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by Ian Mathers

25 Jan 2010

California and folk music don’t seem like they should go together but, for decades now, they have. With this year’s Too Soon for Flowers, Bay Area group the Dry Spells continue on in that left coast tradition. Initially formed in 2002 in New York, the quartet’s debut is a promising mix of traditional, almost Medieval folk music with modern rock energy. The band’s April Hayley, Tahlia Harbour, Adria Otte and Diego Gonzalez recently got together as a group to answer some of our questions.

How do you think Too Soon for Flowers would be different if you all hadn’t been playing more abstract, less conventionally song-based music in your side project, Citay?
All music influences other music, so being involved with Citay has almost certainly had an affect on us as musicians. The founding members of the Dry Spells met Diego and Warren through playing with Citay. Citay has had little structural influence on the Dry Spells’ music because Citay is one songwriter’s vision while the Dry Spells songwriting approach is a truly collaborative process.

by Rob Horning

25 Jan 2010

I have an essay up at Generation Bubble about nonplaces, an elaboration of some thoughts I had jotted here last week. The idea is basically that Web 2.0 is a contemporary “nonplace”—a place without the embedded history that defines spaces anthropologically. It seems like a bit of a stretch on the face of things, considering Marc Augé, who coined the term nonplace, defines them as places that are not concerned with identity or are not “relational.” Web 2.0 is concerned with little else than identity-making and establishing networks of relations.

I argue, more or less, that these are relations and identities are so provisional and instrumentalized, they negate historicity. Instead the conceptual space of Web 2.0 demands as the price of participation a willingness of users to perpetually discard identity and reshape their relations and refashion themselves in the performance of value-creating, meaning-making labor. The space is a paradoxical vacuum, sucking up all the information about ourselves that we “share” and leaving us only as relevant as our most recent update, our most recent contribution to the uploaded collective mind. Identity gets thoroughly problematized, to use a ugly piece of jargon—that is to say, we become more acutely aware of our identity as constituting a problem we have to engage with. This has its pros and cons, but ultimately the self-consciousness stemming from this tends to negate the flow states conducive to well-being.

by PopMatters Staff

25 Jan 2010

Last week, Supergrass’ Gaz Coombes and Danny Goffeythe released their covers record Turn On under the Hot Rats moniker. Then they dropped by the Ferguson stage to scorch their way through Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up”.

by PopMatters Staff

25 Jan 2010

Baltimore’s Beach House unleash their third album and Sub Pop debut this week. The band trekked to upstate New York to lay down the tracks in an old converted church, which does wonders for the acoustics on the album. Teen Dream is coming packaged with a DVD featuring videos for each of the record’s 10 songs produced by 10 different directors. Meanwhile, the band has hit the late show circuit to promote Teen Dream as we see with this clip from Fallon.

by Bill Gibron

25 Jan 2010

Typical. That’s all there really is to say. With one major exception (and when you come to think of it, it’s actually a rather inconsequential and overall insignificant bit of industry buzz), the 16th annual Screen Actor’s Guild Awards saw the membership measure out its coveted marble man to many of the same names we’ve heard since the start of December. While it would be nice to hear a new name or two, the truth remains that Hollywood has micromanaged the awards season process down to a simple series of steps (critics to Golden Globes, Guilds to Academy glory). Once the same old names start showing up, you can more or less fill out your office pool survey and wait for the inevitable.

Of course, it’s important to remember that not all of SAG’s 120K plus cardholders vote for these nominations. A handpicked group of over 4,000 do that damage, with everyone submitting their ballot for the eventual winners. This means that, instead of reflecting all the actors our there, SAG strays over into the “easily influenced” realm. Depending on who sees what film when, who is in AMPAS, the availability of screeners, and the final five choices offered to all, it’s amazing that the process ever results in an clear indication of future (read: OSCAR!) red carpet celebrations. Yet, as with many such ceremonies, inevitability and gathering consensus ruled.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

The Moving Pixels Podcast Explores 'This Is the Police'

// Moving Pixels

"This week we take a look at the themes and politics of This Is the Police.

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