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Archive for the ‘Wired’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: PAVEMENT “Stereo” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2010).

Pavement were making the rounds of lat night TV around the time of t their Central Park reunion concert.  They showed up on Jimmy Fallon.  I don’t really like his show, but he has consistently great musical guests.

Pavement played “Stereo” which is a song I’ve always liked (the Geddy Lee part makes me smile), even though I never bought the album that it’s on.  This is one of their weirder songs (which is saying a lot).  The opening is all kinds of crazy noises (feedback and keyboard nonsense).  When the verse starts it’s all bass and drums, but when the song kicks in it rocks heavily and crazily.

The live version features a crazy cal and response from the keyboardist (which I enjoyed a lot) and some really great guitar work.  The video also has the winner of Fallon’s “Play Guitar with Pavement” contest, although I can’t tell how much he adds/subtracts from the performance.

[READ: September 24 & 25] “FC2” & “Books”

These three pieces were short, so I’ve decided to lump them together.

“FC2” is a Shouts & Murmurs piece.  I thought that the Shouts & Murmurs were all comic pieces. This one is funny but it’s not as “ha ha” as many of the other pieces I’ve read.  It even seems to be autobiographical.

Franzen says he had just recently written a section of “The Fifth Column” for the Village Voice.  And on this particular day he received a very suspicious package whose return address was FC2.   He speculates that the content of his section of the story may have triggered a psychopath to come after him.  (The Unabomber used to use the letters FC as his code, so perhaps FC2 is his protegé).

Obviously it didn’t blow up or anything, and the revelation is anticlimactic, but it’s still a mildly amusing tale. (more…)

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wiredMany many years ago (1995), while I was in Boston, I bought my first copy of Wired magazine (how could I forget the absurd cover to the right (yes, there IS a picture there) [And I’m very impressed that you can easily link to all of their back issues, just as I did with the link above].  I’m not sure how long it had been in print , but I think it was still young and buzzworthy. [Research shows that this was its 3rd year].  I remember thinking the magazine was very difficult to read.  Literally.  Text ran across pages, the colors were all wild.  The ads blurred completely with the content (by design).  And it was very “techie.”  I don’t remember if I subscribed exactly then, but I did subscribe eventually.  And then I stopped (sometime in 1999).

Recently I got an offer to re-subscribe, for a dollar an issue.  (This is where my idea that I will cancel a magazine once I stop getting a dollar’s worth from it).  I wasn’t sure if I should subscribe, but I figured what the hell.

Not a resounding chorus of cheers for this publication, huh?

Well, since I’ve subscribed I have been pleasantly surprised by the magazine.  And interestingly, the cover story almost never interests me.  In fact, and my brother in law Tim first pointed this out: the cover stories and the big articles take themselves very seriously.  Everything is always The Future Of This.  The New That.  Don’t Be Left Behind!  It’s over the top in its wanting you to take them seriously. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BARENAKED LADIES-Barenaked Ladies Are Me (2006) & Barenaked Ladies Are Men (2007).

Barenaked Ladies decided to forgo a major label altogether and just use Nettwerk as a distributor. They called their own self publishing “label” Desperation Records. [There was a fascinating article in Wired way back when this was happening, which made me want to get their CD, and it’s still online here.] The details are sketchy to me now, but it seemed like they thought they could make it on their own, and Nettwerk seemed pretty innovative as well. So, they released two albums in the span of about five months, and the results are below.

areme.jpgBarenaked Ladies Are Me. As I said, I was excited that BNL were basically doing the whole thing themselves, and wouldn’t have any label pressure to release the next big thing. So, I was a bit disappointed at first that the album stayed in the same “mature” vein as Everything to Everyone. There’s nothing crazily exciting on the CD except for the last song “Wind It Up,” which is the rockingest thing they’ve done in years.

The one song that really stuck out for me though, was “Bank Job” a really catchy Ed Robertson sung song about, of all things, a botched bank job.  It is funny without being silly, and it is so catchy! The song gets stuck in my head for days and days.

As for the rest of the record, once I started listening a few times, and now having listened to it again for the first time in a while, it’s a very solid outing. Again, “Bank Job” and “Wind It Up” are the two tracks that really stand out, but the rest are solid, well-crafted songs. And, here I pay my respects to Kevin Hearn and Jim Creeggan. Usually I don’t enjoy their songs as much, but (and maybe it’s because they don’t sing them themselves) “Sound of Your Voice” is an up tempo singalong, “Everything Had Changed” is a pretty, mellow ballad, and “Peterborough and the Kawarthas” is a pretty, slow song, that really gets into your brain. These are real highlights of the record. Oh and what is Peterborough and the Kawarthas? Why not see for yourself.

So, I give the BNL Are Me a big thumbs up.

aremen.jpgBarenaked Ladies Are Men. Five months after Are Me, came this follow up. The packaging and styling of the disc is very similar to the other one (as you can see by the covers). I wasn’t even sure that it was a new record. Well, it turns out that these are more songs from the same recording session. And, rather than releasing a double album, they did a Use Your Illusion I and II type of thing (there, how many reviews of BNL refer to GNR?)

The problem, such as it is, is twofold: there are really too many songs on this record. Are Me had 13, and this one has 16, which may just be 3 too many. The other is that several of the songs sound like other songs, both from Are Me and from Are Men. There are at least two songs that start out with the same vocal melody line as “Bank Job,” and they’re both sung by Ed Robertson. And the very first song, “Serendipity” sounds an awful lot like one of the songs on Are Me. Fortunately, the songs are catchy, and removed from Are Me, Are Men is probably just as strong a collection. But really 29 songs is a bit much.

The allmusic review suggests that this one is a bit more rocking and diverse than Are Me, and that’s true. The first 8 or 9 songs show a nice breadth of style and feeling. I still think the record runs a bit too long, but overall these two records together are a very good sign of future things from BNL.

And good luck to them and their Desperation “label.”

[READ: December 27, 2007] Ella Minnow Pea.

Sarah read this book over the summer, I think. I sounded great, so I put it in my Amazon “order later” cart, and promptly forgot about it. (This was before I used any kind of reasonable system for keeping track of books). Anyhow, I stumbled upon it while placing holiday orders, and decided to check it out. And, hurrah, our library had it! (more…)

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In my Periodicals section I mentioned how Wired magazine costs me $1 an issue in its subscription. And that I would cancel it if it didn’t provide me with $1 worth of pleasure. Well, this month it did with these three items.

1) Check out http://readymech.com/ for some really, no really, cool designs that you can print out on sturdy paper and make into fantastic creatures. I can’t wait to try this out.

2) A mention of the book Um…: Slips, Stumbles and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean. Which I’m adding to my to read list.   [Update 8/9:  Stephanie’s comment below includes this web address, which I want to add to the main post…thanks Stephanie!  http://www.umthebook.com. ]

3) Buy seized property from http://www.PoliceAuctions.com. Not that I need anymore crap in my house, but I have always wanted to drive a mail truck, and as far as I know the only way to get one is through a Post Office auction. And a police auction just sounds like it would have all kinds of crazy crap available!  [Update 8/9: After going through this site, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped I would.  Boo]

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