Four Tet's music is sticky. The word works as a description of Kieran Hebden's gluey way of making precious, melodic samples adhere to languid hip-hop beats. It also conveys that Four Tet's sound not only bears down into your memory, it also becomes a medium for memories in its own right. Read more »
Ariel Pink's music has never existed above or apart from the scrambling music critics do to make sense of it. Not that the busted transmissions making up his Haunted Graffiti series could ever be accused of careerism or provocation. The multiyear lapse between the initial release of his tapes and their reissue under Animal Collective's Paw Tracks imprint is a requirement for so-called outsider cred, though using the term for an art-schooled kid from Los Angeles is dubious. Read more »
You could dig up what you need to know about Baltimore, Md.'s Thank You on the Internet pretty easily: names, dates, discography, samples, and pics. Friends of mine released a real labor-of-love album recently, and a preliminary Lycos search turned up a review that was 90 percent press release. Read more »
"I fucking hate normal garage rock," says Hunx. "It's so boring. I love when it's weirder."
If you've heard either of the two 7-inch singles the man born Seth Bogart put out last year under the name Hunx and His Punx the debut "Good Kisser"/"Cruisin" EP on Austria's Bachelor Records and "Gimme Gimme Back Your Love"/"You Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll" on Rob's House you probably know where a comment like that comes from. Read more »
PREVIEW It's not hard to see Calvin Johnson as the obverse of Henry Rollins in the protean world of '80s underground rock. Johnson's teddy-bear huggability, and the straightforwardness and purity of sentiment of a track like his old band Beat Happening's "Honey Pot," has nothing to do with Black Flag's macho angst. Rather than burying his emotional life under muscle, Johnson's appeal came from an embarrassing vulnerability. Read more »
PREVIEW In the liner notes to his Automatic Writing (Lovely Music, 1996), Robert Ashley talks about how he tried to source text for his 1967 opera That Morning Thing by soliciting recordings from his friends narrating, without psychological or moral interpretation, scenes from their life that they'd chosen to keep secret. Read more »
REVIEW Stephanie Young edited the anthology Bay Poetics (Faux Press, 432 pages, $29), which attempted to take a snapshot of the Bay Area's poetry scene while acknowledging the failure built into such a task. Her second book of poetry, Picture Palace (in girum imus nocte et consumimur igni, 120 pages, $15), is not particularly concerned with choosing between various poetic modes and traditions. Read more »
PREVIEW Since we're dealing with a reunion here, let's start with what's missing: the funky Meters are not the same as the original Meters. You might own some records by the plain old Meters, the New Orleans funk unit whose best-known full-lengths are Look-Ka Py Py (Josie, 1969) and Fire on the Bayou (Reprise, 1975). That version of Meters consisted of in addition to singer-keyboardist Art Neville and bassist George Porter Jr. guitarist Leo Nocentelli and drummer Joseph Modeliste. Read more »
PREVIEW Los Angeles' Orgone chose its name well: if you have a couple hours to kill, you could do worse than riding the Wikipedia reference trail in the direction of Wilhelm Reich's concept and its ambitious attempt to link observable events with libidinal energy. What the idea lacks in scientific standing, it makes up for in its ability to st(r)oke the imagination. Orgone's abbreviated Afrobeat-soul-funk jams might even make a good alternate soundtrack to the orgy of styles, stories, and moods on display in Dušan Makavejev's W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971). Read more »
Gathering my thoughts about how I listened to music in 2008, I think not only of Luc Sante's piece on Manny Farber in this month's Artforum, but also Ariana Reines' Action, Yes piece explaining why she hates the "cleanness and elegance of tight and perfect writing." In different ways, both pieces deal with the importance of smallness, incompleteness, and, to steal the title of Reines' piece, "sucking."
Because it's easy not to suck, and this may or may not be the Internet's fault. Read more »