Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A question for all the cultural studies people.

So, as I've spent more time on Youtube in the past 3 days than I have in the past 3 years, I'm going to illustrate a question with a pair of videos.

the Weakerthans - the Reasons

Postal Service - We Will Become Silhouettes

So, it seems (not just from these two videos, but also from things like the design of the iPod) that we're cannibalizing the past enthusiastically in these last days, viz, the fake 50's Weakerthans video, with it's choreography and costuming and the 70's Postal Service video. See also fashion - the 80's revivalist trend (tights, jewelry, Christ-awful haircuts) and the continued existence of hippies. In music, even, Belle & Sebastian basically picked up where the 60's left off in pop music, and made the words weirder, and the Killers basically tried becoming an 80's rock band on their last album.

Even when we're not stripping it for parts, it seems like we're living up to the past's expectations. If you read comics from the 80's, dystopian ones*, the youth of the future are depicted wearing tights and mohawks. Well, we covered tights when we talked about 80's revivalists, and I work with grade-schoolers with mohawks. Beyond personal fashion, look at our appliances - the iPod is a space age dream, all white and smooth and plastic. It looks like a TV remote from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Even beyond all the iPod related space-agery, appliances are being made out of brushed metal - another space age shibboleth.

So, basically, does this mean anything? Have we run out of original ideas? Were our forward looking grandfathers right about the future? If we are living in the future, can I have a personal robot?

*The one coming to mind here is Dark Knight Returns, but there are others that escape me at this hour.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Actually, frak it

Let's just declare today music video day.

the Decemberists - Sixteen Military Wives

It pains my in my soul to agree with pitchfork, but I love this video, even if it does look an awful lot like it's shamelessly ripping off Rushmore. If I'd been more on top of things, I'd have gone as the United States from this video for Halloween after it came out.

Kidz Bop - Since U Been Gone.

Also from pitchfork's list, this one is just disturbing. I don't know if it's the walrus drummer, or the chorus of kids, or what, but it just doesn't work.

The Village People - In the Navy

There's gay, and then there's Village People gay. I mean, I know they were constructed by a marketing agency using gay stereotypes and subtexts to tap the newly-out and newly-lucrative gay market, but they're just so gleefully gay, you can't help but smile. Catchy song, though. The funny part is the Navy loaned them a destroyer thinking they were going to make a straight-forward (sorry) recruiting video.

the Smiths - This Charming Man.

Even gayer than "In the Navy."

Jawbreaker - Fireman

I just had to. You people know, or will know, about my feelings for this band.

My Chemical Romance - Helena
MCR disabled embedding for the Helena video, but I just have to say something about it, and that something is "at my funeral, everyone will be required to wear make up, and learn the choreography before there ceremony." Middling song, awesome idea for a send off.

Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy!

I'm posting this instead of "Stuck Between Stations" because that's just a poor excuse for seeing them live, but this is kind of cute.

Cake - Sheep Go to Heaven

For such a cute little cut-paper video, it's really bleak.

the Undertones - Teenage Kicks


The Weakerthans - Psalm for the Elks' Lodge Last Call.

If Canada were really this cute, there'd be no one left in America.

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - Where have all the Rudeboys gone?

Poor Rudeboy hobos.

And, finally, I leave you with this. Enjoy. Be sure to click through and read the comments.


If this had been the real song, summer as a lifeguard would have been a lot less unbearable.

(Thanks, Sassy)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Late Night Random Thoughts

So, both of my roommates are gone, and that means that my sleep schedule is even more frakked up than normal. As a result, I'm watching MTV2 at 4 in the morning, and sharing my thoughts.

Item: The singer from The Academy Is... looks like a girl. Not a terribly attractive girl, either. A girl with a fairly manly bone structure and a chip on her shoulder.

Item: Those American Apparel swimsuits with the semicircles cut out on the side look good on no person!

Item: Kid Rock has a new music video?

Item: According to Mr. Rock, you have a fire like the devil and you smell like sex. He said it, not me.

Item: Did MTV always show a commercial between each video? Is it a problem with our generation? Or do they just inflict this on insomniacs?

Item: Do you remember when MTV showed cartoons? And will they find something else to waste our time with, so subsequent generations will say "Do you remember when MTV used to show shitty reality dating shows?"

Item: Whatever motherfrakker in Fall Out Boy decided to to make a video about undernourished but still telegenic Ugandan youngsters needs to be beaten about the head and shoulders, at least until he can explain to me what heart-wrenchingly adorable diamond miners going on cute dates in the city and sitting in the grass in full view of a man with an AK-47 has to do with being from the suburbs and producing subpar dance-pop.

Item: According to the ever-informative Wikipedia, Mr. Wentz & Co. are longtime supporters of a charity called Invisible Children, Inc, which campaigns to raise awareness of the plight of child soldiers in Northern Uganda. I apologize for the cheap shot above regarding the video, but stand by my assertion of the subpar nature of their music, and question whether this really is the best way to raise awareness of the situation. But I still congratulate them for trying to raise awareness.

Item: There is no such thing as a bad metal video.

Item: Who the hell is Seether and why should I care? Is looking like a giant douchebag part of the act, or just a bonus for the viewer?

Item: Firefox's spellchecker doesn't recognize the word douchebag.

Item: The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Jesus, the names keep getting dumber and the music more insipid. In my day, we had bands with good, solid names, like Braid and Hum and Jawbreaker, who played simple, dignified music that didn't suck. Damn-ass kids.

Item: MTV, why do you make me hate my country?

Item: Vice's stupid-ass internet TV experiment has partnered with MTV? All together now - "Selloutz!"

Item: Making fun of most of these bands isn't even a challenge.

Item: David Letterman is a stand-up guy. For real. Also, go WGA!

Item: Chormeo, even with all your corny-ass computer animation, you are still stuck in the 80's, and I'd like to remind you of the words of St. Craig, "the 80's almost killed me, let's not recall them not so fondly."

Item: There is nothing more pitiful than a band using terrible, stale imagery in their videos. "Oh, his girlfriend left him. Oh, there's a closeup of a turned over chair." Blah.

I'm out. I can't take this anymore.

Friday, November 16, 2007

ya ya hey

So, I missed the Mountain Goats on account of being overworked and sick. I have also spent the past 3 hours drinking and watching this:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

More Reminders

The Mountain Goats will be playing a show at the Canopy Club on Wednesday (Nov. 14) at 8 PM. Tickets are available at the usual places.

I'd also like to remind everyone to look for the Green Street Records comp, which features, among other worthy acts, my friend Jonathon Childers.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Making up for lost time.

So, I lied about posting the review for Atmosphere right after seeing it. We went, caught a bit of the opener, and then saw Slug, Ant, and a live band do a long set that basically made me realize how little Atmosphere I actually know. They played a big ol' chunk of stuff from the new album, two or three songs off of the LPs (none of our favorites) and then mostly things from the EPs. The other thing about seeing Atmosphere is how old the honorable Mr. Daley is, and how much energy he packs into the body of "a skinny guy with a gut and backne." I didn't breathe once during the set.

Also recently saw the Weakerthans at the Metro. Managed to get there barely in time for their set, because of a fun and friendly detour on the way up, and saw the whole hour and a half set. Now, I have wanted to see the Weakerthans since, roughly, my junior year of high school, and I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only person in the audience who'd been waiting that long - they played just a few songs off the new album (including my favorite, "Virtute* the Cat Explains Her Departure") to remind fans that they have, infact, been doing something for the past four years. For the rest of the set, they played a pretty even mix of songs off the other three, including a mini solo set by Mr. Samson ("One Great City" and "My Favorite Chords"). They opened, oddly enough, with "Psalm for the Elk's Lodge Last Call" and closed with "Manifest."

In other news, I was running a fever the entire ride up to the show, and it was gone by the time we left. I credit the band for this.

*pronounced "Vir-chew-tay." I learned this at the show.