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by PopMatters Staff

11 Sep 2009

Releasing: 6 October

Athens, Georgia musicians unite to form a super-group of sorts. Members of the Olivia Tremor Control, Deerhunter, Circulatory System and more gather for 12 songs of imaginative pop that feature all manner of instruments including violin, cello, mandolin, and clarinet, alongside the standard pop ensemble tools.

01 Peace Disco Song
02 Brave Tree
03 Sunflower Clock
04 The River
05 I Got the Answer
06 The Mermaid’s Tale
07 Copper Palo
08 The Night I Died
09 Too Many Eights
10 Anyone
11 Time to End the War
12 316

“Brave Tree” [MP3]

by Tommy Marx

11 Sep 2009

Both singles from New Kids on the Block’s self-titled debut album, “Be My Girl” and “Stop It Girl”, failed to chart. But on October 8, 1988, their first charting track, “Please Don’t Go Girl” (from their follow-up album, Hangin’ Tough) also became their first top ten hit on Billboard’s Hot 100. In less than two years, they’d have eight more top ten smashes, including three that went all the way to number one (“I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)”, “Hangin’ Tough”, and “Step by Step”).

And then it was over. In the next few years, they’d chart three more singles, but none of them would climb higher than #53. Their time had seemingly come and gone.

Then something unusual happened. More than eight years after New Kids on the Block’s last major hit, Joey McIntyre (one of the members of the group) released a single that, like “Please Don’t Go Girl”, peaked at #10. Five weeks later, “Give It to You” by Jordan Knight (another member of the group) also peaked at #10.

by Ashley Cooper

10 Sep 2009

The show Fear Itself was a horror/thriller anthology series that aired on NBC beginning on June 8th, 2008. Despite given the time of Thursday at 10pm/9pm central, the show did not live up to the ratings numbers needed and was canceled after the show went on hiatus in order to make room for the 2008 Olympics.

The show title was derived from the Franklin D. Roosevelt quote, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. The show was in the same line as the show Masters of Horror, each episode was a self contained story that usually ended with a twist, and each story had its own distinct characters portrayed by different characters. In addition, the episodes were all the vision of different directors, the best and biggest in the horror genre such as John Landis (American Werewolf in London), Brad Anderson (Transsiberian), Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator), Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, Saw III and Saw IV) and John Dahl (Joy Ride).

Now, FearNET, both a website and onDemand cable network have secured the rights to air the series, including the last five unaired episodes, which can be seen via Comcast or via the website, www.fearnet.com

by PopMatters Staff

10 Sep 2009

These United States
Everything Touches Everything
(United Interests)
Released: 1 September

01 I Want You to Keep Everything
02 Will It Ever
03 Everything Touches Everything
04 Night & the Revolution
05 The Secret Door
06 Conquest & Consequence
07 I’m Gonna Assemble a City
08 Good Bones
09 The Important Thing
10 End
11 Good Night Wish

These United States release their third full length album in 18 months with Everything Touches Everything.

These United States
“Everything Touches Everything” [MP3]

WOXY Session [MP3]

by Rob Horning

10 Sep 2009

In the most recent NYT Magazine, the always interesting Jon Mooallem has an article about the self-storage industry in America. The need to store one’s belongings in a 6-by-6-foot box miles away from where one lives is a pretty good indication that some sort of insanity has taken grip, but the very normality of that scenario shows just how entrenched consumerism has become. Once the need for storage was transitory—a move or a divorce necessitated it. But in recent years, “the line between necessity and convenience—between temporary life event and permanent lifestyle—totally blurred,” Mooallem explains. It has become convenient to live as though we are always in transition, that no set of belongings is stable or anywhere near complete or fulfilling. Obviously, this betokens the triumph of a consumerist ideology.

We accumulate things that we can’t possibly use, but remember enough of what they once signified when we bought them—the moments of excitement and fantasies being fulfilled that brought us—that we can’t throw them away. Much of what is stored is furniture, it turns out, in part because it’s expensive enough not to seem disposable, but cheap enough to easily replace:

The marketing consultant Derek Naylor told me that people stockpile furniture while saving for bigger or second homes but then, in some cases, “they don’t want to clutter up their new home with all the things they have in storage.” So they buy new, nicer things and keep paying to store the old ones anyway. Clem Tang, a spokesman for Public Storage, explains: “You say, ‘I paid $1,000 for this table a couple of years ago. I’m not getting rid of it, or selling it for 10 bucks at a garage sale. That’s like throwing away $1,000.’ ” It’s not a surprising response in a society replacing things at such an accelerated rate — this inability to see our last table as suddenly worthless, even though we’ve just been out shopping for a new one as though it were.

This phenomenon suggests we are afflicted with a kind of schizophrenia about goods. As behavioral economists have long-known, we overvalue what we own (the “endowment effect”), yet at the same time we can’t resist replacing it when we perceive a bargain. We appreciate taking advantage of a sale for its own sake, regardless of whether the opportunity conforms to any actual need, and regardless of whether we can accommodate the souvenir of our consumer triumph. We become trained to recognize potential value in everything and have a hard time recognizing when something has become worthless. It seems like the dark side of the congenital optimism that Americans are supposed to have; we can’t give up on anything we once invested our faith in.

Though it has prompted the kind of turmoil that was once the storage industry’s bread-and-butter, the current recession is also forcing people to give up spaces because they can’t afford the rent. A measure of my own insanity: all I could think of while reading Mooallem’s article was “Wow, I bet the dumpsters outside these storage units that people cant afford anymore are full of great stuff.” But in this, I am just a reflection of that American optimism. Mooallem secured this great, telling quote:

“I really think there’s a spirit that things will turn around,” Jim Chiswell, a Virginia-based consultant to the industry, told me. “I believe that my children — and both my children are proving it already — they’re going to have more at the end of their lifetimes, and more success, than I’ve had. And so will their children. I don’t believe the destiny of this country as a beacon of freedom and hope is over. And I believe there will be more growth, and more people wanting to have things and collect things.”

What is hope if not the hope to have more? 

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