Monthly Archives: March 2010

Bigotry is like Pac-Man

If you're not gonna be all dignified and Brokeback about it, you might as well have your gay characters be so horrifically stereotypical that they overshoot offensiveness and end up back at acceptable again:

Gay Robot

I'm not being ironic; this shit has me in stitches — every time! — and I can't stop doing the voice. I have no idea if the creators of this meant it as some sort of postmodern gay rights cannonball, or if they truly set out to mock gay culture. Luckily, it's funny enough that I don't give a shit.

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The slow foods approach to music appreciation

It's weird how, nearly midway through 2010, I'm only now figuring out what my favorite albums of last year were. People say that our insta-everything, poly-whatever entertainment consumption is making us pay less attention to the things around us, but, anecdotally at least, I see the opposite effect. Being able to have music playing while I'm biking, cooking, working and in other spheres of my life where it wouldn't have been available 25 years ago has given me a broader appreciation of how music can do more than just distract and entertain.

Take, for example, Fuck Buttons. I wasn't wild about their first album, and downloaded their second (sorry mom) more out of curiousity than any expectation of greatness. It's a genre of music apparently referred to as 'dronecore', which is an utterly retarded sequence of syllables. But yeah, it's really droney, and doesn't 'go' anywhere like anything else I've ever heard. This, for example, is one of the best things I heard all last year.

Fuck Buttons – Olympians

You can only release something like this if you know there are people out there willing to give it a chance. Radio wouldn't go within restraining-order distance, and the wider indie markets, like music blogs and avant-garde European commercials, wouldn't be able to cut this into anything snippety enough to really use. This music feels like it was made for people like me, who just want to bliss out to something soundtrackey while they bike home from work in the sunset.

And it's really good! Something tells me this is the kind of music I would have utterly ignored 10 years ago, because there was no way for it to enter my life in a way that I would actually hear it. I'm glad I was able to give it a chance. 

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May all your days be gold my child

My parents made me go to church every Sunday until I was 16. Around 14, I told them that I was leaving their traditional church to attend a younger, hipper church down the road. Just drop me off outside on the way, I told them, and pick me up on the way home.

That's how it came to be that every Sunday at 10 am, for two years, I would get out of the car, wait until my parents turned the corner, then walk two blocks to Tower Records and listen to music for two hours. I was always back out front of the church, shirt tucked in, when my parents came to pick me up.

I don't know what possessed me to listen to Sparklehorse the first time, but that's where it was. Most Sundays I tried to listen to 5 or 10 bands in my loitering Sabbaths. I would always start out, though, by listening to 'Homecoming Queen', the first track on Sparklehorse's first album. I knew I would never hear anything that weird on the radio, so I tried to memorize it, Sunday by Sunday.

Freshman year of college, about five minutes after asking 'What's this Napster thing everyone's talking about?' I was hearing it again.

Sparklehorse – Home Coming Queen

Mark Linkous, the guy behind Sparklehorse, killed himself this past weekend, and even though I never learned one solitary thing about the guy beyond his music, I find myself strangely affected. It's a reminder that talent, like everything else, isn't a sufficient rampart against despair.

I'm not going to speculate on Mark Linkous's problems, or read anything into his lyrics. I just thought I would share our little 'how we met' story, and thank him. 

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