Category Archives: As the World Turns

Say It Elsewhere

A quick recap of the INTERNET WORLD:

ESPN’s DJ Gallo discusses the throwback trend of football fashion faux pas here.

For those of you who didn’t watch last night’s episode of The Colbert Report, Colbert Nation has the video of Stephen’s interview of The RZA here.

Friend of the blog and excellent photographer, Zach Gray, has a couple cool performance videos of The Non posted over at what’s going “on.” Click here.

Back in March, Seydisfjordur, Iceland was infested with Sony speakers.  Gizmodo has the video.  You should probably check it out now.

LCD Soundsystem has covered “Bye Bye Bayou”, a solo track by Alan Vega of Suicide.  22 Tracks has it streaming here.

Weekly Tape Deck has the new far out video for “Seed” by Julian Lynch here

NME has the new Girls video for “Laura” here.  If you don’t already own this record, GET TA GETTIN’!

Gorilla vs. Bear has a live video of The xx performing “Basic Space” here.

MP3:

The xx – “Basic Space

-Chris Piercy

Are the Heene Boyz the New Beasties?

The Balloon Boy in a Few Years

The Balloon Boy in a Few Years

Today the world stopped what it was doing to watch a balloon fly across the Colorado sky.  Usually this would mean that the world was really, really stoned.  Turns out, this wasn’t entirely the case.

Now that Falcon Heene is a bonafide celebrity (and due to the Beastie Boys’ current hiatas), perhaps his brotherly rap group can finally get the respect it deserves.  I really don’t know how the following video still has less than 3,000 views.  IT SAMPLES COLD!!!  These kids are going to be huge.

*UPDATE: Apparently the view count has gone from less than 3,000 to OVER 124,000 in just a couple of hours.  Ladies and gentlemen: meet the new viral sensation!

-Chris Piercy

Is Hannah Montana Better Than Indie Rock?

On October 5th, Vampire Weekend (or Vamp Wknd as they will forthwith be known) leaked the first song off their upcoming album, Contra, to the internets.  An album which is apparently being released on Ralph Lauren’s upstart label Yachts What She Thread.

vampireweekend-contra

In July, which totally seems like three years ago in Internet Time, Miley Billy Ray Ray Hannah Montana Cyrus released her hit single “Party in the U.S.A.”; a song to soundtrack her fashion-forward Wal-Mart clothing line.

people-of-wal-mart-3

In “Horchata” and “Party” we have two equally divisive pop songs: one approved for rice milk drinking indie preps and one specially formulated for Dr. Thunder chugging “regular kids”.  Both are completely horrendous and that’s the end of the story. You can go back to playing your Nintendo now.

Well, not exactly.  I recently loaded both songs onto my Sony Walkman and spent an afternoon playing them ad infintium.  Both ditties have ridiculously catchy choruses that all the q-tips  in the world couldn’t scrape from my brain.  They also each have intermittently annoying verses that make me want to search out the nearest guillotine.

Here are the opening lines to Vamp Wknd’s song:

“In December drinking horchata/I’d look psychotic in a balaclava”

Here are the opening lines to Miley’s tune:

“I hopped off the plane at LAX/with a dream and a cardigan”

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take white girls singing about cardigans over white dudes singing about balaclavas any day.  I like cardigans.  It’s a sensible outfit for sensible kids hopping off planes.  And I’ve TOTALLY hopped off of planes at LAX!  I can relate to that!  Drinking horchata while wearing a balaclava might be psychotic, but I’m more concerned about how annoying it sounds to sing about doing so.

Our Literacy Trumps Your Record Sales

Our Literacy Trumps Your Record Sales

Some have claimed that Vamp Wknd are merely a pleasant musical representation of how small our world has become.  These dudes listen to NPR.  They probably own some bitchin’ high life vinyls.  I’m sure they voted for that guy from Kenya.  I’m down with all of that, and I don’t begrudge their Ivy League education.  If I had also gone to Columbia I probably wouldn’t be writing a blog about Hannah Montana right now.  I found their debut album to be pretty nice, but did I suddenly start listening to Vamp Wknd more than Graceland or Hall & Oates?  No.  Maybe if they had mustaches.

My Dad Can Beat Up Paul Simon

My Dad Can Beat Up Paul Simon

I have never watched more than 38 seconds of an episode of “Hannah Montana”, but I’m certainly aware of its existence and cultural importance.   Miley Cyrus is a huge pop culture figure and a young woman whose music I had somehow managed to avoid…even in my occasional trips to Wal-Mart.  But when someone writes a song this catchy, that makes a meta reference to working your hips to Jay-Z, eventually it is going to reach my ears.  Like yeaaahhhh.  And I have to admit that, between these two songs, “Party in the U.S.A.” somehow seemed less annoying than “Horchata” after double-digit listens.  Maybe it’s because I’m lactose intolerant and don’t really care for rice.

You can download “Horchata” here.

I don’t love or hate either of these tunes.  They both exist in the part of my brain that I call “The Muppet Zone”: a place that is repelled and attracted by cute/annoying pop culture.  Sometimes these songs are Kermit and sometimes they are Miss Piggy, but the entire time my mind is being critiqued by Waldorf and Statler.

I come away from my time spent digesting these songs asking myself if catchy indie pop is really any more valid than catchy mass-marketed tween pop.  I guess the only thing that remains certain in the world is that Billy Ray Cyrus WILL sleep with your wife.  That’s a world I can handle.

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-Chris Piercy

Say It Elsewhere

Here is a quick survey of relevant culture for relevant people doing relevant things:

Weekly Tape Deck posted a fiyah collaboration between Big Boi and Gucci Mane.  Go grab your “Shine Blockas” here.

Crawdaddy has some tantalizing news about the new XTC reissues here.

The Quietus talks to Bob Nastonovich about that upcoming Pavement reunion that nobody has been excited about (sarcasm).  Sadly, it appears this will not be a full-time reunion.  Click here for more.

Slate thinks NPR’s musical tastes are a little too white.  The proof is right here.

Swan Fungus posted Jackie-O Motherfucker’s extremely rare (300 copies, dude) double album, Flat Fixed.  Get fucked here.

Stereogum has Fever Ray’s cover of Nick Cave’s “Stranger Than Kindness” streaming right over here.

Passion of the Weiss discusses (and posts) People Under the Stairs’ slept-on video for “Trippin’ at the Disco”.  Groove here.

Bradford Cox posted a creepy-ass video of a cloud over Moscow here.

ABC News has a video review of Neon Indian’s incredible new album here.

Big Stereo posted the video for Peaches’ “I Feel Cream”, which is easily one of my favorite songs of the year.  Cream here.

-Chris Piercy

Crystal Castles Cancel Concert, Put on Bitch Fest

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…and today Silence in Architecture morphs into TMZ Lite.

As was already reported by Gorilla vs. Bear, Crystal Castle’s scheduled concert in Dallas last night hit an Axl Rose-sized snag when said band decided to pretend they were actual rock stars.  That is to say, they kicked SiA-approved openers VEGA off the bill for allegedly jacking equipment and proceeded to cancel the show altogether, citing the Grenada’s supposed lack of an adequate sound system.  As someone who has witnessed a few (great) shows at the Grenada, I’m having a tough time swallowing that swill.  In addition, Alan Palomo of VEGA adamentally denies the former accusation.  Taking into account that the Grenada backs Palomo’s version of the story and he is a friend of Jezy, I’m much more apt to discount CC’s frankly ludicrous statements.

While I’m sure the crowd was quite perterbed by CC’s diva-ish behavior, we can fortunately report that the situation didn’t escalate into a Montreal-style Guns ‘N Roses riot; perhaps because the ironic mulleted fan is less hopped up on testosterone than the real deal.  In any case, the Grenada and VEGA appear to come out as the more mature participants in this rather silly, yet unfortunate, drama.

So here’s my brief lecture for Crystal Castles: It is unwise to begin acting like Rock Stars hopped up on diva juice before you prove yourself capable of actual stardom.  At least when Lars and Axl decided to shit on their fans they had already sold millions of records.  Most people stole your debut and the recycle bin is just one mouse click away.

Suck on that 8-bit shit, fuckas.

-Chris

WTF: Billy Pumpkin Bully Pulpit’s Congress

First of all, let me acknowledge that I’m well aware that the term “bully pulpit” is pejoratively misused in the title of this post.  I understand the true definition of the term, as coined by Theodore Roosevelt.  However, jackin’ the shit out of the English language is sometimes the only way to come up with a blog title.  Especially when you are lazy.

Now that that’s out of the wiz-ay, the following is a video of Billy Corgan testifying before the Hiz-ouse Judiciary.  See, I tried to jazz that sentence up so that you wouldn’t be asleep by the time you reached “House Judiciary”.  I hope that when I finally go completely bald I don’t become as big of a prick as Billy Smashkins has become in the past few years.  Zero.

-Chris

Varg Vikernes to Be Released

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According to a news article in today’s Guardian, black metal maverick (and murderer, but…whatever) Varg Vikernes of the one-man band Burzum will soon be released from prison.  Satan must be pumped.

Vikernes, or Count Grishnackh as he is known to his bros, has served 16 years of a 21 year sentence for the murder of Mayhem‘s Øystein Aarseth and for the arson of three Norwegian churches.  Needless to say, bitch ain’t the Ja Rule of black metal.

Now, I’ll admit that Hvis lyset tar oss and Filosofem are two of my favorite metal albums, but I don’t know how comfortable I would feel if this fascist slayer were to be added to the summer festival circuit.  Though maybe VH1 should consider a “Rock of Love”-type reality show for the dude (he’s already married, but does that matter to a pagan?).  What about “Slice of Love”?

-Chris

Shit Vids: Asher Roth “I Love College”

Do you want to know why I didn’t join a fraternity in college?  Watch this video and pray with me that this guy dies of alcohol poisoning sometime before the end of March Madness.  I’m sure someone will fill the void left by him at Buffalo Wild Wings.

-Chris

Review: Beirut “March of the Zapotec & Realpeople-Holland” EP

Fire up your hookahs and espresso maker-Beirut has unleashed another one upon us.

Zach Condon is about as restless as Tyra Banks (clip)……sorry, I’ll never compare those two again.

That was supposed to be a statement about Zach’s neverending need to travel. For this split EP, Zach traveled to Mexico, and used a 19 piece local band to record these new songs with. I’m just glad the Patriot Act has slowed this guy’s passport down any, because if that were they case, your ear would not be able to enjoy March of the Zapotec

And enjoy it you will. The six new songs (with only three clocking in over 3 mins) are just a reminder how much you love to hear this man sing about amazing places you’ll never get to go. The single, “La Llorona,” is a wonderfully crafted song, on par with the best off of The Flying Club Cup. The disc’s closer, “The Shrew” is possibly one of the best Beirut songs ever cut, granted you can ever get “Postcards From Italy” or “The Penalty” out of your head.

So, once your friends slap you and make you take the first disc out, the Realpeople-Holland awaits you…….more or less.

Realpeople is Zach’s pre-Beirut handle. It’s basically an electro version of Beirut…but somehow it doesn’t sound nearly as good. It basically sounds like a bad producer took some Beirut vocal tracks and slapped them down over a tacky Garageband preset. I mean, “No Dice” sounds like an overdrawn, muddy version of “A Sunday Smile.” And unfortunately, this half of the EP is about double the length of the stellar first.

One or two of these tracks may grow on you. I’ve come around to finding “The Concubine” was the bridge between Realpeople and the expansion that became Beirut, and I now enjoy it’s existence.

That said, March of the Zapotec is just another prime example of why we love Beirut, and only makes future vicarious visits to stange lands with Zach even more tantalizing.

-Chase-

Subterranean Homesick Jews: An Appropriate Farewell to Berman & Co.

Silver Jews @ Hailey's (Denton, TX: 9/20/08)

What’s with all the handsome grandsons in these rock band magazines? And what have they done with the fat ones, the bald and the goateed?”

Last week, David Berman and his merry band of literary luddites (known to the savvy as the peerless Silver Jews) treated a cavern full impossibly lucky devotees to what was — by Berman’s own admission — their last show, ever.

Taking place 300 feet below the earth’s surface, the band’s choice of McMinnville, Tennesee’s Cumburland Caverns seemed a strangely appropriate venue in which to send off one of indie rock’s most turbulent and celebrated acts of the last 20 years. For the purposes of this piece, and for the sake of humoring my obnoxiously gushy fandom, we’ll focus less on the turbulence — the crack addiction, the attempted suicide — and more on the celebration.

There is much to celebrate, after all. It’s been 15 years since the Jews’ classic American Water introduced, mastered, and gave breathtaking poetic license to the lo-fi saloon rock which would come to define their career. Nearly a quarter-centennial later, that record still maintains the raw lyrical power which it brought to the college-rock scene so many years ago. I still get chills every time Berman groans the album’s final, definitive sentiment: “I’m gonna shine out in the wild kindness, and hold the world to its word.”

A few clips from the underground farewell:

“How to Rent a Room”

“Trains Across the Sea”

I was lucky enough to catch the Jews in Denton last year as they hit the road on what would be their final tour, in support of 2008’s criminally slept-on Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea (which just happened to be my favorite record of last year). It was rapturous. From set opener “Smith & Jones Forever” through the crooning “Pretty Eyes,” the dizzying manic burst of “K-Hole” and an obligatory but transcendent version of “Dallas,” the Silver Jews put on a show that was both a dewy trip through the nostalgic recesses of my coming-of-age as well as a bold declaration that this band is still painfully relevant.

“I always said we would stop before we got bad,” Berman told the blogosphere in the wake of his announcement that the Silver Jews were officially disbanding. “If I continue to record,” he continued, “I might accidentally write the answer song to ‘Shiny Happy People’.”  Whatever the reason, we in the business of words and sounds (of creating them, or simply marvelling) lost something big here.

But all is not lost. Anyone who hasn’t read any of David Berman’s written work (particularly the phenomenal Actual Air, a book of poems) would be well advised to do so immediately. All signs seem to indicate that Berman hasn’t abandoned this front, and maybe the death of one of the finest bands of the last 20 years will mean a higher output on the page. So that’s how this meandering piece will end, as a celebration, with a poem by David Berman, former ringleader of the late, great Silver Jews:

“The Charm of 5:30″

It’s too nice a day to read a novel set in England.

We’re within inches of the perfect distance from the sun,
the sky is blueberries and cream,
and the wind is as warm as air from a tire.
Even the headstones in the graveyard
Seem to stand up and say “Hello! My name is…”

It’s enough to be sitting here on my porch,
thinking about Kermit Roosevelt,
following the course of an ant,
or walking out into the yard with a cordless phone
to find out she is going to be there tonight

On a day like today, what looks like bad news in the distance
turns out to be something on my contact, carports and white
courtesy phones are spontaneously reappreciated
and random “okay”s ring through the backyards.

This morning I discovered the red tints in cola
when I held a glass of it up to the light
and found an expensive flashlight in the pocket of a winter coat
I was packing away for summer.

It all reminds me of that moment when you take off your sunglasses
after a long drive and realize it’s earlier
and lighter out than you had accounted for.

You know what I’m talking about,

and that’s the kind of fellowship that’s taking place in town, out in
the public spaces. You won’t overhear anyone using the words
“dramaturgy” or “state inspection today. We’re too busy getting along.

It occurs to me that the laws are in the regions and the regions are
in the laws, and it feels good to say this, something that I’m almost
sure is true, outside under the sun.

Then to say it again, around friends, in the resonant voice of a
nineteenth-century senator, just for a lark.

There’s a shy looking fellow on the courthouse steps, holding up a
placard that says “But, I kinda liked Reagan.” His head turns slowly
as a beautiful girl walks by, holding a refrigerated bottle up against
her flushed cheek.

She smiles at me and I allow myself to imagine her walking into
town to buy lotion at a brick pharmacy.
When she gets home she’ll apply it with great lingering care before
moving into her parlor to play 78 records and drink gin-and-tonics
beside her homemade altar to James Madison.

In a town of this size, it’s certainly possible that I’ll be invited over
one night.

In fact I’ll bet you something.

Somewhere in the future I am remembering today. I’ll bet you
I’m remembering how I walked into the park at five thirty,
my favorite time of day, and how I found two cold pitchers
of just poured beer, sitting there on the bench.

I am remembering how my friend Chip showed up
with a catcher’s mask hanging from his belt and how I said

great to see you, sit down, have a beer, how are you,
and how he turned to me with the sunset reflecting off his contacts
and said, wonderful, how are you.