05/26/2004: "the first three, answered."
About ten different people have sent in questions so far, but I'm just gonna answer the first three for today. The rest are on the way. Keep sending 'em in!
I don't know how long you have usually owned an album before you have to review it, but do you feel comfortable reviewing work with a more or less first impression? Do you feel it's fair to the work, and that you get a meaningful opportunity to get to know the music before having to write?
If I'm reviewing an album, I'll listen to it constantly--I'll fall asleep to it, wake up to it, daydream to it, free-associate to it. I like what John Darnielle said in the Jukebox Jury I did with him last week--that things get more interesting when you add some time to them. I think my reviews would probably be a lot different if I had a few years to listen to the albums in question, but no one has that kind of time. Deadlines!
By the same token, it seems like you're constantly listening to new music; doesn't this ever feel forced? Many music critics seem to acquire a jadedness or numbness to the specialness of any given piece of music... What's your reaction to that?
Well, I'm pretty new to the whole game; I still go "ooh! promos!" when I open the mail, and I don't think I'm all that jaded. I've been living in New York for almost two years, which is not so long in the scheme of things. I don't know what you mean by "specialness." I do get overwhelmed sometimes listening to new music, and still listen to old records often--music that reminds me of certain memories and times in my life, mostly. There are certain records that act as a salve for my frayed nerves, and I don't think anyone else is any different. When I'm really sad I listen to swirly, sigh-heavy microhouse (haha micro-goth!), this totally awesome and trashy Mixmag comp from 2001, hi-NRG, dancehall, and Brian Eno's first four 'rock' records. And Wire's 'Pink Flag' because I always end up singing along, and '12XU' was the best antidepressant ever invented.
Q1: rank these places/activities/whatevers wherein people most commonly listen to music - while: 1) dancing 2) studying 3) washing dishes 4) driving/in transport (for those who spend more times in cabs/trains than mustangs/tbirds) 5) vacuuming 6) bathing, music coming from the other room 7) bathing, music coming from the same room 8) "in the act of physical love" 9) shopping for groceries 10) getting a haircut 11) playing a video game 12) laying out at the beach 13) laying out at the pool 14) right before the band goes on stage 15) right after the band leaves the stage 16) just sitting in front of your stereo, paying attention solely to the music maaan
Er...I don't think I follow the question. I am totally in favor of people dancing in any situation, so I'm going to rank that #1. then: 8, 12, 6, 7, 3, 9, 14, 15, 16, 13, 10, 2, 4, 5, 11. I'm surprised you didn't include "cooking." I love listening to music when I cook. Frequent readers might be surprised to learn that my most prized possession is not some dusty slab of vinyl, but a Kitchenaid mixer.
Q2: are you a good dancer or a bad dancer? don't lie. (followup/part of the same question: do you have any moves or do you just 'dance'/'flow'/'bob'?)
I'm not a good dancer or a bad dancer, I think; I'm not self-conscious about it and I get really energized by it. I love dancing to '90s ragga-jungle and sped-up-Chipmunk-vocals-hardcore. It's like an obstacle course; I get totally lost in all the peaks and valleys and rushes and whooshes and I love the breakdowns (which give you time to catch your breath). Like being trapped inside of Tron, in all its cartoonishness. I love dancing to schaffel, too, and the swoonier 4/4 stuff. And disco and punk-funk or whatever the hell they're calling it. In general I favor sweeter, warmer, funkier stuff (I know, I'm such a girl) over the clickier, drier, more bangin' stuff. Like Derrick May this weekend, for instance--there was a huge expanse of his set where it was so punishingly hard-as-nails and severe that it took a lot of effort to get into. As for moves, it's all kind of improvised. When I was a kid I took two years of Indian classical dancing lessons, which was very rigid, highly formalist. That kind of dancing had moves that required hours of doing squats and leg raises to accomplish.
Q3: What makes a man start fires?
A carbon source, plus a continuous source of oxygen, which will break down (if complete combustion) to CO2 + H2O.
What are the 3 best live shows you've seen over the past year?
Kompakt vs. Rephlex at Volume, Einsturzende Neubauten at Irving Plaza, Wolf Eyes at the No Fun Fest.
Which album would you want to write about for the 33 1/3 series?
Oooh. Most definitely something by Bowie. Lodger or Low, most likely.
Have you seen any decent music videos lately?