Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 
Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Friday, Sep 12, 2014
In my eyes, indisposed, in disguise as no one knows hides the face of this week's Counterbalance. 281st most acclaimed album of all time, won't you come and wash away the rain?

Mendelsohn: I didn’t even want to talk about this album. I just wanted to make you listen to Soundgarden for a week. Mission accomplished.


Klinger: Well played, sir.


Mendelsohn: But, while were here, and since I imagine you listened to this record at least once, we might as well have a little back-and-forth. Because, honestly, what else are we going to do? In my head, I can already here you grumbling about no nostalgia for the 1990s, no affinity for alternative music, wading through your Gen-X miasma, etc. I almost feel bad for making you listen to Soundgarden’s Superunknown. Almost.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Friday, Sep 5, 2014
You reach out and into the absence and gasping. The vastness grabs you like an alien embrace, your face to the face of this week's Counterbalance, in which we look at the Dirty Projectors' 2012 indie hit. Foolish, we know, but we're about to die.

Klinger: I don’t recall what exactly led me to pick up Rise Above, the Dirty Projectors’ radical 2007 reimagining of the Black Flag album Damaged. I was never that much of a Black Flag fan, and I think I had only read a review or two of the Dirty Projectors before I took the plunge. I’m awfully glad I did, since Dave Longstreth and his group have consistently produced music that’s equal parts challenging and exhilarating. I’ve been a big fan of the way the group structures its songs so that it’s hard to tell exactly when a wave of noise is going to overtake the arrangement, while still maintaining a surprising sense of melody. Swing Lo Magellan (2012) might be my favorite of theirs, with a series of undeniable hooks lying below the slightly off-kilter surface.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014
(Dedicate one to the ladies...) This week's Counterbalance found the simple life ain't so simple, when it jumped out on the road. We're taking a look at Van Halen's 1978 debut album, which we're told is living at a pace that kills.

Mendelsohn: The one thing I liked about working from the Great List before the Counterbalance revamp was the weekly marching order. Didn’t matter what it was, whether or not we liked it, we were going to listen to it and have a little back-and-forth. Sometimes it was a drag. But mostly, the Great List offered up some interesting listening material. Looking down the list, it was pretty easy to tell who was going to stand behind specific albums. We are nothing if not predictable. But every now and then we would get to an album and more than anything I just wanted to know what you had to say about it.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Friday, Aug 22, 2014
Gonna drive past the Stop 'n' Shop with the Modern Lovers' masterpiece on. Roadrunner once. Roadrunner twice. I'm in love with rock 'n' roll, and I'll be out all night. From 1976 (but recorded in '71 and '72), this week's Counterbalance is a cult classic.

Klinger: Of all the characters we’ve encountered during the course of our Counterbalance excursion, few are as singularly odd as Jonathan Richman, lead singer of the Modern Lovers. Part incurable romantic, part frustrated outsider, Richman wrote an album of songs that were occasionally edifying and occasionally unnerving, but always brutally honest. His band played with an aggression that was right in line with the burgeoning punk/New Wave scene (future Cars drummer David Robinson and Talking Head Jerry Harrison are heard here), and at one point the group was signed to Warner Brothers. And then Richman turned his back on everything.


Bookmark and Share
Text:AAA
Friday, Aug 15, 2014
There are no more summer lifeguard jobs. There are no more art museums to guard. The lab is out of white lab coats, because there are no more slides and microscopes. But there always careers talking about this week's Counterbalance album.

Mendelsohn: At one point in my life I had an insane addiction to new music. I would go through five or more albums a week, searching for that next great record. Downloading, buying, or using my media connections to get my hands on anything I could. If I it wasn’t new music, I wasn’t interested. And then we took on the Great List and my listening habits did a complete 180. New music was replaced by “old” music as we systematically moved through the Great List. I’ve been doing a little to catch up, trying not to fall into my old habits. So when I started seeing pieces on Parquet Courts’ new record, Sunbathing Animal, all of which mentioned the phenomenal quality of their previous record Light Up Gold, my interested was piqued. Old Mendelsohn would have just went out and picked up Sunbathing Animal, leaving Light Up Gold and their debut American Specialties for later, if ever. But if the Great List has taught me anything, it is to respect the organic development of music and appreciate where a band has been and where they could go.


So this week, we are listening to Parquet Courts’ second album. I haven’t listened to their new album yet — It’s sitting on my desk, Klinger, just waiting like a Christmas present — or their first album that nobody talks about (probably for good reason?). But first, we have to talk about Light Up Gold.


Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.