Mixed Media

Torture Playlist: Trent Reznor Responds

Back in February, we posted a "Torture Playlist" featuring songs that the American military had used to, um, "enhance" interrogations, including tracks by Eminem, Drowning Pool, Metallica, and Rage Against the Machine. As Jesse Finfrock covered here on Wednesday, musicians have joined forces with a human rights organization to put a stop to the use of music as torture. Now, Stereogum points out that...

| Fri Dec. 12, 2008 5:04 PM EST

mojo-photo-reznor2.jpgBack in February, we posted a "Torture Playlist" featuring songs that the American military had used to, um, "enhance" interrogations, including tracks by Eminem, Drowning Pool, Metallica, and Rage Against the Machine. As Jesse Finfrock covered here on Wednesday, musicians have joined forces with a human rights organization to put a stop to the use of music as torture. Now, Stereogum points out that another artist has joined the voices of protest: Trent Reznor, whose music as Nine Inch Nails was used to torture Chicago military contractor Donald Vance. Yesterday, Reznor posted an outraged message at his official website entitled "Regarding NIN music used at Guantanamo Bay for torture":

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Tim McGraw Considering Run for Tennessee Governor?

From The New Republic (via Vulture) comes this news that could restore the faith of Democrats appalled by the antics of a certain Illinois governor: Tim McGraw to the rescue! Word in Nashville has it that Tim McGraw is seriously considering a run at the governor's mansion in 2010. He's been floating the idea for a few years now, but with the recent thrashing...

| Fri Dec. 12, 2008 4:35 PM EST

mojo-photo-governormcgraw.jpgFrom The New Republic (via Vulture) comes this news that could restore the faith of Democrats appalled by the antics of a certain Illinois governor: Tim McGraw to the rescue!

Word in Nashville has it that Tim McGraw is seriously considering a run at the governor's mansion in 2010. He's been floating the idea for a few years now, but with the recent thrashing of lawyer Bob Tuke by Lamar Alexander in last month's senate race, Tennessee Dems have been casting about desperately for a high-profile Democrat not named Harold Ford to take on Bill Frist, who is almost certainly going to run.

While Vulture hopes that his run is "more successful than his attempt at 'funny SNL host,'" I'd say he just has to avoid, say, cussing out Toby Keith on a tapped line for not playing ball on his Country Music Awards pay-for-play scheme, and he'll be fine. The New Republic also reminds us that Governor McGraw means First Lady Faith Hill! Hey, how funny would it be to post one of their videos after the jump?

Q&A: Mercury Rev

What do you do if you're making experimental films in Buffalo and you need a cool soundtrack? Well, you grab some friends and start making music, and eventually you become Mercury Rev, a band whose combination of psychedelic experimentation and melodic purity have made them longtime critical favorites. While the combo has had a famously rotating lineup, the current core group of singer Jonathan...

| Fri Dec. 12, 2008 3:15 PM EST

mojo-photo-mercuryrev.jpgWhat do you do if you're making experimental films in Buffalo and you need a cool soundtrack? Well, you grab some friends and start making music, and eventually you become Mercury Rev, a band whose combination of psychedelic experimentation and melodic purity have made them longtime critical favorites. While the combo has had a famously rotating lineup, the current core group of singer Jonathan Donahue, guitarist Sean "Grasshopper" Mackowiak and drummer/keyboardist Jeff Mercel has been intact since 1998's Deserter's Songs. The band released two albums in September: Snowflake Midnight and a free-to-download bonus album of instrumentals called Strange Attractor. They're currently in the midst of a US tour, and I managed to catch Mercel on the phone before a sound check in Chicago.

Golden Globe Nominations: Huh?

The always-good-for-a-laugh Hollywood Foreign Press Association put out their Golden Globe nominations today, and while elevating a few interesting choices, they overlooked a few things that make one scratch one's head. First up, Milk had been scoring some critics' awards, but apparently didn't impress the HFPA, snagging only one nod for Sean Penn. His co-star, James Franco, got a nomination as well, but not...

| Thu Dec. 11, 2008 5:31 PM EST

mojo-photo-goldenglobes2.jpgThe always-good-for-a-laugh Hollywood Foreign Press Association put out their Golden Globe nominations today, and while elevating a few interesting choices, they overlooked a few things that make one scratch one's head. First up, Milk had been scoring some critics' awards, but apparently didn't impress the HFPA, snagging only one nod for Sean Penn. His co-star, James Franco, got a nomination as well, but not for Milk--for Pineapple Express. You heard me. Other notable shutouts include WALL-E, coming off its recent LA film critics win for "best film" with only an animation nod, and The Dark Knight, making a last-minute promotional push for some awards, but also receiving only one, a posthumous nomination for Heath Ledger. Well, I hated that movie.

After the jump: more mockery, and what did Mick LaSalle think?

Kanye West "Exposed"!

Okay, I hate when blogs do that, i.e., use cheeky misleading headlines to grab your attention. But a) we need some clicks over here on the Riff and b) that's what they said. Urb magazine has a link to a homemade video somebody's put together (YouTube user "Jonay122"?) detailing the sample source for just about every single Kanye West song ever. Now, "exposed" is...

| Thu Dec. 11, 2008 4:23 PM EST

mojo-photo-kanyewestred.jpgOkay, I hate when blogs do that, i.e., use cheeky misleading headlines to grab your attention. But a) we need some clicks over here on the Riff and b) that's what they said. Urb magazine has a link to a homemade video somebody's put together (YouTube user "Jonay122"?) detailing the sample source for just about every single Kanye West song ever. Now, "exposed" is misleading since, like most hip-hop, Kanye's use of samples isn't meant to be a secret, but an open recontextualisation. However, this video extends all the way to the recent 808s and Heartbreak album, which I had thought was just Kanye fooling around on the drum machine, sans samples, but it turns out I'm wrong--it's chock full of references as well. Either way, even if you're aware of the source for the robot voices in "Stronger," this is an interesting (if long--10 minutes!!) video. Ultimately, one comes away from it with the sense that the only thing that's been exposed about Kanye West is that the dude has a really big record collection. Watch it after the jump.

Spin, Rolling Stone Release Best Album Lists

With most of the recent publications to announce their "Best Albums of 2008" located, er, somewhere north of France, the lists have been heavy on stuff Brits like, most notably Elbow and Kings of Leon (i.e., dad-rock and a weird parody of Southern rock that I guess feels exotic to them). Now, finally, we have some American opinions to criticize! Our two big music...

| Thu Dec. 11, 2008 3:51 PM EST

mojo-photo-stonespincovers.jpgWith most of the recent publications to announce their "Best Albums of 2008" located, er, somewhere north of France, the lists have been heavy on stuff Brits like, most notably Elbow and Kings of Leon (i.e., dad-rock and a weird parody of Southern rock that I guess feels exotic to them). Now, finally, we have some American opinions to criticize! Our two big music mags, Spin and Rolling Stone, put out their lists today and yesterday, respsectively, and they're both okay as lists go, with Spin's a step up, naturally. Both New York-based mags put New York-based combo TV on the Radio at their #1 slot, and while I can't say enough good things about that band, the approaching-unanimous critical adulation is kind of creeping me out. Rolling Stone's list gets crazy after that, with the old, old white dudes who work at that magazine asserting their paleness via Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp, and Metallica in the Top 10, and Guns N' Roses hovering just outside it at #12. Blergh! Why do people let them get away with that? Spin gets closer to the truth with Portishead, Deerhunter and Santogold, although how anyone could be tricked into putting Coldplay in their list is beyond me.

Anyway, I'll post the definitive Best Albums list on Monday, so stay tuned for that! Spin and Rolling Stone's Top 10s after the jump.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Gift Ideas For The Atheist, Part 1: Bumper Stickers!

Not sure what to get the godless on your holiday shopping list? Some suggestions: "Fine?I evolved. You didn't" bumper sticker. Also Available: "I'm the Atheist Your Pastor Warned You About" bumper sticker. "Top 10 Reasons Beer is Better Than Jesus" beer mug: For atheists and beer-lovers alike. Jesus Action Figure Bonus: Also works as an un-ironic gift for religious friends. Happy shopping, heathens!...

| Thu Dec. 11, 2008 3:47 PM EST

Not sure what to get the godless on your holiday shopping list? Some suggestions:

"Fine…I evolved. You didn't" bumper sticker.

atheist-bumpersticke-2r.jpeg

Also Available:
"I'm the Atheist Your Pastor Warned You About"
bumper sticker.

"Top 10 Reasons Beer is Better Than Jesus" beer mug:

atheist-beer-mug.gif

For atheists and beer-lovers alike.

Jesus Action Figure

M-JesusActionFigure.gif

Bonus: Also works as an un-ironic gift for religious friends.

Happy shopping, heathens!

The Zero dB Project: Torture Playlist

Earlier today, the British human rights law organization Reprieve launched a campaign against the use of music as a weapon in war, called Zero dB (zero decibels = silence). Artists Massive Attack and Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello joined Reprieve to demand that the US military stop playing their songs to captured detainees. Back in February, Mother Jones compiled a playlist of the...

| Wed Dec. 10, 2008 9:19 PM EST

Earlier today, the British human rights law organization Reprieve launched a campaign against the use of music as a weapon in war, called Zero dB (zero decibels = silence). Artists Massive Attack and Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello joined Reprieve to demand that the US military stop playing their songs to captured detainees. Back in February, Mother Jones compiled a playlist of the songs used to induce sleep deprivation, "prolong capture shock," disorient detainees during interrogations—and drown out screams. The mix was based on a leaked interrogation log and the accounts of soldiers and detainees. For more, listen to MoJo's Torture Playlist—and a conversation with investigative reporter Justine Sharrock about "no-touch torture."

From the AP:

For many detainees who grew up in Afghanistan—where music was prohibited under Taliban rule—interrogations by U.S. forces marked their first exposure to the pounding rhythms, played at top volume. The experience was overwhelming for many. Binyam Mohammed, now a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, said men held with him at the CIA's "Dark Prison" in Afghanistan wound up screaming and smashing their heads against walls, unable to endure more. "There was loud music, (Eminem's) 'Slim Shady' and Dr. Dre for 20 days. I heard this nonstop over and over," he told his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith. "The CIA worked on people, including me, day and night for the months before I left. Plenty lost their minds."

Mashup Roundup: Tom Petty vs. Beyonce, Cure vs. Commodores, Police vs. Bee Gees, Santastic 4

How crazy is it that this goofball amateur phenomenon of combining the vocals of one song with the instrumentation from another continues to produce interesting, amusing, and hypnotic tracks, despite being declared dead, useless, and stupid? While Girl Talk's more or less enjoyable album (consisting mostly of fast-paced combos featuring rap over hipster rock) is landing in many year-end Top 10s, I've always...

| Wed Dec. 10, 2008 8:20 PM EST

mojo-photo-mashups121008.jpg

How crazy is it that this goofball amateur phenomenon of combining the vocals of one song with the instrumentation from another continues to produce interesting, amusing, and hypnotic tracks, despite being declared dead, useless, and stupid? While Girl Talk's more or less enjoyable album (consisting mostly of fast-paced combos featuring rap over hipster rock) is landing in many year-end Top 10s, I've always preferred the well-constructed mashup song to the hyper laptop DJ set, a focused short story to the mixtape's sprawling novel. Here are a couple of the best recent tracks (and, well, one concept album).

NPR Lays Off Staff, Cuts Shows

It turns out that the economic downturn has taken its toll even on the non-profit among us (gulp!) as National Public Radio announced today it would lay off 7 percent of its staff and cut two underperforming shows. "Day to Day," a midday news program, got the axe, as did, perhaps more troublingly, "News and Notes," NPR's latest attempt to reach out to an...

| Wed Dec. 10, 2008 6:07 PM EST

mojo-photo-nprlogosm.jpgIt turns out that the economic downturn has taken its toll even on the non-profit among us (gulp!) as National Public Radio announced today it would lay off 7 percent of its staff and cut two underperforming shows. "Day to Day," a midday news program, got the axe, as did, perhaps more troublingly, "News and Notes," NPR's latest attempt to reach out to an African-American audience. Both shows were based at NPR's new Culver City studios. So was this my fault for not giving money to both of our local public stations?