The Rich Girls Are Weeping

29 August 2006

Horrors! My employer, it seems, has blocked access to YouTube. This is absolutely traumatizing -- and ironic, since our yet-to-be officially launched blog just ran a feature on the company a few days ago. I'm totally bummed about this. I mean, I can't figure out why they still have access to various other sites up, but not this one. Ah, the vagaries of corporate IT. So, no more video posts from me during the workday, unless they're on another service, I suppose.

Out and about: Via Warped Reality, news that the retro international pop-obsessed La Lalaque is in the studio working on their new EP. Sample tracks are available for download on their Myspace page...

You can read that profile of The Long Winters in Paste that's simply awful -- misattributed photo credits and overstuffed metaphors ("the album is a grande-sized mug of the smart-assed synthesis of sweet and sour that characterizes Roderick’s best songwriting") and bad epigrams epigraphs (REM LYRICS?!?!) -- online! (Well, sort of. There's something kind of wrong with page 4...) When I saw said issue of Paste in the grocery store, it kind of made me cry, but not in that way that the September issue of Vogue made me cry. Oh no! That was over the beauty of it all. The Paste Incident was much, much more traumatizing, friends. Seriously.

Here's something to get you all revved up: Wired's article on "The Pitchfork Effect," which, again, as seems to be the prevailing trend in articles about the state of the music/mp3 blogoteria, gets all excited about something, somewhere -- but just never gets there. My official position, btw, is that there will never be another Travistan debacle or Arcade Fire/Broken Social Scene blow-up. A bad review in P-fork doesn't cement failure, nor does a rapturous one ensure scary-big sales. So yes, yes -- this is more of a paradigm shift in the way people -- journalists, consumers, record executives, and the bands themselves -- view this 70,000 headed-hydra we call the independent music business. In a way, I sometimes feel like Pinkie and I are the pirate queens of a blockade-running ship that brings you yummy provisions daily. The good kind, natch -- triple creme cheeses instead of American pasturized procesed cheese food. Or something like that. Oh shit. I just turned myself into a Decemberists and/or Brecht/Weill song. Sorry about that. Anyway, you get the drift, right?

Interlude: Kind of related not one but two of the items above: The Long Winters -- Medicine Cabinet Pirate

Which reminds me, I should tell you about my visit to Pitchfork HQ 2 years ago (which was, at the time, the basement of a carriage house in Lincoln Park, Chicago full to the brim with promos and Diet Dr. Pepper cans) sometime. Mr. Schreiber and I nearly came to fisticuffs over, of all things Franz Ferdinand and the "future of indie rock." No. Really.

The Feeling -- All You Need To Do ("Never Be Lonely" b-side that's a perfectly modernized 'sophisti-pop' number... Sorry for this hiss and pop -- it was ripped from the 7" single.)

End Interlude.

Last night Pinkie and I finally got around to watching Downtown 81, which is something we'd talked about doing for ages. It's a gorgeous little picaresque (dang it, can't get away from The Decemberists today, can I? Gah!) film (barely over an hour long) that's short on plot but long on gorgeous visuals and great performances from the NYC scenster bands of 1981. And naturally -- a lovely, naturalistic acting performance from Jean-Michel Basquiat. The first band featured in the film really caught my fancy, with their stacks of pwangy Fender amps -- I was not surprised to find as the credits rolled, that it was the possibly immortal Tuxedomoon.

Tuxedomoon -- In A Manner of Speaking
(sorry, it's the only track I have with me today...)

The collective consciousness is a weird thing: I was going to post about how I found a copy of Heaven 17's first album at Cheapo last night -- and Mars Needs Guitars posted about them today. WEIRD!! Go over there and check out what Merz has on offer.

I also picked up a copy of a record I've been looking for for ages -- The Joan Baez Ballad Book. Its existence was made totally redundant after all of her back catalog was released on CD so you can only get Ballad Book on vinyl -- and I swear, I really had been looking for a copy for about 10 years! I LOVE LOVE LOVE creepy traditional ballads, and no one does them quite like Joan...

Joan Baez -- Silver Dagger

I'm very, very amused at the recent spate of ca. 1994 Built to Spill sounding-bands. (Oxford Collapse, anyone?) Not that this is a bad thing really. I adore ca. 1994 Built to Spill -- it's everything after that which I loathe. Anyway, at first I thought that Rafter (which is actually just the one-man-band of Rafter Roberts, engineer/producer extraordinare) was chief among those, but that wonderful throwback flavor is probably due to the fact that the bulk of the album 10 Songs was recorded in 1998. It's available as a download and as an internet-only release from Asthmatic Kitty on Sept. 12.

Rafter -- Bicycle
Built to Spill -- Big Dipper

Random factoid of the day: on my office's iTunes network, there are 174 Radiohead songs. There was one Boards of Canada song -- and yeah, I admit, it wasn't even mine, so I guess I can't complain too loudly.

Boards of Canada -- Julie and Candy

And finally -- and really, I've been dying to be able to post this: a non-gritty, not-ripped-from-Myspace copy of Jarvis Cocker's latest. You're welcome!

Jarvis Cocker -- Ruling the World

And, I'm really behind on the email -- I'm sorry if you've sent something over, and you haven't heard from us. We're getting to it, promise!

OH AND!!! My favorite favorties The Sadies are going to be on Late Night With Conan O'Brien tonight (check your local listings!) with the lovely and glamourous Neko Case. Watch if you know what's good for you. Mmmm. The Good Brothers. So very, very good. *ahem* Stream "Jason Fleming" (with Neko and Garth Hudson of The Band) and "Tailspin" (with Kelly Hogan).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're out of your mind, Oxford Collapse sound nothing like Built. Come on now- surely you can think of a better knock off band than that...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 8:03:00 PM  
Blogger HK said...

Thank you for the b side track from The Feeling!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 8:11:00 PM  
Anonymous karen said...

i really hate to agree with anonymous, who sounds mildly grumpy, but i like old bts and the oxford collapse both very very much, but i don't see the similarity.

i don't know if i'd be so specific as to refer to a specific year and band, but i agree that there have been a lot more bands lately that seem to reference nineties indie rock. they're not all good, but some of them are pretty awesome.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 8:16:00 PM  
Anonymous karen said...

p.s. those are really more epigraphs than epigrams. leave it to the person who works in kind of a dated little corner of publishing...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 8:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to be a grammar nazi, but it might be kind of important for people interested in the band (like I became after I heard one of their tracks), so I'll mention it. In the post you link to the band La Laque, but the link says "La Lalique". You might want to fix that =)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger merz said...

we have the blogger mind link thing going on, brilliant minds think alike!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 11:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can you say there won't be another Arcade Fire/Broken Social Scene blow-up? What was that, like, less than two years ago? And now music blogs have taken the heat away? I heard about the Arcade Fire on Said the Gramaphone, back when they released their EP. But they never "blew up" until the Pitchfork review.

Not to be too contrary, 'cause I really enjoy your blog, but Pitchfork is still the chief tastemaker.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 12:47:00 AM  
Blogger J Frank Parnell said...

But Felchfork makes more mistakes than they used to. Mew? Come on. They've lost their minds. Maybe prickfork gave them a bump, but that's not being a tastemaker.

Arcade Fire, while not the second coming of Talking Heads by a long shot, had/has the skill&legs to last beyond a Crotchfork rave. Even without Grinchfork, they'd still find their way to NPR or KCR on the strength of the LP.

And we should all remember: indie rock ins't even the tip of the iceberg, as far as what sells and what's listened to out there. Pitchfork is weak on hip hop, weak on metal, and weak on jazz. And all three sell very, very well.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

Oy vey, you BTS fans are worse than the Radiohead fans, seriously! But then again, seems like everyone's (except HK over there -- thank you, sweetie!) a bit crabby about this entry. Even me.

Anonymous grammar nazi: Actually, that makes you an anonymous spelling nazi, but who am I to quibble? Thanks for pointing out my typo, it's fixed now.

Anonymous Pitchfork booster: Never have I said that blogs are chipping away at P-fork's influence. I'll thank you to please not put words in my mouth. Also, your argument is quite circular -- of course Arcade Fire blew up after the P-fork review. That was uh, kind of my point. But all sniping aside, I think it's highly unlikely at this point in the History of Indie Rock On The Internet (we're part of the historical process! yay!), that kind of thing won't happen again -- because we're all sitting around waiting for the kettle to boil, for P-fork to magically annoint the next band that will go from obscurity to selling CDs by the bushelful at Target and Best Buy at deeply discounted prices in approx. 2.3 seconds. I really feel that P-fork's influence has been diluted -- not by any one specific factor, but more by the unrealistic expecations of the music consumer AND the people who run 'the starmaker machinery behind the popular song' (thx, Joni Mitchell) -- which is to say, you can't really force a band into popularity (no, really, you can't... ) -- you can start a grassroots buzz that turns into massive popularity, but nothing blows up overnight. I'm pretty certain the people who market music, be they major labels or the nice people who work at Toolshed or Team Clermont or Fanatic know this. I'm just not sure most of the people who pontificate about music (of any genre or label status) on the Internet or the people who read our self-important dreck do, though. I'll agree with you, I think: Pitchfork was never the ONLY reason a band (BSS, AF, etc.) became popular. As Richard Reed Perry points out in the Wired article, it's just a piece of the puzzle. Claiming that P-fork is the only reason that a band becomes popular is rather demeaning to the band and their label and support staff -- and succeds in in overinflating P-fork's importance. And in the end, we're all part of the problem of the hyper-inflation of the publication's influence. Basically, what more and more people are seeming to say is that hey, the Emperor Has No Clothes, which is what people have been saying about critics since, well, there were critics who wrote down their ideas for public consumption. We've progressed so far, obvs.!

Karen: That'll teach me to type too fast -- correction made! Also (and this goes out to Anonymous #1 as well), I guess I should clarify, there's something about the general feeling that the Oxford Collapse conjures up that hits the same spot that TNWWL-era BTS massaged as well. Obviously it's just me -- I didn't mean to imply (which I'll admit, I did) that Oxford Collapse sounds EXACTLY LIKE BTS ca. 1994. The posting of the tracks back to back was not meant to be taken as a compare and contrast kind of exercise. That'll learn me, I'll be more specific in future about these things. (;

Mr Parnell: As always, thank you for bringing perspective and levity to an otherwise outrageous conversation. Sometimes our heads do get up our asses about The Importance Of The Indie Rock, and we forget all about the other bigger-selling independent label dominated genres out there. FELCHFORK!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Anomie-Atlanta said...

With so many sources for discovering new music, do most people really read Pitchfork anymore?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 1:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Long Winters track is great! Thanks! What album is it from?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 6:22:00 PM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

It's from their first one -- The Worst You Can Do Is Harm. Glad you liked it.

AA: They still get a lot of traffic, I assume people are reading it! (:

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 7:44:00 PM  
Anonymous domino said...

hey, thanks for the Joan Baez, that one goes way back for me - my parents had the vinyl. More recently, I used to sing my daughter to sleep with it (do you think I have warped her for life re:men?). Is there any chance you could post Mary Hamilton? I can't really do it justice - my daughter puts her hands over her ears if I even try. I love it that you included Silver Dagger here.

Thursday, August 31, 2006 4:00:00 AM  
Blogger bulldoggy said...

Wow, to my ears, Silver Dagger gave birth to Blondie's English Boys!

Thursday, August 31, 2006 7:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another one who really appreciates the Baez ballad. Ever since I heard it in Dogfight, the River Phoenix/Lili Taylor movie, I went through a phase trying to remember what it was so reminiscent of until I figured out it was Like A Motorway by St Etienne, who have employed the melody for their song. I have been looking for it for quite a while w/o success, so count me a fan of your blog now!

Sunday, September 10, 2006 7:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, so someone else remebers tuxedomoon, a ralph records obscurity at best when new, thanx for the post

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 11:34:00 PM  

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