Music

Urinal Disco

Though Diplo has reigned supreme as the underground ying to Timbaland’s overground yang, for my buck, one of the best beat magicians slicing and dicing today is Montreal’s Ghislain Poirer. His non-instrumental work with MC’s, such as the collaboration with Abdominal (“City Walking”) brim with alleyway menace and threatening intricacy. For Poirer, it's not a matter of just finding the groove and then just striking over and over again in that same sweet spot. Poirer’s beats are knotty, itchy and architectural. “Don’t Smile, It’s Post Modern” sounds like a particularly fast and difficult Tetris game where patterns are assembled and dissolved at a furiously glitched pace.

The video is little more than a one-joke stretch, but as Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” proved, you can create an infinitely entertaining video out of the rapt fascination people have with dance moves. (the quality seems to be a secondary issue) Even the Ipod silhouette commercials recognize the magnetic currency of raw movement, proving wildly popular despite the fact that they are little more than outlines pulsing to an upbeat song. I think this video similarly succeeds in part by playing on all the hilarious tensions of the situation coupled with the freedom and joy of just watching some fool, in this case, possessed by the need to dance.

First off, it seems to be shot with a club-drug lens, a fact emphasized by the superimposition of the germy spots which glide across the toilet surfaces. For anyone whose ever abused/used these drugs, the effect is a familiar one as is the almost painfully fluoresced tile and uncomfortable urinal silences. I’m sure someone has analyzed the weird tensions involved in the men’s restroom where sexual panic, fear of inadequacy and free floating erotic tension mix. It’s probably somewhere in Camille Paglia’s footnotes. Perhaps the best part of the video is that it makes a dance routine out of post-micturition convulsion syndrome, a shiver/tremor sensation that a large percentage of men have after or during urination. For me, that’s funny enough to make the video one that bears repeated viewing.

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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Here comes another Kompakt Pop Ambient collection to make life just a little more bearable.

Another (extremely rough) year has come and gone, which means that the German electronic music label Kompakt gets to roll out their annual Total and Pop Ambient compilations for us all.

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8

Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11
Amazon
iTunes

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

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