Author Archives: Amadeo Williams

Valen-Scams Day

By Langley Delano Roosevelt

Since I know that you are exactly like me, I also know that once upon a time you stayedup late cutting construction paper, gluing stenciled letters, and addressing a handmade Valentine,anonymously, to Kelly Kapowski, or an equivalent knock-out if you are not male or didn’t go toBayside High. What happened to the good old days?

Valentine’s Day is 98% manufactured; a tool to boost our economy. The religious subcontext is virtually non-existent and the days leading up to February 14th are filled with dismay. I’m really not a creative person, nor a hopeless romantic. Coming up with unique ideas becomesincreasingly difficult after six years. Enter 1-800-flowers, Pro-Flowers, Flowers-To-Deliver and exit Benjamin Franklin. Tack in a movie, which historically has been disappointing, and burn a couple of dollars for good measure. Ladies – all you’re told to do is buy something expensive from Victoria’s Secret and put out.

Fuck that.

I just took 2mg of Xanax to calm myself down. I’ve just recovered from Christmas spending and now I’m about to go back down into the red hole of debt. Let me pop some more benzodiazepines so I can continue. What if you are in that awkward stage before a relationship or are just beginning to seesomeone? What then? The stress is overbearing. Etiquette is impossible to decipher and one way or another, you are sure to disappoint your significant other.

There is hope! I present you with two options. Do not celebrate Valentine’s Day at all, if possible, or refuse to be a bitch to the system. Make your own Valentine’s card, give a small gesture of affection, cook at home; I really don’t care, the specifics of your love life are none of my business. Remember, love is from the heart, not the wallet. If your husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, or whatever else is out there doesn’t understand, perhaps you need to rethink your relationships.

This year I am saying no. My significant other knows I love her and that is all thatmatters. I’m not going to stress out, I’m not going to read blogs stating top ten Valentine’s Dayideas, and I’m not going to treat February 14th any differently than the 13th or 15th. If you really want to support the economy, buy something for yourself; maybe some electronics or some shit that is typically not a Valentine’s Day gift. Above all, please don’t wear red.

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An Introduction to DOM

One of the best things about music is discovering a new band. Little brings more joy to the life of a music fan than finding a new band they just can’t get enough of. For me, the best new band of 2010 was by far DOM from Worcester, MA. This has a lot to do with DOM’s infectious lo-fi pop rock tunes that will stick in your head long after they finish, but it also has a lot to do with the outrageous character that is Dom, the lead singer, himself. Next Tuesday DOM’s first EP Sun Bronzed Greek Gods is being re-released on Astralwerks, so now is the perfect time to get to know this band of misfits.

DOM practicing for their backup career as professional chicken fighters.

My first exposure to DOM was reading a piece about them on Pitchfork. I checked out the songs embedded in the post and decided to head to Burning Mill Records, their label at the time which had put out a grand total of 3 releases, and buy a copy for 5 bucks. I had to wait a few weeks to get the music because at the time the people that ran the label were on vacation. A few weeks later, I received a hand addressed envelope containing a blue plastic sleeve with a print off of a homemade collage of what appeared to be Lady Gaga’s face with the eyes cutout and of course the CD. I fell instantly in love with it before I even listened to the full EP.

This is what Lady Gaga actually looks like sans costume.

DOM, the band, is made up of Dom (guitar), Erik (bass), Bobby K (drums), and Cosmo (shread head). None of the band members give out their last names. Dom is especially reticent to give his full name out to people. As he divulged to Pitchfork, “I owe a lot of money… I just don’t want to pay people back.” Continue reading

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Your Favorite Musicians Are Terrible People

You may like to think that Justin Bieber would make the greatest friend in the whole world. With that innocent smile, those luscious locks, and those winning melodies he must be just the coolest guy. Well, you’re wrong. It’s not your fault for thinking that though. It’s a defect of human nature. You see we like to associate things we like with other positive traits. It makes us feel better. We feel superior in our choices because not only is Coldplay a great band, but Chris Martin is actually a really cool dude we could totally hang out with.

Somebody on the internet captioned this picture for me.

It works the other way as well. If we hate a band, we assume that the people in it are awful for inflicting their terrible music on the general public. We imagine the lead singer tortures cute, little bunny rabbits for fun. We think of legitimate reasons to hate the people associated with the music because we hate the music.

Although sometimes our hatred of musicians is warranted.

Our emotions about the people making music should not be derived from the music itself. In fact, it’s best to follow one simple rule: whether the music is good or bad, the person making it is a jackass.

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The Pratfalls of Post-Racial America: Hip-Hop and Indie Rock’s Illicit Affair

Indie kids have been into rap music for some time now. As with all things indie kids do, they tend to stay away from the really mainstream music that you might hear on your local KissFM station. Instead they are drawn more to underground rap (indie kids like anything that can be labeled as underground) and gangsta rap (anything to make them seem paradoxical).

His bicep keeps it gangster with lyrics from Eazy Emily Dickinson

But over the last few years the connection between indie kids and rap music has taken on a completely new life. Rap culture and indie culture are starting to mix in new and often bizarre ways.

TI bought this plaid shirt shortly after moving to Williamsburg.

TI bought this plaid shirt shortly after moving to Williamsburg.

Fashion, as seen above, is one example where the cultures are colliding. As indie kids adopt high tops, flamboyantly colored t-shirts, and other staples of 80s rap concerts, rappers are quick to return the favor by wearing skinny jeans and as much plaid as they can find. Anytime Kanye West shows up someplace not wearing a suit, you’re bound to get some weird hybrid look of classic rap star with suburban white kid. Continue reading

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Indie Rock Has Gone to the Cats

There are a lot of cats on the landscape of independent rock music these days. It’s a strange trend, to say the least. Historically, musicians have had hobbies like drinking until they passed out and freebasing whatever chemicals they could get their hands on. Now, however, hobbies seem to be more along the lines of playing with string and perusing I Can Has Cheezburger.

Yeah, he looks cute, but his band sucks.

While this trend is a bit surprising, upon deeper analysis, it actually begins to make some sense. First it’s really only taking root in the indie rock scene. You don’t see rap stars all of the sudden breaking out freestyle verses about their pet cats. That would get them shot. Country music stars have big dogs, because they have land for them to roam free. Mainstream pop stars are still obsessed with their tiny rat dogs, because they’re all idiots. I don’t even want to tell you what would happen if a metal band got a cat.

Gwar tried to bring a cat with them on tour, but this dude ate it.

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Foreigners and Film Stars, What Could Go Wrong?

There is very little celebrities can teach us. They can instruct us in how to wear leggings inappropriately, perhaps, or demonstrate that child naming is not simply a familial concern, but rather an exercise in pure stupidity as they compete to name their offspring after inanimate objects, nonsensical terms, or barring local legislation to the contrary, words produced after mashing keys on a keyboard.

Occasionally, celebrities exhibit a a momentary lapse in self-absorption and provide us with insight into their little world, such as their reaction when Ryan Seacrest expresses only limited interest in their shoe manufacturer as they preen on a red carpet designed to hide their blood and tears on their way into a gala where they will reward themselves for rewarding America with their very presence.

 

Kingston Rossdale, named after a Jamaican city, has already started acting like a drug lord.

The Golden Globes, one such event, is a golden opportunity to contemplate the nexus of two vapid populations: Hollywood celebrities and foreigners. While Angelina Jolie demonstrates her lack of self-respect – and lack of a stylist interested in fashions not worn by the Golden Girls in a very special episode about the sexual effects of menopause – the foreigners, known as the Hollywood Foreign Press, a group so dignified its bribery scandals involve gilded gold envelopes, tries to measure its impact on the American public by awarding prizes indiscriminately and waiting for outraged public reaction. This year, they even upped the ante by hiding the results of their “voting,” scavenger hunt style, in Sandra Bullocks’ bangs, under Christina Aguilera’s breasts, and as the person of Marc Anthony.

Also in Sandra Bullock's bangs: the WMDs from Iraq, DB Cooper's stashed loot, and the secret as to why exactly Nic Cage is still allowed to be in movies.

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Breaking Down Brokencyde

A friend of mine recently introduced me to a new band named Brokencyde. For those of you that have not yet been introduced to them I highly recommend watching their music video for “Freaxxx” before continuing.

Done? Good. Now some history, Brokencyde (pronounced: LIIIIIIARRRRRRR) is a band from Albuquerque, NM. This surprises me for two reasons. First, I’d imagine the musical history in Albuquerque is mostly based around beating the skin of a dead animal while wearing elaborate headdresses. Second, the only other band I’ve ever heard of to come out of Albuquerque is The Shins.

The Shins: Music you can listen to while wearing a scarf

Brokencyde make music that can be summed up as screamo-crunk. Which, as you can probably tell, involves layering imitation Lil Jon beats and terrible rapping over white teenagers screaming. As a whole, this approach hasn’t garnered much love. As Wikipedia notes, “Brokencyde has been universally panned by critics. Metal Edge magazine has called Brokencyde ‘fucking horrendous’.”

But I think the critics go a little far in their blasting of Brokencyde. As a culture we’ve been asking for this with the popularization of absolutely terrible music.

What's the secret to my success? No, seriously I don't even get it.

Popular music is no longer something you listen to; it’s something that visually and aurally attacks you until it makes you its bitch. Essentially our relationship to popular music is the same relationship a pitbull had to Michael Vick (pre 2007).

Buy my new album!

Brokencyde was born into this world. Why screamo-crunk instead of electro-acid-jazz-funk? Because in the early 2000s both screamo and crunk music, two genres which have no right to exist in the first place, were both popular among the Hot Topic set to which Brokencyde belong. They said as much in an interview. With the bar set incredibly low, Brokencyde, at first a two man crew, saw no reason it couldn’t break into music despite an utter lack of talent. Unsurprisingly, they were right.

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