Indie Icons “Neutral Milk Hotel” renunite

Have you heard of Neutral Milk Hotel? Most people don’t, considering they were a VERY underground indie folk band that existed from the late eighties to 1999. They only had two major releases, “On Avery Island” and “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” but none gained any popularity at the time they came out. But slowly and surely, and after the bands breakup, “Aeroplane” became a cultural phenomenon among the underground scene, or known most popularly as the hipster community. The album has sold over 300,000 copies and is critically acclaimed by sites such as Sputnik music and pitchfork.

20130430-093510.jpg pictured: indie hit “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”

Returning to present day, 14 years after NMH’s disbandment and frontman Jeff Mangum’s nervous breakdown, it seems apparent that the Kings of Carrot Flowers (listen to the album) thought it right to show the new generation their talents. Thus, the indie folk stars have teamed back up for a reunion tour, announcing about 5 or 6 dates of the tour just yesterday. People on Sputnik music are speculating that more dates should be to follow.

I have heard the album “Aeroplane,” and personally I find it to be very interesting; the album lacks in production value, but soars lyrically. Jeff Mangum has been referred to by the underground community as “the greatest lyricist to have ever existed.” And while that is subject to debate, I won’t deny that the writing is very well done. If the band intrigues you, give the album a listen, and if you like it then perhaps you’ll be lucky enough for NMH to stop near your town on their reunion tour.

Sputnik music article

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Why a “Good” Music Review is Hard to Find

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Have you ever bought an album you were looking forward to, and it didn’t live up to your expectations? Perhaps before you bought that album, you went and checked Rolling Stone for their review? You check, and the big name website/magazine gives the album an excellent review. What is the problem? Do you just have a bad ear for music, or are the major magazines the one at fault? This has happened to me before, and I’m starting to look into the truth.

This has happened to me on numerous occasions, and most of the problem comes from the fact that I don’t just visit major sites for reviews. The site I visit most is a user site known as Sputnik music, and I find it filled with hipsters who will condemn any album that is looked by the mainstream media as good. They praise bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and The Flaming Lips, and strike down the major pop stars like Justin Bieber and, most recently, Will.i.am. who released a new (and awful) album this past week. For me, the bands I like have changed their sound recently and are belittled by Sputnik and its users.

There are points some of the reviewers make, and after I take those into account, I visit Rolling Stone to find them giving praise and critical acclaim for an album that I honestly just find decent; I like the album, but it doesn’t deserve a 3.5 or 4 out of 5. I looked at the recent reviews of RS and found that there have been no reviews below a 2 in the 2013 year, and that’s a load of crap.

I’ve done thinking, and come to a realization: Rolling Stone and other major sites are “Brand loyal.”

You can see it anywhere on RS. Any popular band that has been around a while never has a bad review. Rolling Stone just isn’t a reliable source because they have a brand loyalty to the artists people have loved for years; they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Unfortunately, there is rarely any middle ground between user sites and major sites. You either have hipsters who hate mainstream who tear albums to shreds, or you go with overly hyped brand loyalty. You may find that occasional review that actually is well written and gives a good and honest opinion. But those are hard to find. Sadly, middle ground will always be difficult to see.

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Prom night (not music related)

For those who do not live in my local area, tonight happens to be my high schools prom night. I for one am not going to prom but to after prom, an event that is actually better loved by the students than prom itself. But I digress, tonight I’d like to take a moment to be serious.

This week I talked to my father a lot about responsibility, and he told me something that has really stuck with me in light of what I see around me.

there are two types of mistakes in this world: mistakes of the mind, and mistakes of the heart.

He described to me what each one was; mistakes of the mind are little slip ups, such as forgetting an appointment or something such as that, while a mistake of the heart is when you know what you’re going to do is wrong, but you do it still. I sat over this and realized it stands to be so very true, and it’s good that I get to hear this before tonight.

For all those out there tonight who are wanting an amazing evening, I hope you get what you want, but please listen to that advice. Recently I’ve seen people I know do incredibly stupid things that will haunt them the rest of their life. Really think about the choices you make as the night turns to the morning, you don’t know the repercussions that may follow.

I wish everyone a safe and happy prom, have yourselves a lively evening!

Why I Don’t Like the Doctor Who Season Finale Leak

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Recently I came across this photo that advertises the season 7 finale of Doctor Who. This is the massively popular BBC tv show that has captured the hearts of not just British natives, but many Americans as well. I’m a huge fan of the show, and seeing this poster has irked me ever so slightly, and if you’re a fan like me, I would think you’d be the same.

You see, a running plot point of the show is that Doctor Who’s main star is simply known as “The Doctor,” an alien (known as a time lord) who never reveals his name throughout the series; hence the running gag of “The Doctor? Doctor who?” shouted by so many different characters, from which the tv show’s name originates from. He is meant to be the same person as the very first incarnation of The Doctor that existed at the shows start in 1963. After fifty years of keeping The Doctor as this legend and myth, the producers have wanted to decide to reveal the Doctors birth name.

To me, this is annoying for a few reasons. The first being that with the name revealed, the show name might as well change in general. Doctor Who will have to be changed to Doctor “insert name here.” But in reality, the problem with this decision is more than just a long running gag gone after fifty years.

Think of it like a magician. What happens when a magician reveals its secrets? the magic trick is now simply an illusion and isn’t fun anymore. The “magic” that existed in the trick is gone, cause now you know all you can know. It’s like this with the name of The Doctor. If you give people the name of this entity that has lasted ever since the shows conception, the magic and wonder of The Doctor leaves, never to come back again. The show simply has no point anymore.

To any person who hasn’t seen the show may think of this as a stupid post that makes little sense, but I hope fans of the show (and even non fans) know where I’m coming from. I understand that the show creators and producers wanted to go big for the finale with this being 50 years of Doctor Who, but I feel they could go with something a little less extreme.

Psy video banned in South Korea

It’s strange, but South Korean sensation Psy has had the video for his latest music video banned in his country of origin. “Why’s this” you may ask? In the opening sequence we see Psy knock over a traffic cone.

In South Korea, traffic cones are public property, and therefore it is a public offense to kick one over. Due to the violation Psy commits in the video, South Korea has banned the k-pop stars video from being aired in the country. It’s quite strange to think about, but apparently videos have been pulled from SK for less.

Quick little post, hope you enjoyed it.

Justin Bieber Strikes Again

Just Bieber is at it again. If his breakdown in London wasn’t enough to get the media’s attention, his newest antic is bound to attract more controversy.

He recently visited the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam while on his latest tour, and left to come across his many fans waiting for him (a good bunch probably oblivious to who the WWII Jewish hero even was.) According to the Facebook page of the Anne Frank house, he wrote in the guest book, with a line that sparked much controversy as follows:

truly inspiring to be able I come here. Anne was a great girl, hopefully she would’ve been a belieber.

At first I read this and started laughing a little, cause at first glance, it’s a humorous thing to hear Justin use his self made term and Anne Frank in the same sentence. But the more I hear about it, the more I realize one thing: it’s quite the insensitive thing to write. The writing in the book carries this level of narcissism I haven’t encountered in a long time. Out of all the things to write about in a guest book in the home of a WWII hero, and Justin is only left HOPING Anne Frank may have liked his oh so wonderful top 40 radio singles (take that sentence in with a ridiculous amount of sarcasm.)

I really don’t know who deserves the most sympathy in this situation. You have Bieber who has made another splash in the media for all the wrong reasons, and isn’t escaping the paparazzi’s firm grip they have on his feminine frame. You could have sympathy for Anne Frank’s legacy and the people running the house who had to deal with the situation.

Honestly, I just feel pity. Pity for the Bieber fans, to which twitter was blowing up with posts wondering why Justin picked a “big nosed Jewish girl” as a new girlfriend. I’m not kidding, people thought she was still alive and together with Justin. It’s stuff like this that makes me weep at the fact I’m in one of the stupidest generations in history. This level of stupidity is ridiculous and needs to stop.

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Production In Music

It seems that ever since modern recording has been around, there has always been an argument people have had that rages on to this day. There are a lot of people out there (most in the hipster community) that prefer their music to sound under produced, because it sounds more “natural.” I can’t tell if it’s a good or bad thing, but I usually prefer my music actually sounding professional and produced.

(Take note: when I say produced, I’m not taking over production that sounds too good to be true, but that’s a line blurred by opinions of others)

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Now I completely get the idea of wanting ones music to sound real, but at the same time I know that the bands I listen to are not the greatest musicians in the world. So I am different in the sense that I like my music to sound as if it’s had some needed work done. I believe that singers can’t be perfect in the studio all the time, so a little pitch correction never hurt anyone, I only wish I could correct my voice in my home demos that I make. Although that does not mean I condone auto tune, please know that.

I. Hate. Auto tune. Now onto more pressing matters.

The other thing hipsters want is for their albums to sound old school, they love that classic sound. For me, (and I hate to admit this) I don’t like listening to really old music, mainly digitally. Old music production was not the best in my own opinion, and I can only think that if bands back then had access to equipment now, they would take advantage of the technology that would be at their disposal. Although I should clarify, that I still love the classics and don’t deny the impact older music has had on society. I have a lot of classic vinyl records I listen to…great stuff.

I’d like to know others opinions on this, do you prefer your music to sound rather untouched by production and “real”, or have it sound less real, at the cost of it maybe sounding a tad too perfect?