Articles Archive for June 2009

Marginalia »

June 30th, 2009 | No Comment | Category: Marginalia
Razorcake hates <i>Follow for Now</i>

Before you start thinking that everyone loves my book, Follow for Now (they don’t), check out Keith Rosson’s review on Razorcake. Here’s an excerpt:
There’s just not much interesting material being covered, even in the music and literature sections, which I feel a lot more comfortable with than, say, the science section. Like when Christopher interviews Milemarker—and time has still not proven to me that they were anything but a pretty boring band made up of some decent writers—and in lieu of trying to make Al Burian squirm a bit or …

Reviews »

June 28th, 2009 | One Comment | Category: Reviews
Decisions, decisions…

In my part-time alternate life as a consultant, I have often pondered why a person chooses to buy a Billabong sweatshirt as opposed to a Quiksilver one. The choice is not an obvious one. The products themselves are essentially the same. The name is the only real difference. The gradient between one and the other is an infinitesimal pattern of grey, yet the decision — and millions more exactly like it — happen everyday.
Jonah Lehrer has emerged over the past few years as neuroscience’s strongest and most interesting voice. His …

Reviews, Videos »

June 28th, 2009 | One Comment | Category: Reviews, Videos
The Eternal Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth is not a band. It is an institution. Where other bands who manage to stay together for over a quarter of a century (or much less) become legacy bands (i.e., bands that are only known and revered for a part of their careers long past), Sonic Youth continue to push themselves and their fans into new and exciting territory with every passing year together. Lately there’s plenty of proof. In addition to a new record and a recent movie (both discussed below), there’s also David Browne’s Goodbye 20th …

Reading Lists, Reviews »

June 25th, 2009 | 7 Comments | Category: Reading Lists, Reviews
Summer Reading List, 2009

At long last, 2009’s Summer Reading List is collected, compiled, and complete. Inside you will find book recommendations from friends and usual suspects such as Richard Metzger, Cynthia Connolly, Steven Shaviro, Gareth Branwyn, Peter Lunenfeld, Gary Baddeley, Dave Allen, Patrick Barber, and myself, as well as newcomers David Silver and Josh Gunn. If you’re like me, you still haven’t read everything that looked good from last year’s list, but once again, against all odds, this exercise proves that there are plenty of interesting books being published (on paper!). So, read …

Announcements »

June 22nd, 2009 | No Comment | Category: Announcements
Cool Book of the Day: <i>Follow for Now</i>

Follow for Now is Dan Janal’s Cool Book of the Day today. Dan Janal runs the public relations firm PR Leads, among other things, and I am stoked to have Follow for Now on his book review site.
Many thanks to Dan and his staff over there.
Check it out.

Marginalia »

June 22nd, 2009 | 4 Comments | Category: Marginalia
Go Skateboarding Day: Secret Spot

So, I was bumming around in San Marcos, Texas over the Go Skateboarding Day weekend, and I ran into this skateboard kid who used to live in Austin. He told me about this secret, outlaw spot in my neighborhood in Austin, and gave me some sketchy directions to it.
When I got back, I checked it out, and sure enough: a hidden concrete playground with lumps and lips and pool corners — less than a mile from my place!
Below are the surveillance photos I took of it upon my return:

It’s on… …

Essays »

June 16th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Category: Essays
“The Revolutions Will Not Be Televised” on ESPN

My first column for ESPN, entitled “The Revolutions Will Not Be Televised,” in which I reminisce and ruminate as to why BMX flatland television coverage disappeared.

Here’s an excerpt:
When I started riding flatland BMX, there were only a handful of flatland tricks to learn, and it was easy to see where to start if you wanted to learn even the hardest of them. Curb endos, 180s, rollbacks, the core of the sport’s repertoire didn’t even require pegs. This changed quickly as the sport progressed. By the late ’80s, there were hundreds …

Essays, Reviews »

June 14th, 2009 | 3 Comments | Category: Essays, Reviews
Race for the Prize: 90s Music Biographies

The music scene of the 1990s was confused. At the turn of that last decade, Hip-hop was displacing Metal as the top-selling genre, and Nirvana was allegedly setting off the so-called “alternative revolution,” yet Guns ‘N Roses was all over MTV with opulent, twelve-minute videos and all over the charts with an epic double CD. The world was wild at heart and weird on top.
Underneath that odd veneer of mainstream schizophrenia, independent music was thriving. Dean Wareham is one of the unsung architects of indie rock. His bands, Galaxie 500 …

Essays »

June 10th, 2009 | One Comment | Category: Essays
The Mars Volta in <i>DIG BMX Magazine</i>

I wrote the following gushing essay regarding The Mars Volta for the May/June, 2009 issue (#70) of DIG BMX Magazine. Sandy Carson took the photo at Austin City Limits last fall.
Out of the ashes of the explosive and eventually implosive El Paso, Texas ensemble At the Drive-In, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala (and friends) blaze on as The Mars Volta. These guys are mind terrorists with a penchant for bombastic, post-hardcore art rock (“artcore”?), beautifully written yet always slightly askew compositions, and flawlessly executed instrumentation and vocals – all operating …

Interviews »

June 09th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Category: Interviews
Russian Circles: Not Enough Blood

Post-rock instrumental bands have been emerging from every crack and crevice of the map the past few years. You can usually tell them by their simmering introductions that build to explosive crescendos and their airy adverb-clause or sentence-length names.
Russian Circles’ heavy brand of meandering rock leaves lesser bands choking on their smoke. Where amateurs follow the slowly-build-then-explode archetype, Mike Sullivan (guitar), Brian Cook (bass), and Dave Turncrantz (drums) avert cliché, smash expectations, and drive it home clean. It’s a difference difficult to describe but easy to hear, leaving many writers …