Friday, April 26th, 2013
2

It's Arbor Day, Here Are A Bunch Of Songs

---
2

Springtime For Jami Attenberg And Germany

"I did not learn to cook, either. Instead I have become a superior dinner guest. I am wonderful to have at your side while you cook, particularly if you give me a glass of wine, and also to have sit at your table, because I will appreciate your food in a deep, emotional and highly verbal way." —Awl pal Jami Attenberg reminds us that the key ingredient in chicken noodle soup is "guilt." In other news, her wonderful novel The Middlesteins has been picked up by German publishing company Schoffling & Co. It's fun to imagine the conversations at the office about how to handle the retitling of [...]

---
0

Doom, "Ballskin" Live In London

Opening up for a Ghostface Killah concert last week in London, mysterious underground rap legend Doom found himself short of breath because those pasty Knifecrimers were "breathing up all the oxygen." He still did a great version of 2009's "Ballskin," though. And, as our friends at ego trip point out, the audience reaction shots in the video are really funny.

---
0

Beyonce, "Standing On The Sun"/H&M Commercial

Here's the new Beyonce video, which is also an H&M commercial, part of their Beyonce as Mrs. Carter campaign. It's pretty much like any other Beyonce video, except with far less expensive costumes.

---
---
2

Stonehenge Is Hiring

LiveScience tells us that "English Heritage, the organization that oversees Stonehenge as well as 420 other historic properties around Britain, is seeking a 'dynamic and inspirational leader' who can 'take the Stonehenge visitor experience forward.'" The management position of "Druid-in-Chief," as it's called, pays an annual salary of $99,229.

---
2

Alicia Keys And Maxwell, "Fire We Make"

The new Alicia Keys and Maxwell video is some good, smutty fun. And I really like the song. But it would be better if they didn't cut the scene where John Goodman runs down the hallway with a shotgun screaming "I'll show you the life of the mind!"

---
1

Andy Griffith Appreciated, Lots Of Other Stuff Touched Upon

"In Mayberry, Thelma Lou didn’t put a cigarette out on Barney’s arm like my girlfriend did to on mine; Andy Taylor wasn’t embittered or slump-shouldered after a lifetime of ridicule by those with more social status; no Beasley beat his wife half to death with a shoe. Still, Mayberry was a believable universe without these things. Tools of television helped make this true — camera angles, lighting, a disciplined laugh track, extras so far in the background they are almost invisible, along with other aspects I’ve mentioned. But there is one thing about the story that has not been discussed, and it is the thing that gives it gravitas, [...]

---
0

Richie Havens, 1941-2013

Back in 1996, friends of mine helped Adam Yauch organize the first Tibetan Freedom concert in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. I went out for the show and got a backstage pass and spent the weekend loitering in closer proximity to a bunch of rock stars than I usually did. The Beastie Boys were there, of course, and the Smashing Pumpkins and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against the Machine and the Foo Fighters and the Fugees and No Doubt and Yoko Ono and Bjork and Beck. So many famous people—it was weird, getting used to it, getting less less and less starstruck with every famous ace [...]

---
2

Did You Mean "Expire"?

The 4,000-pound hexapod insect-mobile is "an entertainment vehicle," according to it's designer, Matt Denton, from Hampshire, U.K. "I hope it will inspire people," he says. That is not quite my reaction.

---
1

A-Trak & Tommy Trash, "Tuna Melt"

Directed by Ryan Staake, the new A-Trak & Tommy Trash video distinguishes itself from OK Go's "This Too Shall Pass" and other Rube-Goldberg-machine classics with its use of toast slices as dominoes and a thrilling underwater u-boat scene. It's totally excellent. Also, if you have never heard the song that A-Trak made with Juicy J and Danny Brown last year, "Piss Test," I encourage you to check it out.

---
1

Earth Day Sucks But Since It Exists Let's Watch Neil Young Play Electric Guitar

I am generally anti-holiday. I think it does us more harm than good to assign ourselves special days to do things or commemorate things at exactly the same time as everyone else is supposed to be doing them or commemorating them. I know the counter argument is like, "celebrating holidays is part of what binds us together as a society" or whatever. (Or, even better, "Shut up, Dave. And lighten up. And how about just think of someone besides yourself for once in your life and buy a goddamn gift.") But I don't like the way that holidays prescribe is a certain time to be doing certain things. [...]

---
1

Stars Doomed

"The results are interesting of themselves as they suggest an inherent hazard of a public career and that all that glitters is not necessarily gold." —Psychologist Honey Langcaster-James, on a study conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland and the University of New South Wales that shows that professional performers—actors, singers, musicians, athletes—tend to die younger than people in other fields of work. Everyone has know this for a long time, of course. Especially Bad Company and Bon Jovi. (And Led Zeppelin and Neil Young.)

---
18

The Top 40 #1 Hits In The History Of Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Chart, In Order

40. Adele, "Someone Like You"

39. 50 Cent, "In Da Club"

38. Cheap Trick, "The Flame"

37. Mary J. Blige, "Family Affair"

36. Beyonce, "Crazy In Love"

35. Wham! featuring George Michael, "Careless Whisper"

34. Lady Gaga, "Poker Face"

33. TLC, "Waterfalls"

32. The Animals, "The House of the Rising Sun"

31. Blondie, "Heart of Glass"

---
14

The Violent Femmes' "The Violent Femmes" At 30

It's hard to find an exact release date, but one of the greatest albums ever recorded by anybody came out thirty years ago this month. I can remember right where I was the first time I heard "Blister In the Sun," the first song on the first album from The Violent Femmes. I was in my friend James' kitchen, where we'd go every afternoon in sophomore year to pinch a pipe's worth of pot from the brick his mom kept wrapped in plastic under the telephone book in the drawer next to the fridge. James had a tape, a taped tape, a cassette recording someone had made for him. I [...]

---
1

Weather Enjoyed

Two friends of mine of got in an argument once while they were on mushrooms about which of them liked weather more. It went on for hours, which surely felt like days or months at the time. And, in fact, feels like an eternity to some people who know them and still have to hear about it now, decades later. Safe to assume, though, that neither of them likes weather as much as "weather enthusiast and photographer" Martin Rietze, who took this time lapse video from sunset to sunrise atop Germany's tallest mountain, the Zugspitze. The music that accompanies it makes you feel like you're in a spa [...]

---
5

Canadians Stoned

More young Canadian kids smoke pot than any young kids from any other country, according to a recent Unicef study. This will not surprise anyone who remembers Len.

---
0

Iron And Wine, "Joy"

When I first heard this song, I was kinda bummed out. I don't think we need any more of our beardy folk artists buttoning their vests up and, like, twirling canes around while they sing songs that would not sound out of place in the Great American Songbook. Those Monsters of Folk guys seem to have that pretty well covered. But the more I listen, the less I am able to resist. Old Sam Beam is just a fantastic songwriter. This one reminds me of Sgt. Pepper's-era Paul McCartney. And the video, directed by Hayley Morris, matches its liquidy psychedelia just perfectly. The new Iron and Wine album, [...]

---
0

Frank Ocean, "Lost"

Frank Ocean put this up on his Tumblr page Friday afternoon, titling it "summer 2012." It's basically a series of Vine clips documenting his travels around the world last year—Egypt and Dubai are prominent settings. But since he soundtracked them with the excellent song "Lost" from his double-plus excellent Orange album, it counts as a new video—and a good one! It's just that easy when you're a super-talented R&B star signed to Island/Def Jam.

---
5

15 Great Songs About The Death Penalty That Will Hopefully One Day Sound More Archaic Than They Do Now

A new Amnesty International report says that worldwide trends show that capital punishment is "becoming a thing of the past." Here's hoping so. But the fact that China and the U.S. are not leading the way in this regard, but rather, pulling the numbers in the other direction, well, that seems bad, doesn't it?

---
3

We Will Soon Use Mind Control To Make Armies Of Sleepwalking Rats Do Whatever We Want

I can't wait til I can just think "Okay, rats, bedtime!" and my team of rat slaves will follow my wordless commands to take off my clothes, put on my pajamas, pull down my blankets and tuck me in for a good night's sleep.

---