Re: Superfan

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I'm with Brownstein on Phish. I also don't get the appeal of Coldplay. Meh.


Posted by: tonks | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 2:47 PM
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There isn't much music that I actively hate, aside from the Disney kids singalong CDs that some either unwitting or hostile relative gave as a gift. Oh, and I really start hating Christmas music by about the second week in December. There are several performers who I'm supposed to like, based on all the similar music that I do like, and it feels like admitting I'm a philistine to say that I don't. I've given them all multiple shots at some point or other and while I recognize the songwriting chops and I don't find them unpleasant, they just don't hold my attention. This set includes Richard Thompson, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 2:50 PM
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There isn't much music that I actively hate

How about The Chipmunks?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 2:54 PM
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I guess the older you get, the less attached you become to your opinions and tastes. More precisely, you like what you like, but are more inclined to view your likes as personal and idiosyncratic, and less likely to insist on their universal validity.

But I'm more likely to say that Pink Floyd or Britney Spears is simply not my thing, than either to say "they suck" *or* to give them a second listen.

Phish are a great example. They are probably perfectly capable musicians, and I wouldn't accuse their fans of bad taste. But I don't care for "jamming" in nearly any sense that the word connotes, whether it's John Coltrane or the Allman Brothers. The only argument that would work for me is "no, they are really into song structure and melody, their reputation for windy improvisation is wholly undeserved".


Posted by: kth | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 2:58 PM
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DMB and Nickelback have the same pained, growly vocals. Bit of a mystery what the appeal is.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:00 PM
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Marius Mueller Westernhagen. (Or something like that... ) One of UNG's favorites. I tried for a decade, but never really came around. Relatedly, I have the same relationship to beets.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:02 PM
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3: I just the other day learned that the "Witch Doctor" song and the Chipmunks songs were written by the same dude. Makes sense, but I was like, "Oh! Interesting."

And, as for the post, one band I really, really tried to actively hate but ended up having to admit I liked (well, liked some songs) is the Dave Matthews Band.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:02 PM
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Huh. Wrote 7 before I saw 5. Yeah, I know what you're talking about. I don't like the growly vocals part.

Ooh, another example comes to mind: Pearl Jam, anything after Cordurioy is dead to me, but I'm possibly able to be converted if someone tried.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:04 PM
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DMB and Nickelback have the same pained, growly vocals. Bit of a mystery what the appeal is.

A friend of mine dubbed this entire genre "date rape rock", dunno if that helps.

DMB's first album didn't suck.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:06 PM
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And, as for the post, one band I really, really tried to actively hate but ended up having to admit I liked (well, liked some songs) is the Dave Matthews Band.

That's funny, I didn't think Stanley was a terrible person before.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:07 PM
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10: You weren't paying close enough attention.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:09 PM
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having to admit I liked (well, liked some songs) is the Dave Matthews Band.

I find them easy to dislike.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:10 PM
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I have, over the last 10 years or so, been working on a project like this one regarding The Beach Boys.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:10 PM
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The flip side of this is that when I love a song, I find it utterly baffling that someone else might not. They probably just need to listen harder, I assume.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:11 PM
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I'm sad to say it, but while there is a lot of music I find distasteful in itself, the real tongue-ousticking-gag-me reaction seems to come from music whose fans I find distasteful. I wish that weren't true. But I don't vehemently abhor most music; I'd just turn it off if I don't want to listen to it.

And it's not a coolness thing, I don't think. I'm not very cool, and enjoy a lot of dorky music myself. Some of the bands I don't bother listening to are those whose fans are way too cool for me. But Phish, yeah, I couldn't do it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:18 PM
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I tried appreciating black metal. It didn't go very well.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:20 PM
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My kneejerk response when people are very vocal about hating popular bands like Coldplay, DMB and RHCP is that they are bad people. Sorry, I meant that it's that they are posturing because while they certainly are overrated, they still have many good songs, usually their earliest ones. But then I think about my very genuine irritation with bands like the White Stripes, the Grateful Dead, the late work of almost any hard rock band (see Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, Metallica for examples) and even some Nirvana, and I realize I'm just as guilty.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:30 PM
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OK, I thought about it some more, and here's the thing:
If you're in high school or maybe early college and you are so hard into one band to the exclusion of all other things, and it's a big part of your identity and you tell people when you meet them about how you like traveling to see shows of that band, that's one way to develop interests and stuff. At a certain point in a person's life, though, a lack of breadth of interest makes me suspicious. So does identifying yourself through a single artist. It seems almost equivalent, in an adult, to coming out about sexual orientation or something.
That is the thing I think I find distasteful. It's cute for kids, less cute for grown-ups.

A few years ago, I went to see Chad Van Gaalen open for Band of Horses. I stayed for a little of BoH, but for some reason, they really don't hit me. They seem pretty cool and talented and all that; I just wasn't into it and decided to go home. A woman was near the exit, crying because she'd lost her ticket stub and she collected BoH ticket stubs from every show she went to see. I gave her mine and she flipped out with gratitude. I know I've been that girl at some point, but it's weird to see it in someone else.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:35 PM
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That is the thing I think I find distasteful.

Uh, self-identifying primarily as a fan of a band, not coming out as a particular sexual orientation.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:37 PM
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When I was in ninth grade, Steppenwolf came to town. I had one of those oddball obsessions on them. They were playing at some little downtown bar, and so my dad agreed to take me. He sat in the back, while I danced my head off next to the stage. I don't even think anyone else was on the dance floor. I got to shout out requests and they'd play them. I was totally beside myself.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:39 PM
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More relevant to the original post: I inherited a lot of music on my iPod that I would not have ordinarily listened to and made myself listen to all of it with an open mind. The results were mixed. Some I came around on, some not. Pat Metheny, no. Frank Sinatra, yes. David Gray, no. Outkast, some. Flaming Lips' Soft Bulletin, god no. Incubus, some (if I'm being honest). Rihanna, some. Rent, the musical, no.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:44 PM
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The Flaming Lips! Now that you mention it, that's the perfect example for me. Plenty of people with taste similar to mine seem to like them. But I listen and just... eh, I don't know. Doesn't work for me.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:47 PM
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A good example for me is indie rock. I feel like I should care more and track it down. And I even like it when I hear it. But it's no SWV. I was planning on posting my favorite SWV song before I saw that we were solid on posts for today.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:57 PM
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It does seems psychologically difficult to believe someone sincerely likes something you don't. Surely they are making some sort of mistake.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 3:58 PM
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Bob Dylan. I have yet to undergo the forcing-myself-to-listen-to-Dylan project, if only because other people force me to listen to Dylan all the fucking time. I have learned never to mention how little I care for Dylan, even casually, or I'll be treated to months of "No, listen to this Dylan song! It will change your life. No? OK, this one."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 4:00 PM
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I love hating Bob Dylan.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 4:06 PM
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I used to hate Dylan. I was so much older then.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 4:07 PM
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26: Maybe I need to try hating him more. When people ask about it, I'm all "I dunno. Just never really liked his music that much." And then we're in for a five-hour discussion of what particular kind of brain damage I suffered and when that I don't tremble with bliss when a Dylan song comes on.

I make the same mistake when I tell people I'm vegetarian. I don't hate meat--it's fine, and I'm not angry at it--I just happen not to eat it. Then the lectures about how I'm barely living life if I'm not eating bacon because it's SO GOOD HERE TRY SOME RIGHT NOW.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 4:11 PM
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How about The Chipmunks?

JP is my Internet twin!

There is a huge, huge range of music that I just feel "eh" about, and which I'm happy to hear other people extol the virtues of if it's important to them.

Music with a lot of screaming or completely unintelligible or violent lyrics is unpleasant to me, so I find it hard to be in the car if someone is playing opera or most varieties of rap. I also don't do very well with atonal (not sure if that's the right word) -- anyway, Chinese flute music and the like. I prefer a melody.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 4:12 PM
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25: While I like Dylan, I'm glad that you hate Dylan. Someone should hate the fucker. People who go on about the world-historical importance of Dylan make me stabby.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 4:13 PM
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My tweener niece is upstairs introducing Caroline and Joey to a teeny-bopper version of Eye of the Tiger. Its like Hannah Montana or someone covering Survivor.

This would be an excellent "Learn to like" project for me.

Now she's teaching them dance moves for the song.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 4:14 PM
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I'm also thinking about whether I've ever tried to convince someone else to like music that I like. I've definitely had conversations of encouragement or puzzlement -- oh, you like ____? You should definitely try ___! You might really like it! Or: You love Phish but hate the Grateful Dead? That seems strange.

But I don't have any emotional investment in whether they end up liking it or not. I mean, if they come back and say, "I listened to the Patsy Cline and she just doesn't do it for me," my reaction is "Oh, too bad." End of subject.

Taste is so incredibly subjective it seems really hard to take someone to task for not liking something. I grasp that the people AWB is talking about exist, and I certainly know (am related to) diehard Dylan fans, but I've never known them to be rude to a non-fan the way she describes.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 4:16 PM
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32: They don't think they're being rude. They're just evangelizing because they pity me, which, yes, is rude. But, like with Christians, the only thing you can do is say, "Wow, you're right! [Dylan/Jesus] is amazing! I never realized it before now! Thank you!"


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 4:18 PM
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I personally do not like evangelizing about anything taste-related unless asked a specific question, like "What movies do you enjoy?" or "Which 18th-century novel do you think I would like?" I don't even really like answering the "What bands do you listen to?" question, for a lot of reasons, one of which is that I haven't even heard the most recent albums of my five or six favorite bands right now.

I do occasionally screen favorite movies for friends, but I find it really nerve-wracking and generally not worth it. People read a lot into movies you like but they don't. "I guess you enjoy that film because you are [brain-damaged, or whatever]."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 4:23 PM
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They don't think they're being rude.

I understand that, but unless these people are ten-year-olds (maybe not even then), they should know that it IS rude.

I dunno, I'm not terribly thrilled about evangelizing in any form that crosses the line from general cheerleading to "Thou shalt," aka "You should."


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 4:24 PM
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I guess I want to think of it slightly more positively because I think what they're thinking is that Dylan/Jesus has brought them so much joy in their lives, and I am such an enthusiastic enjoyer of life that surely the quality of my days could be greatly increased by the addition of Dylan/Jesus.

It is true that my enjoyment of things, when I am enjoying them, is pretty intense. I can see how that might irritate a Dylan fan or Christian who feels that my intense pleasure is misplaced.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 4:36 PM
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For me it's the Minutemen. I know all these people, including my college radio DJ little brother and sister, who really like Double Nickels On The Dime. And I find the thing painful. Unlistenable. I've listed to that album over and over again and the guy writes lyrics inferior to the average highschooler, which he talks out in an annoying voice, and which are accompanied by a bunch of random notes where a melody should be.*

*Except for Corona, which is still a pretty mediocre song.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 4:43 PM
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Ahh! Thought of one: Barenaked Ladies. Yes, superfan. I know you really, really like them. I just...can't.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 4:49 PM
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34: I think that they can't bear the idea that in the end no matter how momentous the experience it's still basically subjective. If they can't convince you, then maybe pushpin is as good as poetry after all.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 4:59 PM
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But it's no SWV.

I'm embarrassed - what's the acronym stand for?

And I've been proven to like so many things that are in bad taste or are in fact awesome that I know longer have any sense of my ability to gauge how "cool" something I like to listen to is.

(Plus, ever since my favorite alternative station bit the dust, I only listen to country on the radio. Mind you, the radio is not my primary mode of listening to music, but still).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 5:01 PM
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I mis-read a poster for the san francisco county fair and thought there was a free kenny chesney concert. I was going go for the hell of it, but it actually costs a boatload of money. There goes my learn to like contemporary country music project.

Band of Horses is super-generic indie rock. Pretty inoffensive, but nothing exciting about it.

I am a very suggestible music listener. If the internet says that an album is good, I tend to like it.

This article about weezer that yglesias linked to is interesting but long:

http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~mustaste/weezerthesis.htm


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 5:02 PM
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If you're in high school or maybe early college and you are so hard into one band to the exclusion of all other things, and it's a big part of your identity and you tell people when you meet them about how you like traveling to see shows of that band, that's one way to develop interests and stuff.

And, perhaps more if extended to a particular genre or set of bands or whatever, to develop a social identity. Which, in turn, gives other people an easy way to categorize you. This is why I didn't listen to music in high school and college.

I'm not terribly thrilled about evangelizing in any form that crosses the line from general cheerleading to "Thou shalt," aka "You should."

Word.

I find it hard to be in the car if someone is playing opera or most varieties of rap.

This isn't really surprising given what we know about you already, but you seem to occupy an interesting intersection of social circles.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 5:14 PM
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But it's no SWV.

I'm embarrassed - what's the acronym stand for?

Never mind, I learned to Google.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 5:17 PM
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People evangelizing *for* particular music bother me far less than people evangelizing *against.*

One college roommate was a huge Barry Manilow fan. She politely made every effort to avoid playing him when I was around, but some exposure occurred. And I can enjoy Manilow now because it's linked in my mind to warm feelings for her. Same goes for Rod Stewart and my aunt or Willie Nelson and my dad. Which, come to think of it, makes my inability to have ever developed affection for UNG's music telling. Except for The Pogues. He did get me to like them.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 5:30 PM
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I loooove the Chipmunks, but I would, wouldn't I?

I have a hard time thinking of bands I hate. Bland commercial stuff, show tunes.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 5:42 PM
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I was driving halfway across the country with my brother in a Dodge Dart that had only AM radio, and it seemed like this was on all the rotations at a 12 reps/hr rate. It was painful.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 5:47 PM
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Dylan. Radiohead. Modest Mouse. Richard Shindell and 80% of the earnest folksters out there.

I do kinda like Phish, though.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 5:51 PM
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Neil, Double Nickels is just about my favorite album of all time. I'll spare you my efforts at explaining how I think one should listen to it.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 5:54 PM
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I'm not terribly thrilled about evangelizing in any form that crosses the line from general cheerleading to "Thou shalt," aka "You should."

I object somehow, to the fact that this is where the thread has ended up. I don't deny that some people are rude in their promotion of their musical tastes, but I object because I feel like unfogged in generally open to people evangelyzing about a variety of things and I think that music shouldn't be singled out.

I offer as evidence AWB's post in which she said that she felt sorry for people who don't eat beans (which, I hasten to add, was directly responsible for me trying a couple of bean recipies). You can't say that didn't imply "thou shalt" but I thought it was entirely good spirited.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 5:55 PM
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49.2: Irony, there. I was trying to think of a silly way to express my newfound adoration of good beans; I don't literally pity anyone for not eating what I eat and find it obnoxious and crazy that anyone would feel that. (My girlfriend's mom is convinced that everyone who is not eating exactly what she is will die a horrible death. It's creepy. The bacon people too--Jesus Christ.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 5:59 PM
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(I also said I wanted to marry the Rio Zape beans, but this, too, was a silly exaggeration in the same style. Also, I think bean-human marriages are a ways off, right behind gays and then ducks.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:00 PM
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50 -- I'm not denying that evangalizing can (often) be rude, just objecting to my sense that people are more likely to conflate good natured evangalism with rudeness when the subject is music.

Perhaps I have just interacted with fewer people who are rude about their musical tastes, or perhaps I am just being overly sensitive.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:02 PM
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4: I guess the older you get, the less attached you become to your opinions and tastes. More precisely, you like what you like, but are more inclined to view your likes as personal and idiosyncratic, and less likely to insist on their universal validity.

Yes, this, in my own experience. That's not to say that I'm not attached to my own tastes, but that if something just doesn't do anything for me, it's unlikely that I'll endeavor to change my own mind; likewise, if I do like something (see DMB), no amount of third-party evangelizing against it will sway me. I don't care what you said against the Moody Blues when I was 17, I liked 'em! (not so much, now)

When I was college-age I think I was more swayable. The last band I recall really *trying* to like against my will was Rush, and that was some time ago; I eventually came to agree that they're worthy of respect from a certain perspective, but otherwise, nope. I tried briefly to like the Dead (er, actually I didn't try very hard -- not into doodling music). Oh! The Clash. Tried to like the Clash. Punk in general -- nope, doesn't work.

This sounds like a statement that a person becomes stuck in her or his musical ways with age, though: not at all. I listen mostly to folk music now, and did so only occasionally before.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:05 PM
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I agree with Neil's opinion of The Minutemen 100%. Probably the most disappointing musical experience of my life, except for Konono No.1.

I spent last night coming to terms with BrokenCyde and related bands. The entire source of people's alarm and disgust is that these bands are on metal record labels, which is a strange historical anomaly and does not imply that they will draw fans away from actual metal bands.

BrokenCyde and Hollywood Undead = Asher Roth, except stupider. Breathe Carolina is pretty similar to OneRepublic. The screaming is totally irrelevant.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:06 PM
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Also, I think bean-human marriages are a ways off, right behind gays and then ducks.

Which reminds me, everyone should like Garfunkel & Oates.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:07 PM
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54: but...but...the individual songs are so amazingly condensed and yet the whole album has such an open, expansive feel.

I'll stop.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:09 PM
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My kneejerk response when people are very vocal about hating popular bands like Coldplay, DMB and RHCP is that they are bad people.

Have you heard the new DMB single? My god.

The first time I went to a free improv show, I found it very unenjoyable. The players were Kyle Bruckmann, Michael Zerang (I think), Fred Lonberg-Holm, and Gunda Gottschalk, who was on a tour of the states. I believe it was at 3030 W Cortland, whither I betook myself from Pilsen (having underestimated the distance my planned route required me to walk), on the strength of the instruments played alone—I knew nothing about the players, and not that their instruments would mostly not sound conventionally at all. (I found it very strange, once things were underway, that Gottschalk had bothered to tune).

And now look at me! A few years ago I laughed it up about this experience with the very Kyle, in the audience of a performance by the very Gunda, at 21 Grand.

Naturally, I stuck it out only because I thought that, as an intellectual, a snob, and an aesthete, I should cultivate an interest in something completely abstruse.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:10 PM
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The bean thing is a good comparison, actually. AWB's (and others here) enthusiasm makes really want to order some and share that joy. I kind of felt that way about Alinea, too, and was a little sad that my parents (though they enjoyed it) didn't really think it was the kind of thing they'd ever do again. How? How can you not be in love?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:11 PM
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56: But, the songs all sound the same and have no melodies.

DMB and Nickelback have the same pained, growly vocals. Bit of a mystery what the appeal is.

Dave Matthews is pained but not growly. No way does he fit into the yarling group of grunge imitators. And DMB's music is far more complex and original than Nickelback or BrokenCyde. (not that I like DMB a whole lot)

The more I think about that statement the odder it seems. However it doesn't come close to my dad's complaints about new bands, in which he really did seem to choose a totally random band from the 1980s or 1970s and then claim that they were being ripped off by a new band.
e.g.
R.E.M.->Gin Blossoms
R.E.M.->Weezer
The Cure->Coldplay
The Clash->Soundgarden


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:14 PM
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You can take me to Alinea, Di. I'll appreciate it.

I'm willing to go there straight from the airport.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:14 PM
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60: You'd be surprised how easily you could probably talk me into that. Of course, Rory was duly smitten, so I don't suppose I'd really need you.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:19 PM
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The last performer someone rhapsodised about to me was Cat Power. She made my ears bleed.

My roommate at university in Canada played nothing but the Rolling Stones. Over and over and over. And she smoked Gauloises, which are pure camel dung. [Marlboros suffered from an import tax. Why the camel dung didn't, I do not know.] I spent a lot of time out of the room.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:20 PM
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Lemmy Caution! I've been keeping an eye out for you so that I could thank you. I *think* that the Winnie-the-Pooh songs you found for my mom are the right ones. (She's not feeling well at the moment, and so hasn't actually checked, but it seemed promising.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:21 PM
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58: I like the good beans but I'm ashamed to admit that unless I'm making them into a soup, I don't enjoy the pot liquor like everyone else. Phew. Now my secret is out in the open.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:22 PM
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I'm embarrassed - what's the acronym stand for?

Sistas With Voices.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:22 PM
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I think I tend to be slightly ironic and silly in my outsized love of things, if only because I know deep in my heart that no one will love the things I love like I love them. When people thank me for a recommendation, I'm usually pretty shocked--not because I think other people aren't aesthetically tuned properly, but because I've been told so many times that *I'm* aesthetically brain-damaged. I take it for granted.

I guess the one thing I trust in myself pretty well now, possibly for the first time for sure, is that I have objectively good taste in food. I know good food when it is had. But even there, I lean too far toward bitter, away from sweet, and too often to the spicy. Quality, though, I know.

I'm hopelessly enthusiastic about my bad taste in music, books, clothes, film, etc. I love the aesthetics of boredom, awkwardness, anxiety; I get excited. Some people dig it with me, but it's not because they've got good taste.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:25 PM
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53: You tried to make yourself like Rush?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:26 PM
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62: And she smoked Gauloises, which are pure camel dung.

Heh. I had a college roommate from Canada who did this as well. She read a lot of Anais Nin (which I picked up and loved, along with Lawrence Durrell). She listened to Elvis Costello. I'm not putting any particular picture together from these things, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:26 PM
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Some people dig it with me, but it's not because they've got good taste.

Some people will dig anything, just to dig something with you.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:27 PM
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The thing is, 66 is SO TRUE. Especially:

I love the aesthetics of boredom, awkwardness, anxiety;

as the reason behind

I've been told so many times that *I'm* aesthetically brain-damaged.

Said with as much love as possible.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:28 PM
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69: We can invite her to join us at Alinea, if you want.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:29 PM
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69: It's because I look so happy digging! It's true!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:30 PM
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OT: Where's the love for Walter Cronkite, people??? Are you all too young to care? The man fucking came back from covering Viet Nam and told the American people that the war was unwinnable, which was pretty much the first time anyone had told the truth about the damned thing, and the first time a reporter had had the balls to step out from behind "neutral" to honest.

Of course, you all are too young to care [sigh]. And you don't remember the Fish, either. Ah, phuck, tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:31 PM
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And you don't remember the Fish, either.

It's spelled Phish, sheesh.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:32 PM
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Sorry...I thought Walter Cronkite had died 15 years ago.

And you don't remember the Fish, either.

Abe Vigoda died too?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:33 PM
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I was very excited by the first Hole album, so I got a friend of mine to sit down and listen to the whole thing. After it was over, she said "I'm glad that something like this exists, but I never want to listen to it again." I think it made her ears bleed.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:33 PM
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67: I did. I knew a bunch of rock musicians at the time, getting degrees in music and everything! They were into and respected Rush, played some Rush cover tunes; the vocalist strived to manage Geddy Lee's vocals, the drummer could handle Neil Peart's drumming. It wasn't easy, and I had enough musical training (just in piano) that I recognized that, so I tried.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:34 PM
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Oh, and pretty much anything with Cookie Monster vocals. Can't take it seriously.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:34 PM
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Oh, and pretty much anything with Cookie Monster vocals. Can't take it seriously

But... Any artist who has performed on Sesame Street gets automatic bonus points from me.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:36 PM
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59: They don't all sound the same: genre hopping is happening all the time. You're just focusing on superficial features, like the dynamic changes.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:37 PM
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But did any of you know that Walter Cronkite once played drums next to Mike Gordon of Phish?


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:41 PM
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WALTER CRONJKITE WAS THE ORIGINAL DRUMMER FOR STEELY DAN. WHO KNEW HE WOULD OUTLIVE THE OTHER TWO MEMNBERS?!


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:42 PM
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And did any of you know that when the guy from Blind Melon died, there was a guy on my hall freshman year who wandered in angst, moaning, "First Jerry Garcia dies...and now this!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:44 PM
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Oh, and pretty much anything with Cookie Monster vocals. Can't take it seriously.

I've never grasped what aspects of metal are meant to be taken seriously versus which are self-consciously campy.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:49 PM
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Like, when people write death metal songs about necrophilia, I'm pretty sure they're not taking themselves too seriously.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:50 PM
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Totally OT: When you're with a close friend with whom you've had years of conversation and they start a story with "Did I ever tell you about the time when [whatever]?" what are you supposed to say, given that the topic is something you've discussed before but one doesn't know what particular story the friend wants to tell? I tried both, and they went like this:

Friend: Did I ever tell you about the crazy summer I had the first year I went to camp?
Me: Yes!
Friend: [clearly stymied] Well, um.
Me: You showed me pictures! It was crazy!
[We eventually establish that the particular story she has in mind is one I don't know.]

Friend: Did I ever tell you about my first boyfriend in high school?
Me: [Fairly sure I remember some things, but decide to be safe and say no] Uh-huh.
Friend: Oh. Are you sure? I thought we were just talking about him last week. Huh, OK, well...
[We eventually decide that I just drink too much and have a poor memory.]

Is "Did I ever tell you?" one of those things like "How are you?" that you're not really supposed to answer? It doesn't seem like there's any way to do it without being insulting.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 6:56 PM
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Rob, if you want to, go ahead. I don't even understand what people like about this Double Nickels, and I'm curious to learn. (Including people whose musical tastes I otherwise share -- like the guy who introduced me to "In the Aeroplane over the Sea" and was all effusive over it and it's my favorite album ever.)


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:00 PM
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66 -- I also assume that my tastes in music are distinctly unusual and that it generally takes some work to get other people to appreciate the things I like. I try to be silly, enthusiastic, and ironic about my tastes but I know that I am also overly earnest at times.

I certainly don't think that anyone who disagrees with my tastes in music is wrong, but I do have moments when I just want so badly to be able to communicate about what I like.

So it may just be a sensitive topic for me.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:00 PM
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what are you supposed to say

"I dunno. Maybe."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:04 PM
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89: That also seems like a trap. It makes it sound like you don't care. One wants, in this circumstance, to respond to what is clearly an anxious hedge in case I am not interested in listening to the story, by encouraging the telling of it without denying knowledge of the context or implying that one already knows what the friend will say.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:06 PM
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83: Who the hell is Blind Melon?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:07 PM
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Neil: This conversation might not work out. When I think "Albums my friends like that I just don't get at all" one of the first ones that comes to mind is "In the Aeroplane over the Sea." In fact, "In the Aeroplane over the Sea" genuinely bugs me.

My first thought was that our difference came from the relative importance of melody. NMH is definitely more melodic than the Minutemen. But I normally need strong melodies. I'm just able to make exceptions.

It may be a matter of ambition. Double Nickels doesn't try to do much, yet accomplishes so much. "In the Aeroplane over the Sea" screams "Rock Opera."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:08 PM
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91: The one Blind Melon song you're likely to have heard.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:11 PM
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91: They had that one song with the Bee Girl in the video.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:12 PM
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Where's the love for Walter Cronkite, people?

The most interesting thing I've learned so far is that he apparently he went on a mission on a B-17 over Germany *before* the US had established air superiority. Talk about your firsthand reporting. (I don't remember where I read that -- maybe Roy Edroso.)

Are you all too young?

Oddly enough, my immediate thought upon hearing the news was, "My mother would have been so sad." It made it feel much more personal, since I'm fairly certain I never saw any of Cronkite's work myself.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:12 PM
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83: Who the hell is Blind Melon?

Here, let me google that for you.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:13 PM
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AWB, Apo's answer is a trap? Don't you just say, "I don't know. Try me!" and then if you've heard it you say, "Oh yeah! I love this story. Didn't the X end up doing Y?"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:13 PM
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86: Just go with: "Well, I remember you were telling me... " Just enough to leave the door open for them to talk about what they want to talk about while still signaling that you (try to) pay attention and remember the things they tell you.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:14 PM
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I remember Cronkite saying how many days the hostages had been held in Iran at the end of the news, but not much else beyond that. I think I was 12 when he retired.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:15 PM
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54: I spent last night coming to terms with BrokenCyde and related bands. The entire source of people's alarm and disgust is that these bands are on metal record labels, which is a strange historical anomaly and does not imply that they will draw fans away from actual metal bands.

I wasn't offended by them, myself. I thought they were a very bad metal band, the descendents of bad hair bands.

Also, Coldplay sounds like Ice House to me. And Ice House is muzak for people who wish to be artsy.

max
['Well, after reading this thread, I have a strong urge to make a record of punk covers of Patsy Cline tunes.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:16 PM
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punk covers of Patsy Cline tunes

There's this, the X-Patsy's. I saw them play. They were great. Not punk exactly.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:19 PM
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I can understand a band's appeal perfectly well and still hate them. It's not hard to discern the function that Korn or Limp Bizkit or Nickelback or Marilyn Manson serve(d) for the fanbase -- and in the case of a couple of those there's some discernible musicianship and/or thought going on, so good for them -- but this doesn't mean they're ultimately doing anything particularly great for music.

There's other bad music whose appeal is more inscrutable, so much so that it seems there must be something other than the music itself at work. In this category I've got 50 Cent (whose flow is so obviously weak I have to suspect he owed his marketability to the image Dre created for him), much of the Black-Eyed Peas' output in the Fergie era ("My Humps" is one of the most inscrutable pop moments of all time), Soulja Boy, T-Pain, P-Diddy, large swathes of pop-punk (Avril Lavigne is as obviously a manufactured pop confection as the Spice Girls ever were) and considerable amounts of contemporary Nashville country.

Then there's the music that's just alien enough that I haven't been able to get my head around it yet. Often I find it's just a matter of listening to enough of it -- listening in the right kind of setting often helps -- before it clicks and I can enjoy it. I found MIA off-putting at first but eventually came around, and I have a feeling I'll eventually be able to understand Baile funk.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:19 PM
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50 Cent (whose flow is so obviously weak I have to suspect he owed his marketability to the image Dre created for him),

Seriously.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:21 PM
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Maybe the DE meant The Fish as in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fish

I'd ask but I'm in mourning for Walter.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:22 PM
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92: Huh. To me, "rock opera" implies a lot of stylistic things and I don't see lo-fi, acoustic-guitar-heavy stuff like In the Aeroplane Over the Sea fitting the term.

I also think the album is brilliant, but de gustibus. (It's also one of those albums that, for me, is highly associated with a particular time and place.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:23 PM
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93: Gotcha.

96: Neb, I was jokingly alluding to differences in the realms of music people are acquainted with.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:24 PM
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101: There's this, the X-Patsy's. I saw them play. They were great. Not punk exactly.

Listening. {blink} Well, that was short! Intriguing tho.

max
['NB: I like music that sounds like a cat being fed through a tree-chipper, so obviously, I'm hopeless.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:24 PM
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That may have been your intention.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:24 PM
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I found MIA off-putting at first but eventually came around,

Me too. I feel like it was only recently that I started to enjoy her, and now I really really do.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:25 PM
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To DS, let me suggest that discerning the function a band plays for its fanbase, and understanding the band's appeal, are not quite the same thing.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:26 PM
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107: The X-Patsy's is Barbara Sukowa and Robert Longo doing punk-inflected Weimar-cabaretish rock versions of Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, etc. They've only performed in public a handful of times, but a friend was briefly their bassist. It's a pretty stunning show.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:29 PM
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a record of punk covers of Patsy Cline tunes

Funny you should mention this. I mentioned to AWB recently that I was working on a project of a sort of country-punk nature, and she and her assembled friends agreed that The War of Southern Aggression wasn't a very good band name. (Also recently conceived of and immediately nixed by me was The Stonewall Jackson Five.)

Unrelatedly, was Blind Melon's drummer really left-handed? That's some annoying shit (you know, if you're a right-handed drummer gigging with him, which I'm obviously not).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:34 PM
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112: I think my friends and I did agree, though, that it would be a great album name.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:36 PM
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113: Indeed, you did. I should have clarified that point. I swear I'm not trying to turn this into another band-name thread. Nope, not me.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:37 PM
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The Stonewall Jackson Five

Young kids performing at a gay bar?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:38 PM
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I wasn't offended by them, myself. I thought they were a very bad metal band, the descendents of bad hair bands.

Why? They are actually a very bad rap band. With a guy yelling occasionally.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:39 PM
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112: Funny you should mention this. I mentioned to AWB recently that I was working on a project of a sort of country-punk nature, and she and her assembled friends agreed that The War of Southern Aggression wasn't a very good band name. (Also recently conceived of and immediately nixed by me was The Stonewall Jackson Five.)

Sunken Road would be my first choice. With maybe the Peach Orchard coming up next.

Country-punk, ala X or something?

max
['Are you trying for obscure but cool, or loud and proud?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:41 PM
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Mrs Lincoln and the But Other Than That How Did You Like The Plays
Sherman Alexei's March


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:44 PM
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116: Why? They are actually a very bad rap band. With a guy yelling occasionally.

Well, rap metal. Tunetastically, they sound like speedmetal to me, with rap lyrics worthy of ... whatever that band was that did Cherry Pie.

max
['I can't remember because they suck.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:44 PM
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Country-punk, ala X or something?

A bit too early on to say. There are about ten different people and ten different visions for where we might go. I think in the end it's going to split off into two different things, but one bassist I suggested, who's played a lot of punk music, specifically said he wanted to do punk covers of Patsy Cline songs.

Some of the more country-based folks are like, "Hey, put a punk-ish drum beat behind this Johnny Cash song. Let's see what happens."

It's sort of a side-project thing for everyone.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:45 PM
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Sweat, Piss, Jizz, Blood


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:45 PM
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(source for 121)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 7:47 PM
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I can relate to the whole "becoming less vocal about your taste in music as you get older angle". I'll add that I've also become less likely to say I like a certain artist than to say I like a certain album or song. Like, Coldplay's first two albums are great IMHO, but the rest is just painful.

As a result, these days I find myself telling people to "listen to this album if you get the chance". If they like it, surely they'll say something and we can jump around in excitement together. If they don't, it's just as well.



Posted by: liquido | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 8:06 PM
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120: I think in the end it's going to split off into two different things, but one bassist I suggested, who's played a lot of punk music, specifically said he wanted to do punk covers of Patsy Cline songs.

Well, in the end (no, not 'in the ned'), punk punk is a guitar thing, so there are lots of speedy, thumpity riffs he could do that wouldn't neccessary be punk. I think that sentence made sense.

Some of the more country-based folks are like, "Hey, put a punk-ish drum beat behind this Johnny Cash song. Let's see what happens."

Well, Johnny Cash was into that sort of thing, so that should work. I think there's already a punk version of Ring of Fire, though.

For some reason, this thread made me want to find N.U.D. by Borghesia, but sadly only that clip is online. The Hot Trash mix isn't.

max
['No, I have no fuckin' idea what he's saying, why do ask?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 8:10 PM
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Where's the love for Walter Cronkite, people?

I miss Walter. I was a weird kid, so I watched the evening news. All the stuff in the late 60s and through the 70s is linked with Cronkite. Especially Apollo 11.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 8:16 PM
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The Professional ...Digby is very good on Cronkite, who worked when an anchor's job was the news, not ratings.

He really did seem to represent that straight arrow, all American decent good fellow that the pale imitations like Tim Russert and his league of phony sycophants pretend to be.

I remember the Kennedy asassination. Shit, I remember "You Are There" and "Twentieth Century" I learned some history before age ten from those shows.

Cronkite's voice cracked and eyes misted when he reported Kennedy's death, and he was embarrassed for it. UP for a decade I think. A fucking reporter, the real thing, without ego on the air.

I was going to say something about seeing the 60's thru Cronkite's eyes, but I really can't find the right words.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 8:51 PM
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The mystery of the Black-Eyed Peas is that "My Humps" is the worst song ever made, and yet "Let's Get It Started" is the best song ever made.

Avril Lavigne was designed in a laboratory to be (for a certain section of the population) that cool girlfriend you always wished you had. I imagine that the megacorporation running the breeding program identified the secret of Liz Phair's appeal, and thought "we can recreate that in a multiplatinum form".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 9:27 PM
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86: "Tell me and I'll stop you if I remember."


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 9:36 PM
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92: Well, you're definitely right about the melody thing, Rob -- melody is pretty much essential for me.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 9:45 PM
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I completely love "My Humps". Not as completely as I love "Glamorous" though. That is maybe my favorite song of that year. The flossy, flossy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 9:48 PM
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You love bad things, heebie. You probably loved putting bugs in your mouth when you were a child.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 10:06 PM
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renfield-geebie.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 10:18 PM
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112: The Farb* Five.

*Yes, I'm in the middle of reading Confederates in the Attic, why do you ask? Highly recommended (and several have done so here, I think Jackmormon was the most recent).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 10:20 PM
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I have a strong urge to make a record of punk covers of Patsy Cline tunes.

Mike Ness? Is that you?

I think there's already a punk version of Ring of Fire, though.

By Social Distortion... fronted by Mike Ness.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 10:36 PM
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Yes, I'm in the middle of reading Confederates in the Attic, why do you ask?

Me too! Fascinating, but depressing.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 10:41 PM
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I remember lying down (it was highschool; most music was listened to from the bed) and teaching myself to enjoy Fugazi. Like teaching myself how to smoke (though that came much later). I had quite a few friends who were into punk or hardcore, and I was generally fine with not getting it. With Fugazi, I knew there was something really good if I could acclimate to the heady intensity of the sonic assault. Of course I came to love them. Expanding your aural palette changes the way everything else sounds too. I still don't want to listen to, say, Naked Raygun, but not it's because they're boring rather than trying to hurt me.

130 makes me sad. How could you do that to Ludacris?


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 10:45 PM
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not now


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 10:46 PM
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I've never gotten the intensity with which some people fixate on certain musicians. Nor the attempts to 'convert' people to them, perhaps with the exception of cohabiting couples where it's good to have at least tolerance for the music you really like. Like AWB my ex hated Dylan in spite of a pretty broad musical taste. I got her to the point of tolerating it once every month or two, and didn't care beyond that. That's as opposed to wanting friends to give something a chance - just listen through once, still hate it, ok. No big deal. But I never went through the music as identity thing. Lit yes, but not music.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 11:07 PM
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The one band like this for me (at least that seems to have some sort of musical merit) is Wilco. I tried, didn't get into the CD, sold it, then later bought another super-highly-regarded one and had the exact same experience.

RHCP was only interesting through about a third of Blood Sugar Sex Magic (the other two thirds are just the same songs with different lyrics). Oasis was never interesting at all, it turned out. Pearl Jam was overrated except for Ten, and no matter what anyone says Eddie Vedder is a lousy singer.

In general I think more recent bands are so constrained by record labels and the marketing imperative that they can neither rise nor sink to their true level (e.g. The Killers, who can seem very clever but who still fail to make much of an impression -- see also the Scissors Sisters, who were much more entertaining live than their CD led me to expect).


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 11:30 PM
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134: I assure you that several of the assembled musicians of the project I mentioned are aware of and fans of "Social D.", the name by which I first knew them in the seventh grade, when my uncle would play them in the basement, shouting, "Hey der, tough guy! Dat's Social D! And don't you forget it!"

In fact, Josh, are you my uncle? And am I on your lawn?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 11:50 PM
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Mashups can work wonders showing a song in new and favourable ways.

Bollywood Michael Jackson


Posted by: MC Econolicious | Link to this comment | 07-18-09 11:53 PM
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WRT the original question, expanded to a sub-genre - bebop. I like pre bebop jazz, I like the various post bebop styles, even hard bop. But I just don't get Charlie Parker, Dizzy, et al. I guess if you consider early Monk bop that would be an exception. But anyways, I should, and I imagine I could. Related, I've been trying to like the Ganelin Trio, been listening to Ancora Da Capo, and, nope. More effort needed


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 12:44 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 3:47 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 4:05 AM
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On the original post, it occurs to me that at one point, I thought that I should really like Sleater-Kinney. I bought Call the Doctor, which I did not like, and I eventually sold it back to a used CD store. Then I saw them on Letterman and I thought they were terrific. What should I do now, Carrie Brownstein?


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 5:55 AM
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The more interesting category is bands that everybody hates (Brownstein mentions Nickelback and Limp Bizkit) but actually aren't that bad. I always liked the sound Durst's voice . . . I think Slate had an article saying that Limp Bizkit isn't as bad as you think.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 7:06 AM
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145: Well, depending on when you saw them on Letterman (and if you're being serious), I'd say the easiest thing would be to pick up One Beat or The Woods. There was a pretty big stylistic change between Sleater-Kinney's first few albums (including Call The Doctor) and their last two in the early-to-mid 2000s. Their later stuff went more melodic and longer-length than the early, fairly straight-up punk.

Worth checking out!


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 8:01 AM
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Thanks Po-Mo Polymath!


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 8:21 AM
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Incidentally, this must be what I saw on Letterman, and I still think it's pretty great.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 9:33 AM
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I blame the youth.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 10:01 AM
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I've made a half-hearted effort to develop a taste for bluegrass based on repeated urgings to do so by people who think that because I like jazz, and jazz has improvisation, and bluegrass has improvisation, that I should therefore like bluegrass. I've gotten as far as kind of understanding why other people might like bluegrass without wanting to listen to any more of it myself. Same thing with "early music," too actually, although I didn't have the will to try very hard at all with that stuff.

As for Dylan, isn't it basically just about the lyrics? If you pay attention to lyrics, then Dylan is, potentially, a poet and great and all. If, like me, you don't pay attention to lyrics, then he's a guy with a comically bad singing voice playing respectable but simple songs.


Posted by: piminnowcheez | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 10:15 AM
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"The Hot Rock" and "One Beat" combine the good aspects of their early and late styles. I guess what I mean by that is that I thought they were constantly improving, until "The Woods", which was too wussy.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 10:15 AM
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I do think going to see a musician or group live is a good way to potentially jumpstart stalled appreciation. Even if it does not make you a fan, it can show you what the fuss is about. An extreme example for me was seeing Barry Manilow sometime in the '70s. It was a great show (including his commercial jingle medley), not that it made ever want to listen to his music in any other context. Similarly, one of the most memorable concerts of my life was seeing the Jerry Garcia Band in a great venue (a chapel/concert hall), even though I was lukewarm on his music. I suspect Phish is another "got to see them live" groups.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 10:28 AM
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until "The Woods", which was too wussy.

The song they played on Letterman is from The Woods, and that seems plenty hard to me. Is it more mellow on the album? Maybe wussy Sleater-Kinney is the Sleater-Kinney for me.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 10:45 AM
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The Hot Rock and All Hands on the Bad One are my favorite S-K albums, though "Little Babbies" from Dig Me Out is one of my favorite songs ever. One Beat was too repetitive for me (you have Janet Weiss right there, why are you having her play the same rhythm all the time?). The Woods isn't less hard, its just hard in a different way, and a bit all over the place for my tastes. It's on my list of albums to try again later.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 11:23 AM
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I've made a half-hearted effort to develop a taste for bluegrass

If you ever want more recommendations, let me know. I don't listen to a lot of bluegrass, but I have a half-dozen or things I could recommend that are not necessarily typical bluegrass, but very good.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 12:57 PM
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91: Blind Melon is Blind Lemon Jefferson's dyslexic brother.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 1:24 PM
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Semi-OT, I am really in love with this song right now.

It does relate to the original post, since I originally listened to it as part of a project to try to gain some familiarity with a genre (hip-hop) that I had almost no experience with or affection for.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 1:31 PM
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Appreciate


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 1:57 PM
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It requires a lot of disbelief-suspension for me to accept that members of RHCP are playing Beefheart.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 2:16 PM
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Why? Captain Beefheart has got to be the most famous obscure artist of all time. Even I have Trout Mask Replica, and otherwise my collection consists of Toto IV, the complete works of Rush, and two hours off the radio that I accidentally taped six years ago.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 2:59 PM
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158: Loving this. Thanks for the link.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 5:37 PM
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This red hot chili pepper version of a simon and garfunkle song is pretty good:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCKj9byd1iQ


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 6:47 PM
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The one band like this for me (at least that seems to have some sort of musical merit) is Wilco. I tried, didn't get into the CD, sold it, then later bought another super-highly-regarded one and had the exact same experience.

If you want a trick way into Wilco, and you like either Billy Bragg or Woody Guthrie, try Mermaid Avenue (vol. 1).


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 07-19-09 6:49 PM
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What bands are hard for you to understand the attraction? Have you truly given them a shot? Is there any way you could see yourself coming around?

R.E.M. and the Smiths. Tried to like them, have listened to both bands' albums, could see why others like them but still came to the conclusion that they're not for me. And part of that is because both Michael Stipe and Morrisey are utter cocks.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 1:13 AM
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151.1 resonates with me. I'm a jazz/blues afficionado who simply can't be doing with any kind of country at all, although go knows I've tried. But I understand that bluegrass is the best of the bunch. (I like early music, though, if you don't mean pre-16th century).

The Dylan thing is generational. If you're old enough to have been listening to music before 1965 you remember how banal most of it was, and how Dylan essentially gave the whole scene permission to grow up a little. John Lennon more or less said as much at the time. That said, in retrospect he has made about three albums' worth of top class material in a 47 year recording career, which is not a great hit rate. And most of those were written between 1964 and 1966.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 2:23 AM
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No one really hates Phish because of Phish's music. The music itself is mostly inoffensive, if sometimes noodling. This kind of thing, for example, isn't very good, but it is near-identical to a certain strain of indie rock that is current (and whose fans would never cop to liking Phish).

What people hate is the preppy/hippy scene that was and is around Phish. And with good reason. I never liked Phish much, but was around at the time and place its fan base was forming -- Phish, then a totally unknown group, played a high school dance at my (second) high school in 1990, and three years later, I knew people who were following the band.

The story of Phish's cult is the "first as tragedy, then as farce" story of the desperate desire to perpetuate the increasingly obnoxious scene of prep school white hippies that had taken to following the Grateful Dead in the 1980s into the 1990s and beyond. If you were the younger prep school brother or sister of an older brother Deadhead in 1993, and wanted to continue to get stoned and drop acid with a giant tribe, Phish was pretty much your only option. But where Deadheads were simply annoyingly cultish hippies (and at least were devoted to a band that had, at one point, been truly great), becoming a hysterical, touring follower of Phish was simply ridiculous. So people became wildly over-devoted to an incredibly mediocre band, all in the hope of perpetuating a scene that was becoming more uncool and ridiculous by the second in the 1990s and 2000s. Hence, the total ridicule of Phish fans by everyone else. The actual music isn't actually that bad. though; not that good, either, but that's not really the point for either Phish's fans or its detractors.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 2:44 AM
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And since part of the fun of this thread is to pimp for music appreciation in oft-reviled genres, let me just say that the four great thrash-metal bands of the 1980s (Metallica, Megadeath, Anthrax, and Slayer) put out some absolutely incredible work that I sincerely think most music fans would love with enough of a listen, but people who don't call themselves metal fans won't ever listen to because of the cultural baggage. I'd add Iron Maiden to this category as well.

Of course, metal has always been about playing up its underdog status and saying fuck you to the smart kids, so it only has itself to blame if the smart kids are actually repulsed.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 2:56 AM
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Oh fuck. I mispelled "Megadeth."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 2:58 AM
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169. As one whose knowledge of thrash-metal equals my knowledge of quantum chromodynamics, did the band Megadeth come before or after "Lemmings", and if after, do they acknowledge the reference?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 3:10 AM
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Came after. Dunno about the relationship. Metal usually has a pretty good sense of humor about itself. On the other hand, the more likely band name origin story is that Dave Mustaine drank three quarts of Jim Beam, did some speedballs, and then decided that calling his new group Megadeth would totally fucking rock.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 3:20 AM
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I agree with Halford in 167.

I had spent a fair amount of time going to Dead shows, but even the "scene" there was increasingly obnoxious.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 9:14 AM
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As one whose knowledge of thrash-metal equals my knowledge of quantum chromodynamics

Hee. Quantum chromodynamics is better than you think; don't let all the hipsters who are all snooty about it put you off.

(I'm sure I know at least one person who is deeply knowledgeable about both thrash metal and QCD.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 9:34 AM
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If you want a trick way into Wilco

consider friend of blog Catherine?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 9:41 AM
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Since there are now two people who have mentioned bluegrass, that got me to take a look. Having previously recommended Wayne Henderson, this is a very nice example of his playing, and the sound quality on the recording seems quite good.

He has an impressive ability to improvise complicated structures while being completely casual, relaxed, and unhurried. He can fit notes into really small spaces without sounding like he's in the slightest bit of a hurry.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 9:42 AM
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If you want a trick way into Wilco, and you like either Billy Bragg or Woody Guthrie, try Mermaid Avenue (vol. 1).

I tried that, specifically as a way to get into Wilco, and it just convinced me that I liked Billy Bragg much better than Wilco.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 9:43 AM
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Yesterday I downloaded the new Dirty Projectors album, which is really good, but somewhat different from the previous albums by having more pop-like sensibilities without sacrificing much of the idiosyncratic musical choices. I read a bunch of reviews of it, and they all acknowledge the fact that some people really, really hated earlier DPs for being super-pretentious wankery. Sometimes the reviewer himself acknowledges this was his attitude toward the earlier work. In all of them, they say, basically, yeah, Bitte Orca is one of the greatest albums released this year, if not the past several years, and that you'll like it a lot.

Some say, "You'll listen to this and then go back and listen to other DPs records and finally 'get' them. You were wrong and just won't realize it until now."

Some say, "I hated all previous DPs but I grudgingly admit that this one is amazing, even though the intellectualism of the composition still irritates me."

It strikes me as a uniquely intense conversation. Usually, if a band finally puts out a really likable album, one just says, "The previous work was uneven, but this one is really great." Here, the question seems to be whether the previous work is somehow itself vindicated by the new album, and it always was great but you have to learn to appreciate how good it was. Also, if you didn't like earlier DPs, it's because you're bigoted against smart, talented people.

Interestingly, I've seen no one complain that the new album is "too accessible," and longing for the weirdness of the old stuff, which is usually the case when something like this happens. Everyone agrees this is the best they've put out. But even in that, it creates this weird hostility in both the people who always loved DPs and those who hated them.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 9:56 AM
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I long for the old stuff, which I didn't find weird, but also I like the new one. I don't, however, agree that it's the best they put out.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 9:58 AM
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178: I also long for the old stuff. I think music reviewers are in a particularly interesting position here that you and I aren't as listeners, in that they're trying to position their response to the album within a framework of what people listen to or like, and within a narrative of the band's work.

There are also a few comments on some of the reviews by people who hate Bitte Orca, but, again, they're not reviewers.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 10:02 AM
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Uh, endtag.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 10:02 AM
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A bad review (I mean that as a review, it's bad).


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 10:07 AM
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181: Ha! That's hilarious. There's another one, that I should again find and link, in which the writer admits that the reason he's always been anti-DPs (but still really likes BO) is that he once sat down with Longstreth and DL knew way more about music than he did and he felt pretty humiliated, and so figures that DL is an "unempathic" guy who doesn't care if his genius hurts people's feelings. Also, he didn't cry while listening to BO, so it can't be that good.

Oh, it's here. Pretty funny reading. We prefer our rock musicians to be morons who sit there and say, "Oh, I dunno, I guess I just play music I like!"


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 10:17 AM
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from review linked in 182 I could tell you about every little, gorgeous detail and it would take me all day, maybe longer. I could tell you everything in wide-eyed wonder, everything apart from where exactly the heart is. Or maybe that's unfair, but y'know, dazzling as it is, Bitte Orca isn't a record that'll reduce many to tears, except perhaps of awe. But when something's so astonishing in every other respect, we can allow for that.

AWB's paraphrase "Also, he didn't cry while listening to BO, so it can't be that good."

You guys are so unfair to music critics....


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 10:35 AM
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"You guys"?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 10:36 AM
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I guess I'm pretty irritated by the idea that it's a strike against a musician if he knows what he's doing. Maybe it's because when I teach poetry, students always ask if the poet could have "really" been thinking about things like meter and the intricacies of complex rhyme schemes, because isn't it really just about feeling? And I'm always saying, over and over, that while there is technically decent poetry that fails because it's not good enough in its deployment of imagery or whatever, technical excellence is a huge part of what we experience in a great poem as emotionally affecting. There are always things about great poems or great music that the composer/performer knows that the average (or even informed) reader/listener doesn't. And it's always an irritating pose, to me, when a writer or musician is asked why or how they wrote something and they say, "I dunno; I just wrote what I felt." That's bullshit.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 10:46 AM
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I guess I'm pretty irritated by the idea that it's a strike against a musician if he knows what he's doing.

That seems to me like a pretty wild extrapolation from the content of the review that you linked.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 10:54 AM
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I saw the dirty projectors when they came around to the independent this month. Even though they were good when I saw them on the last tour, they are getting better as a live band.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 11:01 AM
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181 is a better example of what I'm talking about, especially as a response to the therein-linked NYT interview. I'm probably being unfair, in part because the music reviewer is in the weird position of mediating between art and the public, acknowledging potential reasons why the work may grate or be unsatisfying.

I recently read a NYT review of a long, depressing play in which the reviewer said it's really terrific but one should be aware that there's not much action, it's four hours long, and everyone in it is miserable. The first comment was from a grumpy person saying, of course it's long and miserable and not much happens; that's the point, and why are you apologizing for it if you acknowledge that it's such a great play? I think that may be part of the problem of the reviewer in 182. In acknowledging that it may be overly technical for most listeners, he comes off as sounding like he himself resents it, even though he clearly wants to praise it.

That said, reviewing is not a job I would enjoy or be good at, in part because it forces one to react not as an individual, but as a mediator for a potentially irritable and easily bored public. I can't decide whether Michiko Kakutani is really a moron who is easily bored or whether she's looking out for a public readership who she imagines is moronic and easily bored.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 11:10 AM
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I saw the dirty projectors when they came around to the independent this month

Asshole.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 11:17 AM
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181 is a better example of what I'm talking about, especially as a response to the therein-linked NYT interview. . . . That said, reviewing is not a job I would enjoy or be good at, in part because it forces one to react not as an individual, but as a mediator for a potentially irritable and easily bored public.

I agree that 181 seems churlish. As Spider Robinson wrote, in a different context, "To heap scorn and abuse on a book one doesn't happen to be excited about, on the grounds of its thoroughness, is the mark of an amateur playing to the bloodthirsty." I think you can say the same thing about a reviewer attacking an album they don't particularly like for being too ambitious, too serious, and too committed to a certain concept.

That said, it does seem like he is quite explicitly reacting as an individual. The one thing the review tells you is that Bill Meyer thinks David Longstreth is annoying. Beyond that it doesn't offer much assistance to any reading trying to decide if they will like the album.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 11:38 AM
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I'm moronic and easily bored, and yet I find Kakutani's reviews irritating. It's like a critic can't win.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 11:44 AM
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Also along these lines, nosflow is a great DJ but a terrible music reviewer, and that seems like a sign of good character to me.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 11:44 AM
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I recently read a NYT review of a long, depressing play in which the reviewer said it's really terrific

Are you talking about Charles Isherwoods's review of KALKWERK? http://theater2.nytimes.com/2009/07/16/theater/reviews/16kalkwerk.html?ref=theaterreviews
Isn't it obvious he was bored out of his mind? I don't think he ever says anything to suggest that it is "really terrific"?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 11:51 AM
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Take 2 on 194

I recently read a NYT review of a long, depressing play in which the reviewer said it's really terrific

Are you talking about Charles Isherwoods's review of KALKWERK? http://theater2.nytimes.com/2009/07/16/theater/reviews/16kalkwerk.html?ref=theaterreviews
Isn't it obvious he was bored out of his mind? I don't think he ever says anything to suggest that it is "really terrific"?



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 11:52 AM
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Since I have the text available, Spider Robinson's distinction between a critic and a reviewer seems relevent:

"Here's a good question," [Jim Baen] said. "What's the difference between a critic and a book reviewer?"
I thought about it. "I guess I'd say a critic is someone who evaluates books in terms of the objective standards of serious literature. A reviewer is someone who believes those standards to be either imaginary or irrelevant, and evaluates books in terms of his own prejudices."
"Say it simpler."
I was itching to get back to my little basement writingnook. "Uh. -. . a critic tells you whether or not it's Art; a reviewer tells you whether or not it's any damn good to read."

Also along these lines, nosflow is a great DJ but a terrible music reviewer, and that seems like a sign of good character to me.

Wait a second. Nosflow's good character is evident in a multitude of ways, but if this implies that the ability (or desire?) to write clearly about music is a sign of lack of character then I object.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 11:54 AM
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I have to go write my dissertation right now, but I'll go ahead and concede on all these points. Sorry to wuss out, but I promised myself I'd start writing at 2.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 11:58 AM
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196: Geesh....you're making me think maybe I should do my job....

And I guess that means you also concede to my unwritten point that you are completely wrong about Bob Dylan.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 12:00 PM
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And it's always an irritating pose, to me, when a writer or musician is asked why or how they wrote something and they say, "I dunno; I just wrote what I felt." That's bullshit.

Part of the reason writers or musicians say that is because they feel vulnerable by what is revealed, or what appears to be revealed, by their work. That isn't a problem if you can say something like this:

For the lyrics to "Stillness Is the Move" Mr. Longstreth had Ms. Coffman watch the Wim Wenders film "Wings of Desire" and write down lines of dialogue that intrigued her; other lyrics were drawn from an Excel spreadsheet of hundreds of pop clich├ęs.



Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 12:02 PM
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The only venue in which I've reviewed anything, officially, is for KZSU and (back in the day) WHPK, and those reviews have a rather specialized purpose.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 12:41 PM
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"What's the difference between a critic and a book reviewer?"

This seems like a very silly question.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 12:44 PM
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"What's the difference between a critic and a book reviewer?"

This seems like a very silly question.

Nevertheless, his answer succeeded in getting Spider Robinson the job -- a job that barely paid, and that he hadn't been looking for.

Knowing that might make it appear more or less silly.

Really, though, Robinson's answer is quite similar to the Oscar Wilde quotation "The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 12:51 PM
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bluegrass...If you ever want more recommendations

If I gave the impression that I ever intended to listen to any more bluegrass, I regret the error.

My only contribution to the criticism discussion is that it seems obvious to me that whether or not a musician, or any other kind of artist, knows what they're doing, they are rarely the source of the most interesting things to be said about their work.


Posted by: piminnowcheez | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 12:58 PM
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If I gave the impression that I ever intended to listen to any more bluegrass, I regret the error.

Aw . . . I can't even get you to click on the video in 175 out of mild curiosity?

I understand.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 1:02 PM
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Nevertheless, his answer succeeded in getting Spider Robinson the job

Which, probably, "that's a silly question" wouldn't have done.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-20-09 1:15 PM
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Citing Spider Robinson? That really is a reverse .


let me just say that the four great thrash-metal bands of the 1980s (Metallica, Megadeath, Anthrax, and Slayer) put out some absolutely incredible work that I sincerely think most music fans would love with enough of a listen

This.

'Maiden not so much, as what you hear is pretty much what you get. If you like them, you have to like them for what they are, not for any hidden musical or artistic depths; there aren't any.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 07-21-09 12:12 AM
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Citing Spider Robinson? That really is a reverse .

I've always said that some of Spider's writing is quite good and the quoted essay, "Spider vs. the Hax of Sol III" is one of my favorites.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-21-09 9:32 AM
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That was supposed to read "a reverse Annie Hall". Not sure what happened there.

I liked Spider's reviews when I first read them at 12, but then that was largely because I liked anything sf related. Looking back at them he. was. so. wrong.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 07-22-09 12:04 AM
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I liked Spider's reviews when I first read them at 12, but then that was largely because I liked anything sf related. Looking back at them he. was. so. wrong.

This may be slowest moving conversation possible, but it wasn't an coincidence that I quoted the part where he called himself a horse's ass (okay, technically I quotes the part where he explained why I thought he was a horse's ass).

Most of what I like about that essay is his descriptions of what he was thinking at the time, much of which was wrong.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-22-09 10:40 AM
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