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Monday, March 20, 2006


I'm in Connecticut now. Davin and his friend Megan got into Baltimore late Saturday night, and then stuck around through early afternoon Sunday before leaving for their geology conference in Harrisburg. While Megan met up with a friend, I got brunch with Davin at Pete's Grill, which is a neighborhood diner place in the "bad" neighborhood adjacent to our house. (Doug, it's an authentic third place -- one counter, regulars, chatty waitresses, etc.)

My piece on Wikipedia did indeed run today in the Sun. They made a number of minor edits, which are mostly good -- except for capitalizing "Internet," which drives me crazy. (It might have originally been a government program with a proper name, but it is no longer a Public Broadcasting System or Compuserve, it's more of a television or radio.)

Two people I don't know have emailed me about the article. An active Wikipedia editor complained that I would be causing people to create articles about themselves and make more work for them. I don't really picture that as an effect my piece would have, but I did wonder a bit when another guy emailed me to ask for help posting a Wikipedia article. That's a little weird; hopefully it's not about him.

On a completely unrelated topic, Tapes 'n Tapes, a band led by Josh Grier, who was the Station Director at KRLX the year before I got on the board, has been doing quite well recently. I noticed that they got a coveted "Best New Music" review for their new album at Pitchfork, and that the site covered their tour dates as well. Now, the New York Times' front-page writeup of South By Southwest includes a glowing quote. After noting earlier that they were one of the bright spots of this festival of all festivals, and that they're from Minneapolis, Jon Pareles wrote:
...the most extraordinary bands defied categories and tore apart verse-chorus-verse forms. Tapes 'n Tapes were rhapsodic, with songs that metamorphosed from reticence to frenzy and back.

That's pretty heady stuff for guys who probably just quit their day jobs within the past few months. Congrats to them. Aside from hearing them on the radio in Minneapolis a couple times, I hadn't paid much attention until this recent spike of publicity, but I must agree that their stuff is pretty good. You can find sample mp3s here if you like.

(Note: Not that I was trying for it, but this post is surely a personal best for link density.)


doug said...

Thanks for the note on the diner! If I recall my 2004 Summer Olympics trivia correctly, Pete's Grill is the favorite hangout of swimming star Michael Phelp's.

doug said...

[er, scratch that apostrophe ...]

teague said...

Michael Phelps, eh? I appreciate the fact that it doesn't have Phelps crap all over the place. (Nothing against him, but I hate it when places try to milk brushes with notoriety long after they're irrellevant.)

I might just be hungry right now, but I feel compelled to note that they have excellent and cheap home fries.

LJ said...

How far Mr. Grier has come since losing Battle of the Bands to Schilmob. They can put together a decent song or two, although I think he commits a sin very common in indie rock: covering up a lack of basic singing ability with things like barking, yelling, or a sort of whimpering, quavery emoting. And I think their band name is really, really dumb. I do like "Insistor," though.

Pitchfork, however, makes me want to scream and vomit as usual. Their review of "The Loon" seems to go beyond using references to other bands as a way of describing the music, in the absence of some more meaningful way of communicating, but actually seems to say that these references are the basis for judging the band, The Main Point of their music. WTF?

I have a bad habit, whenever a link directs me to Pitchfork, of checking a review of a record that I think is fantastic, just to make sure that they trashed it. Check. (they actually think that sounds like *Smash Mouth*?!? are we listening to the same CD? And I think this quote is interesting in light of the kind of pitchforking I object to in the Tapes'n'tapes review: "the last third of the album sounds like absolutely nothing at all (which is remarkable in and of itself)." In some contexts, that would be a very high compliment.)

I think the moral is that I need to just listen to indie rock, and never try to read indie rock journalism. (and I wonder what I would think of pitchfork reviews if I was just handed them anonymously, without know they were from pitchfork...I might get shown up as a big fool)

(BTW, I thought this one Tapes'n'tapes song was really odd and remarkable, totally and weirdly different from the other ones. Turns out I mislabelled an MP3...whoops. In the process of trying to figure out what it *actually* is (still no luck), I ran across this gem: "these guys remind us that cultural innovation is indeed happening outside of New York." AAAAHHH!!!!)

teague said...

I think I like Tapes 'n Tapes a bit better than you do, but I agree that it's not sending me out to buy the album. The pair of rock-crit swoons they got is pretty surprising to me.

That review of the Weakerthans record is pretty terrible. The condescension is hard to take. You're right that they do just take the musical and cultural context of things as the primary means of evaluation. A lot of times they completely fail to evaluate music on its own terms. Their review of the debut Broken Social Scene record (which I love) was really positive, but spent a lot of time on the reviewer convincing himself/readers that the lameness he perceived in the band name and cover art were excused by the strong music.

LJ said...

Ok, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who feels that way about that Weakerthans review. Part of what really gets me about it is that this isn't some weird record that just I happen to like--everyone I know who hears it thinks it's wonderful (so far).

That BSS review is really awful, too.

"No one wants to admit that they like a band that [...] dedicates their album to their 'families, friends and loves.'"

Yeah, I hate it when people love other people. Really disgusting.

"Well, we're not total fucking assholes, right?"

Yes, yes you are.

teague said...

Is that a rhetorical question Pitchfork ought to be asking?