November 14, 2009
Welcome to another edition of Brook Pridemore’s The Nineties-ist. This edition discusses 1992, Pavement sticking their heads out of the sand for the first time, Sinead O’Connor tearing up a picture of the pope, and John Frusciante’s love of herion. For earlier installments, go here.
All eyes on Seattle in 1992, right? Warrant lead singer Jani Lane commented (after the dust had settled) that in August 1991, Warrant had stepped into the offices of Columbia Records to their hit, “Cherry Pie,” blasting from every speaker in the house, giant posters of the iconic album cover all over the place. By the time Lane and Co. made their way back into the Columbia office in Spring 1992, they were practically persona non grata: their posters had been eschewed for an equally large, but bleak poster for the new Alice in Chains album, and that band’s specific, dour sounds were pouring out of the stereo, in place of Warrant’s party rock. Times had changed, and fun dumb stuff was out. Intellectual (or at least faux-intellectual, in the case of Alice in Chains) sounds, ushered in by the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind in September 1991, were in. American pop culture had changed for the good, and things would never be the same.
It couldn’t last, though. Within just a couple of years, all of the avenues that had been opened to forward-thinking, eclectic rock groups were closed again. Prefab music came back into vogue. The watershed of rock bands who had benefited from the early 90s boom mostly failed to capitalize on their initial momentum (Sonic Youth being particularly notorious for making a slew of bad albums in the 90s), sinking back into relative obscurity. But many still remained firmly enough planted in the public consciousness to make it impossible for any new upstart scenes to come up.
More on #9: 1992
Grizzly Bear Multi-Instrumentalist (Isn’t That How You’d Have To Describe Every Member Of Grizzly Bear?) Chris Taylor Releases First Solo Single As CANT, Called “Ghosts;” Stream It Here – Sounds Like Yellow House [Gorilla vs. Bear]
Pavement Drummer Bob Nastovich Says There Will Be No New Material During Next Year’s Reunion Tour; Somehow, Nastovich Manages To Come Off As Apathetic As a 15 Year Old Pavement Fan Circa 1996 [The Quietus]
Broken Social Scene and Stars To Play 2010 Vancouver Olympics; International Musicians Like Wilco (HA!) and Iron & Wine (HAHA!) Also On the Bill – U.S. and Canada Being Independent Nations Realized For First Time; In Canada, Wilco = Exotic [Stereogum]
Tom Waits Announces Live Album Documenting Last Year’s “Glitter and Doom” Tour; First Disc: 16 Tracks. Second Disc: An Hour of Edited Together “Between Song” Banter, Which, Knowing Waits, Will Be Incredibly Unsettling; Released November 24 [NME]
Pete Doherty Hospitalized With Breathing Problems; Cancels Irish tour – Coincidentally, Heroin Causes Physical Damage [Prefix]
So You Already Own Some of Elvis’s Hair, But Want To Complete The “King of…” Collection? Well, Have a Single £1,000 Strand of Michael Jackson’s Hair. Elsewhere, I Stalk “King of Country” George Strait Around With a Pair of Scissors, Hoping to Retire Early [Idolator]
Stream Outkast’s (Better?) Hal Big Boi’s “Shine Blockas;” The Uber-Anticipated Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Song of Chico Dusty To Be Released Sometime This Year (Will Detox Be The Only Uber-Anticpated Rap Album Left Standing By the End of 2009? (Yes)) [Gorilla vs. Bear]
compiled by Max Sebela
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
September 12, 2009
One Saturday night about six months ago, I was standing outside Academy Records in Williamsburg. It was one of those rare Saturday nights in New York, one where everyone you know decides to go out of town and, just as you get all set to go party, you find yourself in the middle of the perfect stay-at-home-and-catch-up-on-Grisham night. Not one to sit at home on a Saturday night, I found myself hanging around N. 6th Street, trying vainly to stir up a ruckus.
While smoking a cigarette on the street, I happened to overhear a snippet of conversation that set my teeth on edge. Two girls in their early twenties, obviously from money and most likely on vacation from some exclusive private college, walked past Academy. One girl said to the other, “So…do they still make records? And do people still buy…music?” The surprise and disdain in her voice were such that she might as well have been saying, “Remember when people thought the Earth was flat?”
My heart sank at the tone in her voice, because she’d illuminated the problem without even knowing there was one. The mainstream music industry, comically flawed since its inception, has been a creative wasteland for years. While I would posit that the old model for promoting and distributing mainstream music has been showing stress fractures since the fake “vinyl shortage” of the early 70s – in which albums by fringe bands like the Modern Lovers were shelved, the excuse being there wasn’t enough vinyl to meet production demands – it is my astute opinion that the old standard of modern pop music breathed its death rattle in 2003. Sometime after the White Stripes’ Elephant and before Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief (and, in fairness, the industry’s corpse may have kept flopping until Good News For People Who Love Bad News came out in April ’04) the rock-music-as-big-moneymaker model jumped the shark. The last wave of new, compelling rock music (aka the garage rock movement of ’01 – ’03) had failed to ignite: The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and their ilk had all somehow managed to follow up stunning debuts with tepid sophomore efforts. The lifers – bands with no real hits but respectable catalog sales and devoted followers – began jumping ship from their respective labels (either by necessity or design), many realizing the benefits of working with a small organization, many more marginalized by the continued consolidation of the big label infrastructure.
More on #1: A Prologue
London’s Glam-Pop Star Patrick Wolf Runs a Tirade Against a Woman In His Band; Throws A Microphone, Chair, and Spits In Her Face – All While Dressed Up As What Looks Like Bowie From Labyrinth [Pitchfork]
Auto-Tuned Hip-Hop Artist T-Pain Runs For President Of University of Florida…“Gonna Buy U A Dr-…New Field House, and Improve Bathroom Conditions In The Freshmen Dormitories” [Idolator]
Watch Art Rocker Nick Cave Read From His Upcoming Novel The Death of Bunny Munro (With That Score Behind Him, Cave Looks Pretty Well Suited As A Daniel Plainview Double); Bunny Munro Released September 1 [Spin]
Sonic Youth Set To Appear On Episode Of The CW’s Teen-Sex Romp Gossip Girl; Next, I Want To See Jim O’Rourke On The Recently Restarted Melrose Place [Prefix]
Radiohead MAYBE to POSSIBLY Release a RUMORED EP, HYPOTHETICALLY Titled Wall of Ice ALLEGEDLY Monday [Stereogum]
compiled by Max Sebela
June 18, 2009
2009 | Matador
After breaking their major label ties, Sonic Youth returns to their indie roots by leaping out of the gate with one of their most energized rockers in years. The mellow sound that characterized much of their 2000’s work has been laid to rest and, even with most of the band pushing fifty, The Eternal is focused, lively and sharp. As thrilling as it to see the alt legends hurdling around the bends though, the whole thing feels a bit too much like a day at the races, with little new ground covered.
This poses less of a problem for Sonic Youth than it would other bands, having crafted one of the most distinctive sounds in rock music over their twenty-eight year career. But comfort is a flavor on most of the new album’s songs; on a few, it’s strong enough to become a detraction. “Leaky Life Boat” for instance, acts as a characterless mannequin for Sonic Youth stand-bys – propped up harmonic interplay, noisy backing guitar, and airy, detached bridges – while the too-long “Anti-Orgasm” concludes with a spacey jam that could have come off of any of their four preceding albums.
More on Sonic Youth | The Eternal
HEALTH Announce North American Fall Tour, Three Summer Shows in New York [Prefix]
UK DJs Arrested for iTunes Scam [NME]
Backstage Passes to Whoever Finds Alice Cooper’s Bag of Horror Films! [NME]
Ghostface, Method Man, Redman Will Hit the Road With “The Footprints In Hip Hop Tour” [Brooklyn Vegan]
TV On The Radio Remix Gang Gang Dance’s “First Communion” [Stereogum]
What? Pete Doherty Arrested? [NME]
SPIN Magazine Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Purple Rain with Free Tribute Album [SPIN]
Fiery Furnaces Debut New Album at Philly Show [SPIN]
Girl Punk Legends The Slits Announce New Album [Prefix]
Sonic Youth Take North America, Take Down Radiohead [Stereogum]
New Raveonettes Track From In-Progress LP [Stereogum]
compiled by Erin Sheehy
Woodstock Rarities Finally See Release [Billboard]
MoMA Showcases Exhibition on Early NYC Punks [Brooklyn Vegan]
Cat Power, Juliette Lewis, and the Pretenders Announce Tour Together [Pitchfork]
Bruce Springsteen Plays Last Ever Show at Giants’ Stadium [Brooklyn Vegan]
MTV Unplugged Gets Revived…Again [Idolator]
“Britain’s Got Talent” Star Susan Boyle Released From Mental Clinic [Billboard]
New Dinosaur Jr. Video For Farm Single “Over It” Hilariously Nineties [Idolator]
Mastodon Releases a Pair of Vans [Pitchfork]
Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon Chastises Radiohead’s “Pay-What-You-Will” Strategy [NME]
compiled by Max Sebela