Cale tries to cram too much throughout the album’s 54 minutes. It almost seems like the “Shifty adventure” he’s referring to is the series of songs that shift back and forth, slow to mid-tempo; with some tracks sounding like Psychedelic Furs throwaways, while others (like the track “Hemingway”) almost sound like they can be related to contemporary bands like Yeasayer, just with a much older man holding the microphone.(1)
Yet just a few months before that debut, Waka became more the victim than the beneficiary of his own rising fame, robbed and shot at an Atlanta carwash. A recent profile in Spin outlined the contours of Waka’s other woes: the violent death of his best friend, rapper Slim Dunkin’; his mother getting picked up by the police; his house being raided. Waka’s life, perhaps especially since his success, is less sanguine than sanguinary, and it would be easy to see Triple F Life's darker tone as a celebration of nihilism and violent decadence, but it’s more complicated than that.
These are the wages of maturity, one supposes. The group, whose sophomore effort, The OF Tape, Vol. 2 is out today, has cleaned up its act (particularly when it comes to homophobic slurs and extended fantasies of horrific sexual debasement and cartoon violence), and even grown up, after a fashion. Two years ago, the group’s leader, Tyler the Creator, would spin a yarn about drowning a woman in a tub of semen; now he’s content simply to screw the old-fashioned way—albeit possibly with someone else's girlfriend. But the issue confronting the group—several members of which are no longer teenagers—on the release of Vol. 2 is whether the advancement is artistic or simply developmental.
Prostitutes were at one point working out of numbers 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 Delancey Street. The sale of alcohol was outlawed on Sundays, yet nearly every bar or saloon had side and rear entrances. Casinos catered to both low- and high-end customers. And the police profited from nearly all of this illicit business. Big Bill Devery, when appointed captain of the notorious Eleventh Precinct on today’s Lower East Side, charged madams a $500 “initiation fee” and $50 in monthly protection money.(1)
Despite its flaws, Liza Johnson's debut 'Return' is a promising start for film depictions of our recent wars
Director Liza Johnson's debut film, Return, the only American selection at the Director's Fortnight at Cannes last year, also appears to be the first film about the "war on terror" to come out after the end of its most significant conflict, the Iraq War. As such, it's a promising if somewhat flawed sign of what may be to come in film depictions of the conflicts of the past decade.
Now we have a new batch of songs on Old Ideas, out this week. Whatever their provenance, mystical or mundane, what constitutes a good song for Leonard Cohen, at age 77, with his history? There's no explicit sense in the songs themselves of why this is a collection of "old ideas" (though the phrase itself is an old idea: it was the working title for the album before it), other than containing "ideas" from someone who is "old." But while very much in line with the Leonard Cohen Sound we've come to expect in the 21st Century, these songs contain some interesting echoes of a far more musical Cohen, one we haven't heard in a while.(2)
Some varieties of hard-to-find are easier to access than others. Take the Peel Sessions—the BBC’s catalog of more than 3,800 in-studio performances (typically, four songs each) by more than 2,000 artists summoned to the radio station’s recording studio by Radio 1 DJ John Peel.
Jennifer Egan’s new novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad, is alternately hilarious, portentous, and withering. But it is not subtle. The goon is time, we learn from a former rock star—reduced, when we meet him, to a crippled, graying, Rocky Road-addled shut-in whose desperate last gasp of a new album, A to B, asks Egan’s basic question: how does a person get from there to here?