Because it Burns Being Broke

A couple months ago Pitchfork ran an interview with The Hold Steady where they discussed the recent wrap up of their participation in an advertising campaign for Target. That campaign is finally underway with banner ads running all up and down prominent music sites. I checked it out and it's a pretty predictable - as poor an approximation of hip as one might suspect from the discount shopping superstore.

There is one unexpected benefit though: free ringtones! Currently available: The Hold Steady, British Sea Power, and Bloc Party. I downloaded The Hold Steady tune and it's the perfect compliment to the photo of the band I have on my phone's background. You can get yours here.

Bizarrely enough, Pitchfork also pointed out that Devendra Banhart is involved in another ad campaign for Fat Tire Ale. You can check those out here.

Devendra's new record Cripple Crow comes out the day before my birthday on September 13th. The record will be release on XL Recordings, making Devendra labelmates with M.I.A., Peaches, and Basement Jaxx. Cripple Crow is currently available for preview here and it sounds like it will most certainly be in my top five records of the year.

And, for what it's worth, I just realized last week that The Hold Steady is my favorite active band in the USA. Download "The Swish" and "Little Hoodrat Friend" to hear why.


Exclusively crunchberries

A while back, Stereogum linked to this site which pokes fun at music critics by pulling and posting the most fancifully florrid passages of their reviews.

Really though, I rather enjoy it. For a person who reads and writes reviews on a regular basis, it's like getting a whole bowl full of Oreo Cookie filling for dessert. This is not bad writing; this is the best part of this particular style of writing.

I think a far more effective criticism of criticism came about when Pitchfork invited David Cross over for a roast. And I don't think criticism of criticism is pointless either. The people that do this, they pour their souls into it. It is their art, even if it is only commentary on the art of others. But a lot of music writers are turning out some incredible writing. I'm going to make more of an effort to call attention to that when I see it.

To get started, Nitsuh Abebe at Pitchfork tears into Rhino's new 90's box set and finds more of himself in there than he's ready to remember:
How many of the tracks you're excited to see here did you actively despise when they were on your teenage radio? Not yet 30 and already so wistful! Pop culture races along, and here is the ambient sound of your teenage years; I have Big Head Todd like a sepia snapshot of me growing up in Colorado and hating Big Head Todd; do we just buy this now and put it in storage for when we retire?
Meanwhile, Liam Colle at PopMatters is all about the new Wolf Parade EP. He even has the balls to title his review "Hungry Like a Wolf Parade":
Getting people to cry-dance is by no means an easy achievement. As such, the power of this band lives in its ability to provoke contrary passions. And despite being in its infancy, Wolf Parade is capable of concocting mesmerizing discord. The promise revealed on this disc is incredible. Guttural and gouging, this is soul music.
Hopefully you'll enjoy these reviews as much as I did.

Fun is for assholes

Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu lists his favorite guitarists for Pitchfork. Well worth reading.

Xiu Xiu also has a new album out. Well worth hearing. It will make you feel uncomfortable. And you will love it.

They are also on tour. Dates can be found here. Xiu Xiu puts out good records; they put on great shows. Go see them.

Xiu Xiu also played Pitchfork's Intonation Festival. I was not there. And I hate, hate, hate, hate myself for missing it. With a level of self-loathing unparalleled since I missed the final Guided By Voices shows in Chicago.

Fluxblog was at Intonation. He said it "ought to become the new template for outdoor multi-band shows in the United States."

Fluxblog is also endorsed by Bob Mould in this interview for PopMatters.
Fluxblog is a good example of how this can work. Any of the sites where people are really talking about music and offering a track and a link to where to buy it and everybody cooperates, then you really get somewhere.
I agree with Bob Mould. I would like to wear a t-shirt that says as much.

Bob has a new album out too. It's good but not great. Although sometimes it gets pretty close. Listen to a track here.

Bob is also on tour. Dates here. He's promised lots of songs from throughout his career, including the Hüsker Dü years. A Hüsker Dü reunion is way up on my list of bands I'd like to see get back together again. But I'll gladly settle for this.

Just please, please, please play "New Day Rising" Bob.



Stereogummy Goodness

Stereogum really dialed in my frequency today with what is quite likely my most favorite post title of the year:


Commenters are invited to snark on Lindsay while we're also given a sneak (albeit somewhat underwhelming) preview of the long awaited new record by The Silver Jews, Tanglewood Numbers.


Picture Me Big Time

Still waters run deep, folks. This ain't over. Not even close.
In the month that's past, major strides have been made towards getting my work established in a much more respectable setting. The results of all this should start showing up very soon.
Along with that, there's also been somewhat of a summer fling. Rather than comment any further, I'll let Neil Michael Hagerty and his Royal Trux fill in the details:

Royal Trux "Sunshine and Grease" from Pound for Pound

If you're not yet up on your Hagerty, you owe it to yourself to get there. And get there fast, because the dude's already released two of the greatest summer party records ever.
He had a new record out this spring too, and it's as well worth hearing as his prior work.
Exactly what that valuation is depends on your preference as a listener. Looking for some finely honed hooks and harmonies expertly crafted into a deceptively intricate patchwork of pop hallmarks? Well then, seek that out elsewhere. But if what excites you is an artist in the act of exploring their own aesthetic boundaries, than this is for you. Hagerty is nothing if not restless and though his songs may share some strengths, you can never quite tell where his impulse will run off to next.
I get the sense he's not too sure either, and that's what keeps me coming back. Because eventually (not to say that he hasn't already), I think this guy's about to stumble upon something genius.
And that something might just happen very soon. Drag City's June newsletter claimed that his most recent project, The Howling Hex, has evolved into "a double-digit entity, with a full complement of musicians, actors and artists coming and going under the conductor’s wand of Neil Michael Hagerty."
And, hey! There's even a Hex blog!
So, to sum up: less Josh; more Neil Michael Hagerty.
Erratic updates to return spasmodically.