Pissed Jeans
King of Jeans
Sub Pop


To people whose last whiff of Sub Pop came sometime in the late '90s—as grunge's last fart lingered just a little too long—Pissed Jeans probably sound like an evolution of sound. Their hard, slow-swinging punk is soaked in the patented, scuzzed-out heaviness that once made the label a king maker.

A critical distinction, though: Pissed Jeans have an absolutely ferocious angst creeping through each song, and deep punk roots, which makes them palatable to people (like myself) who could never get down with the Northwest grunge scene. Hailing from Allentown, Pa., the band draws its sound more from the old Amphetamine Reptile roster of noise rock or, going further, from the hectic noise of Touch & Go's Jesus Lizard and Butthole Surfers, or even Flipper.





 

Music Monday: Following @_M_I_A_

Best Female Hip-Hop Artist M.I.A. Thats funny coz my mum writes my raps

http://bit.ly/1dcgr BILL GATES / MICROSOFT SUPPORTS GENOCIDE!!

Neeto------Go ! n 2 cut my hair later!

TAMIL CAMP UPDATE!! "1,400 people dying weekly in the camps. At this rate there will be no IDPs in 4 yearS" Govment set release time. WTF?

So go the 140-character-or-less thoughts of Sri Lanka-born British artist/rapper/grimestar M.I.A., aka Maya Arulpragasm, aka pop's rebel princess, whose mash-up asthetic and exotic pedigree (the daughter of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, she split her childhood between South London, Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka) made her an indie darling long before "Paper Planes" was a noxiously overplayed stoner anthem, before she showed up to the Grammys on her due date wearing an enormous blue cupcake paper or joined the handful of South Asians nominated for a Slumdog Oscar. Back when she was remixing with Diplo and having her American visa suspended over her dad's ties to the Tamil Tigers and finally moving to Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy against Kanye's advice.

In case you're not familiar, M.I.A. is half of the musical genius behind the Slumdog Millioniare theme and the person you can blame for those neon jeans on the clearance rack at Urban Outfitters. After a pair of mega-watt albums, 2005's Arular and 2007's Kala, she's as recognizable for her DayGlo schizophrenia-as-fashion-sense as for her music. A song like "$20" layers New Order's "Blue Monday," The Pixies' "Where is my Mind," and Arulpragasm's own languid rapping: I put people on the map that never seen a map/I showed 'em something they never seen and hope they make it back. As of this second, she's back in the studio, making even more seizure-inducing gangsta mash. Distill that into 140 characters, and you've got liquid platinum. In theory, at least.

 

President Barack Obama speaks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) by phone in the Oval Office on July 17, 2009. He is joined by Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs Phil Schiliro.

 

 

This shot says a few things:

Long live the landline.

It's apple season!

Nerf's not game enough for the Oval Office.

Bwahh?! Michael Vick, star football quarterback and notorious dog fighter, has reportedly agreed to sign a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, worth as much as $10 million. This is surprising for a few reasons. First, $10 million seems like a lot for a QB who is only getting older and has been shunned by much of the football world. Also, Eagles head coach Andy Reid has been known for his loyalty to another aging Eagles QB, Donovan McNabb, who will now have to fight with Vick for the top spot.

As a former Philadelphia resident, I was disappointed that the Eagles decided to sign Vick. For the past few years, the Eagles have been a scrappy team that never succeeded as much as it deserved to. The public can get behind this kind of team. But signing Vick undermines that underdog status. Now they're just another middle-of-the-pack team hoping to capitalize on an aging star...who also happens to be a dog killer.

Unsurprisingly, many animal rights groups are outraged. In a statement on its website today, PETA wrote that Vick has given little indication that he regrets his actions. "At this point, all Eagles fans can do is cross their fingers and hope that they won't ever have to explain to their sons and daughters what a 'rape rack' is and why their favorite player was using one, as Falcons fans once had to," it said.

But others take a more... uh... sportsmanlike approach. Citing Vick's recent volunteer work with the Humane Society, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, a HUGE football fan, said "I also believe strongly in the tenets of rehabilitation and redemption. I believe Michael Vick has paid a strong and just penalty for his horrific acts, but he has endured that penalty with dignity and grace. He seems to be genuinely remorseful for what he has done."

Who knows? Maybe Vick will become a leading advocate against the torture and murder of animals. I can see it now: "I don't torture dogs anymore and neither should you." Thanks for the heartwarming PSA, Mike.

Yesterday, I wrote about pop-propagandist Shepard Fairey's decision to put a graffiti-resistant coating on his LA studio's brick walls. This morning I received a friendly email from him saying he thought I'd been unfair in questioning the move. That was a accompanied by a far less friendly message that he says he sent to Eastsider LA, the site that originally reported on this:

Jesus,

Your post about the sealer on our building was very obnoxious. Do you just not give a shit about objectivity? My practice as a street artist has NEVER included putting my work on pristine or operational buildings unless asked to do so. I'm not mad at the graff artists who have hit our building, I just like the brick  unadorned. I've always been a champion of street art and graffiti in the same way I'm a champion of free speech. I think it is important for people to be able to speak freely, but if I'm watching a channel whose content is not my cup of tea I may choose to change the channel. It does not make me an opponent of free speech. Preferring my brick unadorned does not make me anti-graffiti. Every time I put a piece of art on the street I know it may be cleaned. That is the nature of the art form. Our building houses a fucking gallery and we show street artist's work there and on banners on the side of the building. For you to portray me as anti-street art is very revealing about YOU and YOUR agenda. Are you pro-street art or graffiti? If the answer is yes, then I'd assume based on your portrayal of me, that you'd welcome graffiti on your house or business lest you be revealed to be an anti-art hypocrite. If you have any integrity you will post my response along with your home and office address as an invitation for people to display their art there. Your attempt to portray me as hypocrite was thinly veiled incitement for people to tag our building. I have been arrested 15 times and know the risks of street art. Do you know the risks of being an irresponsible journalist? I responded to your inquiry very politely and you disrespected my candor by taking a cheap shot... writing something irresponsible and sensational to get people to your site. You could have written something more sophisticated and balanced that could have created a worthwhile discussion about public art. Instead you were lazy and obnoxious. Maybe the economy has made you desperate, or maybe you are always slime. Either way, you should be ashamed.
-Shepard

Jesus, indeed! Worthwhile discussion of public art aside, this is way off the mark. If you read the original Eastsider post, you'll see that the only openly critical part is its headline: "This is one wall Shepard Fairey wants to keep free of self-expression." The rest is pretty straightforward reporting. It was the commenters who accused Fairey of hypocrisy and suggested that his studio might now be an even bigger target for spraypainters. C'mon, Shepard—you know how to tell the difference between mild-mannered bloggers and their less restrained commenters. Just as you no doubt appreciate the difference between, say, a street artist who says he never messes with other people's property without permission and the anonymous fans who plastered gazillions of his Andre the Giant Has a Posse stickers around the world.  

 

 

This week, the American Sociological Association held its annual meeting here in San Francisco. Researchers from Indiana University and the University of Utah presented findings from a national survey of 815 people on family and gender issues. Apparently, 71 percent of Americans believe a woman should take her husband's last name, and half believed it should be a legal requirement.

The results shocked even the researchers:

"The figures were a bit sobering for us because there seems to be change in so many areas. If names are a core aspect of our identity, this is important," said Brian Powell, professor of sociology at IU Bloomington. "There are all these reports and indicators that families are changing, that men are contributing more, that we're moving toward a more equal family, yet there's no indication that we're seeing a similar move to equality when it comes to names."

So the government should not be heavy handed when it comes to legislating things like health care or banking, but it should determine how women identify themselves after marriage?

Not quite. It seems that for the majority of Americans, the issue is less about naming conventions and more about who (ahem) wears the pants in society. One of the researchers said that respondents "told us that women should lose their own identity when they marry and become a part of the man and his family." The family identity, however, is not tied to the name itself. Half of respondents said it would be fine if men changed their names, because "a man should be able to do it because he's a man."

Survey responses also reflected the belief that if we cannot assume that a woman will automatically change her last name, the resulting confusion will lead to catastrophe: "They said the mailman would get confused and that society wouldn't function as well if women did not change their name."

As it so happens, I am one of the 5-10 percent of American women who did not take my husband's last name. But, I'm pretty sure the United States Postal Service functions the same way in the rest of the country as it does in the Bay Area, which means they deliver based on address. Which is why I've received mail addressed correctly to me, to my first name with my husband's last name, and to the cringe-inducing "Mr. and Mrs. Husband's First and Last Name." Then again, I also get mail addressed to the last four tenants.

My husband and I have also managed to file our taxes, utilize health and car insurance, and open a joint credit card with last names that don't match. Thus far, "society" hasn't come to a screeching halt. But then, we also live in a state where larger issues surrounding marriage are questioned (our marriage license even reads "Party A" and "Party B").

The researchers believe that the study reveals more than just what Americans think about last names, "Because it's not politicized, people just answer the question without really thinking about it...It sort of taps into people's views about all kinds of things." In other words, things like who should be able to get married, what a family should look like, and just what types of gendered identities we should adhere to.

Maybe I'm late to the online book-recommending party, but I just came across Book Seer, a site that allows you to enter in a book you've enjoyed, and based on that book, pulls up a few suggestions (compiled from other sites like Amazon, Library Thing, and Book Army). This is the kind of thing that really can suck me into an Internet vortex, but I have a frighteningly long to-do list this morning, so I decided to give myself some rules for experimenting with Book Seer: three books only, one fiction, one nonfiction, one poetry. For fiction, I chose David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, since I was curious to see whether Book Seer had any other books up its sleeve about addiction, tennis, and Quebec separatists. My nonfiction choice was Angler, Barton Gellman's Dick Cheney biography, which I haven't read but always intend to, and my poetry pick was Jane Kenyon's collection Let Evening Come, since I recently finished it and was pretty moved by it.

1. Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace).

The results: Amazon uncreatively recommends a bunch of other DFW titles, Library Thing does the same, plus some DeLillo and Pynchon (fair enough), but Book Army has this list:

I guess the idea is coming of age stories? Which I guess Infinite Jest is. Sort of.

Most intriguing recommendation: Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis-Lessons from a Master (A Fireside book) by Brad Gilbert

2. Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency (Barton Gellman).

The results: Kind of a weird mix of books about business and books that are in some way related to the presidency, including:

Most intriguing recommendation: Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner

3. Let Evening Come (Jane Kenyon).

The results: Lots of Mary Oliver, who, like Kenyon writes about the natural world (and New England specifically) plus some greatest-hits-of-poetry type suggestions (The Waste Land, Leaves of Grass, Shakespeare's sonnets: all good, though not particularly Kenyon-ish).

Most intriguing recommendation: Without: Poems by Donald Hall

Okay. Back to work.

Here's another entry in the bulging Shepard Fairey as Walking Pop-Culture Contradiction file: The designer of the IOHP*, who got his start tagging and stickering public places, has declared war on graffiti on his home turf. The Eastsider reports:

A few days ago workers sandblasted the brick exterior of his Echo Park studio, gallery and ad agency - called Studio Number One - and applied a shiny layer of anti-graffiti coating to the walls. Frequent tagging and graffiti had apparently taken a toll on the Sunset Boulevard building and Fairey, who rose to fame by employing the same hit-and-run tactics of graffiti artists and taggers.

"When graff seeped into the raw brick it was very difficult to clean," said Fairey, creator of the Obama "Hope" poster, in an email forwarded by one of his employees. "The building is historic and I love and want to protect the brick. The city was never any help with removal. Graffiti is par for the course."

Fair enough—there's a difference between bombing an abandoned building and a cool old building. But perhaps Fairey could have worked out an arrangement that made his studio a site for street art while also protecting it? Teflon-coating the wall probably won't stop the "graff." As one Eastsider commenter notes, "This place just got a huge bullseye on it."

 * = Iconic Obama Hope Poster

Update: In which I get an email from Nice Shepard Fairey and other critics get an email from Crazy Angry Shepard Fairey.

While everything from laptops to Scrabble is getting dipped in Pepto Bismol and glitter to attract the ladies, Sony Ericsson has one-upped the rest of the gendered marketing world with the soon to be released Jalou phone.

Rather than slap some pink on it and call it a day, Sony Ericsson "explored art, architecture and furniture trends whilst delving deep into the couture and fashion world" to determine just what the ladies would be looking for in a cell phone in 2010. Evidently plaid is out but, "structured forms, intricate corners, hidden depths" are in. Um...sure.

The phone is shaped like a facet-cut diamond, and "depth" refers to a "variety of different shine and matt [sic] finishes," not tech specs. The key pad also features diamond shaped keys—since concern about conflict diamonds was so last year.

The Jalou isn't targeted to every woman. Rather, it is the lifestyle choice for the young, urban, and single with disposable income: "Share the good life. Chat on the treadmill, text in the taxi, snap and share photos from the club: Jalou™ lets you share your life in style."

How does the Jalou offer help to do this?

"The two inch screen’s clever design means that at the touch of a button the screen becomes a mirror, offering a discreet way to make sure you look as good as your mobile phone. It is also the first Sony Ericsson to feature Walk Mate step counter, to help you stay in shape wherever you go. It also has an exclusive fashion interface which automatically updates with zodiac signs and special events throughout the year."

Vanity, body image, and horoscopes aren't the only stereotypes Sony Ericcson made sure cover. Catfights will also be all the rage in 2010. Jalou is derived from the french, jalouse meaning jealousy.

Strangely the phone does not actually come in pink direct from Ericcson, but in the semi-precious colors Deep Amethyst, Aquamarine Blue, and Onyx Black. You'll have to splurge for the Dolce & Gabanna edition, which comes in "sparkling rose" complete with 24-gold karat plating, to really fulfill your gendered fashion needs—just forget about that pesky wage gap.

For their latest cover—sell line: Slim Down *Your* Way—the editors of Self basically created a new (and of course, much thinner) body for Kelly Clarkson. (That was their way.) Called to the carpet by Jezebel (and for god's sake, Entertainment Tonight), the Self editors then issued the most disgusting, enraging explanation possible, namely that covers shouldn't reflect reality, but "inspire women to want to be their best." At which point, Jezebel issued a seriously awesome and funny takedown. Read it.