Author Archives: silenceinarchitecture

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

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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.

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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.

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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

Daniel Johnston “Held the Hand” (1990)

This video is for anyone who is ever sad on cloudy days.

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

New Music: Astro

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I actually can’t tell  you too much about this band because I am not fluent in Spanish.  What I do know is that they are apparently based in Santiago, Chile, a beautiful and modern capital situated below the gaze of the Andes Mountains and Chilean Coastal Range.  I also know that America is a very fat country and Chile is a very skinny country.  At least geographically speaking.  Oh, and Astro make really fun music.

The band have a six-song digital EP that you can purchase on their MySpace page.  I guess you could call this Chilewave, if you wanted to be an idiot.

MP3s (Available for free on Last.fm):

Maestro Distorsion

Hongo Atomic

Chris Piercy

A Raiders Fan Walks the Plank

Please excuse the jockiness of this post.  We’ll resume the artsy stuff momentarily.

“The massive Raider Nation is beyond doubt the sleaziest and rudest and most sinister mob of thugs and wackos ever assembled.”

-Former Raiders fan Hunter S. Thompson

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Why are there any Raiders fans left in 2009?  Chuck Klosterman wrote in a book(!) that it is illogical to be a steadfast fan of a particular team in this modern sports era.  To be tightly bound to the concept of diehard fandom is more about cheering for a brand or a mascot than it is about cheering for a “team” in the concrete sense.  In the post-free agency world, team loyalty has essentially vanished into the ether.

In the Raiders’ prime it was common to find ardent supporters of team owner Al Davis and his brash, atypical style of governance.  These days, I’d be surprised if Davis’ family even bakes him cookies.  Most Raiders followers are fans of a mystique.  I guess it’s similar to why The Rolling Stones still sell-out stadiums.  This was a team of outcasts and trouble-makers; of hard hitters and speedy receivers.  They valued scrappy play and drive over discipline and talent.  But that bygone aura doesn’t explain why some of us continue to cheer on an Idea that has become a distant Myth.  To put it simply: this pirate has no clothes.

My familial ties to California are responsible for my Raider obsession.  All of my friends were fans of the much more geographically sensible Cowboys.  Pssshhh.  Pirates were way cooler than cowboys.  I guess by that logic I could have just as easily become a Buccaneers fan, but those were some damn ugly uniforms.

In 1990, Art Shell coached our team to the AFC Championship…where they were beaten 238 to 3 (I think) by the Jim Kelly-led Buffalo Bills.  This clusterfuck of disappointment should have been a presage of what was to come.  To this day, I remember going to bed on the verge of tears.

1990 was also the year that my all-time favorite athlete, Bo Jackson, had his leg ripped off and eaten by a bengal tiger.  This fallen hero was a man who could run up 15 foot walls to snag would-be home runs.  A man who once threw a baseball 1 mile…flat-footed.  A man who ran the 40 yard dash before the echo of the gun could reverberate.  A man who could pretend to play every sport on earth in Nike commercials.  A man who was supposed to make the Raiders into a juggernaut.  Bo knows retirement.

Then Jay Shroeder was traded and replaced  by crystal meth enthusiast Todd Marinovich: the NFL’s equivalent of Corey Feldman.  The former USC and high school phenom turned out to be little more than a Trojan horse of sucktitude.  In 1993, Howie Long was traded to Radio Shack for a remote controlled car.  All the while, Al Davis and future Hall of Famer Marcus Allen were participating in a lover’s quarrel that would’ve made T.O. and McNabb blush.

I stuck it out, certain that the move back to Oakland, coupled with the addition of walking mustache Jeff Hostetler, would bring us back to the glory hole.

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The ’90s were a pretty mediocre-at-best decade for the Raiders.  While the rest of the country basked in the warm glow of Clinton’s presidency, swimming in pools of cash, buying compact discs, laughing at “Friends”, and receiving copious amounts of office fellatio, The Raider Nation cried and tried to avoid succumbing to serious heroin addiction.

Just as I was prepared to jump ship, the Raiders rescued rocket-armed Rich Gannon from his nursing home and led the team to two championship games in three seasons…before eventually losing the Pirate Bowl to the Buccs.  Final score: 322 to 12.  Sigh.

The Raiders went on to a 4-12 record the following season.  And then went 5-11, 4-12, 2-14, 4-12, and 5-11.  I would have to check the books, but I’m pretty sure they committed twice as many penalties as points scored.  They hired (and quickly fired) a 13 year-old coach who would later go on to drink moonshine in Tennessee and heckle Gators.  Their current coach, Tom Cable, stabbed his entire coaching staff to death this preseason.  Or something like that.

I was thrilled when the Raiders ALMOST defeated the under-performing Chargers a few weeks ago.  Then when I sobered up I realized just how idiotic this charade was getting.  I had finally sunk so low that I was rejoicing in near-wins.

This past Sunday I watched what was essentially a scrimmage between the Giants and the Raiders.  Eli Manning won the game in the first quarter and Cable quickly threw up the white flag, forfeiting.  For the first time ever, I was rooting for the “other team”.  The sword is dull and I’m hopping into the ocean.  I’ll take my chances with the crocodiles.

peterpan66gm1

More fun facts:

  • The team’s original moniker was the Oakland Señors.  Aye carumba!
  • Their first-ever regular season home loss was to the Houston Oilers on Sept. 11, 1960.  Make your own joke about 9/11 and oil.
  • In 1961 the total attendance for the season was 50,000.
  • They had a 19-game losing streak during 1961 and 1962.  You are not alone, Lions.
  • The neighborhood around the L.A. Coliseum was so dangerous that, in the late ’80s, the NFL scheduled all Monday Night Football appearances as away games.

-Chris Piercy

New Releases: October 13

Do you still buy records/compact discs/mini-discs/cassingles?  Or do you seek out “alternate media sources” due to “space constraints” and/or a “bitch ass economy”?  Well, whatever.  Here are some of the more note-worthy releases coming to a “retail store”/”online outlet” near you:

Broadcast and the Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age (Warp)

A collaborative mini-album sure to go well with yr herbal supplements.

The Flaming Lips Embryonic (Warner Bros.)

Some fratastic mellows are certain to be harshed by The Lips’ shift back to their more noisy, experimental side.  For the rest of us, we shall rejoice that one of America’s greatest musical treasures is freaky again.  Don’t worry, dudes, I’m sure there will still be room for the confetti.

Lightning Bolt Earthly Delights (Load)

It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since these noise barons released their last full-length blitzkrieg.  Put on yr Mexican wrestling mask and put ear plugs in yr pussy (cat).  It’s about to get loud.

Neon Indian Psychic Chasms (Lefse)

(*Note: This is a fan-made video)

If you aren’t psyched about this, then your bulb has already burnt out.   Get to the old people’s home, McCain!

Small Black Small Black (CassClub)

The kids have created this brand new genre called “lo-fi”.  Don’t tell Lou Barlow or he might go back in time and destroy all of his Sebadoh cassettes.  But get this: sometimes the kids are alright.

REISSUES:

Godflesh Pure/Cold World (Earache)

After Napalm Death but before Jesu, Justin Broadrick was the leader of this pack of equally noisy miserablists.  They ripped skin off of faces and put them on other confused faces.  Then they punched those faces until they cried.

The Raincoats The Raincoats (KillRockStars)

In 1979, The Raincoats released their debut album.  It was a post-punk classic.  It’s being reissued on vinyl.  Get.  It.  Now.

Chris Piercy