— Justin Simien, director of Dear White People (which I am going to go see TONIGHT! bless you forever, babysitting mother-in-law), in an interview with Gawker’s Rich Juzwiak.
So I just today got the expanded edition of Carl Wilson’s Let’s Talk About Love. Which, no, I hadn’t read yet, despite flirting with the idea of submitting a 33 1/3 proposal at the beginning of this year. (Reach, grasp, yes, I know.) And now that the DeKalb library system has indulged me — I love you, DeKalb library system — I half feel as if I ought to liveblog the damn thing.
"Martín Fierro" from Segundo
The opening track from Segundo is one of the strangest track in Juana Molina’s discography. To start with, I think that I should explain a little bit about what Martín Fierro is, but also, who he is. Argentina has a very important figure in its culture: the gaucho. It has been translated as “cowboy”, but it’s something different, especially for the values that a gaucho carries within him. The epic poem Martín Fierro by José Hernández, published in two parts in 1872 and 1879, and the character that gives its name, is the most important representation of the gaucho and a national symbol for Argentina.
This is one of the posts I’m most proud of writing for my One Week// One Band on Juana Molina. “Martín Fierro” is a unique song, and I’m not sure that non-Argentines know what’s behind it.
Y’all, this is the justification for OWOB’s existence, right here.
— From “Why You Looked Weird in High School" by Jaya Saxena.
"Mind" by Cooly G
Hyperdub’s latest compilation album is full of those moody, late-night, fall and winter jams that will get you through the impending, consistent darkness of the changing season. I was especially happy to see two Cooly G tracks on the latest compilation, Hyperdub 10.3. Cooly G’s new album comes out on October 20, but until then, we can settle in with these new songs full of that static-y, vinyl-y, lo-fi aesthetic and harmonious yearning, something Cooly does best.
Over the weekend, I had a long conversation with my friend Ben about Cooly G and I mentioned that I’ve always felt a deep connection to her music. I’ve also met a lot of women like me - women who spend a lot of time online, devouring music, finding themselves through 0’s and 1’s instead of IRL - who also get her in a way that other people, particularly men don’t.
There’s something so weird and uncomfortable and familiar about her music. In my head, I call it “wine music for synth girls.” It’s rainy. You’re horny. You’re lonely. You’re in need of some Cooly G.
So I have a Spotify account now, and my 5-year-old has her own playlist which she can play from the back seat. Generally I let her do her thing, trusting that she’s not going to accidentally click on something labeled “Explicit” while she’s searching for Minnie Mouse. But this morning, on the way to school, was me hearing the above and going “OH HELL NO.”
There’s nothing explicitly wrong with it, granted. It is not obscene. It is Minnie describing, in vivid detail, all the yummy treats she made for the bake sale, and then scolding Mickey when he tries to eat one, and then Mickey whining, pleading, arguing, and trying to sneak around her “no” for three more verses. It ends with Minnie shriek-singing, “This is for the bake sale, Mickey, JUST! BACK! OFF!” If you believe that we internalize messages from pop culture, it’s hard not to hear this — to hear this alongside two little girls — and not be creeped out. At least I couldn’t manage it.
"Wow," I said when it had finished. "I really didn’t like that song." "Why not?" my 5-year-old asked, and I told her that Mickey and Minnie aren’t very nice to each other in it: Minnie shouldn’t regale Mickey with descriptions of her treats and then scold him when he’s interested, and Mickey should stop when Minnie tells him to stop. My daughter argued that Minnie should share, and I had to explain what a bake sale is, and I’m not sure I got my point across before it was time to walk into school, but it’s not like she knows what "rape culture" is. She’ll learn soon enough, I guess.
I feel like I’ll need a Bipo concert like this maybe like once or twice a year to anoint me with good vibes & clean out the part of my soul that is usually so heavy with doubt… Tonight - for once - it is empty.
A couple people encouraged me to try and come up for the B1A4 concert in Chicago last night, and man what a good idea that felt like. I wanted to make a whole weekend of it, see pejmanyousefzadeh again and maybe meet radio-palava and the Chicago contingent of the Jukebox in person. But the cost was prohibitive — New York last year was bad enough, and I was able to couch-surf for that one — and as schedules ended up lining up, it would have inconvenienced my family even more than the New York trip did. So.
I’m not sorry. A little jealous, but not sorry. Friday afternoon I took my girls to Atlanta Game Fest and taught my older daughter and another girl Set; Saturday and Sunday we did family stuff together. It would have been a bad weekend to miss.
A little jealous, because the above description and Kay’s tweets make the concert sound exactly as I would hope a B1A4 concert would play out: fun and love and giggling and dancing and light and soul-cleansing silliness. I was sort of hoping that seeing Infinite last year would go that way, but it didn’t — not for me, at least; I don’t know if it was the problems with the venue or that I needed intense meta and soul-searching rather than lighthearted silliness, but it wasn’t wheeeeeee! I remember standing on the street as everyone spilled out and feeling empty, and not in a good way.
"I’ll probably never get another chance," I told my husband the other day when he teased me for being careful with the cheap rubber Infinite bracelet I received from another fan while standing in line. "Are you sure?" he asked. "I thought I’d never get another chance to see Melt Banana again, and I’ve seen them twice since then." "Melt Banana aren’t subject to Korean mandatory conscription laws," I said.
(Yes, I am also a little jealous of my husband for having seen Melt Banana three times. We should get a babysitter for the fourth.)
It’s funny how events that are by definition frivolous, or “frivolous” — pop concerts — turn into experiences that are not frivolous in the least. (The same can be said of sports.) Even the silliest songs become venues for passion and recognition and self-recognition and learning.
One thing I haven’t worked out yet in my own mind is how, and how much the base material matters — as in, if I use Infinite as a platform for creativity and learning and growing (and I do; that’s pretty much why this Tumblr exists in the first place), then why Infinite? Why not HIM or Blink-182 or orTori Amos? What does it say about me that it wasn’t a female band or singer? How would this all be different if I’d latched onto something else?
What I come up with is an argument for variety in our sillinesses, expanding the ability of everyone to find the particular frivolity which leads to their unexpected springboard. (Thinking, also, of Frank Guan’s essay on Tao Lin: “If television almost never featured anyone who looked like you, let alone provided you with a character, not a sidekick or a foreign object but someone with an attractive and expressive face like yours to impersonate, you would be a bit lost.”) And also — and this may be trodding too-well-worn ground — a general willingness to talk about those connections between silliness and learning, to treat the learning potential of silliness seriously. Which is most of the reason why I hope Kay writes more about last night’s concert.
I curse whoever kept this from me bc it is giving me EVERYTHING
It feels like this was what EvoL’s “Get Up” was trying to be. (The lyrics are more conventional and less confrontational than the video, for what it’s worth.)
"Red Light" got the too-many-songs-in-one criticism earlier in the year (from others, not me — I still think "Red Light“‘s shifts were beautifully handled), but this one feels more sonically incoherent, after one listen. There will almost certainly be other listens.
My list for potential Jukebox Amnesty 2014 picks is pretty short — it’s hard to compete with “Motema Nangay" — but "But Go" is now on it.
On a whim I picked up an e-copy of Economics for Humans, by Julie Nelson, and by “on a whim” I mean “it was the free book from the University of Chicago Press that month.” (Seriously, the University of Chicago Press offers one free e-book every month, and the offerings aren’t necessarily obscure, limited, or dull.) I’m not through with it yet, but I think many of you would find it interesting, in its dissection of the idea of the market as “machine” and the ways that metaphor limits our understanding of how trade and economies actually do work, let alone how they should work.
(Also, I just got to her reference to “minor-league economist Arthur Laffer” and my tablet near sizzled from the burn.)
The panels went pretty decently, given my lack of experience in conducting them. The Nakata panel was sparsely attended — to be expected, given that I was scheduled on Sunday opposite hotel checkout — but the people who came were interested and interesting. Thank you! if you were there and you happen to see this.
The K-pop panel was quite well attended — and I think there was, for at least part of the room, an impulse to take things in a different direction than I wanted to take them. We were obstensibly there to talk about K-pop in a Japanese context: AWA is, after all, a Japanese-focused con. But I stood up there and, in the course of introducing myself, said, “And I know way, way too much about Infinite,” and the response was a series of enthusiastic shrieks.
The problem was, I wasn’t equipped to access all that crazy energy; I had a topic at hand and an hour (and some technical difficulties with my laptop). I didn’t do the best job at reining in the fangirling, in part because the fangirling was tempting! and it was going to be my only chance. I gave my Tumblr username out at the end, but I couldn’t get anyone else’s.
So, if you happened to have been there, and happen to have remembered my URL long enough to swing by here, we are unencumbered now — please do bombard me with all the feels.
I am rooting for you! All the luck!
I am rooting for you as you proceed westward. Bring my love for Jamie with you. Do not get diphtheria. Do not shoot any buffalo, as you’ll just feel guilty for wasting all that meat.
HAVE FUN BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY SURVIVE AND ALWAYS REMEMBER TO BUY HAND SOAP/SANITIZER BEFORE IT STARTS
I LOVE YOU TARA
I MUST PLUG YOUR PODCAST WITH MEGAN AND CRYSTAL AGAIN
(Also, clearly you have been spared extended interactions with small children if you’re assuming that I don’t already have hand sanitizer on me all the time)
(This is not a bad way to start 5775, says the not-very-observant Jew.)
I am currently in the process of getting ready for my two panels. Hopefully you are also in the process of getting ready for my two panels. The more interested, informed people show up — heck, the more people show up — the better they will be.
Thus, last plug:
Saturday, Sept 27th at 6:15 pm, Cobb Galleria 106:
SJJD and All That: K-pop in Japan
Japan is one of the largest music markets in the world; K-pop is one of the most dynamic industries in current popular music; it only makes sense for the two to come together. This is an hour to explore some of the questions that result: why do some K-pop groups do better in Japan in others? Why do some K-pop groups do better in Japan than in their home country? Why does Girls’ Generation (or SJJD to their Japanese fans) and similar groups lavish attention on the Japanese market when Japanese idol bands don’t bother with Korea? Is there any cross-pollination between the Japanese and Korean pop scenes? And finally, are the Japanese versions of Korean music videos even sillier than the originals? Bring your encyclopedic knowledge of your favorite group and a healthy appreciation of the way ugly geopolitical history and market forces can shape pop destinies.
Sunday, Sept 28th at noon (aka the hangover slot), Cobb Galleria 102:
This panel is all about Yasutaka Nakata: pretty Shibuya-kei star turned ubiquitous producer (of Perfume, Shiina Ringo, and SMAP, to name just a few) turned creator of almost all of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s music. Come spend an hour paying attention to the man behind the curtain, as we talk about musical and visual experimentation, questions of who’s the brains behind the entire Kyary carnival (and whether it matters), and the potential direct line from Pizzicato Five to PONPONPON. Or just bring your enormous false eyelashes. That’ll work too.
I may be there tonight to pick up my badge and say hi to friends before things get really crazy; I may be there Friday at some point during the day or evening; I will definitely be there Saturday during the day, before the panel. If you happen to spot a slightly frazzled-looking middle-aged woman in a pink shirt, quite possibly dragging around two overwhelmed small children, say hi.
We interrupt this hiatus because this morning I found something I’ve been looking for since almost the day I fell into the rabbit hole: actual financial figures. Bless the nice people at OneHallyu for translating; here’s the original source, for those of you who can read Korean.
After the cut, your usual underinformed wankery and reckless speculation about Woollim and whether our gentlemen are getting anywhere near a fair wage for all their hard work.
It turns out that between a dissertation, the demands of the school year, increased Jukebox activity (well, you’d be more active too, if you saw all our cool new writers), and other shifts in my life, something had to give, and that something turned out to be this blog.
(listening to Fugazi right now, natch.)
I’ll keep my ask box open but may not be all that swift at checking messages. And there will be Twitter.
in the meantime, y’all keep doing what you’re doing. Tumblr has been a place for learning, growing, and meeting interesting people, and I am so grateful that y’all have been out there, sharing and letting me listen.