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by Rob Horning

12 Mar 2009

Wired reports on a mobile-phone application that lets a user scan a barcode of a DVD and launch a bit-torrent download of it at their home (link via BoingBoing). Somehow this seems more like stealing than using a search engine to find a torrent in the privacy of one’s own home. Handling the object you will no longer have to buy seems to make tangible the notion of intellectual-property theft, which makes me wonder why anybody would bother to do it. Are there those among us gripped by a self-destructive desire to flamboyantly to perform theft in public rather than in the peace and anonymity of their own homes? This would be like defiantly parading to the Adult Books store rather than surfing for porn online.

Perhaps straight-up pirates who are looking to steal everything to sell it subway platforms and the like woudl benefit from a system in which they could just scan everything on the shelf, but it would seem like these people would have more reason to want not to be on camera in a retail outlet doing this.

It has been a long time since I browsed in a store looking for DVDs or music (one of the major quality-of-life improvements the internet has brought my life is that I never have to go to a record store again), so maybe I have lost touch with that level of impulsivity that would make bar-code-automated stealing seem like a good idea. I suppose it has a poetic flavor to it, using the retail machine’s tools against the system itself. (And then I’m going to get a tattoo of a bar code on my arm, to make an important statement about conformity.) It’s hard to remember what it was like to have to discover new culture by browsing in stores, though it was once my primary mode of cultural discovery. It still is, to some degree, in book stores and libraries. I’m not nostalgic for learning about music from the import section at Listening Booth—but it is for that sort of nostalgia that this bar-code-reader

But it seems like most discoveries of new cultural products to want are made online—a depressing fact is that we have our cultural world expanded not by wandering through the world having experiences and encountering unlikely or unexpected things, but through the systematic and highly rationalized, virtually automated mode of searching online. I could set a schedule by my cultural discoveries—every week or so I spend an hour or so plowing through newsgroups and mp3 blogs to see if anything sounds interesting. I’m not sure if these count as “discoveries” any more. Instead, I’m merely calibrating my internal novelty-seeking metabolism, rendering the very idea of discovery impossible.

by PopMatters Staff

12 Mar 2009

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
Slumdog Millionaire. The Alchemist.

2. The fictional character most like you?

3. The greatest album, ever?
Parallel Lines, Led Zeppelin III.

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Wars.

5. Your ideal brain food?

6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
Arranging the strings on my album, Light of X. Because I had the wherewithal to stick with the task even though I wasn’t initially sure I had the ability. That’s always good for one’s self esteem! :)

7. You want to be remembered for…?
Being a great singer, songwriter, and musician.

by Sarah Zupko

12 Mar 2009

We discovered Mike Farris two years ago at the Americana Music Festival where he put on a show that knocked our socks off. His 2007 album Salvation in Lights is just as good as his live and it clocked in at number 13 on our best music of 2007 list. Here’s what I said back then and still holds true with everything Farris does: “Ranging from straight-on gospel to blues and Stax-style soul, the record is grounded in Farris’ faith and his sublime musicianship. There’s a real New Orleans feel to the bulk of these tunes, as Dixielandesque horns pop in and out of songs, adding to the delightful Southern stew.”

Farris has a new live album releasing in April called SHOUT! Live featuring the McCrary Sisters. The performances are culled from his scorching Sunday night shows in Nashville at the Station Inn as part of the Sunday Night Shout series. Check out the EPK for the new release and learn more about this unbelievably talented artist.


by Thomas Britt

12 Mar 2009

“Freak Folk” was a Trojan Horse of a subgenre, introducing few lasting acts amongst scattered wispy remains. As CocoRosie, Sierra and Bianca Casady present a divisive united front. The sisters have inspired both intense devotion and dismissal, but it seems they are here to stay. Their intentionally over-the-top public statements, zany costumes and occasional mullets combine to sometimes distract from seriously innovative sonic concoctions. Joanna Newsom’s voice is an acquired taste but she comes with a sophistication factor that makes her a safe listen. CocoRosie isn’t having any of that, and as a result its audience is smaller and reviews less glowing.

This new video, posted on YouTube but originally appearing on Whitecanvas, allows the viewer a short glimpse into the world of the Casady sisters. The interview starts with fairies, moves to St. Francis of Assisi and wraps up by finally briefly hinting at the new album. It has been nearly a year since the “God Has a Voice, She Speaks Through Me” single was released, so any new mention of the album is noteworthy. And as with everything else CocoRosie releases, there is a skewed sincerity at the heart of this video.

by PopMatters Staff

12 Mar 2009

Eight years ago this week, French electro group Daft Punk released Discovery, their follow-up to 1997’s Homework. Q gave the record five stars and we thought pretty highly of it too. The album spawned five singles and “Face to Face” went on to hit #1 on the Billboard club chart years later in 2004.

Daft Punk - “One More Time” [single released: 5 December 2000]

Daft Punk - “Aerodynamic” [single released: 28 March 2001]

Daft Punk - “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” [single released: 13 October 2001]

Daft Punk - “Face to Face” [single released: 10 October 2003]

Daft Punk - “Something About Us” [single released: 14 November 2003]

//Mixed media

Because Blood Is Drama: Considering Carnage in Video Games and Other Media

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to dismiss blood and violence as salacious without considering why it is there, what its context is, and what it might communicate.

READ the article