Liz Phair: once an indie darling, she sells out to Hollywood (slamming Chicago in the process as she runs off and tarts herself up for a monstrosity of a major label album), then claims that it was all the label’s fault. I’m not buying it. [via]
My favorite one-stop internet-shop lately has been Fluxtumblr.
This iPod boom box, 80’s style, is pretty much the best thing ever.
With ‘Accelerate,’ R.E.M. Hits Top Speed Again (see what I mean about the R.E.M. story theme?)(Thanks to Erin for the link!)
You said that irony was the shackles of youth, uh-huh.
Much to my girlfriend Erin’s chagrin, all the talk about R.E.M.’s “return to the glory days of Monster” has prompted me to dig out the old REM and see what makes it tick (sorry, hon).
I especially have been thinking about the way that my opinion of them has shifted, the way that my view of Monster keeps changing, and how people can have completely different (and conflicting) views of the same band. What makes R.E.M. a band that I realized I love to my core the way that Erin was gushing about rediscovering Matthew Good Band this weekend?
And more than that, would R.E.M. be that band again?
We rented a car this weekend and when you’re a music nerd, that always translates to “holy shit I have a car in which to play CD’s again,” because wow, sometimes I wonder if I would ever have TRULY liked the Sunset Tree or Len as much as I did because I had a car back then.* Since my driving resides somewhere much closer to “over-cautious grandma” than “reckless speed demon” on the continuum, Erin always drives if we have the option, granting her musical power.**
It also means that when I put Monster on, I was gushing, but I had no idea how much I’d get to hear before she had too much Stipe. I bargained my way to five tracks, because seriously look at this list:
What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?
Crush With Eyeliner
King Of Comedy
I Don’t Sleep, I Dream
The first two tracks made me especially giddy. I couldn’t believe that this album had been living in a random box somewhere in the living room. It felt like fate had decided to let me find this album in the pile, just to brighten an already fun day. From the cheesy, overdone D-to-G-perfection opening, to “oh man ‘Crush’ is about Courtney Love, but then, maybe not?” to the rockin’ out nonsense of “Star 69,” I was beaming. She and I got to talking, and I realized that this album came out when I was sixteen. Sixteen! And it was also one of the first albums that I bought the same day it came out.***
I’m not so great with memorizing things, but somehow music makes such an impression on me that I’ve got a nearly savant-like ability to remember the dates when albums were released. It makes sense I suppose: I’m a musical learner after all, and so it checks that I could remember that that STP album was 1993 and that Soul Asylum one was 1992 and that Flaming Lips album was 2002.
This carries over to mean that I have to filter through what music was playing at the time in order to remember personal dates. So, I know that we were living in the house we built in Marengo because of the fact that I can remember listening to “Black Gold” while cleaning the garage. I know that 8th grade was 1991 because, hello Nirvana (plus Nate listening to Nine Inch Nails from the year before).
So, that means that songs get tied to relationships, of course, of course. There are albums or songs that just naturally end up solidly meaning that person at that time in that place, and there’s nothing I can do about that (nor would I want to, even). I remember how appalled I was when a friend said to me, “you can’t do that you know.” I can’t not do that — I can’t fathom memories not filtered in this way. Maybe that’s another reason why music just means so much.
I’m a veteran of a few long-distance relationships, too, and those songs mailed off to each other, postage to other countries or continents? Even more weight.
This also means, as you might imagine, when a relationship goes south, and stays there, whole albums or songs have to get deleted from the hard drive, figuratively and literally. This doesn’t happen often, though it can be pretty significant.
The Streets’ “Dry Your Eyes” loosely fits in this category.[audio:Dry_Your_Eyes.mp3]
An overly bitter, shockingly honest list of 5 Karaoke Songs that Ladies Should Never Sing as an Attempt at Getting Attention. [via]
Darnielle posted a bit more about his illness; get well soon, eh?
The Sound Opinions South By Southwest wrap-up is always enlightening, plus it includes their take on the new REM.
Even livejournal is good for questions like Can anyone…recommend some more good music on the minimalist/ambient front? Soon, Casey, soon.