March 9, 2010
Welcome to another edition of Brook Pridemore’s The Nineties-ist. This edition discusses 2003 and the good old days when kids took the time to ride their bikes to record stores to pick up new albums instead of downloading songs with a simple and thoughtless click. For earlier installments, go here.
If the moment upon which the music industry gave up the ghost for real can indeed be pinpointed to a single date, I would posit that it came with the release of Good News for People Who Love Bad News, the commercial breakthrough from Modest Mouse, long beloved Washington indie rock darlings. And I can’t even blame the death of the industry on Modest Mouse: while Good News is not nearly as good as the albums upon which Modest Mouse’s reputation was built, the album is still quite good. I would posit, though, that the end of the old standard came with Modest Mouse’s crossover because I can’t for the life of me think of one other new album that’s had anywhere near the impact of Good News.
(Before you get started in on me about music over the last seven years, let me just say: Animal Collective, M. Ward, Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes, Bon Iver, !!!, Neko Case, My Morning Jacket, Screaming Females, etc. I know. Shut up.)
But given that I promised to wrap things up in 2003, let’s just go ahead and say that any events dating after December 31, 2003, are epilogue. I would point out that 2003 is the year Radiohead, previously the bastions of adventure and limit-testing in modern rock, first failed to live up to the hype surrounding them. Where moments on each of their previous albums carry unmistakable resonance to this day (discounting 2001′s Amnesiac, which was more of a companion piece than actual album), 2003′s Hail to the Thief was the first more or less unmemorable Radiohead album. Considering that Thom Yorke and Co. are hailed in the media as industry saviors on a more or less daily basis, I would guess that a lot of guys who wear ponytails and $1,000 suits started bucketing water out of the higher floors of the Capitol Records building when Hail to the Thief failed to reinvigorate the industry.
December 19, 2009
Welcome to another edition of Brook Pridemore’s The Nineties-ist. This edition discusses 1997, the evils of an ironic Goo Goo Dolls cover, Jan Wenner being solely responsible for the downfall of the music industry, and Mr. Pridemore listing his top five 1997 albums. For earlier installments, go here.
So, my interest in music — which, we established a few weeks ago began in 1993 and immediately escalated to zealotry — has kept me interested in the aural side of popular culture long after many of my early peers (folks who got to play in the cool bands in high school, and such) dropped off the radar and stopped taking in new music. Over the last year or so, I’ve even noticed the kind of ironic nostalgia from people younger than me over songs that I (and most other self-respecting people) never wanted to hear again in the day, and certainly don’t want to be reminded of ten or more years after the fact. Younger bands I play shows with have started doing ironic covers of Goo Goo Dolls songs, the same way that the cool bands I knew growing up did ironic covers of Eddie Money songs. Get it? It’s circular.
And I’m befuddled by this kind of ironic nostalgia in the same way that hipsters ten years my senior must have been befuddled by my ironic nostalgia for the 80s at the time. This kind of detachment is thrice problematic:
1. The ironic cover of a passé pop song idea jumped the shark in 2002. It’s true: Dynamite Hack’s (remember them? Me neither)’s white boy acoustic ballad version of the NWA classic “Boyz in the Hood” was the last nail in the coffin.
2. All nostalgia is at least somewhat poisonous. Jan Wenner and David Geffen are still trying to get you to buy repackaged Doors collections, rather than invest emotionally in current artists. This is not because the Doors are a better band than, say, the Smoking Popes. Rather, this is because it is much easier (read: cost-effective) to sell the same old shit to each subsequent generation than spend energy cultivating new artists. Plus, when you get down to it, Jan Wenner couldn’t give a shit less if you like the stuff you consume, just so long as you pay through the nose for it. Keeping overhead low is priority number one for guys like Wenner. Never forget that.
(Folks, I don’t entirely know why Jan Wenner’s my particular scapegoat here. There are a lot of people responsible for the current industry slump. My only guess is that Wenner’s refusal to allow the Monkees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has something to do with it (further, if the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame really had anything to do with Rock and/or Roll, wouldn’t the “and” be shortened to an “‘n”? Just asking.))
3. Ironic nostalgia gets in the way of a lot of the good stuff that happened. I know I personally didn’t discover any of the truly great, groundbreaking bands that came out in the 1980s (Black Flag, the Minutemen, the Replacements, the list goes on) because I was too busy banging my head to Goldfinger’s version of “99 Luftballons.” Would my life have been so much better, so much sooner, had I eschewed the Goldfinger record for, say Black Flag’s blistering semi-cover of “Louie, Louie,” (an afterthought on their seminal The First Four Years) or the Minutemen’s jammy take on CCR’s “Don’t Look Now” (ditto on the band’s magnum opus Double Nickels on the Dime)?
Yes. Jesus Christ. I would probably also have been spared obsession with Mustard Plug’s punk-ska take on The Verve Pipe’s “The Freshman.” Which, to be fair, was actually pretty funny, and not really nostalgia at all: the two versions were released a year apart-than one band paying cheeky tribute to their friends.
I hope I’ve made my point. And if you’re still with me:
Five Records from 1997 for My Children (and my Children’s Children):
More on #14: 1997
NME Releases List of Top 20 Songs of the Decade, With Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” Topping the List; Elsewhere, News Slow, I Commit to Making Lots of Thanksgiving References in Honor of the Holiday (And am Very Thankful That Underappreciated In Rainbows Track “Reckoner” Made NME’s List) [NME]
Watch WHY?’s Two-Song Music Video For Eskimo Snow Tracks “These Hands” and “January Twentysomething,” Which Features a Father With a Bunch of Arrows in His Back Dragging a Child from a Car Crash (Whether or Not He Was Playing a Celebratory Game of “Pilgrims and Indians” Remains to Be Seen) [Pitchfork]
Stream Grizzly Bear Remixing German Electro-Mopers the Notwist’s Oft-Remixed Track “Boneless” – I’m Fairly Convinced that this is Better Than the Entirety of Veckatimest (But That’s Because Veckatimest is Weak-(Cranberry)Sauce) [Gorilla vs. Bear]
Inversely, Stream Neon Indian Remixing Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest Track “Cheerleader” (And Stream Another Neon Indian Version Here); Veckatimest May Have Been a Little Lacking, as I Just Mentioned, But These Remixes are Strong (Like Good Gravy?) [Gorilla vs. Bear]
Watch the Pixies Play Doolittle Opener “Debaser” on Fallon, then Watch them Play “Hey;” Both of Which Seem Pretty Restrained – But Not as Restrained as Your Usually Drunk Uncle Will Be at the Dinner Table This Year (Aunt Laura Probably Lectured Him in the Car After Last Year’s “Incident”) [Stereogum]
Former Spaceman Jason Pierce AKA J. Spaceman Announces New Spiritualized Album for 2010, and Re-releasing His Classic Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space; Expect It to Be as Woozy as the Rest of Spiritualized’s Albums (Tryptophan Woozy?!) [NME]
Portland Emo-Punks the Thermals Announce New Album, and Give it a Preemptive Release Date of September 7, 2010; Meanwhile, Pull on Your Thermal Underwear Because This Thanksgiving Weather is Cold (Okay, That’s a Stretch, But C’mon, Only So Many Thanksgiving References are Possible) [Pitchfork]
compiled by Max Sebela
November 20, 2009
IN THE NEWS
It’s nice to know that sometimes the actions of a fool can spur a response from someone clever. Take for instance, the latest head-fuck from Beck, “Harry Partch,” which is, most likely, a direct response to the inane rantings of Fiery Furnaces’ Matt Friedberger. A few weeks ago, Friedberger started one of the lamest rock feuds by going after Radiohead in a Spinner interview for their song “Harry Patch (in Memory of).” Friedberger, being as ignorant as he is, had misinterpreted the title as Harry Partch (the experimental composer) and lambasted the song as being pretentious even though a) he had never heard the song, and b) it’s about Harry Patch, the last surviving British WWI veteran.
After a million Radiohead fans pointed out the blunder, Friedberger was quick to respond. First with his publicist claiming that Friedberger had thought the interviewer was asking about Harry Partch, not Harry Patch, and then by releasing a statement claiming that he was quite aware that the song was about the last living “Tommy,” and that the whole interview was just harmless “‘riffing,’ or fooling around.” Though it’s possible that Friedberger was just fucking with us, it’s more likely he was being ignorant, especially when opening his release with: “Like most creative musicians, Matt Friedberger is not a fan of Radiohead and most of their chart busters.” He then blamed the media for the misunderstanding, made a Tommy pun, and ended with “Matt would have much preferred to insult Beck but he is too afraid of Scientologists.”
Well, the statement must have reached Beck (presumably via a derelict hippy servant while upon his freak-rock throne) since yesterday the ten minute epic about Harry Partch was released on his website. Described by Beck as a “peregrination across disparate territory to ascertain an unassumed frame of reference,” he either took the project extremely seriously, or has a very wry sense of humor; the quality, however, points to the former. It’s the musical equivalent of Jason Pollock’s throwing shit at a canvas, and with most of the myriad of musical ideas being good ones, it’s surprising digestible – even with the inclusion of Partch’s beloved microtones. Would you play it at your wedding? Not unless you were marrying Yoko Ono or something. But it is some fun, out-there musical shenanigans.
More on Matt Friedberger Vs. People Who Don’t Really Care What He Has To Say
Fiery Furnaces Will Release an Album of Covers. The Covers Will All Be Covering Fiery Furnaces Songs, Meaning Fiery Furnaces Remain the Most Despicably Annoying Band in All of New York [Pitchfork]
!!!, Maserati, and Holy Ghost! Drummer Gerhardt Fuchs Passes Away, Falling to the Bottom of a Brooklyn Elevator Shaft [NY Times]
Stream L.A. Girly Girls Best Coast’s New Single “When I’m With You,” Which Could Honestly Pass For the Vivian Girls, Only More Jangly, and Less Jersey (Also, Contains Simpler Chorus Than “Be My Baby” — “When I’m With You, I Have Fun”) [Gorilla vs. Bear]
Pavement Will Headline the Sasquatch! Festival in Washington; I Make Vow to Not Create Headlines Out of Pavement Headlining Festivals, as They Will Obviously Be Playing Almost Every One…Let This Sasquatch! Headline Blanket All Other Headlines [Pitchfork]
Watch Video For Blakroc (The Black Keys + MCs) Single “Ain’t Nothing Like You,” Which Is Appropriate to the Name, If the “You” They’re Referencing is a Remotely Entertaining Music Video; Also, C’mon Guys, Double Negatives Are So Not In [Prefix]
The Stooges Are Set to Record Unrecorded Material From the 70s, Which is Awesome Because Uhh…The Stooges, Fun House, and Raw Power Are Really Good Albums (Like REALLY Good!) [NME]
Thom Yorke Posts Blog Entry Against British Government’s Proposal For More Nuclear Power Plants, Under Extremely Inane Headline “Nuclear Power No Thanks;” Elsewhere, Remember When Thom Was Super Vague and Strange, and Consumed With Cartoon Cubes?…I Miss That Thom [Radiohead]
Watch the Pixies Perform Doolittle’s “Here Comes Your Man” on The Tonight Show, Which Sounds Exactly Like the Version on Doolittle, Except With Some Adult Contemporary Flourish; Speaking of the Pixies, Here’s a Free Pixies EP [NBC]
compiled by Max Sebela
19 Year Old Canadian Singer-Songwriter Taylor Mitchell Mauled by Coyotes at a National Park in Nova Scotia [Brooklyn Vegan]
Watch Video For New No Age, “Losing Feeling;” Contains a Surprising Amount of Motion For Being Shot From the Perspective of An Inanimate Mouse Toy (But Seriously Guys, Mouse Toys Don’t Move) [Gorilla vs. Bear]
As If Social Networking Hasn’t Begun to Simulate Enough of Your Former Life, Facebook Takes Away Foo Fighters (Foo Fighters Are Playing A Gig on Facebook…They Haven’t Been Absorbed Into Mark Zuckerberg’s Web Infrastructure) [NME]
Happy Birthday, Darling, We Got You Exactly What You Wanted: A Cartoonish Cake Recreation of Lil Wayne’s Skull…Yes, Honey, It Is Purple Drank Flavored. Yep, Daughter of Mine, It Scares Me Too [Idolator]
Goth-Brits The xx Cancel a Bunch of Dates on Their Tour; Say They are “Exhausted” After CMJ (City of Dreams, Make It Here, Make It Anywhere, You Got The Heart, You’ll Get Your Name In Lights, Other Vaudevillian Expressions) [Pitchfork]
Peter Gabriel Covers Radiohead, Magnetic Fields, Bon Iver, and Lou Reed on New Album, Scratch My Back; Released Spring 2010 – It Remains to be Seen Whether Peter Gabriel Will Be the First to Experience “The Vampire Weekend Effect” [NME]
compiled by Max Sebela
October 9, 2009
IN THE NEWS
Hopefully there weren’t too many suicides when Thom Yorke told The Believer this August, “None of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again, not straight off…” Radiohead diehards aren’t typically a gleeful bunch, and losing the promise of an LP on the horizon may have raised their already high post-modern dread to a breaking point. And it would have been all the more in vain, since according to Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, the whole story was a load of bull.
Radiohead definitely had us going though. Releasing two singles online – “Harry Patch (In Memory of)” and “These Are My Twisted Words” – and with Thom forming a band with Flea, it didn’t look like the Oxford lads had any sights on an In Rainbows follow-up, but as O’Brien forcefully told NME recently, ‘WE WILL BE MAKING AN ALBUM!” WELL, THAT’S SOME DAMN FINE NEWS! As for the Believer interview, O’Brien simply claims, “We were misquoted.” Which, if that’s truly the case, makes us wonder how big of dicks they have working at the Believer, and subsequently, how great their PR men are – bringing us to some breaking JezebelMusic.com news: Radiohead has died… from, er, bears.
More on Hot Double-Damn! New Radiohead Album Expected Next Year
Stream Live Animal Collective Jam “Bleed,” To Be Released With Merriweather Highlight “Brothersport” As 10” Single December 8th…Coincidentally The Same Day That Fall Be Kind, The (Non)Existing Hypothetical Animal Collective Album is Scheduled [Gorilla vs. Bear]
Beach Boys Frontman/Mind Behind/Pet Sounds/Resident Crazy Person Brian Wilson To Finish The Compositions of Legendary “Rhapsody in Blue” Composer George Gershwin [NME]
Watch Grotesque New Converge Video For “Axe To Fall,” the Title Track To Their Upcoming Album (Warning: Not For Individuals Prone To Seizures, Nausea, Fear, Emotional Instability, General Sensitivity); The Excellent Axe to Fall Released October 20 [Stereogum]
Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien Says Radiohead Will Make Another Radiohead Album Instead of Only Releasing Radiohead EPs; New Radiohead Album Released in 2010 – I Decide The Amount of Times I Say Radiohead In Post Will Directly Increase JM.com’s Rising Popularity; P4K Credibility [Pitchfork]
Sonic Youth To Appear On Gossip Girl Next Monday, Performing Acoustic Version of EVOL Deep Cut “Star Power” – Which Brings Me To the Most Important Question: Will Kim Gordon Smite Thurston in the Episode and Sleep With the Ever Stylish Chuck Bass? (Also, All Hope For “Indie”’s Continued Existence Lost) [Pitchfork]
Daily Swarm Notes New Trend: Current Rock ‘n Roll Causes Rise In Number of Young Men Peeing in Public; New York Times Ought Run a Trend Piece On This [The Daily Swarm]
compiled by Max Sebela