Video: The War on Drugs – “Under The Pressure”
My pal Jeff busts my chops because I like short songs. Pop songs. I don’t like extraneous filler. Get in and get out.
But I also like Funkadelic. Sometimes a song needs to stretch out to get its point across. I wouldn’t cut a minute out of “Sister Ray,” for example. Same with “Like a Hurricane.”
This song, I’m not so sure. When I suggested that the last three minutes don’t add anything to this song except length, good old Jeff pointed out that “They give you time to reflect.” Which is fair enough. Reflect away.
I usually keep an eye on Billboard‘s Chart Beat, but I must have missed it a few weeks ago because the week ending July 13 set a new record for the fewest overall album sales with just 4.05 million. Things are rough for the album:
Weekly album sales volume has been below 5 million for the past 12 consecutive weeks. The 5 million mark has only been surpassed in five weeks this year. To compare, a year ago at this point, there were 21 weeks where sales were above 5 million. Weekly volume didn’t fall below 5 million in the SoundScan era until 2010, when, in the week ending May 30, album sales dropped to 4.98 million.
We remember that.
Sales have bounced back a little in the weeks following the new record low, but now they have gone back down to 4.1 million for the week ending August 17. I wonder if 2014 will see them dip below 4 million for the first time ever.
Do streaming services offer “album play” data? Not that anybody streams entire albums, but if they do I suppose it should be counted. Or maybe not.
We finally sorted through our Lolla pics (taken by the unsinkable Jolie Brown) and just uploaded a bunch of them to Flickr. In case you missed it, here’s our Lolla 2014 wrap up. Enjoy the photos.
Iggy Azalea (Flickr album)
Outkast (Flickr album)
While I was researching my Lolla 2014 piece I was surprised and disappointed that I could not find the original 2005 Lollapalooza map online anywhere. I stumbled across Jim DeRogatis’ 2006 news item about the fest’s expansion for its second year, which reminded me that in 2005 everything had been crammed south of Buckingham Fountain. I had completely forgotten that.
So I dug through my personal archives and discovered my original program and scanned it. You’re welcome. It’s a little wrinkly and messed up because it lived in my pocket for a couple days as I stumbled around getting loaded and eating smuggled KFC.
Ten years. Ten Lollas in Grant Park. I had a cutting edge mobile phone in 2005 — the Motorola RAZR — but I didn’t know how to text properly. There were no iPhones, no Twitter, YouTube hadn’t officially launched yet, and Facebook was still exclusive to college students.
Lollapalooza 2005 seems quaint in retrospect. It was only two days long, there were less than 60 bands, the whole thing took place south of Buckingham Fountain, all four main stages were crammed onto Hutchinson Field… And yet this year’s event would hardly seem unrecognizable to a time traveler from 2005. It’s still, as I said back at the time, “an event as corporate and branded and manipulative as anything any marketing genius could ever devise.” And despite that, with the right attitude, it can still be a lot of fun.
Over the years I have seen so many memorable performances at Lollapalooza. Would most of these have been better suited to a dark club as opposed to a big, sweaty field in the middle of the day? Absolutely. But let’s be honest. I cram more bands into three days at Lolla than I go out and see for the rest of the year combined. Is that pathetic? Maybe so, but I’m busy. I’m a grown up. And a big festival provides me with the opportunity to stumble across something unexpectedly great that I never would have sought out on my own. So I return to Lolla every year in spite of the weak lineups that — looking back — I’ve publicly bitched about almost every year.
There were sweaty summer days in the late 80s where we’d sit around the house watching TV and chugging Mello Yello. We were American teens with a thing for British culture and in addition to the NME and Melody Maker, most of our understanding of Arcadia came from The Young Ones.
This passage from one of our favorite episodes is the best tribute we can think of for Rik Mayall, who died today at 56:
This house will become a shrine, and punks and skins and rastas will all gather round and hold their hands in sorrow for their fallen leader. And all the grown-ups will say, “But why are the kids crying?” And the kids will say, “Haven’t you heard? Rick is dead! The People’s Poet is dead!”
Hands up, who likes Rick? This time, all hands are raised.
Let me start by saying that I am not even sure I like this band. That’s not to say that I am trying to get a pass on them. I might like them, I might not. Whether I do is not the point. It’s that I can’t figure it out yet I will excitedly watch any late night TV performance of Future Islands—a statement I cannot make about bands I love.
Obviously, the focus of my semi-obsession is on the singer, Samuel T. Herring. I haven’t read anything about him or the history of the band so let’s run with some of my assumptions:
- He’s clearly the guy pushing the band forward. He’s the guy who has been pestering people about his band to the point where they are now regularly on national TV. The rest of the band seems to be barely paying attention. The bassist thought the band broke up 15 years ago, but here they are.
- His awkward, intense dancing is unnerving and fascinating. He OWNs this dance. Nobody else can match him. Nobody. Mick Jagger and Bruno Mars are weak fakers just walking through some moves. Samuel T. Herring is the real deal.
- Kinda memorable melodies and disco beats aren’t really enough these days so Samuel T. Herring goes full Cookie Monster to cut through the clutter. That takes some real balls.
- Samuel T. Herring can and will do Monty Python impressions for hours on end as long as someone—anyone—is still paying attention.