My ‘Almost Art’ column’s about the very dumb “interactive music video” trend: Arcade Fire, Kanye West, Disclosure. To keep it kinda #posi, there are also some kind words about Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” video and Pharrell’s “Happy” video which do the “interactive” thing right.
Okay, so this is limited to the ones I have seen. I have never seen a bad John Ford movie, though, so I’d say all of these are worth watching. Also, as usual and not on purpose, I tend to find some of his more canonical movies to be kind of lacking…
Um, literary type white dude at the Baltimore Starbucks on St. Paul Street is a really solid dude. Also, there’s a new person there; she and I talked about macaroni and cheese once, so she counts. There was somebody at Cup A Joe in Raleigh by NC State that was always on-point, and seemed to know when to talk to me and when to leave me alone because I felt like I was going to die inside. Forgot her name, but her too.
Lots of cool music writers I like a lot and some of whom I would consider pals contributed to this (HELLO FRIENDS!) list of 2013’s favorite “deep cuts.” I wrote about Toro Y Moi’s “Day One,” which should go on every romantic mixtape you make, and Holy Ghost!’s “I Wanna Be Your Hand,” which I would like Drake to cover at some point very soon.
Not sure if I've asked u this b4 but rank Spike Lee movies?
Oh, wow. So, Spike Lee pretty much stinks. Like, we all just have to admit this is true at this point? He didn’t always stink (though he has never been as good as he was made out to be) but he’s got like so much garbage at this point that it’s sad to even think about him too hard. Also, the way he dealt with that dude whose Old Boy designs got stolen is pretty reprehensible. Not ranking them all, but Spike Lee movies I say are actually good and solid, ranked:
I think the best place to start with Donald Goines is his “Kenyatta” series: Crime Partners, Death List, Kenyatta’s Escape, Kenyatta’s Last Hit. It is, in my opinion, one of the most ambitious and capital a American stories ever written and should be much more popular than it is. Here’s something I wrote about it for the Baltimore City Paper’s lit issue last year:
Um, try to find a job you like or can tolerate, while also looking for a job you really, really love. Realize that the economy is screwed for good and you’ll probably hop around to lots of different jobs, pursue different careers, etc. so don’t sweat it too much. Try not to spend more money than you have. Don’t shoot yourself in the face like my friend did not long after college. Hope that’s helpful!
*EDIT: Re-reading this, I feel like it reads a little snarky or dismissive. Not my intention! Kind of a massive, complicated question. Please feel free to send follow-ups or more specific questions over!
Seems great to me! I want Gosling as John DiFool! I want Tom Hardy as the Metabaron! Plus, Refn’s friends with Jodorowsky and he’s definitely got the visual style (ooh pretty colors meets creeping dread) and that Jodorowsky-ian ability to make things that don’t necessarily make sense or totally parse, but get by on the overall feeling/mood they convey, which is more important anyway. I imagine this will just be Refn taking a lot of his ideas from the Logan’s Run remake he never got to do, and going even more nuts with it? To be a downer here though, there’s a very slim chance this movie will ever happen, right?
50 Best Albums: I wrote about records by Nine Inch Nails and Waxahatchee, two very good albums I liked a lot that I didn’t say much about (or anything in the case of Cerulean Salt) anywhere else this year.
40 Best Hip-Hop Albums: I wrote about Antwon, Don Trip & Starlito, Oddisee, Rome Fortune, Western Tink & Beautiful Lou, and Young Thug.
Okay, so ranked is every Fassbinder movie I’ve seen. I’ve put them in the order of “best” to “least good” (worst seems a little harsh), though anything ranked below The Marriage of Maria Braun, you can probably skip.
I’ll be holding an investor’s meeting for RateYourDaddy.Com (the website where you send me pictures of daddy or step daddy and I rate their attractiveness for a reasonable fee, and then I mail you a certificate with that rating in 4-8 weeks as well as a lipstick kiss from yours truly on the certificate) at the Howard Johnson’s in Newark, Delaware on a mysterioso date to be named very soon. You are now added to the top secret mailing list! Welcome to the first day of a new life! You will not be disappointed and you will be earning lots and lots of cash very soon.
Do you mean lately? I’ve been very into them for awhile now. Wrote about them here (review of Timesup) and here (something about “Perfect Lullaby”), and I’ve definitely crowbarred a few of their tracks into my “rap songs of the week” thing, as well. I think they’re pretty great, especially their mixes. Some people take issue with it, but I like how they do very different things with their mixing, edits, remixes, and their original productions. It feels like they’re still holding back or figuring out the production element of it all and that’s exciting.
Where to start with Stanley Crouch? (esp something on more than one artist?) Thx!
He still does a New York Daily News column, which is sometimes pretty on-point and sometimes batshit crazy and super off-base, but it’s worth checking out.
I think his best work is The Artificial White Man. It’s a series of lengthy essays, reviews, etc. (now we just call them thinkpieces!). There’s an epic one on Tarantino’s movies (which he really likes), a dismantling of that doofus David Shields that very much applies to liberal white boys in love with black culture like myself, and a really good one on Michael Jackson (which I just reread and so much of it applies to Kanye, though Crouch, who hates rap, would never admit that or realize that), and more. He’s really good at talking down to whites who think they’re with-it but also using his rarefied place, as a brilliant, bullying, black intellectual, to talk shit to other black intellectuals, artists, etc. which I really admire even though I don’t agree with him too much.
Also, Considering Genius, a collection of his jazz writing is really good. A lot of that book is Crouch expressing concern about the whitening of jazz, via white critics and white musicians, and so much of his writing really applies to what’s going on in rap right now. He’s also good at just SMH-ing at some sacred cows, like Miles Davis’ fusion period or John Coltrane’s skronk-jazz moment, which is entertaining and informative, I think, even if you really like those guys. Also, anything that’s just him talking for a long time is super entertaining. Like, just go to YouTube and search his name and watch some of the longer videos.
Crouch is an interesting dude, I think. In some ways, he’s kind of a conservative, but in other ways, he’s way more out-there and radical than the liberals that hate him. Personally, he’s a model for what I TRY to do with my writing.
Was Madeleine Holden's DEAR MEN, STOP EXPLAINING RAP MUSIC TO WOMEN piece about you?
I’m going to say it’s probably not because I’ve never told women they shouldn’t listen to rap music ever? Like, that’s never been my perspective or argument. I’m mainly talking to clueless, bitter bros like you when I suggest rap listeners at least acknowledge and sit with rap’s problematic elements. Happy fucking Thanksgiving you piece of shit! <3
So, I am not an authority of jazz at all, not that you thought I was an authority on jazz. But still to be clear, like, I don’t think I know all that much about rap or rock as like forms of music either, but I feel more confident throwing out opinions there with some kind of authority. So I guess, don’t look at this as anything more than one dude’s opinion, all right?
I’d begin with Charlie Parker With Strings. It’s the first Parker recording I heard and although it’s not illustrative of his work (it is kind of his “sell out” record, him playing his frantic, molting style over fairly “square” string arrangements), I think it’s so great. Namely, because Parker sounds great over these dinner music strings and knows how to handle them, and play through them, and also neither condescends to them, or seems intimidated by them. “Just Friends” is probably my favorite song of all time?
I also like With Strings because it is a cohesive product. It isn’t a bunch of singles stuck together by label and it isn’t one of the many live recordings that are cool once you’re into Parker but I feel like are, for a number of reasons (poor fidelity, they are often just recordings of his solos), hard to really get into. Sub-rant: But because jazz still sells and has a really dependable core fanbase, they tend to cater to the hardcore nerds and the result is also like, weird CDs where you get four different takes of a song in a row, which makes sense, but also just doesn’t cater to listening how NORMAL PEOPLE LISTEN TO MUSIC.
So, besides being a Parker “album” that isn’t clouded with alt. takes, etc. With Strings is kind of Parker’s only like big statement, you know? He recorded plenty of incredible songs, etc. but it’s just a series of freestanding, mind-blowing statements and not this one big thing. That’s probably kind of rockist to suggest, but I mostly think a big statement is helpful in getting into an artist, you know?
From there, I’d really recommend going to a decent record store and digging through the Jazz section and grabbing a few affordable records. Schlockmeister stores charge a ton for jazz records, especially Parker, etc. but there are cheapo compilations, live recordings, etc. for under ten dollars. My favorite is Bird Is Free, which was put out after he died and is just some really great live recordings that don’t sound like ass, but also have a lot of crowd noise, etc. which I find really adds to the atmosphere of listening. It’s corny but it feels like you’re there. And especially with Parker, who was a live performer and improviser primarily, I don’t think it’s necessary to hear his playing unadorned. I’d also just dick around on Spotify and find the tracks you like and then go to a record store and grab records that have those tracks on them (live or studio).
Also, watch the ‘Risk’ episode of Ken Burns’ Jazz, which is streaming on Netflix. It stands alone as an episode and I think it does a good job of introducing Parker’s importance and his personality and the tragic elements of his life. Um, I also like Stanley Crouch’s review of Clint Eastwood’s terribly dumb biopic, Bird. It’s titled “Bird Land: Charlie Parker, Clint Eastwood, and America.” Crouch’s new book Kansas City Lightning is amazing, but I think it’s kinda dense and complicated if you don’t know a lot about Parker? Like, I’ve been reading it and consulting the other books, etc. I have on Parker to move me through it more easily. And oh yeah, watch this great video! And here’s a cool quote from film scholar Ray Carney about Parker: “Parker is testing his powers of recomposition against the continuous streaming decompositions of time, endlessly reconstituting his expressive identity on a racing razor edge.” Hope this helps?
Album of the month is Da Mafia 6ix’s 6ix Commandments. Song of the month is Eminem’s “So Far…,” which I’ve inexplicably come to really love. Also reviewed: M.I.A., Yo Gotti, B L A C K I E, Roc Marciano, Action Bronson, Dark Sister, Eminem, Death Grips, Jonwayne, and DJ Khaled.
Profiled Baltimore DJ/producer/posi-vibes facilitator Schwarz for NOISEY. If you’re not aware of his work (trap remixing Xiu Xiu, turning Third Eye Blind tracks into twerk cuts, creating insane from-another-planet fistpump pop tracks like “U R Beautiful”), get to know him. Also, interesting words by him on the nature of “trap” and his inclusive goals with his music: “I don’t talk about drugs or alcohol and I want to talk about partying but not explicitly, and I try to keep [my songs] gender neutral.”
Disappointed by you heavily underrating of the entertainment value of pathetic sociopath James Ellroy. I have laughed till actual tears more than once watching his dipshit true crime show in which he alliterates 18 times a sentence while dressed as a Bugsy Malone villain. He's a Troma character irl.
This is true, and I know you’re “a fan.” I tried to watch some Ellroy thing that’s on Netflix for some cheap LULZ and I got like five minutes into that Judge Doom from Roger Rabbit lookin’ boy’s shtick and was just like, “I can’t with this.”
Why I really like the “Bound 2” video and how it ties into Kanye’s fairly progressive presentation of women in his music videos over the years. Also, asides about Lily Allen, Stanley Crouch, and Tina Fey.
I reviewed cult rapper Labtekwon’s Evolutionary: The Omar Akbar Album and Christian MC Wordsmith’s The Blue Collar Recital for the Baltimore City Paper. They’re both closed-circuit exercises in sincerity and undefatigable conviction and even if they’re not your thing, they’re admirable. That said, Lab’s Evolutionary is one of his best and one of the year’s most buggy rap records.
Essential Abel Ferrara?? I've been super interested in him for a bit but have seen very little of his work.
I feel like I’m either a really good person or a really bad person to answer this. I tend to have a kinda murderer’s row perspective on most filmmakers’ oeuvres where I think the majority of their movies are not worth your time and often, I don’t like the ones everybody likes? Dunno, man. This, by the way, does not apply to Fassbinder and John Ford, whose careers are like 90% amazing. Anyways, here’s how I’d suggest you approach Ferrara’s career.
Ferrara’s Great Movies: The Bad Lieutenant, King Of New York
Ferrara’s Good Movies: Ms. 45, The Funeral
Ferrara’s Okay Movies: Driller Killer, Fear City, The Addiction, Mary
For this week’s ‘Almost Art’ music video, column, I talked about Travi$ Scott’s Requiem For a Dream via Predator heat vision video, blabbed about that cool thing some movies do where the title of the movie pops back on the screen before the credits, and continue my campaign that Scott is awesome and crazy underrated.
Who fucking knows man. When the right people tell them too I guess. There’s been a ridiculous amount of great Alabama rap easily accessible via the Internet for like half-a-decade now. Maybe G-Side’s return will smack people upside the head and realize they dropped the ball by not going nuts for this stuff (or worse, mistaking the little blog love it got for some form of overexposure) a couple years ago.