Saturday, December 19, 2009

ah, fuck it!

is animal collective really the best we can do? six or seven years after "sung tongs" crashed the independent music scene with it's stellar second track, followed by forty minutes of dull, tactless experimentation, i'm starting to wonder what it's going to take for them to go out of fashion.

"[A] work that gleefully teeters on the line between accessibility and inscrutability."

and that's what's perfect to these types: the ability to sound experimental while still making music that is "accessible", the holy grail of in-your-face independent music. let's take a look at some definitions of "accessible" with a particular eye on the second and the fourth:

"1. easy to approach, reach, enter, speak with, or use.
2. that can be used, entered, reached, etc.: an accessible road; accessible ruins.
3. obtainable; attainable: accessible evidence.
4. open to the influence of (usually fol. by to): accessible to bribery."

so fuck it, and to anyone who thinks like this, fuck you. and if you're soft, and think this and other efforts from animal collective represent a lot of the best music of the last decade, fuck you with a fucking billy club. in a few years, when you cut off your dreads and start shopping at the gap, you'll finally start looking like what we've always known you are: 2016's palin voters.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


if you thought i wasn't going to touch lists this year, you were wrong. wrong i tells ya. i'll write a whole big long thing no one will read when i have the time. for now, check out the graph on grizzly bear song, the fifth best song of the year.

"A better name would be Teddy Bear, such is unlikely appeal of this unassuming Brooklyn foursome. But just how did they manage to charm the indie elite and Jay-Z and Solange and Beyoncé and your mom and scores of Twilight-addled tweens? [I]t's not the craftsmanship that's winning people over and making them want to spin this one again and again. It's the intangible, of course, the sound of a band that has struck upon something timeless, inspired, holistic, and-- it bears (ahem) mentioning-- utterly wholesome. Some people will hear 'Two Weeks' and instantly feel better about their day, some will want to join a boys' choir, and most will feel the urge to share this exceptional thing with those close to them."

regarding that first question: could it be because the "indie elite" have tastes that are about as well-refined as those of "twilight-addles tweens" and "your mom"? maybe those indie elite are the type of people who put "(ahem)" after their accidental puns (i.e. pussies), and so maybe it's no accident that their picks are overlapping with the suburban petit-bourgeoisie.

nah, couldn't be. grizzly bear has mass-appeal because they're timeless. it's not like they're completely bland and innocuous or anything. no sir. gotta be those intangibles.

Friday, December 4, 2009

revisited: musical exhaustion

todays p-fizzle review of OOIOO's new effort begins with a paragraph talking about their previous album.

"Japanese all-female group and Boredoms offshoot OOIOO's fifth album, 2006's Taiga, holds a more than respectable score of 78 on Metacritic, but it split Pitchfork listeners. The percussion heavy, often amelodic beast came off as needlessly difficult and even lazy to some staffers, yet Dominique Leone claimed it to be, in so many words, the easiest entry point in the OOIOO catalogue. I don't begrudge either extreme viewpoint: OOIOO's output is divisive for the simple reason that the band has a unique capacity to both wow and disappoint."

on one side, someone says that Taiga is a good place to start if you're interested in liking OOIOO. the other side finds the album "needlessly difficult". both views are cast as "extreme" and the difference is split, earning the new album a 7.4.

contemporary political journalism usually acts like this: describe two opposing positions as opposed, and treating each as 50/50 true, since there are two ides.

but more relevant to my topic is the idea that any music can be "needlessly difficult." "difficult", we've been over many times around these parts. "needlessly" is a new twist for me. as if the album were a confusing legal document, a student loan collection letter, or a health insurance form.

1) it's music. it has no purpose. it's ALL needless.

2) listening to music is not hard. OOIOO demand nothing more of their listeners than does taylor swift.

3) if you don't like an album, the reason simply is NOT that the album is difficult. because that's like saying you don't like a meal because it's furious.

4) and finally, to call an album "lazy" because YOU find it too "difficult" to sit perfectly motionless and listen to it is a new height of absurd pot-kettle-ism.