Thursday, February 28, 2013

archive fever part 2847

"404PageFound started in May 2009 with the goal of uncovering dated websites (generally from 1994-2001) that are still active and have avoided major updates. Many people think that sites created in the years following the dot-com bubble burst (2001-2003) are old. This may be true, but the differences between a site from 2001 and 1996 are quite striking. It’s overwhelming how much data from the days of Usenet, Gopher, and FTPs still exists in the depths of the Internet. Accordingly, 404PageFound is by no means an attempt to emulate the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine (or any other site that hosts former pages). The Wayback Machine serves an excellent and necessary purpose by continually capturing instances of websites for historical, technological, and cultural purposes. However, there is something distinct and unique about discovering an antiquated site that still exists in its natural state compared to browsing a library of how modern websites once looked. However, only in rare cases will a site in the Internet Archive still look like it did a decade ago."

[via katherine st asaph]

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

archive fever part 7843

"Pursuing an interest in exhaustive cataloguing, Rutherford Chang has collected over 650 first-pressings of the Beatles’ White Album. He considers the serialized first-press, an edition running in excess of 3 million, to be the ultimate collector’s item, and aims to amass as many copies as possible. Over the course of his Session, Chang will create an archive, listening library, and anti-store to house and grow his collection of the Beatles’ iconic record.

"Chang will create a record store that stocks only White Albums. But rather than selling the albums, he will buy more from anyone willing to part with an original pressing in any condition.
Visitors will be invited to browse the collection and listen to the records. The artist will digitally record every album played during the Session period, as well as document each gatefold cover and disc label. At the end of the Session, Chang will press a new double-LP made of the accumulated recordings and images layered upon each other"

the full story here

(via James Parker)

Welcome to... the Internet -  XLR8R magazine's  platform for monitoring "sounds emanating from a particular locale, even when that locale happens to be more virtual than geographical"

In this episode, Brandon Bussolini argues that the post-everything music of artists like  Nguzunguzu, Fatima Al Qadiri, Matrixxman, Physical Therapy, Brenmar, RL Grime. et al, and labels like Hippos In TAnks, etc is the next stage on from retromania, Because it is based around:

"a more radically decentered aesthetic, one that rejects references to analog culture in favor of the hall-of-mirrors self-referentiality of the internet itself. These artists refer to the past, but through the flattening viewfinder of the web; there's no longing to return to an earlier time or style because it's all here, right now—all equally valid and equally LOLworthy. The space away from media-conveying screens that "IRL" once described has collapsed rapidly, to the point where—philosophically at least—there's no lack, no difference between this and the real world. For many of these artists, the internet has gone from a mediating force—giving partial, finite access to the past or the present, but remaining fixated on another world out there, away from the screen—to a closed circuit actively opposed to linear time and hierarchical values. Despite what the design savvy we're surrounded with on the web may be suggesting, we're living in an achronological, carnivalesque present, both appalling in its smooth gaudiness and perfectly, reassuringly frictionless."

Well yeah, stage 2 from retromania is atemporality, where the sense of past-ness has gone, but so has the possiblity or conceivability of future-ness.

(See also post-Internet, "it's everything time", tumblr-pop, "Zones of Alteration", vaporwave etc)

But also relevant is that atemporal - or as Bussolini has it, "achronological" -- is half the story: atopological, ungeographical, that's the other half.  Atopological is to xenomania, what atemporality is to retromania. Which is to say that the sense of distance is almost abolished in the instantaneous access and absolute proximity of netspace. The gap created by  distance (temporal, spatial) is the gap in which desire, longing, projection, exoticism, etc takes place. This is what strikes me about the New Music, it feels desireless. It's hard to see what motivates it to exist, what motors it in terms of either individual psychological energy or social energy. 

These arrangements of incongruous but slickly annealed sounds, these chimerical agglomerations of disparate influences and far-flung sounds -- what are they here for? It's not just that there is no longer much in the way of utopian or progressive charge to all this border-crossing (as there was with early, analogue-era forms of fusion and hybridity -- "One World" music, etc). It's that you don't get much sense of  libidinal charge, of mechanisms like cathexis, sublimation, transference, etc, being in play.  Digital means that fusion is effortless, but also eros-less.  ("Frictionless", Bussolini's word choice, makes me think of netporn, and of responses to its bounty like the curated porn tumblr). Or it is a different kind of eros - diffuse, floating, easily distracted, ultra-tenuous, as happy to fasten on the simulated as the real...


I was sure Fatima Al Qadiri was a made-up person, a Ferraro-esque alter-ego for some bespectacled geek in a stained T-shirt. But there's a picture of her. Still a bit suspicious, though. Seems a bit too good too be true.



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

McCain Oven Chips - a Year To Remember

a spoof commercial from a few years back meant to look like it was made in 1979 and looking ahead to the future (i.e. now)

made by Duncan Jones, whose first name was originally Zowie

whose Dad briefly worked in advertising (as a paste-up artist / entry-level illustrator) and whose own father was a publicist

a real commercial from 1979, advertising the just launched McCain Oven Chips

Dad playing an ad man

Planet Earth is blue

In 1979, one thing i can tell  you that we took for granted would be part of life in the 21st Century -- human beings on the Moon

Still I hear India is planning a mission to Mars (unmanned, albeit) in the next decade

Monday, February 25, 2013

me, interviewed by the Berlin-based vinyl-phile magazine iCrates, talking about re-edits versus originals (Todd Terje versus Stevie Wonder), the flow of analogue time, and how non-digital formats provide vital impedance to our restlessness (impedance, not impudence as the translation has it...)

incidentally those pix were taken across the courtyard from Dubplates + Mastering, home base of Basic Channel and Chain Reaction, and a temple of the analogue religion

Sunday, February 24, 2013

"Why listen to the new bands that sound like the old bands when the old bands will be back before you know it?"

"It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday. No, honestly — it’s practically impossible, especially in an age of cyclical nostalgia and Internet-assisted memories. Old musical acts have always gone on comeback tours, but these days the disappearances are getting shorter and nostalgia is fully taking its place alongside discovery as a valid aesthetic-appreciation strategy. Why listen to the new bands that sound like the old bands when the old bands will be back before you know it?" - Jon Caramanica, in the New York Times, on the return to stages this year of Fleetwood Mac and New Kids On the Block.

Elsewhere  in today's Times, Jon Pareles on the reactivation of side project bands -- the Postal Service and The Breeders - which is to say more nostalgia / reunion / generationally-oriented marketing.

And Ben Ratliff on the resurgence of hardcore, with  a freakily large number of hardcore oriented festivals, the partial reunion of Black Flag as Flag, "the influential early-’80s band Negative Approach" playing at Damaged City Fest in Washington DC in April, etc etc.

I bought the Negative Approach LP (Tied Down) at the time (1983). I could never have imagined that hardcore punk would even exist in 2013  -- thirty years later - let alone be newsworthy.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Judith Williamson called it "inevitabilism". (I was interviewing her about the CCRU, Sadie Plant, et al, for this piece).  This dude calls it The Borg Complex:

... I read an article which strongly urged religious institutions to adapt to new communication technologies. Adapt or die, the author seemed to say; or, better yet, resistance is futile...  it occurred to me that there was an identifiable rhetoric that could be usefully labeled a “Borg Complex.”... 
I’m persuaded of the usefulness of this particular label because, at the very least, it draws attention to rhetoric that shuts down debate and discussion about technology. In its worst forms this rhetoric is disingenuous and coercive. Even when it is not deployed maliciously, it oversimplifies genuine complexity and prevents us from imagining the full range of possibilities with regards to our use of technology. The label also raises some interesting historical, philosophical, and ethical questions about technology.... To what ends is this rhetoric put? Apart from rhetorical considerations, what do we make of the technological determinism implied? What does the history of technology tells us about the claims of inevitability? What sorts of options and choices are genuinely available when a technology appears?

The Frailest Thing is cataloguing examples of Borg-ian arguments at this tumblr

Here is The Frailest Thing's schema of the fundamental set of rhetorical moves, aka "Borg Complex Symptoms"

1. Makes grandiose, but unsupported claims for technology

2. Uses the term Luddite a-historically and as a casual slur

3. Pays lip service to, but ultimately dismisses genuine concerns

4. Equates resistance or caution to reactionary nostalgia

5. Starkly and matter-of-factly frames the case for assimilation

6. Announces the bleak future for those who refuse to assimilate

7. Expresses contemptuous disregard for past cultural achievements

8. Refers to historical antecedents solely to dismiss present concerns

As Blue Lines Revisted notes: there are numerous examples of this syndrome in the discourse around music and technology...

As Virilio notes, every technological innovation is also the invention of a new accident, a new form of catastrophe...

As physicians, the honest ones, note: the word "side effect" is semantic sleight  - all drugs have multiple effects, but medicine and Big Pharma choose to downplay the negative ones and focus on the "primary' benefit of a new drug

Here's my own contribution to anti-inevitabilism

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Aaron at Airport Through the Trees with some good thoughts about retro and late capitalism:

"Retro is a structural necessity within the new formation of capital.... The loss of the alienated subject, structural critique, mass opposition (through the fracturing of markets via flexible accumulation) the loss of biology-based antagonisms (which persist but are no longer "beneficial") which form groups out of necessity, instead of deliberate taste, has caused the production of new cultural material to exploit to come to a standstill (or at least, to become so slow as to not be able to keep pace with the speed of commodification necessary to provide the necessary profits). The structural need for perpetual growth (you gotta spend money to make money) has reopened past forms to exploitation. The new underclass, no longer alienated, no longer antagonistic, only concerned with personal growth, is only too happy to repurpose older cultural product for the new market. This repurposing is the stripping of any referents or cultural baggage that belonged to the older form of social and economic organization."

In an earlier part of the post, Aaron has a schema that breaks down facets of the transition from industrial to postindustrial / modern to postmodern / material labor to immaterial labor etc. One of them is:

Modernism (new space for exploitation)---> Retro (reclamation of old space for re-exploitation)

I don't think Aaron meant physical space or urban space here (although real estate and gentrification crop up elsewhere in his argument), but it had never before fully struck me re. the parallels between retro as the reclamation of old musical styles and the movement of hipsters etc into old working class neighbourhoods. In both cases, the "space" (cultural and urban-geographical) is associated with primary forms of production. So Williamsburg, Shoreditch, or the Flats in Cleveland in an earlier age, etc etc these are places that used to be full of factories and warehouses and sweatshops, whose consequent ugliness and lack of facilities made them undesirable to anybody but urban pioneers and aspiring artists...

But the musical forms associated with that proletarian lifestyle are equally abandoned and derelict, capable of being repurposed and remodelled...   but with none of the existensial urgency that those forms had for the people who invented them and invested them with their energy, frustration, need for temporary transcendence...

This is why hipster house is such a curious thing, or indeed "Detroit techno" when it's made by people not from Detroit and not in the 1980s/early 90s....

But going back to the post, Aaron himself notes that the word "necessity" (as in "Retro is a structural necessity within the new formation of capital") is a stumbling point in his argument.   I also faced the same road bump while making a similar argument in the conclusion to Retromania but had to glide past it as best as I couldEven Fredric Jameson himself doesn't quite establish the link between "the nostalgia mode" and late capitalism -- retro as the inevitable upshot of / superstructure-to-base corrolary of an economy based around artificially expanded credit, real estate speculation, the finance sector and its ever-more spectral "instruments"...

Signs become detached from referents, signifiers from signs, styles unrooted from their modes of production.... yes, yes, absolutely....  but why does that imply and impel a return to the archives?   Is it because the economic growth that characterises late capitalism is pseudo-growth, fallacious growth (finance, property -- speculative, unmoored from material production), and thus a mask for a society that has stalled in its tracks....   that has lost its generative capacity in terms of new forms?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Seb Chan on "constant short term nostalgia":

He quotes Suse Cairns on how carrying her iPhone around with her has transformed her modes of seeing and processing reality/life ("I now see socially. I listen, not just for myself, but for what I can translate and share to my networks") and says that while familiar to him and most everyone these days, it "passes – over time – and in my case has been replaced by a sense of ‘constant short term nostalgia

"Timehop is a good example of a service that feeds this desire. It works by reminding you everyday of what you did exactly one year, two years, three years and more, ago to the day on the various social services that you’ve given it access to – your tweets, your photos, your location checkins.
"There is no forward or back in the interface. Just the past, exactly to the day. It is a constraint that greatly enhances its appeal/addiction.

"Much like my children who won’t, until the Great Power Outage comes, be able to forget the overly-detailed photographic renderings of their childhoods, Timehop (and the more diary-like Momento) is a constant reminder of what you were saying that you were doing, what you thought was interesting enough to photograph, and where you were...."

 C.f. the shorter cycles in which records get reissued (10th Anniversary editions) c.f. the calendrical and commemorative logic that magazines follow c.f. blogs and webmags from FACT to Freakytrigger that have an in-built archival-refresh element with old stories dug up and reposted...  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

fracking rock

hardcore for nerds, commenting on Ben Jeffery's article about Retromania

"If ‘retro’ is consciously taking elements of the past for (minimal) refashioning in the present, and the opposite is the mythical outpouring of original, transformational creativity, then I think there is also a middle path of artists that explore existing and established forms to see what more can be got out of them before they become exhausted: the ‘miners’. Miners do not have to go back into the past; they merely continue an existing seam. They only cover already-explored ground to get to where they’re going; what they find is not necessarily wholly new, but it is an addition to the existing stock. Most of all, however, there is a sense of an unbroken tradition that sidesteps the issue of ‘retro’: how can you be going backwards when you’re going forward on the same path, and deeper into the mountain of artistic possibilities? Some may find it claustrophobic, and break out into new tunnels or find a new entrance, but others are happy to keep going on in anticipation of a new lode (ok, I think the metaphor is done now)."

To which I commented: 

"genre-mining is a concept Joe Carducci came up with [in Rock and the Pop Narcotic], it's fine but of necessity it's incremental work

it doesn't have the Shock of the New-Seam

or better still completely new method of fossil-fuel extraction"

to which HfN replied:

"I can probably do without fracking-rock though."

Carducci's genre-miner idea crops up in this piece of mine from 1993 on the State of Underground Rock in America which teeters on the verge of forming the concept of post-rock

Friday, February 15, 2013

It’s 2013: I think we’ve come to grips with the fact that it’s damn near impossible to come up with anything new. I’ll be unabashedly clear that a lot of what I do is reconfigurations of older ideas put together into a more modern framework, but beyond all that, it’s really just about pleasing myself”--25-year-old producer Phil Canty, aka Morri$ - interviewed at FACT

I'm always startled when an actual young person comes right out and says something like this. Because I'm not sure even I believe that "it's damn near impossible to come up with anything new", I'm more concerned that a bunch of conditions and megatrends have converged to make that occurrence less likely, a situation made worse by intellectual fashions ("combinatorial creativity") that erode the will to do anything new, while assuaging any anxiety or guilt about recycling and parasitism.  So when an actual young person says something like that (c.f. the Amanda Brown quotes about post-creation) and without any handwringing or tone of despair, just more or less "that's how it is, that's how we be"  ...   wow.

But if there's anything that history shows, it's that all phases are temporary.... epistemes fade away or crumble quickly, they're displaced by emerging formations of sensibility....  This long moment of archivally saturated paralysis will break, surely...  It will, won't it?
At Tiny Mix Tapes, Rowan Savage argues for Bryan Ferry's new album of Twenties jazz-style remakes of his own songs -- an album on which he neither sings nor plays --  as a hauntological excercise:

"The Jazz Age both embodies Ferry’s political conservatism — a return to a nostalgic past, a valorization of what is now canonical — while also referring to an (or perhaps the) era of “cool.” The choice to record such an album in itself reflects this division: on the one hand, slavishly recreating the past is now precisely what pop music does; while on the other, the unusual particularity of the age and aesthetic chosen for reconstruction works against the typical paradigm — as does the holus-bolus reinterpretation of one’s own work, a kind of self-cannibalism (Ouroboros redux) but with a side of Baby Ruths and Wonder Bread... We have a literal reinvention of Ferry’s own material, but one embodied in the absolutely and unashamedly unoriginal, and in delving back ever closer to the zero point of popular music — which seems like a logical endpoint to the process.

"The project can easily be compared to other left-fieldly archaic interpretations and cratediggings — R. Crumb’s justifiably well-received compilation That’s What I Call Sweet Music, for example. I was consistently reminded of The Jolly Boys’ Great Expectation, a Mento (pre-ska Jamaican folk) interpretation of indie standards from Iggy Pop to Amy Winehouse. And there is a precedent within Ferry’s own oeuvre, in his long-held penchant for jazz standards — think of 1999’s As Time Goes By.
But in another sense, The Jazz Age is more fruitfully understood through the lens of acts like The Caretaker ... The distressed patina of age is not re-presented, but purposefully reconstructed — not so much shabby chic as swanky chic — the heartache without which no dream home is now complete."

Enjoyed also this bit at the start about the "bereft yet cornucopian" conditions of archival overload,  a snowdrift of precedents that impedes (your) progress and makes giant steps  so much harder

 "We live in an age in which a lack of destruction is itself the cause of destruction. As data pile up to unmanageable quantities, pop has no choice but to eat itself, Ouroboros-like, and grow fat in the process. Music lives (so the lament goes), but only as a monstrous revenant, capable of mimesis and mitosis, but not reproduction...."

                                                        Yes that's "The Bogus Man"!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

"Computer Chess... takes a funny, low-key look at nerd culture circa 1980 at a hotel where programmers have gathered for a man-versus-machine chess tournament. To pull off the archival footage look, director Andrew Bujalski filmed his faux documentary in black and white on a vintage Sony AVC-3260 video camera."

more at

[via Alexander Gajic]

made with a video synthesiser, the EMS Spectron, by electroacoustic compoer Robert Cahen

(via Continuo's Documents, who via-d it from Video Circuits)

Continuo says RC was:

"a member of INA-G.R.M. from 1971-74, and later director of the INA-G.R.I., or Groupe de Recherche Image from 1973-76, a facility created by Pierre Schaeffer to produce experimental videos for TV programs"

cf Laurie Spiegel's work on VAMPIRE, an abstract moving graphics compositional system.  and connection to 1970s experimental television... . as discussed midway through my profile

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I've mentioned here before Ben Jeffery's super-insightful essay about Retromania for the winter 2013 issue of The Point, the Chicago-based print journal. Now the piece has gone online


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"The modern landscape is mugged with all these rock schools. There’s a film called School of Rock and there are rock camps and rock schools—so many tutorials for children. The book itself is a response to all this practical knowledge that the children are getting, which seems like something that could have enormous ramifications on the art form, or whatever it is. You know, rock'n'roll. I felt like it was time somebody countered all this practical knowledge with this ideological and impractical how-to guide. Because everybody is just learning how to play the right way, and it just threatens to make things really boring. The book is definitely a manual. There are many pointers and a lot of warnings, and there are other things to consider besides the formal aspects of playing. It just seems like a major aspect of the book is talking about the ideological implications of rock'n'roll groups."
--- Ian Svenonius,  interviewed for the Paper Trail series at Pitchfork, about his new book Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock'n'Roll Group.

Clever man, Ian S.  Not musically, of course, but a fine manifesto-monger and provocateur.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

ra ra ra

I don't really care if this is genuine or not

(Is it, though?)

[via Blue Lines Revisited]


Met Sun Ra. Interviewed him when he did that not-so-great album for A&M.  Well, more like, was granted an audience with him. Two hours of soft spoken meandering disquisition on the secrets of the Omniverse. During the course of which I uttered barely a word. Somehow it was conveyed that any contribution from me, or attempts to steer the direction, would have been presumptuous and superfluous.

Annoyingly I don't have the tapes (yes, there was a time when I was stupid enough to tape over interview cassettes with new interviews).  Do have a rough transcript -- 3800 words, but only a fraction of the total uttered.

A snippet:

"My job is probably the most neglected factor in the  universe. I knew when I was three years old that I had to do something I didn't want to do, tell people all about this. I didn't even want to play, then. I dedicated my so-called life to the Creator, in that seeing that he's seen and heard everything, I'd play something he'd never heard before.

"Here's something you've never ever experienced before. I have to play for this Creator because other things coming from this planet he's not pleased with - it's like static, pollution in every way...  mental, physical... that's all that goes up there.
"That's my advice to musicians - do something that the Creator might sit up and take notice of."

tomb raiders and the zombies of rock

The history of rock 'n' roll will come to life like never before when “RAIDING THE ROCK VAULT,” a one-of-a-kind rock concert experience boasting the ultimate set list, kicks off a year-long run Saturday, March 9th at the LVH – Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. Tickets for “RAIDING THE ROCK VAULT” go on sale Saturday, February 9th at 10am.

“RAIDING THE ROCK VAULT” performs nightly (dark on Fridays and schedule subject to change) at 9pm in the LVH Theater, the same stage where Elvis Presley performed 858 consecutive sold-out shows, breaking all Vegas attendance records.

Narrated, sung and acted along with compelling imagery including historical footage, the show transports the audience back to a magical musical journey from 1948 to 1989, traversing the genre's history chronologically through the ‘40s, ‘50s, '60s, '70s and '80s. “RAIDING THE ROCK VAULT” features classic anthems from The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Eagles, Queen, Van Halen, AC/DC, Journey, Free, Bryan Adams, Supertramp, Toto, Deep Purple, and more, truly boasting "The Greatest Set List Ever."

These timeless gems are translated on stage live and loud by an all-star band comprised of Howard Leese [Guitar] (Heart, Bad Company), Tracii Guns [Guitar] (LA Guns, Guns n’ Roses), Robin McAuley [Lead Vocals] (MSG, Survivor), John Payne [Lead Vocals and Bass] (Asia), Paul Shortino [Vocals] (Rough Cutt, Quite Riot), Jay Schellen [Drums] (Badfinger, Asia), Andrew Freeman [Lead Vocals and Guitars] (Lynch Mob, The Offspring), and Michael T. Ross [Keyboards] (Lita Ford, Hardline). In addition, rotating special guests will be confirmed, kicking off with Bobby Kimball [Lead Vocals] (Toto), followed by Joe Lynn Turner [Lead Vocals] (Rainbow, Deep Purple) joining the show at the end of March.

“RAIDING THE ROCK VAULT” follows a compelling theatrical narrative told via narration by acclaimed actor Richard Malmos in front of the giant ROCK VAULT onstage. The music, performance, and visuals come together to tell this unforgettable tale.

Written by esteemed Grammy Award-winning record producer David Kershenbaum (Joe Jackson, Tracy Chapman, Supertramp) and musician, producer and vocalist John Payne (Asia), “RAIDING THE ROCK VAULT” was born to give audiences an illuminating look at the history of rock and for those who lived it, an exciting trip down memory lane. It’s a rock-u-mentary you do not want to miss.

“The LVH is thrilled to host what promises to become a must-see show for Las Vegas visitors and locals alike,” said LVH Vice President of Entertainment, Rick White.  “Classic rock music…real rock stars…the legendary LVH Theater…the story of the greatest musical genre of all time…it doesn’t get any better than that,” added White.

The VAULT will open and you may never view rock 'n' roll the same way.

Ticket prices for “RAIDING THE ROCK VAULT” range from $49 to a special Rock Star Package for $100 (which includes tickets in first five rows, t-shirt, signed concert program, signed album, meet and greet and VIP pass) plus fees. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the LVH box office or by logging onto,, or Tickets can also be purchased by calling 702-732-5755 or 1-800-222-5361.

About LVH – Las Vegas Hotel & Casino: LVH - Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, a world-class destination, offers a unique blend of amenities and excitement with all your favorite table games, hottest slots on the market, incredible restaurants, endless entertainment, more than 200,000 square feet of meeting space and the world’s largest race and sports SuperBook®.  LVH – Las Vegas Hotel & Casino provides a range of culinary adventures including exhibition-style Japanese cuisine at the world-famous Benihana, fine steaks at TJ’s Steakhouse, Pan-Asian dining at 888 Noodle Bar, authentic Japanese sushi at Teru Sushi, a traditional buffet that features tastes from around the world, and more. LVH boasts a strong entertainment schedule led by world-class headliners in the LVH Theater, as well as a variety of on-going production shows in the Shimmer Cabaret. Its proximity to the Las Vegas Convention Center and its designation as a Monorail station (connecting it to the Las Vegas Strip) makes it the ideal hotel for conventions and visitors alike.  For more information or to book accommodations, call toll free at (800) 732-7117 or log on to or connect with us on our social pages

[via Matos]

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Maura Johnston asks "Why Can't We Leave the '90s"?  (at Seattle Weekly)

"Last month Microsoft, in the hope of burnishing the reputation of Internet Explorer, launched an ad that essentially asked, "Remember the '90s?" Called "Child of the '90s," the ad opened with a decade-appropriate bit of self-deprecation ("You might not remember us . . . ") before launching into a listicle of artifacts that existed between 1990 and 1999... They're hardly alone. ABC Family is readying the third season of Melissa & Joey, a sitcom based more on the premise of having Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa Explains It All; Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) and Joey Lawrence (Blossom) share a small screen than on anything resembling a plot. The Twitter account @SeinfeldToday fast-forwarded that NBC sitcom's '90s-rooted characters and racked up 410,000 followers and a couple of parody accounts. And this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, set for two April weekends in the California desert, will feature three headliners—the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Stone Roses, and Blur—better associated with the (touring) Lollapalooza era than the music-blog age."

Strangely in the whole quite long piece, Maura doesn't mention the My Bloody Valentine record and the huge nostalgia-driven swell of attention, discussion, etc about what is effectively a time capsule from the mid-Nineties.

(My initial reaction to the news of the album was to feel vaguely inconvenienced, as if by the sudden arrival on your doorstep, without any advance warning, of an old dear friend you haven't seen in 20 years -- you know you should be overjoyed, but life's moved on a lot, your head is in a completely different place, the timing feels off)

(My initial reaction to hearing the record, having finally succumbed to curiosity and proddings from the wife, was "Can I have my 42 dollars back please?".  Hopefully that'll fade on repeat plays. Hopefully the vinyl, whenever the fuck it turns up, will be glorious sounding. But in MP3 form, even when burned to CD-R and played on a good stereo, m b v mostly sounds dead to me, in an eerie but not particularly pleasing or compelling way. There's something rhythmically suppressed, aurally suffocated about the bulk of it - like my slight misgivings about Loveless were premonitions. If only the last track were the first track and it took off from there).

Back to Maura... 

"But the relentless march back to the '90s—whether through reunion tours by the likes of the Afghan Whigs and Pulp or 95-page photo galleries of the decade's toy crazes—seems to be more intense than the nostalgia of previous generations. (Yes, even more the Boomers', whose self-glorification sure seemed oppressive.) Reunion tours; full-album concerts; galleries of fashion from the decade; listicles that stroke readers' lizard brains until they're endlessly looping the question "Remember when?": These all reflect a culture that seems much more interested in looking back instead of moving forward."

Another recent piece on the 90s revival -- Smells Like 90s spirit  - and I make a brief appearance in that one