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 +2Posted on Aug 22nd | re: Shut Up, Dude: This Week's Best And Worst Comments (33 comments)

I know man. I’m just joshing with you. I knew what you were really referring to. And thanks for addressing it, because I’ve also been struggling to find answers to the great Kanye conundrum.

I am just baffled by the near unanimous critical love for Kanye. I mean, I get and respect what you are saying here about BDTFantasy being some sort of high point in mainstream rap’s story arc, but I have a hard time seeing it as anything other than just a really well done mainstream rap album. But Kanye’s ego is poison to the music. I mean, that rapper-as-god persona is a 15 year old cliche. There is nothing original going on there, and it is SO Imbedded in the music. It’s the Hip Hop equivalent of the mainstream country songs that talk about trucks and tall grass and base the song around a catch phrase in the chorus after the drums drop out. Hip Hop music needs to move away from this formula of lyrics and theme if it is going to move in a vitalizing direction. I’m afraid the overwhelming praise of this album has actually damaged the evolution of this genre for years to come. Perhaps we will get better production standards out of the transaction, but what we are going to get along with it is an infinite tide of try hard copy cats riding the same stale rap god themes we have been seeing for decades now.

There was a glimmer of hope in recent years as people have started adopting hip hop styles and mixing them with other genres of and sounds. And art rap for all it’s eye roll inducing desperation really deserves to be encouraged, simply because it is breaking out of this mold and finding new territory where other artists can follow and make it more accessible. But yet these efforts are consistently panned by publications like Pitchfork, and Kanye is heralded as king eternal. It is almost like Pitchfork wants hip hop to stagnate.

 0Posted on Aug 22nd | re: Shut Up, Dude: This Week's Best And Worst Comments (33 comments)

I know, right? Titus Andronicus Forever!

 +1Posted on Aug 22nd | re: Shut Up, Dude: This Week's Best And Worst Comments (33 comments)

For the record, probably my favorite video in the past 5 years is Ramona Falls “I Say Fever!” It is better every time I watch it.

 +9Posted on Aug 22nd | re: Shut Up, Dude: This Week's Best And Worst Comments (33 comments)

Titus Andronicus “The Monitor” is monumental. I had an epiphany with that album not long ago, and it took the album from to new levels of appreciation in my personal collection of music.

This past May I was sitting in the back of a crowded bus weaving our way north from Mariupol to Donetsk Ukraine. Traffic was slow along the highway since every few miles the military had roadblocks set up where the army was searching vehicles for foreigners that they expected were involved in agitating the precarious political situation in Eastern Ukraine. By this time there were already armed separatist groups taking government buildings and blocking off towns in the region. To my right was a companion of mine with his face pressed up against the curtained window, to my left was an elderly Ukrainian woman with a large bag in her lap filled with bed sheets. We quietly stared ahead of us and swayed in unison as the bus slowly swerved to avoid pot holes. The air was tense and thick with the fear of an impending civil war between the native Ukrainians and Russians. The stench of unwashed bodies and stale cigarettes gave the mood an acidic flavor.

I peered through a gap in the bodies and out a window as I watched the country drift past. Rolling green fields lined with narrow bands of trees and capped with wide open blue skies. Several months from now the fields would be yellow with ripe wheat and corn and the scene would transform into the blue over yellow of the national flag. I quietly pulled my earbuds out of my pocket and pressed them into my ears. As we slowed for the first checkpoint, i saw a long line of cars. The car at the front of the line was in the process of being tossed by uniformed men with automatic rifles. Our bus pulled to the side of the road and jostled past the waiting traffic. We had been told that buses were not being searched. With a sigh of relief we discovered this to be true. I saw several other passengers slouch slightly with relief. I considered who else might be smuggling themselves between cities with us.

I looked down at my music player and flashed through my available playlists. My finger paused on an album, as if by instinct, and with a few flicks of my finger I started the first track. It began as the silhouettes of armored cars and roadblocks floated by on the other side of the curtained window. The sun baked the soldiers by the side of the road with a warm static. And as the bus accelerated away a voice softly began speaking in my ear.

“From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some transatlantic giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. If destruction be our lot we ourselves must be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we will live forever or die by suicide.”

And then the ruckus tones of Titus Andronicus layed waste to the rolling hills, and the elderly woman next to me was disintegrated into ash. The sky filled with clouds as drums fell from their hanging mass leaving nothing but craters and smoldering loss. The Monitor had arrived and its reckoning would be just and swift.

 +3Posted on Aug 22nd | re: Shut Up, Dude: This Week's Best And Worst Comments (33 comments)

I should maybe go look at that album list sometime. I subconsciously refused to go back after their best 50 music videos list didn’t include Explosions in the Sky’s “Postcard from 1952″. I don’t want to be a “hater”. Pitchfork, like anyone and anything else is allowed to enjoy and praise whatever they want. But ignoring a masterpiece like that video just tells to me that they not at all drinking from the same well I find sweet. So, I’ll just dig my own water.

Seriously, watch this video and tell me it isn’t the epitome of what music videos and music in general were made to achieve. A perfect combination of both art forms which come together to make something larger than the sum of its parts. This here is the fountain of everlasting life. Drink from it and be filled.

Wait. I’m sorry. That didn’t come out right.

My favorite part was when he randomly whipped out a giant hard sausage and start wacking on it.

Hokey Promotion would be a good album name. I wish they had named their album Hokey Promotion.

“…And you will know us by the trail of dead’s Hokey Promotion – 10.0!” -Pitchfork

 +3Posted on Jul 25th | re: Thank Arcade Fire For The Unicorns Reunion (6 comments)

Oh. Yes. I hate to criticize in a comments section, but I had to read that first one about 8 times before I was convinced it was just poorly worded. Really, Nick’s quotes clarify the summary before it.

This is pretty exciting news. The Unicorns ‘Who Will Cut Our Hair’ was really a phenomenal work. And it’s telling to hear Nick’s retrospective coming to terms with it. I guess it’s obvious that they weren’t taking themselves too seriously when they recorded it, but that’s a large part of the magic. It’s just fun, and meta to a point of self destruction. Which makes it stand out because it is just not an approach you often see from very talented musicians. I hope this anniversary tour and reissue can maybe inspire some new young artists to take on some of the same flippent punkish self defacing songwriting and musicianship. Charge with all your guts, and then die on the wall.

I will also point out that the debut Islands album was also amazing in it’s own way. And I highly recommend it to anyone that enjoyed The Unicorns, but slept on the Islands.

Random Fact: They actually had a much longer name originally, hence the ellipsis. They shortened it by request from their record label. Their full, original name, was “Kid Rock Subpoenaed To Produce Glass Dildo As Evidence In Insane Clown Posse Lawsuit And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead”.