Posts Tagged: Awl Music

Shabazz Palaces, "#CAKE"

Here is Shabazz Palaces with its first full video from Lese Majesty. The group, like this song, is all sharp edges and extreme angles—the album's tracks often don't take shape until halfway through, which is exhilarating and disorienting. In "#CAKE," Catherine Harris-White shows up about a minute and half in, starts to give us something we can hold on to, then recedes into the chaotic background again.


The 10 Best Music Videos Of 2012 That Are Not Gangnam Style

• Justice—"New Lands"

A summary of the rules of the futuresport played in Justice's video for "New Lands":

Play begins when batter hits the neutron ball fired at him by the cannon-pitcher. A successful hit finds its way into the possession of the roller-lacrosse attackman, who skates around the banked circumference track while avoiding the opposing team's motocross defensemen and safeties armed with warhammers. The attackman passes the ball to the wide receiver, who runs downfield toward the end zone. A touchdown is worth 12 points, except when it's worth 8 points.

This list of the 10 best music videos of 2012 are in no particular order, but they [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: The Birthday Party's "Nick the Stripper"

Part of a series for the new Awl Music app.

MTV didn't come to southern California when it came to the rest of the country, because southern California got cable television later than everybody else. I forget exactly why this was, but there's a story to it: something about networks not liking cable, I think, and being able to flex their muscles a little harder in their natural environment. I'm not sure exactly. Like most southern California kids, anyway, I first encountered music video on shows that resembled American Bandstand. DJs from local radio would host a room full of dancers while videos played.

My friends and I [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: Seona Dancing's "Bitter Heart"

Part of a series for the new Awl Music app.

For me it was "Bitter Heart" by Seona Dancing, feat. a slender, Bowiefied Ricky Gervais singing the lead vocal ca. 1984. Such a shock he was really quite lovely in that dandified way boys had about them in those long-ago days. I, then a callow goth, was partial to this exact varietal, and should certainly have been setting my turban at M. Gervais had the opportunity presented itself. At the Batcave in London or at the Camden Palace I accidentally went in the men's room once to find the most ravishing sight, some fifteen boys crowded along a [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: The World's Famous Supreme Team's "Hey D.J."

The first in a series for the new Awl Music app.

I could have chosen David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes," because it was the first video I ever saw when staying with my family at my grandmother's house in Kent. (It was late 1980, if my calculations are correct.) I watched an entire cricket match because I thought videos only existed in England (by deduction) and that if I waited around, the video might show up again. "Hey D.J." was more important, though, because it gave me an idea, though vague.

I was a senior in high school when I saw "Hey D.J." in 1984. The clip [...]


"Gossip": A Music Video Playlist by Emily Gould

Starting today on Awl Music: "Gossip," a playlist by Emily Gould, that'll be unrolled throughout the week. (You can follow along on Tumblr and Twitter too for when new videos go up, if you like.)

"The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about," said Oscar Wilde, who never had the opportunity to Twitter-search himself. Gossip is an enduring theme of pop music: being talked about, whispering behind someone's back, admonishing listeners not to believe the rumors, feeling apologetic about having let slip something you shouldn't have ("sweetness, I was only joking"), or feeling peeved because someone else did ("you had to [...]


Our Friends Introduced Us To This Wonderful Band

A few months ago, Awl Music switched over to a new kind of curation. (Yes, sorry, "curation." You know: choosing videos.) Instead of picking videos one at a time, by hand (by mouse?) we started picking shows from YouTube and Vimeo, and set the site up to automatically post new episodes from the shows that we like. Right now there are 8 shows that get fed into the stream: La Blogotheque, a live music series produced by the French music website of the same name; Beat Making Lab, a PBS Digital Studios program in which some guys introduce a compact electronic music studio to various cultures [...]


An Intro To Rebel Hip-Hop Of The Arab Revolutions

From time to time, Awl Music will be bringing you a themed playlist, which can best be enjoyed on the Awl Music app for iPad.

Early adopters in countries like Morocco, Algeria and Palestine have a more strongly developed and time-tested hip-hop scene—but across the greater Arab world, hip-hop has risen up alongside folk anthems as a revolutionary soundtrack.

And in the Western world, Arab diaspora rap preoccupies itself with questions of Eastern and Western dislocated identity. These artists take a great deal of inspiration from some of the greats of politically conscious rap in the eighties and nineties in the United States, particularly Public Enemy and Wu-Tang Clan. [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: Phoenix's "Funky Squaredance, Pts. 1-3"

Part of a series for the new Awl Music app.

The summer I turned 17, I interned at a company that represented music video and commercial directors and my assignments involved watching music videos and commercials. I think I watched a lot of videos that looked beautiful, and even a few that told great stories, but I don't remember any of those now, I guess because there's an abundance of music videos that look beautiful or tell great stories.

"Funky Squaredance, Pts. 1-3," which Roman Coppola made in 2000, isn't beautiful, and it's not exactly a story. But it's the best. It's an elaborate joke about the music [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: Van Halen's "Panama"

Part of a series for the new Awl Music app.

For a 12-year-old boy, this video had it all: a cool airplane, jumping, kicking, spandex, karate, cops, chest hair, head hair, hot chicks, motorcycles, booze, screaming fans, rhythm gymnastics. It was the perfect music video for the confused sexuality of puberty. My friend Sam and I would watch this video on his VCR and act it out together. If you got to be David Lee Roth, you also had to be Michael Anthony. If you were Eddie Van Halen, you also had to be Alex Van Halen—a measure cooler than Michael Anthony but then again Diamond Dave was [...]


Introducing the Awl Music App: Music Videos for and by People, Not Machines

Today, we launch Awl Music as an app on iTunes. You can watch your favorite music videos on your iPad, or throw them to your Apple TV like any other television channel. Get it here! Here's why we think this needs to exist.

My music video collection began in 1989, the year my family finally got MTV. Cable had been slow to arrive in the San Fernando Valley, and my family was not much for early adopting anything anyway. I had one previous experience with MTV, a few years earlier, when I spent two weeks of the summer in the basement of my aunt's house in Scarsdale, watching six [...]


The 10 Cleverest Internet Films of 2012

For the last two years, I dedicated this list to videos that stirred the heart. This year's list is made up of those films that give the mind a little twist, providing that tiny moment of escape that comes from seeing things a bit differently than usual. These are the ten cleverest Internet films to cross my various social media dashboards over the past year. They're presented here in no particular order, although the first one is a particular favorite.

• Jake Dolgy & Jake Ross might be the first directors in history to accurately portray people using the Internet in a fictional film. In "Online Now" [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: Wu-Tang Clan's "Protect Ya Neck"

Part of a series for the new Awl Music app.

The longish story shorter about how I came to lose cable around the time I entered high school is that I was screwing up. Not in any sort of way that would alter my permanent record, or was anything but suburban and toothless and play-acty. I was tanking my classes and baiting my teachers, refining my basketball skills—without much improving my NBA draft stock, in retrospect—to the exclusion of any other kind of self-improvement and shoplifting stupid eighth-grader things like baseball hats and basketball cards and used CD's. There was disapproval from across the dinner table, strange threats [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody"

Part of a series for the new Awl Music app.

I was of MTV-watching age right around the time the channel was transitioning from showing long blocks of music videos to reality-show programming. And, of course, "Undressed." But between mornings before school, and "TRL" in the afternoons, and late nights, there were still a few hours a day when you could catch a run of clips. While I can name a dozen or so that made an impact, Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody" was maybe the most important. It was the first video that showed me hip hop could be both sexy and weird.

Sexy I understood. Women [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: Mötley Crüe's "Home Sweet Home"

I was probably 8 when I saw Mötley Crüe's video for "Home Sweet Home" for the first time—we got cable around 1986—but in the mid-80s MTV was playing it in heavy rotation, as they say, so I saw it a lot. And for an 8-year-old there was a lot to process, like that part in the beginning when Vince Neil kisses the crotch of a scantily clad lady on a poster. Also, the concept of the tour bus: It was clear that this was not just an ordinary bus, but rather some sort of magical, mystical lair where Adult Things went down. I did not yet know what I [...]


What Kind Of Summer Jam Are You?

In honor of today, the first day of summer—the summer solstice—the day the northern hemisphere gets more daylight than any other day of the year, the astronomical first day of summer (as opposed to the American first day of summer, which is Memorial Day), we celebrate that seasonal genre of music known colloquially as the "Summer Jam." I asked some Awl contributors to name their favorites, and it turns out that the scope of the Summer Jam is much broader than I anticipated. There are four distinct types of Summer Jam: the Bouncy Summer Jam, for dancing at barbeques; the Languid Summer Jam, for falling asleep in the grass; [...]