Floating Fields Of Tough (Singles First Half 2016)
1. 4minute "Canvas"
2. FAMM'IN "Circle"
3. Aommy "Shake"
4. Tiffany ft. Simon Dominic "Heartbreak Hotel"
5. NCT U "The 7th Sense"
6. Tiggs Da Author ft. Lady Leshurr "Run"
7. BTS "Save Me"

For some reason I'm picking mood pieces here (tracks 1, 2, 5), sound that's atmospheric but with its sleeves up and muscles flexed, floating fields of toughness. Tiffany, tall and lithe (track 4), is in a mood too, ol' r&b sadness, integrity in heartbreak.

Tiggs isn't playing tough. He'd rather do fear, if it's got speed and a beat.

Aommy is cute and hot and fiery, seems working class to me: in the video, power is kicking the people who can kick you, and imagining (imaging it as if) they'll take it as just hard flirting, and so will the viewers — 'cause the woman doing the workout still needs to flirt, her boundaries not really protected, and maybe she wants to flirt as well, or works it well, anyway, and isn't really seeking an alternative. At least, it feels to me as if the video wants to have its cake and eat it too. Or maybe it's just a workout vid with fantasy advice for women getting by in what remains primarily men's space. The coda is good-naturedly inclusive. I don't know Thailand, so these are distant guesses.

Not keeping up, obviously; four of these I scarfed up only this week.

And 4minute are no more, by disagreement, not choice, it seems (reading between lines of the public reportage).

Help Kickstart my friend Mark Sinker's "A Hidden Landscape" (UK rockcrit anthology)
Help kickstart my friend Mark Sinker's A Hidden Landscape anthology, which is a spinoff of the Underground/Overground rock press festival/conference* he curated last year in re UK music press 1968-1985. Here's the Kickstarter link, if you're curious or want to make a pledge.


Key word in his writeup is Tumult, also Serendipity, "unexpected stuff you were unlikely to find side-by-side anywhere else on such a scale." My word would be Encounter, and my question would be, "Encounter what?" On the three panels I've heard from the streams, I thought that (the so-far-unread-by-me) Paul Morley was especially slamming. Defended the Pistols' and the Damned's sartorial showbiz tendencies by saying they were the types — as opposed to bloated '70s superstars — who were actually embodying the glamorous cape of Little Richard (I think it was fellow panelist Barney Hoskyns' sneering at the Clash's cut-offs that moved Morley to rise in defense of the secret glamour of the boy punks). Looking at my sketchy notes, I see Morley saying that the writing then was ideological life or death, believed it could be experimental, that it represented extraordinary times. He repeated the word “Momentum." I get the image of a gigantic boulder rumbling from past to future, a rolling body of work "that you can try to copy or distort or change into something else."

You might ask, how is that different from what we've got now every day on the Internet? The answer could be, "It isn't," but maybe there was a smarter tumult then, and in any event it would've had its own flavors of surprise and so might surprise you — or is likely to surprise me, anyway, given that sitting here in America I never really absorbed these people in depth (Simon Frith being the major exception). I'll say sourly that my current rockwrite/musicwrite world has become adept at sidestepping the Encounter, and sure doesn't feel like Momentum, or a tumult of experiment. And U.S. rockcrit has always sucked at follow-through, from the early '60s get-go. My understanding is that these are going to be all new essays (sprinkled through with conference excerpts), from people old as me who will be new to me nonetheless. We'll see what I encounter, if hidden in the prose is a cape of glamour.

(In the meantime, any suggestions as to where to start with Morley?)


*Lots of it was streamed, and I've just checked and the streams still flow. I've linked them here, where I commented on the commentary, too.

Frank Kogan "Wreck Of The John B"
Ha! I have no memory whatsoever of recording this. I like it. I'm guessing it was 1985, which would confirm my hypothesis that my singing got a lot better during the year after Stars Vomit Coffee Shop. Had assumed my singing voice would forever be intolerable to me, but this is not always the case. I like how my guitar only partially accommodates the melody, so there's a kind of zinging tightrope wire of tension between rhythm chords and the prettiness. Keeps the thing alive 31 years later.

I suspect this track was solicited by Al Margolis, but it might have been someone else and Al was the person who put it out.

Stop using the word "tribal" for modern political or social groupings
Stop using the word "tribal" for modern political and social groupings.

1. The groupings in question actually act much more like classes than like tribes. (Yes, I'm putting the matter crudely and confusedly.)

2. Setting aside its potential racism towards Native Americans — "clan" or "family" would be just as wrong conceptually — the term mislabels a part as a whole. That is, a tribe is a society with an internal social structure, whereas groups like "lower-middle-class whites" and "college-educated blacks" and "Republicans" and "Democrats" and so on are subgroups within a society, subgroups that relate to one another to form social structures.

Not that tribes themselves never had relations with one another. (I can't say I know much about it, either the structure of, say, the different Native (North) American tribes and Amazonian tribes, etc., or the structure of the interplay between tribes.) "Inside" and "outside" are never absolute social distinctions. But caveats such as this one shouldn't be used to obscure the basic mistake built into the metaphor "tribal."

3. The deep basic mistake that concerns me most is the idea that we have social class, here, as one kind of social relation, but that then there's this other stuff, "culture," there, that works differently from class. In fact, instead, class and culture are so deeply intertwined that "intertwined" itself is much too weak a word.

Obviously, all my points here are what on Wikipedia they call "stubs." This one has the most stubble of all. To say briefly what needs several hundred thousand words: what we tend to call "economic class" must have a cultural component or else class mobility both up and down would be too easy and desirable. Embedded in this idea is that e.g. those "in" the "lower" classes get positive status, and meaning, and love and excitement and a feeling of at least being somewhat "at home," right where they are, even though where and who "they are" is actually always necessarily slippery and at risk and even though they don't necessarily conceive where "they are" as belonging to or inside a class. ("In" got scare quotes above for being a problematic word.) The classes nonetheless make up the landscape in which people find (or look for) themselves. So a class isn't altogether unlike an ethnic group. But it is fundamentally different nonetheless in that to be in (or near) a class is to be part of a social structure that relates you to those who are in or near other classes.

That is, people don't fit snugly within a class. That's not how modern class works. They live instead within class systems, social structures, some of which are fairly ad hoc. But it's within these systems that they work out who they are, their creativity and their loves as well as conflicts and oppression and resentments. And they don't find movement all that easy, or inviting.

(To add another circular or elliptical twist or tangle to all this, as the world gets ever more cosmopolitan, ethnic groups themselves are more and more acting like classes (even more than they always did), so are in relation to other groups as part of a structure, rather than as separate structures in themselves, but paradoxically appear more and more as a choice, with at least some leeway, much greater than in the past, as to whether or how much one deploys one's ethnic identity (of course depending on circumstances).)

4. But most crucially and controversially I'll say that, while upper-middle-working class or some near variant on that is probably "right," i.e., is the basic structure of modern "advanced" societies, such classes often aren't the classes of our most immediate experience, and often aren't the classes that are in most immediate effect. So e.g. being a "freak" or a "feminist" or a "progressive" or a "leftist" or "indie" or "intellectual" may not just feel more crucial and more like an identity than being precariously "middle class" does, it puts you in everyday relation to other social groupings. For example, back in my high school, freaks were in relation to normies, to liberals, and to greasers so were part of a social structure that included these other groups. (And yes, I'm claiming such groupings really do structure a good deal of social life, as do the everyday adult groupings that are much vaguer and more ad hoc than the ones in high school.) Again, it's not that you feel at home in your particular class or group — most students felt estranged and many were unaffiliated — it's that such groupings constitute the social landscape and affect and direct your social choices. (If you're an "outsider" you're nonetheless in this social structure, which tells you you're outside the available groups, but nearer to some than to others, and influenced by all.) My basic point here is that to understand such groups, e.g. "freaks," you have to think of them as CLASSES not TRIBES.

Items 5 through 14: the sideways middle class, and bad explanationsCollapse )

Ezra Klein’s "How politics makes us stupid"Collapse )

Antirockism is just rockism with a few of the words changed
In an egregious breach of self-discipline, I posted on an Ann Powers facebook thread* whose subject was "rockism." Given that the thread was mainly stupidity and floundering, and it didn't jostle anything loose in my own thinking, I fear that there was little useful I achieved. My justification, if there is one, is that the stupidity I refer to is relative, and I genuinely believe that if someone somewhere takes in and masters my ideas regarding the "authenticity" thing it would save her several years of wheel-spinning.

Antirockists have never had the slightest actual interest in the people they call "rockists" or in the phenomena they call "rockism." So the conversation has been about defeating phantom enemies rather than about understanding the world.** This makes antirockists frustrating but it doesn't always make them boring, since their beating up on "rockism" is an attempt to use a crowbar or pole vault to get out from under something — even if they won't figure out what it is in themselves and their world they're trying to surmount.

This is what I wrote. I do urge you to click the two Rules Of The Game columns I link down at the bottom of my third comment. Might help your wheelbarrow gain traction.

Antirockism is just rockism with a few of the words changedCollapse )

Wedding music
I chose Debbie Deb, Clare chose Fatboy Slim.

Cute Butch People w/ Sparklers (Top 60 Singles, 2015)
Those enticed here by the promise of butch and sparklers may be disappointed that the title pretty much only applies to the Dev vid — though I've not looked so thoroughly as to guarantee you won't find butch and sparkle throughout.

"Born To Wub" was another prospective title; it too only really goes with the Dev track.

Next year I'll just post my favorite Dev song, and announce, "Dev Contains Everything."

Was also thinking of calling this, "You Already Know Who It Is"; I've made this list into a YouTube playlist, and those are the words Silentó introduces himself with, on the first track.

And after all, you already knew I was gonna give you Dev, and T-ara, and K-pop. In 2012 I simply called my half-year list, "More Songs From K-pop, Dev, and Cassie." A year earlier I'd called it "Dev Like Cassie."

But there's also wub in Vince Staples' "Norf Norf": wobble that's disembodied from a beat. And there's wub deep in Ash-B's larynx.

1. Silentó "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)"
2. Ash-B "매일"
3. The Seeya with Le "The Song Of Love"
4. Azin "Delete"
5. HyunA ft. Jung Ilhoon "Roll Deep (Because I'm The Best)"
6. Dev "Parade"

7. Rihanna "Bitch Better Have My Money"
8. Crayon Pop "FM"
9. ZZBEst "랄랄라"
10. Red Velvet "Ice Cream Cake"
11. Titica "Você Manda Fogo"
12. Ash-B "What's Real"
13. Daphne And Celeste "You And I Alone"
14. SHINee "View"
15. Ash-B "누구야"
16. 4minute "Crazy"
17. Jason Derulo "Cheyenne"

18. Lil Mama "Sausage"
19. The-Dream "Cedes Benz"
20. BiSH "BiSH: On A Night When Stars Are Twinkling"
21 through 40, KISS n Clover Z through BrigitteCollapse )
41 through 60, A$AP Rocky through Oh My GirlCollapse )

I've scattered Ash-B tracks all through the list, like dandelion seeds. Can't find English translations, so the adventure for me is her voice. She begins "매일" with darkly insistent eighth notes, then she's pushing the main beat hard, then she's relaxing into the conversational, which she's then pushing into even more insistence.

There were no Cassie singles, so Sofi De La Torre was awarded the Cassie Ventura Honorary Remote-Achiness Fellowship for 2015.

"Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" at number 1 demonstrates the influence on this list of the elementary-school gym class. See also "Hit The Quan" at number 54.

See also the fact that this list is three months late.

Taylor, Kendrick, Pungdeng-E, Derulo, SHINee, cultural interpenetration?Collapse )

The James Brown problematic
I posted this in response to Mat and AG at the SNSD Free For All, their sense that, at the moment, Japanese pop music is allowed more chord changes than American is. (dubdobdee has pointed out to me via email that "Death Rock 2000" wrestles* with some of the integration-coalition-collage-disparity-collision ideas I was juggling in the air in my previous two posts.)

I barely know anything about Japanese pop, and not all that much about current American pop either, actually. But I think the James Brown problematic that I set forth back at the start of "Death Rock 2000" may be relevant: the more syncopated your supposed "background" parts are (drums, bass, rhythm guitar), the more your supposed "foreground" (vocals, leads, melodies) has to adapt to and intertwine with the background; this lessens or gets rid of the distinction between foreground and background.** To be a bit simplistic here, when you truncate or cancel the melody, you tend to be getting rid of chord changes as well.

It isn't that James Brown wasn't interested in melody — all the evidence is just the opposite! — but that he was also trying to do other things, and these other things limited his options.

I don't know if "syncopated" was the right word above, but anyway: funk. But funk isn't the only relevant melody suppressor: Brown also pushed his songs towards call-and-response. You can hear in this live version of the melody-rich "Prisoner Of Love" how, at about the two-minute mark, after lovingly taking care of the melody, James abandons it to go call-and-response over a single chord. Really, what he does is to take the couplet "I'm just a prisoner, don't let me be a prisoner" and use it as a wormhole, crawling into another world. You can hear this in incipient form at the end of the single version, which fades out into an implied never-ending groove.

This is one "solution" to the "problem," to segregate the melody sections and the groove sections, or the melody sections and the call-and-response sections. This was done in Cuba in the development of forms like the mambo; in American pop, it's become kind of standard to have a chorus-length call-and-response towards a track's end. Of course you can put things into separate songs, melody song here, groove song there.

There are other interesting analogues to the James Brown problematic. E.g., Bob Dylan would take a line in a song and vamp on it, making the vamp longer in each consecutive verse. (As with "syncopated," I don't know if "vamp" is the right word.) Fascinating are the Kinks, who in the mid-Sixties were inspired by the Beatles to go more melodic and by the Yardbirds to go towards drones and rave-ups, which tended to be less melodic, more groove, and so the Kinks tried to do both at once — or at least tried to be less segregated into "melody part" and "rave-up part": in "Situation Vacant," you can hear at 1:12-1:20 how there seems to be a hard-rock groove that wants to explode out of the song but is held in check, then at 1:57 it actually does get the bit between its teeth, and it's off and running into a full rave-up at 2:20, fading out into a false ending and then returning at 2:55 as if to say "This could go on forever," as poor lead character Johnny falls perpetually downwards.

I'm curious what else is going on in Japanese music. I can't imagine that all Japanese dance tracks or rap tracks are chock full of chord changes.

I think in America the tendency isn't so much anti-melody or anti-chord changes, but just that the prominence of hip-hop and dance tends to suppress melody in favor of beats. But it isn't because audiences are going, "Oh, there's too much melody and too many chord changes." I assume they'd be fine with lots of melody and changes. It's that they're drawn to the interesting rhythms, which throws us into the problematic. E.g., where's the room for melody and changes in "Hit The Quan"?

From "Death Rock 2000":

So even the hard funk of Funkadelic and Kool and the Gang had a somewhat straighter groove, and in hip-hop and r&b you always—until recently—had a loud drum nailing down the backbeat, or even a one-two-three-four (the more discofied r&b), with the song or rap back on top and most of the funk relegated to the bass guitar or bass keyboard. With the backbeat/one-two-three-four anchoring whatever was on top, some of JB's propulsive tumble was lost. So I think the tension in much of the world's music in the next century will be: "We don't want to give up song form or the Euromelody tradition, or we don't want to give up an out-front rap, or an out-front guitar solo, or an out-front wall of noise, or an out-front dance collage, or _________ (from whatever music tradition), yet we also want to have the tumbling funk and never-ending groove, so what do we do?" I hope it stays a problem. I can't imagine it being "solved."
But I don't think U.S. pop is more into the rhythm-and-melody problematic now than it was in 2000. In fact, I'd say I was hearing more rhythm risks then than I am now, though I was paying more intense attention then than now, too.

*I'd say my Disco Tex Essay wrestles with 'em even more, especially the "Bob Dylan plays mambo" ruminations.

**Btw, it was JYP joking around w/ James Brown poses and foreground-background that inspired my first K-pop post.

Unity in kaboom!
I'm implying at the start of my last post that at least some of the Airplane's visceral excitement comes from how the different personalities/musical elements often sound on the verge of falling apart or exploding into conflict. If you put them too close they annihilate each other, too far apart they're inert.

Don't want to make this Airplane versus Bowie and Roxy, given that most observers never notice the many similarities. But with Bowie, I get an emotional kick from his intentions more than his songs (bear in mind, though, that I know his intentions only through the songs, so obv. the latter deserve some of the credit — cf. my liking Springsteen the person more than his music, but of course most of what I know of the person is through the music). He's got a potentially exciting choice of musical elements. Where I'm claiming (not very clearly) that Jefferson Airplane's parts were better "integrated," this is based on my feeling that in Bowie and Roxy the pieces-parts have a clumsy fit but while bumping one another don't generate sparks. They coexist too peacefully.

You shouldn't infer here that aesthetically I prefer confrontation to coexistence. The former is easier to write about, though.

Really, the Airplane's visceral superiority may just be owing to Jack Casady's being a smart, powerful player who takes the bass on convoluted journeys while never losing the groove. But when the Airplane splintered, his and Jorma's particular post-Airplane shard, lifeboat, new craft (my metaphor is splintering too), Hot Tuna, was dull dull dull. (At least the first two albums. I didn't stick with 'em, so they're due a reevaluation.) It's as if they need the challenge of Paul's and Marty's and Grace's chord patterns, rather than Jorma's own more traditionalist and blah ones. (How many soul bass players get to run a slalom course as novel as Paul's "Crown Of Creation"?)

These are all quasi-germs of quasi-ideas that I doubt I'll be able to develop usefully. To continue on half-assedly, an interesting way of looking at Jefferson Airplane is as a precursor to Whitfield's work w/ the Temptations when the latter went "psychedelic," e.g., soul bottom, psychedelic guitar (though I also think of Whitfield as an accidental forerunner of dub, whereas I never heard any "dub space" in Jefferson Airplane). And to Funkadelic, of course. Roxy's Phil Manzanera deserves mention here too, his psychedelic guitar wending its way interestingly through Roxy's architecture.**

*"Spare Chaynge" and "Bear Melt" may be total refutations of my hypothesis, since the former is a pure improvisation centering on Jack and Jorma, and the latter something of an improvisation, and both tracks are great. (I'm overlooking drummer Spencer Dryden here: I haven't really come to any assessment of the guy's work; note that it's his departure after "Mexico" that marks the border between previous Airplane greatness and later Airplane-Starship mediocrity (though "borders" are never so simple and I actually like the post-Dryden Long John Silver more than I dislike it). Also note that I have zero albums by New Riders Of The Purple Sage, whom Dryden joined in 1971.) Subjects for further research are too numerous to detail here, but surely should include KBC Band and SVT (Wikip: "During his SVT tenure, Casady actually taped his fingers together to force himself to simplify his highly articulated playing style"), not to mention three decades' worth of Hot Tuna.

**And let us not forget Rare Earth and He 6!

We Can Be Together
Jefferson Airplane were as much a coalition as a band, and at moments they could be the most exciting and poignant coalition/band/group in music. And at moments they were breaking in pieces, and sometimes those moments coincided.

Paul Kantner, as one of their weaker singers, the guy who wrote harmony songs, not just leads, was the one who tried to get everybody singing and playing at the same time, if not always in sync. "We Can Be Together" sounds too ferocious and has too much desperate posturing for a we-should-be-together song, which is appropriate, as neither band nor scene is going to hold together much longer.* Kantner's the one who tries hardest and longest to keep the ideals real.

*That's why I'm embedding it. Of the Kantner-only writing credits, I like "The Ballad Of You And Me And Pooneil" and "Crown Of Creation" just as much, but the latter is too focused for what I'm trying to say, and too much of a take-down of a "them" rather than a wrestling with a difficult "us." The former has too much optimism. Its "You and me we go walking south, and we see all the world around us" changes in a few months ("House At Pooneil Corners," co-written with Marty Balin) to "You and me we keep walking around/And we see all the bullshit around us." "We are leaving, you don't need us," on "Wooden Ships" comes a few months after that (by Kantner and Steve Stills and David Crosby), same alb as "We Can Be Together" and is just as much posturing and just as desperate. Backs against the wall so we retreat to fantasy, 'cause the wall's not coming down.

"I can carry my friends and I do when I can, we get by however we can."

Paul Kantner, March 17, 1941 – January 28, 2016.

(I didn't stay listening to Kantner and crews much beyond 1972, if any of you would like to point me towards what's most interesting in what came after.)

"I've never been referred to as 'cold steel' and I certainly don't hate it"
Brie Larson just won "Best Actress In A Drama" at the Golden Globes. I haven't seen the movie,* but this makes me happy because she'd impressed me a lot as a writer and singer back in the teenpop days; I'd subscribed to her semi-fanzine and regularly read her witty MySpace. She was personable and very smart in an interview by my buddy David Cooper Moore in Stylus in 2007.

Bunnies, Traps, and Slip 'n' Slides: An Interview with Brie Larson

 photo Brie Larson Finally Out of PE cover.jpg

*Room, playing at the Chez Artiste if you happen to live in Denver.

I once got one of these right, but no one noticed
Regarding wiki-illiam, I once got one of the questions right, but no one noticed.

Anyway, he's doing the quiz again:


Psy back catalogue
Some not-so-recent Psy. He's consistently good. Couldn't find English translations for most of these, and don't know if irony is new with him or has been central all along. The various times he says "bitch" don't sound good-humored. Then again, his humor isn't always pleasant, anyway.

"2-Year-Old Wife" ("2세의처") ft. R.Jay, Digital Masta, Small. Title has also been translated as "The Rich Heir's Wife." 2001.

"Yes, I Am." 2002.

"Intro" ft. Ray. 2002.

"Ragpicker" ("양아치"). Title also translated as "Gangster" and as "Rebel." Google Translate gives us "Punk" or "Thugs." 2006.

"Dead Poets Society" ("죽은 시인의 사회") ft. Dynamic Duo, Drunken Tiger, Tasha. 2006.

"Mr. Ssa" ("싸군"). 2010.

Waiting for HyunA (singles as of December 6)
Saw Ash-B's first appearance on Unpretty Rapstar and went, "Oh, no, they're making her/she's making herself sound tough and real and it won't work and she'll lose," so I averted my ears and avoided the show.

To my barely informed mind HyunA is now the dominant rapper in K-pop in that whenever anyone in Exid or 4minute who is not HyunA starts to rap or sing, I go, "This sort of sounds like HyunA but now I'm waiting for HyunA herself to show up." "Red" last year established this for me. (The wait is longer in Exid than in 4minute, obviously.)

Crayon Pop continue to score by ignoring past achievements; SHINee and Wonder Girls explicitly wallow in a past that's of course been implicit all along throughout the genre; most interesting freestylish moment, though, is "Delete," which casually pairs old NY-Philly-Miami riffs with cool autonomous vocals that you'd never ever have heard on an actual vintage freestyle track.

Since spring I've barely listened to anything that isn't medium-old jazz (Lee Konitz, Miles Davis).* So this list suffers, esp. in its dearth of No Tiers discoveries.** I've basically been relying on YouTube-generated playlists for K-pop and on random looks at the Singles Jukebox for everything else. I found Lila Downs via her "Cuando Me Tocas Tú" linked on Jonathan Bogart's Tumblr. (That track and Wonder Girls' "One Black Night" are candidates for my Freaky Trigger ballot, which allows album tracks.)

So, what have you been listening to?

1. Ash-B "매일"
2. The Seeya "The Song Of Love"
3. Azin "Delete"
4. Rihanna "Bitch Better Have My Money"
5. HyunA ft. Jung Ilhoon "Roll Deep (Because I'm The Best)"

6. Crayon Pop "FM"
7. ZZBEst "랄랄라"
8. Titica "Você Manda Fogo"
9. Momoiro Clover Z vs KISS "Yumeno Ukiyoni Saitemina"
10. Red Velvet "Ice Cream Cake"
Daphne And Celeste through T-ara (11 through 20)Collapse )
SHINee through GFriend (21 through 33)Collapse )

*In jazz, I didn't like what I heard this year from previous fave Matana Roberts. Sounded like a parody of a 1950s bohemian séance.

**But let me reiterate my liking for the missed-by-me-last-year "Babomba" from the impressively overlooked (and now personnel-shifted) Badkiz.

The cloud giveth and the cloud taketh away (part 17)
There's still an island of boxes in the middle of my living room, so this post is another little placeholder until I create time for a "good" one.

ImageShack took my picture links hostage and threatened to kill 'em all unless I paid money. I said, "Go ahead, commit murder," so presumably most photos on my lj and elsewhere are kaput. (E.g., this one here, Emil Jannings in The Last Command.) Maybe I'll go through and repost a few via Photobucket or some other nonhomicidal enterprise.

 photo The Last Command Emil Jannings small.jpg

Jazz in the last 25 years...
Just checking in so you won't think I've died or cut off my hands. I'm in the midst of another move, from Denver's west side to Denver's east.* Have ideas for posts but I want them to, you know, be good. In the meantime...

Jazz made in the last 25 years barely exists, if you go by the Wikipedia jazz overview — also if you go by my listening, which almost never includes it, or at least only includes music by people who had already made a substantial contribution prior to 1990 (though I did put Matana Roberts in my top 10 a couple years ago).

So, how wrong am I? I barely know what's there, if there's a there.

*Actually, we are inadvertently moving a couple hundred yards into unincorporated Arapahoe County, owing to our not realizing when we rented the place that there's a bit part of Arapahoe that juts east all the way to South Quebec Street. I'd just assumed that the border was Yosemite all the way down.

Adventures Embed
I discovered by blocking Shockwave Flash — which I highly recommend you also block* — that, when I embedded videos using the LiveJournal video template, the video playback employed Shockwave Flash (it wasn't part of the visible code, so I didn't know). If you've got an old CPU, this may have caused your computer to labor. In any event, blocking is easy (see footnote). So is unblocking: all you have to do is click on the red icon the blocker provides, and the video that's blocked comes into view. But from now on, I'll use something other than the lj template when I can.

This is the lj template, which works for YouTube but I'm not sure about anything else:

<lj-template name="video">URL</lj-template>

For example, here's DJ Leandro's "Montagem das Antigas, Volt Mix":

<lj-template name="video">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oj7T71vH-mo</lj-template>

Note that, when using the lj template, if the url begins with "https://" as YouTube's do, you have to get rid of the "s" for the embed to work. But I'm recommending you not use the template, given the Shockwave Flash. And when you're not using the lj template, you don't have to eliminate the s. And if you still like the lj template's ratio, I've worked out that it's approximately 428 width, 345 height. So you can just take a video site's embed code and insert those numbers. Here they are with the YouTube code (DJ Battery Brain's "808 Volt"):

More vids and stuffCollapse )

So, you can use that as a model and plug in the appropriate video. But since it too uses the slow-loading, high bandwidth Shockwave Flash, you might want to use a newer Dailymotion code instead (though for all I know it also uses Shockwave Flash [EDIT: indeed, it does]). This is the one for Wonder Girls' live "Rewind" (x307uyf):

<iframe frameborder="0" width="428" height="345" src="//www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x307uyf" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Yet more vidsCollapse )

Wonder GirlsCollapse )

The disappearing k-pop tagCollapse )

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Keep Nagging At Your Mom When You're Little (Orange Caramel/After School: Artists Of The Year, 2014)
Lizzy's advice on how to acquire the voice she uses for Orange Caramel and for trot (but not for After School):

Keep nagging at your mom when you're little.
Demonstrated here, with variants here (happy) and here (annoyed)* (h/t David Frazer).

I'm even more behind than usual (mid-year list to come, once again w/ Lizzy). I keep promising research on After School, never get there. So just several adjectives for you:

After School, who were kinda all over in their early years, have settled into smooth vocals, effortlessly poignant, when required, but holding rough rhythms under their hood. One of the few K-pop groups to sound as good in Japanese as Korean. Meanwhile, Orange Caramel's** rampaging cuteness conquers all, style atop style. No social insights from me. Cuteness doesn't play in North America, probably for good reason, but that doesn't mean we're living our lives better than South Koreans are living theirs.

After School "Triangle"

Orange Caramel "Catallena"

*The hashtag is #twang_Lizzy.

**Orange Caramel is a subunit, consisting of three members of After School: Nana, Raina, and Lizzy.

Our friend Nichol was visiting and in the background I was playing the first Seo Taiji and Boys album and Nichol stopped midsentence and asked, "Who are you playing?" Hearing the ricochet electro beats, she said, "This is freestyle!" The mournful vocals entered as if to confirm this, and she added, "This sounds like the barrio."

Seo Taiji and Boys "이밤이 깊어 가지만" translated variously as "Deep Into The Night" and "Through Tonight Growing Late," 1992

Seo Taiji and Boys "난 알아요" "Nan Arayo" ("I Know"), 1992

So, someone who isn't me, without prodding, hears the freestyle connection too! You know, I keep pointing this out, how much K-pop draws on freestyle, and I wonder why more isn't made of it. "Nan Arayo," the second of the tracks I embedded, is often credited (on Wikip, anyway) as the song that created K-pop. Obviously, freestyle isn't the song's only source: there's hip-hop, new jack swing, metal. Then again, in the music press of the '80s, the northeast version of freestyle (New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia) was called "Latin hip-hop" at least as much as it was called "freestyle," as being to Hispanic culture what hip-hop was to black.* The freestyle beats themselves were frequently an elaboration on the electro hip-hop that Arthur Baker and John Robie created for DJ Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock." What's interesting is that, while in early '90s America freestyle was basically knocked off the radio and out of popular music by new jack swing and hip-hop and r&b, in Korea freestyle mixed together with new jack swing and hip-hop and r&b to form K-pop, and, while never separating out as a substyle, it's in K-pop songs to this day.**

Anyway, to be precise, Seo Taiji's melody starting at 1:13 of "Nan Arayo," and especially at 1:29 is total freestyle, and the backup there has the sort of flourishes that Elvin Molina and Mickey Garcia could have put on a Judy Torres record in 1987, and dreamy plinks that Tony Butler might have put on a Debbie Deb track in 1983. (You can hear them best at 1:56 of the album version.)

Loosely preciseCollapse )

Tiny, tiny people
This long post by Steve Randy Waldman has been getting attention in the econ blogosphere and is a slamming bit of writing that's also clear and coherent and seems to explain a lot.


The two money quotes, so to speak:

With respect to Greece, the precise thing that European elites did to set the current chain of events in motion was to replace private debt with public during the 2010 first "bailout of Greece." Prior to that event, it was obvious that blame was multipolar. Here are the banks, in France, in Germany, that foolishly lent. Not just to Greece, but to Goldman's synthetic CDOs and every other piece of idiot paper they could carry with low risk-weights. In 2010, the EU, ECB, and IMF laundered a bailout of mostly French and German banks through the Greek fisc. Cash flowed into Greece only so it could flow out to rickety banks. Now, suddenly, the banks were absolved. There were very few bad loans left on the books of European lenders, everyone was clean, no bad actors at all. Except one. There were the institutions, the "troika," clearly the good guys, so "helpful" with their generous offer of funds. And then there was Greece. What had been a mudwrestling match, everybody dirty, was transformed into mass of powdered wigs accusing a single filthy penitent (or, when the people with their savings in just-rescued banks decide to be generous, a petulant misbehaving child).

For the record, my sophisticated hard-working elite European interlocutors, the term moral hazard traditionally applies to creditors. It describes the hazard to the real economy that might result if investors fail to discriminate between valuable and not-so-valuable projects when they allocate society's scarce resources as proxied by money claims. Lending to a corrupt, clientelist Greek state that squanders resources on activities unlikely to yield growth from which the debt could be serviced? That is precisely, exactly, what the term "moral hazard" exists to discourage. You did that. Yes, the Greek state was an unworthy and sometimes unscrupulous debtor. Newsflash: The world is full of unworthy and unscrupulous entities willing to take your money and call the transaction a "loan." It always will be. That is why responsibility for, and the consequences of, extending credit badly must fall upon creditors, not debtors. There is one morality tale that says the debtor must repay, or she has sinned and must be punished. There is another morality tale that says the creditor must invest wisely, or she has stewarded resources poorly and must be punished. We get to choose which morality tale we most use to make sense of the world. We do, and surely should, use both to some degree. But if we emphasize the first story, we end up in a world full of bad loans, wasted resources, and people trapped in debtors' prison, metaphorical or literal. If we emphasize the second story, we end up in a world where dumb expenditures are never financed in the first place.
There were several comments challenging his contention that "In 2010, the EU, ECB, and IMF laundered a bailout of mostly French and German banks through the Greek fisc. Cash flowed into Greece only so it could flow out to rickety banks." Here is his response:


Of course, as I've said often, I'm not an economist and don't have the knowledge or ability to truly evaluate such arguments. That Waldman’s explanations resonate with me is actually not a good reason to think they're right, in fact is a warning light. Not that it’s a reason to think his explanations are wrong, either. But one of the things that resonates is that the villains in Waldman’s story, the European policy and business elites, created and chose a story that resonated with them and that gave them a villain and scapegoat and simultaneously absolved themselves of the responsibility for examining what they themselves had done and for changing what they’re now doing. The psychology behind their story choice isn’t unlike mine, though I’m not an actor in this story and my self-interest is purely psychological. I’ll also quickly point out that Waldman is emphatically not saying there were no other bad actors, or, for that matter, that there was never any idealism or genuine concern mixed into the elite behavior. The sin he identifies in the elites is their refusing to acknowledge that there was a Europe-wide failure that involved many parties, and that there was a system that encouraged it.

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