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JulyDiaz

Episode 111.5 — Bonus Cut: Buy Good Sh*t

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Paul Rust, Sean Conroy, and Billy Merritt join Matt Besser to discuss why improv4humans didn’t make any Top Podcasts of 2013 lists and why nobody buys any new music on another edition of What’s Bothering You. Remember that you can now get the UCB Comedy Improv Manual at http://ucbstore.com/books/the-upright-citizens-brigade-comedy-improvisation-manual, Matt Besser’s new comedy album at mattbesser.com, Dragoon’s new album at dragoongalaxy.bandcamp.com, and a new improv4humans t-shirt at the Earwolf store!

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Damn, Matt was going off on this stuff. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that I'd listen to an all 'what's bothering you' podcast.

 

I think a big reason why people don't know what's happening in music is the fact that there is no cultural funnel or touchstone anymore. With access to everything online, and everybody being entitled to their opinion, it's overwhelming. Love it or hate it, MTV back when they played music (albeit still not super independent), played enough varied stuff to pique people's interest which caused them to go further into that genre. They cycled in new stuff constantly, had weird lists, had bands hosting shows and playing their favorites, etc. Now everybody has their own blog about what's the best, instead of one Rolling Stone issue. It's just too hard to find a jumping off point for a lot of people now.

 

The 'buying one song' phenomenon pisses me off as well. If you like somebody, odds are you'll like the other stuff they did. If I find a creative person I like, I go through their backlog of work. One thing that I think suffers with the 'one song' fad is that it theoretically could lead to the end of concept albums. Guys like Zappa or The Residents carefully crafting full albums on a running theme or story have no place in a one song era. That fucking sucks.

 

Some people don't watch comedies, but watch the Emmy's. They see the Big Bang Theory or Two and a Half Men winning awards as the representative of comedy year in and year out... That's not attracting new viewers. We know those CBS shows have run forever, give someone else a shot. Do I need to see Kobe Bryant in the all-star game again, or do I want to see Damian Lillard? Reward the people that put in work, don't just support the already supported.

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This was a very interesting and funny episode!

 

Some great albums has come out this year and my current favourites are (in no particular order):

 

The National - Trouble will find me

Jason Isbell - Southeastern

Gregory Alan Isakov - The Weatherman

Local Natives - Hummingbird

Keaton Henson - Birthdays

 

My favourite find this year is the american singer-songwriter John Fullbright

 

The fantastic Jason Molina (Songs Ohia, Magnolia Electric Co.) died in march and tribute album was released (featuring Mark Kozelek, Damien Jurado, Will Oldham and many others)

http://thesongsofjasonmolina.bandcamp.com/album/weary-engine-blues

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The AV Club's best albums list was pretty awful, for the exact reasons that Matt stated. A whole lot of people who aren't typically music critics voting for whatever they heard on the radio just results in a lot of mediocrity flooding the list.

 

As for what I liked this year, none of it wound up on any top 10 lists, a trend I'm finding more common as my tastes drift further and further away from the center.

 

The Drones "I See Seaweed" was my absolute favorite album of the year. I've listened to it now probably damn near 100 times, and I'm always finding new parts to like about it. Unfortunately, the album was only released physically in Australia, so Pitchfork has deemed it unreviewable, and now it languishes in obscurity for 95% of the world. The only band I could compare it to would be Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, but it goes pretty far beyond that at times. It's really a shame it's being ignored everywhere, so I have to post about it any chance I get in the hopes someone will actually listen.

 

Other good albums from the year that aren't being talked about:

Steve Mason - Monkey Minds in the Devil's Time (ex-Beta Band solo project)

Hookworms - Pearl Mystic (Spacemen 3 style psych rock)

Fuzz - Fuzz (Ty Segall proving he's one of the best guitarists today)

Yo La Tengo - Fade (The most consistently good band of the past 30 years continuing to put out good works)

FIDLAR - FIDLAR (Dumb kids being idiots in the most fun way)

Black Hearted Brother - Stars Are Our Home (Neil Halstead of Slowdive finally plugging in the distortion pedals again)

The Men - New Moon (Punks getting older and in tune with Americana)

 

Best old album I found out about this year was The Monkees "Head", thanks to this podcast and Tim Meadows.

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The AV Club's best albums list was pretty awful, for the exact reasons that Matt stated. A whole lot of people who aren't typically music critics voting for whatever they heard on the radio just results in a lot of mediocrity flooding the list.

 

I'm not trying to advocate for mainstream music, but quite frankly the AV Club is the sort of publication where the music critics have an ear for mainstream music. So I agree with Besser's lamenting for Jason Isbell or Parks and Rec not getting big-time accolades, but it's inaccurate to say that just because a group of people agreed that the new Kanye record is good means that they aren't "real" critics and just heard him on the radio.

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i feel Besser's pain, but i also feel like this is...business as usual? aside from the fact that money spent on packaged music is rapidly shrinking, the genuinely thoughtful 'good stuff' is under the radar and always has been!

 

("how do you make money on music these days" Besser asked. i'm in a band that opens for lots of people who do make a living off music, and the answer is: live shows. when you hit a certain level you can get quite reasonable cash guarantees from venues and promoters....)

 

i think the 'best', most thoughtful, life-changing, whatever stuff (music, movies, books, comedy, anything) does not and *can not* enter the general mass consciousness. that stuff only floats into the mainstream slowly, reappropriated piece by piece after its already stale to the real artistic vanguard. i think a lot of people expected the internet to change that, but it hasn't.

 

to be a massively popular, cross-over 'hit' in a country like this, it seems that you'd need to hit so many specific check-boxes while simultaneously not veering into territory that'd be considered too 'intellectual', too critical of our society, against the status-quo of culture, etc etc etc. so you end up with generally mediocre stuff that 'everyone can agree on' floating to the top.

 

p.s. Macklemore sucks and the new Daft Punk album is mediocre at best ;-)

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I'm always years behind on music, but I just got into Franklin Bruno over the weekend - mostly "A Cat May Look at a Queen" from 2002. I have a google music subscription so it makes it easy to explore new stuff. I'm sure I'll get around to Jason Isbell's music by 2020.

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i feel Besser's pain, but i also feel like this is...business as usual? aside from the fact that money spent on packaged music is rapidly shrinking, the genuinely thoughtful 'good stuff' is under the radar and always has been!

 

("how do you make money on music these days" Besser asked. i'm in a band that opens for lots of people who do make a living off music, and the answer is: live shows. when you hit a certain level you can get quite reasonable cash guarantees from venues and promoters....)

 

i think the 'best', most thoughtful, life-changing, whatever stuff (music, movies, books, comedy, anything) does not and *can not* enter the general mass consciousness. that stuff only floats into the mainstream slowly, reappropriated piece by piece after its already stale to the real artistic vanguard. i think a lot of people expected the internet to change that, but it hasn't.

 

to be a massively popular, cross-over 'hit' in a country like this, it seems that you'd need to hit so many specific check-boxes while simultaneously not veering into territory that'd be considered too 'intellectual', too critical of our society, against the status-quo of culture, etc etc etc. so you end up with generally mediocre stuff that 'everyone can agree on' floating to the top.

 

p.s. Macklemore sucks and the new Daft Punk album is mediocre at best ;-)

 

This is the cycle of art in this society.

 

Step 1. Neglected part of society creates art that celebrates them and their lives. It is important to them and is more than pretty sounds or pictures or words, it validates them as a people because society has drowned out their voice.

 

Step 2. Larger society hates it. Calls it hack and does not consider it to be "true" art. True art is left to people society has deemed important.

 

Step 3. Neglected young people and a few young folks that society has deemed worthy congregate around the new art. The neglected feel validated; their experience connected with someone else, they have been heard. The "worthy" young folks folk to the new art for a variety of reasons, but it is mainly about the art. Meeting and interacting with the creator is a side benefit.

 

Step 4. If the new art is not abandoned by its creators for something else, it will grow into a "thing." Larger society will comment on the "curiosity" while still dismissing it as utter garbage. They will say it is corrupting the "worthy" young folks. They will blame crime on it. They will blame teenage sex on it. They will predict the country's downfall if it grows any larger.

 

(This is the sweet spot of the art. It can last one year or a decade, its just chance. This is when it will be at its most creative. Classics of the genre will come out during this period.)

 

Step 5. Because the art is outputting really good stuff, people can't deny it anymore. Now the money men come in to try to make a dollar of it. To market it. To market products toward the new demographic. To create pre-packaged acts for the genre (Sex Pistols, any one? Vanilla Ice?).

 

Step 6. Because of the increased marketing, there is a whole new group that comes in. They are really the death toll of the genre as a creative force. These are the people who are attracted to the music because of the marketing. They want to find a niche. The art is tertiary influence on their decision to consume it. First and foremost in their minds is what group listens to this music? is it cool? Second on their mind is do any of the people I hate listen to this music as well?

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I'm confused. Besser complains about Jason Isbell not getting recognized because he's not some media darling like Kanye, then bitches that a non-media darling (Sara Bareilles) is nominated?

 

Besser: Sara Bareilles should make you happy. She's like Isbell. Super talented singer/songwriter, doesn't resort to miley cyrus/lady gaga/kanye level stunts to get attention so she doesn't get much coverage. So it's great she's getting a nod.

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Matt, you might enjoy Murder by Death. Less punk, moreso indie alt-country, but still great.

 

Great albums this year from newer artists (mostly heavy):

Shevils - Lost in Tartarus

Sandrider - God Head

Tidal Arms - S/T

Nails - Abandon All Life

All Pigs Must Die - Nothing Violates This Nature

Baptists - Bushcraft

Dead in the Dirt - The Blind Hole

Tim Kasher - Adult Film (not a new artist, but my favorite singer songwriter)

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Thanks for the recommendations. I love it. I must admit my comments about Sara Barellies were not logical. Also I haven't bothered to listen to her. I will now do that.

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Thanks for the recommendations. I love it. I must admit my comments about Sara Barellies were not logical. Also I haven't bothered to listen to her. I will now do that.

 

May I also suggest The Dexateens? They only put out an EP this year, but Patterson Hood has produced their stuff in the past and they are very much punk-inspired alt-country from AL. If you are interested I recommend Red Dust Rising, I think it's to your taste.

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I guess I was the only one who thought Matt was kind of a dick in this bonus cut. I understand being really proud of your work and being a bit upset about not getting reconised, but his reaction was a bit too much for me. I was glad that part was over, but then: 'it's not even an opinion, it's a fact.'. Music is subjective guys, and some would say that a 'good' song is one with a catchy hook that speaks to the general public. I normally like it when Matt gets all riled up, but then it's about rascism or homophobia, not this petty stuff.

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I guess I was the only one who thought Matt was kind of a dick in this bonus cut. I understand being really proud of your work and being a bit upset about not getting reconised, but his reaction was a bit too much for me. I was glad that part was over, but then: 'it's not even an opinion, it's a fact.'. Music is subjective guys, and some would say that a 'good' song is one with a catchy hook that speaks to the general public. I normally like it when Matt gets all riled up, but then it's about rascism or homophobia, not this petty stuff.

I promise to do it only once a year.

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Yes, yes, a million times yes. What's the point in a top 10 list that just vomits back the stuff that literally everyone and their mothers already know? Sure mainstream artists can be good, but out of the slew of music that comes out each and every year are they really the best too? Is the invisible hand of the market that good at picking our "artists"?

 

If you get a second Matt, check out Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon) and Jimmy Lavalle's (Album Leaf) song "Gustavo" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nSuTSyymvU

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Damn I need this video to come out, it was so funny how much Matt was throwing the card thing in Paul's face even though Paul was happy for Matt.

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Damn I need this video to come out, it was so funny how much Matt was throwing the card thing in Paul's face even though Paul was happy for Matt.

 

The video is out! The bonus cut part starts at 1:22:25

 

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If you're into Prog Rock (specifically new-prog) there's always incredible gems being released, but pretty much none of them will ever be heard because they are nothing like modern popular music, but they also seem to be rejected by a big chunk of the classic prog lovers.

 

My favs from the year:

The Custodian - Necessary Wasted Time

The Dear Hunter - Migrant (the B sides are the best part in my oppinion, and their massive back catalog is unreal)

K Sera - Collisions and Near Misses

 

Come to think of it, 2012 was a much bigger year for prog rock

Anathema - Weather Systems

Gazpacho - March of Ghosts

The Pineapple Thief - All the wars

Swans - The Seer (this album is more of an 'experience' than music, though it really is a masterpiece. It will give you very deep and bizzare feelings)

 

Non prog music from 2013:

City and Colour - The Hurry and The Harm (I'm Canadian).

Sound City - Real to Reel (there's some real duds, but there are a few great jems)

Portugal. The Man - Evil Friends (not their strongest album, but Danger Mouse was involved in this one so if you like his work it's more than worth a look)

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The Dear Hunter - Migrant (the B sides are the best part in my oppinion, and their massive back catalog is unreal)

 

I love The Dear Hunter's first 3 albums, but I only really liked 3 of the EPs from The Color Spectrum. And Migrant was okay, but nothing more than that, for me. Casey's earlier work sounds way more passionate, while Migrant just sounded like it was trying to be more of the "alternative" music thats coming from everybody else these past couple years. "Girl" was a good song, though.

 

My favorite album of the year, though, was The Dillinger Escape Plan's One of Us is the Killer.

 

 

 

 

Also, are Paul Rust fans calling themselves "Rusty Buckets" now? Because I'm a HUGE Rusty Bucket, you guys.

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Just wanted to say I enjoyed this bonus ep, and especially the addendum. While I always appreciate Matt ranting about art, critics, awards and lists I had a feeling it was going to annoy a lot of people who aren't familiar with Matt's peculiar blend of enthusiasm and disgust with the world.

 

So I hope any listeners who were turned off by Matt dismissing Yeezus, Arcade Fire and Daft Punk so out of hand stayed listening until the 28:00 minute mark to hear Matt restate exactly what he did and didn't mean by his rant.

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Thanks for the recommendations. I love it. I must admit my comments about Sara Barellies were not logical. Also I haven't bothered to listen to her. I will now do that.

 

To clarify, I meant same as isbell as far as being singer songwriter. She's not in the same genre, doubt you'll like it.

 

 

I also thought the Daft Punk album was SO overrated/hyped and I LIKE Daft Punk. I caught so much shit from people for not going with the flow on that one. Glad I wasn't the only one.

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First, I am a huge Sara Barellies fan. My wife has all her albums and I really enjoy everything she puts out.

 

That being said, I stand up and FUCKING applaud Matt getting this upset about his work being ignored. I WANT TO SEE THAT! I want to see artists that believe in their work and are annoyed when their hard work is not given credit. Improv4Humans is one of the best out there because there is actual WORK in it. I hear so many shows that are just the same comedian telling the same story about how they came up or their brush with SNL. I4H creates something new every minute, every week.

 

I hope Matt never loses that fire.

 

But for real, leave Sara Barellies alone you douche.

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I love The Dear Hunter's first 3 albums, but I only really liked 3 of the EPs from The Color Spectrum. And Migrant was okay, but nothing more than that, for me. Casey's earlier work sounds way more passionate, while Migrant just sounded like it was trying to be more of the "alternative" music thats coming from everybody else these past couple years. "Girl" was a good song, though.

 

I agree that Migrant wasn't their best. If you haven't checked out the B sides (The Migration Annex) it's more than worth a listen, and is generally much better. Casey doesn't seem to know what a B side is supposed to be. Also, IMO The Color Spectrum is one of the greatest musical releases in the last decade, but then again I was introduced to TDH through that collection.

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I agree that Migrant wasn't their best. If you haven't checked out the B sides (The Migration Annex) it's more than worth a listen, and is generally much better. Casey doesn't seem to know what a B side is supposed to be. Also, IMO The Color Spectrum is one of the greatest musical releases in the last decade, but then again I was introduced to TDH through that collection.

I will definitely give The Migration Annex a listen.

 

A friend of mine actually went out on the day Act I was released, trying to find it in stores. I went with him on this little quest, so I wound up following the band since that first release. I don't mean to bring this up in a "I'm more hardcore of a fan than you" kind of way, I'm just saying the band's sound was different when I came in. Act I and Act II are among my favorite albums. I generally prefer their music when it has a harder edge to it. I wanted to like The Color Spectrum, but I only really cared for Black, Red, and Orange. The rest just kinda felt like filler.

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