It’s been a good week for music here at Empire Central. I’m finally starting to hear some proper summer anthems, like this number from Demi Lovato.
Yeah, I like this, okay? I like it. Good summer songs are like good summer films—cheerful and full of energy.
Meanwhile, the most important news this week was MEOW THE JEWELS NEWS, OBVIOUSLY. “Meowrly” is catastic. It’s all cat sounds. Can you believe it? BELIEVE IT.
Here’s a feature in the New Yorker about loudness in music, which is something I don’t think we pay enough attention to. I see people walk into bone-crushingly loud rooms with no earplugs, I watch them fight their way up to the front of the stage. Hell, most bands don’t give a shit about their ears. I’m as guilty as anyone. Sometimes it feels good. Most of the time it just hurts. (I’m pretty sure I lost 10% of my hearing in one night in a tiny box of a place in Tallahassee called the Thunderdome, where Denison Marrs loaded in with, as I recall, an AC30 and a full bass stack and proceeded to blast us all back to the Stone Age.)
And this is an article about period performance, which might seem cool but I can assure you is annoying as fuck, because the people who study this just love to hold it over you. “You know, the orchestra in Mozart’s time was much smaller, almost a chamber group, really. And they played differently and had a completely different understanding of musical terms—forte to them is soooooooo much quieter than forte to us, obviously—AND they didn’t even use the same pitches! Their A was several cents lower!” they sneer, as if you cared at all. I didn’t and I don’t and I maintain that it’s stupid and akin to an English scholar attempting to recreate the conditions under which people read books in the year 1850 because it’s “more authentic” and insisting that everyone read Dickens that way, that anything else—especially using artificial light or, Moz forbid, an e-reader—would be sacrilege. It’s stupid.
If you love rap and vinyl and picture discs and limited edition shit, then I have the link for you. CZARFACE is dropping a beautifully artworked single for what I found out is called Vinyl Tuesdays, which I refuse to talk about right now because why are they doing this? Whatever, it’s fine. New vinyl every week is fine. Buy the damn thing.
In other stupid news, everybody’s buzzing about Meek Mill calling Drake out for not writing his own raps. I don’t get it. Rap is virtually built on collaboration. Nobody works alone. This take on the situation is all that really needs to be said about it. Well, and this:
How you a ghost writer when you credited? You a nigga with a job & a publishing split.
— Vince Staples (@vincestaples) July 22, 2015
Our playlist this week is mostly chill and partially inspired by the new “Discover Weekly” feature in Spotify.
It’s been so long since I’ve even cared about a Spotify feature, but they snuck this one in and it seems to dynamically generate playlists based on your listening habits. The first one it did for me was pretty much right on, so I cribbed a few to put on here…then I tore it apart and rebuilt it. A few survived (Speedy Ortiz, Parquet Courts, Life Without Buildings) and for the rest I went for melancholy but I ended up with softly delusional optimism. I know. Just give it a shot.
I’d forgotten about The Hold Steady pretty much entirely. Boys and Girls in America was so goddamn long ago. Ten years, almost? Shit. It’s strange to hear such a vibrant and explosive track as “Stuck Between Stations” now. As good as ever, maybe even better. Maybe even the best side 1 track 1 of the past fifteen years. (There’s delusional optimism for you.)
This week was quite possibly the week when I finally got Pulp after years of trying. I never felt a connection to their music the way I did to the Manics, or the Smiths, or the Clash. But someone linked to the “Babies” video on Twitter and I was hooked.
It’s unbelievable, watching a huge nerd in a blazer with no shirt gyrate like a maniac while he sings lines like, “I want to take you home / I want to give you children” and there’s not even a hint of creepiness about it, or maybe there is and I’m not picking up on it but it seems weirdly sultry to me.