Category Archives: Land of Hipsters

“I’m So Cool I Like Bands That Don’t Even Exist Yet”: Kimmel Tricks Coachella Fans

Oh, you always want to be an early adopter when it comes to liking new bands, huh? Jimmy Kimmel put this to the test at Coachella, asking fans what they thought of made-up bands. They did throw in a real band (Two Dollar Cinema Club), and the laugh-tracky audience couldn’t tell them apart from the Chelsea Clintons, Get the Fuck Out Of The Pool, and the other made-up bands that Coachellans professed to be in the know about. Great viewing if you need to get your indie-smug on.

Amanda Palmer Writes A Poem, And The Internet Explodes

In what is apparently the Making It All About You Department, the not-always-social-media-savvy Amanda Palmer has written a poem titled “A Poem For Dzhokhar” on her blog over the weekend. Although the work does venture into what Suspect #2 (and his brother, Suspect #1, aka the Tsarnaev Brothers of last week’s horrific Boston marathon bombings) might be thinking, the references to iPhone battery life, Vietnamese soft rolls, and the Oh-my-Godiest line of all: “you don’t know how to tell the girl in the chair next to you that you’ve been peeking at her dissertation draft and there’s a grammatical typo in the actual file name” indicates that this poem is more about Amanda calling attention to Amanda. (We’ll let the crime of all lower-casing rest for now.)

So, the Internets noticed. Spin called it “a new low” (and paired it with an engineered-to-scare photo of Amanda enjoying a ball pit more maniacally than she might have intended), Gawker called it “the worst poem ever written,” and one blogger wrote biting parodies. And, predictably, the greatest handwringing on the Internets was of the “Neil Gaiman has to stay married to her?” variety.

It’s really not, to be fair, the worst poem ever written — it has all the hallmarks of being quickly dashed off, in an attempt to enter the dialogue in a way that’s clearly marked with her own voice and her own worldview. She has adoring fans, to be sure, and when you raise over a million dollars on Kickstarter and create a fantastic album in response, it maybe makes you feel like you can do no wrong, even after last year’s Unpaidmusiciangate — a pretty definitive indication that the Internets will not always love you.

Here’s the problem — we’re all watching from a distance right now as the FBI, CIA, and whoever else is questioning Dzhokhar right now trying to get into his head. We’re pretty sure that he wasn’t bleeding to death hiding in a boat thinking about Vietnamese soft rolls, and if he was, we’re not concerned about that. We want to know more important things, like why did they try to kill people, was he and his brother working with other terrorists to kill people, and are there plans to kill anymore people, including any additional bombs hidden in Boston. Right now, getting into the mind of the bomber isn’t a journey to the land of aesthetic ennui and artists-who-made-it problems for those of us who feel compelled together. We want to see the blueprint imprinted in that mind — namely, a plan to hurt and kill innocents, a plan that worked, a plan that took an eight-year-old boy and two young women from the world. We collectively want to know the extent of the plan so we can begin to heal and fight the fear and bewilderment that terrorism means. There’s a time and place for navel-gazing art. The galvanic response to Amanda’s thoughts on Amanda as filtered through Dzhokhar is the audience saying that this is not quite the time and place.

(Update: The title was arbitrary, and it only took her nine minutes to write the poem. We suspected as much.)

Let Everybody Know!: Cold War Kids Might Very Well Be Back

The perhaps back-in-form Cold War Kids.

Cold War Kids give their first glimpse of the pending April 2 release of Dear Miss Lonelyhearts with a (cue Rock Critic Adjective Generator) soaring, anthemic, urgent song called “Miracle Mile.” After the commercial-leaning, glossy disappointment that was 2011’s Mine Is Yours, which laid in sharp contrast to the brilliance of their earlier, rawer work.

There are some generally encouraging video hints to other album tracks here, with their arty black-and-white aesthetic fully intact.

Between this and the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs (more on this tomorrow), we may just spend April under headphones.

“Sometimes You Need a Nap and You’re Nazis” — A “Live” Review of Sorts

Note: Since these are personal reactions to a show I attended, I’m temporarily abandoning the royal we for I, so we refers to either collective audience or the me-and-my-friend duo who attended the concert together.

Last night, Cat Power played a live show at ACL Live in Austin. Despite past accounts of unsteady, mercurial live shows due to a variety of bad influences, she’s allegedly more consistent live now than she’s ever been, and her new album, Sun, is more winsome, positive, and actualized than anything she’s done to date.

Then again, that doesn’t mean her FANS are keeping it together.

I can’t imagine that row H in the ACL Live balcony is a representative row of showgoers, unless there were two people passed out in every row. But that’s what we had up in H — someone in my seat (perhaps 25, female, buzzcut dyed great, nosering) who had to be revived before she moved, upon which she instantly started hating me. (I have this effect on people.)

Then, a little later, as a couple was trying to get seated, there was another woman a few seats over who was passed out. The usher revived her, and escorted her out — at which point, Buzzcut and I had a brief conversation.

Buzzcut: That’s normal.
Me: Yeah, for this row.
Buzzcut: Well, sometimes you just need a nap and you’re Nazis.

My friend got lumped in with me as a Nazi, though she really had nothing to do with it. As with this reviewed “hypnotic” show the night before in Dallas, the show was heavy on atmosphere-absorption and rapt attention, and not so heavy on “motion” or “getting into it.” We got shushed talking during a song, christened the one guy-in-motion we could see moving in the GA standing section up front as “Nodding Guy,” and spotted only six people (out of several thousand) clapping along with Chan Marshall during a song late in the set.

Apparently, sometimes you need a nap far more than you need a rock concert.

Date a Rock Star (Or, At Least, A Kill Rock Stars Recording Artist)

So, kind of a weird move for the label that’s the de facto home to the Riot Grrrl Movement, but we’re kind of enamored by it. So, New York-based Marnie Stern (think of a more in-tune version of labelmate Thao With The Get Down Stay Down) has an album coming out on Kill Rock Stars called — wait for it — The Chronicles of Marnia (GROAN), and to celebrate, gentlemen in the Tri-State Area have the chance to win a date with her.

You can’t be a vegan and must live within subwayable distance to do the date — the not-at-all-intimidating questions include “List any anti-depressants you currently take” and “What would your most recent ex-girlfriend say about you? Can we get her email?”

You’d be taking her out on the release date, March 19. I think this is going to work out really well.

Trenchant Social Commentary About, Well, Etsy

Courtesy of Portlandia (note to self: watch much, much more Portlandia) comes something that’s not only hilarious, trenchant social commentary about the Etsy set, but also the catchiest song we’ve heard in a while. Please bring us the full version of “She’s Making Jewelry Now” (though the snippets are awesome).

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Let Everybody Know!: Backing Into Details on the New Yeah Yeah Yeahs Album

[youtube http://youtu.be/_Ce365czGC0]

Today, the fine folks at Stereogum reported that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (one of our favorite bands, except for the annoying habit of taking three years to record a studio album) debuted two songs from the anticipated upcoming album at a show in Pomona, Calif. on Friday night. The hilarity of Karen O yelling, “YEAH, Pomona!” was only matched by Stereogum committing some pretty egregious dancing about architecture. (“A simplistic and confident martial stomp,” anyone?) That song (which might be called “Suck Young Blood,” according to Stereogum, or possibly “Mosquito”, plus another new one which might be called “Earth,” have a definite return-to-Show Your Bones-era-YYY feel about them.

Then, an hour later, the band revealed the album’s new name (Mosquito), the release date (April 16), the album cover (which is a hideous-yet-hilarious shout out to the Garbage Pail Kids), and the mystery You Tube clip at the top of this post, which looks/sounds like the first gathering minute of something totally explosive and wonderful, though, on further, repeat, obsessive listens, it’s a sampling from the near-end of “Mosquito.” (Stereogum termed it “a not-very-revealing minute-long trailer for the album,” but then again, Stereogum commenters had to point out the obvious GPK reference.)

Anyhow, new Yeah Yeah Yeahs approaching. There’s a new Justin Timberlake jam featuring Jay-Z leaked today, for God’s sake, and yet, we’re more excited about this.

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Let Everybody Know!: Your Youth’s Battery EP, Breaking Land Speed Records for Joy

youryouth

As you’re noticing so far, much of Pop Culture Diary tends toward the sneer/snicker end of the spectrum, looking for the unintentional humor or unintended consequences of things. But it’s impossible to find a KDOC New Year’s Eve special every day. Some days, we just like things here — hence, Let Everybody Know! (named for the Chuck D exhortation in Sonic Youth’s unparalleled “Kool Thing,” in which we praise things without trying to get all Pitchforkian/rock-critic-ese about them.

Let it be said: We (royal we) LOVE the new Your Youth EP. Hailing from Brooklyn Land of Hipsters, Your Youth [(FB page) (MySpace page) (Wait, bands still have these?) (Bandcamp page)], they’ve recently released a five-song EP, Battery, that’s a burst of awesome.

Think: joyful, not dissimilar to fellow two-piece-that’s-louder-than-a-two-piece Japandroids, Thermals, Built to Spill, Quasi. Spotify gives you the full five-song package in the order they intended, but there are a few places on the Internet to troll for freebies. We found:

“What Smarts,” the EP’s opener

“Fresh Film,” song #2, which definitely has that “dream of the ’90s is alive in Portland” vibe to it — and I really mean that in the best way possible

“Brain Swimming,” the third song, which brings the inevitable Nirvana comparisons — as they do the repeated hook-line into full-out-rock move very well here.

“Thick Gold (Bodied),” the fourth song, which Spinner featured last month — including this quote about what the song means:

“It’s about that weird feeling of being half out of control of your own destiny, drifting a little more than you’d like, but finding yourself simultaneously unnerved by, and yet okay with, that. Floating, and then snapping back into focus and grabbing at whatever’s in front of you. And then floating again. Basically the way you feel when you actually handle that weird woven fake gold. It’s strange because it’s cold, but it’s got this great texture, so you want to keep holding it. But you also just want to put it down.” — Guitarist AJ Wolosekno

I know EXACTLY what you mean. (That is, to say: Not at all.)

“Lush,” the last song, which is not only a great closing song, but evokes memories of Lush, though I don’t think that was their intention.

So: Your Youth. Totally enjoyable. Who knows how hard they’re trying? Let’s hope hard enough to get a tour together soon.