"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.

imathers@gmail.com

 

I’m not planning to make linking to these, like, a thing, but I recently wrote a short review/blurb/whatever on Goodreads of a book about Spinoza that was pretty good (do I mean the book or the review? I mean both!). I know some people here have reacted well to me faffing on about good ol’ Benedito so I thought I’d share it here. And I guess the above quotation sums up what I do have a genuine problem with in Della Rocca’s analysis (as good as it mostly is); throughout the book he approaches ideas like the one at the end of that sentence and insists in understanding/interpreting them in rather depressingly limited ways. Spinoza’s talking about metaphysics, not just psychology or politics (and the fact that he saw them all as inextricably linked means that approaching his thought as if it was ultimately reducible to one or another of them does his work an injustice).

I’m not planning to make linking to these, like, a thing, but I recently wrote a short review/blurb/whatever on Goodreads of a book about Spinoza that was pretty good (do I mean the book or the review? I mean both!). I know some people here have reacted well to me faffing on about good ol’ Benedito so I thought I’d share it here. And I guess the above quotation sums up what I do have a genuine problem with in Della Rocca’s analysis (as good as it mostly is); throughout the book he approaches ideas like the one at the end of that sentence and insists in understanding/interpreting them in rather depressingly limited ways. Spinoza’s talking about metaphysics, not just psychology or politics (and the fact that he saw them all as inextricably linked means that approaching his thought as if it was ultimately reducible to one or another of them does his work an injustice).

(Source: tragedyseries)

David Bowie - “Blackout”

And so the work week comes to an end! I love this song, and it makes me think I should go back some day and expand on my Stylus Bowie series (the "Heroes" entry is here), and in one of those nice little coincidences while looking for that link I found this, wherein two people on ILX say nice things about that piece and more importantly people debate whether Low is better than "Heroes". I think Low is a great, great album, but my own personal ranking for that period is "Heroes"Station to StationLodgerLow, so…

Fujiya & Miyagi — Artificial Sweeteners (Yep Roc)

dustedmagazine:



At this point, if you’re not listening to Fujiya & Miyagi at least partially for the snark, I don’t know why you’re listening to them at all. Not that the Brighton band (a trio again now) doesn’t make compelling music in its own right, but plenty of bands do that. When Fujiya & Miyagi first came to some sort of prominence in 2006 with Transparent Things (and more specifically ”Ankle Injuries,” which still feels timeless) their post-Krautrock sound was distinctive enough to turn heads on its own. As time has passed and more bands have started crowding that particular playing field, the thing that actually sets Fujiya & Miyagi apart has become more and more apparent: David Best might just be the kind of snarky, low-grade Lucifer that our modern times demand.

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I wrote about Fujiya & Miyagi’s new record; a consistently fun one from a consistently enjoyable band.

I’ve read excellent writing on Any Other City that treat Sue Tompkins’ voice and the other elements of the short-lived Glasgow band’s music as almost occurring in separate spheres, but to the extent that’s true it’s because it wasn’t until they recorded their first demo that Robert Johnston, Chris Evans, and Will Bradley (guitar, bass, drums, respectively) could actually hear what she was singing. The first three quarters of Life Without Buildings were an attempt to make music that didn’t fit in with prevailing indie rock trends in the city more than a decade ago by members of Glasgow’s thriving art scene who had no interest in making “art rock”. In the instrumental parts of these songs, you can tell they succeeded: supple and spiky, seemingly equally inspired by the Smiths and post-rock, this is music that feels both pleasingly complex and totally natural, the kind of thing that makes most power trios sound clumsy and obvious by comparison. With the addition of Tompkins, brought in to add whatever she felt like, that sturdy structure found its perfect complement in one of the most riveting singers of the past two decades.

I missed when it was posted late last week, but my review of the reissue of Life Without Buildings’ sole (and great) album is up at PopMatters.

Listening Post, June 2014

dustedmagazine:

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If there’s a criteria for the music covered by Dusted, it’s that we feel it’s worthy of further discussion. Some of the records that receive featured reviews spark other opinions among our pool of writers, and there’s always records we banter about that never get full length reviews. Listening Post is a digest of some of the internal chatter that goes on among our group, where we share quick takes on current releases and back-in-rotation favorites.

Also, this week’s viewership stats show that no one from Peru perused the site, so here’s a Los Saicos youtube for everyone to contemplate:

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Oh hey, these have been really fun conversations; I’ve got some blurbs in here (early Talk Talk, late REM, live Spiritualized, a few other things).