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Michael Azerrad
http://twitter.com/michaelazerrad
I'm a music journalist and I play drums. Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/michaelazerrad
Interests: All kinds of music, Japanese supermarkets, frisbee, dark chocolate, red wine, playing drums, cable news shows, flea markets, reading books, holding hands and skipping stones, cooking vegetarian food, walking in the woods, modern art, classic films
Recent Activity
Thanks for the kind words, Mr. McCarthy. Please come back here and let us know how you and your daughter liked the show!
Those are great questions, Josh. One thing to rebel against is the rising tide of aggression, stupidity and ignorance that is engulfing every aspect of our culture. So you can make a statement against that by making music that is peaceful and smart. I wrote a post about that here: http://michaelazerrad.typepad.com/you_and_what_army/2010/02/npr-rock.html At one point, "NPR rock" dominated indie. But naturally, music goes in pendulum swings, and now louder, more abrasive music is inevitably becoming fashionable. (See: the Men, Metz, Ty Segall, Iceage, Trash Talk, et al.) One could argue that this new, more aggressive music is a metaphor for being galvanized against the myriad new outrages of the modern world. Or, as catharsis, it could just serve to siphon off dissent. One thing music can rebel against is its own co-optation. And by extension, the co-optation and corporatization, of seemingly every aspect of public and even private life. Even indie rock, which many people think of as underground, is actually heavily co-opted by the corporate world. Just look at SXSW: last year, very high-profile bands played inside a six-storey-high Doritos vending machine. And there is music being made and scenes being built which just can't be bought off by the Man. But yeah, that's a great question. Rock music used to at least claim to rebel against things. And it did, at first: mixing the races onstage and off, and within the music itself. That was pretty rebellious. Then rock embodied and emboldened the sexual revolution and the peace movement. After that, except for punk and disco, it wasn't really that rebellious. Don't get me wrong, most of my favorite rock music was made well after the '60s. But, especially lately, rock hasn't placed a premium on being rebellious.
You're absolutely right, beaterball, they don't have to be mutually exclusive. And there are plenty of examples. The example uppermost in my mind right now is the Psychic Paramount. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77HtN4qyxlQ
Well, no, morphine is a drug and that is what the band was named after, Sandman's coy claims to the contrary. The drug itself is named for Morpheus. If the band really wanted to say their music was like Morpheus, then they would have called the band Morpheus, or the adjectival form Morphean. It's OK, you can name your band after a drug and not actually use the drug. Only literal-minded cretins would believe otherwise. By their logic, one would have to assume that the members of the New Jersey Devils hockey team are satanists.
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Salon reports... There is an Arizona state ban on the teaching of ethnic studies. And so, rather than lose millions of dollars in state funding, the governing board of Tucson’s largest school district officially terminated its 13-year-old ethnic studies program this past Tuesday. The school district has informed Mexican-American studies... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2012 at Fascism in Ten Years
I guess you'd have to spend more time with contemporary indie music to really be able to tell who's putting on someone else's clothes. Just as I would have to spend more time with contemporary blues in order to figure out who's just copping Muddy Waters.
Toggle Commented Dec 12, 2011 on KEEPING IT REAL at You and What Army
Since we all live in a commercial world, artist and non-artist alike, one would have to ask whether authenticity is possible for anyone. And it is. So it's possible for commercial artists too. And I'm not talking about kids who are 20 years old. Have you ever heard an Iron and Wine album?
Toggle Commented Dec 12, 2011 on KEEPING IT REAL at You and What Army
Good thinking. Likewise, I don't blame people for thinking the members of Nirvana were Hindu, or that the members of the Smiths were all named Smith, or that the members of the Eagles can fly.
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So now you need corporate ID to walk on Wall Street, which is a public thoroughfare in New York City. Finally, they admit that Wall Street really is just for the 1%. Link here. Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2011 at Fascism in Ten Years
This New York Times article about multinational security companies running detention centers for immigrants is so chilling. They are making money by oppressing people. And the problem is only to going to get bigger and worse. "Some of the companies are huge — one is among the largest private employers... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2011 at Fascism in Ten Years
From a New York Times editorial, September 29, 2011: "The Republican template has been in stark view at presidential debates lately. It is a program to wind down the government’s longstanding guarantee of health care to the elderly and the poor and incinerate the Democrats’ new promise to cover the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2011 at Fascism in Ten Years
The City Council of Gould, Arkansas, adopted an ordinance last week making it illegal to form any kind of group without its permission. Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2011 at Fascism in Ten Years
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Watch this lady in Arizona get arrested for trying to say things at a town council meeting that the councilpeople didn't want anyone to hear. Someone on the council actually tries to pass a motion to stop this woman from speaking — while she is speaking, and very much in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2011 at Fascism in Ten Years
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From the June 12th, 2011, New York Times: "The Federal Bureau of Investigation is giving significant new powers to its roughly 14,000 agents, allowing them more leeway to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention." “Claiming... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2011 at Fascism in Ten Years
Turns out there are 24 tickets on StubHub. Not as bad as I feared. Most are going for $119, which is precisely 94 more dollars than they should be going for, not counting the various extortionate add-on fees.
Toggle Commented Mar 13, 2011 on OUR BAND COULD BE YOUR CONCERT at You and What Army
Thanks for the clarification, Phil. I'm really sorry that you got shut out of the show. I'd like to know how many tickets are up on StubHub. I'd also like to know who put them there.
Toggle Commented Mar 13, 2011 on OUR BAND COULD BE YOUR CONCERT at You and What Army
1. A little math: 6x$5= $30, not $25 2. Those hardcore matinees didn't have 13 bands. 3. You can still easily see shows — at least in Brooklyn — for $5, $6 every night of the week. 4. Shows at major venues like the Bpwery Ballroom were never the equivalent of $5. 5. The price of the ticket to see Our Band Could Be Your Concert had nothing to do with scalpers. 6. Finally, $25 is not a price for the "filthy rich." C'mon man, get real, check your facts, know what you're talking about before posting in a public forum. Thanks.
Toggle Commented Mar 12, 2011 on OUR BAND COULD BE YOUR CONCERT at You and What Army
Well, no, actually.
Ben, the operative word in the first sentence is "coolness."
Despite the placement of the photo near the text, I wasn't actually referring to the type of person who would spray paint "DIE HIPSTER" on a subway platform. Nonetheless, I think you're right, Jody.
Good thoughts all, John. Perhaps there's no contemporaneous live representation of the Bitches Brew concept because the album was such a creature of the studio. I wish I were more of an expert on this; all I can do is describe the phenomenon and then banter about it with smart old friends.
That may be true on "It's About That Time," John, but you really have to hear the whole concert to see how Corea takes the same approach almost every single time he takes a solo. It really gets annoying. (Also, that headband... seriously.) I did, though, compare his playing not to a kitten but to a skittish cat — there is a difference. The volume fight between Davis and DeJohnette is typical of the night — precious little subtlety, mostly constant bashing. Like I say, the Paris and Rotterdam shows, which you can download for free using the links provided, are definitely superior. As far as never playing in the Bitches Brew mode, I meant playing in that mode around the time of the album's release, as opposed to over ten years later.
Zobeid, like so many conservatives, you took the line in question out of context and used the resulting deception to falsely advance your own agenda. No, the incessant baying of stump-ignorant teabaggers is very real and very pervasive — just watch the news sometime. Even Glenn Beck is asking them to scale back the craziness. So no, the sentence would not have the same meaning if I substituted "progressives." In fact, it would be nonsensical if I did that because you don't see any progressives on the National Mall waving signs that would be funny if they weren't so frightening. The point of that sentence was that many people feel disgusted by the advance of the selfish, ignorant and hateful aspects of the teabagger movement and, frustrated by their inability to do anything about it, turn to insignificant ways of sublimating their dissatisfaction. And if you're going to complain about the size of the federal budget, it was the right wing, not the progressives, who turned a record surplus into a record deficit over the course of the Bush Administration, waging a deceitful, disastrous and cripplingly expensive war of choice, granting huge tax cuts for the rich, and doing nothing to fund any of it. The truth is, progressives loudly protested the war and the tax cuts. So once again, you are making up facts to advance your faulty agenda.
Toggle Commented Sep 23, 2010 on WHAT'S UP WITH THIS VINYL FAD? at You and What Army
Not off topic at all — the outfits are very indicative of the musical approach. As stated in the post, the previous band performed in matching tuxes (except for Davis, naturally). That symbolizes a degree of unity and discipline that this quintet did not have.
Yes, Dave, I have seen that concert footage and it is indeed intense. (And 38 minutes long, to be exact. Also, it's not quite the same band — Keith Jarrett joins on keyboards and Gary Bartz replaces Wayne Shorter on sax; that's Airto on percussion.) The Isle of Wight show was nearly a year after the Copenhagen show. It's interesting, there seems to have been no middle ground between the neo-time-no-changes approach of the Copenhagen concert and the dense electric cacophony of the Isle of Wight; Davis may never have played live in the sparse mode of Bitches Brew.