Just when I thought I couldn’t love Low any more, they go ahead and play a 30 minute version of “Do You Know How to Waltz?” It’s a polarizing piece of music, but I’m going to join a legion of drone fans and request it when they play Philadelphia Saturday night at World Cafe.
I can’t believe I once haggled with Eleanor over the price of a Fiery Furnaces t-shirt in the front of the Khyber…and that she accepted $10 instead of $15. Even harder to believe it was that long ago that the Fiery Furnaces were critical darlings, playing packed rooms and mesmerizing fans with Matt’s musicianship and Eleanor’s swagger.
It’s great to see Eleanor break out and make really lovely pop records that should appeal to a broader audience than probably hears them. There’s no standout track to these ears after a few listens, but I’m o.k. with that. I still enjoy putting a record on on Sunday morning, sipping coffee, flipping through the Home section on my Flipboard. Personal Record is perfect for that.
I know Matt Friedberger would hate to have his music described as something that doesn’t demand more from the listener, but there’s something to be said for music that doesn’t bounce around like a child throwing a tantrum. His solo stuff was never that challenging in the way he believed it to be. And the manner in which he drove fans away from the Fiery Furnaces tarnished the band’s legacy irrevocably.
Personal Record finds Eleanor Friedberger coming into her own after her equally lush and lovely Last Summer.
We go to settlement on our Letterly Street home in a few hours. Once it’s over, it’ll be the first time neither Helen nor I have rented or owned a property in the Philadelphia area since we met in 1996.
You were good to us, Letterly Street. Thanks for all the wonderful memories.
Maybe I’m following the wrong people on social media, but has the word “overlooked” lost all meaning as it pertains to culture? It seems to me that when we’re still printing spoiler alerts for ten-year-old TV shows that “overlooked” has lost all explanatory power. Now when I see that word in a review, I roll my eyes. Chances are the reviews are just as overlooked as the culture they describe, if not moreso.
Sure, within your niche the new records from Vampire Weekend or the National may be on everyone’s lips, but it’s a safe bet that the word of mouth outpaces actual consumption of that particular cultural artifact. You may perceive that those records have gone mainstream, but the reality is your neighbor has never heard either band.
There’s definitely a bright side to this; with this shift, it appears to me at least that snobbery loses in the bargain. The on demand nature of culture now enables anyone curious enough to bookmark those things mentally and narrows the gap between the expert and the novice. Moreover, we’ve done away with the cultural monoliths that once dominated the pop cultural landscape that allow us to gather around real and imagined water coolers for discussion and debate.
But how do critics describe this shift as the pace of cultural creation plows under what came before? Blink and you could miss the next cultural epicycle. Has culture been marginalized or personalized? Can anything be described as ephemeral, or were we just always talking to ourselves, the myth of monoculture just another imagined community peopled exclusively by elites?
Youth Lagoon’s Wondrous Bughouse is a haunted circus of a record. It rivals Clinic’s Free Reign II for dark psychedelic masterpiece of the year.
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.
After a binge viewing session while I was home sick during Watchathon (honest!), History Channel’s new show, Vikings, became one of my favorite shows on TV. The first season just ended, but if you’re looking for Sons of Anarchy set in the Dark Ages, then this is the show for you.