Friday, November 21, 2008

The White Album/ Alps

Fans of musicology will want to check out the 40th Anniversary celebration of The White Album that PopMatters's Zeth Lundy and Bill Gibron assembled. Not least of all because today (the last day of 5 days worth of writing) features a short essay on "Cry Baby Cry" by yours truly.

Nicholas Bromell, author of Tomorrow Never Knows, saw the album as the band's experimental attempt to mystify and codify (rather than commodify or consolidate) the decade's intensity into an impenetrable talismanic art object. "Referencing so much as the history of popular culture, The White Album ridicules efforts to assemble that history into a sequential story", Brommell said.

The Beatles seem increasingly hesitant, as the double album progresses, to settle on one solution, one genre, one vision, one truth, one reality. It's necessary then for them to present the possibility that it's all a game, a laugh at our expense. After all, there is no mysery. The walrus was Paul and everything recondite is actually exactly as it seems.

Central to the "clues" of The Beatles is "Cry Baby Cry", my selection:

here's the full feature

here's the specific page with my entry

Also, I have a short review up for the wonderful new album by The Alps (members of Tarentel, Tussle, Arp). This probably would have made my Top Ten year end album list for PM had my list been handed in later. Oh well, this blog will probably see a much different list by year's end.

Read the review here

As a third note, I have a follow-up bit of information with regard to my Sound Affects piece on the texturalists (see two posts down). It turns out that one of the primary reasons Edison became interested in phonography was to capture the voices of dead loved ones after they're gone. I thought this was an interesting point as it correlates to the theme of decaying sound and perhaps gives a little more credence to digital music for its ability to perfectly preserve the dead the way they were when they were alive. However, I retain my position that we will be losing something culturally and sonically if all sound becomes faultlessly mummified in such a fashion.

Read the aforementioned piece here

Showroom Dummies

I have a review on the new DVD called Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution, a more heady discussion on the development of electronic music- from concrete and krautrock to the early eighties period when Kraftwerk became obsolete.

I'm a little disappointed with it as a piece of writing, but nevertheless it's about some of my favorite music of all time so I must nevertheless recommend it to you. You can find it here:

Read my review at PM

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Texturalists vs. The End of Time

I have another new article, discussing a group of musicians who use time itself as an instrument in their work. Working off a Woebot article (linked in the piece), this analysis was published around the same time that FACT published a new article by Woebot himself on the persistence of cassette culture and its similar implications. Read that here.

More importantly though, read my article here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Signal and the Violence of American Identity Politics

I have a new article at PopMatters on the overlooked 2008 horror film The Signal. It's an article that was a long time in the making. When I started it back in July, the economy was doing just peachy keen (sort of) and the election still seemed like a distant dream. With any apocalyptic film, there's apt comparison to an economic downfall, but I think The Signal's vision of individualism is particularly pointed in the post-WaMu, post Lehman world, which maybe I'll have time to comment on later.

The article was trimmed down quite a bit. I think it all still makes sense, but I'll post a director's cut version on here sometime in the near future.

You can read part one here
(warning, there's a few spoilers within- probably best if you've seen the film)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Friends that are Fukt

Tobacco, of Black Moth Super Rainbow (whose Dandelion Gum was on my top 5 picks of 2007), has a new release full of just-as-gooey goodness. It's called Fucked Up Friends and here's my review



Bart: Wow, [Our country picked Obama]. I feel so full of...what's the
opposite of shame?
Marge: Pride?
Bart: No, not that far from shame.
Homer: [quavering] Less shame?
Bart: [happy] Yeah...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Dead Rockstars at the Fore

There's a fantastic new article up at PopMatters about the Obama/Palin rock star dichotomy (between arena rock grandeur and punk rock plebianiasm) that very intelligently examines the tag supplied by the media and weighs its potential meanings.