15) Z.Z. Top's First Album, 1971
Of Montreal is wending its way up the seaboard, to Philly and Boston and New York this weekend-and yes, the exquisite Janelle Monae is opening, so get there on time. The band is doing a looparound of Michigan and Wisconsin and Chicago and Minneapolis, until they pop off to Dublin and Glasgow and London and Paris and the rest of Europe next month. In late October and early November, they'll finish America off and arrive on the west coast. Herewith, an early report.
After years working in the milieu of the indie band switching off instruments for songs and parts of songs in order to make that infinitesimally [...]
It's a torture to young people, of every generation, when its favorite musicians get "soft." Like, when Peter Murphy, the lead singer of Bauhaus, started putting out post-New Wave solo records with backup singers. I felt this way (wrongly!) when Kristin Hersh started putting out gentle acoustic-guitar music. (She was on her way, however, to 50 Foot Wave, which has an even harsher sound than Throwing Muses ever did.) Or like when REM entered its endless middle period. And Siouxsie! (From goth to cheesecloth dancepop!) Some of them are like Jonathan Richman, who didn't want to hurt any baby's ears. More often it's a subtle graduation—primarily because [...]
Lately in my travels through the blogosphere, I've detected increasing unhappiness with the intrusive nature of what could be called our "brand economy." As someone who identifies with this discontent, I was led to wonder if branding has actually grown more intense in recent years, or if by getting older-in the way one generation always complains about the next-I'm more impatient with the status quo of our more-or-less-in-theory capitalist system. After all, it's hardly controversial to say that since the dawn of mass production, and perhaps even earlier, we've lived in a "brand-driven" society; it's natural for companies to make products and advertise with the expectation that customers will [...]