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Keep It Like a Secret!!! Yep, that’s the best!
Yeah, I’m the guy with the Jeff Mangum avatar so maybe I’m speaking from a biased position but somebody makes this exact same comment everytime anyone who’s at one point stopped making/performing music for a while decides to make/perform music again. Are you really that cynical that you couldn’t possibly believe that a reunion of this sort (not just for NMH, but for any band or any returning musician) might be something other than a cashgrab? Yeah, after years off, bands like NMH, MBV, Pavement, Guided By Voices, The D-Plan, have built up a legend that’ll make anything they do now way more profitable than what they were doing back in the 90s. But maybe, just maybe that’s just a positive side effect and not the cause in and of itself. I mean shit, high schools and colleges have reunions. Friends who haven’t seen each other in years meet back up. Why, when a band does something similar does it have to mean they’re angling for some cash.
Furthermore, even if it is to any extent a cashgrab, who gives a fuck? Are we all that averse to people making money? As someone who’s seen Pavement and Jeff Mangum in the past few years, I can tell you, they still were worth every penny I spent on seeing them. Their music and ability to perform hasn’t diminished a bit (at least for the Pavement show I saw, though I heard band tensions made some of that reunion tour less than perfect). I just don’t get why indie culture has latched so strongly onto needlessly cynical shit.
Oh yeah, where the fuck is “Apartment Story” also?
Alligator is probably like the best album of the last 10 years. While I love the shit out of Mr. November, that’s not the only exceptionally great National song on it. Also, I take serious issue with your “good not great” assessment of “Available”. “Available” is fucking great, as is “Cardinal Song” as is quite a lot of Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers.
5. Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers is absolutely tremendous.
I have been waiting for this for so long.
That Mish Way on Waxahatchee piece was awesome. Made me even more intrigued by The Talkhouse
This is only a small gripe with what you and Michael_ have to say but I will say, looking back, P4K gave highly favorable reviews to early Promise Ring (Nothing Feels Good and Very Emergency, Sunny Day (pretty much all their stuff but particularly How It Feels to Be Something On, and Rainer Maria (Look Now Look Again) albums (and comparable things) so it’s not as if they were throwing that whole scene under the bus completely.
It’s been awhile since I’ve fallen for a musician as thoroughly as I have for Waxahatchee.
To take on tommytwoshoes response, I think a large portion of independent musicians (from local dudes in hardcore bands to big name players like Titus Andronicus) don’t want to become POPular or at the very least don’t want to sign to a major label/sell out their product to commercial industries. Some do of course, but I think a large portion of them actually still believe in DIY ethics and don’t want to become rock stars. Maybe I’m just optimistic.
I will say this: there’s a reason I find Mumford and Sons putrid and am totally willing to indulge JT (at least Futuresex era JT) and Beyonce. Mumford and Songs, Fun., Gotye, etc. represent the same sort of marketing of the indie label for bland, contrived product as Kenny G was for the label jazz. And the label indie is something that, as much as it’s been altered over the years, still held some importance for me. I hate that tasteless hacks get cool cred in the mainstream for misguidedly exploiting a label that for years has stood for the marginalized. Beyonce and JT on the other hand have always been pop stars and in my personal opinion, pop stars of the highest order, pop stars who’ve put out great pop songs that leave a lasting impression, offer unusual/innovative/genuinely affecting production techniques (“My Love” was so awesome in a big way because of how crazy Timbaland went with that song), and feature a real ownership of one of a kind vocal prowess. “Countdown”, “My Love”, etc. are some of the most interesting, novel pop songs of the last decade in the same way “Are You that Somebody” and “Get Ur Freak On” were before that, or “Billie Jean” and all of Purple Rain was before that.
But that’s just my take.
I was lucky enough to have a “this sucks” reaction to Sigh No More, reviewing it for my college radio station, before I had any idea who Mumford and Sons were. I continue to have a “this sucks” reaction to their music.
I mean, I’m not about to call Hey Ya overrated BS, because realistically, I can think of few other music-cultural moments from my lifetime that feel as transcendent, boundary hopping, ubiquitous, and universally adored as “Hey Ya” (“Paper Planes” and “One More Time”, maybe?). That being said, the moment Andre 3K starts saying the word “Inslumnational” on “BOB” sets off 5+ minutes of some of the most shit hot fire ever spit.
Nice! If I can rope one of my friends into letting me borrow their car, I should be there as well.
You going to the Flywheel show in Easthampton?
I’m in love with Waxahatchee
I’m generally critical of anything that puts soft vibes in place of real songwriting (there isn’t much chillwave or similar stuff I can tolerate and most quiet indie folk does nothing for me (though NMH, Elliott Smith, Cat Power, a few other are some of my favorite artists ever). I even mostly hate Death Cab. That being said, I’ll defend Give Up all day. I think what I find cloying about the same sort of music that you’re talking about, I find to be balanced and made thoughtful, compelling, and just generally beautiful by Jimmy Tamborello’s electronic flourishes.
What? Oh, were you acting like a heartless dick? Sorry, that always happens.
Actress’s RIP and the Voices from the Lake seft-titled album should both get mentions.
I think sites like P4K and stereogum, while originally conceived to focus on “indie music”, have more or less ridded themselves of that pretense and act as general music criticism sites. When everyone picks the same three records for AOTY and the three of them are R&B, rap, and pop albums respectively (Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, and Fiona Apple), I don’t think it’s a mass statement of “look how cool we are”, I think it reflects a general consensus that among the realm of things these sites try to cover (indie, rock, pop, hip-hop, electronic, r&b), those albums stood out as the most impressive to the most amount of people. I’m happy that music blogs/publications (for the most part) have moved past the indie rock is best mode of being (despite being a huge fan of indie rock past and present). I mean if you look at this list compared to say, the list P4K put out of the best albums of the 90s, it’s kind of nice to see a diversity that wasn’t there before (I can’t think of a single non-white artist on P4K’s best albums of the 90s list that they did in 2003, and as far as I can recall, every artist in the top 10 is either male or an all-male band with the exception of MBV).
Tinymixtapes really liked mount eerie and angel olsen this year (angel olsen’s at the top of my “i didn’t know that existed but now i really need to check it out” list of 2012 and mount eerie’s always fantastic.)
but to get to that, you have to wade through a bunch of weird vaporwave shit that nobody but the people who write for tinymixtapes know about/would find interesting anyway. Their list is also so “avant-garde” it includes that cash-in album by Farrah Abraham, former MTV Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant star, citing it as some sort of outsider art schtick.
Oh nice, I voted for Sufjan Stevens but then realized I meant to vote for Frank Ocean, but I guess everything worked out in the end.
I love Beach House and Grizzly Bear (not so much Tame Impala) but I have to say, I’m happy to see that they’re not dominating all these lists. I think it’s a reflection of the fact that publications/blogs are reaching more and more away from white bread indie music and more and more towards a diversity of styles, bringing in stuff like avant-electronic (ie DJ Rashad), a wider range of hip-hop, r&b, metal, and good pop (I mean Fiona Apple mostly, when I say that).
Yes!!! Classic case of really good band being too consistent to get consistent loving.
That DJ Rashad album’s actually pretty great.