Stay Weird


Nature, it is said, abhors a vaccuum.  As we wake daily older into our ever more vanilla lives, hypermediated and corralled by deadlines and an over-influx of topical information that we can make neither heads nor tails of, an influx whose surfeit is too total to help us to tackle and reshape the world of late humanism we are plunged in, a soon-to-be vestigial organ of that nearly obsolete humanity of ours is sounding the aether for fellow monsters.

It’s a bit of us now so tenuously real that our children will probably be born without it.  For us, it still calls out a tiny, unanswered S.O.S. to the parent notion to Wonder; the Terrible- the old, silent spirit guide to memory.  It drops stones into wells and listens to see if that well has really emptied, to suss whether we can still wake the Terrible while still endlessly hitting the send button, calling meetings, talking using words that carry no meaning.

We are each morning watching the light crawl frightened as roaches across the ceilings, running photon by photon out the windows and out of the skies as though called back at the end of a job.  They are clearing the aisles at the end of poetry and politics, food and camaraderie.  We are married and eking out our days in companionship with our carpal tunnel syndrome, relinquishing reflection and recall to search engines and catch-phrase exhibitionism.

Thank the old gods that Deerhunter, amidst everything that is deadening and normal, in the face of everything that is forgetting and frivolous, is weird and still playing.  They are monsters still in the gulf of an uncrossably wide vaccuum of spent humanity.

Top Records of 2008

By way of introduction, I present my most carefully considered and powerfully received records of 2008. In years past I have lamented the lack of a unifying artistic theme or musical style linking the exponentially multiplying number of artists the onset of distributed information and cheap personal computer recording has brought to the marketplace of ideas. In years past I have scolded (to very little, er, no effect) the masses, creative or otherwise, for settling into repetitions of pop forms of eras gone by, for shirking the creative and political responsibilities of the day by engaging in playful and harmless anachronistic feats of costume rock.

There is very little unifying my picks this year other than my taste, but the range of amazing recordings that emerged this year differs from years past. In the ever-accelerating slurry of mediocrity abetted by the availability of affordable recording equipment and distribution channels, those just-as-few as ever Shakespeares pushing along the whole project of civilization behind the confused, echolaliac hordes seem to have gotten a lot easier to hear.

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