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Cross-posting from Tumblr, where cureforbedbugs wrote:

Were you mildly disappointed in the new M.I.A. album even though you kind of liked it, and decided to listen to M.I.A. knock-offs instead and were then disappointed in them, too?

Try THIRD generation M.I.A. knock-off Tkay Maidza, who out-clonestamped Santigold this year, and ALSO gave us a second gen Sant-O-gold and also gives a few hints of, like, is that Kid Sister? – or something. Basically, this album takes all the shit I’ve been kind of rooting for but not feeling for the last five years and just gives me a 100% decent all the way through album of it. Don’t expect anything less than totally derivative, and if that bothers you then, well, I hope you enjoy all of that super original horseshit you’ve got clogging up your year-end lists. 2016 is a nightmare; give me comfort food.
My reply: Haven't made it to the albums, but on this year's singles Tkay Maidza seems to be getting the singsong M.I.A. but not the jumprope or the tunnel-under-the-earth-and-claw-your-face-off M.I.A. Meanwhile, M.I.A. on her own singles (esp. various "Bird Song"s) is sing-songing and face-clawing and excavating like always. And on another meanwhile Tkay Maidza is shining as a sharp-toothed dance diva for Martin Solveig and Motez. And on a couple more meanwhiles, Tymee is still playing it too real and tough but she's truly grabbed me for the first time since she was E.via. And Die Antwoord are an art project disguised as a rodent infestation, but they're outdoing all the aforementioned.



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Want to post something quick with the early east coast polls just closing.

I wrote this last night in about three minutes while waiting to see our therapist:

If Clinton wins I want to go forth with the joy of intellectual argument and dispute. If Trump wins, I may need to forgo this joy in favor of simple support for those engaging in intellectual and practical resistance. —Of course it's hardly either/or. Think of the joy of the intellectual dance step. Soldiers take time to dance. And support and resistance don't lose their pull even if Clinton wins, with danger not quite so pressing.

(Then our therapist ushered us in.)

What was on my mind was what a hero I think Matt Yglesias has been overall at Vox and on his twitter feed, but that he's kind of being a minor jerk whenever he gets snarky about theories of "economic anxiety" and such that are sometimes applied to Trump voters. It's like neither he nor anyone similar knows how to get to an intelligent conversation on the subject, or really knows how to want one. It's not an urgent conversation, but life would be more fun taking the Yglesias types to task than just supporting them shoulder-to-shoulder on the subjects of greater urgency (like urban density, which he's truly smart about, but poses no fun philosophical puzzles). —Really, I believe if done right disputatiousness is an important part of support. But if Clinton wins I'll feel a sigh of relief and think even if the disputatiousness is not done so right, it'll eventually right itself, or something.

But it's important to dance.

Dance to the beat of the living dead.
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I feel emotionally battered by the election, feeling simultaneously vulnerable and malicious, as if I'll be attacked for anything and nothing and I run constant fantasies of going back and settling old scores.

I've been sitting on most of this list for a month now, wondering what to say. I don't know how this music "plays" among the people most affected by it. I'm also not completely sure whom I should consider the "people most affected by it," anyway: thirteen-year-olds uneasily trying to figure out who they are and what other people think of them, and being subjected to this music, to these vids? Kids who when they listen don't see or hear themselves and wonder what's wrong with themselves for not being like it, kids who do see themselves and don't like what they see, kids who like what they hear, like what they see, don't realize they're being set up, kids who are inspired to change themselves, kids who are just having a good time, um [trying to think of positive impacts], kids who grasp these as vehicles for love, for excitement, for conversation, for adventure? I don't know. Kids who like the way they look when they dance to this? Kids who hate the kids who dance to this?

—Why am I privileging "kids" here? ('Cause they're the ones for whom "who am I?" social choices are still fairly open, and influenced.) Why am I still listening to so much kids' stuff, anyway? (Well, other stuff I listen to isn't likely to produce singles.)

But, age 62, wondering why I'm not finding or particularly searching for good music fronted by people my age, two-thirds my age, three-fifths my age, even half my age; or fronted by male people; or explicitly political from the political Left.

I hardly ever visit the lyrics translation sites,* if the lyrics would provide much of a hint.

So I'm not doing much research, am I? Just sitting around wondering.

Locker room talk: I was molested (in a bullying, taunting way) in an actual locker room when I was a teenager. I recently dashed off a piece for my writers group about how if I imagined myself on the bus with Trump I'd think he was, among other things, challenging and bullying me. It didn't dawn on me to include what was done to me back in my track-and-field locker room. In my junior high bullying piece back in WMS #9 I said something like, "It was all over by ninth grade," but the molesting happened when I was in 9th grade, so clearly it wasn't all over. I don't know if I ever even brought up the locker room with a therapist (until last Wednesday, when I did). Maybe I thought (somewhat correctly) that it was relatively small cheese in comparison to the effect of the verbal teasing of a few years earlier. Anyway, songs in my life then were part of the soundtrack, whatever support or fear they provided.

From approximately 1963 through 1980 people more-or-less "socially" like me made great music that had a strong public presence. Afterwards, they didn't. ("People more-or-less socially like me" is vague enough.)

This is why I never post this. I'm just... not wanting to put thoughts together. Making excuses, it feels like.

Tension two paragraphs back between the phrase "people more-or-less socially like me" and the fact that one way of being "like me" is having a similar visceral response or aesthetic sensibility.

So, if I were to study old Mayan art and somewhat understand its world and be moved by it, does that make me more Mayan (if only marginally so) than I'd been before? (But do I have any idea whether my being "moved by it" is similar to how the Mayan's responded to it or what they did with it? Well, presumably if I'd done some research I'd have some idea about that, too.)

I get the sense that K-pop mostly comes from the mainstream and is geared towards cheerleader types and jocks more than to the freaks and the greasers (to use ancient terminology from a different part of the world). Also, duh, I don't know what I'm talking about it. Cheerleaders and jocks aren't necessarily more conservative than greasers, anyway, and are often less explicitly reactionary. Also, I assume (not necessarily correctly) that those who create K-pop are living in a Seoul version of Hollyweird, hence a bit more liberal than their audience. I think of particular performers, e.g. Brown Eyed Girls, and video director Hwang Soo Ah, as being vaguely on the "left." Whereas T-ara, for instance, traffic less in the need for some kind of breakout. But, e.g., T-ara's videos with director Cha Eun-taek hardly seem authoritarian or particularly traditionalist, and many of them are very good. (Cha Eun-taek is in the news right now in relation to an emerging government influence-peddling scandal, but not only do I truly know little about it, I'm wary even on my Blog That No One Reads of linking someone to the word "scandal" when I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm mindful of how the simple constant repetition of phrases like "T-ara bullying scandal" and "Clinton email scandal" creates the sense in the broad public that certain people MUST be in the wrong, even when most of the public has no idea whether or where there really is a scandal and what the alleged wrong is. Cha to his credit was one of the few industry people to tweet in support of T-ara (and Eunjung in particular) during their duress.)

"Songs in my life then were part of the soundtrack, whatever support or fear they provided." (Songs Implicated In Bullying Scandal!)

In the old days, when more people read my lj, at least a few people who knew more than I do would come along and help me out.

Here's a YouTube playlist of my Top Singles, 2016; will continue to be updated. Think I'm probably underrating the Mike Larry and overrating the will.i.am:

YouTube playlist: Ongoing Singles 2016


1. HyunA "How's This?"
2. Britney Spears ft. G-Eazy "Make Me..."
3. Crayon Pop "Vroom Vroom"
4. 4minute "Canvas"
5. FAMM'IN "Circle"



6. Tiffany ft. Simon Dominic "Heartbreak Hotel"
7. Era Istrefi "BonBon"
8. Aommy "Shake"
9. Serebro "Slomana"
10. NCT 127 "Fire Truck"
11. Wonder Girls "Why So Lonely"
12. DLOW "Do It Like Me"
13. Oh My Girl "Windy Day"
14. Serebro "Let Me Go"
15. Blackpink "Whistle"



16. Tiggs Da Author ft. Lady Leshurr "Run"
17. Britney Spears "Do You Wanna Come Over?"
18. NCT U "The 7th Sense"
19. Your Old Droog "42 (Forty Deuce)"
20. Serebro "Chocolate"
21 through 52 )

*Pop!gasa has a good reputation, though I forget who said so (which makes my use of "reputation" in this sentence a good example of what reputation is).

Way To Go

Sep. 25th, 2016 04:10 pm
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New Crayon Pop.

Advance single "Vroom Vroom"


About perfect: Light splashy Italodisco, a boat ride past small islands. Writer and (I think) lead singer Way adds enough ache to give this a promise of passion, a hint of adventure.

Album teaser, Evolution Vol. 1


First 8 tracks, I guess; 17 are due, 10 all new. Track 2 has interesting promise, as if it's early-mid Sixties girl group morphing into soul, or early Eighties Britain burnishing up that sound so that it glistens. Or something different; it's only several seconds. Track 6 is on a different Sixties borderline, like the Animals grabbing at teen tragedy and creating a venomous adult wail — not that I expect Crayon Pop to get close to venom, or to full slaughterhouse wailing. Probably will just be nice woman dancing into the distance, leaving small pangs of dust to glint in the sunlight.

Title Track Single "Doo Doom Chit"


Track gallops and kicks right out of the gate. So much for my impression from the teaser that it'd go down a tad too easy.* In fact it's so pushy and crowded I'm having trouble disentangling it. The beat seems to be battling the atmospherics, while Crayon Pop prance steadfastly forward. Strong, but I don't know if I know how to hear it.

Anyone want to tell me how you're hearing it?

h/t David Frazer for the alert, and the post title.

*"There's a powerful monomaniacal repetition at 9 seconds in that lasts for two-and-a-half seconds ('Shaky shaky shaky HAH!' or something like that) which potentially upends or punks up the song in a good way. The rest at first listen goes down a tad too easy, though I like the flimsy discarded-cardboard drum-like sound that propels the track."
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Have this and at least another post to add to my previous discussion of "tribal." I'll reiterate right now that the term "tribal" when used for modern social identity is very wrong, and you shouldn't use it unless you're referring to actual tribes or clans.* But I do want to take better stock of the positive appeal of the term, why people reach for it and aren't readily coming up with alternatives.

 photo Gathering Of The Tribes.jpg

One quick answer is that, especially for those who apply it to themselves, "tribe" is a much warmer term than "class" is, is much warmer than any other available term except for "family," in fact is in use precisely because it suggests a family-like bond but can be used for groups larger than the family, can be used for strangers with whom one might nonetheless sense a strong attachment, a feeling of being potentially at home with them — but "tribe" also carries the potential of leaving you alone and apart and under threat when you're not with your tribe or family but are instead dumped into what feels like someone else's, or in a shack in that family's back yard, or you're born into the wrong one.

So "tribe" here feels more emotionally apt than the other available terms and doesn't have the negative connotations that adhere to words like "clan" or "caste" or "ethnic group" or "religion" or "nation."

Prior to reading my first post, Mark Sinker, who was busy celebrating his birthday instead, emailed me this comment based on the title and the first few sentences:

On Friday I was interviewing and filming my old friend Liz Naylor... She was describing how the rock press in the 70s — and the free press and the alt press and the zine press — were her substitute for going to university, basically. She came from a suffocatingly cloistered working-class home in Hyde, which is a small satellite town of Manchester (also world capital of serial killers: the Moors Murderers and Harold Shipman). She grew up in a house with no books; no access to "culture" in the sense of films or music or art or anything. School was no help: it just amplified the announcement that if any of this stuff exists — books or films or music or art — it is NOT FOR THE LIKE OF YOU, LIZ. In desperation, she set off for libraries, independent bookshops and record shops, Fall gigs etc. The rock press, she says, is "how I located my tribe" — meaning (at first bite) other feminist lesbians of mischievous punky bent, committed to a lifelong battle with self-destructive urges, and (at second) always somewhat in truculent contention with any group she appears to be declaring herself part of.

If she'd said "The rock press is how I located my class," it would immediately have necessitated a second level of explanation: because surely (or anyway at first listen) her "class" is what she was ESCAPING from.
My immediate response to Mark, unsurprisingly, was that her family is what Liz was escaping from as well, and also "This is how I located my tribe" is akin to "This is how I located my self" (via locating my true kin in opposition to my mere biological kin), this is where I live, this is true vibrancy. Whereas, "This is how I located my class," would've missed this resonance, that she'd found her home, her people, "class" being too obviously contingent, being somewhere she's stuck, maybe, or something she might leave or lose — contingent of course being EXACTLY WHERE SHE IS, imo. (Her "truculent opposition" might be precisely because she feels a familial bond, hence somewhat trapped again, but (also) might be because she's not in a class but in class systems, which give us the background feeling that we're behaving out of continual choice and that locations are precarious.) "Tribe" is false here, but it is in use precisely because it seems to explain the socioemotional pull of the group.

Fwiw, this is one way social mobility happens, through the leaving and finding of cultures.

One thing about actual tribes is that they're fundamentally not a choice. Maybe in some instances you could defect from one tribe to another, or one tribe could split off from another; but my assumption is that mostly you were either born into one or you married into it, with occasional people being kidnapped into it.
 
Liz made a heartfelt choice, almost a romantic one, like modern marriage — but in a sense by calling it a tribe she cast it as not a choice: perhaps the tribe she discovered would have been her one-and-only tribe even had she not discovered it. Without it, she'd have wandered in the wilderness. Those were her people, even if she hadn't found them. Of course, like modern romantic marriage, she could actually go through a break up, and likely will, likely did. But when she found it, it felt like forever.

Actually, in a clip that went up on Mark's Kickstarter site, what she says is, "there was just this real sense of survival, of needing to kind of go out in the world and find my tribe, find my people," which is a bit different from saying "how I located my tribe": the first makes it a search, puts the tribe in her future, with perhaps a sense of creativity, not just looking for her tribe but helping to bring one into existence. (This makes my riff above on the "one-and-only" even more questionable than it already was, since Liz may never have exactly found her "tribe." Mark says, "i'd have to check if elsewhere she says she found her tribe — i think she did mention it more than once." Also, "she's using the word slightly flippantly anyway (to mean, 'it's absurd to imagine such a thing could exist but what else do i call it?')."**

* * *

The next post will return to what got me going last time, the use of the term "tribal" by Krugman, Klein, DeLong et al. to identify problems, "tribe" not being altogether a pejorative, but "tribal" being used to connote an impediment, something that prevents people from seeing clearly and acting for the overall public or general benefit.***

But in the meantime I'm pasting in the rest of my email convo with my buddies Mark Sinker, Luc Sante, Don Allred, and John Wójtowicz:

Email, the Wild Frontier )

*Is "tribe" even the right word for tribes? That'll also be briefly taken up in a future post, the potential lumping together of disparate social forms and social groups in one category — not just "tribe," but "Latino" and so on. —"Cultural appropriation," though, isn't my beef with the word "tribal." The word's mainly being used as a metaphor, anyway; the problem is that it's the wrong metaphor. See the June "tribal" post for part one of my beef.

**Longer quote:

I had this sense somehow that there was this, loads of information out there, there was loads of interesting things in the world, and, you know, I kind of didn't know how to get to it. I think I sort of knew my own world was, felt a bit impoverished... I think there was just this real sense of survival, of needing to kind of go out in the world and find my tribe, find my people. That's easier said than done in Hyde, because it really was, there was one shop that stocked music press.
Later in the clip:

"I knew my tribe was something to do with music."

***I am hoping this post will inform that one, the sense that "familial" or "tribal" bonds feel harder to break than do "class" ones, that families and tribes claim more allegiance — even though these aren't actual familial or tribal bonds, we're not as attached or forced into them, and they're continually broken, though without this breakage necessarily helping us to move onward from the world they give us: the social systems tend to hold us even though the group identifications don't.

****E.g. Bob Dylan "She knows there's no success like failure, and failure's no success at all."

*****She mentions "grammar school," which in England is a type of secondary school, whereas in American usage the term refers to elementary school (roughly ages 6 through 11), the term now fading out.
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Hoisted from lj comments, a couple of paragraphs I'd forgotten I'd written, 4 years ago, upon the death of Pete Cosey:

To me mid-'70s Miles caused as much a revolution in my idea of what sound could be as anything did short of James Brown and Richard Meltzer; so it's on the order of dub or hip-hop in making me rethink. Don't have good words for the rethink, it dating from around 1978. But let's say that one was previously thinking of music as made of rhythms and melodies (not necessarily how I thought of it in my life, but as a musician I was trying to get good with rhythms and melodies), and maybe chord progressions and harmony, though I was never all that competent with those. And "call-and-response," which in my mind symbolized the idea of notes in interaction, musicians in interaction. But with Miles I was getting an expanse of "space," though since music unfolds in time this space is mostly temporal. But imagine a room, and what happens when you stretch a rod from a floor corner diagonally up to the opposite ceiling corner and then start hanging cloth from the rod. The room is divided differently, it could be several rooms now. Anyway, I think of Miles as creating a space and then in a couple of seconds reorganizing it with a horn blast here and a wah-wah squiggle there, so there's constant reorganization even while the funk rumbles on. I also had in my mind the image of the sound running forward and then suddenly halting, leaving kinetic energy in the silent space that follows (and rarely would the sounds stop all at once; a particular instrument would stop unexpectedly, and this absence would help shape our perception of how the rest of the sound seemed).

From Donald Creamer (On The Corner) and Pete Cosey I could hear something that wasn't limiting its sense of possibilities to what the chords and the melodies seemed to invite; so we'd get notes or riffs that could feel like streamers, or like jets of paint...
I'd say it was Davis far more than Cosey who was responsible for this reorganization, but Pete Cosey's on my mind because of an article in Premier Guitar (Tzvi Gluckin, "Forgotten Heroes: Pete Cosey"). Among other things, it sent me to these performances. I hadn't known that Cosey was the lead guitarist on Electric Mud, an album I'd passed over when it came out. I'd assumed, possibly correctly, that it was a sound that Chess had forced on Muddy.* So, hearing this for the first time; some of it's stunning.





And here's a link to Melvin Gibbs' "Canto por Odudua" near the end of Cosey's life.

http://music.melvin-gibbs.com/track/canto-por-odudua-feat-pedrito-martinez-and-pete-cosey

h/t Andrew Klimeyk.

*At age 14, I think I conflated Chess's campaign for Electric Mud with one at the same time for Howlin' Wolf's This Is Howlin' Wolf's New Album. He Doesn't Like It. He Didn't Like His Electric Guitar At First Either. Cosey's on that one as well, which I also need to listen to.
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So many days, so few posts.

Look, I'm really a comment-thread guy more than a blog guy, but making supposedly correct triage decisions not to engage in various Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, etc. convos has left me w/out much public presence, while creating a lot of "notes" for posts here I should "write."

Not in the order they will, could, might, or won't appear:

--Grand opening for the hallway-classroom link and tag. I created them several months ago but have so far never properly introduced or promoted them. Perhaps there will be a banner and balloons.

--Tribal 2, the strong reasons people probably have for using the term "tribal" in a positive sense, like, regarding themselves even (which still doesn't mean you should use the word if you intend to engage in actual for real smart thinking, esp. pertaining to current political and social grouping(s)).

--Tribal 3, the strong reasons people like Paul Krugman, Brad DeLong, Ezra Klein, and a vast ever-multiplying et al. including probably you use the term "tribal" as a pejorative to denote one of the many things that fuck up and make stupid the current political etc. discourse (which still doesn't mean you or Krugman, DeLong, Klein, et al. should use the word if you intend to engage in actual for real smart thinking regarding current political and social grouping(s)). Paraphrases Upton Sinclair.

--Dead Lester 3. Yes, everyone is clamoring for this. </sarcasm>

--Dead Lester 4. One of the Dead Lester posts will be about why I think Paul Nelson never adequately responded to Irwin Silber. This post will be better received than the other one.

--Replication, in regard to understanding the utterances etc. of human beings other than oneself and perhaps other than yourself, too. This will be fun, I hope. It may refer back to the Mark Sinker adjunct thread that for a couple of years now I've been promising to add more to. The post may or may not refer to The Crisis Of Replication in the so-called social sciences, though that part of the post may be less fun.

--HyunA.

--Oh My Girl wtf. ("Windy Day.")

--Cahiers du Cinema, Manny Farber. This post will not be as interesting as you were anticipating.

--Who is our most distant animal relative? This post will not answer the posed question, instead will be a meta meditation on taking sides, developing a rooting interest, etc., in which I will try to endeavor not to take sides or root for anything, except maybe will root for rooting and for taking sides, despite my failure to take sides, or root, in the post, unless I do take sides.

--That political discourse appears to batter through, demolish, and utterly flatten the wall between hallway and classroom while being the stupidest, most screwed-up, and destructive discourse in the world would seem to create a challenge to my assertion that (e.g.) rockcrits are being audacious and intellectually strong in not honoring the boundary between hallway and classroom. (The previous sentence leans heavily on the phrases "appears to" and "would seem to.")

--Is there a way for mathematics to finally click for me so that I might someday actually get it and enjoy it? (See the middle of Dave's post, here.)

--Yardbirds raveups.

--Bob Dylan's "Maggie's Farm." (Inspired by Edd Hurt's excellent comments on the "Antirockism Is Rockism" thread.)

--Interesting that Mark says "even the Ramones" (all bands being coalitions) given that the Ramones may be the epitome of a Bowie-Roxy-like "Oh oh oh, look look look, see the disparate elements we are combining," e.g., "See us do power chords with Ronettes melodies" and "Watch us do Dylan existential angst as if it's standard teen heartbreak" or "Watch us do Stones confronting-the-inner-fascist as dumb three-chord la-la-la" etc. etc. (This is a passage from a 4,000-word, rambling, very poorly integrated email I wrote and never sent because I hadn't finished it or remotely come close to figuring out what I was saying; perhaps a readable 1,500 words can be extracted from this. Potentially featuring Earth, Wind & Fire and the Pointer Sisters, who actually appear on a Kantner-Slick song.)

--Is "Only The Good Bits" as bad as "Too Many Bad Bits"? (Perhaps in regard to Paul Morley, and perhaps a continuation of PBS Revisited.)

--Why do we remember the past but not the future?

--Truffaut and Kogan (more of PBS Revisited).

--Wittgenstein doesn't buy into the dichotomy between particulars and universals. (This probably can be applied to the replication thing, now that I think about it.)

--Copernicus.

--I'm a comment-thread guy. I practically invented the comment thread. So why are even the good comment threads so killingly mediocre? Why is the Internet such a disappointment?
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Trying to drum up interest in Mark's UK rockwrite anthology (which needs to happen, Kickstarter here, quick, only 3 days left) by reengaging controversies from last year's Freaky Trigger thread on the Overground/Underground conference. Posted comments on Paul Morley (here, here, and here), whose work I'm now just starting to explore. Excerpts from my comments:

Okay, Morley's 1982 "Quick Before They Vanish"* piece, let's see how it operates. It courts and uses our response, e.g. wants us to balk at his claim to like everything (no one likes everything; that's not what liking is about) and wants us to compare ourselves to those people who are into only the Pop Group, one side of a Roland Kirk LP, and just the best bits of Sandinista. Also, while the specificity, Pop Group–half-Kirk–bits o' Sandinista, bring such people to life, we're to recognize that they're a type and they're hyperbole, so it can be similar artists not those three in particular and there might be five not three, or 105 or 505, the important attribute being the progressive discernment and diminishment, from a group down to a side down to only the good bits.

[*Link only works sometimes, other times gets me an error message. If you can't access the piece, email me and I'll send it to you. Also, if you clink the link at Pˆnk S Lord Sükråt Cunctør's comment on the Freaky Trigger thread it's more likely to work, though I don't understand why; it's the identical URL as on mine.]

Morley's tone has a certain uncertainty; there's no hesitance, it's a strong commanding voice that relies on us to amplify its doubts.

He starts, "when people ask me what music I like… I say 'everything.'" I think he's trying to imply that, whatever their restrictions, the charts, for at least the moment, carry a message of everything, that they are somehow open to more than they'll ever contain, and you can't ever be sure what they'll contain. In any event he likes everything, but then of course he immediately, deliberately contradicts this: it turns out not only doesn't he like everything, here off the bat is this Genesis song at #10 that he can't stand. So now that's the challenge, does his "I like everything" manage to prosper nonetheless? Morley hates the next song too, Charlene's "I've Never Been To Me." "It's a great feeling, isn't it, to hate things?" He's performing a quick martial arts wrist flick, so it's not "I like Genesis and Charlene after all" but I like hate and I like that Genesis's and Charlene's presence here gives me the opportunity to hate them. By implication, this could also be standing on behalf of the bad bits of Sandinista. If Sandinista were all good would it be as good?

(Okay, here's something the piece isn't stating, and if it's implying it this may be inadvertent: but, if we'd be diminished without the opportunity to hate Genesis, we're also diminished without the opportunity to put the Pop Group–Kirk–Sandinista Bits people in their place. They broaden Morley's story just as much as Genesis and Charlene do. So we can say that — obviously — Morley includes these people in the story. But I don't think we can meaningfully say the charts include them in their story.)

A fantastical reordering of the world )



(But this is pretty great.)
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1. 4minute "Canvas"
2. FAMM'IN "Circle"
3. Aommy "Shake"
4. Tiffany ft. Simon Dominic "Heartbreak Hotel"
5. NCT U "The 7th Sense"
6. Tiggs Da Author ft. Lady Leshurr "Run"
7. BTS "Save Me"

For some reason I'm picking mood pieces here (tracks 1, 2, 5), sound that's atmospheric but with its sleeves up and muscles flexed, floating fields of toughness. Tiffany, tall and lithe (track 4), is in a mood too, ol' r&b sadness, integrity in heartbreak.

Tiggs isn't playing tough. He'd rather do fear, if it's got speed and a beat.

Aommy is cute and hot and fiery, seems working class to me: in the video, power is kicking the people who can kick you, and imagining (imaging it as if) they'll take it as just hard flirting, and so will the viewers — 'cause the woman doing the workout still needs to flirt, her boundaries not really protected, and maybe she wants to flirt as well, or works it well, anyway, and isn't really seeking an alternative. At least, it feels to me as if the video wants to have its cake and eat it too. Or maybe it's just a workout vid with fantasy advice for women getting by in what remains primarily men's space. The coda is good-naturedly inclusive. I don't know Thailand, so these are distant guesses.

Not keeping up, obviously; four of these I scarfed up only this week.

And 4minute are no more, by disagreement, not choice, it seems (reading between lines of the public reportage).



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Help kickstart my friend Mark Sinker's A Hidden Landscape anthology, which is a spinoff of the Underground/Overground rock press festival/conference* he curated last year in re UK music press 1968-1985. Here's the Kickstarter link, if you're curious or want to make a pledge.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/253164519/a-hidden-landscape-once-a-week-an-anthology

Key word in his writeup is Tumult, also Serendipity, "unexpected stuff you were unlikely to find side-by-side anywhere else on such a scale." My word would be Encounter, and my question would be, "Encounter what?" On the three panels I've heard from the streams, I thought that (the so-far-unread-by-me) Paul Morley was especially slamming. Defended the Pistols' and the Damned's sartorial showbiz tendencies by saying they were the types — as opposed to bloated '70s superstars — who were actually embodying the glamorous cape of Little Richard (I think it was fellow panelist Barney Hoskyns' sneering at the Clash's cut-offs that moved Morley to rise in defense of the secret glamour of the boy punks). Looking at my sketchy notes, I see Morley saying that the writing then was ideological life or death, believed it could be experimental, that it represented extraordinary times. He repeated the word “Momentum." I get the image of a gigantic boulder rumbling from past to future, a rolling body of work "that you can try to copy or distort or change into something else."

You might ask, how is that different from what we've got now every day on the Internet? The answer could be, "It isn't," but maybe there was a smarter tumult then, and in any event it would've had its own flavors of surprise and so might surprise you — or is likely to surprise me, anyway, given that sitting here in America I never really absorbed these people in depth (Simon Frith being the major exception). I'll say sourly that my current rockwrite/musicwrite world has become adept at sidestepping the Encounter, and sure doesn't feel like Momentum, or a tumult of experiment. And U.S. rockcrit has always sucked at follow-through, from the early '60s get-go. My understanding is that these are going to be all new essays (sprinkled through with conference excerpts), from people old as me who will be new to me nonetheless. We'll see what I encounter, if hidden in the prose is a cape of glamour.

(In the meantime, any suggestions as to where to start with Morley?)


I AM ALL OF IT, I HAVE WRITTEN A BOOK MYSELF, I AM A WRITER.

*Lots of it was streamed, and I've just checked and the streams still flow. I've linked them here, where I commented on the commentary, too.
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Ha! I have no memory whatsoever of recording this. I like it. I'm guessing it was 1985, which would confirm my hypothesis that my singing got a lot better during the year after Stars Vomit Coffee Shop. Had assumed my singing voice would forever be intolerable to me, but this is not always the case. I like how my guitar only partially accommodates the melody, so there's a kind of zinging tightrope wire of tension between rhythm chords and the prettiness. Keeps the thing alive 31 years later.



I suspect this track was solicited by Al Margolis, but it might have been someone else and Al was the person who put it out.
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Stop using the word "tribal" for modern political and social groupings.

1. The groupings in question actually act much more like classes than like tribes. (Yes, I'm putting the matter crudely and confusedly.)

2. Setting aside its potential racism towards Native Americans — "clan" or "family" would be just as wrong conceptually — the term mislabels a part as a whole. That is, a tribe is a society with an internal social structure, whereas groups like "lower-middle-class whites" and "college-educated blacks" and "Republicans" and "Democrats" and so on are subgroups within a society, subgroups that relate to one another to form social structures.

Not that tribes themselves never had relations with one another. (I can't say I know much about it, either the structure of, say, the different Native (North) American tribes and Amazonian tribes, etc., or the structure of the interplay between tribes.) "Inside" and "outside" are never absolute social distinctions. But caveats such as this one shouldn't be used to obscure the basic mistake built into the metaphor "tribal."

3. The deep basic mistake that concerns me most is the idea that we have social class, here, as one kind of social relation, but that then there's this other stuff, "culture," there, that works differently from class. In fact, instead, class and culture are so deeply intertwined that "intertwined" itself is much too weak a word.

Obviously, all my points here are what on Wikipedia they call "stubs." This one has the most stubble of all. To say briefly what needs several hundred thousand words: what we tend to call "economic class" must have a cultural component or else class mobility both up and down would be too easy and desirable. Embedded in this idea is that e.g. those "in" the "lower" classes get positive status, and meaning, and love and excitement and a feeling of at least being somewhat "at home," right where they are, even though where and who "they are" is actually always necessarily slippery and at risk and even though they don't necessarily conceive where "they are" as belonging to or inside a class. ("In" got scare quotes above for being a problematic word.) The classes nonetheless make up the landscape in which people find (or look for) themselves. So a class isn't altogether unlike an ethnic group. But it is fundamentally different nonetheless in that to be in (or near) a class is to be part of a social structure that relates you to those who are in or near other classes.

That is, people don't fit snugly within a class. That's not how modern class works. They live instead within class systems, social structures, some of which are fairly ad hoc. But it's within these systems that they work out who they are, their creativity and their loves as well as conflicts and oppression and resentments. And they don't find movement all that easy, or inviting.

(To add another circular or elliptical twist or tangle to all this, as the world gets ever more cosmopolitan, ethnic groups themselves are more and more acting like classes (even more than they always did), so are in relation to other groups as part of a structure, rather than as separate structures in themselves, but paradoxically appear more and more as a choice, with at least some leeway, much greater than in the past, as to whether or how much one deploys one's ethnic identity (of course depending on circumstances).)

4. But most crucially and controversially I'll say that, while upper-middle-working class or some near variant on that is probably "right," i.e., is the basic structure of modern "advanced" societies, such classes often aren't the classes of our most immediate experience, and often aren't the classes that are in most immediate effect. So e.g. being a "freak" or a "feminist" or a "progressive" or a "leftist" or "indie" or "intellectual" may not just feel more crucial and more like an identity than being precariously "middle class" does, it puts you in everyday relation to other social groupings. For example, back in my high school, freaks were in relation to normies, to liberals, and to greasers so were part of a social structure that included these other groups. (And yes, I'm claiming such groupings really do structure a good deal of social life, as do the everyday adult groupings that are much vaguer and more ad hoc than the ones in high school.) Again, it's not that you feel at home in your particular class or group — most students felt estranged and many were unaffiliated — it's that such groupings constitute the social landscape and affect and direct your social choices. (If you're an "outsider" you're nonetheless in this social structure, which tells you you're outside the available groups, but nearer to some than to others, and influenced by all.) My basic point here is that to understand such groups, e.g. "freaks," you have to think of them as CLASSES not TRIBES.

Items 5 through 14: the sideways middle class, and bad explanations )

Ezra Klein’s "How politics makes us stupid" )
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In an egregious breach of self-discipline, I posted on an Ann Powers facebook thread* whose subject was "rockism." Given that the thread was mainly stupidity and floundering, and it didn't jostle anything loose in my own thinking, I fear that there was little useful I achieved. My justification, if there is one, is that the stupidity I refer to is relative, and I genuinely believe that if someone somewhere takes in and masters my ideas regarding the "authenticity" thing it would save her several years of wheel-spinning.

Antirockists have never had the slightest actual interest in the people they call "rockists" or in the phenomena they call "rockism." So the conversation has been about defeating phantom enemies rather than about understanding the world.** This makes antirockists frustrating but it doesn't always make them boring, since their beating up on "rockism" is an attempt to use a crowbar or pole vault to get out from under something — even if they won't figure out what it is in themselves and their world they're trying to surmount.

This is what I wrote. I do urge you to click the two Rules Of The Game columns I link down at the bottom of my third comment. Might help your wheelbarrow gain traction.

Antirockism is just rockism with a few of the words changed )
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I chose Debbie Deb, Clare chose Fatboy Slim.



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Those enticed here by the promise of butch and sparklers may be disappointed that the title pretty much only applies to the Dev vid — though I've not looked so thoroughly as to guarantee you won't find butch and sparkle throughout.

"Born To Wub" was another prospective title; it too only really goes with the Dev track.

Next year I'll just post my favorite Dev song, and announce, "Dev Contains Everything."

Was also thinking of calling this, "You Already Know Who It Is"; I've made this list into a YouTube playlist, and those are the words Silentó introduces himself with, on the first track.



And after all, you already knew I was gonna give you Dev, and T-ara, and K-pop. In 2012 I simply called my half-year list, "More Songs From K-pop, Dev, and Cassie." A year earlier I'd called it "Dev Like Cassie."

But there's also wub in Vince Staples' "Norf Norf": wobble that's disembodied from a beat. And there's wub deep in Ash-B's larynx.

1. Silentó "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)"
2. Ash-B "매일"
3. The Seeya with Le "The Song Of Love"
4. Azin "Delete"
5. HyunA ft. Jung Ilhoon "Roll Deep (Because I'm The Best)"
6. Dev "Parade"



7. Rihanna "Bitch Better Have My Money"
8. Crayon Pop "FM"
9. ZZBEst "랄랄라"
10. Red Velvet "Ice Cream Cake"
11. Titica "Você Manda Fogo"
12. Ash-B "What's Real"
13. Daphne And Celeste "You And I Alone"
14. SHINee "View"
15. Ash-B "누구야"
16. 4minute "Crazy"
17. Jason Derulo "Cheyenne"



18. Lil Mama "Sausage"
19. The-Dream "Cedes Benz"
20. BiSH "BiSH: On A Night When Stars Are Twinkling"
21 through 40, KISS n Clover Z through Brigitte )
41 through 60, A$AP Rocky through Oh My Girl )

I've scattered Ash-B tracks all through the list, like dandelion seeds. Can't find English translations, so the adventure for me is her voice. She begins "매일" with darkly insistent eighth notes, then she's pushing the main beat hard, then she's relaxing into the conversational, which she's then pushing into even more insistence.

There were no Cassie singles, so Sofi De La Torre was awarded the Cassie Ventura Honorary Remote-Achiness Fellowship for 2015.

"Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" at number 1 demonstrates the influence on this list of the elementary-school gym class. See also "Hit The Quan" at number 54.

See also the fact that this list is three months late.

Taylor, Kendrick, Pungdeng-E, Derulo, SHINee, cultural interpenetration? )
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I posted this in response to Mat and AG at the SNSD Free For All, their sense that, at the moment, Japanese pop music is allowed more chord changes than American is. ([livejournal.com profile] dubdobdee has pointed out to me via email that "Death Rock 2000" wrestles* with some of the integration-coalition-collage-disparity-collision ideas I was juggling in the air in my previous two posts.)

I barely know anything about Japanese pop, and not all that much about current American pop either, actually. But I think the James Brown problematic that I set forth back at the start of "Death Rock 2000" may be relevant: the more syncopated your supposed "background" parts are (drums, bass, rhythm guitar), the more your supposed "foreground" (vocals, leads, melodies) has to adapt to and intertwine with the background; this lessens or gets rid of the distinction between foreground and background.** To be a bit simplistic here, when you truncate or cancel the melody, you tend to be getting rid of chord changes as well.

It isn't that James Brown wasn't interested in melody — all the evidence is just the opposite! — but that he was also trying to do other things, and these other things limited his options.

I don't know if "syncopated" was the right word above, but anyway: funk. But funk isn't the only relevant melody suppressor: Brown also pushed his songs towards call-and-response. You can hear in this live version of the melody-rich "Prisoner Of Love" how, at about the two-minute mark, after lovingly taking care of the melody, James abandons it to go call-and-response over a single chord. Really, what he does is to take the couplet "I'm just a prisoner, don't let me be a prisoner" and use it as a wormhole, crawling into another world. You can hear this in incipient form at the end of the single version, which fades out into an implied never-ending groove.

This is one "solution" to the "problem," to segregate the melody sections and the groove sections, or the melody sections and the call-and-response sections. This was done in Cuba in the development of forms like the mambo; in American pop, it's become kind of standard to have a chorus-length call-and-response towards a track's end. Of course you can put things into separate songs, melody song here, groove song there.

There are other interesting analogues to the James Brown problematic. E.g., Bob Dylan would take a line in a song and vamp on it, making the vamp longer in each consecutive verse. (As with "syncopated," I don't know if "vamp" is the right word.) Fascinating are the Kinks, who in the mid-Sixties were inspired by the Beatles to go more melodic and by the Yardbirds to go towards drones and rave-ups, which tended to be less melodic, more groove, and so the Kinks tried to do both at once — or at least tried to be less segregated into "melody part" and "rave-up part": in "Situation Vacant," you can hear at 1:12-1:20 how there seems to be a hard-rock groove that wants to explode out of the song but is held in check, then at 1:57 it actually does get the bit between its teeth, and it's off and running into a full rave-up at 2:20, fading out into a false ending and then returning at 2:55 as if to say "This could go on forever," as poor lead character Johnny falls perpetually downwards.

I'm curious what else is going on in Japanese music. I can't imagine that all Japanese dance tracks or rap tracks are chock full of chord changes.

I think in America the tendency isn't so much anti-melody or anti-chord changes, but just that the prominence of hip-hop and dance tends to suppress melody in favor of beats. But it isn't because audiences are going, "Oh, there's too much melody and too many chord changes." I assume they'd be fine with lots of melody and changes. It's that they're drawn to the interesting rhythms, which throws us into the problematic. E.g., where's the room for melody and changes in "Hit The Quan"?



From "Death Rock 2000":

So even the hard funk of Funkadelic and Kool and the Gang had a somewhat straighter groove, and in hip-hop and r&b you always—until recently—had a loud drum nailing down the backbeat, or even a one-two-three-four (the more discofied r&b), with the song or rap back on top and most of the funk relegated to the bass guitar or bass keyboard. With the backbeat/one-two-three-four anchoring whatever was on top, some of JB's propulsive tumble was lost. So I think the tension in much of the world's music in the next century will be: "We don't want to give up song form or the Euromelody tradition, or we don't want to give up an out-front rap, or an out-front guitar solo, or an out-front wall of noise, or an out-front dance collage, or _________ (from whatever music tradition), yet we also want to have the tumbling funk and never-ending groove, so what do we do?" I hope it stays a problem. I can't imagine it being "solved."
But I don't think U.S. pop is more into the rhythm-and-melody problematic now than it was in 2000. In fact, I'd say I was hearing more rhythm risks then than I am now, though I was paying more intense attention then than now, too.

*I'd say my Disco Tex Essay wrestles with 'em even more, especially the "Bob Dylan plays mambo" ruminations.

**Btw, it was JYP joking around w/ James Brown poses and foreground-background that inspired my first K-pop post.
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I'm implying at the start of my last post that at least some of the Airplane's visceral excitement comes from how the different personalities/musical elements often sound on the verge of falling apart or exploding into conflict. If you put them too close they annihilate each other, too far apart they're inert.

Don't want to make this Airplane versus Bowie and Roxy, given that most observers never notice the many similarities. But with Bowie, I get an emotional kick from his intentions more than his songs (bear in mind, though, that I know his intentions only through the songs, so obv. the latter deserve some of the credit — cf. my liking Springsteen the person more than his music, but of course most of what I know of the person is through the music). He's got a potentially exciting choice of musical elements. Where I'm claiming (not very clearly) that Jefferson Airplane's parts were better "integrated," this is based on my feeling that in Bowie and Roxy the pieces-parts have a clumsy fit but while bumping one another don't generate sparks. They coexist too peacefully.

You shouldn't infer here that aesthetically I prefer confrontation to coexistence. The former is easier to write about, though.

Really, the Airplane's visceral superiority may just be owing to Jack Casady's being a smart, powerful player who takes the bass on convoluted journeys while never losing the groove. But when the Airplane splintered, his and Jorma's particular post-Airplane shard, lifeboat, new craft (my metaphor is splintering too), Hot Tuna, was dull dull dull. (At least the first two albums. I didn't stick with 'em, so they're due a reevaluation.) It's as if they need the challenge of Paul's and Marty's and Grace's chord patterns, rather than Jorma's own more traditionalist and blah ones. (How many soul bass players get to run a slalom course as novel as Paul's "Crown Of Creation"?)

These are all quasi-germs of quasi-ideas that I doubt I'll be able to develop usefully. To continue on half-assedly, an interesting way of looking at Jefferson Airplane is as a precursor to Whitfield's work w/ the Temptations when the latter went "psychedelic," e.g., soul bottom, psychedelic guitar (though I also think of Whitfield as an accidental forerunner of dub, whereas I never heard any "dub space" in Jefferson Airplane). And to Funkadelic, of course. Roxy's Phil Manzanera deserves mention here too, his psychedelic guitar wending its way interestingly through Roxy's architecture.**

*"Spare Chaynge" and "Bear Melt" may be total refutations of my hypothesis, since the former is a pure improvisation centering on Jack and Jorma, and the latter something of an improvisation, and both tracks are great. (I'm overlooking drummer Spencer Dryden here: I haven't really come to any assessment of the guy's work; note that it's his departure after "Mexico" that marks the border between previous Airplane greatness and later Airplane-Starship mediocrity (though "borders" are never so simple and I actually like the post-Dryden Long John Silver more than I dislike it). Also note that I have zero albums by New Riders Of The Purple Sage, whom Dryden joined in 1971.) Subjects for further research are too numerous to detail here, but surely should include KBC Band and SVT (Wikip: "During his SVT tenure, Casady actually taped his fingers together to force himself to simplify his highly articulated playing style"), not to mention three decades' worth of Hot Tuna.



**And let us not forget Rare Earth and He 6!
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Jefferson Airplane were as much a coalition as a band, and at moments they could be the most exciting and poignant coalition/band/group in music. And at moments they were breaking in pieces, and sometimes those moments coincided.

Paul Kantner, as one of their weaker singers, the guy who wrote harmony songs, not just leads, was the one who tried to get everybody singing and playing at the same time, if not always in sync. "We Can Be Together" sounds too ferocious and has too much desperate posturing for a we-should-be-together song, which is appropriate, as neither band nor scene is going to hold together much longer.* Kantner's the one who tries hardest and longest to keep the ideals real.



*That's why I'm embedding it. Of the Kantner-only writing credits, I like "The Ballad Of You And Me And Pooneil" and "Crown Of Creation" just as much, but the latter is too focused for what I'm trying to say, and too much of a take-down of a "them" rather than a wrestling with a difficult "us." The former has too much optimism. Its "You and me we go walking south, and we see all the world around us" changes in a few months ("House At Pooneil Corners," co-written with Marty Balin) to "You and me we keep walking around/And we see all the bullshit around us." "We are leaving, you don't need us," on "Wooden Ships" comes a few months after that (by Kantner and Steve Stills and David Crosby), same alb as "We Can Be Together" and is just as much posturing and just as desperate. Backs against the wall so we retreat to fantasy, 'cause the wall's not coming down.

"I can carry my friends and I do when I can, we get by however we can."

Paul Kantner, March 17, 1941 – January 28, 2016.

(I didn't stay listening to Kantner and crews much beyond 1972, if any of you would like to point me towards what's most interesting in what came after.)
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Brie Larson just won "Best Actress In A Drama" at the Golden Globes. I haven't seen the movie,* but this makes me happy because she'd impressed me a lot as a writer and singer back in the teenpop days; I'd subscribed to her semi-fanzine and regularly read her witty MySpace. She was personable and very smart in an interview by my buddy David Cooper Moore in Stylus in 2007.

Bunnies, Traps, and Slip 'n' Slides: An Interview with Brie Larson

 photo Brie Larson Finally Out of PE cover.jpg


*Room, playing at the Chez Artiste if you happen to live in Denver.

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