Roughly six years ago some schmuck on the Internet asked if it wasn't time to give Phil Collins his cool card. "The horror that was 'Another Day in Paradise," he noted, had long since faded from memory. Yes, he admitted, there was "a ton of treacly bullshit in the catalogue," but insisted that many of the songs actually merited "classic" status. (“Easy Lover,” “Take Me Home” and “Billy Don’t Lose My Number” were three of the examples he cited, singling out that last one as one of the greatest videos ever. "Collins actually had a shockingly high batting average when it came to videos," averred this self-appointed expert.) Shouldn't [...]
Annie Clark’s fourth record as St. Vincent, out February 25, has elevated some eyebrows because it is self-titled (“underwhelming,” one journalist called the decision). Self-titled albums tend to be statements: either This is the sound of St. Vincent or I am redefining myself, and this is the NEW sound of St. Vincent. Thankfully, neither of those items seem to be on Clark’s agenda here. Rather, the title St. Vincent is just one of many explorations of worship on the record, a kind of self-aware acknowledgement of Clark’s new fan base. St. Vincent’s cover art, depicting Annie Clark on a throne, sitting regally “above” the viewer, furthers this concept. [...]
Considering it's humanity's longest-running reality show, "The Real World" has been remarkably stagnant structurally. For 28 seasons over 22 years (!), "The Real World" was thus: several attractive people of varying degrees of interestingness between the ages of 18 and 26 are picked to live in a large house, outfitted by Ikea, in a city. This season, the 29th, which takes place in San Francisco, is different in two major ways. One of those is advertised, constantly: This season's seven cast members are each recently out of long-term relationships, and halfway through the season, all of their ex-boyfriends and -girlfriends move into the house as well (the season [...]
I don't think the guy who replaced Bon Scott needs to worry about his job, but there is something about this tribute to the late Bon Scott performed in his home country of Prison Island that delights me. Younger readers, to whom this will just be another example of one guy from the '70s covering the music of another guy from the '70s, may be less impressed, but they've got an entire world of emoji and Avicii records and Nickelodeon-themed quizzes out there dedicated to keeping them amused now, it's not going to kill them to let the old people have [...]
Television loves conventions. That's why we have a million police procedurals, law procedurals, medical procedurals, murder mysteries, spy shows. And yet there's never been a successful, straightforward heist show. BUT THERE SHOULD BE.
When I say "a straightforward heist show," here's what I mean:
The planner/planners has/have an idea for a theft. A group of collaborators is assembled. A plan is formulated. We learn about the security, the problems to be overcome during the theft. We do not necessarily have to learn (in fact, we usually don't learn) exactly how the theft will be done, but we're given clues that will make the theft's intricacies make sense after it's [...]
I Know It’s Not a Real Holiday and You’re Definitely Above It But Maybe Look At These Cards If You Want, I Don’t Know
I am so sorry to do this to you, I really am, especially with THAT day creeping ever closer, but if you do have any interest in, you know, THAT day, and/or interest in the Talking Heads, you're going to want to take a look at what this Portland art gallery is doing. THAT DAY is still a massive fraud perpetuated on us by the greeting card industry and affiliated commercial concerns, but this is pretty cool. [Via]
This one may be a little too spare to burn up the Internet in the way you'd expect of anything associated with Robyn, but boy does it ever deserve to. Neneh Cherry! [Via]
"Everything I do, I mean sincerely, but there is a little joke within this one. In every critique of Twin Shadow, there is a dropping of Morrissey’s name, which I always thought was funny because I have never really been a huge fan of Morrissey or the Smiths. [Laughs] So it’s a nod to people calling me 'the Dominican Morrissey'. I think part of it is just that the trend in underground music the last 20 years has been to sing in a high, sort of whiny voice—coming from that MGMT, John Lennon place. I have a gloomy, low-ish voice, so I think people attach that to Morrissey." —Twin [...]
You know how the other day you were all, "Hey Al, what would 'Mr. Roboto' sound like if it had been a Motown track?" and I was like, "Beats me, and also you don't know me well enough to call me Al, where do you get off?" As it turns out, the answer to your question is in the video above. You still can't call me Al, though. In fact, don't call me at all. [Via]
2014 has been called the Year of Reading Women; it should also be the Year of Reading Muriel Spark. Just short of a hundred years since her birth, and nearly 60 since the publication of her first novel, Spark remains as essential as ever. She cannot be reduced.
But that’s not to say a little facelift wouldn't hurt. New Directions will be revamping and re-releasing eight of her novels here in America later this year, including Man Booker favorites The Driver’s Seat and Loitering with Intent. (My favorite part about the new editions is that when you line up all of the spines together, they make a [...]
NBC has an exclusive deal in the States to show the Olympics. Right now, as I write this, the Olympic Opening Ceremonies are happening live in Sochi. I just learned that there is a country called Dominica, which is geographically close to but not the same as the Dominican Republic. Cool fact! But it's the kind of cool fact I had to learn through a garbage bootleg BBC stream originating in Estonia or Mars or something because NBC is waiting another eight hours to show the Opening Ceremonies. (Right now, NBC is airing the Steve Harvey [...]
I can't quite put my finger on what makes this one so pleasing, but I think it may have to do with the simple, repeated melody that floats in the background as the vocal carries you along. My prediction for 2014 is that simplicity is going to be the new complexity, and we're all going to be better off for it. Enjoy. [Via]
Did you spend the two-year break between seasons 2 and 3 of the BBC's "Sherlock" identifying as a member of a group based around a portmanteau of the lead actor's name? Did you insist to others that that lead actor, despite resembling a cartoon Area 51 alien, was actually very handsome? Did you love the first episode of the new season, in which there wasn't really a mystery but there were 90 minutes of nonstop pandering aimed directly at you? Do you enjoy memes and GIFs and image macros about your favorite show? If so, do I have a Kickstarter for you! (For the rest of us, there's [...]
"There’s a recent strain of rap music that has the purists up in arms just as much, if not more, than Macklemore does. Influenced by experimentalists like Kanye West and Lil Wayne and Gucci Mane, a new wave of artists from Chicago and Atlanta have been pushing rap into aesthetic spaces it has never been before. Often using Autotune to warp their voices in ways traditional rappers never could, they bleed one word into the next, blurring the line between rapping and singing. Folks like Future, Chief Keef, Z Money, Rich Homie Quan, Young Thug—these guys puts far more focus on melodic vocal delivery, and far less on word-by-word lyricism, [...]
Eeeeeee the great Montreal band The Unicorns, which recorded one perfect, perfectly weird album (2003's Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?), are mulling a reunion.
Penner told the Kreative Kontrol podcast that the band recently acquired back the master rights to their 2003 full-length Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? and might reissue it. Penner said the band discussed the idea of remastering the album and "including some other recordings that never made it out."
But, Penner added, "the important thing right now is that we might play some shows and maybe even record some new material while we’re at it. These are all maybes, [...]
If you happened to walk past a movie theater this weekend it is not unlikely that you saw an odd combination of small children and college-age kids singing this song as they emerged from what it turns out was The Lego Movie. Now it is impossible to unknow, impossible to unhear. It is too late for me to save myself, so I leave this here as an explanation of what happened to me for those in the future who might wonder. It is an almost unforgivable thing I do, putting this in a place where you might create your own relentless earworm, so I will warn you very seriously [...]
Is it just me or does it seem like Rick Ross is always going out of his way to let you know just how well he's doing? I bet this is what getting a Christmas letter from Donald Trump feels like, but all the time. Anyway, this one isn't going to change lives or influence future generations but it is perfectly acceptable for a chilly Monday in February which, coincidentally, is exactly where we are right now. Enjoy.
I have previously expressed my fondness for Charli XCX in this space. I am less familiar with the oeuvre of Iggy Azalea, but if this collaboration between the two is any indication she is an artist whose other work I would enjoy. Anyway, it is Friday of what has been yet another intolerable week, and if you need just a little push to help get you over the finish line this is not unsuitable for such an effort. Enjoy.
“I’m not one to pray/But I’m one to sing and play.” —“Pray for Newtown”
All great music should tell a story. Some musicians tell those stories more literally than others: Mark Kozelek, currently of Sun Kil Moon and formerly of Red House Painters, is one such musician. Last week, as a kind of foreword to his forthcoming album Benji, Kozelek outlined a list of themes, events, and influences for the record in an Opinionator piece for the New York Times. He signed off the op-ed with the comment, “This song, like the rest of the album, is a thank-you to those who have inspired me along the way, and [...]