Latest Blog Posts

by Adrien Begrand

11 Jun 2009

Over the last three decades, not much has changed in the way of heavy metal music videos. While cutting-edge filmmakers like Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham, and Jonathan Glazer created innovative pieces in the pop, electronic, and indie rock realms, metal videos, on the other hand, have been merely content to stay the course, opting primarily to please the fans as opposed to trying to break new ground in the medium. There have been exceptions, of course, Tool being the most obvious, but for the most part, metal clips tend to fall into three categories: a deliberate showcase of a band’s latest stage show, a straightforward clip of a band performing among its rabid fans, and conceptual stories intercut with simple performance footage.

The latter category has yielded extraordinary results in the past, but it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a metal band embrace the music video quite like Mastodon has done this year in the wake of the release of their excellent album Crack the Skye. Enlisting director Roboshobo, the man behind last year’s spectacular clip for Metallica’s “All Nightmare Long”, Mastodon’s video for “Divinations” involved a caveman trapped in ice, a Yeti, and cannibalism, and the partnership’s follow-up “Oblivion” delves into far more cosmic territory. Typical of the band’s tendency towards rather outlandish, convoluted concepts, the storyline centers on the foursome on a space rescue mission, the sudden appearance of vegetation and butterflies outside of the craft, and the mysterious, blissful deaths of Troy Sanders’s crew. What it all specifically means is open to interpretation (goodness knows Mastodon’s explanations of their concepts tend to complicate things even further), but the joy with which the band throws themselves into the whole video making process, coupled with some actual major label bucks, makes for a terrific visual complement to one of the year’s better hard rock singles.

by Jason Gross

11 Jun 2009

One great thing that I’ve loved about the Net is that we can not only connect again with old chums but we can relive old memories and sometimes get a jolt to recall them. 

One of my favorite destinations was at Facebook, which had a great application called ‘My Restaurants. which let you chronicle all the places you’ve eaten at around the country and which ones you’d like to try one day.  I found out that there were dozens of NYC restaurants I liked and would return to, plus places in Boston, L.A., Miami, Memphis and Austin that I wanted to go back to or try some day.  I was having a lot of fun with this- not only could I remember where to go but I also had a great list of places to recommend to friends and to go try out one of these days.

And then the application died.  I was heart-broken.  All the hours and days I slaved away on it, noting my favorite places and recommending to others and making reminders to go back… All gone.  The page is just a blank, empty space.  I wrote the developer to beg them to get it going again but haven’t heard anything.  All of that work, effort and joy… lost.

And there you have a problem with pouring yourself into a site or an application.  What are you gonna do when it shuts down, malfunctions or just mysteriously disappears?  You’ll feel like a moron for wasting all of your time but you’ll also be devastated that all that info you were hoping to carry along with you is just gone. 

So how are you gonna trust Facebook or other sites that can’t give you any guarantee about the long-term safety of your information? (not to mention privacy concerns)  Do you really wanna get frustrated and hurt again? (sounds like dating, doesn’t it?)  You’d be better off saving your precious info on a word processing file on your own machine and then backing it up on a CD.

That’s why I was both excited and weary when I heard about Songkick.  This site lets you create a data base of all the shows you’ve been to and lets you search by artist and city to help jog your memory.  I was getting all giddy about finding out when I went to this Sonic Youth concert or that Sonny Rollins show or that Al Green show.  Not only that but you can also see which friends were at shows that you didn’t know about before.

But then I remembered ‘My Restaurants.’

What if I go through all this trouble and then it disappears?  Does Facebook have any guarantee that all the rest of your info there won’t disappear one day and there’s nothing you can do about it?  Does Songkick have a guarantee like that too?  Do I wanna be a chump again?  Can’t these programs have some kind of way for you to back up and save all your data so you don’t risk losing all your work and info? 

Unless I can back-up my info at a site or application to my own computer, I’m gonna be kinda of weary of doing that again and so should you.  Why risk the heart-ache?

by Joe Tacopino

11 Jun 2009

Mastodon go on a space odyssey in their new video for “Oblivion”. Open the pod bay door, dudes! And watch out for those meteorites.

by Diepiriye Kuku

10 Jun 2009

At first I was afraid/I was petrified

Claire Bennet can heal. Cut, stabbed, scrapped, slashed, electrocuted, diseased, burned, beaten and hurled from high places, the obstacles that this young heroine faces show us that she girl can always bounce back. The only other super-being like Claire in the TV series Heroes lived for centuries and manipulated a major conspiracy to take over the world. Yet, the super power to heal cannot mend the heart. Being different is her constant, imposed strain.

Save the Cheerleader, Save the World

An ongoing theme in Heroes calls ‘fate’ into question. Are we victims of fate, or, are we making history? The answer would seem as plain as the show itself: We manifest destiny. In other words, there are indeed several seasons of the show. The show must go on, and so in the Heroes world, we make history, both in the literal and proverbial sense.

by Rob Horning

10 Jun 2009

I was happy that credit-care-reform legislation passed, but admittedly, Arnold Kling, writing for the Atlantic’s business site, seems to have a point here. He cites a number of examples from an old Fast Company article of consumers falling for really bad sales pitches from Capital One, and then concludes:

Many readers of the article were appalled by the consumer exploitation implicit in this data-driven marketing that seemed to impress the magazine.  I can certainly understand wanting to protect consumers from such exploitation.
My concern, however, is that ultimately consumers with low intelligence and low conscientiousness are inevitably going to be exploited.  If you remove one means of exploitation, another will arise.
With tighter credit card regulation, my guess is that credit card companies will stop exploiting some of the consumers with low intelligence and/or conscientiousness.  Instead, these consumers will be exploited by other lenders or by merchants.  But I doubt that legislation or regulation can stop the exploitation of such consumers altogether.

That’s true; there will always be ill-informed, ignorant, negligent, or just plain stupid people who will constitute the prey of unscrupulous businesses. But that unfortunate situation shouldn’t lead us to conclude that all businesses should be allowed to operate so that they increase the number of ignorant and negligent by making the most of asymmetrical information. It seems that the credit-card business is one in which competitors have no incentive to compete by providing lucid explanations to customers—it’s much like the cell-phone-service business, where there’s de facto collusion to offer consumers only opaque and confusing plans and take advantage of inadvertent fees and contract-breaking hassles. So with credit cards, the government is stepping in not to try to legislate away stupidity or consumer laziness, but to try to create a business environment that discourages companies from making a business model out of making society more miserable.

//Mixed media

Stone Dead: Murder and Myth in 'Medousa'

// Short Ends and Leader

"A wry tale which takes in Greek mythology, punk rock and influences of American suspense-drama, this is an effective and curious thriller about myth and obsession.

READ the article