Mixed Media

Future Scientist Investigates Ice, Falls Adorably, Wins Everything

| Mon Jan. 5, 2015 6:52 PM EST

This video is from last year but it popped up on Digg today and I really don't care that it's old because today is the first real work day of 2015 and that's sad because work and the passage of time are two of the main reasons I'm going prematurely gray. So, instead of letting that frown sit unturned upside down, press play and, awwwww.

Here is a GIF of the moment when, in Mother Jones copy editor Ian Gordon's words, "someone takes her batteries out."

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10 Great Songs to Help You Achieve Your New Year's Resolutions

| Mon Jan. 5, 2015 5:01 PM EST

So it's five days into the new year—how are those resolutions going? Yeah, that's what I thought. Sure, you could use science to shore up your flagging resolve to hit the gym every morning or play less Candy Crush. But if you need a little additional sonic inspiration, read on.

You want to: Embrace who you are.

Your song is: Perfume Genius' "Queen."

"No family is safe when I sashay," Mike Hadreas sneers in this defiant celebration of queer identity. As he put it in his own explanation of the song: "If these fucking people want to give me some power—if they see me as some sea witch with penis tentacles that are always prodding and poking and seeking to convert the muggles—well, here she comes."

You want to: Reconnect with your estranged relatives.

Your song is: Sun Kil Moon's "Carissa."

Singer Mark Kozelek's struggle to find meaning in a freak garbage-burning accident that killed his second cousin makes for a stark, haunting ballad. "You don't just raise two kids and take out your trash and die," he pleads. By the end of the song, you'll have your phone in your hand and your family's number halfway dialed—if you're not too busy wiping your eyes.

You want to: Meet "the one."

Your song is: ​TLC's "No Scrubs."

You could read the wisest advice columnists, the most egregious collections of bad pickup strategies, and even OKCupid founder Christian Rudder's data-driven take on the subject of finding love. Or you could just listen to this blast of '90s girl group goodness.

You want to: Unplug.

Your song is: St. Vincent's "Digital Witness."

Maybe you're already burned out on all the scrubs in the online-dating universe, or maybe you're worried about Facebook influencing your vote and giving you an eating disorder. Either way, take a break from the screens and dance to this funk-infused critique of online voyeurism. "If I can't show it/If you can't see me/What's the point of doing anything?" singer Annie Clark asks wryly.

You want to: See the world.

Your song is: Iggy Pop's "The Passenger."

You might know it as the soundtrack to a Guinness commercial or the intro theme music for Anderson Cooper 360, but if you listen to the lyrics, this song is actually a meditation on the nihilistic pleasure of traveling through a decaying urban landscape. Plus, Iggy seems like he'd be an entertaining road trip companion.

You want to: Get in shape.

Your song is: ​Daft Punk's "Harder Better Faster Stronger."

What are you doing sitting around and reading this playlist? Get to the gym already.

You want to: Make new friends.

Your song is: Friends' "Friend Crush."

I'm not sure if this band is just really into friendship or what, but it perfectly captures the blurred line between friend-courting and romantic courting in this sultry, bass-driven tune.

You want to: Quit smoking.

Your song is: Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House."

A gentle reminder about the dangers of smoking in bed.

You want to: Change your diet.

Your song is: Neko Case's "Red Tide."

If you've been contemplating a switch to vegetarianism, allow Case to persuade you. Her vision of a world in which the battle between humans and nature has reached a decisive end ("Salty tentacles drink in the sun but the red tide is over/The mollusks they have won") will make you scared to go near a plate of shellfish ever again in your life.

You want to: Be more like Beyoncé.

Your song is: "Flawless."

To be honest, this should be everyone's resolution.

This Is What Your Dog Goes Through When You Leave It At Home

| Tue Dec. 30, 2014 2:03 PM EST

Reddit user nigelandtheghost attached a GoPro to his dog to find out what they did when left the house. Turns out the dog has super bad separation anxiety!

I was pretty sure he was going to play guitar in his underwear or solve crimes or something.

(via Junkee)

John Oliver Hates New Year's Eve Too. Watch Him Show Us How to Successfully Bail on the Worst Holiday

| Mon Dec. 29, 2014 10:28 AM EST

"New Year's Eve is like the death of a pet. You know it's going to happen, but somehow you're never truly prepared for how truly awful it is. New Year’s Eve is the worst. It combines three of the least pleasant things known to mankind: forced interaction with strangers, being drunk, cold and tired, and having to stare at Ryan Seacrest for five solid minutes, waiting for him to tell you what the time is."

And with that, John Oliver briefly returned to Last Week Tonight on Sunday to arm us with some helpful tips on how to avoid the ever disappointing shit show that is New Year's Eve. Watch below:

 

10 New Songs to Get You Through the Long, Cold Winter

| Mon Dec. 29, 2014 6:00 AM EST
"Our Love" by Sharon Van Etten

For an end-of-year playlist, I was tempted to focus on the glittering dance tracks, hip hop ballads, and crashing rock numbers that propelled 2014's late-night bar crawls and caffeinated road-trips. Much of the past year's standout music packed momentum and pizzazz; new songs by TV on the Radio, Spoon, Taylor Swift, Run the Jewels, the Black Keys, and St. Vincent come to mind.

But for when you're at home during the grayest and shortest days of the year, none of that will do. Here's a playlist for afternoons spent hibernating in sweatpants and flipping through photo albums while the snow piles up outside. The best introverted music of 2014. Songs that pair well with nostalgia, daydreaming, the settling feeling of having nowhere to go but the kitchen for more tea. In the words of Axl Rose (as quoted on featured band Luluc's website): "Said woman, take it slow and things will be just fine."

You can also listen to the playlist nonstop via Spotify (embedded at the bottom).

1. The Barr Brothers, "Love Ain't Enough"

This playful and eclectic Montreal-based group experiments with obscure instruments like the African ngoni, dabbles in Delta-inspired blues, and knows how to really bang it out during live shows. But this tender track, with Sarah Page's hypnotic harp and front man Brad Barr's ragged voice laid out bare, is a clear standout on the band's new album Sleeping Operator.

2. Brandi Carlile, "The Eye"

This song is steeped in regret and remembrance, and it rings with simple and assured harmonies. Singer-songwriter Carlile's forthcoming album The Firewatcher's Daughter is set to land March 3, 2015. "Vulnerability is all over this record," she told NPR, and maybe nowhere more than in "The Eye."

3. Luluc, "Small Window"

Australian duo Luluc has opened for the likes of Lucinda Williams and Fleet Foxes. In this gentle tune, singer Zöe Randell murmurs of dreamy reflections from an airplane seat. The echoey blend of her voice with partner Steve Hassett's will make you want to float away.

4. Marissa Nadler, "Drive"

Nadler released a burst of new music in 2014: An album July, and then Before July, an EP full of unreleased songs including a fresh take on Elliott Smith's "Pitseleh." Like much of her music, something about "Drive" feels haunted—Nadler's delicate voice and the track's minor chords swirl together and summon dark woods and lonely highways.

5. James Bay, "Let it Go"

Breakout crooner James Bay perfectly evokes the torturous process of untangling from a lover. This song helped make the soulful Bay a Brit Awards Critic Choice Winner of 2015, and all before releasing his full-length debut, Chaos and the Calm, due out in March.

6. The Staves, "In the Long Run"

Combine the sounds of folksy trio Mountain Man and the ever deep Laura Marling and you get The Staves, a perfect answer to midwinter melancholy. Their angelic voices, flawless picking, and thoughtful harmonies make me want to listen to this bittersweet song on repeat.

7. Sharon Van Etten, "Our Love"

Moody yet transcendent, "Our Love" showcases Van Etten's vocal control. Paired with this steamy video, the tune is the ideal backdrop for an afternoon make-out session.

8. alt-J, "Warm Foothills"

One of the songs off of alt-J's latest album, This Is All Yours, samples Miley Cyrus, but I prefer the velvety female vocals of Lianne La Havas and Marika Hackman on "Warm Foothills," a song braided together with glimmering guitar, silky violins, and hopeful whistling. The lyrics are full of playful poetry: "Blue dragonfly darts, to and fro, I tie my life to your balloon and let it go."

9. José González, "Every Age"

"Some things change, some remain, some will pass us unnoticed by," González chants in this pulsing paean to life's journey, the first single off of his forthcoming album. "Every Age" is a "beautifully spare, existential meditation," writes music critic Robin Hilton.

10. Júníus Meyvant, "Color Decay"

Icelandic group Júníus Meyvant weaves together deft violin and booming brass to create this plush song, a number deemed the year's best by Music That Matters host Kevin Cole.

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The Best Corrections of 2014

| Fri Dec. 26, 2014 1:22 PM EST

In 2014, journalists produced a number of solid blunders and fails. That's bad news for industry esteem, but great news for lovers of hilarious corrections. Here are some of our favorites from the past year:

 

The Economist, Drug Legalization: The magazine's collective memory gets hazy when attempting to recall the finer details of their push for drug legalization.

 

New York Times, Dick Cheney: An amazing error that speaks volumes about the Bush years.

 

New York Times, Kimye Butts: In a story titled "Fear of Kim Kardashian's Derriere," the Grey Lady cites a fake interview where Kanye West compares his butt to the infamous butt of his wife.

 

Mumbai Mirror, Narendra Modi: Sarcasm!

 

NPR, Cow Farts: In a story about gassy cows and climate change, NPR "ended up on the wrong end of cows."

 

New York Times, "Good Burger": In which the Times made it embarrassingly obvious their newsroom is unfamiliar with the 1997 film classic, "Good Burger." (Plus, a bonus #teen error!)

 

Vox, Barry Manilow:  While cataloging the slew of celebrities who appeared on Stephen Colbert's final show, Vox confuses old white man Barry Manilow for old white man Rod Stewart.

 

New York Times, Gershwin grammar gaffe: Gershwin 101.

 

Courier-Mail, Birth Announcement "Retraction": Let's end on a heartwarmer. Well done, Bogert clan!

You Can Watch "The Interview" Right Now. Here's How.

| Wed Dec. 24, 2014 1:21 PM EST

The Interview is live on YouTube right now. You can rent it for $5.99 or buy it for $14.99.

Or you can not watch it at all. Or you can watch it later. Or never. Whatever. No pressure. It doesn't make you a bad person. You do you. America is about choice.

You Can Go Watch "The Interview" On Christmas After All

| Tue Dec. 23, 2014 12:41 PM EST

Update, 12/23/2014: Sony has confirmed the Christmas Day release of The Interview. 

It looks like The Interview may actually be released on Christmas Day!

Independent theaters in Texas and Atlanta are saying that they've received the go-ahead to show the film Thursday. 

The Dallas Morning News has more: "Sources familiar with this morning's conference call say Sony is also going to make the movie available to theaters at a reduced rental rate, as well as put it on a streaming service (not yet named) and video on demand by no later than Christmas."

This is fantastic news for America and for freedom of expression and blah blah blah blah. However, on the downside, it does mean we may actually have to see this stupid movie now.  Still, overall, fantastic news!

God bless America. God bless George Washington. God bless all the Founding Fathers. God bless Thomas Edison for inventing the movie camera. God bless Seth Rogen and James Franco. God bless Kim Jong Un...wait, don't God bless Kim Jong Un. 

The Most Comprehensive Overview Yet of the Kinks' Glorious Youth

| Mon Dec. 22, 2014 6:00 AM EST

The Kinks
The Anthology—1964-1971
BMG/InGrooves

The Kinks' early years have been rehashed repeatedly over the last two decades, so don't expect any major revelations from yet another archival dig. However, The Anthology—1964-1971 offers the most comprehensive overview yet of the London band's glorious youth. With five discs and 140 tracks, this massive set is hardly for the casual listener. It includes demos, rehearsal snippets, alternate takes, and obscure mixes in the service of luring hardcore fans who think they've already heard it all. It traces the Kinks' rapid evolution from a scrappy R&B band playing Chuck Berry and Little Richard covers to purveyors of furious rockers like "You Really Got Me" (arguably an inspiration for heavy metal and punk) to Ray Davies' emergence as a singularly gifted writer who delivers wry social commentary on "A Well Respected Man," attains magical beauty with "Waterloo Sunset," and engages in subversive gender-bending in "Lola." At their most elegant, the lads still displayed a strong rock and roll streak, thanks to brother Dave Davies' wicked lead guitar and Mick Avory's thrashing drums. And while the Kinks continued making strong music into the '90, these amazing recordings are their best.