Tuesday, August 19, 2008

trashing art for limited returns and a laugh

Unlike everyone else who wanted to hate emo and emo kids, I really want to love them and their music, but I think I was just outside of the bracket in which emo would really speak to me. But I always liked The Get Up Kids - they were the Kansas City band when I lived there, the ones that made it, so much so that they didn't play there any more. Their unabashedly maudlin "I'm a Loner, Dottie, A Rebel..." still kinda gets to me. Lead singer Matt Pryor is coming to town and I slogged reluctantly through the solo record for my column (I don't know what an artist is supposed to do after a band, but solo albums are approached with trepidation by everyone, always) and just like GUK's, it is sweet and delicate and even a little funny.

Nico Muhly is the benefactor of another improbably popular genre - serial minimalism. He played with Philip Glass and is the defacto arranger of strings for things among the indie elite, and through that, this scintillating piece of post-Robert Ashley glittering wonder garnered a review in Pitchfork, albeit a less than charitable one. What, does he need a Brooklyn mailing address and pants that don't reach his ankles? But, I can see why they (used losely to denote a general aesthetic, I know they have different writers writing from different viewpoints) didn't like it - they seem to like it when you ride out on a tricycle and hit them with a giant inflatable banana and then guilelessly drone "Ha I just hit you with a giant inflatable banana..." - in other words, they like transparency. Mothertongue is secretive and quietly difficult while being imminently applealing - everything I want out of modern composition, and life in general.

Part of the first movement of Wonders sounds a lot like that harpsichord song by Joanna Newsom, which Maya and I heard last night at the sandwich place. She smiled started mock-singing with the elfin harpist minx and remarked "This sounds like one of those terrible Disney princess songs, like 'yaaaaaaaaa, ya YAAAAAAAA' - not the good ones, but the terrible ones." I predict my bloodline will be trashing art for limited returns and a laugh for generations to come.

Speaking of, I got a PDF back from an upcoming print article, and gazing upon it feels alot like this Charlie Byrd album: breezy, comfortable and being momentarily aglow. Maybe because it comes first, and is the moment when an article becomes real, but I almost get a bigger charge out of the pre-print PDF than I do from seeing my work in the actual magazine. Almost.

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