Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Playing It Fast, Taking It Slow

With those essential Feelies reissues making the rounds, it's nice to see some renewed interest in such an under-recognized act. One appreciation worth checking out is by rock critic Douglas Wolk, who has penned a nice history of the New Jersey art-pop band for eMusic. This one in particular caught my eye with some choice quotes from Feelies singer/guitarist Glenn Mercer. Here's a taste:
"GM: 'The songs are crafted a certain way — -we spent a lot of time on the arrangements, just on the basic sound. The sound we got sort of evolved organically. We felt the cymbals were clashing with the guitar parts, so we cut back on the cymbals and that we left a space we decided to fill with percussion. We included a song from an early demo on the album, and one thing that was really Eno-inspired was that we tried to create the illusion of the snare sound revolving around. When the engineer put the song on to remaster it [for the new reissues], he was so bewildered. He said "this record must've been pressed slightly off-center or something!" And finally he pointed out what he meant, and we said "no, no, that was intentional — we were trying to create an effect there!'"
Continue reading the rest over at eMusic. And in case you missed it, check out my review of the newly reissued Feelies classics Crazy Rhythms and The Good Earth, published over at InRO.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Music Review: The Feelies - Crazy Rhythms / The Good Earth (**** / ***1/2)

"I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there isn’t a more patient guitar pop record in existence than Crazy Rhythms, the seminal 1980 debut from Haledon, New Jersey’s The Feelies. I don’t mean patient in a slow or even laconic manner – just the opposite, in fact. In an industry dictated by instant gratification, it almost feels confrontational that this band would go in for improvised bouts of instrumental interplay and subtly woven drone sequences at the expense of those indelible hooks. The fact is, the Feelies were musicians first and foremost, with a precise and noble view of just what their music could and should embody. They were never meant to be (nor were they trying to be) pop stars, and that’s invariably evident during Crazy Rhythms’ tightly coiled 40 minutes. " [Continue Reading]

Music Review: Times New Viking - Born Again Revisited (**1/2)

"It’s odd to think that a specialty genre such as noise-pop could ever become overexposed, but with the recent influx of lo-fi upstarts, that’s exactly what has happened. In a lot of ways it was unavoidable I suppose, as any buzz-worthy genre inevitably invites its share of followers and before you know it backlash has set in and the whole idea devolves into cliché. More so than just about any other band, however, Columbus, Ohio trio Times New Viking can lay claim to spearheading this revitalized movement, having spread three wonderfully damaged records across the last half decade or so. Of course, the whole notion of lo-fi is nothing new, as indie rock itself was basically built on a foundation of tape hiss and no-budget sonics. But as technology continues to progress, and as these aesthetic choices continue to become just that – choices – it’s been interesting to watch how many bands have utilized the technique as jumping-off point rather than as a crutch. If Times New Viking remains the best of this current crop of no-fi enthusiasts, it’s because they’ve remembered that the songs come first and that everything else runs secondary to a continued belief in the power of pop." [Continue Reading]

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"You're the big superstar"

So yeah, Adrian Grenier gets flamed in this on-set video for some kind of Entourage-related PSA shoot. But even still, I love how he comes back and low blows Matt Damon at the end. With that being said, this could be a scene from the actual episode (Damon is scheduled to appear on the show's season finale), so take it for what it's worth. Either way it's funny. (Via Incontention)

Music Review: Nudge - As Good As Gone (**1/2)

"Shape-shifting experimental trio Nudge are in a much different place then when they debuted around the turn of the millennium. And, with a bunch this creatively restless, it’s accurate to say that musically they’ve always been rather omnivorous in their canalization of outside sounds, though their more recent association with the Kranky label has certainly helped categorize their unique blend of ambiance, electronics and organics. But approached nowadays, it’s difficult not to read them as something of a supergroup, what with members Honey Owens (Valet / Jackie-O Motherfucker), Brian Foote (Fontanelle) and Paul Dickow (Strategy / Fontanelle) all punching time with larger collectives or under well regarded solo guises. As their name may suggest though, this is not a band that traffics in big, obvious gestures. Instead, their patience and adherence to logical structural development lends their music a zen-like aura, as if the more outwardly adventurous tendencies of their other projects have been concentrated into a comparatively focused attack." [Continue Reading]

Friday, September 25, 2009

Podcast: End of Radio #11 - 'Welcome to the Way It Is'

"On the latest End of Radio podcast, Music Editor Jordan Cronk welcomes newly-recruited third co-host Jon Staph, and together the two of them break the ice by discussing everything from The Simpsons to frozen dogs to male urination to the whereabouts of lost co-host Brian Webster."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Music Review: Circulatory System - Signal Morning (***)

“We will live forever and you know it’s true…”

At the time of release, and despite its seemingly optimistic intent, that repeated refrain, taken from the final track on the only prior Circulatory System album (2001's self-titled debut), managed to feel simultaneously like a promise and a lament. It’s true, Will Cullen Hart, pop mastermind behind both Circulatory System and the beloved 1990s experimental pop troupe The Olivia Tremor Control, has never been the most prolific of musicians, but after an inordinately long eight year break without a follow-up, you’d be forgiven for resigning yourself to the latter of the two sentiments. However, unbeknownst to anxious fans, Hart had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the interim (which he publicly revealed just last year), no doubt perpetuating the hiatus and thus understandably leaving listeners with little hope for return." [Continue Reading]

Music Review: Why? - Eskimo Snow (**1/2)

"Why?’s Yoni Wolf has made it a point in recent interviews to remind listeners that the couple dozen tracks laid down for both Alopecia and his new album, Eskimo Snow, were recorded in the same marathon session. So while the finished products couldn’t really be any more different, it’s important to keep this in mind while listening to Eskimo Snow as it’s an odd, often times frustrating album from a uniquely creative and restless mind." [Continue Reading]

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I hate Kanye West. I hate Taylor Swift. I really hate the VMAs and all they stand for, but this is some good stuff. More over at Fused Film.

Monday, September 14, 2009

In Conversation: The Cast of "A Serious Man"

As anticipation continues to build out of Toronto for the newest film from Joel and Ethan Coen, I thought I'd pass along this short but sweet interview segment with a few of the film's principle actors. And if for some reason you've missed the awesome trailer, check it out here. (from Making Of via Incontention)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Music Review: Polvo - In Prism (***)

"It’s one thing for a beloved indie-rock institution – say, Mission of Burma or Dinosaur Jr., to name a couple recent examples – to reunite and impressively extend their winning streak as if a lengthy recording hiatus were just another between-album artistic reconciliation. But it’s another thing entirely for an underrated cult act to unexpectedly regroup years removed from their artistic apex, only to chart a renewed course at once familiar and totally distinct. But that’s exactly what we have here with In Prism, the first album in 12 years from indie-rock stalwarts Polvo. The restless North Carolina quartet have been labeled everything from math-rock architects to prog-heavy art-rock titans, but in my mind they’ve always been just about as pure an indie-rock staple as their more widely recognized contemporaries. Previously, they've been at their best when as stubbornly melodic as the Swirlies or when they're as technically precise as Chavez, yet with an austere mystique that inherently keeps the curious at arm’s length. That they’ve therefore released arguably their most immediately accessible and consistent record a good half decade since the disillusion of the classic indie-rock anti-formula is no small feat. In fact, In Prism is as melodically sound and as expertly executed as any rock record you’ll hear all year." [Continue Reading]

Monday, September 7, 2009

Podcast: End of Radio #10 - 'Rebel Girl'

"Making good on he and Brian’s promise to feature more female artists, Music Editor Jordan Cronk – flying solo here for the first time – has given over the latest End of Radio podcast to a selection of some of the more interesting female-led acts of the last 25 years."

InRO Feature: Festival Coverage - Street Scene '09

Feature by Jordan Cronk

"This years Street Scene Music Festival - held annually in San Diego, California - could be seen as something of a schizophrenic event. On the one hand, you have bands as prominent (and as questionable) as Silversun Pickups, Black Eyed Peas and Thievery Corporation chosen as headliners. On the other hand, there are less popular but infinitely more rewarding indie acts such as Wavves, Deerhunter and No Age on the bill. And then there are those artists who kind of split the difference between the two extremes, such as Modest Mouse, M.I.A. and The Dead Weather, making Street Scene a melting pot of artistic integrity and mainstream tripe. Seeing as I reside not more than a couple hours from downtown San Diego, I decided to finally make the trek to the southern most point of California to take in the first day of festivities (the second day, while housing a few worthwhile acts, couldn’t entice me to make a weekend of it.) [Continue Reading]

Thursday, September 3, 2009

InRO Feature: Chasing Gold - September

Feature by Jordan Cronk and Luke Gorham

"The Best Picture field is expanding to encompass ten nominees for the first time in 66 years, and thus many unexpected questions have been raised about the 2010 Oscar race, most revolving around knee-jerk theories that the Academy will inevitably use this opportunity to nominate more populist cinema. If this decision was indeed prompted by last year’s duel snubbing of “The Dark Knight” and “Wall-E” (and you have to believe it was, at least in part and particularly in regards to the former), then perhaps the AMPAS will look toward a broader selection of films to nominate for their top prize. Personally, I’m not so sure it’s going to go that way, no matter how worthy critics and audiences feel a film really is; at least not with the Best Animated Film ghetto still in place and the Academy’s general disregard for genre fare well established. Had the format been established for year’s past, “The Dark Knight” may very well have proven a welcome exception, but in this particular case we are talking about a film of a rare breed, equally popular among audiences, critics and a lot of the industry, at least judging by the film’s Guild tally." [Continue Reading]

Wednesday, September 2, 2009