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by PC Muñoz

8 Sep 2009

“Where Does the Time Go?” - the innocence mission
Written by Karen Peris
From Birds of My Neighborhood (Kneeling Elephant/RCA, 1999, a remaster was reissued by Badman Recording Co., 2006)

Whether entranced by the intricately-balanced poetics of Leonard Cohen, the artful turns-of-phrase of Smokey Robinson, or the PhD-in-lonesome of Hank Williams, I always seem to fall in love the hardest with songwriters who carve out their own distinctive place in the tower of song (to cop a Cohen phrase). If one counts their 1986 limited-edition debut EP, the innocence mission, a Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based group, has been making singularly lovely records for over 20 years. It’s a damn shame that their primary songwriter, Karen Peris, although well-loved by a loyal fan base and countless musician/songwriter peers, is not yet heralded far and wide as one of the most gifted pop/rock lyricists ever, because she most undeniably is. A poet at heart, Karen Peris’ lyrics are achingly beautiful, and she delivers them in a sweet and wise voice that is somehow both familiar and otherworldly at the same time.

“Where Does the Time Go?” is the opening track from the group’s fourth album, Birds of My Neighborhood, which introduced the stripped-down acoustic-folk sound the group has thoroughly explored for the past 10 years. The instrumentation is a delicate calibration of shimmering guitars, acoustic bass, and quiet-in-the-mix churchy organ, which lends the song a hymn-like quality. This musical framework is set in a lilting light-waltz tempo, a perfect pocket for the first few lines of Peris’ first verse: “We will walk on a hill / Red hats and blue coats / And everything still / Snow will cover until / We can’t tell the sky from the ground.” The chorus creeps up soon after, mantra-like in its insistent simplicity and repetition: “Waiting for you to arrive / Where does the time go? / Where Does the time go? / Where does the time go? / Where does the time go?”

by Jesse Steele

8 Sep 2009

Formed in 2006, Australian indie rockers the Temper Trap have had moderate success both in their homeland and in Europe, but they have not yet been able to reach American audiences.

Enter (500) Days of Summer, this summer’s smart, hipster-friendly anti-romance.

Tossed into the shark infested waters of an already killer soundtrack loaded with artists like the Smiths, She and Him, and fellow Aussies Wolfmother, the Temper Trap’s single, “Sweet Disposition” still manages to shine, appearing twice in the film. A U2-style guitar riff, a truly eerie vocal from lead singer Dougy, and a reverb heavy mix come together to form an indie-pop dream Coldplay only wishes they could write. “Sweet Disposition” will be the first single from the band’s upcoming album, Conditions which is to be released in the U.S. on October 13th.

by Katharine Wray

8 Sep 2009

Wild Beasts sound like tree nymph monks. Their sunny new video for the single “All the King’s Men” displays a curiously catchy song with chanting. Worth a gander.

by Ashley Cooper

7 Sep 2009

In 1983, Mark Rosman sat in the director’s chair of an extremely low-budget horror film, The House on Sorority Row. Filmed on a shoestring budget of $425,000, the movie flopped when it was originally released on January 21 of that year. However, a month later, the film found a place in the heart of fans of the slasher film genre, and had generated over $4 million in box office revenue.

More than 20 years later, the film is being recreated for horror lovers. Paying homage to Rosman by naming the university after him, the movie has a similar premise to the 1983 version. Six sorority sisters decide to get revenge on one of their cheating boyfriends by faking the death of one of their own. In doing so, the prank goes horribly wrong as the person is actually killed. The survivors decide to hide the body and never speak of that night again. Eight months later, someone has found proof of their misdeed and begins to stalk them with the evidence, killing them off one by one. The group, which gets smaller and smaller, must band together to find out who the perpetrator of these crimes might be, as well as fight for their right to stay alive.

by Rob Horning

7 Sep 2009

Yesterday I was wondering about whether it makes since to curtail individual freedom in order to achieve a larger efficiency that no one individual will experience as directly beneficial. In particular, it’s possible that we like to think we can outwit everyone else when we can’t, but that fantasy is more beneficial to us than a smoother-running system.

Steenbarger, a guest poster at Barry Ritholtz’s Big Picture blog, calls attention to the research that suggests that certain traders are addicted to playing the market recklessly.

It turns out that a large body of psychological research finds that people who are sensation seekers tend to also be risk takers.  Indeed, many hapless traders are attracted to markets precisely because of the stimulation of risk and reward.  At the extreme, this makes trading an addiction, not a disciplined quest to exploit market inefficiencies.

Obviously this means market players are not all contributing useful information, and markets themselves are not automatically efficient in that sense. It may instead provide opportunities to express irrationality, to defy reason and take defiant chances. Markets are just another social medium in which individuals can try to leave their distinctive mark, even if it requires acting insanely. And markets may then conduct misleading information to other participants, compounding the confusion and generating unexpected or suboptimal outcomes.

Does that mean such individuals’ participation in markets should be curtailed in the name of perfecting markets? Of course we shouldn’t, but I wonder though if all the talk about the unfortunate reality of inefficient markets will at some point lead to attempts to perfect them by force and prohibition. A perfect market, as Albert Hirschman pointed out in his “Rival Interpretations of Market Society,” requires that participants not be connected by any ties other than commercial ones, ties that might affect their economic-rational judgment: “Involving large numbers of price-taking anonymous buyers and sellers supplied with perfect information, such markets function without any prolonged human or social contact among or between the parties.” Perhaps the isolating aspects of capitalist society are self-reinforcing, or at least are reinforced by economistic technocrats who wish to conjure their perfect market, which would reinforce the plausibility of their predictions and enhance their credibility and power. The more that traditional ties are broken, denied, or prevented from forming, the more “perfect” markets can be become; efforts to promote “rational thinking” over emotional or altruistic thinking may work to further our way toward such perfection, until we are all perfectly anonymous in our solipsistic individuality.

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