James Rettig
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Trent Reznor recently sat down with Billboard for a great interview which touched on a wide range of topics, including his Gone Girl score, failed Hesitation Marks recording sessions with Arcade Fire producer Markus Dravs, his Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame nomination, and his new role at apple as chief creative officer for Beats Music. Here are some interesting tidbits:

Panda Bear has put out another teaser for his upcoming new album, Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper. It features the same Grim Reaper as the first teaser, but things get a lot crazier this time: it starts freaking out and rips the stuffed panda bear in half until there’s nothing left, all while the screen flashes with bright colors and discordant noise escalates in the background. Pretty spooky stuff! Watch below.

O-Face is the latest great band to come out of the Bard College music scene. They released their debut album Taste last month, and it’s a sweet-sounding collection of nervous and smart indie rock. It’s concerned with growing up and trying to fit in, or at least carving out a safe space in which you can find yourself. “O-Thang” is a highlight on the album and serves as a quasi-mission statement: “O-Face sits by himself but he can’t picture no one else/ He’s following all of his dreams or so, or so it seems/ O-Face, you’re looking glum, well crack another cold one/ You’re absent in all of our dreams or so, or so it seems.” The Halloween-themed video for the song is all about trying to recapture your youth: the band gets dressed up to go trick-or-treating, but when they get turned away from a house because they’re too old, they decide to rebel instead. They break pumpkins in a parking lot, toilet paper a house, go to a party, and drink a lot of beers. The video is shot in an unassuming but perceptive way by directing duo Free Throw. Watch below.


 +2Posted on Oct 30th | re: Kool A.D. - "Look" / "Jose Canseco" Video (2 comments)

Fixed! Sorry bout that.

 +4Posted on Oct 27th | re: Premature Evaluation: Taylor Swift 1989 (163 comments)

“Blank Space” is one of my favorite songs — what she does with her voice on that “Boys only want love if it’s torture” bridge gets me every time. I also think that “Wildest Dreams” is really special — probably the best slower song on the album, Lana comparisons be damned.

 +7Posted on Oct 27th | re: Premature Evaluation: Taylor Swift 1989 (163 comments)

I get where you’re coming from — none of these songs have that “perfect pop song” sheen that “Teenage Dream” or “We Can’t Stop” have, but I also think that’s why I like and listen to Taylor a lot more than Katy or Miley (the latter of which I like quite a bit). Maybe amend my above statement to read something like, “I think Taylor is an extremely talented singer-songwriter with some of the strongest pop sensibilities out there.” Taylor’s appeal lies in her idiosyncrasies: her slightly cringe-worthy but honest lines, the callbacks to specific personal details, those corny moments that work in spite of themselves. She’ll never get to the heights of something like “Love On Top” precisely because she doesn’t have (or want) a team surrounding her dictating what will appeal to the most people.

I don’t think she’s really setting out to make “pop” music in that sense, even though she says this is her first “pop” album. As someone said before, this is more in the vein of Lorde, Chvrches, and Charli XCX — much more songwriting-based than concerned about coming up with the killer hook. (Which she does most of the time anyway — I don’t agree at all that her lyrics or melodies are bad.) I get that it won’t be everyone’s thing, but her stuff isn’t meant to operate on the same level of a “Teenage Dream,” which is arguably the strongest pop song of the past 10 years. I think the fact that there’s so much messiness surrounding Taylor’s music is what makes it so powerful, and someone worth talking about and dissecting in the comments. There’s something unique about her, where “Teenage Dream” could have easily been a Britney song or a Christina song if it had been written at the height of their popularity. Something like “Out Of The Woods” or hell, even “Shake It Off,” could only belong to Taylor. I think that’s where all of her appeal comes from, but I also understand why that may not be for everyone (who likes & appreciates pop music).

 +12Posted on Oct 27th | re: Premature Evaluation: Taylor Swift 1989 (163 comments)

Ha, I wish I were!

But honestly, I just really feel strongly about this album — I’ve been listening to it non-stop since it leaked over the weekend, and this kind of big-emotion, pop bombast really gets me. I mean, Lorde’s Pure Heroine was my favorite album of 2013, so it makes sense. And I think that kind of stuff gets undeservedly ragged on in the comments a lot because of some vague desire for “indie” credibility and authenticity. At the end of the day, it’s all just music, and if it makes you feel something and connects in some way, who cares where it came from or how it was made?

 +5Posted on Oct 27th | re: Premature Evaluation: Taylor Swift 1989 (163 comments)

I agree with you w/r/t Taylor’s “persona” and how there really isn’t one there — a lot of her earlier work is almost eye-rolling in its naivete, but I also thinks that it adds to so much of her charm and why I think her songs resonate so much. Who hasn’t been eighteen and in love and felt like all of the fairy tales could be true? And then been bitter and angry when it turned out to not be? It’s just that when we were feeling all of that, we weren’t putting it into songs that millions of people would hear. One of the most appealing things about Taylor is that she doesn’t really have a filter when it comes to her music, for good and for bad.

I think you’ll really like 1989 for that reason — she’s much “realer” on this album, for lack of a better word, and she starts to poke holes in some of the things that could make her older music a little uncomfortable to listen to. Songs like “Style” and “Clean” are so self-aware and come across as a huge maturation. Some of that romanticism is still present on this album, but it’s a lot more cynical and level-headed. Let’s not forget that she’s 24, and she’s also lived a crazy kind of famous existence that we could never imagine, so let’s give her a little slack for being a little late to catching up with the whole “love isn’t real” thing.

 +14Posted on Oct 27th | re: Premature Evaluation: Taylor Swift 1989 (163 comments)

It’s really frustrating that people still think this about Swift, and it’s a complaint as old as the major-label pop system itself that basically boils down to, “Oh her? She couldn’t do any of this! It must have been some man that did it for her.” I’m not saying that dynamic has never existed in pop music, but it takes the agency away from all female pop stars.

And Swift is probably the last one you should be lobbing this tired complaint at, considering all of Speak Now was solely written by her, and most of these songs probably were too. The way songwriting credit works in the industry is wonky and it goes both ways, where Beyonce probably gets more credit than she should for her writing credits and Swift gets slagged. There’s no doubt in my mind that most of these songs arrived to the studio pretty fully-formed, and the writing credits for Martin and Shellback come from punching up the hook or making some minor tweaks. Swift is without a doubt one of the most talented pop songwriters in the past decade, and she has the track record to prove it.

Seek out the three voicemail demos that were included at the end of the 1989 deluxe edition, which is all Swift by herself — I’m sure they’re up on Youtube at this point. They give a really great insight into her songwriting process and how these songs came together.

Also sorry if this seems like I’m coming at you specifically — this is something I’ve heard countless times that really gets under my skin, and this just finally gave me a chance to address it.

 +3Posted on Oct 27th | re: William H. Macy Is Still Talking Shit About One Direction (21 comments)

I guess I agree to a point? But I’m also of the mindset that if you don’t like something but it’s largely inoffensive, it’s much easier (and stress-free) to just ignore it. 1D & 5SOS are just the new BSB/N*SYNC are just the new NKOTB etc etc. No use getting mad or worked up about it.

 +2Posted on Oct 17th | re: Album Of The Week: DJ Quik The Midnight Life (54 comments)

Oh hey, this was me. This is coming late so who knows if you’ll even see this, but I guess I’ll defend myself a little. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with what Badu did, but I also think that a double standard does exist and maybe it’s a little hypocritical, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Let’s face it: there’s a difference between how men and women are treated in society. Women grow up and are exposed to a constant culture of sexual harassment and discrimination, so when something like the Pity Sex thing happens it just serves as a reflection of that. Theoretically, what Badu did served as “performance art” (also see her busking stunt from earlier this week) and while objectively what she did is wrong, I just don’t have that instinctual gut feeling of being grossed out and angry. I think maybe what it comes down to is intent? But I’ll also admit that I was/am being somewhat hypocritical.

Not going to weigh in on the misogyny in rap issue, since I don’t listen to enough rap to have a concrete opinion to come down on either side. (Though I will say part of the reason I don’t listen to a lot of hip-hop definitely is all of the hypermasculinity — I certainly listen to & appreciate artists like Mykki Blanco, Le1f, and Cakes Da Killa more.)

 +1Posted on Oct 17th | re: The 5 Best Songs Of The Week (14 comments)

Oh no me too! But I’ve always been a Taylor fan. I’ve listened to it over a hundred times since it came out (per iTunes). It’s like a trance…

 +6Posted on Oct 17th | re: The 5 Best Songs Of The Week (14 comments)

(x infinity)
are we out of the woods yet? are we out of the woods yet? are we out of the woods yet? are we out of the woods? are we in the clear yet? are we in the clear yet? are we in the clear yet? are we in the clear yet? good. are we out of the woods yet? are we out of the woods yet? are we out of the woods yet? are we out of the woods? are we in the clear yet? are we in the clear yet? are we in the clear yet? are we in the clear yet? good.