Category Archives: The Internets

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.

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Michelle Obama vs. John Boehner, As Seen By Gawker

Oh, if it were only so. The typically-awesome Gawker found a GIFed moment from the Inaugural Dinner in which First Lady Michelle Obama gives a major dismissive eyeroll to House Speaker John Boehner. Or, as the kids call it, “throwing shade.”

The new hypothesis emerging today is slightly less fun — that it was a response to Boehner apparently joking with the Still-President about his on-again/off-again smoking and how the little lady won’t let him smoke anymore. (“Wives! They put the kibosh on fun! Amirite?”)

While a wholly plausible hypothesis, it’s much more fun to imagine the shade-throwing is more a function of the First Lady being generally dismissive of Boehner rather than specifically dismissive. (Though an eyeroll for his spray-tanned complexion would be warranted as well.)

Harry Potter as Ginsberg: No Kidding (And Other Tidbits From Sundance)

This in from the LA Weekly on Sundance, via an “I’m clicking on that” headline about “Sex with James Franco” (which is really just a pretty-much irrelevant tidbit at the end of the article about a project that not that many people will end up seeing, unless the 50 Shades of Gray wave is cresting rather than crashing against the shores of cultural relevance). The big news in the early reporting is an intriguing love triangle gone wrong movie called Kill Your Darlings, starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter himself) as a young Allen Ginsberg, with Ginsberg-esque Jew-fro apparently rocked. Apparently, from this report in the Huffington Post, it’s steamy and heralds what could be a pretty risque year in film.

Yo La Tengo and the Nerdiest, Most Awesome Hour of Radio You Probably Missed

KEXP is one of our primary loves and mainstays — though tastemaking is a hallmark of any indie music media outlet, there are ways not to do it (smug recommendations smacking of “What, you don’t know about this yet?”) and the KEXP way, which is to be inclusive and friendly and enthusiastic, but unafraid to be taken through detours on a Road Map to Complete Up-to-Dateness.

Like, say, earlier today — after Yo La Tengo’s live set, and prior to their Easy Street Record store appearance (as part of a short but awesome West Coast tour with four dates, four cities, four record store concerts), Ira Kaplan joined DJ Kevin Cole in the booth to play 45s he’d found while record shopping during the prior two record store dates. The playlist (start from the bottom and scroll up) reveals a fascinating look at what inspires living indie legend bands like Yo La Tengo, but also the joy in being a collector and reveling in the audio snapshots of prior eras.

The set started with this amazing Amboy Dukes song — with this priceless exchange during the DJ break:

Kevin: “You know, Ted Nugent’s in that band.”

Ira: “Yeah, I know. That’s problematic. It’s a moral dilemna.”

(Go to the archive if you want to hear it for yourself.)

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MySpace Is Back (And Looks Like the Bastard Child of Spotify and Tumblr)

MySpace, nowadays, only seems to come up for random bands who like to feature four songs at a time. But, behold! There is a new version of MySpace out! Gizmodo does a good job with the reveal — it’s essentially a music-sharing service and Tumblr-style personal blog. It no longer looks like the Internet threw up on your screen, and you no longer have to hunt for the song file’s pause button upon entering a page and getting assaulted with someone’s love of Red Hot Chili Peppers. But relevance is hard to achieve in Internet Land, and not sure MySpace will be getting it done here.

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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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Report from CES: Qualcomm Clearly Trying Too Hard, and The Verge Wins the Internet Today

“The Internet of Everything!” Please let’s make The Internet of Everything Bowl (featuring two 7-5 teams, natch) happen this year (around Dec. 23, natch). (Photo credit: The Verge)

So, the CES is happening now in Las Vegas — the big annual conference that highlights consumer electronics — and Qualcomm had the honors of delivering Monday night’s keynote presentation. Lovingly documented by The Verge, the presentation featured:

* Three actors depicting hip new youth in a way that makes The CW look PBS-staid by comparison
* Big Bird alongside a man wearing what appears to be a Big Bird pelt
* Maroon Five, with Dido overdubbed on the feed (creating a decidedly different experience for those in the arena vs. the rest of the world)
* Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer doing the Running Man (literally)
* Guillermo del Toro showing a room full of a technology professionals a slashery vampire scene from Blade II
* Bishop Desmond Tutu
* An electric-powered Rolls Royce

All of this (especially jumbled into one presentation) is sort of over-the-top awesome, hatched up by a team no doubt wanting to make a splash, and ending up making a different sort of Twitter-snarky splash. (Really, the best part of The Verge’s coverage is using tweets to help narrate the evening’s programming.)

At the end of the day, though, phrases like “Born Mobile,” “Generation M” (or, worse, “Gen M”), and “The Internet of Everything” has the unmistakable waft of marketers trying too hard to make hip lingo happen. Mobile’s an increasingly important technological sector, to be sure, but today’s youth are never, ever going to call themselves Gen M. (But then again, we’re also skeptical that Kimye will stick as a name for Prince Kanye and Princess Kim.)

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Elizabeth Wurtzel, With Lots and Lots to Say About Elizabeth Wurtzel

There’s a fascinating dialogue starting to unfold about Elizabeth Wurtzel’s essay on herself (as a single woman, writer, and sometimes-lawyer facing down her mid-40s) appearing in the upcoming Jan. 14 of the New Yorker. The title’s a wee bit unfortunate — “Elizabeth Wurtzel Confronts Her One-Night Stand of a Life.” But that’s not nearly as harsh as the rejoinder in today’s Salon, “Elizabeth Wurtzel Writes About Herself Again. Memoir Finally Hits Bottom.”

The debate in Salon centers on Gawker’s pugilistically-titled “Journalism Is Not Narcissism,” which decries the ever-expanding world of the first-person memoir that the Internet (and the continuing wind-whipping effects of the Internet age on our collective sense of the public/private divide).

But the New Yorker readers, in commenting on the article, bring in some decidedly prescient commentary. Wurtzel is so apparently unaware of her own obnoxiousness that, despite an opening scene that could be a more sympathy-generating account of an episode with a female stalker in a more deft writer’s hands, she dooms her essay to a blanket dismissal of the “First World Problems” variety, even before she even recounts highlights of a good relationship by including the detail, “We would laugh about whether Buddhism could rightly be called a religion or a phase people go through.”

Reader comments range from the simple, one-line character assassination, like “A great writer without anything great to write about” and “I say this with pure sincerity: It must really suck to be her,” to more detailed discourses like this:

Except for the schoolkid grammar, the muppie self-help jingo lingo and the bellybutton p.o.v., this Oprah-fried travelogue of some middlewit sybarite’s maundering is really funny as hell. Nothing like the gurgles of someone drowning in their own bathos to perk things up. Thanks, NYMag. 315,000,000 Americans — this is the one you think we want to hear 5,500 words from, eh? Brilliant.

Though her prose feels very purposeful and deliberate, it seems specifically engineered to cause the reader to simultaneously feel pity and envy — not too far really the adolescent’s lament that no one will ever love like me or feel pain like me. It also opens up a new well of questions — for instance, is it more repugnant and pathetic to brag about a heroin addiction of 20 years ago, or to brag that the heroin addiction in question, as she frames it, “showed my good sense, because the rest of the time I was completely out of control?”

Could a James Frey revival be far behind?