philippos42: (Tegan)


The first time I heard this song, a friend had the album on shuffle, and I just noticed the weird final bit where "(thing)=(other thing)." I thought it was stupid and a giant step down (or two) from the sort of thing The Church had been doing on Starfish. Which is, honestly, objectively fair for a first impression. "Reptile" is still an amazing piece of songwriting work.

But eventually I got a copy of the album, priest=aura, myself, and listened to it properly, with the early verses, and I fell for it hard. It's a beautiful beginning to the album: a piece of absurd, surreal, and/or psychedelic poetry, with some well-designed atmospheric music. It became a favorite.

I just quoted it in a comment on someone's LJ post, and presumably sounded crazy. And maybe I am.
OK, last day of the writing meme.

I kept meaning to do a Midnight Oil post, but I'm going to make it a post about my favorite Aussie bands. Because some of my favorite bands when I was young were from Australia.

I discovered Midnight Oil in high school. They were sort of political, kind of crabby, and I liked them. I borrowed some albums on cassette from a friend. The accents were thick, the lyrics strange. I didn't know what all they were talking about, but that was interesting. But eventually I realized some of their songs seemed to have an environmental consciousness. So Oils were my favorite band for a while.

But Oils were the favorite band of my social conscience. At some point I stopped wanting to listen to songs that were so rooted in the real world. I was losing my will to fight for things. And I think I kind of stopped liking Peter Garrett so much for...other reasons.

I turned then to another band, that like Oils, had dense, strange lyrics, that had struck youthful me as, "music for science fiction." That was the Church, whom I discovered with Starfish. Steve Kilbey's voice reminded me of my own voice at that time, and it was he that actually made me think I could sing and sound OK. I like the Church, but I only have a few of their albums. As I understand it, they were more "jangle pop" before Starfish, and became rather more trance later. But I liked the odd psychedelic quality of Kilbey's lyrics, which endured for some time, I suppose, even as their albums became more instrumental.

I lost track of their new releases for a time, and was later surprised to learn that between band albums and solo albums, Kilbey, Koppes, and Willson-Piper had been putting out about an album a year for decades. And last I knew, Steve Kilbey was doing a project where a single patron could pay him a sum of money to write a song. Out of my price range!

And of course, being in high school in that era, I also liked INXS. They weren't my favorite, favorite band, but they had a cool sound early on. And being more commercial pop rock, it was pretty common to find other people who knew them.

Years later, INXS would have a reality show to add a new lead singer. I watched it devoutly. And in fact, they picked a younger North American, about my age, to be their lead singer for a while. Then, let's see, I think their bassist got injured, the new lead singer had a falling out with their manager, and they stopped touring. That was years ago, I haven't really checked up on them since.

I don't really know much about Aussie music otherwise. I think I have the soundtrack to Young Einstein somewhere. :þ

Shakira

Jan. 23rd, 2014 05:51 pm
I think I'm overdue for a music post. So, Shakira:

Back in the last millennium—I was going to say, "Years ago," but why pass up a chance to say, "Back in the last millennium"?—I once joined a CD of the month club. I was able to get seven (was it seven? something like that) CD's for the price of one, and then only be obliged to buy a few (a couple?) more.

I ordered a bunch of things I thought I would like, and figured I could take a chance on something I knew nothing about. I clicked on "Shakira" because it sounded vaguely familiarly unfamiliar—thinking it was the name of a dark-skinned swimsuit model or somebody. It was not. But I read a description, and it sounded like it might be cool—or horrid, but I was experimenting. I ordered ¿Dónde están los ladrones?, figuring if I didn't like it, well, it was effectively free.

I liked it. Some of the stuff I thought I would like, I ended up hating, and sold. The album I didn't know what to expect from? I played it a lot. And I still do. I've been a Chaki fan ever since.

I sometimes wondered if I would be as big a Shakira fan if I spoke better Spanish. Would I think this kind of thing trite in English? But then she started putting stuff out in English, and I decided she was OK. I do prefer her growly, lyric-heavy, or rock songs as opposed to the dance tracks.

I used to find weird the bleached hair she's been rocking since, oh, shortly after I first started listening to her. She looked good with dark hair. But I've had a long time to get used to her as a blonde.

Here's the title track to ¿Dónde están los ladrones?, which is roughly where I fell for her:



And this is "Poem to a Horse," one of my favorites of her songs with English lyrics:



I even watched The Voice because Chaki was on it. That show was kind of annoying.

(Hey, I should see if Judith Hill's released anything!)

...

Jul. 7th, 2012 04:52 pm
philippos42: (mugen)

Oh, hey, I haven't posted in a while.

Um. Yeah.

...

I've been listening to a lot of YouTube!

(decides to pretend that's post content)

So I went on a YouTube Madge kick, and in the comments for "Give It 2 Me" this Polish band was spamming for their new single. So I took a shot. Glad I did.



I like this. I know it's not the same kind of thing, but somehow the guitar licks remind me of the Church (if less lush).

ETA (June 28): Now it's private. Well, great.

Sale el sol

Jun. 2nd, 2011 06:38 pm
philippos42: Paul Rudd (pretty)

Now this sounds like old Shakira to me. I know she likes the goofy pop stuff, & I'm glad that not everything sounds just like this, but I'm glad she's still doing a little new stuff with that rough guitar & this singing style.
philippos42: (despair)
Here, have a nice video. I'm going to say some harsh things about fandom, & thus most likely about you. So I'll start with something positive, and it makes a good soundtrack.
(thanks to Yamino)

I long ago got sick of the sort of fan (consistently male) whose fandom conversation substantially exists of proclamations of how badass his particular favored character is. "Hulk is the strongest one there is!" "No, Thor!"

There is another sort of fan (consistently female) who is functionally the distaff counterpart. Her fannishness is pretty much filtered through "shipping"--sometimes in really contrary-to-the-text ways.

After a decade in online fandom, I can tell you that conventional-wisdom gender stereotypes hold. Boys make everything into professional wrestling, girls make everything into a romance novel. And because comic-books are low art, popular art, they draw a lot of people who fall back on the conventional thinking about character & story. (I should be reading more classic Russian lit or something, right? Get a better class of fiction in my brain.)

And then I guess there are people like me. I find both those tropes a bit silly for the most part, occasionally disturbing in their singlemindedness, & ultimately, after ten years of competing visions of the best badass or the best ship, I find them tedious as all get out. And then there are the fans that I like to read: people who are actually writing about something else.

I'm not immune to feats of awesome power. Let's be clear. I am a Doctor Zero fan for a reason. Supes, Magneto, Ultragirl, I do actually like some ridiculous, over-the-top, stride-over-the-world (alien messiah-hood optional) characters. Sometimes I get annoyed at those who want to jack up a favored character's power level further than I would, or favor a character from a series I find annoying. But if I can be irked at Batman fanboys or Barry Allen loyalists, well, I hope I'm self-aware enough to realize that Supes, Magneto, Ultragirl, & Doctor Zero are silly characters too. Sometimes it's best to back off and not have other characters job to your guy. (I long wanted Ultragirl to paste Gladiator, but on reflection I doubt it's in character for her even if she somehow can.)

And when it gets to the less high-powered characters, well, part of the appeal is how they work with what they've got. I don't need my character to be able to simply and automatically whup anybody, & a story that read that way would be less satisfying than one where the hero had to work at it. (There's a really good example contrasting a Pérez/Andru Wonder Woman story with a Jimenez Wonder Woman story, that I think I have neglected to post for years. And Wondy is not really low-powered even!)

I think it was in Tree and Leaf I read the passage where the writer says that for him the question about heroes of story was, "Are they good? Are they evil?" I think I'm closer to that instinct of interpretation. Power is about what you do with it.

As for romance: I'm not against romance. I actually like romantic stories with characters who are written/designed to be together. But I rarely have non-canon ships as a rule, & I don't naturally seek them.

(I joke that I ship Koiwai and Asagi, but it's not a serious thing. I kind of want Jumbo to win, actually. I don't have, I'm not naïve enough, I'm too flipping old to have deep FEELINGS about it either way. All I can do is wait on Azuma to write what he will write.)

I could say, "I don't ship. I'm a guy." That's true enough. But more than that, I'm not really all that much into character-transformative fic for the sake of teh romance. Once you've turned a character into a different character, it's not quite the same character.

This may be alien thinking to some of comixfandom, as comix seem to think that a character is a name and a costume. But character, that's about who a character is, how they think, what their ethos is--and sometimes who you love, how you love, whether you love is part of that.

Now, some transformation is objective improvement. To get a character to stop being self-destructive, to be happier, to be less of an insulting caricature (1940's comix' portrayal of Orientals pretty much demanded reimaginings)--a fanfic can try to fix it, & sometimes a fan-turned-pro can invent new canon. But sometimes a character is designed to be imperfect. I'm not a great believer in "death of the author." Authors for me are always there, voice inescapably coming off the page. A later author may repurpose the characters, but that's another author using the same tags.

Still, I'm not completely against the transformation of character, not even where it ties into sex & relationships. (I got into Wondy fandom because I wanted to reinvent the franchise, people!)

I find it completely understandable if some het person fantasizes about turning Northstar straight. That makes sense to me on some level--the character, just "improved" to be more like a certain ideal. It doesn't even have to be a girl fantasizing that he's her (or her proxy character's) boyfriend. It can just be a matter of trying to tie a character you like to something in your personal identity or ideals. Reimagining Wonder Woman as a Christian? Sure, I can see where that comes from.

So by analogy I understand someone using fic to turn a character gay.

Someday I may understand what's up with Judd Winick changing the ethnicities of characters who already had sharply defined and unusual ethnic backgrounds. Doesn't mean I'll agree with it.

And that's sort of how I feel about insisting that Kyle Rayner and Connor Hawke need to be a couple, or that Batman can beat everyone with prep time. I can understand it, I just reject the assumption.

Superhero comix fandom & the superhero comix industry are so intertwined, so incestuous, so inbred, that a lot of what we get is a totally earnest version of Stan Lee's hoary old captions, where he'd say stuff to the effect of, "And now we get to the fighting! Which is what you really care about!" I miss Ann Nocenti, who didn't come out of comix fandom, & who wrote stuff from a really different place. Now I think of it, I may even miss Steve Gallacci's dry, political anthropomorphs, in their chapters with no big fight, no payoff, living lives of desperation in a world that could go to hell on a scale far larger than themselves.

What I'm saying is that tonight I'm officially sick of it. The novelty has worn off. Most shippers aren't good enough writers to get me to care. In this shippy fans are like writers of ultimate showdowns & other wrasslin'-esque stories.

(blue is a dazzling exception, though nobody's dazzling enough to get me to even read Addison/Meredith fic. That said, I think Harrierverse works in the same sense that revisionist Arthuriana works. Whatever the characters are named, they are in blue's stories who she means them to be. And they're well-written. I just feel sad that she identifies her characters with corporately owned characters that can never really be hers.)

So I really appreciate Aaron Diaz, who is not a ficcer (uses his own characters) is not boring (creates clever scenarios) and when he's writing meta (see blog ) is this wonderfully dorky (if vaguely self-righteous) enthusiast for drawing and visual design.

And Shinga, who is a terrible little snarkblossom.

But ah, you say, these are creators, & not stupid, stunted-brain work-for-hire fanboys hacking out commercial pap about characters someone else owns! Also, their output is really freakin' slow. They are closer to Los Bros. Hernandez than some Big Name Fan like espanolbot or bluefall.

Right. But satirist commentators (or humorist critics) like espanolbot, or even finer, auggie18/magickmaker/freerangenerdity, succeed by tweaking the creators. (And frankly it's that kind of humor helped turn me on to Shinga.)

Am I this kind of smart, cool fan? Nah. I don't write that much, I'm not funny, & sometimes my blog is just links & memes. I hate to say it, but I fit in too well in the tumblr dynamic of just repeating other people's images. :(

Oh, well.

I'm not even as crazy clever-prolific as odditycollector, who would I think insist that's she's just a fan doing memes & jokes--but her memes take more work than most.

On a good day (once a year) I might be comparable to thehefner, or at least he makes sense to me. Reminds me of a smart guy I know in real life.

...

Doctor Zero could paste all the superheroes, too bad he's near-sociopath on the interpersonal relationship development scale. I just can't write a shipfic about him.

And I don't care. But there is pretty fan art and pretty fan music and funny fan jokes, & I still like internet fandom.
philippos42: (clover)
I'm reading a new webcomic called Grrl Power, & in one strip the cartoonist links to this:



Australian comedy group 'Axis Of Awesome' perform a sketch from the 2009 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Footage courtesy of Network Ten Australia.

bonus: CANVAS BAGS



Clearly we need a four chord Yotsuba&! song....

Oh, and I'm putting the "this is a crosspost" on LJ now. Yeah. They've been crossposts for quite a while, but that wasn't obvious before.
OK, I know which of these two videos I like better, but what do you think?

Bad(ssoon) Romances )

Also, a public service announcement: (nsfw?) Don't [Mess] with the Gaga! )

CobraLush

Aug. 3rd, 2010 07:10 pm
I didn't notice this ayer, but CobraLush is also Zayra Alvarez.


They used to go by the much more boring name Pretty Baby.
Check it! I found a bunch of Zayra Alvarez songs on YouTube I hadn't come across before!







I'm not sure if I'd heard this one before:
Lately I've been enjoying the music of Kings of Leon & 30 Seconds to Mars.



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