Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Jon Stewart on Crossfire: spectacular (link courtesy Yancey). This New Yorker story about the way Bush managed to swing the entire country toward an extremist agenda: magnificent. Bush cannot win. That cannot happen. At this point, I'm so sick of talking about politics, and politics seems to be all I can talk about.

Here's Jessica Hopper on CMJ, making me very proud and happy that cocaine is not a part of my life and never has been. I really, really wish I could write like Jessica Hopper; she is amazing. Wanting to write like Jessica Hopper is the new wanting to write like David Foster Wallace.

Speaking of DF-Dub, I'm in the middle of Oblivion right now, and it's pissing me off. I absolutely love Wallace's nonfiction, especially the John McCain piece and the experiential postcards in A Supposedly Fun Thing. He is a spectacular writer and creates amazing scenes, but he cannot tell a story. Or, rather, he can't end one. I haven't read all his fiction, but I plowed all the way through Infinite Jest, and I felt like I'd been taken for a sucker when it was over. The stories in Oblivion all have great moments, but so far not one of them has had an ending that I could consider to be even remotely satisfying. It's frustrating; he comes so close to greatness so often, but he keeps letting it all slip away. I wish he'd just stop writing fiction.

Le Tigre and Lil Wyte both have albums coming out today. I haven't heard either yet, and I'll be buying both after work, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll be putting on Lil Wyte more often. What does that say about me? Does it make me a bad person?

I said some pretty blase things about the Diplo album yesterday, but I should say that I end up reaching for it pretty often, along with the new joints from Interpol and Macha. These are all good wallpaper albums, and the things that I like about them are the same things I don't like about them. They fade right into the background, so they're just about perfect for when I'm at work and I'm all busy and harried, which is most of the time these days. Every once in a while a great little snatch of melody or production trick will sneak up and grab my attention, but mostly they become pleasant sweeping mush, which is sort of nice, but I'm not sure I want to be the dude who's into pleasant sweeping mush, you know? I'm still young.

Actually, the Macha album is a pretty interesting case. My friend Jason saw them open for the Ex a little while ago and said that they sounded like something John Tesh would compose for the closing ceremony of the Olympics. I've never knowingly heard any of John Tesh's music, but I can sort of see it. The album starts out with a couple of proper songs with pings and beats and swooshes and mildly sad, contemplative vocals. A couple of these songs are really great, especially "Smash & Grab". Then the album becomes mostly instrumental and sort of seems to be aiming for Eno territory, somewhere between Before and After Science and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, except somehow more earthbound: quiet whistley melodies and occasional percussive flurries and glisteny plings. The first time I heard it was a sunny Sunday afternoon, and I fell asleep under a window on my living room couch while it was on. That was great. It hasn't sounded quite as good since.