I just found out this morning I was accepted to the Cultural Analysis research master’s program at the Universiteit van Amsterdam! It’s been two years since I was last in Amsterdam, and I’ve been trying to get back there ever since; now I’ll be living there for the next two years!
So what is Cultural Analysis and why the heck am I going to the Netherlands for grad school? Well the program is an incredibly interdisciplinary adventure that studies and creates inquiries into several phenomena surrounding the production and circulation of contemporary culture using objects and artifacts (in the broadest sense) as a point of departure. More specifically, the faculty encourages students to
analyze cultural phenomena – such as social systems of belief and value, works of art and literature, film and the new media – and their conceptual underpinnings as well as their aesthetic and social-material structures. We emphasize textual, visual and historical details and also the implied normativity and the ways in which identity, difference and otherness are negotiated across the various media. Continue reading →
After the outstandingly terrible 2005 release of Odditorium Or Warlords of Mars, The Dandy Warhols have stepped up, re-energized, and now have a new album available entitled …Earth To The Dandy Warhols… (stream the entire album here). This time, the Portland, OR based band have abandoned the dilapidated subterranean haze their sound recently encompassed, and reconfigured themselves once again for the best album they’ve put out since 2000’s amazing Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia. This is the first release with their new label Beat The World Records, and I really think this one will take off. Maybe it’s just the brazen attitude and androgyny of lead singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor, but when I listen to the Dandys I get a strange yet comfortable sense of being groped. That, in tandem with the large soundscapes their albums cover (Dandys Rule and Thirteen Tales, specifically), make for totally pleasurable listening experiences. Continue reading →
Check out the San Francisco duo The Dodos. I up and bought a 12″ of their new album Visiter this morning, after hearing just a couple bars of the opener. They’re incredible–at most songs, it feels as though Donovan Frankenreiter or Sufjan Stevens hooked up with Rodrigo Y Gabriela to create some amazing rhythms. With his Weakerthans-like boyish voice and love for fingerpicking guitar strides, singer Meric Long brings both atmosphere and placement to his counterpart, Logan Kroeber. And Kroeber is what launches this band up and outwards. The way he so easily slips throughout time signatures and backbeats slams the album with thunderous percussion, but his control keeps a bouncy taste of quirk. ‘Fools’ is definitely on my morning playlist now–it’s totally happy, kind of if Jeff Tweedy were to remake some ELO slasa-style (and had John Bonzo Bonham’s reincarnation on drums). Have a listen to ‘Paint The Rust,’ to get a White Stripes-esque grunge with pure psychedelic bang (there’s Bela Fleck love peeking through Long’s plucking on that one too!).
Kroeber’s stomping tambourine bangarang really recalls The Velvet Underground’s Moe Tucker, and her ass-kicking violence towards instruments; he embraces his progressive metal background, and meshes it with Meric Long’s trippy bluegrass attitude.