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by Mike Deane

30 Jan 2009

Once CHANDRA had toured their EP, it was decided that Chandra should be backed by other teenagers. So, with Diserio and Alexander in tow, the Chandra Dimension was born.  The Chandra Dimension consisted of Chandra, a 12-year-old on keys,a 17-year-old on bass, and a 14-year-old on drums. The Chandra Dimension recorded an EP that was not released until last year when both the original CHANDRA EP and The Chandra Dimension EP were re-released as a single album by Cantor Records (you can listen to minute-long clips at Other Music)

The Chandra Dimension EP differs somewhat from the CHANDRA EP, but shares many of the first EP’s salient characteristics.  Opener, “Get It Out of Your System”, begins energetically and seems more streamlined than the previous EP; trebly guitar is featured more prominently and Chandra’s voice is more commanding.  Other than that there is still the dissonant-yet-melodic keys and dancey bass line backed by disco drums.  The chorus is excellent with a vocal line that constantly changes emphases, spinning around and leaving the listener disoriented but satisfied.  The live claps on this song add a level of childish excitement as they are weak-sounding and are obviously the product of children’s hands.

The third song, “Something”, follows in the same vein with interesting layers of instruments, a great bass line and more prominently featured guitar.  Chandra’s voice on this shows mature detachment and defeatism.  Though there is childishness in lines like “There’s nothing you can do about teachers”, there are startlingly precocious lines like “There’s nothing you can do about the evolution of the world / There’s nothing you can do about politics, it’s absurd” and “What about suicide? / Don’t you think we’ve tried? / It was a lie, you were right.”  The punctuating keyboards and guitar drive home every line by, the now, 14-year-old Chandra. 

Though Chandra’s youth makes these recordings that much more interesting, they stand alone as wonderful outsider disco compositions.  The fact that the lyrics were written and sung by a 12-year-old adds a layer of interest to the story, but if you didn’t know it the fact probably would not cross your mind.  A singular entity in the post-punk world, CHANDRA and the Chandra Dimension made NYC relics that stand alone in their composition and background story. 

Chandra Oppenheim gave up music after the Chandra Dimension, and perhaps it was for the best; with only eight songs (and a couple of unreleased songs that will show up soon enough) there’s not a blemish on her record.  Still, it gives rise to the question: If she was outdoing so many adults at 12, what would she have been doing at 20?

by Sarah Zupko

30 Jan 2009

Grails are due to release a DVD on April 7th through Temporary Residence containing videos from their full career. Acid Rain
also features nearly two hours of live concert footage and a host of extras. Check out the trailer, as well as an MP3, “Reincarnation Blues” from their latest album, Doomsdayer’s Holiday. Upcoming tour dates are below.

Grails
Reincarnation Blues [MP3]
     

TOUR DATES
Feb 19 @ Cafe du Nord, San Francisco, CA w/ James Blackshaw
Feb 20 @ The Fernwood, Santa Cruz, CA w/ James Blackshaw
Feb 21 @ Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA w/ James Blackshaw
Feb 22 @ Casbah, San Diego, CA w/ James Blackshaw
May 8-10 @ ATP Festival, Minehead, UK w/ Devo, Spiritualized, The Jesus Lizard, Sleep

by Matt White

30 Jan 2009

There isn’t much to Morrissey’s new music video for the first single off his forthcoming album Years of Refusal. Moz strikes dramatic poses as he and his band play in an empty white room and a couple of cute dogs wander around. For some reason the drummer somersaults over his drum kit just like he did in the video for “All You Need Is Me”. It wasn’t particularly impressive the first time. The video is still strangely enjoyable though and the song is great so it’s well worth checking out. Also, is he wearing make-up?

by tjmHolden

30 Jan 2009



Like it or not, the Super Bowl has become an event of major cultural significance in America.

According to this author, it is the “the most watched event in American sports, except for the Daytona 500” (proving that there is no accounting for taste) . . . and according to this data, it is the only major sporting championship that boasts consistently increasing television ratings since 1995. According to Wiki the Super Bowl has been dubbed a “de facto . . . national holiday” in the U.S. (although, falling as it does on Sunday, don’t U.S. citizens feel somehow cheated?). Underscoring its festive nature, food features highly in Super Bowl Sunday: the United States Department of Agriculture informing us that SBS is second only to Thanksgiving as America’s biggest day of culinary consumption. And, we all are surely aware that the halftime show has become storied (though, save for the random wardrobe malfunction, deflatingly disappointing) for its showcase rock acts—from Prince to U2 to the Stones to Paul McCartney to Sting to Aerosmith to Tom Petty to this year’s offering: Bruce Springsteen. (For the record, The Boss promises to “inspire” in his 12 minute spotlight gig).

 


 

by Rob Horning

30 Jan 2009

In my post about volunteer criticism yesterday, I complained about writing online degenerating into self-branding via vectors like Facebook. At the Big Money, the Slate business site, Jill Priluck makes a related argument about the book-publishing business:

Paradoxically, the proliferation of digital media that is arguably the biggest threat to traditional publishing also offers authors more opportunities than ever to distribute and promote their work. The catch: In order to do that effectively, authors increasingly must transcend their words and become brands.

Without support from publishing houses and their marketing budgets, Priluck suggests, authors can become preoccupied with brand building rather than writing. Self-conceived writing professionals of course have incentive to turn themselves into a brand and their writing into “branded content”—they want to make a living. But noncommercial writers online face the same dilemma; the Web offers the possibility of a measurable audience, and the temptation is always there to write what increases the numbers (Gawker style) rather than write what one thinks. If as Priluck says, authors “trade depth for instant gratification, visibility, and higher advances,” then so do nonprofessionals who are just writing for attention. Just as Facebook and Twitter seem to suggest that the purpose of friendship is to have the most friends or followers, the purpose of writing becomes maximizing readership, the content itself is merely a means to that end, which is always the content’s ultimate meaning.

Is it possible to have “online presence” without it becoming a brand. Probably because of the centrality of marketing discourse in our culture, branding has become the all-purpose paradigm for all sorts of social behavior, a phenomenon whose recent explosion seems directly traceable to the way the internet lets us quantify the extent of our influence while dramatically expanding our reach. But brands are like distillations of our essence that discard the better part of our spontaneous personality—we simplify who we are to something that is consistent and capable of being instantly communicated—like an epitaph. And we consent to let the nature of our identity be openly traded and renogitated in an open market. As Priluck puts it, “When authors are beholden to a brand, they ally themselves, almost like actors and athletes, with agendas and meanings that are well beyond their control.”

We heedlessly commit ourselves to thinking of ways to improve our brand without worrying about the fact that it means we are always for sale.

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