Arts Roundup: Pondering Lists, Avoiding Bridges, Planning My Vacation
Hello and happy Tweetup day! Last time I checked, it's still December, which is every music critic's favorite month—doubly so this year since the decade is ending. It's true: List-making makes less and less sense as our tastes fragment. That's kinda what Simon Reynolds argues in an essay in the Guardian, which he concludes, I suppose self-satisfyingly, by also suggesting that the evaporating critical consensus may be bad for music in the long run. He writes: "More and more good-to-excellent music is getting produced but that very fact is thwarting the emergence of the great, smothering it. The bigger the spread, the more 'we' are spread. And the less impact any given record can have. Worse, as artists internalise reduced expectations, the cycle of diminution spirals ever inward." Nevertheless! I still enjoyed browsing Rolling Stone's Best of the Decade lists, which went online yesterday—this despite the fact that I had to click "NEXT" 42 times to see what topped the album list (no surprises—zing!). What do you think of the list? What do you think of best-of lists in general? Which is more annoying—debating the content of lists, or debating their point?
- So! My girlfriend and I are driving to Florida at the end of the month, and we have this guide book, which she says is "poorly written and full of bad puns." I agree! That said: A 14-hour drive, even if spread over two days, is pretty soul-crushing, and we'd like to see some cool stuff along the way. Cultural tourists, where should we stop? We like regional culinary specialties, funny signs, and homes of dead authors. Close proximity to I-95 is preferred.
- Yesterday, Maura Judkis updated Arts Desk on how the D.C. delegation fared at Miami's Art Basel. To get a sense of what sold (and for how much, and to Val Kilmer) at this year's fair, check out this slide show from New York's Vulture blog.
- Perhaps the Jawbox performance on Jimmy Fallon left you thirsty for more reunited Dischord acts. Good news then! D.C. hardcore veterans Scream's show at the Black Cat is now on the mainstage, which means it's no longer sold out. (It's the original lineup, so no Dave Grohl.)
- An endorsement! The new Blisspop blog launched last month, and has turned me on to a ton of good music, mostly from local artists and DJs. It has also reminded me of some things I had hoped to forget.
- Song of the day! A Sunny Day in Glasgow's lovely cover of "Game of Pricks" by Guided by Voices:
The Philly sextet plays tonight at the Red and the Black. (More on this later today!)