Monday, December 14, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Vincent Frank, born Vincent James Turner, records maliciously catchy electropop. That's the cover of his album right there. Here's a song from it, just to give you an idea of what he sounds like:
But that's just the beginning. Despite his indisputable rep as a pop guy, he's actually quite talented. Here's him performing a live set at an apple store, doing a cover of "It's A Sin" (proving he also has good taste in pop):
And this song, which heavily samples "Golden Brown":
And if that weren't enough, he also beatboxes really fucking well:
And then he remixes other people's music, reeeeeally well:
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Marina & The Diamonds Interview
From the top:
I started contributing to State mag in Ireland, and one day I got an email looking for someone to interview Marina Diamandis, better known by her nom de guerre Marina And The Diamonds.
I had just seen the "I Am Not A Robot" video and loved it, so I threw my hat into the ring. I didn't do any of the publicity legwork, so all I had to do was wait for my time slot. Artist interviews, if you're curious, are almost universally loathed by the artists who do them. But they don't hate doing them out of conceit, or at least most don't: they hate doing interviews because it's time-consuming and they're busy people. There are other factors too, but not in this case. In this case, Ms. Diamandis was working on her album, and had to find a time during the day that she could stop work and talk to me.
The first scheduled timeslot was at 2:30pm GMT. GMT as in Greenwich Mean Time. This means the interview was at 6:30am here at my apartment. Easily the earliest i've ever had to wake up, but what was I expecting right? So I wake up at 6am that day and find out that it has been rescheduled for the next day two hours later. So it was half-good news.
The next day i got up at 7, headed to the Union office, and got set up. Then I received an email asking if I could call her phone, as opposed to her calling me. The Union office phone barely calls Los Angeles zip codes, so there was no way I could use that. My cell phone, though it would charge me a ton of money, would work but it always makes for a terrible recording. So I downloaded Skype and used what credits I hadn't already spent on a previous interview for a phone call to London. Well, as soon as Marina's manager got a hold of her and then sent me the go-ahead. It ended up being about an hour later, all told.
I mention the delays and hiccups not because they upset me. They're part of the game you play as a music journo, and I've got no clout to use to make anyone work around my schedule. The point of mentioning this is that I was very excited to talk to Marina and if getting to do it meant waiting at the computer all week, so be it.
As to our interview, it was one of the strangest i've ever been a part of. Marina is aggressive, opinionated, and witty; but she's also still fairly new to the industry and fairly new to interviews. Also, on my end, my experience doing interviews seems to have served to make me feel invincible on the phone, leading me to stutter and pause for long stretches and barely notice it. I swear i took at least 3 twenty-second breaks just to read an old blog post of hers or look back over my notes, the whole time muttering "umm"s and "ahhs" and pretending to start a sentence. I don't remember where I heard the comparison of interviews to sex, but it certainly fits here. It was a sort of awkward and pleasant experience dotted by brief moments of discomfort and apology (TWSS).
At one point, after discussing the sexual nature of music videos, I pointed out that in the 'Robot' video, she appears to be nude (the video is all shoulders-up, so nothing too racy). It probably sounds a little silly, and perhaps even sounds like a cop-out, to say that I wasn't expecting her to actually consider the implications of it. But she did. It became clear as she responded that the whole complex structure of the thing was unfolding in her mind. Perhaps she suddenly saw herself as part of the same machine she found so bizarre. Perhaps she suddenly questioned her ability to accurately express herself in the media ever. There was suddenly blood in the water, and it wasn't clear whether it was hers, mine, or Shakira's.
(I suppose I could have overestimated the drama of this situation, but that's what it felt like at the moment. Drama.)
I did my best to get back to basics. I tried to reinforce the fact that I was a fan of hers. I was trying everything I could to steer the story back to an up-and-coming artist with talent to burn and a passion for her fans. To a certain extent, it got there, but that moment still lingered. I felt like I'd let her down as a scribe, failing in my one duty to promote her with my words. That's a little self-centered on my part, but it's true. I ended the interview with a reference to Cheese Whiz (which is a distinctly American entity and confuses Brits, apparently) and then she totally burned me after I told her I was in Los Angeles writing for an Irish magazine. I believe she said something to the effect of "Are they running out of writers in Ireland?" Oof. She got me.
Anyways, this morning I read her blog post titled "I KNOW NUFFIN." and got really self-conscious. First of all, I'm not going to assume she's talking about my interview, because there's a strong chance she isn't. I'm not the only gig in town, and definitely the only gig in the world. Some things add up. First, the time frame is right, and she says 'he' when referring to the journalist. And we did talk about her comments, their impact as she becomes more famous, and Shakira. However, she also calls me 'wise and kind,' and that's maybe 50% true at best. I considered leaving a comment (i'm still considering it) and I sent her a tweet asking if that's what she meant. I don't think she'll respond though. I should have asked anonymously. Now I look like i'm grandstanding.
Her main concerns are that a) she comes across as unintelligent when she blogs, and b) contradicts herself or sets herself up for negative publicity by expressing herself (this is a complete paraphrase, read her blog and make up your own mind). She obviously wanted to use her blog to dialog with fans, to pull down the wall between the artist and the audience. This is indubitably admirable, as virtually no artists today attempt that on a genuine level. They drop a tweet here and there, and they have someone post stuff on their blogs and update their tours on myspace, and that's it. Marina, on the other hand, blogs extensively. She leaves twitter messages about how she's feeling, even when she's not feeling positive. She gets involved.
Unfortunately, she cannot easily create the 'round table' of fans that she wants. I won't say it's impossible, but it hasn't been done. And if you're going to do anything truly new, it's going to be an uphill battle. Her comments will remain elevated, and she'll be judged, constantly and unfairly, by them. So the question becomes: is it worth it? Yes. It totally is. Playing with other people's notions of celebrity and beauty and sexuality lie is the soul of what it means to be an artist. There will always be criticisms, and many of them will be unfair or just wrong. But criticisms can also be positive. They allow us to get out of our own mindset and see ourselves the way others view us. To immediately toss out these perspectives as inconsequential would be juvenile.
And there's no law of celebrity that says you have to be the same person with the same beliefs for the entirety of your career. If Marina truly considers her blog a place for honest dialogue on the internet (oxymoron?), and I believe she should, then she has permission to be malleable in her opinions. After all, to be open to discussion doesn't mean you'll just 'hear' differing views, but that you'll listen to them sincerely. And why shouldn't we be open to criticism? Nobody has a monopoly on the truth, and those that claim to are the most deluded of all.
My hope is that Marina continues to blog, and sing, and say whatever the hell she wants despite those who would judge her. After all, it's not modesty that makes a Diamond, it's pressure.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Marilyn Manson - Sweet Dreams
(probably could've picked a few manson videos, but this one seemed to be the scariest to me)
Tool - Schism
Metallica - One
fun fact: Tenacious D's song "Tribute" was based on this song. Kyle had never heard it, to which JB responded that it was the greatest song in the world. The video, like the song, is based on Dalton Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun," about a maimed soldier who loses all of his limbs and senses and remains trapped within his own mind.
Aphex Twin - Come To Daddy
WARNING: SERIOUSLY GRUESOME VIDEO
Nine Inch Nails - Happiness In Slavery
At The Drive-In - Invalid Litter Dept.
Interpol - Evil
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Teargas & Plate Glass - "Plague Burial"
Neon Bonde - "Headlines"
Fever Ray - "If I Had A Heart"
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - "The Owl"
Monday, October 19, 2009
They call themselves Drunk Wizard Metal. I call them master.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
sounds exactly like the Belle and Sebastian song "White Collar Boy"
... but it goes deeper. Here's an article on NME about more songs that the new song sounds like:
and if you check the comments, you'll see quite a few more examples: "Womanizer" by Britney, "Strict Machine"by Goldfrapp, "Call Me" by Blondie, the list goes on. But it all pretty much comes back to this song:
Say what you will, that songs pretty good for a pederast.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
But despite my opinion of them changing, I hadn't really gotten into the polar primates. Until now:
It's a kicking single which doesn't resort to speed, danceyness or sneer for its power and it's got a crazy video to boot. Throw in the fact that my hero, Josh Homme, produced their new LP, and you've got a winning formula. Sign me up twice.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
here's his FREE discography.
Here's his free first album.
The weird part is that I have at least 10 friends who would rock that sweater without batting an eye.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
1 Killed in Late-Night Taco Truck Visit
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Now they're making a Weezer branded Snuggie. They have become suck incarnate. Every specific thing that is bad about music and the music industry is now being worn like a merit badge on the many bemerit-badged shitsash that is Weezer. Pretentious? check. Overhyped? check. Commercialized to the point of glorified infomercial? check.
You Hear That, Weezer? You're an infomercial now.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Not to put too fine a point on it, but when will the Onion write a bad joke? Seriously, guys. You're making the rest of us look bad.
Also, OK Computer changed my life. Thought you should know.
Alternate titles for this paper:
This Knight Has Opened My Eyes
God Save The Theme
Allegory In The UK
Talkin' 'Bout My Veneration
Grouses Of The Holy
Prayer-way To Heaven
Sign O' The Thames
Symbolism For The Devil
(Can't Get No) Benediction
Friday, May 22, 2009
Hey guys, let's promote our new tour with a press conference where we wear snuggies! It'll be goofy AND cultural!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I've heard grumblings from a few people about the new album, but fear not: they are wrong and this album is fucking awesome. I feel as though their sonic and stylistic repertoire is expanding, and that's what's making people who worshipped at the throne of El Cielo and then Judas'd Catch Without Arms (which is actually a ridiculously solid album when you analyze it track by track) so very uncomfortable. (I apologize for the length of that sentence)
Anyways, this album has just a thousand new sounds, and i've been having an absolute ball picking it all apart. I wouldn't recommend it to all of you out in internarnia, but for some it will hold a great cascade of delights.
Also, note the drummer playing piano in the video and the wrench on the pedal steel. bodacious.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
There's more here, but this one's the best.
Bringing back an old joke: "They tried to make me play a concert..."
If you hadn't heard, Amy Winehouse is going to be having a Staycation this April. She'll be abandoning the contract-ordered gig at Coachella so she can spend more time with her lawyer.
Which is cool, because now the Coachella poster looks like this:
It's actually kinda sad though, because I had the chance to see Amy at her first Coachella 2 years ago. She performed thoroughly beautifully and was a consummate professional despite drinking through the entirety of the set. It was sorta.. kinda.. charming back then. There was no paparazzi and nobody assaulted anyone. Call it the Golden Age of Winehouse. The Amy Of Aquarius.
Amyways, The lineup still looks great and the hubbub allowed me to look again and see that The Orb, Etienne De Crecy, Plump DJs & Murder City Devils have been added to day 3. So I guess that means it's time for...
WATCH A COACHELLA BAND RIGHT NOW: CHAPTER IV
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Fucked Up is too heavy for my roommate. He prefers Tori Amos.
The Horrors are punk. My roommate doesn't care for punk. at all.
Junior Boys are awesome. I'm not sure how my roommate feels about them, but he's probably wrong. I've attached the snowboard video that their song "in The Morning" appears in because that's how Ryan Kobane and I discovered the awesomeness of Junior Boys.
Bloody Beetroots. This video will not properly represent Bloody Beetroots, but OMG titties.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
This is a band i'm excited to see called A Place To Bury Strangers. It's like hypno-frantic shoe-gaze psych-space. yeah, i dig it.
This is N.A.S.A. and it's a DJ collective. I suppose that means they won't be performing this, but they'll probably do something relatively similar and it's a sick-ass video featuring the art of Shepard Fairey. win-win.
People Under The Stairs: I love this. Blends my love of Pharcyde and Tribe Called Quest style versework with ironic T-shirt wearing. Note the Zep shirt on Double K.
Apparently this band is too cool for embedded videos. And by apparently, i mean they're really cool. So click, you bastard: it's White Lies. "DEATH"