Arcade Fire Won a Grammy

They heard me singing and they told me to stop:
"Quite these pretentious things and just punch the clock."
Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small,
can we ever get away from the sprawl?

Living in the sprawl,
dead shopping malls rise
like mountains beyond mountains,
and there's no end in site.
I need the darkness;
someone please cut the lights.

Lyrics from The Suburbs track #15, "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)", winner of the Grammy for Album of the Year (2011). I've been listening to and enjoying Arcade Fire since college. I'm pleasantly surprised they won, and I love that I can tag a post about them with #urbanism.

Introducing Devour

This video isn't unlike the trololololo video I posted a long time ago (here) — there's something really special about it, but I totally understand if no one else thinks it's funny. My favorite part is how the baby seems to think that there's nothing out of the ordinary happening. She is completely comfortable, enjoying an opulent meal in her natural habitat.

Also, by way of introduction, Devour is a fairly excellent curated YouTube feed. I've been visiting regularly for about a month now, and at least 80% of the videos they've posted in that time have been worth watching.

Via Devour.

Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts

I watched this the other day. I'm not crazy about his work, but he's certainly interesting, and this movie is excellent. Watch it. My favorites quotes from the film are below.

On waking in the middle of the night with sudden inspiration:

"It's happened. I try to resist it. I resent it, actually. I'd rather it came in the morning when I'm ready to go to work. But there have been times when I'll say "Oookay..." and I'll go downstairs and I write it down but I do it rarely."

On critics, self-validation, and his creative breakthrough:

"I had the ability to write music that was so radical that I could be mistaken for an idiot. And I was often at first, and I still am to this day. And yet it absolutely didn't bother me."

A quote from the director of Koyaanisqatsi. He would talk like this (on Philip Glass):

"He has created a musical language that is the acoustic door to the unknown, something possessed of an enormous complexity in its simplicity like an ever ascending score that never reached to the heavens."

Then he quotes someone called "Eisenstein".

When I watched this, I only knew Philip Glass as the composer for Koyaanisqatsi. Turns out, I've heard and appreciated his work in The Truman Show, The Illusionist, Secret Window, and Undertow. Also, "Einstein on the Beach" isn't just a Counting Crows song (check it). Who knew?

Pomplamoose on the Radio

Over the weekend I happened to hear Pomplamoose being inteviewed on NPR. It was strange because I recognized their voices and that doesn't often happen with me. The full interview is here.

Best line:

"We just want to make a living doing what we like to do."

This reminds me of my post a while back where I talked about the internet as a great place for clever people to quietly amuse themselves. Obviously, this is what everyone in the world should strive for — survive by doing what you love. It's amazing how many people miss the bus.

This One’s for My Mom

She just loves that "Zoo-ey Dechannel".

So while I'm posting cute, somewhat idiosyncratic music videos, I might as well put this one up. 500 Days of Summer was excellent, if not heartbreaking, I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt (a decent architect character for once), and I like She & Him - they're almost as good as Munchausen By Proxy. And M. Ward is good, too. Enjoy.

Pomplamoose Again


Maybe it's not worth saying, and maybe I'm misunderstanding, but I'm pretty sure they're making fun of Lady Gaga (or this genre or our twelve year old culture). What's great about it is that the way they mock her is oddly positive and constructive. Instead of criticizing in the usual internet way - ie. "you f****** suck" or "you're a F****** N*****" or, my personal favorite, "go F*** yourself, F*****" - they're doing it by putting in a ton of excellent work. It's clever, they're talented, and the end result isn't mockery for meanness' sake, but a great fun video.

So what I'm praising here is a bit of an oxymoron, but I think it's nice to see someone really take the time to mock something well. It's too easy to sit back and throw stones - profanity-laced, bigoted, hateful stones - at the people who are actually out there creating. I say you're only allowed to throw stones if you're willing to put yourself out there and make something, and making something great that also happens to throw stones totally qualifies.

I guess I think that putting time and effort into something gives it an inherent value (perhaps not much, but...). Cussing someone out has no value because it's easy. Write a detailed, reasoned and well-argued rant about why something is in fact "gay as hell" or whatever and, while I won't read it or respect your opinion, I think most would agree that your thoughts are worth considerably more for your emotional commitment to them (and I appreciate the opportunity to throw stones at your rant).

Easy things lack value. Pomplamoose videos are full of it (IMHO).

Coincidentally, this reminds me of another excellent Blankenship post about the nature of comments and criticism on the web.


I Can’t Not Watch This Over and Over and Over. Why?

I don't what this means, but I've watched it several times and I enjoy it immensely. Is anyone out there studying this phenomenon?