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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?

by Crispin Kott

22 Jul 2010

Ever since their foppish heroes burst in the scene in the early ‘80s, fans of Duran Duran have long been derided by “serious” music fans as unsophisticated nitwits in thrall to a band built on a platform of flashy videos, high cheekbones, and a sense of style which wavered between pure androgyny and cut-rate drag queen.

But all was never as it seems, especially where it regards Duran Duran. Witness the response to the band’s former label, EMI, which sorta-kinda acknowledged an error in a recent deluxe reissue of Duran Duran’s seminal debut in the Ask Katy section of the band’s official website…

“It has come to our attention that some fans have suggested that the mastering on the recently reissued editions of Duran Duran and Seven and the Ragged Tiger is incorrect. Mastering is always subjective, and we acknowledge that the mastering on these versions is different to that of previous remasters, however that does not necessarily make it wrong. We have received both positive and negative comments about the mastering which is usual for any project – although those that don’t like the sound of these new records are by far in the minority. We will always take on board constructive criticism and act upon it, where we believe it appropriate, and we respect the opinions of the fans. However, in this case there have been some personal comments about the mastering engineer that were highly offensive, wholly inappropriate and unjustified.

“There is a glitch due to tape deterioration in the camera clicks at the very start of ‘Girls on Film’ on the Duran Duran album. Whilst this glitch is not ideal, as it is in the camera clicks and not within the main body of the music, there are no plans to replace any discs.”

//Mixed media

Tricks or Treats? Ten Halloween Blu-rays That May Disrupt Your Life

// Short Ends and Leader

"The best of this stuff'll kill you.

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