Tuesday, May 03, 2005

What she said.

Logging blogville:

  • Carl Wilson recently penned a great consideration of Diamanda Galas' latest work, with a nod toward Buffy Sainte-Marie, which is almost certainly the first time these two have been linked. Wilson writes, "when a woman's timbre spills outside set boundaries (soothing earth mommy, breathy seductress, ballad belter), she's bound to face mockery and caricature.
    Consider Yoko Ono, Nina Simone, Bjork, or even native Canadian folk-rock icon Buffy Sainte-Marie, whose warble only got wobblier after she shed the 1960s image she has witheringly called 'Pocahontas with a guitar.' Such a wavering vibrato is enough to make many people say a female singer 'drives them crazy,' as if they still feared witches or the ancient Greek sirens." I'd add Corin Tucker to the list, having had a similar early response to Heavens to Betsy and early Sleater-Kinney. These voices are forces to be reckoned with, and the mockery and caricature Wilson notes are almost always acting as cover for fear and anxiety --- we do still fear witches, don't we? Shouldn't we? Courtney, cast that spell.
  • The New York Times last week noted the passing of alternative rock radio as a viable format. "We didn't even get to play 'It's the End of the World as We Know It,'" said one program director. Reasons cited are the dearth of identifiable indie stars, removing "women from the equation," the rise of satellite stations --- oddly, everything but programmers' astonishing lack of creativity.
  • Carrie McLaren at Stay Free! has an excellent, thoughtful post about Steven Johnson's forthcoming (May 5th) book, Everything Bad Is Good for You, which flips the joke from Sleeper into warm comfort for TV jockeys everywhere. The comments are also rich fodder. Johnson's work, like Malcolm Gladwell's recent Blink (NYRB review here), seems tailor-made for the quick pull quote or oversimplified puff piece, not to mention for helping the stressed, over-extended reader feel that much closer to full actualization --- "one more 24 DVD and my plot for world domination will be complete."
  • That metal T-shirt paper we noted earlier in a EMP conference round-up gets a thorough beat-down over at Bagatellen. Schadenfreude, in effect. We are small.
  • SFJ went and saw Dylan and reported back.
  • Happy birthday, James Brown, who turns 72 today. His heart turns 87. His autobio came out back in January.


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