“That’s why there are so many copycat startups. If startups are basically just fashion accessories which make extremely wealthy people look good, then it makes perfect sense that whenever the new fashion strikes, everybody needs to be wearing one.”—Giles Bowkett, Never Hate. Only Ever Destroy. Venture-backing as the equivalent of artist patronage…
“I mean, who could forget “Twilight”? Teenagers screaming for free tickets outside the dual-theater Westwood premiere here. Mayhem in the malls. Girls thirsting for Robert Pattinson. Box-office projections growing bigger and bigger as online vendors sold out theater after theater. It was amazing. When all is said and done, maybe 24 million tickets will be sold to that movie, based on current sales. That makes it almost as big as, what? “Patch Adams,” the No. 10 movie of 1998.”—Blockbuster Openings Vs. a Lackluster Box Office PS. Dark Night is the 27th most successful film of all time, coming in just below Thunderball. The theatrical release as mass entertainment is over.
This Sufjan Stevens song is on 4AD’s excellent Dark Was the Night compilation. It’s the craziest thing he’s ever made and a big departure from most of his work. It’s nearly 10 minutes long; switches crazily between almost unrelated sections that feature wildly divergent sets of instrumentation (including digital beats); has a macabre melody that flies in the face of Stevens’ usual angelic persona; etc. Definitely a weird one. It’ll be interesting to see if this is a sign of a coming direction or just a one off experiment.
“But where the Talking Heads comparison really fits is the identical set of accusations hurled at both bands: politeness, calculation, detachment, neatness. Those insults are predicated on the positing of a subversive power to rudeness, spontaneity, wildness, and mess—a too-easy equation shaky even in Byrne & Co.’s day and now fully crumbled.”—Simon Reynolds, The People vs. Vampire Weekend
I posed the question earlier: is there any pop star of equal level of success who’s as ugly as Serge Gainsbourg. Dylan was proposed as a candidate and disagreement ensued. I think that Gainsbourg takes this one in a stroll. Here, I’ve tried for a fair comparison to pick images from the height of their youthful un-ugliness. Both of them got weirder looking and more hideous with age, but I think this comparison is pretty clear.
Knotty Pine, a collaboration between David Byrne and The Dirty Projectors. Byrne described the process. They are a great match for each other (as, Byrne says, people repeatedly tell him). The slight simplification Byrne introduces (and the spotless clean and dry production here) makes the DPs sound like Vampire Weekend in a way I’d never noticed before but now can’t quite shake. I also much appreciated Byrne’s connection to Longstreth’s alien qualities being mediated through his own, now alien, 70s state.
“VCs need music businesses that can grow to very large size. For scalability you need well known songs. For well known songs you need to commit to high royalties. For high royalties you need to give up on good return on investment.
It’s the cycle that defines the Dead Man’s Gulch of internet music.”—Lucas Gonze, on user unhappiness with the Hype Machine redesign
A sign of my life’s weirdness is the co-incidence of two emails I got this week: one was a reporter from the Washington Times contacting me as an expert on digital music and asking my opinion for a story he was writing; the other was a one line email that contained a link to this mp3, which is a mashup of Single Ladies by Britney Spears and the Andy Griffith Show theme music. Today, I feel like the internet was built as a machine for my own personal amusement.
“None of this a counsel of despair. Seriously. We dare not despair because in any real crisis, the pessimists die fast. This is a frank recognition of the stakes. It’s aimed at the adults in the room.”—Bruce Sterling, The WELL: State of the World, 2009 (((Bruce Sterling’s annual, unmissable, public address on the WELL has begun. His ranting-mode writing makes the world seem more vivid, more important, and more malleable than it does in the dulling lens of much other media.)))