Category Archives: Media

The Impending Lo-fi Blacklash

OK, so I’ve been going a little hot and heavy on the political stuff lately, so, in honor of Obama’s 101st day in office, I’d like to lighten it up here and talk about music, which we’ve gotten away from recently.

My bandmates and I have been discussing the latest indie fad, the resurgence of lo-fi bands, groups like Wavves, Vivian Girls, Times New Viking and others, that have found success by burying their hooks (0r in some cases bad songwriting) in a scuzzy layer of fuzz.Here’s “an interview” with Matt Whitehurst from Psychedelic Horseshit on The Post’s music blog, in which he goes off on the New Wavve(s) and tosses [expletives] aplenty in the process.Whitehurst is practically incoherent, but he throws down on the lo-fi crew. (On a sidenote, I frankly find the fact that The Post doesn’t have the balls to just print the interview with the nasty swear words included distracting, distasteful and stupid).

Then there’s this Pitchfork review of the Japandroids record, in which you start to see some cracks in the facade of the lo-fi fad, which Pitchfork had a heavy hand in building.

Due to their two-man setup and no-frills recording, Japandroids risk being lumped into the increasingly tiresome no-fi/noise-pop scene that finds bands using distortion to tear through the fabric of the medium and, in some cases, drown out weak songs.

I’m ambivalent about Wavves, and I think No Age and Times New Viking are actually kind of badass. But I hate the fucking Vivian Girls — they’re talentless hacks, who built a following based on their charming faux-punk bullshit. Pitchfork bought the bridge and now VG are as ubiquitous as T.G.I Friday’s, or Applebee’s, or whatever.

So the lesson here is: A group of bands that record trashy, fuzzed-out does has caught on to make a half-baked movement, ginned up by the military-industrial highly-influential Pitchfork, a publication that clearly relishes its role as the tastemaker for its generation.

I’m as big of a fan as Sebadoh and Guided By Voices as the next alcoholic-in-training schlzub, but these new bands are offering much weaker sauce. Lou Barlow and Bob Pollard weren’t hiding behind fuzz, they wrote songs that shone through limited recording technologies, and succeeded in spite of  those limitations. Anyway, this is obviously a long-winded treatise, but let’s get at this. Are these bands onto something? Or are they just hiding?

And lastly, this Bob Mould-No Age interview is pretty dope for anyone who has an interest in rock and roll and recording.

I’d like to credit my friends Alex and Ben for starting this discussion.

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Phil Musser on Seeing the Face of Terror | TPMTV

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Well, now we know what the ‘Assholes of Government’ look like, thanks to Phil Musser. As my friend Petey Feliz said, at least this Gitmo thing had nothing to do with skin color. PSYCH!

Rep. Jane Harman LOVES Spying

Um, this is real awkward. California Democrat Jane Harman is said to have promised to help two AIPAC employees who were accused of spying for Israel some time before March 2005. We know this because Harman said so on a secret NSA wiretap, and because the CQ Politics had this story today.

Harman’s agreement to “waddle into” the thrilling espionage mess as a quid pro quo that AIPAC lobby hard for her to become house speaker in 2006 instead of Nancy Pelosi. Um, again, we know this because Harman was caught on tape saying so…

From the CQ story:

It’s true that allegations of pro-Israel lobbyists trying to help Harman get the chairmanship of the intelligence panel by lobbying and raising money for Pelosi aren’t new.

They were widely reported in 2006, along with allegations that the FBI launched an investigation of Harman that was eventually dropped for a “lack of evidence.” What is new is that Harman is said to have been picked up on a court-approved NSA tap directed at alleged Israel covert action operations in Washington.

And that, contrary to reports that the Harman investigation was dropped for “lack of evidence,” it was Alberto R. Gonzales, President Bush’s top counsel and then attorney general, who intervened to stop the Harman probe.

Why? Because, according to three top former national security officials, Gonzales wanted Harman to be able to help defend the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about break in The New York Times and engulf the White House.

This item is particularly awkward for The New York Times, because the CQ story alleges that Harman effectively lobbied the paper’s Executive Editor, Bill Keller, to stop The Times’ famously delayed story about the Bush Administration’s illegal surveillance tactics, which the paper held for an entire year between 2004 and 2005.

Keller, not surprisingly, denies this outright in The Times story about Harman, which makes you wonder a little about the CQ story’s claim. Still, not good news for anyone involved. Also, is it just me, or does Harman look slightly terrifying? (Not to mention a lot like Cloris Leachman).

CNN Reporter Gets Tea Bagged

I don’t know this reporter’s name, and I hope I never do. This is embarrassing for all parties involved, with the weird tall guy holding the baby and shouting about Lincoln and the fat guy trying to awkwardly stretch a timely pirate metaphor. But the reporter here takes the stupid cake.

This is why the media shouldn’t have covered these things in the first place.

Tea Bagging Party in Norwich

The last time I analyzed a story from The Day, I caught some shit for being a bully, but I’m going to give it another whirl.

New London’s favorite daily has bought the FOX News bridge of the Tea Party movement that’s taking the country by storm. The fact that some wingnuts are getting together on April 15 to protest the fact that they’re being taxed to death is noteworthy. People who have time enough on their hands to take a day off of work to protest taxes as part of a faux-grass roots movement deserves all the news coverage in the world.

Here’s Rich Curtis, one of the organizers of the Norwich Tea Bag Party:

“Regular working people and small-business owners are fed up with the overtaxation, poor representation, pork spending and bailouts,” said Rich Curtis, an organizer of the Norwich tax day tea party.

“We’re the silent majority, and finally we’re standing up and standing together,” he said.

Curtis’ invocation of Richard Nixon‘s famous ‘Silent Majority’ is an interesting decision. When Nixon used that phrase, he was referring to the supposed large number of Americans who weren’t protesting the Vietnam War as proof that his policies weren’t as unpopular as the loudmouthed protesters were making them out to be.

I want you to think about that. This man, Rich Curtis, is organizing a tax protest. There’s nothing silent about this, and given the fact that Obama carried the nation and Connecticut by the largest margin in recent memory and is twice as popular as George W. Bush, the man who actually ruined the country, there sure doesn’t seem anything majority-ish about it either. It’s easy to find 400 people to join a Facebook group that is against taxes, but a grass movement it does not make.

This is a fake story fueled by anti-populist dick-bag swine like Rick Santelli and Neil Cavuto. I’m glad to see The Day is catching the Tea Bagging Party fever.

AP Takes a Stab at the Interwebs

The Associated Press is striking out against aggregators. This is the first shot across the bow at web-based news distributors. A battle is brewing here. The AP is gigantic and conceivably has some sway in this fight since the number of member papers who are part of the association.

A.P. executives said they were concerned about a variety of news forums around the Web, including major search engines like Google and Yahoo and aggregators like the Drudge Report that link to news articles, smaller sites that sometimes reproduce articles whole, and companies that sell packaged news feeds.

They said they did not want to stop the appearance of articles around the Web, but to exercise some control over the practice and to profit from it.

As time goes on, you’ll likely see the battle lines continue to be drawn over paid content and newspapers that are willing to try different models to generate revenues. I certainly don’t have the solution, but I can’t help but feel that this NPR story about Frank Zappa’s greedy widow is perfectly analogous.

‘Wetlands’ Sounds Gross, Reeeaal Gross

Troy Patterson, Slate’s television critic, is my favorite.

Any writer who makes a “2 Girls 1 Cup” reference along side this passage: “In order for Wetlands to succeed as a novel, it must make readers align their discomfort with Helen’s sexual morality with their revulsion at the literal dirtiness of her dirty bits. She supposes that there’s a close relationship between the two, while reality indicates that it’s wholly possible to accept the omnivorous appetites of a liberated woman while asking her please not to wipe her hoo-ha on the toilet seat,” is all right with me.

But seriously, this book, Wetlands, sounds gross.