Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

I've had a couple of very busy weeks, largely due to end-of-decade writing, much of which will be appearing this week. eMusic's Yearbook is the thing I'm probably most excited about reading: Hua Hsu on 2000; Melissa Maerz on 2001; me on 2002; Matthew Fritch on 2003; Douglas Wolk on 2004; Chuck Eddy on 2005; Jess Harvell on 2006; Vijith Assar on 2007; Christopher R. Weingarten on 2008; J. Edward Keyes on 2009. (Their Top 100 albums begins here as well, though that's the editors' list.) I also did something for The A.V. Club's best comedy albums (Flight of the Conchords), its top books (Mark Harris's Pictures at a Revolution), co-compiled a list of electronic albums with Andy Battaglia here, and wrote blurbs for the Top 50 albums list, which starts here. (I did Clinic's Internal Wrangler, 35th; Clipse's Lord Willin', 34th; Basement Jaxx's Kish Kash, 29th; Missy Elliott's Miss E . . . So Addictive, 23rd; Daft Punk's Discovery, 20th; and LCD Soundsystem's Sound of Silver, 14th.) I also wrote up a short list of albums that should have been on the list but weren't. And I contributed this crack at an etymology of "indie" for NPR.

I also reviewed the new Ted Gioia book--oy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

One of the reasons I'm on Facebook is to play Wordscraper--a Scrabble rip with lots of extras. I like to make high-scoring boards, which I invariably lose. The play's the thing--it's fun to unwind with. Today I accidentally started two games (rather than the one I'd intended) with someone looking for them. Sure, she said--as long as I didn't use word-finding websites. I said I didn't. I used to do that when I first started playing these games online (Scrabulous before Wordscraper), but there hasn't been any need to in a long time. The comments boxes became the site of a stupid verbal joust (I played the word "joust," actually, which is probably why I used it just now) in which I was accused repeatedly of "copying" words instead of coming up with them on my own. The evidence? I wasn't "hooking" words into one another--playing like a pro or semi-pro Scrabble player, in essence. And if I knew longish words but didn't hook them, I was clearly a "copier." Advice: If you're going to impugn someone's verbal skills, make sure you don't spell it "defanition."

This is minor, but it reminded me, yet again, how sad geeks are when they presume that people who like the same things they do, but don't have the same level of obsession, are somehow illegitimate. Because, of course, I used to do the exact same thing myself. My train of thought, though I would never have put it so baldly (I figured my thinking was more nuanced than this, and it was, but it ultimately didn't matter), went something like: If you want to express yourself on the subject of pop music then you should go pro or go home. And if you go pro, you should adapt yourself to these specific tenets that I go by. Or else you're a LIAR. This is pretty standard behavior--go look at ILM sometime if you want to see it writ large (go look at things I've written on ILM in the past sometime if etc.)--and you can put it down to basic youth/immaturity; you can hope so, at least. But it breeds bitterness, which doesn't look good on anyone.

That doesn't mean that everyone who calls bullshit on something is wrong--suspicion can be a healthy thing. But when it's merely disguising self-interest and/or self-regard it takes a turn for the creepy. The other thing that made me think of ILM was when the woman told me that my name had made its way around a list of 50 regular Wordscraper players as a "copier." Nothing like a cabal to keep you on your toes, right? Next they'll be conducting one-person dialogues with me in their comments boxes.

Monday, November 09, 2009

I'm late with this--I'll be late with everything for a good while; keeping up is more impossible than ever lately, which is fine with me--but I want to mention dÉbruit's FACT Mix 90, from October 9. Eclectic DJ mixes are a dime a dozen, even when they work, so believe me when I say that this one has a beguiling, strange, intuitive internal logic all its own. The site's intro hypes him as a "Parisian synth-funk futurist," and there's plenty of recent stuff that fits that broad template, but it makes him sound more limited than he actually is. Kurtis Blow and Dorian Concept and Konono No. 1 and Dilla and Yo La Tengo and Jeru and Dam-Funk and Wu-Tang bump hips and spill drinks on one another and slap each other on the back and go home with smiles on their faces. FACT mixes are only up, they say, for three weeks, but I just checked and the link still works. If it doesn't, Google it. You won't be sorry.

Monday, November 02, 2009

I have a new monthly dance-music roundup at The A.V. Club called Beat Connection.