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Stereogum’s Tom Brei­han on the Pitch­fork Music Fes­ti­val:

I find some­thing quizzi­cal and hon­or­able in this: A whole fes­ti­val built around music that is not, in any way, designed for par­ty­ing. In a way, isn’t that the log­i­cal end­point of a decade-plus of inter­net music con­sump­tion? We’ve all spent all this time find­ing music on our com­put­ers and pip­ing that music direct­ly into our ears, rarely if ever hav­ing real-life con­ver­sa­tions about some of the artists who mean the most to us. Why shouldn’t we be ded­i­cat­ing entire fes­ti­vals to that same anti­so­cial expe­ri­ence?

Need a #latepass here, but I’m not alto­geth­er sure what this is about. I attend­ed the show Sat­ur­day with a friend, cour­tesy of Pitch­fork, and found myself chat­ting with present and for­mer Pitch­fork crit­ics, as well as the Super Fur­ry Ani­mals in the VIP.

There was also a mas­sive crowd in Union Park singing “Bar­bara Ann” as I left. It sound­ed about the same as when I first expe­ri­enced the Beach Boys 30 years ago at the Great Allen­town Fair.

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Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon

The way MTV Geek’s Alex Zal­ben described Hawk­eye to Jesse Thorn on Bulls­eyemade it sound like Amer­i­can Splen­dor with a bow and arrow. He wasn’t wrong. I just fin­ished read­ing #10 and I’m ready for more.

Beau­ti­ful­ly drawn and bril­liant­ly writ­ten, Hawkeye’s life out­side the Avengers is pos­i­tive­ly spell­bind­ing. The issue ded­i­cat­ed to Hur­ri­cane Sandy may be one of the most mov­ing trib­utes imag­ined. The artists com­pris­ing Team Hawkguy are doing some­thing tru­ly spe­cial.

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Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom

Free­dom will be remem­bered as a sto­ry that cap­tures a very strange chap­ter in Amer­i­can his­to­ry. It’s hard to put a fin­ger on it, but the mood of the last decade is some­thing Franzen nails. His char­ac­ters rep­re­sent the amoral fugue state we drift­ed off into col­lec­tive­ly after 2003. I’m not even sure his hol­lowed out char­ac­ters could real­is­ti­cal­ly course cor­rect, yet they do, and for that rea­son I was some­what dis­ap­point­ed in the nov­el.

Equal­ly ter­ri­fy­ing, alt-coun­try act Wal­nut Sur­prise rep­re­sent­ed one of the worst musi­cal move­ments of the decade. We have only our­selves to blame.

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Woebot’s 100 Lost Rock Albums From the 1970s

Matthew Ingram’s fan­tas­tic Woe­bot blog was an inspi­ra­tion to me as a crit­ic. His vora­cious appetite for and catholic taste in music pushed me to expand my palate and lis­ten to music oth­ers may have dis­missed as less­er works. In short, Woe­bot had big ears and it didn’t hurt that he could write.

I’m final­ly read­ing his ebook, 100 Lost Rock Albums from the 1970s and it’s bring­ing back lots of mem­o­ries. This is the music I fell in love with around the time Stephen Malk­mus released Pig Lib and even name checked the Ground­hogs on tour. Some of the ground Ingram cov­ers is famil­iar, but what makes the book so reward­ing are the impos­si­ble to find albums that rekin­dle my love for crate dig­ging.

If you’re look­ing for a place to begin, check out this com­pan­ion playlist on Spo­ti­fy.

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Let’s Talk About MLB Winter Meetings, Okay?

Noth­ing quite as excru­ci­at­ing as watch­ing your team lose a star out­field­er to a sor­ry team with­in the divi­sion — for unrea­son­ably big bucks, mind — while watch­ing them hap­less­ly pur­sue bar­gain bin replace­ments like Jeff Fran­coeur, Matt Diaz, George Sher­rill and Den­nys Reyes. Would’ve been adding insult to injury if we tried to add any of those guys even in a pla­toon. Can’t right­ly tell if it makes it hurt more to hear the Phillies bandied about as being in on Cliff Lee and Zack Greinke or if that’s just part of a push to make guys like me feel bet­ter about a team that real­ly has no choice but to stand pat this off­sea­son and hope things go a lit­tle dif­fer­ent­ly in 2011.

Will say that the Nats being big spenders real­ly warms my heart. Love that the Fish are being aggres­sive, too. The NL East doesn’t get enough cred­it for being the hornet’s nest it is.

Last­ly, Selig real­ly does need to expand the league to include the mys­tery team that gets cit­ed any time talks heat up with a free agent. Craig Cal­cater­ra has been writ­ing about this over at Hard­ball Talk for a bit. The tweets com­ing out of Orlan­do have been pos­i­tive­ly hilar­i­ous. Have to say that the rumors def­i­nite­ly keep me engaged with base­ball dur­ing what is oth­er­wise a very slow off­sea­son.

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