Arts & Crafts Hour

February 15, 2008 at 10:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

For the Love of Music by Flickr user pa gillet

  • Popmatters reassesses Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot – a masterpiece of sound and song – and asks why it is so commonly viewed as a postmodern classic:

A Google search of the terms “Wilco” and “postmodern”, for example, yields at least a few hundred matches. But why? And what is it supposed to mean? Often, it seems this invocation of postmodern doesn’t mean anything much or that it kind of means everything, a way of referring to contemporary culture in general.

  • Sometimes I wonder whether we’re guilty of over-analysing, over-intellectualising popular music, and other times I think its huge role in our cultural language means it deserves the same kind of recognition afforded to cinema and literature. Whatever, if one album deserves the postgrad pop writer treatment, it’s this one.
  • The Guardian  interviews The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle, whilst Plan B reviews his marvellous new album, Heretic Pride:

A collection of short stories or character studies – think of the snapshot constellations of Raymond Carver – with perhaps the only thing binding them together being the characters’ status as freaks, misfits, in some cases outcasts from the others’ stories (HP Lovecraft, Sax Rohmer). ‘San Bernadino’ sees an unmarried couple escaping to a motel with their new son; ‘In The Craters On The Moon’ is populated with recluses haunted by disasters, awaiting their extermination; the title track describes an execution-by-angry-mob, the narrator being beaten and then set alight to the soundtrack of an upbeat, rolling, piano-and-organ-flecked groove.

  • What do Cold War Kids, The Lemonheads, The Clash, The Shins, Radiohead, XTC, Elliott Smith, Babyshambles, Pulp, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Modest Mouse all have in common? Answer: they’re all on music playlists devised by a young lady by the name of Cindy McCain. Now, someone having great taste in music wouldn’t normally be a big deal, except our Cindy also happens to be the daughter of Republican Presidential candidate John McCain. Now if only her favourite bands could start a petition asking her to persuade Daddy not to campaign as a carpet-bombing harbinger of mass death and low taxes. (Hat tip: Pitchfork)
  • Gorilla vs Bear has a new tune from Tapes n’ Tapes and a video from a song on the forthcoming Beach House album
  • If this doesn’t manage to fill up an hour of your time, I suggest you waste it over at the Hype Machine.

And finally…

  • Two very different renditions of two terrific pop songs. The first is a sparse, jittery, funk-inflected performance of Oxford Comma on the addictive debut from Vampire Weekend:

  • The second is a solo performance of Jens Lekman’s The Opposite of Hallelujah from last year’s The Night Falls Over Kortedala. A slower and more sparse rendition, it’s full of yearning, disappointment and utterly infectious whistling:

Note: Photo taken by Flickr user pa gillet, used under a Creative Commons license.

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