Tag Archives: union terrace

Show report: Micachu, Chairlift

Looking at Pitchfork’s 500 best songs of 2000-2009 made me realize that, while I listen to a lot of new records, I don’t listen to very many new records by new bands.  So I’m trying to stop in on some of the many free Union Terrace shows by presumable up-and-comers.  Last night I saw Micachu, a young Englishwoman who plays a kind of insistent, dissonant, stop-and-start pop on a modified 3/4-size guitar, and who sneers like Elvis when she sings.  I admired this without really liking it.  Headlining was Chairlift, from Brooklyn via U Colorado.  I liked that the lead singer dresses like a hippie while the guitarist dresses like a late-Soviet arena rocker (see also: Grammar.)  But all in all it seemed there was a lot of atmospheric keyboard, a lot of echo on the drums, a lot of frowny rock face from the singer, and not a lot of songs.  I didn’t stay for the big hit, “Bruises.”

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December linkdump

  • I finished White Teeth, and enjoyed it a lot, but didn’t think it had the finished snap of On Beauty. Here’s James Wood’s 2001 review of White Teeth, which I would describe as “impressed but not admiring.” This is the review where he coins the term “hysterical realism” — which is a good term, but not one I think is particuarly appropriate to Zadie Smith. He criticizes White Teeth, fairly, as the type of book in which the author’s hand (in the barely concealing glove of coincidence) gathers all the disparate characters together into a big, brassy finale, where the themes of the novel are reprised in grand chorus. But he should have mentioned John Irving, who I think of as the modern not-quite-literary progenitor of this move.
  • Submissions are now open for an academic volume on the Red Sox and Philosophy.
  • I wish Cosma Shalizi blogged more. I also wish he were at Wisconsin instead of Carnegie-Mellon so I could have sat in on his course on data mining; at least the notes are online.
  • This week, Nature runs an interesting commentary: “Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy.” I think the questions it asks are hard, and I don’t know what I think the answers are. I do think the state of calm focus in which we do our best mathematics is a physical state; and a pill that could get you to and keep you in that state would be tempting to many of us. On the other hand, I used to find yoga a good way to get my mind in that state, and I don’t do yoga any more. So maybe enhancement isn’t as much of a draw as we think. Also: shouldn’t it be “cognition-enhancing,” not “cognitive-enhancing?” (via MetaFilter)
  • The cover story of the September 6, 1948 issue of Life was “The Good Life in Madison, Wisconsin.” Thanks to Google you can now see all of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photos from that story, as well as the ones that didn’t make the issue. (via Letters from Here.) Where was this photo shot? The shape of the lakeshore looks like the view from Union Terrace, but the Terrace was already covered in flagstone by the 1930s.
  • And finally: my favorite Superman panel ever, and the source of my favorite expression of dismay: whatthsuperman
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