Year-end Top 10s used to be predictable. It was an annual slew of the hottest indie artists—some mixture of the it rookie (say Grimes last year, Haim in 2013) and all the familiars that released in the calendar year (Daft Punk, Arcade Fire, The National, Deerhunter, etc. etc.)—with room for maybe one mega, gigantic pop album (FutureSex /LoveSounds, anyone?). It’s hard to pinpoint an exact year, but eventually blogs slightly altered this formula by listening to people who genuinely paid attention to hip-hop. The next surething addition to Top 10s became the cherrypicked rap album, everything from Kid Cudi to Chance The Rapper.
It now seems we have one more factor to add to the predictable Top 10 equation—metal. Maybe it was Death from Above 1979 that pioneered this, or perhaps Godspeed You! Black Emperor did it just last year, but now it seems official that a single metal album shall annually rise from the fray to slip into the rarefied air of online mainstream Top 10s. In 2013, the honor belongs to Sunbather by young metalheads Deafheaven. And besides having a cringe-worthy name, these noisemakers boast songs where the vocals are all but indistinguishable (that is, if you can listen long enough to attempt deciphering them).
In short, this author knows little to nothing about Deafheaven because it was hard to get through an entire listen of the album. That may be an unpopular opinion, but it’s harsh enough to wonder just how every critic with a big podium seems to disagree. Do all these people really like Deafheaven? Do all these people even really know Deafheaven?
To test this inclination, we present a quiz. Don’t ask why we were recently browsing through the bibliography of your great aunt’s favorite profiteering crime novelist, Stuart Woods. Instead, go ahead and ask yourself if you can tell the difference between his books and Deafheaven songs.
Today an angry housewife from Eastover went H.A.M. on Dent May.
This particular aggrieved woman has taken issue with May’s track “Eastover Wives,” in which the lyrics describe the evening proclivities of female spouses from a certain geographical region. Never mind that the song has been around for three years, likely soundtracking all sorts of unseemly behavior, but it’s unfair that Ridgeland wives aren’t being singled out so unfairly as well. And not to mention those hussies in Oxford, there are far fewer happy wives – probably with hyphens in their names! – than in Eastover, so fewer would be hurt by these offensive lyrics. May had better fix this problem and write songs questioning those women too, or else everyone else will soon know. Know what exactly, that is not clear. But god forbid he doesn’t make amends, because otherwise something will have to be done about it.
North by Northeast (NXNE) has been around for a long time. In fact, this year marks its 20th anniversary. Definitely an impressive feat considering dozens of new festivals seem to pop up every year and then flame out due to market saturation. NXNE has been a mainstay in Toronto–a hotbed for independent movies and music artists, as well as presentations about interactive/technology trends.
So, with being an important stage for over 800 indie bands each year, why has it been largely ignored by Pitchfork? The extent of P4K’s NXNE coverage has been a few “Festival Briefs” and “News Briefs” over the years. That is until now.
Pitchfork announced the first musical artists at NXNE in a way it has never done before. It’s an impressive lineup to kick things off for the 2014 event, but then there was this paragraph tagged on at the end:
The festival will also include panel speakers, including Pitchfork president Chris Kaskie, Paul Rosenberg (president of Shady Records), Oliver El-Khatib (OVO founder and co-manager for Drake), Chris Taylor (Last Gang Records), and KP Swazy (Dat Piff).
Knowing the attitudes at Pitchfork, I wouldn’t put it past them to only start promoting this fantastic festival simply because the publication’s president is speaking. Nice that NXNE is getting the attention it deserves, sad that it took Pitchfork so long to finally catch on.
Interactive music videos are all the rage these days. Arcade Fire’s Reflekor set the bar high, while the video for Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone let us surf channels of people lip-synching the song. Now, thanks to a collaboration by Denver’s ManCub and interactive designer and advertising profession Rajeev Basu, the evolution of interactive videos may have peaked. While listening to ManCub’s new single, “Friends Listen,” you play a game that consists of punching yourself in the face to stay awake in while waiting in line.
According to Fast Co. Create:
Waiting in Line 3D is a first-person shooter inspired by ’90s classics Doomand Wolfenstein, except nothing really happens and it’s pretty much impossible to win. As the title suggests, players wait in a never-ending line and are forced to punch themselves in the face to stay awake. Anderson partnered on the project with interactive artist and ad vet Rajeev Basu (the guy behind Facehawk) with the goal of making the game an “anti-viral” hit.
Video games don’t get much more realistic than this.
Waiting In Line 3D – Official Trailer from Rajeev Basu on Vimeo.
How fucked up has Home Alone made Macaulay Culkin? He has this obsession with pizza, clearly because Buzz ate his entire cheese pizza and showed no remorse for it.
Culkin clearly has had a psychotic break because of his character’s trauma, because he’s choosing to lash out in one of the worst ways we can think of: substituting lyrics about pizza into songs by The Velvet Underground.
Have a listen below. It’s what the French call les incompetents.
We’ve already had one post this morning about Lil B soliciting highlight reels and info from athletes looking for representation, which made us think: we bet Lil B says some crazy shit on the regular. Let’s see what he’s talking about in the past 24 hours:
Here’s a tweet imploring his followers to adhere to the rules of the road. Respect, Lil B, for making America’s highways a safer place.
And here’s a tweet from a few minutes ago asking if any of his female followers want to rub his genitals with their feet.
Such is a day in the life of The Based God.
Prolific rap artist Lil B (The Based God, if you don’t know), took to Twitter as he is prone to do and encouraged D1 athletes to get in touch with info and highlight tapes because he wants to be a sports agent, not unlike Jay-Z. Here’s the tweet from yesterday.
I’d have to think that things would have gone much more smoothly for Robinson Cano if he had The Based-ball God on his side during negotiations telling him to stay positive and letting Jack Z know that he loved him, but that’s just me.
Stage banter can a difficult thing to master for bands. You need to first remember the city in which you’re performing that night, thank them for coming out, and possibly mention something that invokes hometown pride, all while drunk or stoned or worrying about your tour van being broken into.
Enter: The Hives.
Bringing the level of stage repartee to a new low, the Swedish outfit dedicated their song “Tick Tick Boom” to the city of Boston during their show this past week, interjecting that it was about “blowing stuff up”, and forgetting entirely about the infamous bombing incident that took place less than a year ago at the Boston Marathon. While they were quick to issue an apology on their Facebook page (good job!), they might have had a few less drinks pre-show and really brushed up on the city where they were playing.
Also surprising is that anyone was at a Hives show to even take notice. Hate to say I told you so, indeed.
The amount of Christmas songs you can listen to all the way through fits on one hand. Let’s take the tune above, the Hanson sisters’ greatest contribution, maybe the Sufjan song about elves for the online music crowd, and… well. Maybe that’s it.
Yet every year, as sure as debates about “Happy Holidays” and fake outrage over snowfall, 24/7 Christmas radio stations pounce on unexpected travelers trying to remember what’s listenable on their hometown radio waves. Apparently, we’re all to blame.
The Nielsen ratings folks recently released a study on the 24/7 Holiday radio format that shows it’s unrelenting, inexplicably, and hyper successful. In the top 48 US radio markets for 2012, 28.4 million Americans tuned to an “All Christmas” radio station on Dec. 24 alone. Ask your former college classmate who still DJs, those are numbers to kill for. For the four weeks between turkey and, well, perhaps turkey again but without cranberry sauce, daytime Holiday 24/7 listening rose 73 percent year-over-year and nighttime listening rose 129 percent. (On Christmas eve, the increase was 500-percent plus from 2011!) But not only are we listening to more Christmas music in Christmas-ish times, but we listen to Christmas radio a helluva lot more than radio during the rest of the year.
Holiday listening v. non-holiday formats from Jan.-Oct. People are sick.
Maybe we can blame Mariah Carey (the No. 1 played Christmas song during this time last year) for this. If “Honey” was as catchy as her holiday diddy, maybe the Jan.-Oct. radiowaves would be lifted up on angels’ wings too. But radio—like any form of media—is consumer (and thus ad, and thus money) driven. If you listen to it, they will continue to play it. So at this rate, you may get your 500+ covers of “Last Christmas” right after Halloween soon.
Look, just because shitty music is topical for a feel-good holiday does not make it good music. Only you can prevent future Bing Crosby overload this year; perhaps it all starts by embracing Queens of the Stone Age (“I Sat By The Ocean” can soundtrack a snowfall just as well).
It makes sense that Wired would talk about music. It’s an important cultural characteristic, and being a magazine for techies, Wired could offer some cool insights related to music technology trends, but instead they want to tell us what defined music in 2013. That is, “If you could summarize 2013’s music in specific moments, here is what you would get.” Wired starts strong by talking about Arcade Fire’s amazing interactive video for “Reflektor,” but then it follows that up with Ylvis’s “The Fox,” and it’s all downhill from there.
One minute they’re critiquing the Yeezus Tour, the next they’re introducing obscure Toronto-based band Yamantaka // Sonic Titan as releasing THE GREATEST ALBUM EVER. Oh, and only three out of the 13 things on the list happened before August 2013. Everyone knows January through June doesn’t really count for “Best of the Year” lists. That’s why outlets do “Best Whatever from the First Half of 2013” lists in July. Guaranteed this idea was brought up in a meeting this past Wednesday.
In regards to The Fox defining 2013, just because a song is viral, does that really mean it defined music? Does a fox shit in the woods?
Damn. I guess so.