Posts Tagged: Seth Colter Walls

You Can Put Your Top Back On Now: Rediscovering the Women of Fluxus at MoMA

To talk about gender and its impact on art in 2010 is to lower yourself onto a playing field strewn with lots of dead and injured (or just plain exhausted) culture warriors. Franzenfreude! The pastiche of Gaga! And don't forget Paglia on Gaga! It's a total combat zone-which is fair enough, given how long, and how unthinkingly-slash-purposefully the whole culture scene has been dominated by the straight white male outlook.

And yet, at the close of many an IM chat or comment thread, you will frequently see some throwing up of hands. As if to say: yes, we've processed this new event, its gender consequences [...]


Showed Up: Last Night's "Mega Secret Private" Robyn Show

Seth Colter Walls: Mary, thanks for inviting me to the "secret" Robyn concert in TriBeCa last night! Mary HK Choi: Pshaw bro. It was absolutely my pleasure. Seth: Don't fucking bro me what to do! Mary: Here bro. Drink this. Seth: So it wasn't actually that big of a secret was it? Was it a radio contest or something?


Difficult Listening Hour: An Introduction to Laurie Anderson

About this time last year, an editor of this site and I were emailing back and forth about fun things to maybe write. (The formula was basically: negligible numbers of comments + high degree of personal satisfaction = let's rock.) Along those lines, he proposed a column: "Also do you want to write about weird music in general??? Stuff that editors are like 'Ha um NO THANKS.' Difficult Listening Hour with SCW. Heh." This was the first time anyone had proposed, to me, a recurring feature based on a piece from smack dab in the middle of Laurie Anderson's 7-hour performance work "United States I-IV". (The clip of "Difficult Listening [...]


Get Off The Internet For Under $50: Bruce Nauman at dia:beacon

Did the Internet eat a pallet-full of Grade F stank beef earlier this week? Because I smelled combat gas all the way over here, in the part of the Internet where people don't even use Tumblr. (For, as Paul would have it in First Corinthians, the body does not consist of only one part, but of many.) Even though I hadn't actually stepped to anyone all week long, I went ahead and took some good advice and took a day off from the city and the Internet. A pal wanted to go to Beacon, NY, to check the contemporary art museum dia:beacon. I realized I had never been. Also, trees [...]


Who Big Boi Really Samples in "General Patton"

For real, keeping up with Big Boi has been a challenge of late. When he's not giving us previews from his new, official product coming out next month, he's going straight samizdat with the Andre 3000 collabos that Jive records won't allow anyone to pay actual money for. Lost in the general haze of sturm und purp, though, was this weird little question that got my music-geek dander up. When "General Patton" hit, 72 internet news cycles ago, initial writeups gave credit for that fat chorus-and-orchestra sample to… an opera "by Georg Solti"? The conductor? Who never actually wrote any music? No. That didn't [...]


The Best New Thing You Haven't Heard Of This Week: Seth Colter Walls and Maura Johnston On The New Newness, Strange Jazz, And The Semi-Return Of Hole

Seth Colter Walls: Maura, has it been a good first third of 2010, music-wise? What were the highlights? And what depressed the shit out of you? Maura Johnston: 2010 has actually been a great year for music. So far! And there's more to come!! Seth: Really? Because I've felt slightly… underwhelmed. (Though I'm glad you are confirming that the rest of calendar year 2010 is still to come.) Maura: Well, I know the whole existence of the future has been a cause for worry recently. But I am optimistic!


The "TV Event" As Bipartisanship, or, How the Super Bowl Helps Kill Health Care Reform

It was totally great that New Orleans got to celebrate last night. Now, are you ready for your Monday come-down? The Super Bowl–or more specifically, the way we watch it–is connected to the possibility that Democrats won't pass health care reform this year. Or that the two Democratically-controlled chambers of Congress that have already passed some version of health care reform might not manage to send a unified bill to a Democratic president's desk for his signature. The lessons, as always in America, are to be found in a reading of what happened on the teevee.


"There Could be the Greatest Review of a Band on Pitchfork…": A Weekend with Superchunk

Mac McCaughan was in the middle of singing a song at a record store while his wife was struggling to keep their 3-year-old son from tumbling headfirst out of her grasp. This took place yesterday, a little after 1 p.m., during an acoustic set-the sort of thing reliably advertised as "intimate"-which McCaughan was playing with two of his Superchunk bandmates, over at New York's Other Music. (The band's bassist, Laura Ballance, appeared to only have electric gear on this trip, and so was watching this performance from the back wall.) McCaughan's wife and their two children (ages 3 and 7) had been either standing, hoisted or seated on the [...]


More On David Markson

Awl pal Seth Colter Walls took a trip to The Strand in search of David Markson's personal library, and walked away with a sense of guilt and loss about the archive's dispersal. He also walked away with a couple of pretty well annotated books, so it wasn't a total disappointment.


Showed Up: Matt Marks' "Post-Christian Nihilist Pop Opera" at St. Mark's Church

How much time will you give an unfamiliar work of art? When I was six or seven, I complained straight away about the slow narrative trot of The Silence, prompting my father to retort: "It's Bergman. You give a master at least 15 minutes before you start fidgeting." But obviously we don't give young bucks (who aren't in the canon) quite the same attention-span leash. And then what if you're giving some new art "a try" on the internet? My sense is "15 seconds" may be the stick-it-out-or-fidget Rubicon. Which is to say, if you only give the above music video from a new "post-Christian nihilist pop opera" 15 [...]


The Northside Festival: It Turns Out Punk Is Dead–To Hipsters

Breaking: Williamsburg threw an indie-style music festival over the weekend, and it seemed pretty well-attended! The organizers at L Magazine did a nice job mixing heavily-sweated acts with lesser-known artists (never an easy balance). Though I continue to believe the lo-fi grind of the Woodsist label is in large part an aesthetic counterfeit job–Neil Young's worst-reviewed 70's record, Journey Through the Past, reconciled wispy pot-headed-ness with nods to gravitas a lot better, which is maybe different from saying it did so "well"–it's certainly claiming a lot of mind-share at the moment. (The label's showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday night was solidly packed from the [...]


Difficult Listening Hour: Johnny Rotten, György Ligeti And a New Timothy Andres Track

"If you spit at me one more time, I will macerate your fucking face," John Lydon said, glaring at the front row of audience members at Public Image Limited's packed Music Hall of Williamsburg show on Wednesday night. (Exact quote via the better-at-note-taking-than-me Steve Smith.) It was a moment worthy of a complicated, half-page sentence in a Henry James novel-containing as it did both an articulation of a point as well as its ironic subversion.


Difficult Listening Hour: 'Die Gezeichneten,' Amoeba, 'Samstag aus Licht,' Broken Bells and 'De Staat'

Mid-last week I found myself in the St. Vincent's ER. After fighting and losing a series of digestive battles with an insistent bug that most of all wanted to keep me away from even drinking water for the better part of 24 hours, I'd stumbled in on the very night the institution's imminent closing had been announced. Though I had not been an especially avid consumer of local news that day, I was soon made aware of the valedictory circumstances when a nurse hooked me up to some IV fluid and advised me to follow up later at another, less-doomed joint. A doctor asked me if there was "any [...]


"People on the Internet Like to Argue About Music More Than They Like to Enjoy Music": Maura Johnston and Seth Colter Walls on Genre, 2009 and Pazz + Jop

Seth Colter Walls: Maura! You have an excellent essay in the Voice this week, which accompanied this year's Pazz + Jop music critic's poll. Since you and I both submitted ballots for that-and since music critics like nothing more than to talk about what they've done and said-I naturally thought we should talk about what we've done and said! Let's start out by telling the people about your essay?

Maura Johnston: Well, ha. I don't like to start off with self-promotion, but let's give it a go…

Seth: It's called "Down With Music Racism," your piece. That's very provocative.


More Savory

Awl pal Seth Colter Walls talks to the executive director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, whose recent purchase of a series of radio broadcasts from the '30s, many never heard since, caused so much excitement here. There are also some new audio excerpts, including performances from Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton. Do check it out.


Things to See and Do: Mary Halvorson Plays Christian Marclay at the Whitney

Grossly talented indie-rock shredder Marnie Stern has a song on her forthcoming record called "Female Guitar Players Are the New Black." This title has the double-edged benefit of being true as well as wry-since it preempts (one hopes) a lot of lazy "think pieces" on the subject.

Still, even for underground kids who grew up swooning over the plodding-on-purpose instrumental technique of mid-90's Kill Rock Stars bands, there is now an undeniable pleasure in seeing women give off true, hot-shit guitar grind. (For more of this, watch Marissa Paternoster of the Screaming Females rip through "Bell" here.) So while people are keeping score on this level, we [...]


"Look, Internet — I've Set Myself On Fire": On Liz Phair's "Funstyle"

Over the weekend, Liz Phair had a surprise: 11 new tracks, collected under the title Funstyle, available for purchase at her official site. This release was surprising for reasons that went far beyond its semi-stealth timing! Seth Colter Walls and I decided to figure out "the deal."

Maura: OK, I am ready!

Seth: Well if you "are ready" to talk about this then you are ahead of 99% of the people who have listened to this record from Liz Phair, called Funstyle.

Maura: Hahahaha.

Seth: Maura — why did this happen?

Maura: I think I might be one of the few people who doesn't see Funstyle as a total [...]


Renee Fleming's "Dark Hope": June Cleaver Does Muse

Soprano Renee Fleming, "one of the most beloved and celebrated musical ambassadors of our time," according to her website, has just released Dark Hope, a collection of pop covers of songs by groups such as Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie and Leonard Cohen. How is it? Seth Colter Walls and Zachary Woolfe discuss the album and the artist, who it might appeal to and what it means for opera.


'Lulu' at The Met: A Young Woman's First Opera

A young woman's first time is special. It should be with an opera that cares, that wants to understand—well, no, really her first time should be with a sensually profligate, super-modern piece of crazy. And so, Mary HK Choi attended composer Alban Berg's 1937 opera, "Lulu" at the Met on Saturday. In it, she witnessed the tale of a woman whose unparalleled ability to manipulate members of the so-called "stronger" sex leads, ultimately, to a grim finale, with lots of lurid 12-tone music throughout.


Difficult Listening Hour: William Kentridge To Direct Shostakovich, Redeem Winter in NYC

Sweet fuck, am I ever tired of this wind and snow and cold and sniffling. I've been eating over half my meals at the diner that's 20 steps away from my front door, because walking anywhere-save for the subway line that takes me to work-has become untenable. The gym? The one that's two blocks away? Haven't seen it since January. And yet, this week, I plan to leave my apartment, post-sundown, for a non-work related engagement. It better be worth it. My whole reason for persisting through that entire awful month of February is riding on it. I suspect we're talking about the kind of awesome that makes a [...]