Dots and Loops

liner notes and doodles in pop
Lost in all the eagerness to call Bloc Party’s bluff on Four — “revisionist history,” “band propaganda,” according to Pitchfork — or hail it as a “return to form” is a very simple facet of the album that makes it unique among their discography:  Four is the the first Bloc Party album that sounds spontaneous.
Self-conscious tape hiss and studio banter aside, Bloc Party is playing in a fashion they simply haven’t before.  Much has been made of the blunt grunge-metal riffing of songs like “Kettling” and “So He Begins to Lie,” songs that rock in a very different fashion from the band’s early “angular” days on Silent Alarm or even the glitchy, post-millennial riffs of A Weekend in the City highlight “Hunting for Witches,” and whether or not they belong on a Bloc Party album.
Whether or not we like our Bloc Party in flannel, credit the band for finally daring to let go of the legacy imposed by their zeitgeist-y debut and subsequent attempts at this generation’s answer to Radiohead and just play what they’ve been listening to lately:  That would be Nirvana, according to Kele Okereke, as well as Smashing Pumpkins and Deep Purple, by the sound of it.  Neither should it be lost that guitarist Russell Lissack did do a touring stint with Ash — no strangers to metal — while Bloc Party was on hiatus.  The result is the sound of a band rediscovering their teenage guitars and getting on with it. 
Speaking of Radiohead, “3x3” is the kind of serrated knife attack the world’s still patiently waiting for from Thom Yorke and company.  Subsequently, “Real Talk,” with it’s banjo flourishes and major-minor groove, would have sounded right at home on Hail to the Thief and The Invisible Band.
Kele Okereke, whose voices was starting to grate considerably by Intimacy, proves to be a nimble guide through the 90s alt rock homage as it settles toward the back of the mix or else silkily hovers over the prettier material like “Truth” and “The Healing.”
Four may lack the focus of previous records, but it’s also the first Bloc Party to sprinkle the quality evenly throughout (it seems fair to say previous efforts were heavily front-loaded, with most of their best songs residing within the first four album tracks), precisely because it wishes to prove no point other than its sheer existence.  Whether it proves to be a sign of things to come or simply a necessary excursion, Four finds a band still capable of surprising itself, even as Silent Alarm continues to recede in the rearview.

Lost in all the eagerness to call Bloc Party’s bluff on Four — “revisionist history,” “band propaganda,” according to Pitchfork — or hail it as a “return to form” is a very simple facet of the album that makes it unique among their discography:  Four is the the first Bloc Party album that sounds spontaneous.

Self-conscious tape hiss and studio banter aside, Bloc Party is playing in a fashion they simply haven’t before.  Much has been made of the blunt grunge-metal riffing of songs like “Kettling” and “So He Begins to Lie,” songs that rock in a very different fashion from the band’s early “angular” days on Silent Alarm or even the glitchy, post-millennial riffs of A Weekend in the City highlight “Hunting for Witches,” and whether or not they belong on a Bloc Party album.

Whether or not we like our Bloc Party in flannel, credit the band for finally daring to let go of the legacy imposed by their zeitgeist-y debut and subsequent attempts at this generation’s answer to Radiohead and just play what they’ve been listening to lately:  That would be Nirvana, according to Kele Okereke, as well as Smashing Pumpkins and Deep Purple, by the sound of it.  Neither should it be lost that guitarist Russell Lissack did do a touring stint with Ash — no strangers to metal — while Bloc Party was on hiatus.  The result is the sound of a band rediscovering their teenage guitars and getting on with it. 

Speaking of Radiohead, “3x3” is the kind of serrated knife attack the world’s still patiently waiting for from Thom Yorke and company.  Subsequently, “Real Talk,” with it’s banjo flourishes and major-minor groove, would have sounded right at home on Hail to the Thief and The Invisible Band.

Kele Okereke, whose voices was starting to grate considerably by Intimacy, proves to be a nimble guide through the 90s alt rock homage as it settles toward the back of the mix or else silkily hovers over the prettier material like “Truth” and “The Healing.”

Four may lack the focus of previous records, but it’s also the first Bloc Party to sprinkle the quality evenly throughout (it seems fair to say previous efforts were heavily front-loaded, with most of their best songs residing within the first four album tracks), precisely because it wishes to prove no point other than its sheer existence.  Whether it proves to be a sign of things to come or simply a necessary excursion, Four finds a band still capable of surprising itself, even as Silent Alarm continues to recede in the rearview.

I started to sense that Wilco was a band I should be into somewhere in college because I noticed their fans seemed smarter than the average music fan (similar to how my Radiohead journey began too).  They were older than I was, and they were white and bearded and understood the various effects of all the line-up changes throughout the years, particularly Jay Bennett leaving and the addition of Glenn Kotche on drums.  They talked of “important” recordsand Dinosaur Jr. shows.
I remember going to see Rufus Wainwright in Guilford, NH — don’t ask me where that is — and there appeared to be a lot of Wilco fans; I deduced from the Wilco shirts they were wearing.  And I had one too!  From the Ghost is Born tour.  It said “Staff” on the back like I was some kind of badass.  Coincidentally, Rufus couldn’t be bothered that night and forgot the lyrics to three songs, including his cover of “Hallelujah.”
Anyway, the point is The Whole Love is a really good album, like a more assured version of Summerteeth and best since their masterpiece (that would be A Ghost is Born in case you’re wondering).  Its release constituted the first time I thought of Wilco as a relevant force in music in at least seven years.

I started to sense that Wilco was a band I should be into somewhere in college because I noticed their fans seemed smarter than the average music fan (similar to how my Radiohead journey began too).  They were older than I was, and they were white and bearded and understood the various effects of all the line-up changes throughout the years, particularly Jay Bennett leaving and the addition of Glenn Kotche on drums.  They talked of “important” recordsand Dinosaur Jr. shows.

I remember going to see Rufus Wainwright in Guilford, NH — don’t ask me where that is — and there appeared to be a lot of Wilco fans; I deduced from the Wilco shirts they were wearing.  And I had one too!  From the Ghost is Born tour.  It said “Staff” on the back like I was some kind of badass.  Coincidentally, Rufus couldn’t be bothered that night and forgot the lyrics to three songs, including his cover of “Hallelujah.”

Anyway, the point is The Whole Love is a really good album, like a more assured version of Summerteeth and best since their masterpiece (that would be A Ghost is Born in case you’re wondering).  Its release constituted the first time I thought of Wilco as a relevant force in music in at least seven years.

You know you’re a collector once you start ordering rare made-rarer j-pop vinyl on ebay.  You think to yourself, “one day I’ll have a girl over and she’ll be so impressed with my obscure Japanese collection,” which really only consists of Pink Lady and Pizzicato Five records ( sounds incredible, btw).  But alas it never happens.  These girls don’t exist.  And if they do, they ain’t comin’ to your place.

You know you’re a collector once you start ordering rare made-rarer j-pop vinyl on ebay.  You think to yourself, “one day I’ll have a girl over and she’ll be so impressed with my obscure Japanese collection,” which really only consists of Pink Lady and Pizzicato Five records ( sounds incredible, btw).  But alas it never happens.  These girls don’t exist.  And if they do, they ain’t comin’ to your place.

Everything about Ash Reiter’s newish single ”Heatwave” is cloying in that particularly Zooey Deschanel way: chick singing in a modest, syrupy old-soul voice, softly strummed acoustic guitar — you start hearing ukuleles even though there aren’t any — and “doo-doo“‘s and “woah-oh“‘s galore.
But what are you gonna do?  It’s got an infectious guitar hook, sunny West Coast disposition, and endearingly low-key vocals from Reiter.  She’s not trying to convince you she has a good voice, she’s just drawing you a cute cartoon.  It’s sort of perfect in the way twee singularly attempts to be.  Worthy compliment to the Camera Obscura in your collection.

Everything about Ash Reiter’s newish single ”Heatwave” is cloying in that particularly Zooey Deschanel way: chick singing in a modest, syrupy old-soul voice, softly strummed acoustic guitar — you start hearing ukuleles even though there aren’t any — and “doo-doo“‘s and “woah-oh“‘s galore.

But what are you gonna do?  It’s got an infectious guitar hook, sunny West Coast disposition, and endearingly low-key vocals from Reiter.  She’s not trying to convince you she has a good voice, she’s just drawing you a cute cartoon.  It’s sort of perfect in the way twee singularly attempts to be.  Worthy compliment to the Camera Obscura in your collection.

In an alternate universe, where The Stills didn’t follow up LOGIC WILL BREAK YOUR HEART with the frankly terrible WITHOUT FEATHERS, resides EIGHT AND HALF, a burnishing record of electronic moodscapes held together by dramatically improved singing on the part of Dave Hamelin (chief songwriter in the now-defunct Stills) and skittering beats from Justin Peroff (Broken Social Scene).
Even more so than OCEANS WILL RISE, EIGHT AND A HALF feels like the sequel that never was — synthy enough to be trendy, but melodically distinct enough to be recognizable as Stills territory.  Highlights include “Scissors,” “Took a Train to India,” and the stuttering light-show “Two Points.”

In an alternate universe, where The Stills didn’t follow up LOGIC WILL BREAK YOUR HEART with the frankly terrible WITHOUT FEATHERS, resides EIGHT AND HALF, a burnishing record of electronic moodscapes held together by dramatically improved singing on the part of Dave Hamelin (chief songwriter in the now-defunct Stills) and skittering beats from Justin Peroff (Broken Social Scene).

Even more so than OCEANS WILL RISE, EIGHT AND A HALF feels like the sequel that never was — synthy enough to be trendy, but melodically distinct enough to be recognizable as Stills territory.  Highlights include “Scissors,” “Took a Train to India,” and the stuttering light-show “Two Points.”

extraordimarygirl:

I love this chick so much and her impersonation of Kristen Stewart. Haha.

Ha

A conversation on Woody Allen

  • EC: Which Woody Allen movie makes you the most uncomfortable?
  • BC: Manhattan. By far.
  • EC: How come?
  • BC: I mean come on... it's Woody Allen and a teenage girl. How can you not shudder?
  • EC: I think at the time no one really knew that he had those kind of hang-ups in real life though. Well I mean, I guess it wouldn't have been hard to figure out, but still... I feel like there's no way the average viewer could have known it was all that biographical.
  • BC: I know it's iconic and everything, I just can't. I really don't like any of his black and white movies, to be honest. "Celebrity?" That was the worst. And what was Ken Branagh doing in that movie?
  • EC: You mean why was he in it?
  • BC: No, I mean what was he doing?
  • EC: It was supposed to be a Woody Allen impersonation.
  • BC: "Supposed" being the operative word.
thekhooll:

Liu Yang, China’s first female astronaut
It might not be a giant step for mankind, but Saturday’s launch of a piloted space capsule known as Shenzhou-9 marks China’s breakthrough into the exclusive club once made up only of the United States and Russia. And as far as womankind is concerned, there is another first. One of the three astronauts in the capsule is a woman, 33-year-old Liu Yang, the first Chinese woman in space.

thekhooll:

Liu Yang, China’s first female astronaut

It might not be a giant step for mankind, but Saturday’s launch of a piloted space capsule known as Shenzhou-9 marks China’s breakthrough into the exclusive club once made up only of the United States and Russia. And as far as womankind is concerned, there is another first. One of the three astronauts in the capsule is a woman, 33-year-old Liu Yang, the first Chinese woman in space.

English seaside shoot for the single “Nothing Changes Around Here.”  Perhaps the last we’ve seen of The Thrills?