Thursday, April 24, 2008


Ida No

It is true that everything which is drastically uncool will, at some point, be primed for hipness once more. This is how I like to think of my Trisha Yearwood concert shirt: Ugly and gauche when Trisha Yearwood was on tour in 1997; still pretty fucking ugly in 2008, but so distanced from Trisha's heyday that it could be cool (pretty please?).

Portland's Glass Candy takes disco, which was pretty lame about 20 years ago (according to what I gleamed from the Freaks and Geeks episode "Discos and Dragons"), and inserts an unsettling despondency into their tracks that set them apart from their forebears. Johnny Jewel and Ida No (cool ass names right?) are the sole members of Glass Candy, while Jewel also puts in time with Chromatics and Farah, the three of whom are all label mates on Italians Do It Better.

Glass Candy's lovely 2007 EP B/E/A/T/B/O/X  gives you the impression that Jewel and No belong to some kind of underground demimonde that they find heartless while reveling in that same emptiness. Jewel's beats feel either lazy or tight, but they all manage to dream around a kind of decadence that No's washed out, ethereal vocals drug the listener with. No simply talks through some of the songs, and when in "Digital Versicolor" she whispers, "This is red, red, red, red, red. This is orange, orange, orange, orange, orange. This is yellow. This is yellow. This is yellow," though the lyrics might not mean anything to your head, the rest of you feels like you can see a pretty girl walking home by herself at 3AM on a Saturday morning, her purse dangling from her fingers, wiping off her lipstick with a napkin.

Boy did I just romanticize the shit out of that or what?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

...And it Don't Stop

One thing that's always bothered me is the amount of hip-hop I listen to. I always felt that there was something I fundamentally didn't understand about rap, so I would go out of my way to listen to the rap that critics liked, in an effort to "get it" (Recently one of my hip-hop savvy friends has told me that the vast majority of rap does indeed suck, so I guess a lot of what I felt was valid, but still).

So that's why I always get moderately excited when I find a recent hip-hop act I can get behind, like the surly gentleman pictured above. 22 year-old Cadence Weapon (neĆ© Roland Pemberton) is a former polaris prize nominee and hip-hop journalist for Stylus and Pitchfork. He tends to rap over glitchy, synth-driven beats that place him in a camp much departed from someone like Just Blaze or Timbaland.  

And as much as I can get down with some Three 6 Mafia or Trick Daddy, I must admit that Pemberton's arrhythmic flow is refreshing. When I say refreshing, I mean that if I were to drink his debut Breaking Kayfabe or its 2007 follow up Afterparty Babies, that I would go "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh," and smile at the camera. That is what people do when they are refreshed. Like what you do when you are finished reading this blog. And what?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sporty Thieves

Everybody wants to be cool, right? At the very least, every young person wants to be cool, and thinks they're a little bit cool, even if they're not. And what's cooler than music that creates some kind of hedonistic urban landscape fueled by carelessness, recreational drugs, and lip gloss?

Not a goddamn thing.

The 2/3 Swedish, 1/3 American trio of Thieves Like Us came together in Berlin as a reaction to a eurotronica propelled night culture that they didn't understand. The music sounds about as slick as anything else, with despondent vocals about searching and waiting, with an infectious beat thrown in.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Two things I hate: the idea of "blue-eyed soul" and people younger than me who are actually doing something with their life. Ugh. Well, the 19-year old singer Adele combines both of those things, and somehow I don't hate her. Her voice is too compelling to ignore; she sounds like someone 10 or 20 years her senior. And if she's not responsible for her songwriting and production, she should get props for choosing to work with whoever is. The chorus to "Chasing Pavement" alone kills me.

The "itis", but with music.

I have, as I hope most people do, a special category for some of the songs I love. I call this category "songs that fuck me up." A song that fucks me up is a song that I just become catatonic listening to, because I can't process all of the shimmering gorgeousness it's producing in my brain. It's like being on heroin for 3:30 (probably not, shooting up probably feels awesome) . I have loads of songs that fuck me up. Here's one.

p.s. I know music blogs are supposed to cover new hot shit. I'll get to that. It's 3 in the morning and I have a paper to write. and besides, fleetwood mac is timeless. Ask your mom, she'll tell you all about it.