of Maine

New Andrew Bird Song
October 6, 2008, 9:06 am
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Morning, all. Due to a really fun weekend, no time to make this blog original again today. BUT, this is surely the next best thing. The first track from Andrew Bird’s forthcoming (late January of ’09) album, Noble Beast, debuted on Pitchfork this morning. “Oh No” is pretty standard, if a touch slight, Bird, but note some promising developments. That persistent buzz of electric guitar, the way Bird’s vocals sound both more considered and loose, the layers of background vocals.

The news story associated with the premiere also notes that Bird has a new live album available on his website. And go figure, it’s for a Montreal show I purchased tickets for last year and couldn’t go to. If something prevents me from getting to his Portsmouth gig on Wednesday, a reckoning there will be.


Friday errata, and more to come.

– Well, we’re a little time constrained today, so my overeager deconstruction of this song will have to wait until next week. Regardless, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, guys. Big name, big talent, and a heck of a grower of a self-titled album.

– It’s a very good day to visit Pitchfork in general. They give a nice rave to the Vivian Girls album, which is finally available in stores. (Do wish they’d stop addressing albums in the context of the hype machine they’ve helped to create, though.) More obscure but no less exciting, can’t wait to check out The Week That Was, a band featuring Peter Brewis of UK indie pop band Field Music, who released what I’d argue is the most underrated album of 2007, Tones of Town. This sounds… just as good.

– At the frequently hilarious Intensities in Ten Suburbs, acclaim for David Bowie’s portrayal of Nikola Tesla in one of Chris Nolan’s pre-Dark Knight near-masterpieces, The Prestige. Always happy to read about the film, which seems to be quickly establishing a sort of cult status.

– Browsing the website for one of my favorite quarterlies, Cabinet, it turns out they have a bountiful art and web art section. Click here and select the first option, a neat map art project by Jackie Goss about the development of maps of the United States. Can’t wait to delve further into this page.

– A smart pan of the new, bloated Of Montreal album at Dusted. Better yet, a review of the new, punk as fuck Marnie Stern album, which I haven’t listened to much, but it’s definitely a big step forward from her last one, which I didn’t “get.”

– The venerable, recently deceased alt-country magazine No Depression is back in action, on the web.

– Lastly, this one’s important! A sobering, inspiring endorsement of Barack Obama by the editors of the New Yorker. (Not that they need to convince their readers or anything…) Also, it’s Barack and Michelle’s 16th wedding anniversary today.

Ballast, John McCain’s reptile tongue.
October 1, 2008, 10:08 am
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Please note that there is a link to an Otis Redding song at the bottom of this post. I just can’t listen to it until I paste some of these links. Such is the power of my work computer…

– Personal update: I have finally submitted my entry to the Virginia Quarterly Review‘s young book reviewers contest. I am very tired but look forward to having a social life again. Or, not having a social life, and reading a new book.

Ballast, the debut, Sundance-award winning film by Lance Hammer, is out in New York today. These reviews are worth scanning for a couple reasons: the film sounds a decent amount like George Washington, one of the better debut films of the decade (hypnotic tone, haltingly beautiful photography, etc.); and its director turned down distribution through IFC (the studio that’s doing simultaneous theatrical and on-demand cable releases) and opted to release the film himself. Just the sort of underdog behavior we’re taking a shying to these days. And we always crush on Manohla Dargis at the Times when she has a crush on a movie.

– At the awesome election polling blog FiveThirtyEight – yeah, nerd alert – Sean Quinn uses his knowledge of poker to psychoanalyze John McCain’s peculiar “tongue jut.” Easily the most unusual post I’ve ever encountered on this site.

– For its 25th anniversary, Vanity Fair is making lots of lists. Here, vote for one of the 25 best book covers (ever, not of the past 25 years, which we don’t understand). Honestly, half of these are kind of ugly, but they get better as you scroll down. (It’s also worth noting that there’s probably never been a greater disparity between how awesome a book cover is and how bad the book is than with Augusten Burroughs’ latest memoir. The phrase “latest memoir” should not exist.)

– In a bit of political maneuvering that I support, Apple is “threatening” to shut down the iTunes store if they have to pay higher royalties. That they’re willing to use their clout to aid a cause that will benefit lots and lots of websites is heartening.

– At the Village Voice, Rob Harvilla nails the problem with bands playing albums front-to-back, especially their best albums. Case in point: Built to Spill.

– And wow, listening to Otis Redding this early is really not good for my a.m. hypersensitivity problem. I’m gonna go find a hankie.