"But there was nothing about the little, low-rambling, more or less identical homes of Northumberland Estates to interest or to haunt, no chance of loot that would be any more than the ordinary, waking-world kind the cops hauled you in for taking; no small immunities, no possibilities for hidden life or otherworldly presence; no trees, secret routes, shortcuts, culverts, thickets that could be made hollow in the middle – everything in the place was right out in the open, everything could be seen at a glance; and behind it, under it, around the corners of its houses and down the safe, gentle curves of its streets, you came back, you kept coming back, to nothing; nothing but the cheerless earth."
Thomas Pynchon, "The Secret Integration"

This is Ian Mathers' Tumblr. I live in Canada. I've written about music and other things for Stylus, Dusted, PopMatters, Resident Advisor, the Village Voice, and a few other places. Hi.



RE: have been dreading this for a while now


they finally stopped making the ipod classic :(((((

have had my 160gb for like…at least 5 years now, pretty sure more; it seems to be working ok besides the dwindling battery life. you can get a replacement battery for i think $70 or so?? but i would ideally, if i can scrape it somehow, like to buy another classic as backup before they are gone bc somehow there is (as far as i know) no other mp3 player on the market with that capacity and like, i’m down to 1 or 2gb free even when i’m trying to be tough about clearing shit, so

i don’t even know what to do…like i think i could learn to live w/o portable listening?? but i don’t know what else i would do with my music for actually listening to it…like, i can’t on the laptop for a bunch of reasons; attn span probably being the worst—bc like i find it not easy to get into a good focused listening mode anyway but w/ the whole internet etc sitting right there in the same box it’d be exponentially worse—but also that the laptop is noisy as fuck and would fuck with listening to anything that wasn’t busy/loud enough to drown it out

aaaaaaa aaaaaaa aaaaa i know how stupid it is that i am this bothered by this but

If you’re stupid, so am I… my own iPod isn’t having battery issues, but it’s just a matter of time. How dumb is it that I care this much? I don’t know. When I was a kid, first with a stereo at home, then a Walkman, then a Discman, the iPod was literally what I dreamed might be possible one day. Then they kept improving it, getting closer and closer to the ideal in my head. That ideal clearly wasn’t shared by enough people to keep the damn thing going.

I could put music on my phone, but its battery life is already crap and there’s so little room there (I don’t really need 160 gigs, but I also don’t want to add time swapping music every day or few days, I’m behind on enough as it is). I refuse to buy something that’s like a shittier version of my phone just to have music on. I’ll look into other players, sure, but I’m guessing Apple’s probably gone out of its way to make that a shitty experience. There are too many things on my iPod that I love fiercely that aren’t on Spotify and its ilk, and besides a lot of my out-of-apartment listening takes place underground with no reception (and while I do listen to music on my computer, the distraction issue noted above is very real).

I can’t exercise without music (not that I’ve found the time/place to do so since moving here, sigh), my commute is kind of brutal without music (unless I’ve got a really great book, and still sometimes in the morning I’m not up to reading), and like I suspect a lot of people I know many cherished experiences with music over the past decade and change involve headphones and a device like the iPod. I kind of figured, as the last classic iPod lingered on with no updates for a while, that it was on its way out. And this is pretty much a classic example of a privileged problem. But damn, I am surprisingly sad to see it go.

ETA: Okay, this is just enraging.

Played 105 times



When I used to go out, I’d know everyone I saw.
Now I go out alone if I go out at all.

The Walkmen - The Rat

I was, what, 22 when this came out? Those lines, this song, gave me a lot of conflicting feelings including but not limited to creeping unease, pride, terror, and defiance. A decade later, it’s still not fully true but it’s a lot closer, and it mostly just makes smile fondly about my twenties. It was great; let’s never go back.

Played 307 times



sometimes you make me feel
like i’m living at the edge of the world
“it’s just the way i smile” you said

This is a special song.

(Source: poetic-aftermath)


I don’t know if it’s my favourite, but at the moment, yes. The Delgados… I think the key here is they’re better at going big than anyone else. When I started getting proper into things, when I was about 16 or so, there were lots of bands going big; yer Mercury Rev, yer Flaming Lips (I am aware Dave Fridmann’s a common factor here, but memory stops me recalling if he had owt to do with Peloton). But the Delgados could get the epic while making it sound possible, or plausible, or at least like something from life, something that was of the world. And that appealed.

And ‘The Actress’ rocks, and Emma Pollock rocks squared. I know it all, years - actually, it was very probably just a concentrated period of months, but oh boy were those months concentrated - of programming it into me, each curve, spike, undulation of the route. It’s velocity and shape, a physical, thrashing bastard of a record that gets the fucking synapses roaring, shrieking. I dunno, other people hear these and hear a 6/10 band, but for me this just drills into something very essential now. I’m not sure what happened to me to make it this way, but I can’t stand outside this record and be objective. I mean, I can’t really be objective about music anyway, but especially not this.

Great song, great analysis. I really wish the run from Peloton on wasn’t so forgotten.

On Kesha, shadow-y men, and Tinashe:


Kesha’s lawsuit against Dr. Luke has been foreshadowed by past events, but it’s nonetheless heartbreaking. I’m support Kesha 100%; it seems remarkable we don’t automatically draw connections between pop stars suffering “mental breakdowns” and the potential abusive men in their lives that are heralded as the creative masterminds behind their work. I hope Kesha escapes this contract; her musical career seems like a minor point in the grand scheme of issues here, but Dr. Luke has been largely credited as the architect of her sound and if she makes a change in artistic direction, it will be met with an enormous amount of industry bullshit about agency and authenticity.

This has become a recurring theme in pop music: the shadowy male producers who are the so-called brilliant masterminds behind these public young women. Kesha had Dr. Luke. Lady Gaga had RedOne. Ariana Grande had Harmony Samuels. I can’t remember the last time we talked about an up-and-coming female pop star without talking extensively about her core production team, and that often makes sense when looking down the credits. This is what the industry does. It pairs young women off with the real geniuses and puts them to work.

This makes the Tinashe album that came out last week pretty incredible. There’s no shadowy male producer behind Aquarius, and any attempt to try to define that album as such is bullshit. Aquarius sounds like an extension of Tinashe’s mixtapes which she recorded and produced in her home studio. Even with this so-called assembled team of superstar hitmakers, all the tracks on Aquarius are unmistakably Tinashe. The Stargate songs sound like Tinashe. The Mike WiLL song sounds like Tinashe. The Detail song sounds like Tinashe. Even the guitar solo on “Bet” is Tinashe, whose idea it was because she thinks they are “cool.” The only song that actually sounds like its producer is “2 On,” but even that sounds like unmistakably like Tinashe with the flirting and the winking and the charming that only the girl next door could bring to a DJ Mustard beat.

My favorite thing written about the new Tinashe album was by Meaghan, who points out, “Aquarius is an anomaly in an age of major label standardization: a debut done unmistakably on Tinashe’s own terms.” This is the only correct framing. Any attempt to credit it to a team of dudes is a massive disservice, but I’m not surprised: old school music criticism is not particularly interested in the artistic vision and genius of black women. Just ask Beyoncé.

(emphasis mine)