Nov

22

Bwog goes downloading, wonders at the logic of crowds

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There’s a lot of music out there to rip off–Bwog music critic Bryan Mochizuki gives us the run down on the downloads.

“Careful” – Hot Chip 

hot chipAs I’m writing this, Hot Chip is the 4th most blogged act on Hype-Machine (Google-sort-of-thing for MP3 blogs) and it’s also the 4th most searched for.  They’ve been somewhere in the top five of both for the last few weeks.  Their ability to hold both of these spots is fascinating, because they haven’t really done anything to warrant it.  The three artists above them on the “most blogged” list are Jay-Z, the Clipse, and Joanna Newsom, who’ll all drop albums sometime in the latter half of November.  Most of the Hot Chip songs I’m finding are from an album that came out in May. Is Hot Chip really so great that people are still flipping their lids six months after the fact? 

NoYesMaybe.  I’m actually not sure. A lot of what I’ve sampled seems very consciously “good,” like Radiohead if they would have just started with Amnesiac and said, “Look at all this weirdness…wait for it…wait for it…yeah, you liked that didn’t you?”  This is not to say Hot Chip is anything like Radiohead or even worth comparing to them.  But “Careful” just sounds like the sort of weird shit bands do when they are way too conscious of attaining (or attempting) “goodness” – especially when all that weirdness is getting in the way of what is a pretty nice little ditty.  Seriously, this song goes from like a 3 to an 8.5 when the band stops circle-jerking on the drum machine and plays it like they’re Death Cab scoring a montage on “The OC.”  How often does that happen? 

“We Are Your Friends” – Justice vs. Simian 

So this track has been around for a long time (in blog years), but the video and the resulting Kanye debacle gave it a second wind.  Which is good, because this song is kind of the greatest thing ever—which brings me back to Hot Chip.  Hot Chip is OK, and at times more than OK.  But right now, a lot of like-minded groups – DFA, MSTRKRFT, Justice – are REALLY good and (I thought) a lot more popular outside of the blog world.  Maybe they’re not.  Either way, This Song: Wow.  Mr. West is the only person I know of who hates it, and even he probably likes it in private. 

“Only Skin” – Joanna Newsom (2nd item on page) 

A lot of people whose musical tastes I really respect have sung Newsom’s praises.  They’ve also said that it takes a good 5-10 listens to really “get” her (something that the above post confirms).  Well I’m at listen number 12 now and nothing’s jiving. My friend Lizzie, tried to explain the phenomenon, and ended up talking about how long Newsom’s hair is in person and how her stage band includes a saw player. So that failed, but Lizzie did give me this nice song from her last album, which is at least more listenable than “Only Skin.”   

I also got the rest of the new album, Ys, after another friend said something about Newsom only making “anti-singles” (a thought I independently grasped, about 11 minutes into “Only Skin”).  Listening to Ys, specifically “Monkey & Bear”, I can’t help but think that at some point Newsom’s going to flatten out.  She’s going to somehow get pulled into singing “Pancho and Lefty” on the Return To Brokeback soundtrack, and she’s going to get a lot of play after she sings it on the Oscars and everyone realizes the sort of talent she has.  Then some exec at her new big label is gonna wise up and make her do an album with traditional song structures and girl-meets-boy songs instead of all this fairy tale crap.  And she’s going to make her first million off of Starbucks sales and then there’s no turning back.

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9 Comments

  1. hot

    chip has one interesting song (the one that goes, "i want a shining suv, people see me differently.") the rest are so, so.
    i think newsom is weird enough not to flatten out. she's a funny character, and her strange music seems to be genuine, not an act like hot chip's.

  2. ohman

    the bwog marches into the august halls of indiedom

    • "Anonymous" Poster

      That Hot Chip song about school is pretty rad. But come on. I would expect Bwog to rip on MP3 blogs, not celebrate them. Why not do a feature about older, interesting bands that don't have massive promotional firms and "indie" labels supporting them.

  3. hotchip

    over and over is hot shit. so is tchaparian. and the warning. but dont get too excited, i predict their 15min will but up soon enough

  4. Emily

    i feel sorry for whoever doesn't get the beauty of Ys.

    and maybe bwog should get a music writer that talks about music and doesn't mention blog in every sentence.

    just a thought.

  5. pitchforkistan

    BLOG BLOG BLOG BLOG BLOG (flannel) BLOG BLOG BLOG (indie) BLOG deathcab thankyew goodnite

  6. duh  

    wow. i'm so glad bwog finally told me about this 'hot chip' band.

    um....any band that the DFA both signed and remixed TWICE is probably pretty fucking good. Can't wait for next week's introduction to the Beatles!

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