It’s All Bullshit: Pete Toms’ On Hiatus Pt. 2
Sometimes the relentless grind of stupidity and negativity and sheer stubborn regression makes me give up on comics for a bit. I look around on the internet, I see people being assholes and everyone complaining about how bad comics are these days and I feel like I’m stuck in an infinite loop of surreality, where huge creative strides in the medium are cast aside and all we want to do is talk shit about one another because that’s more exciting. It’s just hard to get worked up about things that don’t fucking matter when real things happen, like an ex-girlfriend dying a horrible death on a poorly constructed highway. And as much as I try to focus on the work that blows me away, eventually the energy it takes to hone in on the good shit is sucked dry by the energy it takes to ignore the suffocating bleakness of the medium you call home. Maybe this is why something like the second part of Pete Toms’ On Hiatus clicks with me enough to motivate me to jump back in to the cesspool.
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We’ve been doing these secretly for a little while, but now we’re going to start posting our monthly recommendations playlist here on tumblr. November’s playlist is a bit dark, since we’re now settling in for winter and getting used to the one time of year when Austin isn’t drenched in sun.
1. YVETTE ”Attrition” (NYC)
Buzzsaw sharp industrialized post-punk in the vein of A-Frames and a more minimalist the Banshees minus Siouxsie Sioux.
2. Motion Studies “Matter of Time” (NYC)
Slinky, seductive dance music that’s not too far off from what LCD Soundsystem might sound like if James Murphy had a sultry croon.
3. Psychic Yardale “No One Wants Me” (NYC)
A no-fi take on a forgotten garage classic by the Actioneers, courtesy of an upstart NYC band.
4. Nervous Curtains “Wired to Make Waves” (Dallas)
Anxious electro-punk with hints of Devo and the Faint.
5. Ichi Ni San Shi “Treasured Thoughts (in the Key of G)” (Austin)
Jangly indie pop that threatens to fall apart at any moment, but holds it together thanks to some ramshackle charm.
6. Sweet Talk “Never Alone” (Austin)
Glammy, classic power pop, along the lines of Fountains of Wayne and the Posies.
7. The Afex “She’s Got the Time” (England)
Brittle mod garage rock that went unfortunately overlooked until a recent Acid Jazz reissue. Hopefully they get the Creation treatment from Wes Anderson soon.
8. The Cold Beat “Worms”
Bay Area garage rock with a ’70s UK punk edge, more the Raincoats than Thee Oh Sees.
9. Tee-Double “Let Me Rock” (Austin)
An Austin hip-hop legend with a distinct homegrown sound that recalls Blackalicious and Jurassic 5. Come see him at Loser City’s Nov. 23rd show, also featuring Chief & thedoomsdaydevice and The Weird Project.
10. Musidora Vampires “Wasp” (Austin)
A mixture of Raveonettes guitars and minimalism with the arrangement sensibilities of Trent Reznor.
11. Vice Device “Solvent” (Portland)
Sinister minimal wave, the kind of thing J.G. Ballard might seduce someone to.
12. Pop. 1280 “Human Probe” (NYC)
Murderous noise punk, chock full of Big Black nastiness and Scratch Acid guitar attacks.
13. Nacho Picasso “American Literature” (Seattle)
Not your typical Seattle rapper, but instead the city’s “prince of darkness” in the hip-hop community, with a Lil’ Wayne-like flow and beats that pull more from John Carpenter than any hip-hop standards.
14. KAYTRANADA “Hot Jazzybelle” (Montreal)
Chill electronic music from the great white north, with all the wintry tones that implies.
15. ssleeperhold “beatsslave” (Austin)
Mysterious dark wave outfit, mostly instrumental, inspired by giallo film soundtracks and plots.
16. Troller “Tiger” (Austin)
Hazy electronic music in the style of early OMD, subtle and graceful but addictive nonetheless.
There is a show tonight that you must check out. It’s at the Spider House cafe, it’s only $5 and it features one of the coolest DJs in town. I should preface this by saying that I am not a connoiss…
The good folks over at Ovrld have a preview of tonight’s Loser City show, which features the incredible BoomBaptist, who is rightfully rising in the hip-hop and electronic music worlds. Go read it!
Francesca Lyn interviewed Danny and I for the new academic journal Digital America. It was a fun interview and we got into why we wanted to start Loser City, what you’ll be seeing from us soon, and what other Loser City-affiliated projects are on the way.
Whaaa-ttt?! ANOTHER Loser City show?! Yes indeed! And this time it’s headlined by the incredibly talented BoomBaptist, who is coming off a ridiculous run of support dates that include gigs with P.O.S, Cut Chemist and Just Blaze. Joining BB are the Lower Class, a neo-Native Tongues style group from San Marcos, and Secret Levels, a sharp tongued Austinite who can also be seen in Space Camp Death Squad. Only $5! If you’re in Austin, come and check it out, Facebook event is here and Do512 link is here. Even if you’re not in Austin, why not throw us a few likes?
American Horror Story: Coven “Bitchcraft” Review
Nick Hanover: I blame you for my entrance into the world of American Horror Story, Dylan. If it hadn’t been for your review of the first season and that laundry list of absurdities that made up the major plot points of the first season, I never would have wound up going down this rabbit hole of tilted camera angles, random bursts of nonsensical music cues and scenery chewing. But here I am, back for more at the start of what might be the most hilarious season of American Horror Story yet.
Dylan Garsee: Well, I had to introduce you to the world of modern day TV camp, and I’m sure as hell you’ll never watch Scandal. But like Scandal, AHS is over the top and sort of self serious, but unlike so many other shows in this “golden age” of television that are so cinematic it’s as if they’re ashamed of being on television, it feels like television.
No More Pretending for Him: Thoughts on Donald Glover and Celebrity Frankness
If you’ve been on the internet today, then you’ve probably already seen a lot of commentary on some notes Donald Glover put up on his Instagram. Some of it has simply been reposts of the material, while some publications have posted questionable, slightly condescending remarks about where we should be “worried,” but there has probably been as much of an outpouring of sympathy and understanding as there has been exploitative Millenial nagging and buffoonish commentary from trolls, on and off the internet. What has been missing, though, is much in the way of an examination of the unique pressures faced by celebrities like Donald Glover.
Like his compatriots in the Lonely Island, Glover is a comedian who came up through the internet. Back when he was at NYU and in Hammerkatz, he was my friend Rachel’s RA and she used to send me clips of his work in Derrick Comedy, and I’d get updates on how famous Glover was getting while still being a pretty down-to-earth guy. Love or hate Glover, there’s no denying that he worked hard to make it, and even took some huge risks in order to advance his career the way he wanted to, from leaving a writing gig on 30 Rock to pursue acting with Community to his most recent decision to leave Community for his own show on FX, called Atlanta. And through it all, he’s worked at his rap persona Childish Gambino, resulting in a surprise hit album, Camp, and a follow-up on the way. He’s become a cultural force thanks to the internet, and he’s one of the rare performers who still understands exactly how to utilize the internet to continue to advance his career.
But as much as we talk about how the internet has changed the game in regards to this kind of artist development and consumer convenience, I think we often forget to consider the impact it has on the stability of our artists. We’ve moved incredibly quickly from an era where art careers developed and were cultivated sometimes over entire decades to an era where we discover artists instantaneously and just as quickly get bored with them. A comedian like Glover in the past more than likely would have had to work endless, brutal circuits getting paid next to nothing while resisting the better paychecks that come with selling out. And that’s to say nothing of the very real disadvantages he would have faced in the industry just because of his skin color.
If you’re blanching at that last statement, then consider the other “meltdowns” we’ve seen in the comedy world this year. At the forefront is Dave Chappelle’s continued issues with hostile audiences, a hostility some critics feel is rooted in racism, while genuine instances of mental instability perhaps fueled by the pressures of celebrity become punchlines, a la Katt Williams. Historically you of course have depressing stories like the truth behind Richard Pryor’s free basing “accident,” which was in fact a suicide attempt fueled by Pryor’s belief that the industry was actually out to get him.
While it’s entirely possible that Glover is in need of “help,” there’s no real reason to see these notes from Glover as indicative of something being wrong with him, or a sign that we need to be “worried.” Instead, it should be viewed as an unusually frank confession from an artist who is under higher pressure than normal thanks to his internet upbringing, his wide array of skills and interests and his acute self-awareness in terms of his race, gender and geek status. Glover is savvy and undoubtedly aware of what his predecessors have gone through; Dave Chappelle’s departure from the spotlight in particular occurred right when Glover was seriously entering the comedy world. So why is it that, like Chappelle before him, Glover is recast as “crazy” or “unwell,” rather than simply anxious and astute? And to follow that up, why is it that our black comedians who don’t follow traditional career paths are instantly targeted as mentally unstable in much the same way our female pop stars are, while more clearly disturbed white male celebrities like Charlie Sheen are celebrated?
If we should be worried, it should be for ourselves, as a pop culture audience incapable of respecting the decisions of our artists and their attempts to make their own careers, their own way. I don’t know Glover personally, but I trust his view on his career and his personal and artistic needs more than I trust the judgment of a fickle media and audience. Glover has spent the bulk of his life beating the internet at its own game, who are we to doubt his well-being or judgment at this point?
COMING SOON FROM LOSER CITY
Sgt. Death and His Metachromatic Men
What if 2000AD was on some Marvel war comics bullshit? It’d probably look like Sgt. Death and His Metachromatic Men, a comic book where robots fight a big dinosaur with a belly full of jetpack zombies. Either you’re into it or you’re not.
Fifth Street Foodie: A Wild West of Flavor!
Note: This is the first entry in our Fifth Street Foodie series, a dining guide for true Austinites and by true Austinites! We hope this feature can help everyone from out-of-town “newbies” to seasoned (dry-rubbed?) veterans in their quest to find the best little dining nooks Austin has to offer.
Welcome Austinites, and welcome non-Austinites (as long as you don’t move here)! This is the first edition of Fifth Street Foodie, where the Fifth Street Foodie himself (that’s me!) takes you on a tour of his favorite out-of-the-way dining spots in the Austin, Texas area.
Austin has grown up a lot since I first moved here…um…an unspecified amount of time ago (let’s just say I had a mullet, flannel, and the whole “Nineties” vibe going!), and in that time we’ve become famous for our many local quirks. From Stevie Ray Vaughan (R.I.P. S.R.V.) to SXSW, Austin is known as a hotspot for spirited types that are willing to try something, well, a little “left-of-center”! Luckily, this adventurous sensibility also extends to our food scene, which is basically a Wild West of flavor.
In this feature, my hope is to cover places that other publications might ignore, little secluded eateries tucked away where only true Austinites would know to look. You won’t find, for instance, Franklin Barbecue, or the Driskill Grill, or Home Slice Pizza in this column. This is more of an “insider’s guide”…but outsiders can read it, too, if they’re really curious. I apologize in advance, though, if I come off as a little snobby. It’s just that I love the food scene here, and I want to share it with you all, or, as we say it down here, “y’all”!
Okay, that’s enough yapping. Time to get to this week’s selection!
Fifth Street Foodie Southern Fried Pick of the Week:
I can’t seem to find any mention of Chick-Fil-A in the usual “underground” Austin foodie blogs right now, which is strange because it’s been an Austin institution ever since I can remember. Don’t let the drive-thru fool you—this is one heck of a winner and a chicken dinner! A little joint several miles south of town, Chick-Fil-A specializes in—you guessed it—fried chicken-based meals ranging from sandwiches to salads and nuggets. Basically, if you can think of a shape, they have a lump of chicken in that shape! And boy is it sure to be delicious.
My personal favorite is the spicy chicken sandwich (not for the faint of heart!) with waffle fries and the limited-time-only mocha cookies ‘n’ cream milkshake. The sandwich combines three simple ingredients—chicken hunk, pickle chips, and steamed bread—with just the right amount of saltiness and juiciness to hit the spot every time. This is chicken southern-style, a recipe likely inherited from the matriarch of the owner’s family. The waffle fries are just like they sound, waffle-shaped and covered in a glistening film that is probably a cooking oil of some kind. These fries are great to munch on before or during the main course, depending on whether you can restrain yourself. And of course I can’t forget the mocha (how do you pronounce that word again?) cookies ‘n’ cream milkshake. I can’t tell exactly what flavor the ice cream part is—something brown like chocolate or mulch—but the cookie bits are to die for. Definitely an inspired and unique combo for the ice cream-heads in town.
One thing I really appreciate about Chick-Fil-A is that is it’s a family-friendly institution. The employees always say “please” and “thank you” and wish me a nice day, and the music selection is top-notch (Switchfoot, Jars of Clay, etc.). Chick-Fil-A is also pretty friendly to your wallet, with a typical meal cost of under ten dollars. If you’re ever in Austin, Texas, be sure to check out this marvelous local establishment, which is surely worthy of a prestigious five bat rating!
Well, that does it for this week. Fellow Austinites: do you have a favorite tucked-away establishment that you’d love to give more press? Let us know in the comments!
COMING SOON FROM LOSER CITY
Jenny Xaxx, Intergalactic Eschatologist, in: Cosmic Death Buddha
The #rare and #based first DjeljosevicXPrezzato collaboration is a quick-and-dirty lo-fi garage comic following a woman who studies potential catastrophic threats to reality. Venturing onto a graveyard planet with the toughest HALO 3s in the galaxy, Jenny faces the most destructive force in the universe: ZEN!
On the real, though, this is some grimy-ass tape hiss comics. This is like listening to Bad Moon Rising but you’re like “Damn, I wanted Daydream Nation.” KNOW YR HISTORY
COMING SOON FROM LOSER CITY
Calling Doctor Nowhere
If Doctor Strange were a sad bastard and a fraud, this would be the comic they’d make about him. One of Doctor Nowhere’s strange supernatural pets went all Baha Men on the worlds beyond our own, but he has no idea where the hell it came from. Watch as he unravels his own personal mystery in between hell of slacking.