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Friday, February 26, 2010

The Weekly Roundup: 2.26.2010

The Clapping Playlist
If a song has handclaps in it, I am pretty much guaranteed to like it just a little bit more. It’s just such a gloriously human sound. As I romantically put it to myself recently, “I have handclaps for heartbeats.” So, you can image my excitement when I came across this playlist from Esoteric Mumblings. Penelope by Pinback is an especially sweet number. I also recommend Shuffle Your Feet by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Hurry Up Let’s Go by Shout Out Louds, and Proposition 61 by The Most Serene Republic.
Download The Clapping Playlist from Esoteric Mumblings

American Prospects
My friend introduced me to the American Prospects series by Joel Sternfeld when she sent me a link to the photo below. This piece is so striking. This blind man is surrounded by such beauty. He can't see it, yet he seems to understand that it is there. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a complete website or portfolio for Sternfeld online. He has several other series, but this one appeals to me the most. I might just have to buy the book.
Preview American Prospects on the Photo-Eye Bookstore
Preview American Prospects on Schaden.com

A Blind Man in His Garden, Homer, Alaska (July 1984)

Web Comics
I've been reading a lot of web comics this week, because I've really needed a good laugh. Unlike the time-suck of NPR.com, they also provide the sort of hilarity the constant coverage of the health care debate doesn't quite offer me anymore. Not constrained by the restrictions of print media or mass syndication, web comics become expressive art in ways that Blondie has yet to achieve in the past 80 years of its creation. The biggest monopolizers of my time this week have been Married To The Sea and A Softer World. If you need to smile or waste time, give them a perusal. And really, who doesn't need both? Here are my favorite finds from each respectively.



Robert Christgau
Greil Marcus, Robert Palmer, Lester Bangs, and Robert Christgau. Unless you're a huge music nerd, aspiring music critic, or have spent a lot of time reading old editions of Rolling Stone, you've probably never heard of these guys before. They are the greats of music journalism, the writers who transcended the limitations of "music critic" to comment on the larger sociocultural milieux of the time that allowed specific music to be made and become popular. I was thumbing through my copy of The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll earlier this week, and came across some truly fantastic lines in an article about Chuck Berry by Robert Christgau. I've always been more of a Lester Bangs kind of fan, but this bit floored me so hard, I decided to go find me some more Christgua on the interwebs. Low and behold, he has a website with what appears to be every article he's ever written. It's a gold mine. Double bonus: he's still writing and his taste is impeccable. He likes Fruit Bats, The Mountain Goats, and Julian Casablancas too!
Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics Website
"But fun was what adolescent revolt had to be about-inebriated affluence vs. the hangover of the work ethic. It was the only practicable value in the Peter Pan utopia of the American dream."
- Robert Christgau (from Chuck Berry, page 64, The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll)

Four Tet and Ray Concepcion
Pitchfork TV featured this video in their Tunnelvision show this week. It's a live Four Tet performance shot through a pair of 3D glasses. It's a perfect visual interpretation of Four Tet's music, brilliantly conceived and executed by Ray Concepcion. I was so intrigued by this piece I went looking for more of his work. His videos on Vimeo do not disappoint. This week he also posted some compelling live footage of Fucked Up.
Ray Concepcion on Vimeo


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