Ellen Cushing: The Bacon-Wrapped Economy (East Bay Express)
But the thing about this particular brand of low-key wealth is that it can lead to a false sense of self, on both a micro and a macro level. Consumption is still consumption even if it's less conspicuous. Class may be harder to see here, but that doesn't make it any less real. Mark Zuckerberg's still a billionaire, even if he's wearing a hoodie and jeans. And if you don't feel or look rich, you don't necessarily feel the same sense of obligation that a traditional rich person does or should: Noblesse oblige is, after all, dependent on a classical idea of who is and is not the nobility. As that starts to fall away, obligation — to culture, to the future, to each other — begins to disappear, too.
Vijay Iyer: Flying Lotus — Until the Quiet Comes (The Talkhouse)
To listen to this LP on headphones is to be air-dropped into a teeming megacity in 2017: industrial runoff, overgrown wild vegetation, human multitudes, handheld devices, improvised survival technologies, strange weather; bodies and machines in a necessary, dignified symbiosis.
Up until very recently, I'd recount my online experiences with some degree of shame or sheepishness, but in this apocalyptic year of 2012, that embarrassment is beginning to fall by the wayside. I've been having more and more conversations with people grappling with what is gained and lost by how some of our most meaningful musical discoveries-- not to mention life experiences-- have happened in front of, or facilitated by, screens. We're starting to come to terms with the fact that modern life is a constant, awkward/elegant oscillation between the digital and physical, faces and FaceTime, and we're starting to hear music that reflects this reality, the beginnings of a new ordinary.
But as much as he was teaching me about movies, Roger Ebert was also showing me how to write-- I became a student of clean and concise sentences that emphasized clarity and the right balance of humor, thoughtfulness, and accessibility, as well as how to shape my raw impressions into well-rounded opinions that cohered on the page into narratives. The idea that the most interesting part of a movie happens after you see it-- during the post-mortems you have with others and with yourself in your own head-- was something that carried over easily to the songs and albums I was discovering at the time.
Lindsay Zoladz: The Knife: Shaking the Habitual (Pitchfork)
Shaking the Habitual is, inarguably, an achievement. It is the Knife's most political, ambitious, accomplished album, but in a strange way it also feels like its most personal: It provides a glimpse into the desires, intellectual enthusiasms and (unsurprisingly dense) reading list guiding one of music's most shadowy duos. At its most mesmerizing, its conceptual rigor and occasional inscrutability are overpowered by a disarming earnestness: It is a musical manifesto advocating for a better, fairer, weirder world. Shaking the Habitual feels not post-human but profoundly humanist, fueled by an unfashionable but profoundly refreshing faith in music's ability to hypnotize, to agitate, and to liberate.
Rob Harvilla: The White Stripes' 'Elephant' Turns 10 (SPIN)
It begins and ends with "Ball and Biscuit," and by "it," I mean "Western civilization." The 21st century's most astounding, most wryly pornographic, most brain-meltingly electrifying blues song. Did the electric guitar even exist prior to "Ball and Biscuit"? Did distortion? Did hype? Did critical praise? Did the colors red and white? Did outlandishly oversize declarations of virility? Has there been a single memorable guitar solo performed anywhere, by anyone, in the decade since its release?
Jake Lodwick: An acquisition is always a failure (Pandodaily)
An acquisition, or an aqui-hire, is always a failure. Either the founders failed to achieve their goal, or – far likelier – they failed to dream big enough. The proper ambition for a tech entrepreneur should be to join the ranks of the great tech companies, or, at least, to create a profitable, independent company beloved by employees, customers, and shareholders.
Jason Zinomas: Just Like Candy: Following the Trail of Good Ideas (Howlround)
What endures more, for me at least, is the pleasure of thinking about a work of art, arguing with myself over it, getting frustrated while going nowhere and then coming out of that mess with a slightly clearer sense of what I believe. Or maybe it’s a better context to put the work in. Or it could be as minor as solving the problem of striking the right tone to end a review in a way that captures exactly what I think with a bit of flair. The privilege of calling that your job is, to steal a phrase from Hamlet, devoutly to be wished.
Matthew Perpetua: The Knife Made the First Social Justice Goth Album (Buzzfeed Music)
Shaking the Habitual, like most of the music The Knife have made to date — along with singer Karin Dreijer Andersson's solo album as Fever Ray — is, at its core, very goth in its tone and themes. Relentlessly morbid, intentionally unsettling, and alluring in its romanticized bleakness. But despite this, it's pretty rare that you see anyone label The Knife as goth, perhaps because they've avoided the most obvious signifiers of the subculture every step of the way. The Knife aren't about goth as living in a permanent Halloween; they're about that connection between romance and horror. And those feelings are a big part of being engaged with social justice issues: the outrage directed at oppressors, the frustration with cultures that refuse to change, the unshakable fear that the world is only getting worse, the loneliness of feeling like a hated outsider, the thrill of finding a like-minded community. They've done this better than pretty much anyone else in music; it's just too bad that they went a bit too far in advertising it.
The old Google made a fortune on ads because they had good content. It was like TV used to be: make the best show and you get the most ad revenue from commercials. The new Google seems more focused on the commercials themselves.
Anne Galloway: 5 Things About Ubiquitous Computing That Make Me Nervous (Design Culture Lab)
For all our focus on teaching students to design digital and physical products, I don’t think we’re doing a good enough job of getting them to understand their process as a form of social, cultural, political, ethical, etc. agency. There is still, I think, too much emphasis on design process as some sort of mythical, mystical, essentially ineffable, act of creation.
the statement “it’s clearly satire” is never true, and can never be true. If satire depends on context, audience, intention, and reception—and I put it to you that it does—then it’s impossible to say, of a tweet like the infamous Onion tweet last week, that it’s “clearly satire.” If you don’t take it as satire, it isn’t. Satire is like shooting an apple off someone’s head. If you do it right, it’s pretty cool and no harm done; if you do it wrong, telling people what you meant to do is beside the point, and no one will care. It either works or it doesn’t. And if you hurt someone while doing it, claiming that it was really satire is just special pleading, demanding that your speech-act doesn’t have to abide by the normal rules.
clever title tba • Why I almost defriended everyone who had an HRC logo as their profile photo this week
Listen, either you know nothing about the HRC and you posted the photo without bothering to ask any questions about what actual cause you were supporting: disturbing. Or you actually do know about the HRC, and its policies, and you posted the photo anyway: more disturbing. Either way, the net effect is the same: the alignment between the HRC and the “gay rights” movement is solidified, attention and funding is directed towards the HRC and away from organizations that actually support coalitional politics, and yes, one more step is taken—away from the possibility of actual social change for those populations (undocumented immigrants, transgendered youth, the thousands of black and Latino men targeted daily by the prison industrial complex, for instance) that are actually in material need.
Jeremy Larson: Album Review: Tyler, the Creator — Wolf (Consequence of Sound)
At his worst, he’s an immature egomaniac whose insufferableness comes from being too aware of his own faults. For a guy who was tempered in internet culture, whose personality was always reflected in some digital form or another, it’s an understandable tack to take. Thankfully he’s done a fine job of making the journey to the center of his id a curious and engaging one.
Jamieson Cox — On Tyler, the Creator's ‘Wolf’ (Well, Sort Of)
When I think about the difficulty I’m having listening to Wolf, I remind myself that there are dozens, hundreds of albums that inflict similar psychic pain on people because of their race or gender or experience that I’d never notice on my first or tenth listen. Everyone’s flashpoints are different, whether they’re homophobic slurs or racial epithets or sweeping, harmful generalizations about a genre or culture or all three. As a critic and person, confronting such a flashpoint is an eye-opening, educative experience, and for that I suppose I’m thankful for Wolf, even if I might never actually hear the album.
Liz Day: How the Maker of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing (ProPublica)
Imagine filing your income taxes in five minutes — and for free. You'd open up a pre-filled return, see what the government thinks you owe, make any needed changes and be done. The miserable annual IRS shuffle, gone.
Kevin Ashton: You didn’t make the Harlem Shake go viral—corporations did (Quartz)
“Harlem Shake,” was a meme made by an amateur, George Miller, but its rapid replication was driven by media and marketing professionals, led and orchestrated by three companies: Maker Studios, Mad Decent, and IAC.
On P2P sites, most things that seemed too good to be true actually were: SEO-baiting, fantasy-football remixes ("Big Pimpin' Remix [ft. Eminem, Dr. Dre, DMX, Nas, Biggie and Tupac"), "covers" that were actually just the original song ("You Really Got Me" by the Who turned out to just be the Kinks’ version), or painfully obvious amateurs uploading their demos and calling it, say, "Beastie Boys-- Intergalactic ALBUM VERSION."
Canada has a new subterranean truth, and that truth is that the majority of Canadians are conservative thinkers. I can think of no better time for one of Canada’s most respected protest bands, living in one of Canada’s most progressive cities, to talk about health care, taxation, First Nations and Aboriginal rights, women’s rights, fucking anything but how “The gatekeepers gazed upon their kingdom and declared that it was good.” Which: yeah. And?