Posts Tagged ‘music’

Why Boards of Canada are the Game of Thrones of Electronic Music

June 11, 2013

Two great tastes that taste great together: Over at BuzzFeed Music, I wrote about the ways in which the music and career of the great Scottish eletronic-music duo Boards of Canada, whose excellent first album in eight years Tomorrow’s Harvest came out this week, mirrors the A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones phenomenon.

Murder She Wrote

April 5, 2013

Andrew White and I made another comic about Drake. It’s called “Murder She Wrote,” it co-stars Amanda Bynes, and it’s based on a true story. We hope you like it.

Music Time: David Bowie – The Next Day

March 12, 2013

David Bowie’s been looking back at himself in his music for at least 16 years, but this is the first time he’s doing it as an artist who’s actually, legitimately, honest-to-god old. At a dashing-looking 66, he’s hardly ready for the record books as World’s Most Decrepit Rocker, but in the past you’d get the impression that to Bowie, being “old” simply meant wrestling with the reality of no longer being the sexual provocateur he was in the early ’70s, the art-rock innovator he was in the late ’70s, or the world-bestriding megastar he became in the early ’80s with Let’s Dance. Now, on his new album, The Next Day, it sounds like “old” means “Jesus, I could have died on an operating table.”

I reviewed David Bowie’s new album for BuzzFeed.

“I was working with Adrian Belew on some musical ideas”

February 25, 2013


The five sexiest Yo Gabba Gabba! performances

February 21, 2013

5. The Ting Tings – “Happy Birthday”

4. Mya – “The Peanut Butter Stomp”

3. Nikki Flores – “The Twirly Whirly”

2. The Postmarks – “Balloons”

1. Dean and Britta – “Let’s Ride”

I’m going to hell when I die.


February 21, 2013

I’ve been keeping pretty busy these days.

At Cool Practice, I wrote about “Missing You” by John Waite and the kinkiness of crystalline-sheen ’80s pop rock. This is the sound of my soul.

At Vorpalizer, I continued my series of posts on alt-genre webcomics with entries on SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki and Forming by Jesse Moynihan. I also posted the second in a series on formative fantastic fiction, focusing on Taran Wanderer and the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander.

And at Rolling Stone, I updated my list of the Dowager Countess’s best quotes from Downton Abbey Season Three with a few from the season finale.


February 12, 2013


February 10, 2013

Grimes on pop

February 6, 2013

something i want to say

So I made that post about my favourite songs of 2012 (including taylor swift and gangnam style etc.) and people just hated on it.

I just don’t understand.

I mean, I do understand.  I have my own issues with ‘the industry,’ I have issues with how it’s hard to compete with a bunch of people with great connections, and that a lot of real artists get lost along the way because they dont have an ‘in.’ and that women feel pressured to act like strippers and its ok to make rape threats but its not ok to say your a feminist.  However, I don’t see why we have to hate something just because it’s successful, or assume that because it is successful it has no substance.

Like, how can you hate Beyonce?  Shes changing the world. She stands for people of colour and women everywhere succeeding in a stifling patriarchy without compromising her morals.  And she makes challenging, interesting art.  She’s always positive.  She is everything good.  And the fact that she is hugely successful is not a shitty thing.  It’s an important and amazing thing and she clearly works hard for it.

and I’m sorry, but I think it’s fucking incredible that a korean language song is the most popular thing on the planet.  Thats so good for humanity.  Psy wrote and produced gangnam style himself and directed the video HIMSELF.  No one made psy. psy is a genius and i dont think its so terrible that hes been recognized for this.  It also doesn’t make him evil.  His art is creating a generation of kids that will grow up seeing asian culture as being as valid as western culture which they currently don’t.  I know because I grew up in Vancouver and half my high school was korean or chinese and the kind of shit i heard all the time was horrible.  I used to walk around with my chinese boyfriend and people would yell slurs out of cars. Racism isn’t over.  Sexism isn’t over.  The only way things actually effect social change is by hitting the audience that perpetuates these ideas.  therefore, when a deserving artist blows up its good for everybody.

I’m tired of people telling me I’m ignorant for liking pop and hip hop, because I’m not.  I know whats up with music.  I have thoroughly investigated both mainstream and experimental music.  in fact, i was so dedicated to experimental music that I didn’t even bother to learn about pop and R&B until i was 21.  I put out multiple records on a label that was run by my friends and released my music on tape because it was the cheapest option.  so please don’t tell me that I haven’t been enlightened to the world of alternative music.

and yet I know very few adult males who consider themselves serious ‘music guys’ who don’t laugh when I say I like Mariah carey.

Why? because shes beautiful and people like her.  therefore she must be selling sex, right? so obviously her music is terrible, right?  ugh.

The first time I heard mariah carey it shattered the fabric of my existence and I started Grimes

Claire Boucher/Grimes. She subsequently deleted the post and her entire tumblr.

We’ve got to do better.

Carnival of souls: Clive Barker, Julia Gfrörer, Michael DeForge, Beyoncé, My Bloody Valentine, more

February 4, 2013

* Clive Barker revealed that he worked as a hustler through the publication of Weaveworld in 1987, in a Facebook conversation with the artist Dave McKean. By that point he’d published all six Books of Blood, The Damnation Game, and The Hellbound Heart. Barker is one of my very few heroes, a man who seems to have lived his life and pursued his art the way these things are meant to be done; I’m sad that he clearly remains so saddened by this secret part of his life.

* Julia Gfrörer is publishing a book version of her comic Black Is the Color through Fantagraphics and she posted a hugely impressive comic called “World Within the World” that feels like getting slapped in the face repeatedly.

* Somehow I’d managed not to read “Cody,” a story Michael DeForge serialized on one of his websites last autumn — it’s now all on one continuously scrolling page so there’s no excuse anymore. Turns out it’s a weird, funny, really precise and thoughtful exploration of subcultures and the sacrifices we make of parts of ourselves that are surplus to our chosen identities.

* Also, I somehow whiffed on the announcement that Koyama Press is putting out Michael DeForge’s collected short stories in a volume called Very Casual. It’s a very good time period for that kind of thing, with killer collections from Josh Simmons, Gabrielle Bell, Hans Rickheit, and Sammy Harkham coming out last year as well.

* Zak Smith devises a table of 100 random Tolkien/Jackson elements for your RPG needs. Listing these elements in this way does a few things. First, it’s funny. Second, its list-format-derived fantasy-potpourri feeling gives lie to the notion that Tolkien had a hemmed-in, orderly imagination that made its impact primarily through “realistic” worldbuilding. Third, it gives some shine to Jackson as an interpreter and remixer of Tolkien’s foundational work. Fourth, it demonstrates that both artists have a facility for conjuring very specific and unique emotional or tonal images arising from setting and/or character (eg. “a depressed warrior princess,” “magnificent fireworks”), to go with the genre-related images of creatures and plot points and so on (eg. “enormous, intelligent birds of prey,” “a horde of climbing goblins.”)

* Not unrelated: The Gygaxian lawful/neutral/chaotic//good/neutral/evil schematic for character alignment was some revolutionary ideological rebooting.

* Hellboy colorist Dave Stewart will be coloring Craig Thompson’s forthcoming all-ages graphic novel Space Dumplins. That will look nice.

* Speaking of the Mignolaverse, BPRD cowriters Mignola and Arcudi are doing an armored-supersoldier WWII period piece called Sledgehammer 44 with artist Jason Latour. I hadn’t even heard this was in the works.

* An all-too-rare new comic by Uno Moralez!

* And a less rare but still always welcome Moralez-assembled image/gif gallery!

* My collaborator Matt Rota’s art is getting to that “was this made by human hands?” point. Those pink fleshtones!

* Had to happen eventually: Jonny Negron and cocaine.

* Had to happen eventually: Jonny Negron and animated gifs.

* Had to happen eventually: Jonny Negron and full-color comics. Negron is inevitable.

* I can’t say enough good things about the elliptical fantasy one-pagers my collaborator William Cardini has been putting up lately. What an innovative marriage of format, genre, pacing, and effect.

* How lovely (and unexpected) have Zach Hazard Vaupen’s experiments with color been?

* Andy Burkholder, q v i e t.

* Renee French, “That nightmare goat.”

* This is some immaculate cartooning by Gabrielle Bell. There’s an intensity here I’ve never seen from her before, and her off-kilter way of spotting blacks is really cohering into a statement.

* Colleen Frakes goes dark.

* COOP draws Crowley.

* You’d be hard pressed to find better value for your illustration-enjoying dollar than a “Here’s all the stuff I drew in 2012” post by Hellen Jo.

* Tom Neely started a tumblr for his porn drawings. They’re gorrrrgeous. (They get much dirtier than the ones below.)

* On a not-dissimilar wavelength, I support these pieces by Garry Leach and John Romita Sr. and thank Benjamin Marra for posting them.

* Robin McConnell interviews Noel Freibert for Inkstuds. His work keeps getting better and white-hotter.

* Simon Hanselmann’s talented and funny enough that his comics have no need to be as raw and powerful as they are.

* I’d love to see Jillian Tamaki’s SuperMutant Magic Academy become the Achewood of the 20teens.

* Gore Verbinski, director of The Ring and The Pirates of the Caribbean, is adapting…Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang?

* Was Kylie Minogue the first person to make music that “sounded like Kylie,” or is there some antecedent of which I’m unaware? (Via Jamieson Cox.)

* I got a great deal out of BuzzFeed’s rundown of 16 great musical happenings from the past month — fine writing about fine music in a variety of styles. One of those things is “Full of Fire,” the 9-plus-minute new single by the Knife, which is relentlessly intense yet never ever aggravating. How they can keep you in that edge-of-panic listening state for that long across repeated listens is beyond me, but I’m glad they’re doing it. I’m glad they’ve constructed this aggressive industrial edifice at the heart of critical attention.

* Before I saw this video for “Heidi’s Head” by Kleenex I’m not sure I’d ever really internalized the way in which punk and post-punk were threatening to the existing rock paradigm, perhaps because I always loved them all equally. But man oh man is this ever the sound of a bunch of young people telling the dinosaurs “We don’t need you.” (Thanks, Douglas Wolk.)

* On the dinosaur side of the equation, I’ve been enjoying Steven Hyden’s “Winners’ History of Rock and Roll” series on enormously successful critic-proof rock bands. The link takes you to the opening installment, on Led Zeppelin, the second-greatest band of all time, isolating the Jimmy Page-concocted “sound” of how the band recorded itself as the key to its lasting success, which seems dead-on to me. He also tackles Kiss and Bon Jovi, the worst and second-worst bands of all time, and Aerosmith, who were very good through Pump and then stopped being good.

* Hey look it’s pictures of Kate Moss and Foxy Brown and Kate Winslet and Michelle Dockery Beyoncé and Beyoncé again and Beyoncé again and Dave Gahan and Rainer Andreeson, for your looking at pictures of attractive people needs.

* Drawings of criminal conduct are not criminal conduct. No one should go to prison for having drawings.

* “we are all responsible for the dialogue we foster, the culture we create, the criticism we enable; a few more hits aren’t worth it”—Tom Spurgeon. I’d forgotten about this quote of Tom’s before browsing some old tweets just now, but I was thinking of something very similar after the long-awaited new album by My Bloody Valentine was suddenly released this Saturday — I found myself preemptively dreading the smartest seen-it-all, above-it-all guy in the room quips I suspected I was bound to see about it online. I’m trying to adopt what my Catholic school teachers used to call “an attitude of gratitude.” With something like MBV and their landmark record Loveless, which is so special and singular, it comes down to acknowledging it as such, and not spraying a bunch of diarrhea into the discourse surrounding a beautiful unique thing or the people that made it. The same thing could probably be said about Beyoncé, a monumental talent who seems to draw out the worst and most dismissive parts of some people. I’ve had a tough run for a while now, and the art that moves me is important to me, and I’m trying to conduct myself in a way that respects that, and surround myself with other people who do the same.

Yr Own 5-10-15-20

January 27, 2013

Pitchfork has a feature called 5-10-15-20 where they interview musicians about the music that was important to them at five-year intervals throughout their lives. On his personal tumblr editor-in-chief Mark Richardson asked people to create their own. You can find mine at my music tumblr, Cool Practice. A fantastic voyage from Lipps Inc. to A$AP Rocky.

Carnival of souls: “The Winds of Winter,” Box Brown, giant squid, more

January 14, 2013

* Tom Spurgeon’s complete holiday interview series is up at the Comics Reporter. Go ye and click; so far I’ve really enjoyed the interviews with writer Mark Waid, cartoonists Dean Haspiel, Derf Backderf, Sammy Harkham, and Tom Kaczynski, and critics J. Caleb Mozzocco and Rob Clough.

* You should absolutely read “Sticky-Icky-Icky,” a stoner-sex-slice-of-life comic by Box Brown. I said “whoa” when I saw this page in particular.

* Ooh, it’s a master list of the tumblrs for all the members of Closed Caption Comics who have tumblrs. Thanks, Ryan Cecil Smith!

* Wow, the colors on this cover for Lisa Hanawalt’s forthcoming book from Drawn & Quarterly.

* Always glad to see smut from Julia Gfrörer.

* Very very Barkerian work from Mr. Freibert.

* This painting by Charles-Frédéric Soehnée is a nightmare. (Via Monster Brains.)

* Just for fun, Dresden Kodak creator is doing a whole series of drawings and sketches and posts on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion. Many of them are idiosyncratic and beautiful.

* The addendum at the end hurts a bit because Coates in scold mode is the worst Coates, but otherwise this is a nice scales-from-the-eyes piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates about Kendrick Lamar’s excellent album Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City.

* Here are all of Chris “Shallow Rewards” Ott’s posts on the Cure from his stint on the themed music blog One Week, One Band last year. If you want to read a good writer write a whole lot about a good band he happens to love, then this is just like heaven . (Just note that in this case, when you’re clicking the arrows to navigate the pages, “older” actually means “newer,” since it’s arranged chronologically but tumblr gets confused by this.)

* Great piece on Downton Abbey and Lady Edith by Alyssa Rosenberg.

* John Brennan belongs in prison, not running the CIA. If you did half the shit this guy says it’s okay for the government to do, you bet your ass you’d be in prison.

* Truth, justice, and the American way.

* Very sad news: Wilko Johnson, guitarist for Dr. Feelgood and Ser Ilyn Payne on Game of Thrones, is dying of pancreatic cancer. Man that guy played with style.

* Scientists have filmed a live giant squid in its natural habitat. I can die now.

* New The Winds of Winter sample chapter from George R.R. Martin!


January 8, 2013

My David Bowie sketchbook has been showcased at BuzzFeed Music. (The drawing above is by Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio.)


January 8, 2013

I love this album cover. Barnbrook, the designers, talk about it at their blog.