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by Joseph Fisher

29 Jul 2010

Like so many residents of Washington, DC, I am originally from elsewhere—Boston, specifically. Earlier this summer, I took the opportunity to ship up to Boston to attend the wedding of one my closest friends. The date that he chose for the ceremony, June 12th, was a significant one because it fell during the twelfth meeting of the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. At the time of the ceremony, the series was tied 2-2.

I suppose that I should make it clear early on in this posting that I am neither a sports analyst nor a sports historian—and I am probably not much of a sports writer, either. Nevertheless, as I look back on the glorious wedding reception that followed my friend’s ceremony, I’m startled by how relevant the “storied” Boston-LA rivalry was to one particular song that the DJ played that evening.

About halfway through the reception, just as the party was moving from stately to unruly, the entire room was propelled onto the dance floor care of the opening one-two stomp of “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys. I mean that, too. The. Entire. Room. Fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, grandmothers and grandfathers all jumping, dancing, and shouting the lyrics (or at least the “wah, oh-oh’s” backing each chorus). It was probably the most intense three minutes of the night, and the dance floor will never be quite the same as a result.

by Nathan Pensky

28 Jul 2010

In discussions about the worst pop song of all time, Starship’s “We Built This City” is the go-to turkey. The song’s wrong-headed indignation over ‘80s corporate culture coupled with laughably sub-par musical stylings create a spicy jambalaya of awful for the ages. The video—in which former members of Jefferson Airplane stare creepily into the camera for inordinate lengths of time—doesn’t exactly help matters either.

However, another ‘80s-era gem has been sorely overlooked in such considerations. The Hooters’ video for “And We Danced” is a remarkable gestalt of auditory assault and can’t-look-away-it’s-so-bad imagery, a perfect storm of suck.

by Jessy Krupa

26 Jul 2010

“Teddy Boy” is the simple acoustic tale of a boy named Ted with serious mother issues. Ted’s mother cries when talking about his soldier father, but later remarries, incensing Ted so much that he runs away. There is also a double meaning in the fact that “teddy boy” was common British slang in the 1950s. It was used to describe teenagers who wore “Edwardian”-inspired clothes and acted in a similar fashion to the “punks” of the 1980s or the “greasers” of the American 1950s.

Because former bandmate John Lennon had a similar childhood experience and was thought to be a part of the teddy boy subculture, it is believed that the song was a dig at him. However, the Beatles themselves originally recorded “Teddy Boy” during sessions for what eventually became their Let It Be album. There are several different bootleg versions floating around, but in one particular version Lennon is heard in the background laughing and making up extra lyrics, so I doubt that it was intended to offend. While it was never completely finished by the group, the two most notable takes of the song were edited together and put on 1996’s Anthology 3 album.

by Evan Sawdey

26 Jul 2010

Not every band names them selves after a birth defect of the ears, but, then again, not every band is as dynamic as Microtia.

Essentially a modern group of prog-rockers with a serious alternative rock bent, Microtia have had a bit of a hard time fitting in to the much calmer Portland, Oregon music scene. Releasing their albums and track listings on used beer and cigarette packages, the group has very slowly built up a following by touring, self-promoting, and just making some fantastic rock records. Their latest, Spacemaker, is a spiraling tour through the last two decades of rock radio, as thundering choruses run parallel with furious acoustic guitars, clattering percussion, and glorious song titles like “That’s The Problem With Owning Half the State of California”.

As snarky as their live shows are sweaty, bassist Oliver Merson took some time out the band’s relentless touring schedule to talk about why The Secret of Nimh makes him cry, how stolen Gwar VHS may have changed his life, and how his book about paleontology will be called Through One Eon and Out the Other ...

by Joseph Fisher

23 Jul 2010

Photo: Daniel Coston

In 2004, the apotheosis of Robert Pollard finally happened. Now that
the “classic” Guided By Voices lineup is readying itself for a reunion tour, critics, fans, bloggers everywhere will no doubt by thrown into fits of religious ecstasy, gushing endlessly about visions of the afterlife during performances of “I Am a Scientist”. It is baffling that Bee Thousand (1994), which contains merely one song (out of a staggering 20) that clocks in at over three minutes, has been able to transfix the indie community for 16 years.

What is equally baffling is the way that “lo-fi”—as aesthetic, as ethic, as style—continues to be constructed as the absolute mark of musical authenticity. Even though GBV are widely considered to be the lo-fi alpha and omega, that has not stopped the praise from being piled on contemporary bands as diverse as Wavves, A Place to Bury Strangers, LCD Soundsystem, Times New Viking, and Girls for working, essentially, in accordance with Pollard’s Commandments. All of which raises the question: how can lo-fi be authentic if it is clearly an appropriation of someone else’s aesthetic?

//Mixed media

Notes, Hoaxes, and Jokes: Silkworm's 'Lifestyle' - "Ooh La La"

// Sound Affects

"Lifestyle's penultimate track eases the pace and finds fresh nuance and depth in a rock classic, as Silkworm offer their take on the Faces' "Ooh La La".

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