Time Magazine Runs Hilarious Hipster Exposé; Says Hipsters Hate Coldplay (And Gets It Wrong; True Hipsters Are Way Into Defending Coldplay Now) [Time]
Kanye West Believes Fame May Cause Cancer; Does Not Consider Himself New King of Pop [Idolator]
Eminem Calls Out Mariah Carey On New Track – More Importantly, Eminem Raps In Song Worth Listening To [Spin]
Fiery Furnaces Announce New “Album,” The Silent Album; New Album Is Not An Album and Contains No Music – Fiery Furnaces Define New Level of Pretension [Pitchfork]
Doom Drone Metal Guys Sunn O))) Soundtracks A Swedish Jean Advertisement; Result Is Frightening And In No Way Makes Me Want To Purchase Jeans [Stereogum]
compiled by Max Sebela
ART OF SONG
“Rocket Man” (as performed by William Shatner)
Originally by Elton John
1972 | MCA
On a recent Tonight Show appearance, William Shatner delivered a stirring reinterpretation of the naturalist-poet / relatively indecipherable portion of Sarah Palin’s gubernatorial farewell speech. Probably only Shatner, whose career in television and spoken-word music spans close to six decades — including Star Trek and its various iterations, the 1968 album The Transformed Man, two guest-villain spots on Columbo, the “Priceline Negotiator” commercials, and a film that used universal language attempt, Esperanto, as its primary language (1965’s Incubus) — could give Mrs. Palin the bizarre sendoff she deserves. First, the chosen speech excerpt then the link to this riveting performance:
…soaring through nature’s finest show. Denali, the great one, soaring under the midnight sun. And then the extremes. In the winter time it’s the frozen road that is competing with the view of ice fogged frigid beauty, the cold though, doesn’t it split the Cheechakos from the Sourdoughs? And then in the summertime such extreme summertime about a hundred and fifty degrees hotter than just some months ago, than just some months from now, with fireweed blooming along the frost heaves and merciless rivers that are rushing and carving and reminding us that here, Mother Nature wins. It is as throughout all Alaska that big wild good life teeming along the road that is north to the future.
Check out Shatner’s interpretation of Palin’s speech here.
Yet long before his latest pop-culture collision, Shatner orchestrated one that may never be topped. This performance star dates back to 1978, the year he both hosted and performed at the Science Fiction Film Awards (which, thanks to Star Wars’s popularity, used to air on television). As a performer, he reinterpreted Elton John’s 1972 hit, “Rocket Man.” Not only does Shatner Captain Kirk-speak and Sinatra-smoke his way through his synthesizer-backed rendition, he gets none other than a dryly “truly proud” Bernie Taupin (who co-wrote the song with Elton John) to introduce him. The song, inspired by Ray Bradbury’s short story, “The Rocket Man,” never knew it would so boldly and kitschily go where it did. Thanks to Shatner’s bizarre instincts, the song will remain a classic for singer-songwriter and sci-fi fans, no matter the life form. Video after the jump.
More on William Shatner | “Rocket Man”
An online auction from Gotta Have It! will hawk love notes that Madonna faxed to her boyfriend in 1993. Madonna faxed thesecorny notes, calling herself “Lil’ Booty” and “Lola Montez,” to her bodyguard-cum-boyfriend, James Albright, between 1992 and 1994. Also for auction is a “very personal and intimate video” of Madonna and some of her crewmates from the 1993 Abel Ferrara film Dangerous Games. As of Thursday, there were no bids on any of these items. Starting bids are around $20,000 per facsimile and $10,000 for the videotape. Of course, Perez Hilton claims to know what is on the tape: “Madonna appears to snort cocaine, inhale nitrous oxide and expose her breasts while allowing [costar James Russo] to snort cocaine off her body.”
by Thomas Wilk
Yargh! One Third Of Us Be Pirates, Research Says [Tiny Mix Tapes]
Melted Barbie Dolls? I Love It. Watch Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Short Film Snakesweat [The Tripwire]
Panic! At the Disco Announces Two New Members [Rolling Stone]
The Soft Pack To Tour This Fall, Hit Bowery Ballroom October 2, and Now I Am “Beside Myself!” [NME]
Drake Gets His Own Sitcom: “about best buddies – and polar opposites – trying to make their way in the entertainment industry.” Original. [Idolator]
What Does It Sound Like When 7 Worlds Collide? Well, Two Parts Radiohead, One Part Wilco…Just Check Out This Supergroup [Stereogum]
Yes, We Know Who You Are. Check Out “Do You Know Who I Am,” The First Available Track From Echo & The Bunnymen’s New Album [Stereogum]
compiled by Erin Sheehy
Gather, Form & Fly
2009 | Hometapes
So my advanced enthusiasm for Gather, Form & Fly was pretty unwarranted. Which is my fault, because I misunderstood and overestimated the relationship between Megafaun and Bon Iver and Bowerbirds. And because I’d heard their absolutely incredible song “The Fade,” and thought, “Well, here’s another North Carolina folk-rock band that’s going to make a perfect record out of the gate and generally be all awesome.” Which isn’t really the case, as Gather, Form & Fly is imperfect and as Megafaun doesn’t actually sound anything like Bowerbirds or Bon Iver. I mean, Megafaun is a really interesting band that has made a really interesting album. And it’s an album that begs comparison and contrast to other albums. But, in its quiet ways, it consistently circumvents any attempt contextualize it.
Gather, Form & Fly is probably best described as some sort of revisionist folk album, albeit a maniacal and schizophrenic one. It segues thoughtlessly from the spectrally beautiful instrumental opener (“Belle Marie”) through its two sun-baked folk-rock jewels (“Kaufman’s Ballad” and the truly inspired “The Fade”), into “Impressions of the Past,” which itself is a restless and not-quite-seamless blend of quiet folk, propulsive and rhythmic distorted improvisation, orchestral pop, and even – dare I say it? – barbershop quartet. All of which are in fact quite lovely genres. And then it continues right on into “Worried Mind,” the first of the album’s true downturns, a near-gorgeous classic folk tune that’s weighed down by a shamefully underperformed lead vocal track. “Solid Ground” is a repetitive basic blues riff that has no right following the fascinatingly raucous, hell-raising “The Process.” “Gather, Form & Fly” is a stunning (mostly) instrumental piece, all scratchy guitar and banjo, the kind bound inextricably to nostalgic reminiscences of summer, front porches, starlit country nights, the creak and howl of the forest. And that’s followed up with the awful a cappella opening of “Columns” (which never betters its embarrassing first moments), which is itself followed by “The Longest Day,” with Christy Smith, one of the finest true male-female country duets of this or any other year.
So one can see what the problem is here: Gather, Form & Fly is one of those records. It’s the kind of record that’s near-brimming with fantastic material, inspired performances, and interesting ideas, and yet weighed down at every turn by surprisingly sour efforts. What is made of an album like that? Disappointed expectation? Imperiled or defeated potential? Or a promise of hope? There’s so much good there, so much energy and enthusiasm, that it virtually guarantees Megafaun’s success, if only for their quite apparent capabilities, if only for the consistence of perfection they might someday give to the world.
by Chris Kiehne
JezebelMusic.com @ Whitney Museum of American Art
July 24, 2009 | Woods, Yellow Fever
The Friday night summer concert series at The Whitney is one of those delightful, impossibly free perks of our burgeoning metropolis not to be missed. The rare occasion of strolling past The Carlyle and Christian Louboutin boutique on your way to a show is reason alone to check it out. Entering from Madison Avenue at dusk, one is immediately enveloped in Marcel Breuer’s beveled stone architecture, whose acoustics prove to be, unsurprisingly, ideal. The playing area is on the ground floor, haphazardly set between the cafe and street, awash in fluorescents. The audience peers from above, sits Indian-style in the round, dances, or remains aloof, smoking in the outdoor cafe behind the gargantuan bay windows. It’s a chance for underage Pitchfork nerds to mingle with the undying dregs of Warhol’s Factory. For the band members, being “on stage” means crowding into a theater-in-the-round, which is essentially where the treasure chest would be in the bottom of a fish bowl. And for a band like Woods, where the sources of their sound are just as fascinating as is the sound itself, the visual performance, the space, and the audience were as integral as the bass guitar. Accompanied by Yellow Fever, from Austin, TX, Woods played as part of Dan Graham’s Beyond exhibit, ongoing through October 11th.
Woods is sweet, raw, and trippy. Utilizing retro microphones, pedals, and the constant diligent fussing of a mixing board, the sound morphs between underwater muppet babies (in a giddy, positive way), and acid induced psych-rock. The seamless meeting of a male soprano, distorted dissonant lead guitar, and untarnished loose snare is utterly fascinating. The songs work in three layers: country ballad melodies, Syd Barrett-era sheen, and the fun-loving rhythm of Os Mutantes. Most importantly, Woods operates on your subconscious in a way only the best beach psychedelia can; upon listening, you are transported inward, either to a place in your own memory or one of collective American nostalgia. They are so consistent in feel, so acute in diffusion that, duh, they landed a tour with Dungen. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably want to buy Woods’ latest album, Songs of Shame, and listen to it on a long train ride.
by Drew Citron
Corky’s Debt To His Father
1970 | Texas Revolution
It’s a little difficult to deconstruct something like Red Krayola founder Mayo Thompson’s lone solo album, Corky’s Debt To His Father, when one has no point of reference for the artist’s more celebrated work. I know absolutely nothing about Red Krayola, save that they have been around for decades, making avant-garde rock records and serving a niche market I will probably never even begin to understand or appreciate. But the cover looked cool, the album had been reissued by Drag City, and I couldn’t tell if the group was called “Mayo Thompson” or “Corky’s Debt To His Father,” so I was sold.
What followed upon first listen was neither the country record I’d expected, nor the noise/“out” record I’d feared. (I’ve only recently, tentatively, dipped my toe into avant-garde/noise/“out” music, and so am often still skeptical). Nope, Corky’s Debt To His Father falls specifically into that realm of bizarre, uncategorizable folk that often hews dangerously close to the abyss of self-indulgence, and almost certainly involves some sort of illness or tragedy. Three records sprang immediately to mind upon hearing Corky’s Debt To His Father: Alex Chilton’s 1970 (a long-shelved solo debut that came after the Box Tops broke up, but before Big Star formed), Skip Spence’s Oar (recorded entirely by Spence, in the very first few days after he’d been released from a six month stay in Bellevue Hospital for schizophrenia) and Stephen Jesse Bernstein’s Prison (Bernstein’s lone spoken-word album, released by Sub Pop after the troubled poet took his own life in October, 1991).
More on Mayo Thompson | Corky’s Debt To His Father
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compiled by Max Sebela