A new online channel showcasing emerging music from around the world.
Sam Knee Takes Really Great Photos of 80’s British Bands
Recently I came across A Scene In Between, a book by Sam Knee, which is the culmination of absolutely every vibe I’ve been into lately. The “vibe” I’m referring to is that of the feedback and fuzz-filled UK indie scene back in the 80s, as defined by post-punk bands My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Pastels, and many more artists who remain cult favorites. Each page is filled with photographs of many looks I’ve been drawn to in recent years—skinny jeans, chunky leather shoes, stripes—including many shots of Morrissey, whose loose rayon shirts and pale denim are for me, a daily source of sartorial inspiration.
Knee’s anthology underscores what we already know: fashion and music thrive and feed off one another. When you think of your favorite band or look up a new one, you almost inevitably seek out a visual reference so as to hold them in your mind’s eye. An artist’s image and music is inextricably tethered and A Scene In Betweendraws these threads together beautifully.
You Don’t Like Childish Gambino’s ‘Because the Internet’ Because of the Internet
When the leak of Childish Gambino’s sophomore record Because the Internet arrived in my inbox last week, I was a little hesitant to open it. Not because I thought I had a porn virus or the Syrian Electronic Army was attacking me, but because I’d followed Glover’s zig-zagging narrative closely over the past six months. First, he announced that he’d be cutting down his time in Community. Then he went pretty quiet on social media, despite dropping his first track in sometime, “Centipede.” Then he released Clapping for the Wrong Reasons, that strangely bizarre 30-minute experimental silent film completely different from any of the silly comedy he was known for (“Troy and Abed in the morning,” anyone?) Then that whole “Instagram photo” thinghappened, in which he posted a bunch of handwritten letters in the Renaissance Hotel explaining his own frustrations with media and the internet. Then he dropped some more new music—music that made the few people on the rap internet who actually listened to it say, oh, wow, this is pretty good—and announcedBecause the Internet’s release, which is today. Then he spoke to Noisey about attempting suicide and taking more drugs in order to be a better rapper. And now, anytime he’s in public, he looks stoned out of his mind, a bit like he’s floating, uncertain of his next move but still carrying a bit of innate, Hollywood-charm. As a critic and a rap fan, it was fascinating to watch his development as an artist. And so when the record did indeed arrive, I was wary of listening because, holy shit, what if I actually like this Childish Gambino record?
The fact that I had this internal discussion—whether or not it was okay for me to like this music—is inherently funny, but what’s more is that it’s indicative of exactly what the Because the Internet is about, how self-aware Glover is, what he is trying to accomplish with Gambino, and what the culture thinks of him.
Oh, and it’s also important to consider that this is a record made by Childish Gambino, who is arguably one of the most automatically hated rappers currently in the game.
Look, Let’s Accept It: Justin Bieber is Incredible Now
Like Reading Festival or a Middle East territory occupied by neo imperialist forces, the internet is split into several different camps. One has a vehement love for Justin Bieber, threatening to blend their pet kitten into small chunks of tabby-cat tikka unless he follows them back. The other has a vehement hate toward him, polluting YouTube with comments that liken the mere existence of a harmless 19 year-old to the genocide committed by the Third Reich. And then, IDK, I guess there’s everyone else who will mindlessly share whatever video Upworthy have told them Will Really Change Your Life.
If you ask the people who fall into Team Everything-But-Bieber why they hate the Prince of Swagu, they’ll tell you that he’s single-handedly responsible for ruining music while maintaining a single reference point for his long-parodied breakout 2010 single “Baby”. This is sort of like someone claiming that they hate Radiohead because Pablo Honey was a shitty grunge rip-off, or that they never talk to strangers because that’s what their mum told them when they were five.
Brody Dalle: “In the Mainstream it’s all Whipped Cream and Fucking Titties”
It only takes a quick Google of Brody Dalle’s hairstyles in the early 2000s to know that she was born to slay demons and write the fuck out of songs. After gobbing her way through rock’n’roll in the Distillers, she’s been away for a bit, having two children with her husband Josh Homme. We sat down with her to find out what else she’s been up to.
If you don’t write an end of the year trendpiece, you are a total jerk. Because a year’s art starts on day one of the new year and if we don’t quantify it somehow by December, who are we as a people and what is our worth? Without lists and handy dandy encapsulation, on a scale of 1.0 to 10.0, we are, like, negative infinity.
With that in mind I have helpfully compiled some of the most important trends of 2013 for you. Because time is not a stream. It is a Lego. I put numbers in front of them so that it was a proper list. I spelled the numbers out so that it qualifies as a “thinkpiece.”
First off: Kanye West. So far, so good. This summation racket is very pretty easy.
Secondly: Total bullshit that Perfect Pussy reached number one on the Billboard charts because the Illuminati (or as it’s most commonly referred to in Boston, “chix”) fooled all you fools into liking something you didn’t actually like. This is the Thomas Frank theory of music criticism. If only the heartland weren’t so credulous, we wouldn’t have to sit through multiple Perfect Pussy rock blocks on the radio (whatever that is).
Tertiary: Black Metal and shoegaze combined forces help put Rosemary’s Baby (and me) to sleep. I can only suppose that Satan is looking at the long game.
Fourth: Punk happened again, for the 46 year running. Punk is Susan Lucci in 1999, but forever.
If you’ve ever paid attention to the Mercury Prize, the BBC Sound Of poll or basically any other situation where artists are rewarded for their good work, you’ll know that we Brits are really good at complaining about the people who get left out. Call it the underdog spirit, but you’ll find ten blogs bemoaning the fact that Captain Pretention and the Tear Stains (so emotional, so ahead of their time) didn’t make the cut, to every one person saying “well done Arctic Monkeys”.