14 February 2007
OH HOW APPROPRIATE FOR VALENTINE'S DAY
13 February 2007
THE ARDACE FIRE
Oh So This Is The Big Deal
Hype Machine: The Arcade Fire
Just trying to be a responsible internet citizen and all, I actually listened to this new Arcade Fire album and it's often fantastic. Gnothi seauton: I tend to dislike music that really really wants me to like it. Funeral was that way for me, had very specific reactions it wanted from my inner thoracic region, wanted them NOW. The lumbering arrangements I was supposed to mistake for actual anthems, the mostly obvious vocal melodies I was supposed to think understood me, that press sheet bit about how the album was closely informed by the death of a grandparent and an uncle so please please, spare a quarter if you can, etc. The thing played like an hour-long "We Shall Overcome" and you all got snookered.
As for me: Not for not trying! I really tried to like it, which is the cruel part. Funeral liked everyone but me. I know of at least one job I started to lose because this album didn't like me. So I'm happy Neon Bible doesn't seem to have just one possible read to it. There are more entry points. Musically it's nimbler, with a legitimately Bowie-ish drive to songs like "Black Mirror" and, as Sasha ripped it, a Springsteen-but-better drive to Win's lyrics and delivery, less hysterical and more restless. Exhausted but gotta keep going. For me he's more within reach though without being a "working-class hero" or whatever the hell old people fancied the shitty rock and roll they liked in the 70s. Instead he sounds like he's 26 or 27 or however old he is, and he's tired, and he doesn't want to see you at his windowsill. It's like anti-grup music.
At this point I would link to a certain "humorous" Arcade Fire interview I did over at my previous blog Riff Raff for New York's the Village Voice newspaper website, but follow the links and now this is what happens. I'm told that Riff Raff, which had lots of posts and hundreds of thousands of my words, is being switched to a different server with all the other inactive Voice blogs. Not sure what that means, but as of now it has been completely zapped off the internet.
12 February 2007
HAVE IT NORWAY
RIFF MARKET VS. THE ARTS AND CULTURE OF NORWAY
WELCOME BACK ZACH AND BRANDON
P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center
Not that they have more in common than visits to that Thor Heyerdahl museum, it just sorta worked out this way, and who knows what other Norway-type events I missed in the mean. Weirdly the first time I saw Lindstrøm play live was P.S.1 Warm-Up July 2005, then a gig at the Tribeca afterwards, then at Blå in Oslo in August same year. I remembered him taking his time on builds, vamping round, rubbery loops for five or six minutes before letting them break into "Another Station" or "There's A Drink..." or "The Contemporary Fix." He's a tease, fine, but Saturday was near-infuriating sometimes, to the point that people gave up the stationary bob-in-place and just stayed stationary, waiting for him to give the song the go-ahead. When he did it was bliss obviously, but I don't remember being tooled like that in a while, my mood so violently backed and forthed.
The other exhibits that opened at P.S.1 Sunday might make more noise, esp. this one and this one, but I really liked the Tom Sandberg show. From what I understand, the Norwegian b&w photographer's work has never been shown U.S. museum-wise, ever, and he's apparently a pretty famous dude so what took us so long, etc. Like you, I don't go hard for landscapes, but there are a few really moving ones here, where the contrast is so muted you sorta have to strain your eyes to make out the shapes, and to me seem more honest to reality than the eyepopping high-contrast approach to b&w photography which strikes ig'nant me as the norm. Especially since I remember printing some pretty shitty low-contrast shots in the Prep darkroom, and being so happy when I realized all I had to do was develop the film longer and my prints would look drastically better.
My favorite shot is of this baby on a blanket on a beach. It's set up to be really dramatic, the baby looming large in sharp foreground focus with the immediate background and everything else beyond left blurred, unfocused--I know for a fact a lot of my friends' parents hired professional photographers to take shots like this so I'm assuming you know what I'm talking about, or at the very least have seen Rodney Dangerfield in Easy Money. Anyway if you know what I'm talking about, normally the photographer will shake a baby rattle or a funny-looking stuffed animal or something to keep the baby's attention, the face looking forward to the camera, and he'll take a shitload of shots in hopes that one of them will turn out. Sandberg's photo is this baby with his head down, ostensibly one of the "failed" shots. I say ostensibly because really the baby's head almost looks burrowed into his body, like the baby's caught onto the photographer's trick and the baby's so angry that this photographer thinks he can trick him that this baby now refuses to lift his head no matter what.