Category Archives: Music

“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.

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Let Everybody Know!: Preview of !!!’s Thr!!!er

One of the best new albums of the year — and definitely one of the most danceable — will be coming from !!! (Chk Chk Chk, for those who don’t read symbol) very, very shortly. Thr!!!er, a play on Michael Jackson’s classic title, comes out April 30, featuring relatively-tight songs, voice modulators that make singer/frantic dancer Nick Offer sound REALLY REALLY DEEP, and grooves galore. Pitchfork has the preview.

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.)

Record Store Day

Here’s info on the annual celebration of putting the needle in the groove. It’s increasingly a lost art, but still, no one’s going to ever feel as fondly about the cassette tape or the CD, are they?

Oopsie-Daisy Homophobe: Stephen Colbert and Alan Cumming Combine for Awesomeness

Not sure what Stephen Colbert was doing with the bucket-cam in Times Square last night, but one night prior, he scored bigtime in skewering Brad Paisley and LL Cool J’s “Accidental Racist.” He pointed out some of the issues we pointed out in an earlier post, but took it to an amazing new place by bringing Alan Cumming on to do a parody called, “Oopsie-Daisy Homophobe,” employing the reductiveness and sketchy rhyming of the original. He even employed a cowboy hat in the making of said parody. (Which, needless to say, brings its own extra level of hilarity.)

Sequestered in Winterfell? The Hold Steady Helps Soundtrack Game of Thrones

During this past Sunday’s HBO premiere of Game of Thrones Season 3 Episode 3, a group of rogues sang a song called “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” a boisterous drinking song popular in Westeros. After the episode’s dramatic SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT conclusion, an especially boisterous, fully-rocked-out version of the song played over the closing credits, courtesy of The Hold Steady — in a hipsters-meets-Lannisters treatment previously journeyed to via The National’s “Rains of Castamere.” Wired explores the phenomenon smartly, and reveals the news that the Hold Steady’s version will be available in our world’s version of celebrating Ye Olde Mystical Tymes — for Record Store Day on April 20.

Let Everybody Know!: First Album From The Knife In Seven Years

Pitchfork, in this glowing (well, glowing for Pitchfork) review of the first album from Swedish duo The Knife, says that “band” is an inadequate word to describe The Knife. In fact, reviewer Lindsay Zoladz says, “The Knife have come to seem like a vibe, an ethic, a dark, not-entirely-scientifically-understood phenomena; other bands are to the Knife what matter is to anti-matter.”

Too much? To us, The Knife is a Laurie Anderson for the modern age — highly conceptual, playing with gender, placing a premium on being enigmatic.

Catch the stream of the entire album here. It’s, well, epic.

Oh, Rappers: Jay-Z and LL Cool J Go Where They Perhaps Shouldn’t

Is rap controversial again? Two developments of note this week.

First, LL Cool J and Brad Paisley have teamed up for six minutes of awfulness called “Accidental Racist,” in which Paisley displays a sketchy grasp on semiotics (in his world, Confederate flag signifies Skynyrd fan) and LL Cool J fuels the dumbness fire by referencing said flag and rhyming it with doo-rag. It’s essentially a 2013 remake of “Ebony and Ivory” crossed with a Saturday Night Live parody that refuses to end.

And now, Jay-Z (as Vibe Reports) has released “Open Letter,” referencing his recent jaunt to Cuba and his White House security clearance.

We’re all for rappers jumping into the political dialogue, but solving racism in America and the Cuban trade embargo? Be sure to check back and let us know how that’s going, fellas.

Let Everybody Know!: Sean Nelson’s Back (With An Adorable New Video To Boot)

We’re big fans of Harvey Danger from way back — Stephen Thompson from NPR Music astutely points out that “one hit wonder” isn’t a fair billing for the band, in that their output was consistently strong and smart and deserving of the audience that only “Flagpole Sitta” seemed to get.

Harvey Danger singer Sean Nelson is back with the first song from an upcoming album, accompanied by an absolutely adorable video in which an animated Sean courts a snowman. (Snowwoman?) See it all at the Mighty NPR here.

Let Everybody Know!: Telekinesis Might Have the Album of the Year

Proving you can’t see everything at SXSW you should, even though you tried really, really hard, here is Telekinesis, via NPR Music, with their First Listen feature of Dormarion, which might be an early candidate for Album of the Year. Just over a half hour, 12 songs all gorgeously constructed, made by a drummer-first multi-instrumentalist who enlisted the help of Jim Eno of Spoon (another drummer with impeccable pop sensibilities). Have a listen.