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by Tyler Gould

23 Sep 2009

The new video for Octoberman‘s “Thirty Reasons”, from Fortresses begins naturally enough: a man with a guitar sits outside and sings a plea for somebody to come back home and settle down. His reasons are numerous—though we never hear the specifics—but ineffective, and the singer knows it: “But I know / the thirty reasons you / have to break away / and set out on your own”. Are pleading lover songs ever really about winning somebody back? Isn’t that sort of an outlandish expectation?

The natural vibe breaks when a woman comes on-screen with a bounce and a stolid two-step and a backing band appears with snaps and harmonies. The cracks and strains of frontman Marc Morrissette’s voice evoke an acute longing-for-longing’s-sake and it becomes clear: the song is an end in itself, a small bit of “peace of mind”.

by AJ Ramirez

23 Sep 2009

In belated recognition of the recent release of Beatles CD remasters, I thought I should briefly discuss my favorite Beatles song.

“Dear Prudence” is the second track on the group’s 1968 double album The Beatles (more commonly referred to as “The White Album”).  It was one of several songs the band members wrote during their early 1968 trip to study meditation under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India. John Lennon wrote the song about attempts to get one of his fellow meditation students, actress Mia Farrow’s sister Prudence, to come out of her room after suffering a panic attack. During recording sessions for “The White Album”, Paul McCartney played bass, piano, and drums on the song, the latter the result of the temporary resignation of drummer Ringo Starr from the group.

The most distinctive aspect of “Dear Prudence” is its ethereal, almost foreboding quality, something which is quite uncommon in the Beatles’ discography. The song’s sound is partially due to the fact that the group recorded it on eight-track equipment. However, the arrangement of much of the song is intentionally sparse; after the upbeat power-chord Beach Boys homage of album opener “Back in the U.S.S.R.”, “Dear Prudence” wafts onto the record like a gentle breeze. At first “Dear Prudence” seems nothing more than low-key ballad wrapped in sadness; its strength lies in how it builds up to a fantastic finish that banishes the negative atmosphere just like the sun breaking through on a cloudy day.

by PopMatters Staff

23 Sep 2009

Conor Oberst, M. Ward, Jim James, and Mike Mogis, better known as Monsters of Folk, dropped by Conan O’Brien’s stage last night to play this track off their “supergroup” album ingeniously titled Monsters of Folk. Watch for the album review tomorrow on PopMatters.

by Tyler Gould

23 Sep 2009

The Black Seeds
Solid Ground
(Easy Star)
Releasing: 29 September

Solid Ground is already out in Europe and the Black Seeds’ home, New Zealand, and has been available on iTunes since September 15th. The afro-dub/reggae/soul octet’s latest will be available in North America on the 29th.

SONG LIST
01 Come to Me  
02 Slingshot  
03 Take Your Chances  
04 Love Is a Radiation  
05 Send a Message  
06 Make a Move  
07 One Step at a Time  
08 Bulletproof  
09 Afrophone  
10 Strugglers  
11 Rotten Apple  
12 Bubble  
13 Make a Move Dub

by Rob Horning

23 Sep 2009

I’ve got a post up at Generation Bubble about online education disintermediating adjunct professors and superfluous graduate students. I was once one of those superfluous graduate students, accepted into a program at a state school basically to ease the teaching load on the professors—who were accordingly cynical for the most part about my potential for performing useful scholarship. I regard the whole experience as a trap that I fell into, so that may explain some of the bitterness in my tone. A lot of people have ended up in English departments who would have preferred to be doing social science of some sort, with perhaps more disciplinary rigor, but instead they ended up having to write dissertations in which half their energy was spent justifying the tortuous methodology that allowed them to do sociology via a few randomly chosen poets.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Exposition Dumps Don't Need Dialogue in 'Virginia'

// Moving Pixels

"Virginia manages to have an exposition dump without wordy exposition.

READ the article