OK Computer

Is Radiohead’s OK Computer the best album from the 90’s? It has some competition from Nirvana’s Nevermind of course, but also from Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, which were both also released in the same decade. Not to mention My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. I realize that many people consider this album to be overhyped – but I don’t care. Don’t get me wrong. All of these are great albums. Maybe even some of the best through the history of popular music.

But OK Computer is different. It effectively captures a sense of history, and anxiety of the future, of that point in time, and it’s proven to be more prescient than the others. Nevermind can be argued that it started a movement, but it’s not the same as a description of the change in society and how it views itself in the world. The separation of the self from society itself, and the impersonal interactions with others, mainly enabled through technology. From the description of ambition and greed in “Paranoid Android” that we can see daily in dozens of reality TV shows where the stars are worshiped to the disappointment and disillusion of society in “Let Down”.
The impersonal brings about societal norms falling and the resultant social ills that we see today.

Even the structures are the prescient, from the linear progression of “Paranoid Android” instead of the standard chorus-verse, to the electronic production, much of modern popular music sounds like the album – the merging of electronic and rock music.

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A/V Revamp

I replaced by trusty Yamaha RX-V495 with this bad boy. A Yamaha RX-A1070.

I still have the old receiver that I bought off the floor at a GoodGuys for about $150 – maybe 15 years ago. It still sounds fantastic, but the video aspects are out of date. There is no HDMI and there is only a single optical digital input and a single coax digital input. It’s been so reliable over the years with having been moved halfway across the country twice now without any problems, I just had to get another over a Marantz that I was looking at. Growing up we also had a Yamaha receiver for like 40 years till it finally got sold when no one was living there anymore.

Television

  

A pair of tickets to see Television at the Fillmore in the city fell into the lap of my better half this week. Typically, we’ll see bands that are younger, because usually they are doing things that are more interesting. But I have to say that this was a fantastic show. Even if they may not be considered innovative anymore, to watch musicians that have been at for more than 40 years is really something to behold. It’s not that often that you get an opportunity to see a band where everyone has completely mastered their instruments and can bend them to their will so effortlessly.

SXSW 2012 Show Listing

Here is the full listing of what we saw this year:

Tuesday march 13th @ Mohawk
(Pitchfork)
Teengirl Fantasy
Star Slinger
Bear in Heaven

Wednesday 3/14 @ Red 7
(Sony Club)
Roll the Tanks
Tennis

Thursday 3/15 @ 1100 Warehouse
(Mess with Texas)
Girls
Cults

Friday 3/16 @ Frank
(Merge Records)
Hospitality
Eleanor Friedberger
The Love Language

Saturday 3/17 @ Urban Outfitters
Grimes

Saturday 3/17 @ The Parish
(Captured Tracks)
DIVE
Blouse
Soft Metals
Widowspeak

[What we’re into right now]: Musical Update Edition

Going back, this is a list of albums that have spent a long time being dumped out to the iPod and in the CD players.

The Black Keys - BrothersThe Black Keys – Brothers: Wonderful Bluesy Deliciousness

PJ Harvey - Let England ShakePJ Harvey – Let England Shake: Explorations of England and the First World War

LCD Soundsystem - This Is HappeningLCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening: An exhibit to flaunt a knowledge of musical history

[What we’re into right now]: Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire - The SuburbsIt’s been a while since we’ve written anything in these series of posts, but we’ll try to keep them going.

I had resisted the Arcade Fire for a very long time now. If fact, I began to do it stubbornly so simply maintaining that I did not care for them and leaving it at that. However the album The Suburbs had come into my house and I had spent some time hearing it as it was played here and there. Eventually, I had sat down to listen to it in it’s entirety and it has since grown on me. In fact, this may have been one of the best albums to come out last year.

Arcade Fire has surrounded this album with suburbs of it’s own giving it a monumental scale. This album is meant to be a statement. From the website to a short film directed by Spike Jonze that premiered at SXSW this year. There is even HTML5 interactive web site where you can type in your childhood address and it creates a film using Google Earth to the song “We Used To Wait”. Of course, any album called The Suburbs is going to ignite emotions from almost anyone. Suburbia in America has become a barometer of sorts for so many social/economic/political views. The most prominent of which is the urbanite looking down on the manicured lawns as a sign of emptyness and soul-crushing sameness, so often something akin to the militant ex-smoker.

The album opens with the song “The Suburbs” where the levity of the music and tempo mask the lyrics over it, and the songs that are still to come. It builds slowly until becomes momentous arena-rock. So much of this album is infused with the feeling of disillusionment and the nostalgia for the escapement and innocence of your childhood. Of course, as a child the boredom seemed insufferable in the suburbs, and you would daydream of the time for you to escape to someplace more exciting. Now looking back, by the time that it’s your time to have children, you realize that perhaps you haven’t changed that much from your parents. Personally, much of the feeling of the album is wrapped up in the lyric “But do you think your righteousness could pay the interest on your debt? I have my doubts about it.” from “City With No Children”. Perhaps you yourself are caught in the same trap as your parents where you worry about the circumstances of your life, but see that you cannot necessarily change it without giving up everything.

SXSW 2011 Show Listing

Here is the full listing of what we saw this year:

Thursday March 17th @ Swan Dive/Barbarella
(Brooklyn Vegan Day Show)
Yuck
Obits
Screaming Females

Thursday March 17th @ Auditorium Shores
The Strokes

Friday March 18th @ French Legation Museum
(Other Music / Dig For Fire Lawn Party)
Lower Dens
Grass Widow
The Ghost of a Sabertooth Tiger

Friday March 18th @ Cedar Street Courtyard
(The Orchard)
Keepaway
The Generationals
The Dodos

Saturday March 19th @ East Side Drive-in
(Mess with Texas)
Strange Boys
Lemuira
Surfer Blood