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Archive for March, 2010

The People vs. MGMT

A lot is being made of MGMT’s forthcoming album Congratulations. Given the band’s atmospheric rise after releasing their previous album Oracular Spectacular, expectations from fans and the music industry are high. However, recently the album was leaked and in response MGMT posted Congratulations for streaming on their website.  And now, after many people have digested the tracks numerous times, the popular opinion is that it is both inaccessible and a let down. While I have not yet heard the album in its entirety, I imagine people are being overly reactionary and bombastic. Today I came across two articles that grasp at journalistic straws in order to make sense of the seemingly irrational career choice that MGMT is making.

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Good Afternoon Playtonics,

I hope you are enjoying one of our most prolific days in the last few weeks. Today we posted some music news as well as philosophy news, but now I present to you “Getting To Know You: Phantogram,” an exclusive interview with Phantogram! Last month we featured Phantogram in our segment on rising bands called “Introducing” and additionally I posted my review of the band’s show at NYC’s Mercury Lounge.

Phantogram (learn more about this word here) consists of duo Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel. While their sound incorporates many contemporary influences and current trends such as drum loops and dreamy electronic accompaniment, their music is dynamic and their melodies are quite catchy.  Recently, the Saratoga Springs, NY based band released their debut album Eyelid Moves on Barsuk Records.

With the generous help of Barsuk Records’ PR cordinator Grant McCallum, I was able to get in touch with Phantogram to spark a truly playtonic dialogue. After the jump find out about how the band constructs their live shows, their favorite member of the Beatles, and more!

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Haters take note. NPR Music is on top of its game. If you go over to NPR Music’s Exclusive First Listen, you can stream new albums from David Byrne, Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings, and many other artists and bands. I am 1/3 of the way through Dr. Dog’s new album ‘Shame, Shame’ and so far soooo good.

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The Philosophers Census

Morning Playtonics,

There is torrential rain outside harkening to the biblical proportions of Passover. I take this as a bad omen and sure enough the day is mirroring this belief. Nevertheless, if you seek a mental snack, check out this nifty article at The Economists’ More Intelligent Life titled “What Do Philosophers Believe?” The article covers a PhilPapers study, by David Chalmers of the Australian National University and David Bourget of London University, that surveyed academics at 99 leading philosophy departments around the globe, over 90% of them in the English-speaking world and nearly two-thirds in America. In addition to the articles coverage, you can find the results here.

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All rise for the honorable Playtonic Judge of the esteemed Legal Affairs Desk!  Today’s legal affair? Axl Rose is being sued by his former manager who says the singer owes him close to $2 million in unpaid commissions. Front Line Management, founded by Irving Azoff, claims to have had an oral agreement with Rose for 15 percent of his commissions, due on more than $12 million of earnings from overseas performances. Thus far Rose is mum on the issue but we’ll post comments on this story if and when we hear anything more. Legal affair temporarily suspended!  [AP]

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Over at Duke University there is a course called “Sampling Soul.” On Tuesday the class was broadcast via a live webcast. If that isn’t cool enough, the topic of the class was the critically acclaimed hip-hop album “Illmatic” by rapper Nasir Jones, aka Nas.  Watch African and African American Studies professor Mark Anthony Neal and Grammy Award-winning music producer 9th Wonder offer their insights and personal experiences with the record. Great stuff!

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Mornin’ Playtonics,

Today Popmatters inspired me to watch these videos of John Lennon and Bob Dylan sharing a taxi after Dylan’s electric performance in London. As a fan of both these legendary artists, the videos are a must see. Dylan is noticeably drunk and Lennon gets some good laughs at his expense. Topics of discussion are Johnny Cash’s mannerisms, Cass Elliot aka “that fat chick,” and Dylan’s desire to “talk english.” Video clips are the jump: (more…)

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