The New Rancid Song is Really Not Very Good at All (And Actually Made Me Kind of Sad)

The New Rancid Song is Really Not Very Good at All (And Actually Made Me Kind of Sad)

A few thoughts on the new Rancid music video (embedded at the bottom of this post):

– It is 2017, I am 30 years old, and I am writing about a new Rancid music video. I’m not sure if teenage-Jorge would be delighted or terrified by this.

– (also, if Teen-Jorge were to catch a glimpse of 2017-Jorge and 2017-Tim Armstrong, he’d rightfully conclude “the future is made of bad beards”)

– Every Rancid music video was already some variation of “punk dudes standing around playing instruments and looking punk”, but it also usually featured a bit of something to spice up the performance shots: artificial black-and-white film wear & tear, shots of band members walking through gritty neighborhood streets, Lars Frederiksen leaning menacingly on some wall, cameos by Kelly Osbourne and members of Good Charlotte. This one though? This one is straight-up just four dudes standing around playing instruments that aren’t plugged in, shot on a $500 DSLR.

– The fact that they finally gave in and added subtitles for Tim’s unintelligible vocals gave me a hearty lol.

– I haven’t listened to a new Rancid album in many years, so bear with me if this is old news, but this is really… bad. Really, really bad. The number one thing that ever made these guys worth listening to– their gift for huge, cathartic, absurdly catchy and melodic Joe Strummer/stadium-chant “gang-vocal” choruses, which they churned out consistently from 1993 up to 2003-ish — is just completely gone. Nothing. This is a nothing song. It sounds like someone put an old Dropkick Murphys track through an industrial flattener.

– There’s a great moment in Pearl Jam’s Single Video Theory where guitarist Mike McCready expresses some anxiety about one day running dry of that “creative spark”. Given the trajectory of Pearl Jam’s recent career, I’m inclined to believe he was on to something. Maybe that musical alchemy really is a finite thing, and when you play with the same dudes for 20 years you eventually run out of ways to make it new and interesting and good. When I think of my favorite long-running acts that are still making music I consider vital and exciting, I tend to think of solo acts. Maybe bands just shouldn’t play together for that long. After a while you’re not just beating a dead horse, you’re dragging its fetid, bloated carcass uphill, and making everyone around you smell it.

2016 Golden Jorge Awards

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the annual Jorge Farah Awards (colloquially referred to as the Golden Jorges). An ill-informed and insulated look back at the year’s highs and lows. Here are this year’s winners!

TOP TEN FAVORITE MOVIES OF THE YEAR:
1. Arrival
2. Nocturnal Animals
3. Hidden Figures
4. Hail, Caesar!
5. The Conjuring 2
6. Karaoke Crazies
7. The Neon Demon
8. The People Garden
9. The Witch
10. The Nice Guys

MOST VISCERAL AND GUTWRENCHING MOVIEWATCHING EXPERIENCE OF THE YEAR (OF A MOVIE THAT CAME OUT JUST BEFORE 2016):
The Demons

MOST FRUSTRATING SUPERHERO MOVIE THAT LOOKED AMAZING AND I WANTED VERY BADLY TO LOVE BUT WAS BOTCHED IN A SPECTACULAR FASHION OF THE YEAR:
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

MOST SURPRISINGLY DELIGHTFUL LIVE-ACTION ADAPTATION OF A BELOVED ANIMATION CLASSIC OF THE YEAR:
The Jungle Book

TOP TEN FAVORITE ALBUMS OF THE YEAR:
1. Nels Cline – Lovers
2. Mitski – Puberty 2
3. Vijay Iyer and Leo Wadada Smith – A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke
4. Rihanna – ANTI
5. Violenta Josefina – El Ejercito del Aire
6. Bon Iver – 22, A Million
7. Julianna Barwick – Will
8. Lisa Hannigan – At Swim
9. Tegan and Sara – Love You to Death
10. Camp Cope – Camp Cope

BEST LIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
Kate Bush – Before the Dawn

MOST INITIALLY IMPRESSIVE BUT EVENTUALLY UNDERWHELMING ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
(RUNNER-UP: Kanye West – The Life of Pablo)

FAVORITE ALBUM TO BE RELEASED ON NEW YEAR’S EVE IN A CONSCIOUS EFFORT TO FUCK UP MY OFFICIAL TOP TEN LIST BUT IS TOO GOOD NOT TO MENTION OF THE YEAR:
Sean Eldon – You Didn’t

MOST OBSESSIVELY LISTENED-TO POP ALBUM FROM BEFORE 2016 THAT SERVED AS A SORT-OF HEALING BALM FOR THIS STUPID GARBAGE YEAR:
Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion

TOP FIVE FAVORITE SEASONS OF TELEVISION OF THE YEAR:
1. Better Call Saul season 2
2. Veep season 5
3. Lady Dynamite season 1
4. Mr. Robot season 2
5. Bojack Horseman season 3

FAVORITE SEASON OF TELEVISION THAT PURPORTED TO BE A VERY DEEP AND INSIGHTFUL SOCIAL CRITIQUE BUT AMOUNTED TO LITTLE MORE THAN THOSE “YOUNG PEOPLE WITH FACES BURIED IN THER PHONES” MEMES YOUR OBLIVIOUS AUNT SHARES ON FACEBOOK, AND YET STILL MANAGED TO DELIVER ONE EPISODE OF TRANSCENDENTAL BEAUTY (SAN JUNIPERO):
Black Mirror, season 3.

MOST FEVERISHLY REWATCHED SHOW FROM BEFORE 2016 TO REMIND ME OF WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE ALIVE:
The Sopranos

MOST THOROUGHLY DEBUNKED BELIEF OF THE YEAR:
That humans are generally good and kind and capable of empathy

FAVORITE MONTH OF THE YEAR:
April.
(RUNNER-UP: December, which was pretty alright)

FAVORITE LIGHTWEIGHT CULTURAL DEBATE OF THE YEAR:
Does Ken Bone’s Vaguely Creepy Reddit Comment History Make Him a Fundamentally Bad Dude?

LEAST FAVORITE LIGHTWEIGHT CULTURAL DEBATE OF THE YEAR:
Does Bob Dylan Deserve the Nobel Prize for Literature? (he does, but it’s weird)

FAVORITE FAILED BLOG RELAUNCH OF THE YEAR:
This one!

FAVORITE ELVIS COSTELLO BLOG OF THE YEAR:
The one I write with Kevin Davis. Every week on Trunkworthy!

MOST DEVASTATING CELEBRITY DEATH OF THE YEAR:
Alan Rickman. (Prince and Bowie and the rest were sad, but Rickman wrecked me)

SADDEST CELEBRITY DEATH THAT IS INFURIATINGLY ABSENT FROM MOST YEAR-END ROUNDUPS:
Merle Haggard

FAVORITE CELEBRITY OF THE YEAR:
Amy Adams, fifth year running

LEAST-FAVORITE INTERNET REACTION TO SOMETHING:
The hoopla surrounding the Ghostbusters reboot

MOST ANNOYING INTERNET PRESENCE OF THE YEAR:
Scott Adams
(RUNNER-UP: Milo Yiannopoulos)

MOST STUNNING DISPLAY OF MY OWN INCOMPETENCE OF THE YEAR:
The time I tried to make eggs benedict

FAVORITE VIRAL CHALLENGE OF THE YEAR:
The “Keep Your Chin Up and Try to Maintain a Sunny Disposition Even Though the World is Literally Crumbling Into a Hellish Funeral Pyre All Around You” Challenge
(RUNNER-UP: The Mannequin Challenge)

BONUS! A Spotify playlist of my 40 favorite songs of 2016 (that can be found on Spotify, anyway):

Congratulations to all the winners! 2016, you were a year-long garbage fire. I’m happy to see you go. 2017, you don’t have much to live up to. Do your worst.

Clearing the Docket

There’s this book called The Life Changing Method of Tidying Up, written by Japanese professional organizer Marie Kondo. You might have seen lines from it repurposed as cutesy Instagram or Pinterest memes, or, if you’re like me, you might have heard it mentioned on a podcast. It is all about the freedom brought about by decluttering your life, which begins in a practical sense with objects (clothes, books, knicknacks) but can also apply more broadly to any aspect of your life.

What it all boils down to is the idea of joy, and questioning yourself in a truly open and honest way about whether the things you’re holding on to are a net positive in your life. The most famous portion of the book is the one about how, when one is clearing out one’s closet, one is supposed to touch each garment and ask oneself whether this bad holiday sweater or this old Ramones t-shirt a source of joy; if the answer is “no” or even hesitation, it should be thrown out or donated. It’s a bit… cutthroat, but it is also remarkably freeing. It’s good to have a straightforward way of determining what should stay and what should go, and it affords you the opportunity to rebuild and reorganize.

The fact is we don’t often hang on to the objects themselves, but the feelings and memories associated with them. This is more or less the impulse that makes people into the kind of hoarders you watch in trashy reality shows to feel like you’re more in control of your own life. What you’re really doing is piling up skeletons in an increasingly unwieldy closet. Your life becomes a mausoleum.

Earlier this year I applied Marie Kondo’s approach to another hugely important aspect of my life: my digital music library. At the start of the year I experienced a computer crash, which afforded me the opportunity to rebuild my collection and get rid of a lot of stuff that’s doing nothing but gather cobwebs in some dusty forgotten folder on an external hard drive. I went through the whole list, artist-by-artist, album-by-album, asking myself whether each item brought me joy, putting the ones that do into iTunes. After a few hours I found I’d easily deleted a couple thousand songs. It wasn’t even a painstaking process; I found that if you’re really honest with yourself, it’s simple. Even enjoyable.

By the end of the process, I had gotten rid of:

  •  About a dozen EPs of terrible indie bands who contacted me on Twitter asking for reviews.
  • Approximately 40 live Pearl Jam albums, containing nearly identical versions of the same songs.
  • Along those lines: one and a half Eddie Vedder solo albums.
  • Half of Grouper’s The Man Who Died in His Boat. The bad half.
  • The six or seven Red Hot Chilli Peppers songs I was still holding on to for some goddamn reason.
  • Everything from the year 2005 that contains a glockenspiel.
  • Most everything that I downloaded because it was on the Metacritic top albums list of 2008.
  • Roughly half of The Roots’s discography.
  • Entire albums by Pennywise and Millencollin that I was only keeping out of nostalgia but are actually REALLY BAD.
  • That online-only Smashing Pumpkins album. In fact, a whole bunch of random Smashing Pumpkins stuff.
  • Most of the avant-garde stuff that purports to be real cool and cerebral but actually sounds like a person mumbling semi-rhythmically while someone takes a hacksaw to a washing machine.
  • So like, those early Animal Collective albums.
  • EVERYTHING BY THROBBING GRISTLE.
  • The Neil Young Greatest Hits album I’ve been trying to make myself like for about 5 years now. It’s just not going to happen.
  • Most of the Odd Future stuff that seemed really great in 2012. (not Frank Ocean though. I like Frank Ocean a lot.)
  • A bunch of Pavement outtakes that just sound like a bunch of stoned 20 year olds fucking around in a studio.
  • Five spoken-word albums by Jello Biafra.
  • A lot of disposable Japanese hardcore except for G.I.S.M’s “Endless Blockades for the Pussyfooter”.
  • Everything produced by Danger Mouse.
  • Everything labeled “Extended Mix”.
  • Everything by U2 that isn’t Achtung Baby or “In a Little While”.
  • All the Ramones demos that sound almost exactly the same as the final album tracks.
  • Most of my friends’ demos. Does this mean yours too? I will never tell you. (Probably.)
  • Most of my own demos, including several half-baked attempts at covering Outkast’s “Hey Ya”.

Feels pretty good.

As for my physical music collection, it’s sitting pretty in my shelf. I’ve got a lot of old albums sitting around that I’m happy to use as a form of decoration. Maybe I should try the Marie Kondo thing on those, but seeing as how I don’t interact with my physical music library nearly as much as I do my digital library, it seems like a non-issue.

Shit. Am I making excuses for my hoarding? It might be time for a purge.

Everyist Blogcast: Let’s Call This Song Exactly What it Is (with guest Billy Roche)

jbrown

What does it mean to be an expat? Like, I know what it means in the traditional sense of the word– you’re a stranger in a foreign land, taking residence in unfamiliar soil– I get that. I am that. But what happens when you stay past the honeymoon period— when the thrill of the tourist gives way to the soft focus of mundanity and you suddenly find you’ve planted yourself so thoroughly in this new life that you’re effectively a stranger to your roots? It’s an odd feeling, man, not quite belonging to either place, stuck as a forever-in-betweener, so enamored with your new digs that you’re content to feel a bit like an exiled phantasm that keeps gliding back and forth between planes of existence. And when you manage to bump into someone in a similar situation, you immediately gravitate towards that person– “ah! Another willful deportee! Let’s be friends!”. That’s the best explanation I have for why still, after over a decade of living in Argentina, my social circle here consists of about 30% foreigners.

Billy Roche is one of those people. We met each other a couple years ago and immediately hit it off, bonding over our shared love of music and the extremely odd experience of setting up camp in Buenos Aires for such a ridiculously long amount of time (he’s actually been here about 3 years longer than me, which I think technically falls under the legal definition of mental insanity). For the longest time we’ve been talking about getting together and recording a conversation, and we finally got to do so last week. I had to do my best to overcome my hangups about trying to play radio host next to someone who’s actually been one (radio DJ is one of the several hats Billy has worn in his life), but he made it really easy to feel at ease. I guess that’s part of what a radio broadcaster does– maybe one day I’ll get to make other people feel at ease instead of anxious and exasperated.

In this podcast we play some tunes Billy selected, and we discuss subjects such as growing up in a multicultural environment, what makes a great bassline, and why reggae’s recently-acquired reputation as music for drunken frat-bros is kind of missing the point of what was originally meant to be vibrant, subversive, politically-minded protest music.

Click here to listen to our chat:

Direct link

Billy’s playlist:
James Brown-
“The Payback”
Bob Marley- “Lively Up Yourself”
Aretha Franklin- “Rocksteady”
Jeff Buckley- “Last Goodbye”
Everlast- “Children’s Story”
Rage Against the Machine- “Killing in the Name Of”

Click here to subscribe on iTunes because that’s a thing you’re able to do now apparently.

All kinds of stuff coming soon. Literally all kinds. Every possible kind.

Everyist Blogcast: Click Yourself to Death

carrey

Someone’s papering all of Buenos Aires with Jim Carrey stickers. It started with this one, on a lamp-post right around the corner of where I live. I was taking an afternoon stroll through the neighborhood when I was confronted with Jim Carrey’s dead-eyed visage. Oh that’s cool!, I thought. How whimsical. Soon enough I started seeing more of these terrifying photos pop up all over the city; on bus stops, mailboxes, street corners. There’s no accompanying text. No explanation. Just Jim Carrey’s toothy grin, and those eyes. Oh God, those eyes.

I’m dusting off the cobwebs of my blogcasting shoes to bring you the inaugural 2016 edition of this bloated, misshapen approximation of a podcast. Yes, it took five months for this to happen. It’s embarrassing. But things are looking up. A new post schedule is coming soon– one that will be sustainable and fun and won’t result in my crashing and burning in a big bad way– and so this is a kind of celebration.

On a completely unrelated note, I should probably also mention that a sort of extension of this blog has been up and running for several months over here, where I tackle a new Elvis Costello song every week with my friend and collaborator Kevin Davis. I’d been meaning to tell you, I just… I just didn’t know how.

The tunes have been selected and arranged for maximum listenability, with no particular criteria beyond “these are some songs I’ve been into lately”. I keep my talking to a minimum, but I do chime in every few songs to remind you that I exist. The announce at the start, middle and end is the great Jake Glazier, the official voice of the internet.  Click the embedded player below to be taken on a journey, of sight and sound, of exasperated sighs and impatient groans. Do it.


Direct link

Below is the full tracklist for this episode. Please be sure to give these featured artists some love. They deserve it. Except maybe Billy Corgan, he’s kind of a raging douche.

TWIABP&IANLATD– “Rage Against the Dying of the Light”
Rice Cultivation Society– “Cait Sith’s Megaphone”
Car Seat Headrest– “Something Soon”
The Smashing Pumpkins– “The Boy”
Violenta Josefina– “Febrero”
Aye Nako– “In Sickness Pt.1”
Washer– “Pet Rock vs. Healing Crystal”
Chiendent– “Stethoscope”
Micachu and the Shapes– “Lips”
tUnE-yArDs– “Left Behind”
Heron Oblivion– “Oriar”
Miguel– “Coffee”
Agustin Donati– “Como Chicos”
Dragonette– “OK Dolore”
Field Music– “Disappointed”
The Mornings– “Mad Cheergirl”
Boom Boom Kid– “Del Absoluto Vacio Surge Este Capricho”
The Shaker Hymn– “Waters of Sweet Change”
Eisley– “The Valley”
Titus Andronicus– “No Future Part IV: No Future Triumphant”

Be well. And whatever happens, don’t let Jim Carrey in. He’ll feast on your anxieties, and your gallbladder.

Everyist Blogcast: I Just Wanna Hear Girls Sing

wimmntg
Hello. It’s been forever. How are you? Great.

It’s December! The magical time of year when music journalists everywhere put on their thinking caps and start making “Best Albums of the Year” lists. As I was trudging through the process of putting together my own, I came to the realization that a big majority of the 2015 albums I loved feature female vocalists, either as solo acts or as part of a band. I decided I’d put together a playlist made up entirely of female vocalists. At first, I thought I’d keep it strictly to 2015 releases, but more and more I found spaces where older songs fit perfectly, like puzzle pieces. Despite a few touches of hardcore and a couple experimental pieces, I stuck mostly with crowd-pleasing rock and pop of recent-ish vintage.

So, with the acknowledgement that gender is a social construct that limits and oppresses all of us, that’s what you’ll hear in this installment of the increasingly sporadic podcast portion of the site. A man finally shutting up long enough to let women do the talking (well, except for the rambling intro, and the few occasions in which I pop in, say a thing, and sulk back into silence– but I assure you these are few. Promise).

Listen below:


Download link

Here’s the tracklist, with links to each band’s website (or bandcamp, or soundcloud, or really whatever comes up first when you do a quick Google search in a hasty attempt to put this post together). Be sure to seek out and support them. They’re awesome.

There was so much I wanted to put here. I had to stop myself at 30 tracks. Music is the best.

Waxahatchee– “Under a Rock”
Laura Stevenson– “Jellyfish”
Grimes– “Flesh Without Blood”
Red Aunts– “Poison Steak”
Hop Along– “The Knock”
Colleen Green– “Some People”
Mynabirds– “Semantics”
Sleater-Kinney– “One More Hour”
Julien Baker– “Everybody Does”
Tiger Trap– “Puzzle Pieces”
Broadcast– “Pendulum”
Joanna Gruesome– “Secret Surprise”
Worriers– “Cruel Optimist”
CHVRCHES– “Playing Dead”
Natalia Lafourcade– “Mi Lugar Favorito”
cvntpvnt– “Clear Cut”
Janelle Monáe– “We Were Rock & Roll”
Life Without Buildings– “Let’s Get Out”
Slutface– “Shave My Head”
Julia Holter– “Sea Calls Me Home”
eskimeaux– “A Hug Too Long”
The Want Ads– “Deja Vu”
Speedy Ortiz– “Fun”
The Muffs– “Weird Boy Next Door”
Jesca Hoop– “Intelligentactile 101”
Tegan and Sara– “Shudder to Think”
Jenny Hval– “Sabbath”
Screaming Females– “Ripe”
Santigold– “I’m a Lady”
Girlpool– “Cut Your Bangs”

Everyist Blogcast: A Third-World Laguna Beach (with guest Cristina Farah)

cristinapod

Another installment of the podcast portion of the site finds me in my old stomping ground, and oh boy do I stomp. I have a complicated relationship with Barranquilla. It’s a city that I’m not sure I would ever visit were it not for the several wonderful humans who somehow choose to live in it. But every time I’m back, I find myself surprised at how much I’m enjoying it. This particular trip was ostensibly to attend a family wedding, but the fact that I’m choosing to stay for a few weeks instead of bolting immediately after the nuptials tells me that I like it here much more than I’ll admit.

An added bonus? My sister Cristina flew in from New York to hang out with us for a few days. And since we’re so seldom in the same place at the same time, we decided to sit down with a few beers and have ourselves a little podcast. We discussed our upbringing, the pressures of coming of age in this barren tundra, and the horrific traffic accident that nearly cost her her life a few years ago. She also told several embarrassing stories from my childhood and teenage years, including some that I came very close to cutting out of this podcast because goddamn are they cringey.

I asked Cristina to come up with a list of tunes to play on the podcast. Here’s the tracklist for this episode:

Chet Faker- “I’m Into You”
The Weakerthans- “Reconstruction Site”
The Cure- “Cut Here”
The Avett Brothers- “The Perfect Space”
Alt-J- “Breezeblocks”
Coal- “Stay”

Listen to our conversation by clicking on the embedded player below.