The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

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My favorite post that I wrote for might be “Digging in the crates (or Why my generation is into history),” which used a Ta-Nehisi Coates riff on hip-hop’s omnivorous hunger for obscure/great old music as a kind of vernacular historical barometer.

But of course, crate-digging isn’t just a hip-hop thing; it’s also always been a huge part of indie rock culture. This is why every time I hear M.I.A. growl The Modern Lovers’ “Road runner, road runner” over hip-hop & Bollywood beats at the start of “Bamboo Banga,” or James Murphy shout “Gil! Scott! Heron!” at the climax of “Losing My Edge,” I feel like Sasha Frere-Jones had his head up his ass.

Then I think about Bob Dylan stealing old Woody Guthrie records from his friend’s houses in Minneapolis, and I think maybe my generation just isn’t so different:

[Ed. note: I moved this video below the fold because it autoplays a commercial every few minutes.]


I just read through the epic TC Vs. SFJ battle for the hearts and minds of American music lovers. You had me at Talking Heads, Tim. You had me at Talking Heads.

JRM says…

The TC / SFJ battle isn’t so engaging when you realize that they’re both using incredibly flawed arguments focusing on whichever examples prove the particular point they’re trying to make.

SFJ actually comes out on top when you listen to the podcast follow-up to his New Yorker article. He makes sense of some flaws, concedes a few points, and emerges with a more well-rounded point. And he’s right.

I’d hardly consider the king of self-centered rip-off deluxe songsmithing Murphy shouting out Gil’s name as evidence of otherwise.

The snarkmatrix awaits you

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