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Archive for October, 2010

That’s Awl, folks

The NYTimes has a profile of my favorite new group blog, The Awl. It’s an interesting piece, if somewhat wrongheaded and overly determined to squeeze the established Gawker/Radar alums behind the blog into the narrative of plucky outsiders bucking the trends (actually, The Awl is unmistakably Gawker-esque to my eyes). (via Kottke)

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I echo my friend Dave’s sentiments that he posted on Facebook — how did nobody tell me about The Twilight Hours, the new project with former Trip Shakepeare guitarist Matt Wilson and bassist John Munson (who previously partnered with Matt’s brother Dan in Semisonic)? This video is great, and it’s nice to see the guys aging semi-gracefully, but for me, the eternal, quintessential Trip Shakespeare image burned into my brain will always be of Matt Wilson’s long hair sweat-plastered across his blissed-out face:

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Musical train-ing

The claim (which might even be true) is that the band Atomic Tom had their instruments stolen, and they made this video using music apps on their iPhones on the subway. I don’t know if it’s true, but as someone who’s thinking about making the leap to smartphone-land,  it sure makes me wonder if the Droid market can compete. Oh, and the song’s pretty good too. (via Laughing Squid)

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Yes, this Brazilian kid nicknamed “Pipoquinha” (“Little Popcorn”) is just 13 years old in the video above, but that’s not what’s amazing. What’s amazing is his bass playing. BTW, the song his band is playing appears to be his own composition.

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The way we listen now

Counterbalance No. 5 from Pop Matters purports to be a conversation about whether “Sgt. Pepper” is the Beatles’ greatest album, but it takes a really interesting turn about midway through, digressing into a discussion of how modern technology makes music so easily acquirable and disposable that we can become less inclined to dig deeply into the music we’ve got.

And I can relate. I stumbled across the article after downloading 7 albums by Belle & Sebastian, after seeing a Youtube video that made me think my earlier take on the band (based on one song from the film “High Fidelity”) had been mistaken and they might be more my cup of tea than I had thought.

It reminds me of the time I joined one of those record clubs in the ’70s, where you get 12 albums for a penny (and have to buy half a dozen more at overinflated prices that still work out to a good deal on a per-album basis). The problem is, when you buy one album at a time, you listen to it every day for a while, and it dominates your life. When you’ve got a dozen, you don’t get that deeply into them, even the ones you really like, because you’ve got all those others that you also haven’t listened to a whole bunch of times and you want to get your money’s worth.

So even if I end up really liking B&S, I doubt I’ll end up falling in love with them the way I fell in love with the Beatles* and Pink Floyd and Prince and R.E.M. and King Crimson and the Velvet Underground and (ultimately above all) They Might Be Giants.

* The pic is of the first Beatles album I ever bought. Maybe not the best choice? Maybe, but that album has “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane,” “I Am The Walrus” and “All You Need Is Love” — how many albums have 5 songs that good? Dozens? Sure. Hundreds? Not bloody likely.

(pic via eMusician)

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RIP Benoit Mandelbrot. The inventor of fractal geometry, and patron saint of early-’90s screensavers, is reportedly dead at the age of 85. (song on video via JoCo)

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Linkin’

I’ve always kind of liked Linkin Park, though I’ve never been a real fan. But what really strikes me about their new song “Waiting For The End” is the part at the 3 minute mark where it suddenly sounds so much like Sleigh Bells that I was wondering if they were jumping the M.I.A. bandwagon and sampling them. They’re also (at the end of the chorus, the “all I want to do …” part) jumping on the bandwagon of the I-V-VI-IV chord progression so memorably immortalized by Aussie comedy duo Axis of Awesome:

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