Monthly Archives: October 2018

Ranking Psychedelic Furs albums

Until “Heartbreak Beat” skirted the edges of the American top thirty, Psychedelic Furs thrived in the limbo state between just beyond college radio cult status and the wider mainstream embrace of The Cure, New Order, Depeche Mode, etc. “I never understood why Psychedelic Furs didn’t sell more records,” AllMusic quotes Paul Weller saying once. The heaps of mousse and Macy’s leather drag of their High Reagan Era may have had their share of responsibility.  Continue reading

The state with the prettiest name: October update

“We’ve lost our self-respect,” said the woman to the Publix cashier on Sunday in Cuban Spanish. “Sooner rather than later we’re going to deal with socialism.” Who “we” was is unclear: Floridians? Cubans? Americans? All of them, like as not. The robust paranoia of the Cuban exile mind specializes in the collapsing of referents.  Continue reading

Ranking the five best New Pornographers albums

I wonder if A.C. Newman does any ghost writing for acts in need: a middle eight here, a place for a harmony there. Certainly he’d make an ace producer for hire. The band for which he writes most of its songs has recorded more than their share of good albums, but I won’t listen to them anymore for reasons explained below. At best, the New Pornographers’ early records created the impression that these songs could go anywhere, even past their own opacity.

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Brazil — what happened?

Four days ago Caetano Veloso, who knows about imprisonment and repressive regimes, nailed what he sensed might happen in Brazil tonight:

Many artists, musicians, filmmakers and thinkers saw themselves in an environment where reactionary ideologues, who — through books, websites and news articles — have been denigrating any attempt to overcome inequality by linking socially progressive policies to a Venezuelan-type of nightmare, generating fear that minorities’ rights will erode religious and moral principles, or simply by indoctrinating people in brutality through the systematic use of derogatory language. The rise of Mr. Bolsonaro as a mythical figure fulfills the expectations created by that kind of intellectual attack. It’s not an exchange of arguments: Those who don’t believe in democracy work in insidious ways.

Repeatedly the majority of voters who chose Bolsonaro emphasize his strength, lack of corruption, decisiveness. Perhaps a party in power since 2003 asked for trouble. Perhaps anxiety about crime overcame personal revulsion toward Bolsonaro, who once said he’d rather have a dead son than a gay son.

As the son of Latin American parents, I understand too well the allure of military dictatorships; my grandparents’ generation likes them because they, my grandparents, didn’t have to worry about independent thought. They thought they could abjure decision making until the police knocked on their door.