Monthly Archives: August 2012

Okyerema Asante

Yes We Can

Pawn Stars is my writing kryptonite. The History Channel always seems to be showing it at just the right/wrong time, in hours-long blocks of unbridled predatory capitalism, and I can’t look away. It’s the perfect marriage of financial and emotional voyeurism. You get to cast judgement on how people do business — at least, how well they can haggle in a high-pressure situation — AND how they manage their lives in general, because selling something at a pawn shop is, under most circumstances, an act of desperation. The underlying message is chilling: everything has its price, as long as a buyer and seller can agree on one.

A similar battle goes on inside my head each time I step into a record store.

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Animal Collective

Centipede Hz

Welcome to the jungle!

Centipede Hz just became available for streaming, which means it’s time to break out your machetes and slather on the bug spray — we’ve got some exploring to do.

Animal Collective’s world can be a little crazy. There is screaming. There are monsters. Layers of electronic production saturate songs, flooding them with sounds, not all of which are tethered to the rhythm and melody they accompany. It’s a sonic rainforest as dense as any you’ll find, and there’s nothing quite like hacking your way through a new release.

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Paul Simon

The generosity of the interweb never ceases to amaze me. One day you’re drooling over the trailer for an Emmy-nominated documentary about the making of Paul Simon’s Graceland, and the next thing you know, the whole enchilada is streaming for free [link fixed]. Hot damn!

News that Under African Skies is available for all the world to see only hit yesterday, so I haven’t yet had a chance to watch it, but doing so is at the top of my to-do list this weekend. Getting a glimpse of how an iconic album was made is reason enough to tune in (Can you still use the expression “tune in” when talking about a streaming video? I feel old just just thinking about it.), but I’m especially looking forward to learning more about the socio-political side of Simon’s trip to Apartheid-era South Africa. It’s mind-boggling to think that in making this astoundingly beautiful piece of art, Simon was taking a significant risk, crossing a picket line of sorts to collaborate with musicians who wanted their music to be heard despite the cultural boycott that was in place at the time. I still don’t understand it, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to get a more complete version of the story.

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Matthew E. White

My wife and I recently jumped on the Game of Thrones bandwagon, which means I finally understand the Internet meme pictured above. Perhaps you’ve seen it before, warning people of a powerful force that’s approaching from just beyond the horizon. I can think of no better way to describe the impending release of Matthew E. White’s Big Inner.

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Goldrush

Promo photo

There’s being excited, there’s being really excited, and then there’s being so excited you pre-order a record the moment you can find someone who will take your money for it. That’s exactly what I did when I found out that Goldrush had recorded a 3-song single for Making Moves, a series of 7-inch records released by Drexel University’s Mad Dragon Records and curated by Motion City Soundtrack. With the release date set for August 28 and a record release show taking place shortly thereafter on September 2 at The Camel in Richmond, violinist Treesa Gold and frontman Prabir Mehta were kind enough to answer a few questions via email about recording the 7-inch, SXSW, and more.

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PSY

Between the Olympics, the beach, and the Outer Banks’ miserable Internet situation, I had some serious blinders on last week. Some might say, “Well duh, that’s the point of going on vacation… getting away from it all.” Those people probably also say things like “This flip phone does me just fine,” and “Don’t forget to type the ‘www.'”

I feel pretty lucky though, because I came home to an overgrown inbox that was crawling with fun stuff waiting to be watched/heard. My homecoming email catch-up started off with a bang when I clicked on a link to the YouTube video above. Wow. Just… wow.

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Bob Marley

Legend

In yesterday’s post, which offered highlights from a state-themed, North Carolina to New Jersey driving mix I made for my uncle, I completely skipped over Delaware, thinking that nothing in my iTunes library could possibly bear a relationship to the First State.

Oh how wrong I was.

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