Friday, January 31, 2014

Listening Post


Cesca and I probably spent a good ten minutes on the podcast yesterday enthusing about HBO's True Detective and I'm going to do it here for a few seconds as well. Bottom line: If you're not watching the show, you're legitimately missing out on one of the best television experiences of the last decade. When Breaking Bad folded I really did think its near-perfection as a satisfying show would, for me, tarnish everything that came in its wake for quite a while. It's tough to hold up any TV drama to a show like Breaking Bad, even unconsciously, simply because Breaking Bad was such a damn masterpiece.

But True Detective goes beyond the realm of great television into something much more artistically minded. You don't just watch it, you feel it in your bones; it's a layered, beautifully acted, utterly menacing, pitch black piece of American gothic, and each hour is mesmerizing from start to finish. We're only a few episodes in so it's easy to catch up if you need to but, trust me, you need to.

Here's the opening credits music that sets the tone for the entire show.

It's the Handsome Family's Far From Any Road.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Listening Post


I have no idea what to make of this -- and I'm betting that's the most generous thing you're going to hear about it from anyone who considers him or herself a fan of Elliott Smith.

Apparently, long before Smith died 11 years ago, he recorded some isolated vocal tracks for a possible collaboration with Soul Coughing's Mike Doughty. Some of what he sang would eventually go on to become Bottle Up and Explode -- one of my absolute favorite Smith songs -- and Going Nowhere. Doughty says that the vocals were always meant to be cut up, experimented with, and ultimately transformed into dance tracks and that Smith was okay with this.

Whether he'd be fine with what Doughty has now created, though, is anyone's guess. Doughty says he recently found the vocal tracks on a cassette tape and he turned them into what he's calling honest-to-God EDM -- a genre title that didn't exist back when Smith was alive. It's fascinating to hear anything new and even kind of original from Elliott Smith, but given that he was so protective of his material and his legacy -- and this is a very far cry from the sound we've come to expect from him -- it feels a big sacrilegious.

Decide for yourself, though.

Take a listen to The Record, Dogs and Burn (Aah Fuck).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What Have We Learned Today?


I'm going to try to put these up at the end of the day rather than the beginning as a way to link to everything I've written at Banter over the last 24 hours.

Alas, I had a hell of a panicked night project-wise yesterday -- that's to top off my normal 15-hour work day -- so this shows up here a little late.

Hope you check this stuff out, though. I can always use the readership.

The Daily Banter: The Hillary Clinton Camp Stupidly Antagonizes Buzzfeed/1.27.14

The Daily Banter: Maybe It Really Is Time To Ignore Fox News/1.27.14

Listening Post



Broken Bells is the side project of Danger Mouse and the Shins' James Mercer. I liked their first album but admit that it wasn't a favorite or anything. But it made enough of a splash that they can get Anton Yelchin and Kate Mara to show up in the video for the first single from their new record.

This song has a really nice late-70s soft rock vibe to it, with just enough electro-funk to keep things interesting.

Here's Holding on for Life.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Listening Post



I love Elbow.

I love songs that pay tribute to the insane and wonderful grandeur of New York City.

Here's the first single from Elbow's forthcoming record, The Takeoff and Landing of Everything.

This is New York Morning.

Return of the Thing


Since this little experiment of mine first went live back in May of 2006, it's never been dark for longer than a couple of days. That was, of course, until last November -- when we kind of shut things down here and vanished into thin air (or at least into the endless work of writing for the Daily Banter).

But I always promised that I wouldn't completely abandon DXM and I intend to keep that promise. And so, beginning today, there will be daily content here again. Sometimes it'll be nothing much more important than a song and music video or two; sometimes it'll be a link to something else I'm writing somewhere else; sometimes it'll be a piece that's exclusive to here, something too personal or just not right for the Banter. But it will be something.

The lights are finally coming back on a little. It's good to be home.