Glyph is worse than some and better than others. He believes that life is just one damned thing after another, that only pop music can save us now, and that mercy is the mark of a great man (but he's just all right). Nothing he writes here should be taken as an indication that he knows anything about anything.

Related Post Roulette

35 Responses

  1. Avatar Chris says:

    I’m listening to Universal Cooler on Spotify now. Enjoying it so far.

    I’ve been hearing more and more 90s in new stuff lately.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

      Here was my day yesterday:

      1.) Read review for album.
      2.) Pull it up on Spotify out of idle curiosity; press play.
      3.) Somewhere around third or fourth track, start frantically throwing digital money at Bandcamp, because I didn’t even realize how much I missed these sounds.
      4.) Listen to album at least ten more times before bed.

      I think I am in love. Which is weird, because I’ve kind of been on a techno/electronic kick lately.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Oh my gosh. I fell in love before the lyrics even started.Report

  3. Avatar dhex says:

    i bought the radical dads thing sight unheard (wait what?). so if it’s really good or really sucks i’ll write something.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to dhex says:

      Yipes. It’s keyed into a pretty specific aesthetic, one that I’m not sure is your bag (though you said you eventually came around on Pavement) so I’m curious as to whether it works as well without those associations.Report

      • Avatar dhex in reply to Glyph says:

        i like pavement’s first album a lot, and progressively less so every other album.

        it’s ok so far. sort of like my reaction to viet cong (the band, not the militant resistance force). like i wouldn’t be bothered if it was playing in a bar, but i probably wouldn’t ask the bartender HEY WHAT IS THIS and she goes WHAT? and i say THE MUSIC WHAT’S PLAYING and she says RADICAL DADS and i think she’s said RADIAL CADS and i say THAT’S A TERRIBLE NAME and she shrugs and gets on with it because there are bills to pay and i am not that interesting at the end of the day.Report

      • Avatar aaron david in reply to Glyph says:

        RADIAL CADS…

        Not to bad.Report

      • Avatar dhex in reply to Glyph says:

        they’d play that terrible faux americana everyone’s-almost-into-bluegrass thing though.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Like the link in the OP: “The Mason Jars”. (I haven’t heard the new Screaming Females, but that girl can shred. I’ve heard they are great live).Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

        Looks like we’ll be seeing Screaming Females next weekend, along with Run the Jewels and VietCong.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Yeah, I’d like to see SF.

        (Should I shamefully admit here that I STILL haven’t heard Run The Jewels? The Cold Vein – which left me a little cold, finding it easier to admire than repeat-play – was as far as I ever got with El-P. And HOLY CRAP, that was 14 years ago).Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

        Oh man, Run the Jewels 2 is amazing, spectacularly angry, and almost entirely not linkable here. Killer Mike is incredible; El-P is fun and has yet to utter a line that was safe for work.Report

  4. Avatar krogerfoot says:

    Do I like that? I’m not sure. There’s an aura of “we’re not really trying that hard” laid kind of thick over everything (starting with the band name).

    Re Pile, “more than a bit indebted” is nicely understated.

    Hey, where is everybody? Oh, wait.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to krogerfoot says:

      Counterpoint: I have had this stuck in my head all day:


      There’s also a lyric on the title track that jumped out at me: “the century’s stacked against me.” I like that line a lot on its own anyway, but on such a throwback to pre-millennial indie rock, it’s even better (songs from that era and scene were often *about* that era and scene, so it feels like a nice callback, and an admission that things are no longer the same at the same time).

      “Slammer” and “Don’t Go” are also really catchy. Hell, the whole album is IMO. Even the song where they let the guy with the unfortunately-Fred-Schneider-like delivery sing has really catchy music (to be clear, I like Fred just fine on his own records – but that sassy, slightly-peeved tone is not what you want if you are trying to do the whole powerful spoken-word-over-rock-music thing. It just comes across as too silly).Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to Glyph says:

        Well, “In The Water” leaves me more convinced that the singer’s voice is not an affectation, which is a little more endearing.

        The technology-driven democratization of music has generally been a good thing, but some bands could benefit from someone in the control room saying, you were sharp on that one line. Giving it another try might possibly detract from the spontaneity and authenticity of the first take, so we’ll keep that one for now. But getting it right without losing those qualities is what separates the artists from the hobbyists.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        @krogerfoot – And here is where I must shake my old man fist and complain about digital downloads, since I can’t seem to locate recording/production info for the record. So I don’t know if they produced/recorded it themselves or not.

        Still, while I get where you are coming from in theory, GbV’s Ric Ocasek-produced record isn’t better than the ones they did when they were hobbyists (hell, they even s*itcanned most of the one they did with Albini, which you’d think could have been a simpatico collaboration). Same goes for Pavement and Nigel Godrich – keep your Terror Twilight and give me Slanted and Enchanted any day. This is a genre that’s sort of built around not just allowing homemade imperfection, but celebrating it, and this record’s got life.Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to Glyph says:

        Your track record is undeniably solid, so I’m certainly not ruling out liking Radical Dads sometime in the near- to mid-future. But I don’t think I agree that the genre is about celebrating the imperfections, as much as not fixing something that isn’t broken, that’s doing the job in an unexpected way.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        I don’t think I agree that the genre is about celebrating the imperfections, as much as not fixing something that isn’t broken, that’s doing the job in an unexpected way.

        I sense an echo here of a debate I had with a musician friend of mine, who was complaining about some newer artist (TNV, maybe) going the lo-fi route here and now in the modern day.

        To him, he recorded lo-fi back in the day out of practical and economic necessity (4-track 4EVA!), but if kids are doing it today, it’s an affectation and he just won’t stand for it – pristine digital recording can be had off your laptop (by now from your phone probably), so either they are using a Garageband setting to make it sound like that, or intentionally using old crappy recording equipment.

        My argument was that all art, pretty much, is affectation, and if what they are doing is achieving a sound and a feeling they (and I) want, then it’s achieving a sound and feeling they/I want, and who cares how they got it?

        If I look at a photo taken in 1915 and one taken in 2015 then Instagram-filtered to look like it was taken in 1915, and I can’t tell the difference (and I like the photos), then what’s the difference?

        (That said, dressing up like an old-tyme carnival barker is still ridiculous).

        I guess my point is “sharpness” (or any other imperfection) can be looked at like “grain” in a photo or in a film; it contributes its own qualities to the finished product. Some sculptures have a rough finish because the artist died before finishing them (or is incapable of doing any better), and some have a rough finish because the artist thought the sculpture would look best that way and stopped polishing (or, she used rough imprecise cuts to begin with).Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Wait, I found the credits:

        “All songs recorded and mixed by Julian Fader and Carlos Hernandez at Gravesend Recordings at The Silent Barn, except for “Flight to NZ,” which was recorded instrument-wise by Keith Souza and Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets, and then we added the vocals at Gravesend.

        All songs mastered by Keith Freund.”

        The use of “recorded” there, rather than “produced”, is probably getting at your point.Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to Glyph says:

        I don’t think I’m taking the side of your musician friend here. You and I seem to have the same reasons for thinking the way we do, it’s just that RD felt you up the right way and didn’t do the same with me.

        [Deflecting] What is it with these band names? I’m more and more convinced that we are indeed old men yelling at clouds. But then again, twenty goddamn years ago I was annoyed that every new band had a one-syllable “whatever, dude, it’s just a band name” name: Cell, Spoon, Plug, Clad, Neck. Well, now that I revisit those unpleasant memories, I remember it wasn’t just the single-syllables, but the deliberate lack of evocativeness. Pavement, qua band name, annoyed the hell out of me, until I finally heard them. Lotion. Before we’re (mercifully) dead, all the bands we ever liked will have names that sound to the kids the way The Exploding Plastic Inevitable sounded to us.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Glyph says:

        Remember when both The Verve and The Verve Pipe not only both had songs on the radio, but songs on the same radio station formats?

        Good times.Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to Glyph says:

        Say, that reminds me: What the sam hill is TVN?Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        I generally like a deliberate lack of evocativeness/”blank” names. I think it offers the artist more freedom to change their sound if they want, plus it feels like a “code”, a secret handshake – it’s up to YOU to know what the band sounds like. I generally don’t like bandnames that are too on-the-nose, where you know just what you will get when you hit “play”.

        But then again, that’s sort of what I came up on. “Smiths”. “New Order”. “Wire”. “U2”. And the uber-unknown-variable-name of them all: “X”.

        (Are you watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? One NY character warns another not to wear yellow in their neighborhood, “…or The Crips will think you are in The Banana Boys. It’s a new gang, all the good gang names were already taken.”)Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Oh, sorry, TNV – Times New Viking.Report

  5. Avatar krogerfoot says:

    “Oh, sorry, TNV – Times New Viking.”
    Aha! Wait, what?

    Funny, the five band names you gave as examples would have worked just as well with my point. They’re all pretty much great awesomely evocative names, as Gene Simmons once explained about U2. They’re open to more interesting interpretations than the mostly fictional examples I gave.

    That Banana Boys gag is a pretty good one, though.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to krogerfoot says:

      Band names should be euphonious or deliberately dissonant.Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to Kim says:

        Is there a middle ground there? If so, how wide? Hurry—I’m about to file a trademark for my side project, “Glideless Schrankh.”Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to krogerfoot says:

      Hmmm, you are losing me. I am not sure how “Smiths” (did they also consider “Joneses” or “Generic Englishmen” as possible names?) or “X” are any more evocative than “Pavement” – that is, it seems to me to be a name that kind of means nothing at all.

      Is it that “Pavement” and “Spoon” are simple physical objects with fixed meanings, rather than concepts (but, “U2” was a physical object?)….Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Glyph says:

        Axes Denied is a cool band name. I love the pun (but I LIKE puns).

        Were I choosing a name… you could hardly go wrong with
        “A Fool and His Money” … but that’s already been taken, hasn’t it?
        [yes, a band is Close Enough to performance art. You don’t take someone else’s name, it just Isn’t Done /endbritaccent].Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to Glyph says:

        We are talking past each other at this point. Gene Simmons gave a wonderful explanation of why U2 was a great band name and White Lion a terrible one, but my Google-fu is weak this eve, and then again, he was a Hebrew teacher and I’m just a hobo.

        I spent a month or so on the road with X’s tour manager. He told me several times that he ragged on John Doe to change his stage name. “I kept telling him, you’re just a regular guy, y’know? You should call yourself Joe Doe. ‘Cause you’re just a regular Joe, you know what I mean?”Report

  6. Avatar Chris says:

    90s (and Pavement):


    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

      Heh. I saw these guys a year or two ago at a little book/record store here, and yeah, they were probably the first ones I noticed really bringing this sound back (though they favor really twisty Helium-type songs; they are good players, but I sometimes found my attention wandering, because the hooks are a little less prominent to me).Report