Friday, August 25, 2006

Or Is It, "These Other Cats Is Just Pluto"?

I've been obsessed for a little while now with the Kut Masta Kurt remix of Diverse and Mos Def's "Wylin Out" available on the free, downloadable Chocolate Swim EP here. I love, love, love that line in the chorus that goes, "I'm Diverse / these other cats is just Whole Foods." I feel like it's the perfect way to kind of affectionately poke fun at the Adult Swim demographic of now-responsible early-thirtysomethings who own condos and hold down steady, interesting jobs and are politically liberal and like to buy organic food whenever possible but still jones for some funny, subversive cartoons at night. And, that would all be true except for the fact that, you guessed it, they're not actually rapping about Whole Foods. The line, rather, is "these other cats is just hopefuls." I only just realized this a few days ago and was so disappointed, and a little bit embarrassed, when it finally clicked, but, holy shit, what a fucking funny way to mishear the line, huh?

Seriously, John Darnielle, will you just HAVE MY BABIES ALREADY??? This week on Salon he discusses (brilliantly, strangely, hilariously) television and boxing and how bright Sebastian Bach would be "if he could just stay focused." (OMG, does this betray a Gilmore Girls habit as well?) I couldn't even bring myself to read the rest of the contributions because I knew I'd just be disappointed that he didn't write them. There's also, of course, the new album, which, yes, is very, very sad, but, at first blush, nowhere near as emotionally impenetrable as all the "I'm still processing [it]" comments might lead one to believe. It's beautiful and cold and feels kind of perfectly breathless, like all the air has been crushed out of it, with a few trinkets and other bits of discarded, gilded dross left rattling around inside. I feared that his falsetto work would tip the whole boat into dirge overload, but it doesn't at all. I can't remember which blog I found it on originally, but here's a link to the music video for "Woke Up New," directed by Rian Johnson, the guy who did Brick. (Seriously, if his spine-tinglingly perfect choice to run "Sister Ray" over the closing credits is any indication, this guy knows good music.)

Gorilla vs. Bear points us in the direction of the Cold War Kids' free Daytrotter session MP3s and the wonderfully juicy corresponding interview. The band sounds just as exhausted as the write-up claims they were after the drive back out to Iowa, but that battle fatigue brings something really beautiful out of "Hospital Beds" that I'd never quite heard in the song before. I don't know if I'm posting this for anyone other than myself at this point, but, if you have any interest in these cats at all, don't miss these links.

Good Hodgkins links to a great interview with Chicago oddball Devin Davis. I laughed out loud at his perfect encapsulation of what it means for him to have reached a certain level of success as an indie musician: "People now introduce me to friends as 'Devin Davis' instead of 'Devin' which is kind of funny, but flattering."

The best thing, in my mind, about the whole Pluto demotion thing is that people are talking about and thinking about space, about our solar system. As funny as I find stuff like Kottke's mnemonic contest and Colbert talking planetary smack, I'm firmly in support of the scientists trying to figure out just what the fuck a planet is. It seems to me the height of respectable, forward-thinking science that they aren't afraid to make these intense pronouncements that are forcing us to redefine what we had previously held as "true" about our little corner of the cosmos. I'm not discounting the fact that this decision was probably fraught with dissention and contention and debate and that the new "dwarf planet" classification might not satisfy all the voters from the International Astronomical Union, but still, if we can no longer expect our politicians to have the courage to say, "you know what, upon further evidence, I need to reconsider my position," we need to support and encourage astronomers, biologists, mathematicians, and the like when they're doing their damnedest to help us understand the amazing, confounding, continually unfolding nuances of our known universe.

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