Out with Hipster Food, In with Hipster… Balls

November 3, 2011

I heard once, and now I forgot where, that hipsterism is officially dead: All hipsters have just become foodies.

That’s the kind of sweeping statement that begs to be analyzed (see: The Atlantic article on such things).  It’s the kind of hyperbole you just have to sink your teeth into.  Anyway, after thinking hard about it for maybe two minutes, I have to disagree.

I can say, with all confidence, that food is not the next bastion of hipsterdom — it is, quite obviously, sports.  Think about it — if you were to to unfairly generalize hipster character traits the top of the list would have to be a love of irony, unapologetic geekiness, a carefully cultivated appreciation of  pop culture, and a finely-tuned sense nostalgia.  All of these things, to me, point directly to sports.

Example #1

Here is a group of three names: Malcolm Gladwell, Dave Eggers, and Chuck Klosterman.  If someone told you they were collaborating on a project together, what would you think it would be?  A youth literary fundraiser? A roundtable on the plight of self-awareness in literature?  A celebrity somolier app for your iPad?  All these things seem more likely than the truth, which is that they are all editors at Bill Simmons’ ESPN-backed sports blog Grantland. Gladwell, Eggers and Klosterman — THE TRIUMVIRATE OF COFFEESHOP NAMECHECKINGall with a profound passion for sport.  Also, check out Simmons’ recent podcast with John Walsh that focused solely on another hipster idol /sports fiend, Hunter Thompson.

Example #2

Hipsters strive to let you know that they appreciate something you love on a much deeper level than you do — doing so validates that their passion is more authentic than yours.  They also like to geek out.  This is why hipsters love sabermetrics — it’s an way to say, “Yes, I enjoy this too, but my enjoyment of this is considerably deeper and more rewarding than yours.”  This same argument has been made about everything from The Velvet Underground to The Muppets.  And don’t get me going about Moneyball, or the fact that Moneyball was adapted by Aaron Sorkin.  Everybody was jazzed about that one.  The only bigger announcement for the hipster world would’ve been if Noah Baumbach directed a rotoscoped version of Kafka on the Shore.

Example #3

Nostalgia is the lifeblood of the hipster.  Everything you find in the attic that was packed up as a kid — it is now gold.  Because the past = youth = innocence = authenticity.  Sun-faded photos of kids on big wheels are the stuff of indie EPs!  Parent’s gigantic plastic reading glasses are  urban fashion de rigueur.  That old replica jersey of Will Clark?! YES!  Do you have that Dream Team T-shirt? That shit is TIGHT. It is FOR REAL!  Wear it to LOLLA!

Okay.  I doth protest too much.  I like sports.  I like Moneyball.  I listen to Bill Simmons all the time.  I may talk about football on this blog more than anything else.  That said, I welcome the emergence of sports fanaticism as something that both jocks and art kids can love. Could I just throw out there that I even tried to start an Indie Rock fantasy league?  True Story.


Geronimo Jackson: LOST Rock Found

April 24, 2009

The Fictional Geronimo Jackson -- they look like Sawyer's people

Except for a few times in Season 1, when the lovable Hurley would put on his Discman to listen to some god-awful Grey’s Anatomy reject songs while observing life on The Island in slo-mo, the two things I  tend to obsess over — LOST and pop music — rarely come together.

But lo and behold, hipster culture dictator Pitchfork Media broke a VERY interesting development a few weeks ago:  The story of a fictional classic rock band Geronimo Jackson / real San Diego throwback rockers The Donkeys. The Phork reports:

On a recent episode, the character Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) is heard listening to a Geronimo Jackson song called “Dharma Lady”, and last week, the song appeared as a free download on iTunes. Over on the “Lost” message board Dark UFO, someone noticed that “Dharma Lady” is almost the exact same song as “Excelsior Lady” by the Donkeys

The non-fictional Donkeys

Well played Dark UFO dude!  Pitchfork, thorough journalists as they are, took it straight to The Donkeys’ label, Dead Oceans, to pose the question, “Are the Donkeys Geronimo Jackson?”.  The reply was revealing, also, hilarious:

“It seems as though it’s possible that the Donkeys also existed as Geronimo Jackson in 1977. It might be possible that they were part of a Dharma Initiative experiment on time travel … Geronimo Jackson is likely to appear on extras of the season five ‘Lost’ DVD, where they will feature the band recording ‘Dharma Lady’.”

Hahahah.  It seems they did indeed.  Alrighty then.  A simple “yes” would have sufficed.

Anyway, Geronimo Jackson seems to be a recurring reference in the show — on T-shirts, on posters, but most prominently in the scene below.  Hurley and Charlie (who could easily pass for clerks at Championship Vinyl) sift through the Dharma record collection and come across the GerJack LP Magna Carta…

Innnnnnnteresting Charlie.  Hmmm.  You say you’re an “expert of all things musical,” but you’ve never heard of them, eh?  Hmmmm.  Maybe that’s because YOU’RE IN THE BAND in the past (future episodes)!?!?!  Wha? Sounds ridiculous, but why not?

I personally like to think that Charlie is bound to show up again.  First of all, one of the lesbians hiding in the Looking Glass told Charlie that the stations’ passcode was the song “Good Vibrations” and that it was originally programmed “by a musician”.  That’s a weird tidbit of information to throw out there as your dying words, isn’t it Bonnie?

Also Charlie gets the code on the first crack before he drowns.  Is it too crazy to assume that Charlie himself wrote that passcode?  I don’t think so.  Meaning, Charlie didn’t die at that point, and is sure to have lived and done other things, like, ummmmm, jumping through time and forming a band in the 70s. It’s possible.  After all, we’ve seen people we thought were dead come back to life in the show before.   Isn’t it possible that Charlie is in the band Geronimo Jackson?  Could be.

Also, is it at all possible that Geronimo is actually the name of Jack’s son?  Doubtful.

You can down the Donkey’s on music blog Gramotunes.com: The Donkeys – “Excelsior Lady


Who’s NOT Playing Pitchfork This Year

March 26, 2009

Thanks to the idiotic “Radius Clause” inflicted on Chicago every summer, while we eagerly anticipate which bands are announced to play its  two major music festivals every year, we know immediately who WILL NOT be playing.

"Sad hipster" courtesy of Aubs on Flickr

Time Out Chicago explained it well last year:

For 60 days before and 30 days after their Lollapalooza appearance, Lolla performers are prohibited from booking a show within 250 miles of Chicago (which includes Madison, Milwaukee, Champaign, Indianapolis, Ann Arbor and Iowa City)

Because of these bullshit protectionist agreements we know that any band that plays P-fork (July 17th to 19th) cannot play Lolla (Aug 7th to 9th). Boo, fucking, hoo. But it gets more interesting than that.

Provided that Pitchfork also follows these festival rules we know that any band playing between ~May 18th and ~August 16th will not be sweating it up on stage in Union Park.

This includes TONS of bands, most of which are inconsequential. But there are a few groups that are well-regarded by the haute-indie online tastemakers that now cannot play. (Pitchfork ratings in parenthesis):

I’m especially suprised to see SXSW * bloggy sweethearts School of Seven Bells and Passion Pit on this list. St. Vincent, though only registering one album on p4k, has been a favorite over the years.  As has Art Brut who will be doing a 5-day residency at Schubas over the summer.


BPRB Updates – The Fork, The Whistler, and The Nineties

March 17, 2009

New stuff added to the “Bored People Are Boring” things to-do list

Photo from Flickr by Steph Wesolowski

Wow, it’s been a while since I updated.  First July show is up, Pitchfork has announced some of their lineup, and people, namely TimeOut Chicago and Chicagoist, have already begun tittering about Lollapalooza.

I’ll talk about a few of the new exciting ones coming up later (HELLO Yo La Tengo all-request show?!?!), the ongoing free shows at Logan Square’s The Whistler and the continuing resurgence of Early 90’s Alterno-rock… two more of which are from Chicago.  Hi Smoking Popes!  Jesus Lizard! Also, hi Toadies! Make up your mind… MAKE UP YOUR MIND AND I PROMISE YOU!

All dates added on 3/16:

March:

  • Cut Copy (DJ Set)
  • Knightlife
  • Daisy O’Dell
  • Jordan Z
  • Mr. Russia
  • Amrita
  • Raise High The Roof Beam
  • Surrender Dorothy
  • D. Rider
  • Bobby Conn
  • Monica Bou Bou
  • Blue Ribbon Glee Club
April:
  • Barcelona
  • Northpilot
  • Tight Phantomz
May:
  • Ponytail
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Crystal Antlers
  • Vivian Girls
  • Manchester Orchestra
  • Audrye Sessions
  • Winston Audio
  • Loney, Dear
  • Chin Up Chin Up
  • Yea Big
  • Kid Static
  • The Hood Internet
  • Mad Happy
  • Melvins (performing Houdini in its entirety)
  • Toadies
June:
  • Smoking Popes
  • Built To Spill (Pitchfork Music Festival)
  • The Jesus Lizard (Pitchfork Music Festival)
  • Yo La Tengo (Pitchfork Music Festival)
  • Tortoise (Pitchfork Music Festival)
  • The National (Pitchfork Music Festival)
  • Pharaoh Monch (Pitchfork Music Festival)
  • The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Pitchfork Music Festival)

July:

  • Explosions in the Sky

BPRB Updates – Turn Back the Clock this Spring?

February 6, 2009

New stuff added to the “Bored People Are Boring” things to-do list

Very suprised to see what bands will be making the rounds in the Spring.  Namely industiral music originators Throbbing Gristle will do two back-to-back shows at Epiphany (yes, that church place)… after playing NY and Cochella shows.

  • Throbbing Gristle, “What a Day” MP3 (c/o blog Farced)

 

Next on the suprise turn-back-the-clock list is Chicago’s own Red Red Meat.  The band’s roster is a who’s-who of Chicago indie rock icons, including Tim Rutili, Ben Massarella and Tim Hurley (of Califone), plus beloved producer Brian Deck (Liz Phair [when she was cool], Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, Modest Mouse).

 

 

Lastly in the old-news-made-new-news list this week, Bob Nanna (Braid, Hey Mercedes, City on Film) has a new full-band type project with ‘Mercedes bandmate Damon Atkinson called Certain People I Know and he’s twittering his little heart out about it.  As of right now, CPIK ranks as my third-favorite Smith-referencing bandname… right behind The Boy Least Likely To and Pretty Girls Make Graves.  Fittingly, the pride of the Illini are playing their first show in Urbana on March 13th at Courtyard Cafe and then make they’re way up to Chicago to play at The Beat Kitchen on the 19th.

  

*NOT The Cardigans.

Also of note is a band I randomly came across on The Next Big Sound site, Raise High the Roof Beam.  They’re doing not one, but TWO shows in the upcoming months.  The production value on these songs are iffy at best, but I do enjoy the sound.  It has the strum-and-pluck of solid indie pop (as the Salinger reference would infer) but I also hear a little bit of playful Johnathan Richman, and I can almost gurantee they’re fans of Wes Anderson.  Just a hunch.

 

All dates added on 2/6:

February:
Raise High The Roof Beam
GP Dreams
The Sundresses

March:
Certain People I Know
Women
Volcano!
Red Red Meat

April:
Lily Allen
Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head
Mason Proper
Raise High The Roof Beam
Throbbing Gristle
Flight of the Conchords


Passion Pit Drives Schubas Crazy

January 28, 2009

Just reviewed Passion Pit for UR Chicago here.

Will re-post the article below, and extend it with some more rambling commentary…

 

In a giddy fit of keyboards, falsettos, and saccharine dance beats, Boston newcomers Passion Pit are charming their way west during their first national tour.  P.P. bounced their way through a congenial but criminally short set last night at Schubas, as Michael Angelakos engaged the audience with the same disarming manner and sky-high vocals that seep through every track of his debut EP, Chunk of Change.

PassionPitSchubas1.28-7 

The set started out playful and keyboard-heavy with Angelakos’ ear for pop melody pushing to the forefront.  Flanked a guitar, drums, two Rolands, a Moog, and sitting behind a Yamaha synth himself, Angelakos’ dare-you-to-sing-higher-than-me octaves pierced through riffs, piano lines, and programmed back-beats. Espousing sentiments that in lower vocal ranges might be cringe inducing diary entries, the proper set ended with the dance-happy electropop of “Sleepyhead” and “Better Things” to which the sellout crowd lost their collective brains to, bloggers and ALTBros alike.

Angelakos apologized repeatedly for the abridged set, but, the audience couldn’t blame them for succinctness – Passion Pit just haven’t been around long enough to have a full set.

In a backstory that’s impossible not to repeat; Passion Pit’s origins couldn’t be more endearing: Originally a late Valentine’s Day present for Angelakos’ g/f, the “Chunk of Change” CDR made the rounds at Emerson University, made waves in Boston, and made headlines after some stellar sets at this year’s CMJ music fest in New York. A few months later, after some east coast practice gigs, they’re on tour backed by new label Frenchkiss, playing the six songs that everyone knows and road-testing a few new ones.

Passion Pit’s sincerity and DIY style fits with just a few other bands who somehow dodge be criticized for being goddamned “sincere” all the time — people have seemed to get really sick of that recently. (The fact that, as 20-something culture consumers, we already have issues with earnestness is fodder for a different blog).

I see Angelakos along side other singer/songwriters like Khaela Maricich (The Blow), Ben Gibbard (a-la The Postal Service), and Robert Wratten (Field Mice) as artists that manage to be shmultsy but nevertheless loveable.

Let it be a lesson to those aspiring coffeehouse guitar wankers… if you’re inspired to put your love / breakup letters to music and share it with the world, do two things:

  1. Sing higher and/or softer than you’re comfortable
  2. Put some good fucking beats behind it

You’ll be a blogosphere hero in no time.


Either the Best Idea or Worst Idea Ever

January 23, 2009

1/23 Update: 

I actualy won tickets to this event but can’t go!  First one to comment on this blog entry gets added to the list!  For real.

Also, you can download Rocktapussy’s new ’09 Mixtape for free here.  Featuring: He Say She Say, Silverghost, Flosstradamus feat. Caroline, CSS, Tegan & Sarah, Audio Bullys, Alphabeat, Seelenluft, Prairie Cartel, Kaiser Chiefs, Solid Gold

 

 

——————-

 

Vzspandexxx

In a concept as classy as their name, adorable DJ tandem Rocktapussy (Jessica “A-Cup” Gonyea and Chess “Mother” Hubbard) are hosting SPANDEXXX! at Sonotheque later this month with He Say She Say and Silverghost.  (Don’t bother trying to read the font on the flier).

So… um, if you’re dressed in 70% or more spandex you get in free.  If you RSVP at UR Chicago, you get in for 5$.  You can also win free tix by using brain power over at Venus Zine.

Considering what a Spandex ensemble will cost you at American Apparel (and all the friends you’ll lose in the process), I’ll take the 5$.  Also please note; while accessories will make your outfit “pop”, be careful not to over-do it and drop below the 70% spandex requirement.