of it alone.
I’m thinking that it’s a 99% chance that “A” is the correct answer. The other ones are just fun to think about. But yeah, I dunno, tell me what you think. Gonna have to take out the trash ASAP so my roommate doesn’t get the wrong idea.
Anyways, click above for a kind of kinky mix. I think that it started out pretty strong, I even did a bit of a mashup for the first two songs. The last few transitions are a little rough, but at the end of the day I stand by my song selection. 7.5 out of 10 overall - check it out.
Pretty much any movie I can think of, perhaps any piece of art for that matter, offers a question to the audience for its evaluation. The plot, the characters, they’re all submitted to our scrutiny, to seee if it apprximates life as we know it. We can agree or disagree on these things and that’s what gives each person their own taste.
At the same time we must be careful to act like we’re all neutral objective observers who can just pass judgement on films without having our viewpoints coming from a place that was affected by the art that we’ve been surrounded with.
Case in point
I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art earlier this summer. There were hundreds if not thousands of people dressed to the nines for the Alexander McQueen exhibit, “Savage Beauty.” I walked through the exhibit and marveled and the attention to detail and meticulous craftsmanship of the garments and accessories on display, not to mention the videos and holograms of his past live shows, which were performance art pieces in addition to being marketing for his massive company.
While I was thrilled to see this landmark exhibition that is already the stuff of legend, what drew me t the museum was the painting of Richard Serra which was located in a gallery at the other end of the same hall of the museum where the McQueen exhibit was. From the entrance of the Serra exhibit, you could see the line of people being ushered into the McQueen show, and I don’t need to tell you that it was a gorgeous group of people.
The Serra exhibit, on the other hand, was empty. I spent 40 minutes going through the space and maybe a dozen other visitors passed through in that time. Now why would this show, that occupied at least half a dozen rooms in one of the most renowned museums in the world featuring one of the most famous living artists who has been working for over 50 years now not draw a crowd. If I had to venture a guess I would say that it’s because 95% of the pieces on display were big black sqaures and circles made with an oilstick. They were rough, crude, demanding, numbing, monumental and infinite in their blackness, and they could not have been more opposed to the fastidiousness of the nimble hands that mend McQueens “masterpieces.”
So the moral of the story is that people who are both interested in art and are within 50 feet of eachother can still hold such different views of what art is that they won’t bother with looking at a bunch of black paintings. I know that I’m skipping a few rungs in the logical ladder, but what I’m trying to say is that McQueen’s fans weren’t interested in the questions that Serra’s art poses and the truths that it presents to them. And just as a side note to the simmering question of whether or not McQueen was an artist I think that that conversation needs to be conducted with the types of terms used above: what does his art ask of the audience, and is that demand rooted in a presentation of his idea of the truth. the alternative could be that it’s all just spectacle, meant to leave an audience in awe, but lacking any type of generative thought that you walk away with.
So pardon me for perhaps the biggest digression that PoMo has ever taken. But I think we’re all now in a place to talk about one of my favorite films of all time. High Fidelity. There’s a lot to like here, but sticking to my theme I want to talk about the questions that films ask their audiences, and High Fidelity has one of the best,
“What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”
I don’t have an answer for this tension. I hope to return to it in subsequent posts, but for now I’d just like to exchange a knowing/meaningful look of recognition with whoever has gotten this far in the text. Whoever you are, whether you know me personally or not, please keep this conversation in your mind as you listen to these two songs which are simultaneously stuck in my head and tearing me apart. And if you could listen to them in this order and then listen to them both again I think that would be best. I’ve included the links for download and the youtubes, so you can listen right away.
It’s been a hobo couple of days y’all. On tuesday, my childhood best buddy called me from a payphone to tell me that he had just hitch hiked into NYC. I met him up at Union Square and he tells me that he had traveled all the way from Washington state, and not alone either, he has a 19 year old half-Filipino girl with him. She’s cool though, and it’s not quite as hood rat as it sounds, but close.
I feel bad because the girl is 19 so there’s only so much that we can do. NYC is a town that likes its bars and restaurants, but her age closes off a lot of the nightlife options for us, so instead the evenings have generally been resolving with us sitting in my microscopic apartment drinking beer and watching clips and movies on my laptop with a failing screen.
The first night our selection was, predictably enough, Hobo with a Shotgun. This is easily one of the most horrible films I’ve ever seen. The hobo doesn’t start the film with a shotgun, but he gets one and it doesn’t take long for the body count to pile up. The best (worst) part of the film though are these atrocious one-liners that keep popping up in the film that will burn their way into your brain. I won’t repeat any of them here, but suffice to say that Mother Theresa is invoked in the most un-saintly of ways.
The next night we got talking about juggalos, who I’ve written about before, and who can be an incredibly vile/violent bunch (read). Turns out both of my house guests have spent lots of time in and around juggalo culture, though neither don the face ppaint or even really like ICP that much, nevertheless we watched all 27 minutes of the 2011 Gathering of The Juggalos Infomercial last night. I’m not going to say it’s worth watching, because it’s just not, but lemme just let you know that both Coolio and Vanilla Ice are now juggalos and that Vanilla himself presents a huge chunk of the infomercial.
It’s funny, all of the SNL spoofs of Juggalos (here, here, and here) just aren’t as funny as the real thing.
South Korean Pop Music is on a roll. Koreans love their pop stars of course. Their sometimes bubblegum, sometimes hip hop, always 6-12 months behind the US styles vie for national cultural domination against the equally successful Korean film and television industries. Shit, even Korean food is blowing up.
But the thing is that food, television, and film have always had an easier task than pop music in generating East —> West crossover appeal. With film/video there can be subtitles, and everyone knows how to eat food. But for a country like South Korea, where media still must be generated in the local language, despite an unquenchable thirst for English language instruction, pop music and the loss of lyrics to non-Korean speakers could seem to be an insurmountable challenge.
Come to think of it, the first kind of Korean crossover was Amerie, the bodacious babe who dropped the soulful smash One Thing. That song came out a while ago, but when it did, I thought that Amerie was the hottest black chick that I’d ever seen in my life. That is until my Korean friend told me that the tattoo she had on her back were Korean characters. A little research revealed that she is half Korean, though for our purposes that doesn’t really count seeing as she was doing neo-soul, not KPOP.
Indeed the first discernible chink (no pun intended) was taken out of the armor of American musical ethnocentrism in 2009 when incredibly hot Korean girl group, Wonder Girls, got a couple spots opening up for the Jonas Brothers on their US tour on the strength of their single “Nobody” which hit 76 on the Billboard 100. Never wanted to be a Jonas more than when I heard that…
The next big step was the “Check it Out” video with Will.i.Am. and Nicki Minaj going full on Seoul-stylie:
To the untrained eye those may seem like Japanese or Chinese characters, but naw dog, that’s Hangul, the easily readible phonetic alphabet that Koreans have been using since a series of scholars developed it in the mid-15th century to spread literacy throughout the peninsula.
OK, snap back to the present day, WHY AM I WRITING THIS POST???
Well that same Korean friend who spotted Amerie’s tattoo drew my attention to this Diplo-produced KPOP track by GD (aka G-Dragon) and T.O.P. from Korean uber-group Big Bang. They drop enough english words in it for crossover appeal, but the verses are Korean enough to dominate the home courts:
Now if you don’t like that, then shit, you just won’t like my blog.
Unfortunately there is a dark side to all of this entertainment. While the practice of paying to be played has been widely acknowledged in Korea for quite some time, recent scandals have gotten to the point that mainstream western news outlets like The Economist are reporting on it, read here.
But you know what they say, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, so the machine rolls on and KPOP shows no signs of slowing down, in fact a gigantic free KPOP show in NYC was just announced for October 9 featuring TVXQ, Wonder Girls,2PM, B2ST, SHINee, Se7en, Sistar19, Lee Hyori, and 4Minute. Read more about that here. I might even make it out to that if I’m in town, for the music guys , for the music, but having said that, if you’re looking for a Korean girlfriend (or boyfriend perhaps)…I could think of worse places to show up with your 2002 world cup jerseys.
Bonus! This is the first KPOP song and video that I really enjoyed:
Hey-yo, so there’s no denying that my last several posts have all been re-blogs from Disco Naivete, the fantastically curated tumblr with its own snazy theme and everything. Something to aspire to.
Well today I’m here to announce that I’m back from vacation and ready to create some content. That’s right, it’s another POMORADIOREMIXSHOW. For this installment I traded in frenetic track skipping and on the fly mashing for longer listens to some of the freshest new cuts out there and (if I do say so myself) buttery smooth transitions for your listening plezzure:
Jamie xx and visual artist Quayola bundle their forces to create “an original and immersive audiovisual live music experience titled Structures”. Here is a 90 second teaser which features a new Jamie xx track and visuals by Quayola. More information on Structures over at RizLab.
Hard Mix delivers the next mixtape in our ongoing series, in which he gently blends jams like Nicolas Jaar’s Problems With The Sun and Nosaj Thing’s Coat Of Arms into a dreamy substance. His debut LP Defaults is still a free download over at Dovecote Records and very much worth the MBs - and so is this mixtape.
The uber-creative but still fairly under the radar group, New Villager, set a very high bar with their video for “Lighthouse” earlier this year, so when the always great blog disco naivete posted a new clip for their new song “Shot Big Horizon” yesterday I eagerly watched to see where the group had decided to go with this video. The video coincided with the release of two new tracks including “Shot Big Horizon.” Listen to the song and check out the band’s website for info about the album and the various performance and visual art projects that these two NY/SF gentleman busy themselves with.
While “Lighthouse” executed elaborate costume design with Oriental motifs and a ying-yang aesthetic, this “Shot Big Horizon” employs a more natural, earthy aesthetic. The black and white costumes still signify some part for humanity to play, a natural balancing act to exist in, but not adversely affect nature perhaps?
As for the music, not a huge leap from Lighthouse, which I found a bit punchier and urgent than the minimal guitar riff that this song rests on. Perhaps this is why I’ve always enjoyed the Punches remix of Lighthouse so much.
The coolest thing I heard about today is Stroked, a tribute to the Strokes’ Is This It, a compilation commisioned by Stereogum featuring artists such as Peter Bjorn and John, Real Estate, Owen Pallett, The Morning Benders and more covering the album in its entirety. Read about it and download it here.
Though I’m over my Frank Ocean fanboy phase I thought I would go ahead and mention that some new tracks of his have made it on the web, check em out at melophobe if you care to.
The new music I’m actually most excited about has been coming from two acts who are both riding high with great posture on their sophmore releases.
The first is Zomby and his new album Dedication, who first came across my radar due to Noah Lennox aka Panda Bear aka Animal Collective’s drummer (on this tour at least). It’s electronic music that just sounds good, well thought out and just as danceable as it is listenable. I think that this record will be my next review for QRO mag.
I just did a write up for them on the latest Explosions in the Sky album, Take Care Take Care Take Care. It probably won’t go up on the site for a few days yet though, but really there’s no rush. The album came out months ago. After I wrote this review I read the Pitchfork review of the album, and they said pretty much the same thing I did, except that they added 1.0 to by 6.2 rating. My latest thing that’s up on the site is my review of Com Truise’s still excellent Galactic Melt which I handed a hefty 8.4 rating, this might have been a bit generous and if I were to redo it I’d probably hit it with a 7.9 or 8, but I’m biased. I saw him live and it was no fun.
The other act that I’ve only just started listening to over the last day or two is Unknown Moral Orchestra, a Portland outfit who recently dropped album numero deuces. Their self-titled album makes you feel OK that we’re now living in a post-White Stripes world. It’s got warm, but jerky and riffs, loose drums, and Ariel Pink-esque recording value (and vocals for that matter).
Here are some downloadable tracks, just right click:
And for just one more thing, before I forget and it becomes old news. The lead singer of Edwin Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes (Alex Ebert) has a side project out called Alexander. Personally I think it’s weird for a guy whose name is featured in his band to then do a solo project with a totally different name, which is actually his real name in the first place. I might even hate on something like this, that is if the result wasn’t so compelling.
Enjoy the video for “Truth” below and the remix featuring none other than the fucking RZA right here.