Year End Top Ten, Ten Years Ago

PillowfightIn the late 90s, my friend Mark Wieman ran a record-review website called Pillowfight. It was the pre-Pitchfork pulse of Indie-rock. I contributed quite a lot of reviews to the site during its end-of-the-millennium reign, and along with reviews, come year-end top ten lists. Continue reading “Year End Top Ten, Ten Years Ago”

Sticker Nation by Srini Kumar

I don’t know how most people feel about stickers, but they make me get all smiley. Sticker Nation (Disinformation) contains over 400 stickers emblazoned with subversive themes. Classic slogans like “Let the good times roll,” “Express yourself,” and “Power to the people” are peppered amongst “I just changed the world,” “Listen to Marshall McLuhan,” “Eat more veggies,” and “Talk nerdy to me.” My personal favorite is “When I hit the drum, you shake the booty,” but it’s difficult to have a favorite when there are so many good ones in here. Continue reading “Sticker Nation by Srini Kumar”

Dig! Directed by Ondi Timoner

Ondi Timoner’s Dig! is the story of a musical revolution, which may or may not have happened, depending on your perspective. The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Worhols were friends before either had any modicum of fame, and they were determined to change the world — or at least the world of music. They took separate paths toward this change, and the onset of two types of fame turned them into rivals of the oddest sort. Continue reading “Dig! Directed by Ondi Timoner”

Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing by Benjamin Nugent

Better than even Kurt Cobain, Elliott Smith provides a case study of the effects of fame. Though his rise was just as mercurial, the changes wrought were more profound and more eerie. Benjamin Nugent treats this flight to fame with a delicate touch, showing as many sides of Elliott as he was able to access. The result is a book about the pitfalls of the rise to public attention, its effects on friendships, and a man who fought against everything to maintain the one thing he truly lost: control. Nugent’s book follows Elliott from his growing up in suburban Texas, where his tumultuous home life pushed him inward and toward music, to his beginnings as a performer in Portland, Oregon, then through his chaotic brush with mass consciousness, to his unfortunate suicide in Los Angeles. Continue reading “Elliott Smith and the Big Nothing by Benjamin Nugent”