The Futurians – Play the Breathtaking Sounds of Tivol 7″

a: Vihaan Vitusti Kaikkea Mita Kulutusyhteiskunnan Aikaansaama Pinnallinen Alkoholiin Perustuva Sosiaalinen Kayttaytymiskulttuuri Edustaa (.mp3 clip)
b: Jawol, Tivol!

I have no idea what any of this means. See if you can make heads or tales of this description:

The gap between Finland and New Zealand narrows thanks to this new lathe cut single from The Futurians. Therein, Dunedin’s greatest primitive futurist sci-fi punk band tackles two songs from the mighty Tivol. The originals come from Tivol’s debut, The Breathtaking Sounds of Tivol, released by 267 Lattajjaa as a 3″ CDR in 2003 and subsequently reissued by Holy Mountain as a 12″/CD, Early Teeth, in 2005. These two songs are completely blasted in every sense of the word. Lathe released in an edition of 50 copies, with spray painted & stickered sleeves that slightly reference the original Tivol release. Manufactured by Peter King in New Zealand.

After I did some investigation, it sort of makes sense. I see the word “Holy Mountain” now, a record label that usually releases good stuff. And this “lathe cut single” that only exists in an edition of 50 (!) is a New Zealand band that I had never heard of covering a Finnish band I have never heard of (playing a type of music described as “Spacekraut”) and it is going to cost me $15?

Is this some kind of dare?
Get this directly from Soft Abuse.

LCD Soundsystem – Someone Great 2×12″

a1: Someone Great (Album version)
a2: Time to Get Away (Gucci Soundsystem Remix)
b: Get Innocuous (Soulwax Remix)
c: Sound of Silver (Carl Craig Remix)
d: Us V. Them (Any Colour You Like Remix by Windsurf)

Its telling that every time anyone talks about Sound of Silver, it is prefaced with “album of the year.” I like that. LCD Soundsystem, bringing the people together! Even the people who hate a thing because everyone else likes that thing give terribly weak reasons why LCD aren’t among the most entertaining, most interesting “working” band.

Yet. if I am being honest, it took me a couple of months to actually fully embrace the album as a whole. I just couldn’t, for whatever reason, get into it. It wasn’t until I got Sound of Silver on vinyl that I fully understood what I was missing.

Here we have the third single from the album (the first being “North American Scum” which is available in 12″ and 7″ versions; the second being “All My Friends”, which is available as one 12″ and two separate 7″ that had Franz Ferdinand and John Cale covering the songs). James Murphy is continuing his trend of “dance songs go on the 12 inch/rock songs go on the 7 inch”, and that is exactly what we have here – remixes oriented towards the “dance” side of the equation.

The key selling point of this is the Carl Craig remix of the song “Sound of Silver,” and you have to give it up to the man – he does the most interesting remix on this single. Everything else does a serviceable job, but present the problem I generally have with remixes – growing up as part of the punk scene, I never really got the need for the dance remix if you weren’t using them to dance to. Give me the original any day. I suppose this is how I feel about this single; I like most of the tracks here, but, given the choice of listening to this or the LP, I am going to chose the LP every time.

Of Montreal – Gender Mutany Tour 7″

a: Back to School (Royal Trux cover)

b: Subtext Read, Nothing New

So I pick up a copy of “Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer” at a particularly dark point of my year, and guess what – it is perfect. A concept album about having a nervous breakdown after a nasty breakup turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. So, as I do with every new discovery, I frantically search through the back catalog to find more of the same, and turns out I was right to ignore them up to now. The two album previous to this are decent, but everything before that is fairly weak.

This 7″ is from their “Gender Mutany” tour (limited to 1000), and you can buy it directly from Polyvinyl. The A-side is a Royal Trux cover, and the B-Side is a previously unreleased original. I’ve listened to this a few times, and the only thing that really excites me here is the artwork. The songs are decent, but they both take the same meandering psychedelics approach that, while pretty enough, isn’t very compelling.

Pitchfork ran an interview yesterday with Kevin Barnes which is worth reading.

The Ostrich – S/T 7″

a1: Medication
a2: Seedy Eye
b1: Fire Drill
b2: Dead Horse

Listen to some of these at their Myspace page.

Calgary is going through another boom cycle (thank you, oh holy oil!), and this is the perfect soundtrack to the increasingly claustrophobic feelings that many long time Calgarians are harbouring right now. The cover art depicts the cranes that litter the skyline of the city, working tirelessly to build new skyscrapers and condos as fast as possible. The cranes are manipulated to look somewhat demonic, and I see this is as fitting statement.

With all the built up tensions of a small city turning into a metropolis seemingly overnight, The Ostrich make perfect sense. Musically, I am reminded of early B-52’s or Talking Heads, mixed up with some Joy Division (at least in tone), and also the darker side of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. The production is just perfect, really doing a nice job of capturing the energy of the music with the dark, garage-like production.

This 7″ is limited to 300, and you can try contacting the band directly at thee_ostrich@yahoo.ca to get one of these, which I would of course recommend.

This is the best Canadian 7″ I have heard this year.

Live Blogging: Stories, Texts and Technoscience (3)

In methodology, three of the core areas

1) The question of “facts” – the way in which the word “finding” gets tossed about. In a literal sense – “what you find” or the activity of doing the findings. But in Fleck (or Latour), it is the “what are you producing”? What does “findings” imply – something that you come upon (“wow, there it is!”).

Building on that, the possibility of sociology is the idea of social construction (without which you don’t have sociology). Durkheim – Facts, Marx – Reifications (Etc). Natural scientists believe that the science will eventually explain all (i.e. poverty). Metaphysical fairy tales.

This gets us to the notion of the “science wars” – we might go larger and talk about the “reality wars” – nothing less than the nature of reality. We can also use Helen Veran’s descriptive terms – universalists vs relativists. Also: Internalist vs externalist. We have to remember that these are simply metaphors.

Externalists always want to place things in a broader contexts – there are only values that are sustained by a sufficiently enforced consensus. There are various mechanisms to do this, to find what counts. If you want to sustain, you have to enroll sufficient allies and get them to back your explainations (Actor-Network theory). Ironic in Hacking’s view. You have something that is ontologically subjective – medicine is only there because of social arrangements that acknowledge it as there.

Internalists think that this is not the case, medicine is what it is because bodies are there, that work the way they do universally. Regardless of the rest of the historical contingencies that may have shaped the where and the when, you would still get the same result because bodies break down in the same way.

Mol, John Law and Veran – are there multiple ontologies? Are there multiple objects of whatever there is (Numbers in Veran’s book). What does it mean to advance the claim that things internalists understand as singular, externalists understand as multiple.

For an internalist, method is a guide to a discovery of true facts in the social world – things are there to be discovered. America was always there to be discovered! It was always there.

Degrees of constructionism – Hacking’s three dimensions.

2) Method is a consensus by which certain practices are considered to have produced facts, and these facts are understood as being there, waiting.

Sociology as another actor (in medicine, in criminology). So, what kind of actor do you want to be, given that you are functioning as another actor. Sociology cannot guide you ethically as you intervene. Internalists can discover “value neutral”, though it depends on what Weber is calling you to. For an Externalist, Weber is recognizing the need for ethical considerations (and since you have these facts, what are you going to do with this ethically).

If method is a conventional understanding, then we need to enroll people to do method another way. Gathering like minded people to advance claims. For an internalist to apply internalist standard to an externalist argument doesn’t work. They can’t talk to one another.

Hackings six grades of construction commitment (p. 19)
A. Historical
1. Argues that X has been constructed over historical
time
2. X is not inevitable but contingent result of
historical processes — statement (1)
3. No commitment as to whether X is good or bad
4. not much different than just history

B. Ironic
1. shows that something we thought was inevitable is
actually highly contingent, the product of social
history (19-20)
2. yet somehow feels that in our present lives, we are
pretty much forced to accept it (20)

Ironist is much more identifiably a constuctionist. What we think to be inevitable, could be different. Pullman’s His Dark Materials existing in a parallel world (inquisition still happening). Really get an alternative physics that notices different things. Understands things that could have been different. Like Nietzsche – understands genealogy as a succession of roads not taken (that could have been taken). Ironist perceives the dangers of revolution (end up with the gulag).

C. Reformist
1. accepts that X is a bad thing — statement (2)
2. and wants to make it a little less bad

Reformist – once recognizing that something can be different, modify things accordingly. Max Weber’s switchmen of history – revolutionaries want to derail the train.

D. Unmasking
1. wants to undermine ideas by exposing the functions (or
interests) they serve
2. a reformer and an unmasker may be one and the same
person

Alongside with the reformist. Secret History of the Cancer Wars. “Running for the cure” is dangerous because it takes you in the wrong direction that is positively unproductive. Not that things should be done differently, but this is how things are.

Foucault – pointing out inconvenient facts (Weberian term), which is a way of showing something as different.

E. Rebellious — also accepts statement (3): that X should
be done away with (20)
F. Revolutionary — goes beyond ideas and actually tries to
change the world

How much are you willing to sharpen your guillotine?

______________________________________

Elevator word: “social” “generalizability”

John Searle -rules that only make sense in the context of certain games. “thou shalt not kill… within the ingroup.” Epistemological objective (strikes in Baseball). Ontologically subjective (certain kinds of things – rent for example – only makes sense within complex arrangements). Is it a four-fold table to fill in other categories? Ontological objectivity? Epistemological subjectivity?

Indifferent and interactive – Quarks (p. 30).

Hacking thinks the analogy with baseball did more harm than good. I.e. quarks are not like strikes.
Strikes are “ontologically subjective” — that is, hey would not exist without human rules and ractices but quarks, if they are real, do not depend on us in this way

Perhaps Fish should have said that it is the idea of uarks that was socially constructed. However, Pickering, the author of Constructing Quarks, denies that it is just the idea of them that is constructed. What he meant is, is that if you come at the world in certain way, you can get results that can be construed as evidence for quarks (30, q.v.). Hacking finds this less interesting than the converse claim: if you come at the world a different way, you get evidence for a different, successful physics (31). In effect, what Pickering says is that physics would have evolved in a different way (q.v.) For Hacking, this is a highly significant issue:

1. most physicists think that the road taken was inevitable
2. for the social constructavist, on the other hand, a successful science could have developed along an
entirely different path (32-33, q.v.)
3. for Hacking, this disagreement whether there is something contingent about the development of science
is sticking point # 1 in the science wars (more in chapter 3).

Interactions (31)
He’s given several examples how ideas or classifications and objects interact with each other
1. child viewer of television or 2. woman refugee. One obvious way in which these classifications interact with their objects is that these are classifications of people, who are aware of how they are being classified (31-32). But, also of course, inanimate objects are not aware of how they are being classified, and hence do not interact with their classifications (32)

D. interactive kinds
1. classifications of people are interactive kinds because they interact of things with that kind
2. only classifications in the social sciences are interactive kinds, not those in the natural sciences

Indifferent classifications. Quarks are there whether you know about them or not. America was always there. To hold out the category of indifferent classifications is to hold out a bit of internalism. Microbes were always there – they were also interactive (antibiotic resistant infections – came to be due to human intervention). Indifferent and interactive.

Veran: can you do more than decompose? How would she have done “the arithmetic logic” multiple?

Psychopathologies: indifferent and interactive. Biolooping? Thinking about more psychological diseases? Autism wars? ADHD wars?

Main critique of construction: one way street. “it’s social construction” is taken to be the answer for everything. Right, what is the research project. Just identifying it as a construction isn’t particularly interesting. It ignores that 1) construction is two way. Stories: two ways: people make up stories and stories make up people. The interaction determines the physical realities. At this point in time, each is causing the other to be. For those two way things, the metaphor isn’t useful; it tends to get you to see “people constructing X” – X is taken as “the construction of” – people being constructed by the whatevers. Tends to lose the subtlety of interactive classifications. The usefulness of the metaphor comes in Fleck – shows how syphilis is constructed in laboratory practices. Not trying to unmask syphilis.

Worldmaking: Nelson Goodman’s “Ways of World-making.”

Child abuse: if new kinds are selected, then the past can occur in a new world. Description of a bad historical fiction. Ways that we can think about. Perpetually re-reading the past. Capable of re-feeling events in ways that heal. That make these things livable by re-feeling them within this new framework. A lot of what social science does is to re-describe. The power of re-descriptions that provide for re-feeling is to experience a sense of injustice where, at the time, no injustice was felt. In re-feeling it, it comes off as unjust.

The social sciences are thus inherently an ethical practice.  The point is that the value-laden work that sociology has a claim to is accepting that its classifications evaluate who is troubling or in trouble. (p. 131). Two responses: 1. get those responses out 2. this is part of the deal, What is left if you try to be value free? How do we become accountable for the moral implcations of our classifications and incorporate that into our writing?

Kinds are always motley kinds. Think of fabrication mechanisms (Latour). Motley sampling? Loose assumption that these are people that count as X. The sociologist is taking on a lot of the fabrication work.

The motto is “motley.” p. 133 The fundamental question is what those kinds do to us? If what the course is teaching you is we need to look at who makes the world up in what kinds? By asking this question, we have to engage the six grades simultaneously.

Times New Viking – 7″ Pre-Order

This is just an excuse to give you this Mp3 containing two songs from TNV’s upcoming 7″ for Matador. I’ve listened to this a dozen times or so this fine morning, and it just presses all of the right buttons for me; lo-fi, short, noisy, messy – check, check, double check.

“I need more money / ’cause I need more drugs”

These Ohio kids recently signed to Matador records, and of course all of the indie-rock reference points are covered here – early Pavement, Vampire on Titus era GBV, Sebadoh – but if Times New Viking sound like anything, it is the SoCal crap-core act FYP. This is a good thing.

Don’t hesitate to pre-order this shit.

No Age – Singles Series

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1. Get Hurt 12″ (Upset the Rythm) (Ebay Store in North America)

a1. Everybody’s Down
a2. Switches
a3. Get Hurt
b1. Neck Escapah
b2. Great Faces
b3. I Wanna Sleep

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2. Sick People Are Safe 12″ (Deleted Art)

a1. Boy Void
a2. Sick People Are Safe
b1. Vacation Pay
b2. Semi-sorted

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3. Dead Plane 12″ (Teenage Teardrops – SOLD OUT)

a1: Dead Plane
a2: Goat Hurt
b1: Never Not Beaten
b2: You is My Hot Rabbit

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4. Youth Attack 7″ (Youth Attack Records – Sold Out)

a1: Neck Escaper
a2: My Life’s Alright Without You
b1: Escarpment

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5. Post Present Medium 7″ (PPM)

a: Every Artist Needs a Tragedy
b: Loosen This Job

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5 singles put out by five labels in one month (March 2007) from three different countries (USA, UK, Sweden). When you collect all 5, they spell “NO AGE.” Limited edition coloured vinyl (i.e. I got one of the 100 “beige swirl” copies of the “Dead Plane” ep). You don’t even need to know anything about the music before you are ready to spend the next week tracking down one of each – this is a record collector’s wet dream.

As a strategy for getting a relatively unknown band from LA some action, this is a perfect way to do it. I remember pulling my hair out the day I heard about this series, trying to figure out where to find all of these. The band didn’t even have a proper website (only myspace) and all it said was “five eps out on five labels!” I had to HUNT.

In the age of eBay, with its saved search functionality, the hunt is mechanized for me. I don’t have to do any work – I just have to be patient. Honestly, this has killed some of my passion for record collecting, as it is just too easy. When something like this series comes along, it go my heart racing (would I get one of the coloured vinyl editions, or would I be too late?!!?). I had fun searching for clues, working my contacts… amazing.

The music is another story – NO AGE are one of my primo musical discoveries of 2007. So fresh sounding, so inventive; the recordings are all messy and lofi enough to suit my taste (I love lofi). I just haven’t heard anything by them that I dislike – it really just doesn’t get any better than this.

#3 and #4 are both sold out, but they don’t say “out of print” which is promising. If you want these, just try emailing the respective labels. This has worked for me (even if they point you towards a distro or record store that might have copies).