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Glyph

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.

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  1. Avatar aaron david
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    says:

    I am waiting for the new PJ Harvey. I know you are not a fan, but for me she is aging well and interestingly.

    I am also hoping a new Cormac McCarthy book comes this year.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    A while ago you posted a Glass Candy song called Warm is the Winter. I just googled and found out that the Chromatics were also from Portland, Oregon. The videos seem remarkably the same in aesthetics (using old film, etc.) I also see Johnny Jewel is in both bands. Interesting. I guess he is the ideas guy.

    I find it very hard to keep up with new bands and new albums. Any advice on how to do so?Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Huh, I thought they were from Seattle (the Allmusic bio says so). Maybe they relocated to Portland and some point.

      Yeah, if you read the linked post, I talk about how Johnny Jewel must never sleep. He runs the label, plays in and/or produces many of the bands on it, and does soundtrack work. If you go to his Soundcloud page it’s constantly updated with alternate takes, edits, and remixes, as well as mixtapes. I’m guessing he’s a bit of a workaholic and perfectionist.

      As far as keeping up, there’s a lot to hate about Pitchfork (an intentionally nonsensical rating system and reviewers that range from bland to bad, with a few notable exceptions) – BUT, they post 6 new reviews, plus articles and news, every day, so it’s useful just for getting leads on where to look.

      I’m a big fan of Metacritic, not so much for finding completely new stuff (since it’s an aggregator, an artist or record needs to be garnering reviews already, to get in there); but since it’s an aggregator, it’s a pretty good bellwether of artists worth checking out (or figuring out which record to start with, something Allmusic is also good for).

      I like the Quietus and AVClub also, though the coverage varies in quality on both.Report

  3. Avatar krogerfoot
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    says:

    I love it. Vocals sound very familiar.Report

  4. Avatar krogerfoot
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    says:

    Are you a Cults fan? I don’t think I’ve heard this song for three years or so, couldn’t remember the name of the band or song or anything except for the eerie video, but it turned out to be very easy to search for.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAM9diyVRiM&w=560&h=315%5DReport

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to krogerfoot
      Ignored
      says:

      I never really listened to Cults that I can recall, but watching that video now, I am struck by the technical proficiency of it (the integration of what I assume is the band into the footage is pretty seamless, unless they just happened to find footage they could sync with their lyrics, or are using words/lyrics that were spoken/sung in Jonestown?) and the sheer ballsiness and disregard of good taste – I hope Viet Cong’s critics don’t ever see this video, since any reference to tragedy sans explicit condemnation as an ingredient in your art is now frowned upon.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph
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        says:

        You know, thinking about my last sentence, it sounds more emphatic and certain of where lines should be drawn than I actually am. Had the band inserted themselves into Dachau footage my reaction would probably be less sanguine, and I am not sure why.Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        Good point. The poor taste (at best) of using Holocaust imagery as decoration or shorthand for anything else is obvious. The Jonestown atrocity, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have any “sides” to it.

        I wondered whether the news footage at the beginning was intended as a prompt for people too young to remember the event, you know, “This really happened.” The more that I think of it, the more indefensible the video is. The tonnage of the awful fate awaiting nearly everyone in the archival footage does a lot of the work in giving the guileless, sunny music a menacing edge.

        But I don’t know, it’s hard not to applaud the ballsiness of the move. Calling your band Cults is a pretty obvious tell that we’re supposed to feel something dark in the melodies and layered vocals. There is a lot of beauty in the video that makes the horror all that much more uncanny. The Jonestown people were victims of themselves, in a way (though I guess you couldn’t say the same about their children). Most of that footage was proudly shot by the cultists themselves. Does that make it different from a hypothetical video using images of a concentration camp, or, say, Munich 1972? Lots of similar potential for 70s iconography there.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph
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        says:

        The Jonestown people were victims of themselves, in a way

        I almost made this point myself, then found myself wondering to what degree the average German under the Nazi regime could say the same – after all, we refer to situations like Hitler’s as a “cult of personality”, where even if there is no explicit religious component, the situation functions in much the same way; people fall under the sway of a charismatic person; if that person is sufficiently “sick”, the followers may then become “sick” themselves and do sick things (and again like a cult, there often has to be a “sickness” in the cult members to begin with: something that attracts them to the cult, which they see as the solution to their spiritual lack, in the first place).

        Of course, like the children (and others, like Leo Ryan) in Jonestown, there were a whole lotta other people who didn’t consent to the madness and violence visited upon them by the Germans of that time, “sickness/cult” or no.

        I’m trying to remember where I saw it (I thought AVClub, but I can’t find it) but there was a bit recently on the first album by 80’s NYC hardcore band Agnostic Front, Victim in Pain.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victim_in_Pain

        The band used a photo of a Nazi executing a Jewish prisoner for the cover; according to the band, they chose it because it was an image that they thought reflected the title. But Maximum Rocknroll and others in the scene did some questioning of whether or not the band were truly fascist or fascist sympathizers (their later song “Public Assistance” certainly didn’t earn them any credit with Jello Biafra).Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        Hm, I just finished reading the great article in The New Yorker about Gerry Adams and the IRA and was thinking along those lines myself.

        Did you see Sanneh’s article about Agnostic Front and NYC hardcore in the NYer? (Oh wait a minute, I guess there was a whole thread on the topic on this very website.) Fascist imagery was a fraught thing then, though it seems pretty obviously stupid in hindsight. (Sanneh was remarkably fair-minded and generous about it, I thought.) There was such a smooth continuum between actual fascists and skinheads on one end to unreflective meatheads attracted by the outlaw, jailhouse vibe of it on the other*. It’s of a piece with my occasional, halfhearted apologia about what the Confederate flag “really means” to most of the people who run around with it—it’s just the simplest way for a particular kind of inarticulate, powerless dude to present himself as a badass.

        * Then again, the article reminded me again of how unremarkable gay-bashing once was.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        No, I hadn’t seen that article, that was a good read, thanks. Here it is if anyone else is interested:

        http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/03/09/united-bloodReport

      • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        “I almost made this point myself, then found myself wondering to what degree the average German under the Nazi regime could say the same.”

        Then again, anti-Semitism was baked into Naziism in a way that differentiates it somewhat from a cult like Jonestown. Fascism is basically inseparable from the other-hating/fearing mentality that is the logical extension of nationalism.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        Yeah, this is true; say what you will about Jonestown, but they were seemingly genuinely colorblind as far as race stuff goes; that was what attracted a lot of people to them, it looked like a positive way forward for race relations in America.

        What’s weird about cults like that though, is that you wonder if they would have gone so terribly wrong, had they been left alone – they certainly *started* to fear the Other (not in terms of race, but in terms of “outsiders”, or “those who would destroy us”) once people started getting suspicious of them and questioning them.

        OTOH, there were people who wanted out who felt they couldn’t get out, which is what attracted attention.

        Did their paranoia start because people started questioning them, or did people start questioning them because they were starting to act paranoid and secretive?Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        With respect to Jonestown I am completely 100% commenting on the basis of my faded memories of that time. And the amazing TV movie about it, which really freaked me out as a fourth-grader. I wish I knew more about what I’m talking about.Report

    • Avatar aaron david in reply to krogerfoot
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      says:

      I am just going to say that while the music is good, that is the creepiest video I have ever seen.Report

  5. Avatar Reformed Republican
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    says:

    I think the only album I am still anticipating this year is the new release from Arcturus. Stephen Wilson’s “Hand. Cannot. Erase.” came out a few weeks ago, and Anathema’s “Distant Satellites” came out earlier in the year. Those two were the big albums that I was looking forward to.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Reformed Republican
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      says:

      Where you been, man? How’s life?Report

      • Avatar Reformed Republican in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        Life’s good. Thanks for asking. I keep pretty busy.

        I have been around. Mostly lurking. I usually follow the site through Feedly, but the feed stopped updating a few weeks ago, so I have to remember to visit the site. I usually catch up on the weekends, but by then, I would be late to the comment party for most threads.

        Friday night has also become a regular date night, so I am no longer free for the listening parties.Report

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