Thursday, October 28, 2010 

A brand you can trust

As just announced on their site, Mogwai have a new album coming out next February. The album, which features songs like "Death Rays," "How to Be a Werewolf," and "You're Lionel Ritchie," is titled Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will.

I love this band so much.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 

At least the rain has stopped.

Aaron Gouveia and his wife were having an incredibly bad day. Some underinformed anti-abortion demonstrators (if that's not a tautology) made it worse. Gouveia's reaction doesn't lessen the horribleness of his situation, but it is both courageous and extremely useful, I think.

In less serious news: If you can honestly say you don't want to try any of these, I guess you're a better person than I am. But also maybe a little boring; who among us would avoid the Tender Beef Pentagon?

Over at PopMatters, we're currently doing a big tenth anniversary Kid A think. There's lots of good stuff, but what you really want (meaning "the only thing I did") is here, and it's a particularly scintillating writeup of "How to Disappear Completely" if I do say so myself.

I feel a little bad for anyone who didn't make it to gonzo Japanese horror classic Hausu when it played at the Bookshelf. But at least you can see some examples of what you missed in this slideshow.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 

It's been a busy couple of weeks at work, and September/early October was insane for me in terms of travelling, concerts, and so on. There's catching up to do:

- My review of the fantastic Sam Amidon show I saw in Toronto is up now; if Sam comes anywhere near where you are, you ought to go see him.

- I've heard the argument that what Christine O'Donnell is doing here isn't so much ignorance as a covert argument (that the establishment clause doesn't say what it says), which even if true is idiotic and poorly expressed to boot. Can we please stop talking about this woman now? Canadian politics are depressing enough without having to worry that our southern neighbours are at least theoretically able to elect her to high office. (And why did this all have to happen after I fell in love with The West Wing, so that I both care and understand more than I did before?)

- A study isn't the kind of ironclad proof the press sometimes treats it as, but I find it interesting that this one suggests that, as far as actual happiness goes, getting paid anything more than $75,000 a year doesn't help. Which sounds about right to me. (Also, first world problems!)

- Jonathan Bradley has been absolutely killing it at the mighty Screw Rock and Roll for a minute now, and here are just three examples: One of the most cogent descriptions of good criticism I've read in a while ("Music criticism needs good listeners, not objective standards. We need to listen well and report our responses accurately and honestly, not to try to implement standards that circumvent our instincts in pursuit of an unachievable and undesirable objectivity.), an excellent comparison between conservatism and liberalism ("Conservatism is an ideology interested in preserving prevailing social structures — that is, prevailing power structures... And sure, I understand why folks might find such an ideology appealing: After all, it’s got us this far, and we’re doing OK. (It’s an even better argument if you are doing OK.) But I’m a liberal; I care about the individual."), and a sharp takedown of one of the more pernicious arguments against pop culture ("Culture, 'mass culture' included, is something people do. This quote understands culture only as something that is done to people. It distinguishes correct art from incorrect art, and then dehumanizes people who do not have the correct art done to them. It must, otherwise Marcus would recognize that people can respond to mass culture as strongly, as emotionally, and as authentically as she does to whichever niche interest she prefers.").

- To end, two interesting quotations that stand out rather sharply from their (perfectly fine) environs: Warren Ellis on RFID, AR, wearable computing, and so on: "We are growing more comfortable with doing business with invisible things. There’s something almost primeval about it. A sense that we’re relearning to interact with the presence of the powerful and numinous. Working with the ancestors." And Todd VanDerWerff, on one of the good bits of the deeply flawed new show Mike & Molly: "What's interesting about Mike & Molly isn't that it's a show about two fat people; it's that it's a show about two people who find love when they were pretty sure they'd never be worthy of it. It's about the weird intersection between kind of hating yourself and then realizing someone else thinks you're pretty great the way you are."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 

Admit to yourself that everything's the problem

Feel good hits of the 13th of October, 2010:

Sloan - Losing California
Frank Black - Out of State
Queens of the Stone Age - In the Fade
The Cure - Fascination Street
Guided By Voices - Back to the Lake
Jimi Hendrix - Crosstown Traffic
Pet Shop Boys - You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk
Radiohead - Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box
Prolapse - A Day At Death Seaside
Spoon - Finer Feelings

Monday, October 04, 2010 

So it turns out I love The West Wing

And while I'm Canadian (and thus saddled with a venal and borderline incompentent (at anything but skullduggery) Prime Minister, and naturally resistent to the siren song of US politics), this interview with Barack Obama is incredibly impressive. His presidency hasn't been error-free or perfect, but considering the circumstance I think he's still doing an awfully admirable job. My two favourite parts:

"I could have had a knock-down, drag-out fight on the public option that might have energized you and The Huffington Post, and we would not have health care legislation now. I could have taken certain positions on aspects of the financial regulatory bill, where we got 90 percent of what we set out to get, and I could have held out for that last 10 percent, and we wouldn't have a bill. You've got to make a set of decisions in terms of 'What are we trying to do here? Are we trying to just keep everybody ginned up for the next election, or at some point do you try to win elections because you're actually trying to govern?' I made a decision early on in my presidency that if I had an opportunity to do things that would make a difference for years to come, I'm going to go ahead and take it."

"One of the things that you realize when you're in my seat is that, typically, the issues that come to my desk — there are no simple answers to them. Usually what I'm doing is operating on the basis of a bunch of probabilities: I'm looking at the best options available based on the fact that there are no easy choices. If there were easy choices, somebody else would have solved it, and it wouldn't have come to my desk."

This is a great, detailed, fairly in-depth interview, and while it won't make certain factions in America shut up (nor is it trying to shut them up), it's a pretty stirring one to boot.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.

About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

Contact Me:
imathers at gmail dot com

My profile
Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates