The Riff - July 2008

New Music from Around the Blogs: Dungen, Annie, Chemical Brothers, Bloc Party

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 8:11 PM EDT

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Everybody's favorite Swedish psychedelic rockers Dungen have released a track from their upcoming album 4, which is technically their 5th album, but maybe they count differently in Sweden. The track is called "Satt Att Se" (which an online Swedish-English translator says means "Was to See") and you can listen to it in 96kbps glory at their MySpace page. (For fans of: Jimi Hendrix, Beck, magical unicorns)

On the lighter side (and crossing the border to Norway), via Pitchfork comes a link to Pardon My Freedom, who has an mp3 of the new Annie single "Songs Remind Me of You." This song reminds me of New Order. Her new album, Don't Stop, is supposed to be out soon, but who knows. (For fans of: "Blue Monday," Kylie Minogue, chewing gum)

After the jump: is midnight too early for madness, and would you let these monkeys operate on you?

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How is the "Blo & Go" Like the "Suck Kut"?

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 7:13 PM EDT

Earlier this year, the Washington Post's Robin Givhan brought us the story of the Blo & Go, an ingenious hair-drying invention of Laurie Coleman, a former model and wife of the Minnesota Republican senator Norm Coleman. Here's what the recently resurfaced Post piece has to say about the genesis of "Blo & Go":

Against the backdrop of this kind of marketing savvy, it is hard to believe that the name Blo & Go was not chosen to, at the very least, amuse. This, after all, is a world in which the term "wide stance" churns up easy chuckles.
Coleman's voice registers shock -- and dismay-- that anyone would make such a connection. "I didn't think of that," she says. And then she goes further to point out that the name wasn't even her idea. It came out of a committee. It was all in the brainstorming, during which "Freedom Styler" was rejected. And so it went: You get your hair blown out. You need a blowout. You get blown . . . out. And then you go. Bingo: "Blo & Go!"

Givhan (a Pulitzer winner) also extracted the line, "The whole key to this is the suction" from Coleman, whose husband is in a tough reelection fight this year against Al Franken. All of this reminded me of another classic suction-based hair care device. Who else remembers the Suck Kut?

"Eco Nightclub" to Generate Electricity From Dance Floor

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 6:28 PM EDT

mojo-photo-electricclub.jpgHas anybody ever told you your dance moves are shocking? Wocka wocka! Ahem! A new nightclub in the UK has realized you can get tons of international press by incorporating a few token "green" tricks into your venue [Edit: as Nichole Wong already covered over here on Blue Marble, whoops]. Actually, that's mean, some of the ideas seem pretty good. The club, called Surya, will feature its own solar energy system and will offer free admission to cyclists and walkers (although how they know you didn't just get out of the cab around the corner is anybody's guess). Then there are the iffy ideas: "air flush" waterless urinals and low flush toilets might work at your home or office, but after seeing a variety of different nightclub bathrooms, let me just say I wouldn't recommend reducing flush capacity there in any way. Finally, there's the grabber: dance floor power!

The dancefloor uses the concept of piezoelectricity, where crystals and ceramics create a charge to generate electricity. "We estimate that if you had loads of clubbers dancing vigorously it would provide 60 percent of the club's energy needs," said the club's promoter.

Hey, baby, wanna join me on the floor and generate some sparks? No? Somebody used that line on you already? Like 300 times? Okay, fine, I'm heading for the air flush urinals.

Slang White People Like

| Thu Jul. 10, 2008 3:51 PM EDT

I don't know much about the folks at Soft Skull Media. Apparently, it's some kind of underground publishing house, or used to be. I dunno. But, I got a 'please review this book' plea from them today, which is utterly unusual in my line of work, free books being one of the decidedly few perks of my job. If that sad benny is is meant to offset the myriad "why is Debra Dickerson so stupid" blog posts, it's failing miserably.

Anyway, just another day on the job, just another pitch for a book which, for once, sounds at least initially interesting, until I get to the sign-off: "Holler for review copies, eh?". Holler, not holla, but in either case: ironic wiggerness in the workplace.

I'm intellectually anal-retentive, so I can't help but burn daylight wondering: Did potential white reviewers get the same sign-off? Or have white folks developed several sets of 'pitch' macros with labels like "black, but an Uncle Tom who'll find this ironic," "white, but living in dream world wherein they're cool," and "confused, but too cowed to make waves."?

I don't know if it's better or worse that it's not a 'black' book...ok. It's better. But just what is it with white folks and black slang? And how do y'all know when it's appropriate?

And since we're on the subject: Why is the cabbage patch the universal dance of white joy?

I'm gonna ask the Soft Skull folks what up with the 'holler' and how long the staff meeting in which they debated the merits of 'holler' vs 'holla' was. Maybe they were being ironic. I often use formulations (with white institutions) such as "give a sister a...." etc—but I do it to be a bitch who makes her white friends uncomfortable in a way in which they can't respond. What's their motivation?

Warm, Fuzzy Satanists

| Wed Jul. 9, 2008 5:30 PM EDT

satanist150.jpgSome divorced couples argue over whether their kids should have dessert. Some over homework.

And some argue over whether their kids should be brought up Satanist.

From the Chicago Tribune comes the story of an Indiana mom who wants a court to make her Devil-worshiping ex-husband take her kids to Christian church. Long story short, Satanists are not exactly the role models she had in mind for her offspring. But the Beelzebub fans themselves say she's got them all wrong. From a related Trib blog post:

"Some of your readers might wonder what exposure to Satanism might do to a developing child," Gilmore said. "I recognized myself as a Satanist at age 13 and was subsequently the valedictorian of my high school class in 1976, being quite open about my religion."

Uh, yeah, Gilmore? Chris Kattan wants his material back.

Top Five: Music for a Heat Wave

| Wed Jul. 9, 2008 4:38 PM EDT

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Since everybody's so into lists these days, I figured I'd bring back my Top Five mini-countdown of fun stuff 'n' things, with the added conveneince of an Imeem widget for your listening pleasure (see below). This week, as we in California roast under triple-digit temperatures, why not celebrate with some tunes that either take explicit pleasure in the heat, or at least sound really good on a warm night.

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Obama Encourages Students to Abandon Hopes of Becoming Great Rappers

| Wed Jul. 9, 2008 3:47 PM EDT

mojo-photo-obamayousuck.jpgBecause, you know, hope is crazy audacious, but not that audacious. Obama was in Georgia yesterday (talk about audacious hopes), and in a speech to a town hall meeting in Powder Springs, gave the mostly African-American audience a message of "tough love." Speaking about the importance of staying in school, he seemingly aimed some comments directly at young black men:

"You can't find a job, unless you are a really, really good basketball player which most of you brothas are not. I know you think you are, but you're not," he said to murmurs and laughter in the crowd. "You are over-rated in your own mind. You will not play in the NBA. You are probably not that good a rapper. Maybe you are the next Lil' Wayne, but probably not, in which case you need to stay in school."

Film Review: Punk's Not Dead

| Tue Jul. 8, 2008 6:37 PM EDT

sex-pistols-280x200.jpgThere are three confusing things about Susan Dynner's new fun-to-watch documentary Punk's Not Dead: the beginning, the middle, and the end. Here's why: Candid, funny, and insightful interview clips with the likes of Joe Strummer, Johnny Rotten, and Johnny Ramone, are great, but why, when punk is thriving, keeping on, and having fun, start off a documentary called "Punk's Not Dead" with three '70s rockers, two of whom have passed away?

NPR "Best CD" Poll Causes Panic

| Tue Jul. 8, 2008 5:48 PM EDT

mojo-photo-nprpanic.jpgSorry about that headline but I'd like to remind everyone that I'm not a real writer. National Public Radio's All Songs Considered blog had an admirable goal: turn to the public radio, er, public, to see what albums they thought should be included on a "Best of 2008 So Far" list. (Some of us can't be bothered to ask anybody else what they think). Unfortunately, their poll seemed to get hijacked by internet-savvy emo kids:

Panic at the Disco put out a good record this year, and for a while they were in the lower end of the top 20. But less than a week before the polls closed, a banner went up on their MySpace page encouraging fans to vote. The website said, "they need your vote to help take the lead!" Within a few days, Panic at the Disco had almost 6,000 more votes than anyone else.

Hancock: Racist, a Metaphor for Racism, or Just Dumb?

| Tue Jul. 8, 2008 4:52 PM EDT

mojo-photo-hancock.jpgWill Smith's new movie Hancock may have knocked little Wall-E off the box office top spot, pulling in $62 million in its first weekend, but some are finding evidence of an unsettling subtext behind the drunk-superhero shtick. Hip-hop web site SOHH.com recently posted a blog entry calling the film, well, racist:

It's just a coincidence that the first "superhero" depicted on the silver screen as a criminal, alcoholic, lazy, foul mouthed, not giving a you know what bum, living in a broken down trailer, who everybody hates including the people he saves, *just happens* to *be black.* Right? And, it's just a coincidence the one man who loves Hancock, has faith in him and truly cares about him as a person, is an idealistic white man who wants to save the entire planet. Let's call him the Anti-Bush. Oh and I can't forget his adorable little son is the only character, besides his loving father, that doesn't refer to Hancock as an a**hole… And, is it just a coincidence that Hancock only maintains his super powers if he stays away from a "beautiful" white woman who is *technically* his wife …