No Trivia

Sunday Links Party

leave a comment

-“Nas Is a Demagogue” by Joey from Straight Bangin”

“But having worked a listener up, Nas then does what Nas seems to always do: he leaves you disappointed. Rather than offering unique insight or adding a distinct, coherent voice of observation–to say nothing of proposing solutions, but again, that’s probably not fair or realistic to demand of most people, let alone rapper Nasir Jones–Nas ultimately fails to advance the racial dialogue and never comes close to capitalizing on the righteous indignation that many of his subjects engender. He instead falls back on hackneyed notions of success and his vague ideas about wresting back power for his people. It makes for an almost infuriating experience given the gravitas and deliberation that was intended to inform the subject matter. And I will rue this record should it excuse real consideration of these challenging subjects. There need not be anything nerdy or uncool about a meaningful rap album, and Nas appears to have been too scared to make one or, more likely, just not smart enough.”

-KRS One & Rakim by Brandon Graham

My friend Karen hipped me to comics artist Brandon Graham through his weirdo porno comic ‘Pillow Fight’ and right now, I’m making my way through his book ‘King City’, a comic that’s a little bit your typical hyper-insular Manga-style universe–it’s published by the American wing of Tokyo Pop–a little bit European comics/Moebius insanity and a little sci-fi dystopia, done by a dude clearly informed by graffiti style. The graffiti style was clear, but a search through Graham’s livejournal revealed this great illustration of KRS One and Rakim making hip-hop’s influence clear. A few entries reveal Graham listening to the Coup or KRS, and he humorously quotes Dre–”used to be my homey, used to be my ace”–when he discusses his growing distate for ‘Ghost in the Shell’ era Masamune Shirow. Lots of fun stuff on his journal, from random scans of art he likes, his own art, and lots of insider industry type stuff. I also liked this drawing Graham did of his girlfriend sleeping:

-Also reminds me that it’s been quite awhile since I shouted-out Scritch & Scratch…

-The Believer: Music Issue

Last week, I quoted from an Invisible Oranges post that questioned McSweeney’s book ‘All Known Metal Bands’ because its essentially basic information stolen from Metal Archives. This week however, I’m mainly here to praise the scope of McSweeney’s music issue of ‘The Believer’. Brandon Stosuy’s extensive article ‘A Blaze in the North American Sky and its accompanying piece ‘A Brief History of US Black Metal are interesting and properly researched, and I’m not a fan of USBM at all! Before I get to my two favorite things however, I do want to point out that smart white people–at least the kind that get to write in magazines like The Believer–still can’t write about rap without condescension.

-“Three Short Essays on Jazz” by Haruki Murakami

Murakami’s brief essays on Billie Holiday, Stan Getz, and Thelonious Monk are neither too simple or too jazz-fan sophisticated. I’m not a big Billie Holiday fan–and that’s the only one printed on the website–but Getz and Monk are two of my absolute favorites and Murakami’s essays feel and read like the jazz he’s describing and don’t get bogged down in the sophistication so many feign or dive straight into when writing about jazz. The same feeling as say, the really fun, short stuff in ‘The Elephant Vanishes’. And for fun, here’s a clip of my favorite Monk song:
-“The Unfair Reputation of Prog-Rock Concept Albums” by Rick Moody
I love progressive rock and I love concept albums and I love them even more because music snobs laugh them off and shit on them. ‘Tarkus’ by Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, ‘The Snow Goose’ by Camel, uh, I could go on. In recent years, so-called “rockism” has become even more elitist and weird in that there’s sort of these second or third generation rockists who like rock and prefer and celebrate rock-oriented music, but also dislike and outright mock technical nerd stuff like prog. Moody’s essay seems kinda aimed at those kind of dudes. Post-arena rock, rockists you might call them? I don’t know. Also, if Gentle Giant interest you at all, I’d suggest ‘The Octopus’ and ‘The Power & The Glory’ over Moody’s pick of ‘Free Hand’.

-“A Sweet Little Bullet From a Pretty Pink Gun, spotted by Lee Gardner from Baltimore City Paper’s News Hole Blog

Words Fail Dept.: Charter Arms just shot us a press release regarding the new left-handed version of its Pink Lady .38 Special, which is, as the press release describes it, “a looker for folks who need reliable self-defense power in a stylish great-looking firearm.” Too bad they missed Mother’s Day.

-“”Indie 500″: Bonnie Prince Billy, Titus Andronicus, halftime round-up” by Vadim Rizov from the House Next Door

Vadim Rizov’s bi-weekly “Indie 500″ columns don’t matter much to me for the most part–I’m not really into “indie” music–but occasionally his snark or his outright ignorance bug me and for some reason, I’ve gotten into the habit of harassing the dude about it. Maybe it’s because he always punks out and never seriously responds, maybe it’s because his column seems to make no attempt to speak to House’s readers, or maybe it’s because he reminds me of the kind of kid who’s talking would annoy me at some college dance party and I’d end up spitting beer all over him and pissing off my girlfriend at the time, who knows. His offending line this week was: “”Take [Will Oldham's] cover of R. Kelly’s “The World Greatest.” In BPB’s hands, lines like “I am a giant / I am an eagle” stop being idiotic, and the cheesy vibe leftover from R. Kelly’s similar song on the Space Jam soundtrack disappears; all that’s left is vulnerability and a suddenly excavated melody”. To which I responded: “Not even hater-ism: Why can’t both versions be good? I don’t understand why bearded indie dudes singing those lyrics makes them cool and Kells doesn’t. Also, ‘World’s Greatest’ is from the ‘ALI’ soundtrack and it’s not “similar” Will’s doing a cover.” See, shit like this just kind of bugs me. It’s also a welcome reminder to all of his “hipsters are stealing our music” rap and R & B fans that there’s still a long way to go. Anyone want to seriously discuss this? Why Kells is better than Oldham? Why Oldham’s better than Kells?

-Random Thoughts on ‘The Dark Knight’ (Without having seen it)

Okay, so this is mainly an excuse to finally talk about those leaked first five minutes. Why was this exciting? It’s a total rip off the bank heist in Michael Mann’s ‘Heat’–the casting of ‘Heat’ cast member William Fichtner might make it an homage– only it’s totally inert and lacking in tension and a minute too long because Christopher Nolan’s a totally cerebral, balls-less director. I liked ‘Batman Begins’ a great deal, so I’ll still see this but the first five minutes didn’t get me more excited. This ‘Heat’ rip-off was additionally distressing because I had this total nerd-out moment driving to work the other day, thinking about how fucking great a Michael Mann-directed ‘Batman’ movie would be. Colin Farrell as Batman, still shot in Chicago (Mann’s hometown), it would be really great. Also, it seems like the late Heath Ledger’s channelling the out-there weirdness of mid-late Brando more than anything else, which is a good look. Speaking of good looks, a perusal of the cast on IMDB reveals “Tiny” Lister has a small part, which is always nice.

I’m also tired of ill-informed movie critics and even just fans constantly talking about Frank Miller’s influence on ‘Batman’. Not that it isn’t monumental, not that it didn’t totally change Batman forever–although, I think the stuff that Miller influenced far outweighs his own work on Batman– but really, other comics people have done a great deal to complicate the Batman character too. Go read ‘The Long Halloween’ & ‘Dark Victory’ by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, go read ‘Detective Comics’ #s 629-632, written by Peter Milligan, Jim Starlin and Bernie Wrightson’s ‘Batman: The Cult’, or Paul Pope’s ‘Batman: Year 100′ and even Grant Morrison’s recent, totally insane ‘Batman & Son’ story arc. All of that shit’s clearly been looked at for ‘The Dark Knight’ and its clear just from the trailer and five-minute preview.

-Movie for the Week: ‘The Amazing Screw-On Head’ by Mike Mignola

Written by Brandon

July 20th, 2008 at 7:44 am

Posted in links

Leave a Reply