Friday, September 26, 2008

The Latest From Ralph Nader

I'm an unapologetic Ralph Nader supporter (yeah I voted for him in 2000) so was quite interested to see this interview with him in the AV Club.

Good read and most defintelyworth your time, but be warned - Ralph makes a pretty rational argument for why Obama is screwed, so it's not exactly happy fun time reading.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

New TV on the Radio?

So every time TV on the Radio release a new album, it gets ecstatically good reviews-- in every publication from Pitchfork to Time Magazine-- and all kinds of hype. I usually resist the hype for a while (as I do with basically every new album everyone gets excited about that I don't really care about because I'm too busy listening to Prince bootlegs or whatever) and then finally bite the bullet and get it. I usually find it sonically interesting (though often harsh to my ears) with a few solid songs, but mostly not that great and I usually only listen to it a few times. My favorite song of theirs is still the hidden-track doo-wop cover of the Pixies' Mr. Grieves.

So, my question to you all: Have you checked out the new one? It's getting the same boatloads of hype and near-unanimous great reviews, but will I like it any more than the last one?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

DMX weighs in

Back in March, DMX shared his thoughts on the presidential election with XXL magazine. It's certainly a fresh perspective.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Paul Westerberg's 49:00

This is now unavailable so get it while it's hot. Totally great. Best thing Westerberg's done in years. And it's like a cassette! Meaning: it's a whole album on just one mp3 so you can't skip tracks. AND it has the feel of a demo tape that's been recorded over several times, so there are a lot of snippets of songs. The overall effect is perfect.

Monday, September 15, 2008

David Foster Wallace

Well, it's pretty sad about David Foster Wallace. I wasn't always his biggest fan, but he was certainly a talented and influential writer, someone you couldn't avoid dealing with in some way if you were interested in the state of literature, and it's too bad things ended up the way they did. For those who are interested, check out this story from the New Yorker last year. It's not an example of DFW at his full-on, mind-bending, greatest intensity, to be sure, but I think it's beautiful, and a good example of why he could sometimes be very worth reading.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wilco and Obama

Continuing the political talk, check it out - here's Wilco (or a mini-Wilco) performing at an Obama fundraiser in Chicago earlier this summer. Nice little fluff piece:

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

So... Metallica?

Alright, so there's a new Metallica album out, and there's a very good chance this post will fall on completely deaf ears, but as an ex-Metallica fan who still loves their first 4 albums (and, grudgingly, The Black Album), puts cuts from S&M on my mixes all the time, and laments the pathetic shell of the band that now exists, I feel compelled to check it out.

So I've heard two songs from the new album and they're not at all bad. In particular, here's "The Day That Never Comes". It's long (8 minutes) and the first half is like an above average song from Load, but the back half is pretty impressive. If you have any interest in seeing how Metallica is doing as a band these days (and I fully realize you may not) then check this out:

Hetfield's singing sucks, but am I wrong for thinking this is kind of good? Certainly better then St. Anger, that's for sure. I do find the video a kind of fascinating snapshot of how the band has traveled - I mean, cotrast this to the video for One (which I assume you've seen). One: Super dark, depressing, and quite creepy take on war. This: A sort of feel good piece about how, despite being attacked and in constant danger, American soldiers sure are helpful!

Letterman, however...

has seen enough.

Meanwhile, it's more of the same....

with Lil' Wayne.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

British Sea Power

I've been listening off and on to the new Britsih Sea Power album that came out earlier this year ("Do You Like Rock Music?") and it consistently leaves me perplexed.

On the one hand, it's got a lot of great, very straight ahead, epicly rocking songs in that Arcade Fire sort of tradition (and as a quick aside, I've been REALLY into those guys lately. I think in retrospect I should have made Neon Bible my #1 last year). But since they're Brits, they also mix in some My Bloody Valentine sound, which is just fine by me.

But on the other hand, there's something very - I don't know - calculated about the sound. Part of what makes Arcade Fire so appealing (and, to some people, UNappealing) is their earnestness. I think if you're going to go all epic about the plight of our modern world you've got to at least sound like you believe it, man. British Sea Power have a lot of times where the songs are great songs, but you can almost feel them conciously trying to capture that kind of sound. That's not to say Arcade Fire don't put a lot into capturing that sound - but they make it sound natural, which is, to me, key.

So I'm torn. I like the songs, and think it could be one of the best albums of the year. But sometimes I feel like the influences are so powerful and so evident that it almost makes me wonder if there's really any point in even listening to this. I just recently got over listening exclusively to noise rock for a few months, and I think the derivative nature of albums like this partly drove me there.

This is getting pretty rambling, so I leave you with two questions and a song:

1) Anyone here have this album and have thoughts?
2) If a band is so clearly copying a sound, what's the use?
3) "Waving Flags":

I feel like I'm stacking the deck unfairly against them by including the most Arcade Fire-y song there, so here is "Atom" - undoubtedly the highlight from the album and a great straight ahead rocker: