16 April 2008

hold on, the wait is over

while you have, of course, been diligently enjoying my handily compiled collected works: january 2008 edition, and awaiting review round-up vol 3: february-march (it'll be around the same length, since i was basically m.i.a. for march) - expect it soon, and henceforth they'll probably be monthly and promptly, but i've gotta at least intersperse with some original mincxlusive content, doncha think? - i have somehow written a total of fifteen bios and reviews in the last twelve days (!)

but also, during that period, as sure as the springtime, it's gradually dawned on me that 2008 in music is, like, totally upon us; exploding like the trees all over this silly city, blossoming, burgeoning, already well past the verge of shifting from a distraction into full-on brain-drain on my attention-resources. and does feel like an emphatically recent explosion too, well-past post-sxsw (where, perhaps chagrinably, i mostly stuck to old 'n knowns rather than 'bout-to-break buzz-bombs), though that's kinda a function of perspective.

i was largely checked out of new music in january-march, inundated with piles of (mostly backcatalog, mostly scandinavian, mostly c. 2004-2007) promos; playing catch-up to some extent, like you do; only occasionally encountering bona-fide '08 releases in the line of duty (white, hukkelberg, yokota if it counts, and i'll say it does.) at least once, somebody asked and i couldn't even bother to remember the single actual new album i'd purchased, attended to, and enjoyed so far this year - the mountain goats' heretic pride, on which i'll have to do a fanboy-lowdown at some point. (bottom line: took a sec to remember not every darnielle song needs to be brilliant - this might be the spottiest, which is not to say the weakest, of his hi-fi period albums, but that won't keep it from my top ten.)

plus i just haven't cultivated a desire for some that new new until now, april, as i'm back to being in philly and plugged inter the net and, after nearly a six-week lacuna, perusing a.k.a. and thereabouts (newsflash! there's a new record store in westy! actually it's a satellite of the beautiful world syndicate, which i still haven't actually been to. d'oh! well, i've got my turntable setup in my room now, so we'll see...)

actually to be honest i don't so much have the desire to be hearing new music as the sense of obligation not to fall behind. and downloading torrents only goes so far to quell the sense that that's happening anyway (luckily so far it seems to be about far enough.) why am i saying all this? why am i up at 4:01 rambling in way over-meticulous diction about ... not music, really, anyway? (and listening to the new m83 - quite nice, 'tis!) is it because, although i am certainly in the process of familiarizing myself with a hefty handful of c. 4/08 new releases, three of which i actually purchased, new, this weekend (and two of which three i've listened to - they're the ones bolded at the top of my sidebar list which if you haven't figured it out is the major primary source document for this post), i don't feel up to saying anything concrete about any of them yet, save for the ones i've already dissected for amg (most recently retribution gospel choir and the sally shapiro remix album, both of which are awesome - no surprise since they're both, to an extent, reworkings of two of my favorite albums of 2007 - and both of which i turned around in 48 hours or less)?

yeah, maybe. i do have something i want to say about hot chip (whom i saw last week) and cut copy (whose new album is either rather quite good or TOTALLY AMAZING, i haven't decided) and neon neon, and (here's the tricky part) the like...but it appears that i don't actually have the impetus to say it, just quite yet. [so that'll be next time, we hope.]

and, however, relatedly, also, i've just just as-if-inadvertently plunged back into rock-crit-o-sphere, by which i mean thinking about it. and it has nothing to do with EMP, which happened last week and i didn't even notice or know about until i looked up the dates just now. it's just, really, that i happened across posts on both simon reynolds' blog and franklin bruno's blog wherein they discuss what they've been listening to recently (well, like you do) - in the former case it's a mega-post covering some twenty-five or so items, of which i'd heard two, heard of maybe five more, and would like to hear well over half, in the latter, it's the whole blog-project of trying to review/comment on 365 albums in elevenish months. in both cases, i was struck and inspired to equal-parts envy and admiring enthusiasm by how breezily, off-handed(-seeming?)ly witty and well-worded the writing is, how engagingly, unpretentiously knowledgeable the writers, and how free and nonchalant their approach to their wide-ranging subject matter. the envy part is maybe to some degree irrational - age, experience, fame, and promo-influx-rate aside, those guys probably don't have anything on me, particularly - but the enthusiasm part is the more salient and prominent, and it's a good thing. to be excited about criticism, about the potential for critical engagement, about the value of what casual critical comment can achieve. hyeah. that's about it. also, how much these writers allow their idiosyncratic personal relationship with the music to inform and even overtly factor into their writing about it. (again, like i don't do that? well, at amg i don't, much, but that's different?)

meanwhile, my peerless peer dave bedbugs has been doing his thing over at his place - without an external writing gig at this point, he's been able to engage with (mostly new) music in (accordingly) quite different ways - and recently published a major, excellent post, characteristically epic post, both helpfully recapitulatory and considerably revelatory, titled notes on the death of rolling teenpop (r.i.p.!), which is, among other things, no less than a detailed (personalized) history of a specific (if very likely the only) strain of teenpop criticism, c. 2005-2008, which gets at many of the concepts and contradictions which were central to that conversation, and some more that should/could have been. it seems unlikely that anybody reading this who isn't already familiar with bedbugs and that history would be inspired to read it on my say-so - and i'm not quite sure how much of it is accessible to the uninitiated - enough, certainly, though it does have something of necessarily insider stance. but...read it. it's
a great piece of writing and relevant in all kinds of ways.

apropos of that, i'm currently eagerly awaiting the forthcoming ashlee simpson album, due in two weeks, which i have requested to cover for allmusic; likewise the aforementioned cut copy - on the one hand i feel it's somewhat unlikely that i'll be granted either assignment, and i'm prepared to accept that (after all, they are outside my 'officially sanctioned' purview), but it would be a thrill to do them, and i think i would bring a fairly unique and useful perspective in both cases (the ashlee particularly.) sigh. if not, it'll just give me more to write about here.

so that's what's been going on, for the most part. some things are gonna have to change around here, possibly including the entire layout of this blog - especially now that i've got the URL on my nifty new business cards, i want to make things a bit more user-friendly and explanatory - specifically in terms of the sidebar - and i also want to start including information on my dj appearances, and possibly set up info on my mixtape activities differently.

and maybe i otter get with the 2008 and start muxtaping. (or is that so the-first-week-of-april?) i've been enjoying the ones i've checked out, and unsurprisingly i love the concept, although i'm having a bit of trouble conceiving of them as mixes/mixtapes, as opposed to extremely easy-to-use streaming mp3 playlists (much better than the things i was toying around with for my 'podcasts' last year.) it's maybe a little too easy to pick and choose your listening experience in this format. also, perhaps predictably, i'm rather whelmed that the potential for actual 'mixing' and transitions is very limited, essentially nil. still, will be good for talking about songs. whenever i feel like doing that.


Dave said...

Thanks 4 the props...I hope a conversation about it might spark sometime later (a reflection-type thing...I might start doing a "best of thread" retrospective on occasion). I actually might write something like this as an EMP proposal next year.

Yeah, muxtaping is great -- and I can't help but think there MUST have been something like it before this particular incarnation, right?? Hm, now that I think about it, though, the sites I knew of all required server space.

Ross said...

well you've got your convo now. as somebody who read the thread(s) fairly diligently but never got around to posting much, it did feel like an exciting (and "important") breeding ground for ideas which nevertheless still seem pretty unlikely to ever break out into wider discourse. (which was itself integral to many of those ideas.) would your EMP paper actually be about the thread? cuz i'm not sure how well that would work.

i have now muxed it up - as you'll soon see. i think that some of the embedded mp3 player doohickey services i was using last year included file hosting, but none of them really worked very well...