Tuesday, April 25, 2006

the serpent swallows its tail in reverse

Interesting post over at Coolfer today where guestblogger Alec Hanley Bemis (sort of) laments the loss of Chuck Eddy over at the village voice. Much of his argument concerns the precarious position Eddy and by extension all alt-weeklys (especially the Voice) are in right now as a result of the music writing they feature. Brief, concise (occasionally) clever, and directed mostly at the writer and people like him/her. To explain, the story referenced this rather telling lead from a recent Voice piece about E-40:

since Tupac's shooting, the Pacific sensibility -- ranging from the barbecued grooves of G-funk to Mobb music's electro picaresques -- has hemorrhaged cred since the mid '90s, while surrendering Billboard real estate to young blood in the Bible Belt. New scenes have been flashing in the pan at strobe pace, with a spate of geo-genres springing up along the nation's rim: crunk, screw, trap, and snap. Add hyphy to the list—maybe.

OK, I think I sussed out maybe half of that, and that probably puts me ahead of Bemis. What this means is both of us are probably not the biggest of hip-hop fans (guilty!) and that this story isn't written for anyone but the biggest of fans of the genre, in which case...what is it hoping to accomplish sitting out there for general consumption?.

I'm not entirely sure of the answer. Alt-weeklies should be a source for material with a more challenging learning curve than, say, the daily paper. But why antagonize your audience with so much jargon and slang for slang's sake? Is this the blogosphere's and (by extension) Pitchfork's influence, to allow writers more freedom to express themselves at their most obscure but at the expense of the reader at large?

Maybe. I just hope I haven't been too guilty of the same.

This evening's musical selection, apropos of nothing:

"It's a Lie," by Acetone

Somehow this song lept into my head as i was walking the dog this evening, probably because I was on Avenue 42 which is just a stone's throw from the source of Acetone's swan song, "York Blvd." Acetone's not with us any longer, and neither is its lead-singer and bassist, Richie Lee, but they left behind a handful of albums that were categorized as somewhere between slowcore, shoegaze and alt-country. On this song, everyone's right. Much of the song is this big chugging, sorta roots-rocking hayride, but there's that big, round Rickenbacker bass tone that came with the shoegazer crowd followed by a few breaks between verses that are slow, coupled with a few wandering, lazy guitar solos coated in a layer of sparkling fuzz. A nice cocktail.

This record was one of my favorites back in 2001 when I first picked it up, then for the last couple years I completely forgot about it before tonight's walk. Sorry about that, Richie. Thanks, York Blvd.


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