Saturday, December 31, 2016

At Long Last: The 10 Greatest Hit Songs of 2016

Happy New Beer everyone. It's time to party to the steamiest, most inescapable records of the year.

There were so many fuckin' hot jams this year that it was just fuckin' very tough to choose, but alas, there can be only 10 in the top 10 and these are those 10. Some dick from fuckin' The Wall Street Journal posted some bullshit top 10 yesterday. Yeah, we saw that, and it was buncha fuckin bullshit. Don't believe his lies.

Hot party jams like these ones don't come around every year. Keep em pumpin' all night. The hits never stop.

#10 Sextina Aquafina "Get Dat Fetus, Kill Dat Fetus"

#9 Member Berries "Africa (Toto cover)"

#8 Dead Cold Inside "Not Really Living"

#7 Flame Princess featuring NEPTR "Spittin' Straight Flame"

#6 Bill Clinton & Bill Cosby "Gentleman's Club Theme"

#5 Your Space "Your Space"

#4 David Alan Thicke "The David Alan Thicke Song"

#3 Gary Young "Spit"

#2 311 featuring T-Pain "Down"

#1 Beetlejuice "Money Money Pussy"

Friday, December 30, 2016

Ten Nice Unearthed Relics from 2016 Reissues

Youtube, we need you to rap:

[BONUS] The most disappointing unearthed relic from 2016 was probably Big Star's cover of T.Rex's "Baby Strange" which appeared on Big Star: Complete Third. When the tracklisting was announced with "Baby Strange," we had reasonably high expectations. Now we know better. The first 45 seconds of the track are silent and the rest doesn't sound as if they cared. IMO a lot of Complete Third shouldn't have been included on there, and this is a good example.

10. Odion Iruoje "Anogo / Giri"

Originally from 1983's Down To Earth LP.

9. The Trio (Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris & Linda Rondstadt) "Are You Tired Of Me?"

From The Complete Trio Collection.

8. Pink Floyd "Green Is The Colour" & "Careful with That Axe, Eugene" (Live BBC Radio Session, 12 May 1969)

From The Early Years 1965 - 1972.
"Green Is The Colour" only:

7. The Rift Valley Brothers "Mucang'ang'o Ugiraga Mukindirio"

From Kenya Special, Vol. 2

6. Chris Weisman "The Hamburger Goal"

Originally from 2007's Trash Picture. Re-released on Trash Picture / August Demos.

5. Yoko Ono "Open Your Box"

Previously only available as a 7-inch edit on the b-side of Plastic Ono Band's "Power To The People" from 1971. A different 3-minute edit also appeared as "Hirake" on Fly, also from 1971. The 2016 re-release of Yoko Ono / Plastic Ono Band includes "Open Your Box" in its entirety.

4. Tad "Nuts N' Bolts"

From 8-Way Santa (Deluxe Edition).

3. Once "Joanna" / Joe Tossini and Friends "Wild Dream" / Some Of My Best Friends Are Canadian "Feeling Sheepish"

From 2013's Sky Girl comp, re-released by Efficient Space in 2016.
"Joanna" originally from 1981's The Hush:
"Wild Dream" originally from 1989's Lady Of Mine.
"Feeling Sheepish" originally the a-side from an out-of-print 1980 7-inch.

2. Queen "It's Late (BBC Session / October 28, 1977)"

From Queen On Air.

1. Heatmiser "Christian Brothers"

First surfaced on Soundcloud in 2013. From Heaven Adores You Soundtrack.

Top 10 Prince Songs Before and After 4/21/16

Top 10 Prince Songs
1/1/16 Thru 4/20/16

Here are the 10 highest placing Prince songs as they appeared in our "500 Hottest Jams" list originally posted on April 1, 2016:
1. "The Beautiful Ones"
2. "Purple Rain"
3. "God"
4. "Pop Life"
5. "I Would Die 4 U"
6. "Let's Go Crazy"
7. "Take Me With U"
8. "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man"
9. "Diamonds and Pearls"
10. "Little Red Corvette"

Top 10 Prince Songs
4/21/16 thru 12/30/16

Here are the 10 Prince songs that we listened to the most in 2016 based on the stats listed on our Last.Fm account:
1. "If I Was Your Girlfriend"
2. "The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker"
3. "She's Always In My Hair"
4. "17 Days"
5. "Strange Relationship"
6. "Another Lonely Christmas"
7. "Sign 'O' The Times"
8. "Starfish and Coffee"
9. "God"
10. "Good Love" / "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man" / "Play In The Sunshine" / "When You Were Mine" / "Anotherloverholenyohead"

Hottest Prince jam to not appear on either list:

Memba Vids 2016: The Big Big List Of Vids

I memba!

TOP 10:
#10: Gumball Machine featuring cupcakKe "Pu$$y Market"
#9: Radiohead "Burn The Witch"
#8: Aphex Twin "CIRKLON3 [ Колхозная mix ]"
#7: DJ Shadow featuring Run The Jewels "Nobody Speaks"
#6: Vince Staples "Prima Donna"
#5: (tie) Good Morning "Warned You" (2015)
#5: (tie) Cigarettes After Sex "Affection"

#4: Teen Suicide "Bright Blue Pickup Truck"
#3: David Bowie "Lazarus"
#2: Kanye West "Famous" (Unofficial Official Video)
#1: Ty Segall "Emotional Mugger"

Honorable Mentions:
(HM): Rae Sremmurd "Black Beatles"
(HM): Palm "I Don't Want To Know (VHS Sessions)"

Big Bad Bonus:
(Bonus): Angel Olsen “Shut Up Kiss Me”
(Bonus): Gucci Mane “First Day Out Tha Feds”
(Bonus): Rihanna “Needed Me”
(Bonus): Wolf Eyes “T.O.D.D.”

4 More For Fun:
Melkbelly “Elk Mountain”
Stove “Stupidest”
Sad13 “Just a Friend”
Surface to Air Missive “The New Look”

Memba Vids 2016 #1: Ty Segall “Emotional Mugger”

The director and Ty Segall premiered this video album by disclosing a huge influence from Terry Gilliam and David Cronenberg, so that got our attention right away. As moderate-at-best Ty Segall fans, it definitely surpassed our expectations and redefined the possibilities (albeit on a lower scale of popularity than something like Lemonade): All the music from Emotional Mugger that appears in this was remixed and altered to fit with the pacing of the story. And probably in the best interest of fitting within ADD/internet culture, it doesn't force viewers to listen through any full songs. They supply the basic jist of the album's atmosphere in a concise and thoroughly engaging package, detailing the experience of “walking dead” in Los Angeles, and possibly influencing Vince Staples who tried out a very similar theme for his 10-minute Prima Donna clip.

Memba Vids 2016 #2: Kanye West “Famous"

Fun Fact: No acting skills required for the entirely genuine reactions to authentic Italian cuisine and red wine. One can only say "magnifique" and "delizioso" so many times before it makes you wanna dry hump parked cars. Aziz & Eric’s “Famous” is so awesome that we actually got angry when Kanye posted his own gigantic-piece-of-shit “official” version 2 months later. Ultimately, they received a free pass, making this a rare instance of a Kanye-approved “unofficial” video. Maybe he’s not that crazy afterall.

Memba Vids 2016 #3: David Bowie "Lazarus"

Our entire top 3 is basically tied for #1. Within the past 24 hours, the 6 possibilities of their arrangement all made sense to us for one reason or another. We saw all three of them appear on other blogs "best video" picks, so we ultimately decided on the opposite order of how often they showed up.

One year ago when “Blackstar” appeared in Vid Kids 2015, we noted:

The “Blackstar” premiere actually lived up to its event-ness. In the parallel universe where MTV still shows videos and labels them with tags like "Breakthrough Video" and "Buzz Clip," this vid might have received a red carpet premiere not unlike GNR's "Estranged."

A year ago, it seemed unthinkable that MTV would pay any attention to past music legends. Due to the unfortunate circumstances, MTV surprisingly snuck “Lazarus” into their late-night video rotation (literally appearing between Drake and Weeknd videos). While it lost its 3 VMA noms to Beyonce (go figure), “Blackstar,” earned Bowie his final VMA win for Best Art Direction. We'd like to think his lifetime achievement would have earned him these same accolades even if he hadn’t passed away this year.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Memba Vids 2016 #4: Teen Suicide “Bright Blue Pickup Truck”

We notice some commonality flowing through the 4 videos for Teen Suicide’s 2016 double-LP. For starters, 3 of them resemble trailers for imaginary Sundance mumblecore.

“Bright Blue Pickup Truck” caught our attention first, and we’re surprised it didn’t appear in more “Best of 2016” lists, but then again we might just be suckers for this particular style: Coming-of-age elements, young womanhood, a desire to break away from the suburbs, wanting more out of life. It reminds us of the first film we ever saw at Sundance, Laurel Nakadate’s Stay The Same Never Change (which is still unreleased in any commercial form, although the trailer is still on Youtube, embedded below).

We’re also suckers for cigarette smoking in videos (even though we’re non-smokers, but it just looks so friggin’ cool). The only Teen Suicide video from 2016 with no smoking shows a dude getting pelted with a hundred empty Marlboro packs. We also love the religious imagery in “The Big Joyous Celebration” (embedded below) and the superfluously intense guitar almost-smash in “Alex.” The album is good too, but they deserve credit for what might have been the most solid run of music videos from any band this year.

Memba Vids 2016 #5: Good Morning “Warned You” / Cigarettes After Sex “Affection”

We found the Youtube account with these 2 videos about 1 year ago after locating the “Dating Game” Homeshake video (which placed at #8 in Vid Kids 2015). This dude Alejandro repurposes his collection of beautiful ‘60s and ‘70s films, re-cutting the money shots to fit into 2-5 minutes, placed alongside dreamy, modern indie rock. “Warned You” is our new favorite, but the video was first posted in 2015, and the infectious song easily could have placed Top 10 in our 2014 Hot Mix. (Boo-urns.) “Affection” is our favorite out of the handful from 2016.

Memba Vids 2016 #6: Vince Staples "Prima Donna"

Truly in its infancy, the “video album” concept supplied 2016 with a freshly untapped method of combining music, art and film while engaging listeners with several album tracks (or in the case of Prima Donna, an entire release worth of music) as opposed to a collection of singles. We know “video shoot within the video” is nothing new, but the first 30 seconds (“Big Time”) might be our favorite mini-video of 2016. We wish it were longer. As the story continues, a satanic cab driver sings the hook from “Smile,” a crowd of demon fans cheers him on for “War Ready,” and Vince ultimately lies in a pool of blood following a verse of “Loco.” We’re pretty sure the entire EP is represented at some point throughout its 10-minutes. It’s pretty goofy, but strangely infectious.

Memba Vids 2016 #7: DJ Shadow featuring Run The Jewels “Nobody Speaks”

The future of C-SPAN.

Memba Vids 2016 #8: Aphex Twin "CIRKLON3 [ Колхозная mix ]"

Finally. A return to the good ol’ days when Aphex Twin and Radiohead can place alongside each other in a “best videos of the year” list. It’s truly been way too long. MVGA.

In “CIRKLON3,” the young tween-age director refreshingly doesn’t add or remove anything to the peculiar dream-like specificities set in place by AFX’s preexisting visual universe co-created by Chris Cunningham. Everything in this clip could easily have taken place in the same timeline as “Rubber Johnny,” “Windowlicker” or “Come To Daddy.” But what’s even more intriguing is that he accomplishes this with a budget that likely hovered around the low, low cost of $0.00.

Memba Vids 2016 #9: Radiohead “Burn The Witch”

This marks the long-awaited return of Radiohead kicking off album promo with some surprise “cartoony but actually fucked up” visuals. Coincidentally, it’s also their best lead video since “Paranoid Android” but with even more implied carnage. (Disclosure: We just like the word “carnage.” Is that ok with you?)

Memba Vids 2016 #10: Gumball Machine featuring cupcakKe “Pu$$y Market”

This made the Top 10 because it looks like they invented a pussy-flavored seltzer just for this video. Praise Jesus.

Memba Vids 2016 (HM): Palm “I Don’t Want To Know" (VHS Sessions)

Granted, the old-school analog tape aesthetic has grown somewhat tiresome since 2009’s chillwave boom, but the presentation of this Youtube series may have accidentally generated the best possible first-listen experience for this surprise non-album track. It’s probably intended for whatever Palm releases in 2017. (The same song, now called “Shadow Expert,” appeared in a much higher-fidelity form in their June Audiotree session.) So many bonus points for making the most out of limited space, with one guitar player in the tiny attic stairs, and shooting indoors with what appears to be all natural lighting.

Memba Vids 2016 (HM): Rae Sremmurd “Black Beatles”

Headbangers brawl. We wonder how many of these shots were stolen from classic ‘80s metal clips. Mötley Crüe played their final shows in 2016. The torch is passed to Sremm-Life.

Memba Vids 2016: Big Bad Bonus Vids

Memba Vids 2016 will now present to the internet our latest collection of bonus vids. These are still amazing vids that ended up on the chopping block separate from our hugely coveted Top 10.

Angel Olsen “Shut Up Kiss Me”
Driving around alone after midnight. Yea, we can relate. This was planned to appear in our "best vids" within weeks of its launch back in late-June. Unsurprisingly, it ended up on the "best video" lists of almost every big-money music blog. We're also unsurprised that "The label tried to fuck with her videos" became a clickbait headline on those exact same blogs, as if this were the first case in the history of music when a label tried to change an artist’s presentation in the interest of generating some quick hot cash.** Our favorite shots in this might be the underrated “slouching at the bar” sequence.

**In all fairness, record companies have actually been correct about this idea at a few points throughout history. The best example we can think of is Smashing Pumpkins. No one really paid attention to the "Cherub Rock" video, which premiered in July '93 a week or 2 prior to the release of Siamese Dream. Within a week of album release, their label immediately forced the band to shoot the "Today" video. By early September, "Today" became their true Buzz Clip breakthrough and the first Smashing Pumpkins song heard by millions. Thanks record label!

Gucci Mane “First Day Out Tha Feds”
This was the first time post-prison-Gucci presented himself to the world in HD video form, and we’re still in disbelief how his appearance changed between Spring Breakers (just 4 years ago) and today. Mom, look: There are 4 Guccis! With new teeth! He acknowledges his caps within the first 2 lines.

Rihanna “Needed Me”
Speaking of Spring Breakers, it’s refreshing to know Harmony Korine (who recently relocated from Nashville to Florida) is still flexing his slowmo promo skills. With such glorious cinematography, "Needed Me" had a very good shot to place Top 10, except for:
#1 Firm believers in "show, don't tell," we kinda hate the “gunshot” noises. Woulda been more effective if they were silent.
#2 The climax was kinda (dare we say) Anti-? The build to that ending is still pretty exciting though, as far as big-budget video moments are concerned.

Wolf Eyes “T.O.D.D.”
Another electrifyingly horrid Wolf Eyes jam soundtracks Charlie Rose interviewing some type of alien critter. Once upon a time, Charlie also briefly appeared in Wink’s "Simple Man" (from summer 1998, embedded below), so it’s great to see his return to weirdo vids like these.

Memba Vids 2016: The Vids Now Begin

Welcome to Member Vids 2016. Memba?

2016 presented a nice collection of vids. We rounded up some of our favorites and will present them to the people of the internet thusly.

Note: Much like in previous years, most of these songs do not appear anywhere on Lit Mix 2016. (We’re probably switching it to Lit Mix this year. Unless we change it to Suh Mix at the last minute.)

Here’s a couple quick stragglers before indulging the bonus:

Melkbelly “Elk Mountain”
We think there’s a linear story going on here - something involving a tyrannosaurus rex stealing someone’s landline phone. We detect a Lynch-ian blurring between dreamland and reality.

Stove “Stupidest”
Directed by the great Nnamdi Ogbonnaya. The crazy ass cat’s out of the bag again. Sure, the vegetable cart has it under control now, but how much longer before the cart turns its chopping skills back onto you?

Sad13 “Just a Friend”
Directed by (probably) Sadie Dupuis & Darl Ferm. Is that a Yard King? A quality barrow, right there. Sad13 had other full-length videos for Slugger, but the “Just A Friend” preview is still our favorite because of its subliminal ASMR shot - surprisingly underutilized within pop video world. Maybe this will become a thing in 2017.

Surface to Air Missive “The New Look”
“The New Look” does not appear on any S.A.M. album, mysteriously appearing on Youtube in late-July, smack between the promo cycles for their 2nd and 3rd albums. We like that Taylor maintains his tough stylishness even at the library and the drug store. Do not mess with this guy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Some Thoughts on [adult swim] and Million Dollar Extreme

On December 30th, 1993 in Inglewood, California, Kurt Cobain was approached backstage by a drunken Eddie Van Halen who reportedly begged on his knees to join Nirvana on stage at some point during their set to solo over one of their songs. A disgusted Cobain - then leader of possibly the world's 2nd-most-famous active new rock band (after Pearl Jam) - famously declined the offer citing an extreme distaste of Van Halen's association with the flashy, misogynist, un-punk, big business era of '80s hair metal.

For better or worse, the state of rock in 2016 has grown far removed from the time when a band resembling anything like Nirvana or Van Halen could approach mainstream ubiquity, creating a scenario when rock musicians have grown substantially more desperate to be heard.

But let's discuss the '90s for a minute.

Throughout 1993 and its accompanying decade, MTV developed a niche that catered to young people who were interested in strangeness and art. While it only made up a small fraction of its programming schedule, the '90s were the decade when subversive and bizarre programming became oddly commonplace - shows like Liquid Television, Cartoon Sushi, Beavis & Butthead, Tom Green, Sifl & Olly, Oddville and The State, alongside video blocks like AMP that focused on arty EDM videos from the likes of Aphex Twin.

It's not like flashy Aerosmith and Guns N' Roses videos disappeared - quite the opposite, as they remained as overplayed as ever throughout the era of In Utero's (sadly shortened) promotion cycle. But in retrospect, MTV's politically neutral efforts to present mainstream alongside alternative - a hub for all areas of youth culture - seem very far removed from anything on television today. There is no "all things music" or "all things youth culture" hub on cable, and it will probably never exist again in quite the same way throughout the eternity of broadcasting.

Around Y2K-era, MTV programming slowly steered far away from strangeness. In the mid-2000s, MTV2 gave us a handful of awesomely absurd shows like Wonder Showzen and The Human Giant, but this only made up a small fraction of their programming. Viacom effectively peeled off its layer of subversiveness and hid it late at night in the middle of Cartoon Network's [adult swim] block. In due time, the weirdo contingent of youth culture discovered [adult swim] and its audience broadened through word-of-mouth, allowing the programming block to eventually blossom into a fully-formed channel of its own.

Since the early 2000s, [adult swim] has opted for the weirdo shows that MTV would have played 20 years ago. And while their earlier evening programming currently still sticks to mindless Seth MacFarlane re-runs, [as]'s after-midnight shows have remained the most refreshingly bizarre programming block of the past decade.

Generally speaking, their shows maintain a streak of political neutrality. Here's an incomplete list of perhaps their most popular exceptions:

- King Of The Hill's social commentary is mostly neutral, but from the perspective of a not-so-outspoken libertarian. (That would be Mike Judge, filtered through the lens of Hank Hill.)
- The Eric Andre Show, a talk show hosted by a self-proclaimed feminist, has remained proudly left-leaning since its inception.
- Tim & Eric's show started out as neutral, but little by little allowed hints of left-leaning gags to seep into their jokes. This eventually led to the production of Decker, Tim Heidecker's summer 2016 miniseries where he plays a government-agent hybrid of Donald Trump and MacGyver. Contained within a universe adjacent to Tim and Neil Hamburger's online-only movie review series, Decker would have been the most politically-charged satire in [adult swim]'s history.

Had it not been for Decker, it's possible that [adult swim] wouldn't have made any effort to ground themselves politically by actively searching for a right-leaning comedy series. But that's what ended up happening.

It was only natural that their choices for a right-wing comedy series produced by millennials might have been rooted within the often irreverent and deceptively hateful humor of 4chan. Consequently, a sketch show from the alt-right comedy group Million Dollar Extreme was green-lit. At the time this decision was approved, we were still in Obama's America, and while hateful anonymous online trolling was as rampant and obnoxious as it's ever been, the alt-right weren't yet widely known for associating with white supremacy and white nationalism.

Without any real knowledge of MDE's political or social agenda, [adult swim] and their average millennial viewer - now completely accustomed to the mindfucks within [as]'s occasional rotation (not to mention within the world of meme-culture) - had a very good shot of perceiving their sketch series with an open mind, naively assuming their bizarre sense of humor was rooted more within the provocative nihilism of Rick & Morty, or apolitically uncovering areas of hypocrisy, like South Park or Howard Stern.

Earlier, we neglected to mention one glaring aspect that [adult swim] carried over from '90s MTV: They both loved helping indie musicians get on late-night cable. Once upon a time, Space Ghost boasted band appearances ranging from Pavement to Bjork. These days, Eric Andre's show can claim perhaps the first cable performances of Trash Talk, HEALTH and Mac Demarco. The channel's "Summer Singles" series - showcasing unreleased music from (mostly) indie musicians - was recently expanded beyond summer, leaking weekly new songs throughout the calendar.

Aligning within this spirit, MDE are also huge indie-music fans and chose a few bands to appear on their show. Some of their music choices were obscure enough that we're only able to recognize the two bands who we've personally met: Ovlov and Chastity Belt.

We don't want to speak on behalf of either band. We haven't spoken to either of them since MDE's cancellation, so we only know that they were recently prompted to post about this situation on Facebook, and that both bands (along with 2 or 3 others) wrote several paragraphs detailing their opinions and expressing a desire to distance themselves from MDE's sneakily inherent hatefulness.

And it's entirely probable that either band would get upset or downright angry with us if they read that we unearthed this discussion 2 or 3 weeks after the fact. (Most of this was written weeks ago, and we're just finishing it now.) And so we won't be spreading this editorial on our own. It's not here for the sake of spreading knowledge or for self-righteousness. We just felt compelled to write about it. It's one perspective from a source that had way more to say about this particular topic than the words that would fit in the space Twitter and Facebook alloted for us. We know this is tl;dr. There's plenty of good reasons for that.


On a Friday evening in July 2016, we unexpectedly caught ourselves watching the midnight premiere of Eric Andre Season 4 live on [adult swim]. Who watches [as] live anymore? I guess we did, because we had no car all summer and our friends had no interest in driving to our house on this night.

Once the episode ended around 12:11AM, our jaws dropped upon unexpectedly seeing our good friends Ovlov rocking super hard in a commercial for the show they had told us about months prior. We were totally caught off guard but were so proud in that moment.

The commercial reminded us of their recent adventure: In Spring 2016, they unexpectedly broke from an extended band hiatus and drove from Connecticut to Georgia after being asked to play the song "Really Bees" in a sketch. Not long after the show taping, Ovlov considered themselves reunited throughout the remainder of 2016, citing the [adult swim] opportunity as the sole reason for their reformation.

I don't think I'm even sort of exaggerating when I say that any band who is at the level of Chastity Belt or Ovlov should rightfully get excited at the idea of appearing on a new Friday night [adult swim] series - essentially the modern cable TV equivalent of having your band's video debut on 120 Minutes in 1996. For an indie band, it represents the hope of future opportunity and one step closer towards possibly making your band into a long-term career. And considering that nothing else on [adult swim] had ever reached nearly as far into neo-con territory, the requests all seemed relatively innocent.

When the bands were asked for track-syncs or a performance, MDE sent a vague, confusing show description. To the show staff, this may have been a way to describe their humor without having to directly address their social and political agenda.

From Chastity Belt's Facebook post:

"Before signing on to perform for the episode, all we knew about the show was how the Deadline announcement described it, as “satirizing the current political climate…. [it] will “unlock your closeted bigoted imagination, toss your inherent racism into the burning trash and cleanse your intolerant spirit with pure unapologetic American funny_com.”

And in a way, this is actually the perfect description for what we saw. It's a vague and confusing type of show with profuse indirect hatefulness. Instead of coming right out and blatantly vomiting hate speech, they sucker people into not realizing what they're watching.

Since it conveniently appeared after Eric Andre, and thanks to our excitement for our friends' eventual appearance on the show, we wound up viewing almost the entire series.

We'll give credit where it's due: The pilot episode was actually thoroughly hilarious. We don't remember which sketches appeared, but it included a lot of warped, shock-based humor. We expected Ovlov to appear at the end of the pilot (since the preceding commercial included their likeness), but instead the episode concluded with the goth-influenced and staunchly feminist 4-piece Chastity Belt playing their droney, catchy song with the repeated refrain "he was just another man / try'na teach me somethin'." (We had to look this one up. The song is actually called "Drone!")

Chastity Belt's inclusion within the pilot's final 20 seconds initially seemed like a PC Liberal exclamation point. From our viewpoint, it made the show seem confusing, but confusing in a politically balanced way.

However, thinking about it now, it wouldn't surprise us to learn that Chastity Belt's song was chosen ironically. The lyrics challenge patriarchal bullshit in a way that angers the show creators. We could be wrong though. It's also entirely possible that MDE genuinely love that song and support its message but are unable to fully disclose these thoughts out of fear of losing their core audience of 4chan users. So MDE prefers to remain warped and cryptic. Granted, the manliness quotient makes more sense to us.

This is all in hindsight though. As far as we knew, MDE maintained the nihilistic approach. Any obvious red flags didn't register on our radar. We knew our friends were involved, and we wanted the show to succeed for that reason. Plus, we are suckers who often assume that funny, creative people are inherently good.

The show continued over the next few weeks, but no other episodes were as funny as the pilot. A decent amount of the sketches weren't ideologically terrible, and a few of them were pretty funny. But one out of every 3 or 4 skits would include something horribly misogynist or racist. A few sketches included black face with no context suggesting anything other than racist intentions. Others depicted the physical assault of women.

Within the following months, another good friend of ours ended up becoming a fan of MDE's online videos, unbeknownst to their alt-right agenda. In one video, they walked around York Square nearby the campus of Yale University holding "All Lives Matter" picket signs that were allegedly found in a nearby dumpster. They walked around the block provoking anyone who took them seriously, and later carried the signs into retail stores that resembled American Apparel or Urban Outfitters uncomfortably confronting black store employees.

It can sometimes be hard to judge when comedy crosses the line past an attempt at humor into the "horribly offensive" zone. We would be hypocrites calling out MDE while remaining fans of other comedians or comedy groups whose topics or tropes aligned. But there's a discernible difference. We all know trolling when we see it. The difference lies in the intentions.

The line itself was probably best demonstrated by Andy Kaufman. His nightclub act as Tony Clifton may have provided the world with its first notorious troll. By the time Tony became one of his most famous characters, fans already recognized Andy as decent human whose comedic cred was not earned by appealing to the baser instincts of hate groups. It was just one out of dozens of wide-ranging personas.

Within a specific context, uncomfortable situations can be effectively used as the topic of a joke. That's the whole point of offensive humor. The laughs we receive after an initial shock can help people understand more about a particular subject and about ourselves. Understandably, not everyone with an easily-offended PC-liberal bias will agree, especially those who aren't fans of a broad range of comedy.

But if a joke is purely rooted in hatred, then its writer is contributing to a problem. It's as simple as that. Discomfort for the sake of discomfort isn't a joke. Triggering for the sake of triggering is not a fucking joke. That's not comedy; that's bullying bullshit.

We aren't saying MDE should give up on their craft. They're obviously funny guys with very misguided intentions, and it was a bad idea for [adult swim] to give them a show. Many artists and performers would kill for that type of opportunity, and they used it for something disgusting and evil. But we think they should keep going. They should keep learning and creating. It's possible that in due time, they might grow up a little and figure out how to use their gift for something other than trolly bullshit.

Bear in mind that even after we saw these uncomfortable moments on MDE's show, they confused us more than anything else. Because of our friends' association, we didn't want the show to be hateful. We tried to convince ourselves otherwise. This continued until about October, when we saw an online article which included the first time we had ever seen the phrase "alt-right." And within that article, Million Dollar Extreme Presents World Peace was officially outed as [adult swim]'s alt-right sketch series. It took until a week or two later to understand that "alt-right" was far scarier than simply a millennial reaction to the neo-con movement.


Earlier in December, not long after the show's cancellation, a few headlines on music blogs decided to use the circumstances to their advantage. Unsurprisingly, Stereogum used some pretty irresponsible language in their headline: [Bands] Explain How Their Music Ended Up In White Supremacist's Adult Swim Show. It just goes to show how low music blogs are willing to go for post-election clickbait and ad revenue, trying to use these bands and the unfortunate circumstances to their advantage, not to mention that the show creators were never once labelled as white supremacists - only that their show's humor might appeal to those types of people. Hugely irresponsible. Seriously, FUCK Stereogum.

Pitchfork's sub-headline reads: "[Bands] explain their involvement with the sketch comedy accused of racism, sexism, and bigotry. See how much nicer that reads? Not a huge Pitchfork fan, but at least a handful of their writers can construct headlines properly.

A handful of the bands' Facebook messages said something to the affect of "We should have done our homework a little better." The reaction from the bands who appeared on the show all seem aligned as far as expressing a desire to distance themselves from hate. And of course, that's a responsible thing to say for any band who performs in DIY safe spaces (a.k.a. everyone involved). But if that's the case, really [adult swim] should be blamed for funding the show's creation and promotion.

Of course, it would have only taken a few seconds for any of these bands to Google "Are Million Dollar Extreme associated with the alt-right?" prior to making a show appearance. Except who the fuck would actually think to do that? And how many of these people had actually heard the phrase "alt-right" during Spring 2016? We're gonna guess not many.

It seems very weird that the risk of an extreme affiliation would have ever existed. If you're in a band, it could have been you. It could have been any of us. I doubt anyone could blame them for jumping at what seemed like a potentially awesome opportunity.

It shouldn't have to be any band's or artist's responsibility to research the political affiliation of a show when its channel is typically apolitical, neutral or left-leaning. It's not like they were being asked to perform on a show hosted by Trevor Noah or Tomi Lahren. The show was completely uncharacteristic of anything that had been on [adult swim] in the past. Don't make the bands feel guilty. The mess is in no way their fault. Blame Million Dollar Extreme and [adult swim].

Monday, December 26, 2016

RIP George Michael

Some thoughts about GM in chronological order:

1985: "Freedom" ultimately became my pre-solo Wham! jam. Make It Big was one of the first vinyl LPs that I made my parents buy for me from Caldor.

1986: My mom lost her shit over "I'm Your Man" and included it on at least 2 of her driving mixtapes. I somehow acquired "The Edge Of Heaven" 45. The aforementioned was basically my Wham! canon. I had no knowledge of "Last Christmas" until probably high school, and (incorrectly as I'd discover) no other Wham! singles registered on my radar as canon.

1987: God, what a year for blockbusters. Hysteria, Kick, Bad, Appetite. As far as immediate artistic cred is concerned, the only other late-'80s blockbuster besides Faith to claim an "Album Of The Year" Grammy was U2's The Joshua Tree, but only Faith managed all of this PLUS being named SPIN's 14th greatest album of all time in April 1989.

With all this mind mind, it's surprising his peak only lasted throughout the Faith cycle. But still, he was among the giants - enough that his poster made it through several seasons in the kids' bedroom on Full House.

1990: "Freedom '90" initially felt like he was officially a career artist. The "Unplugged" version of this song was arguably the best out of the 4 pre-taped live videos for the MTV10 special in August 1991.

In retrospect, as a casual George fan, "Freedom '90" feels more like his final huge artistic statement, although I know diehards will hugely disagree with this. But from this perspective, that doesn't necessarily feel like a bad thing.

1990 was fucking weird though. In a year with such huge event video premieres as "Vogue," "Janie's Got A Gun" and "Escapade," "Freedom '90" only made it to #41 on MTV's year-end countdown.

"Too Funky" was '92 and his inescapable Elton John collab dominated Top 40 stations in early '93. By this point, he was still only 29 years old.

Sadly, we didn't keep up as much after that.

There's a few old George Michael posts from the more exciting years of TMK, but pretty much everything we wrote about him is really embarrassing.

Here, we wrote about a similarity that we noticed between Kanye's production in Drake's "Find Your Love" and Wham's "Everything She Wants."

Here's when "Freedom '90" was named our #11 Guilty Pleasure song of the '90s.

And perhaps most embarrassingly, here's a review of the original "Freedom" where we mistake its ultra-sugariness for a proud declaration of gay sexuality:

Return Of The Mack

The past 6 months have almost completely depleted all of our mental and creative energy.

It's possible that the only way to truly jump back into this is to force ourselves. There's a lot we've wanted to say.

The hours following Christmas are typically when TMK posts return. Calling this "Return of the Mack" is really just setting ourselves up for even more blog neglect. But luckily, no one reads this anymore. Let's see what happens...

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Member Berries 2016

It begins. The last month of the first "worst year ever" of the 2010s. Everyone knows 2017 is going to be worse than 2016, right? There's still plenty of living legends who have to die at some point, and most of them are pretty fucking old.

We're possibly changing the name of "Hot Mix 2016" to "Member Berries 2016." We possibly have lost all of our blurb-writing energy, so there will probably be less content than usual. More info coming soon.

Memba 1968? I MEMBA!!
1968: MLK got shot and killed. RFK got shot and killed. And the United States voters chose Richard Milhouse Nixon to be their completely misguided, horrifying leader. And we fucking got through it.

In 1968 and during both of Reagan's presidential campaigns, TV and newspaper journalism was all the world had, blocking voters from hidden issues that came into light years later. In 2016, social media shed light on campaign issues all the same, but the only voters who saw those headlines on their news feeds already agreed. Issues still remained hidden due to artificially tailored news feeds, where a computer determines what we should and shouldn't see, which unfortunately does a horrendously awesome job of spotlighting fake journalism and unchecked online hoaxes.

Threats based on federal cabinet proposals don't always lead to the deterioration of our constitutional liberties. Just because it feels like the fabric of society is in danger doesn't mean we're all completely fucked. Obama is currently our president and has still not requested assisted for the pipeline protesters. It's not gonna get worse. Everything that's shitty is going to stay exactly the same because the president has no actual power as long as profiteering gets in the way. Sure, Trump said that flag burning should be illegal, but unfortunately for his dumbass, any law against proposing penalties for flag burning would be unconstitutional as fuck.

Why Rock Sucks In '16 (It's The Money)
Hey, here's an unpopular opinion that we simply couldn't bring ourselves to post on Twitter:

While there was an abundance of "very good" or even "really great" rock albums in 2016, almost none of them were exceptional or amazing. "Abundance" is a key word there, because an abundantly great year is preferable to ones like 2007/2008 when only 2 or 3 brilliant rock albums would somehow emerge from a relatively bleak musical landscape. The outlook for rock isn't necessarily bleak, but it's definitely been disappointing.

Imagine 1966 without Pet Sounds or Revolver or Blonde On Blonde. Or basically, imagine a great year for rock music where the entire top 20 best rock albums of that year didn't exist, and #21-30 are the new top 10. That's what 2016 felt like. We're saddened to report that none of our favorite rock bands (particularly dude-fronted rock) released their best albums in 2016. Nothing truly excited us. Our top 6 favorite bands from one year ago are exactly the same right now. And it's not like we weren't constantly digging.

What would help?

#1 Commercial radio needs a more refined "new rock" format so that modern rock bands might be encouraged to write less-plodding songs. There's a good reason why iHeartRadio hasn't yet made room for Car Seat Headrest and Parquet Courts.

#2 Music blogging in 2006 cared way more about supporting great bands as opposed to 2016 where good songs seem to matter way less. In order for ad revenue to flourish, weekly posts about Kanye, Drake and Beyonce are now pretty much mandatory.

Norm & Nick
We haven't broken our posts into headlines anytime recently. So here's our final headline: We've been enjoying Norm MAC-Donald's podcasts, and the Nick Swardson episode is possibly our new favorite. Enjoy: