“Hello, my debt is $40k.” As we entered the People’s Bailout last night at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge, a volunteer invited us to make a name tag — but instead of writing down our names, we were supposed to fill in the amount of debt we’re struggling under. Although my student loan debt isn’t something I’m used to speaking openly about, and the naïveté with which I mortgaged my future to get a master’s degree in a field where master’s degrees aren’t so much a requirement as a stigma still embarrasses me, I grabbed the Sharpie and wrote, “$40k.” For the first time since I started making my just-barely-feasible loan payments, being honest about my debt brought me relief instead of guilt.
I didn’t expect the People’s Bailout to be such a personal experience for me. Organized by Strike Debt, an Occupy Wall Street offshoot dedicated to fight predatory lending and challenge big banks’ power over the vast majority of Americans through credit card, medical, educational, and mortgage debt, the event was a benefit for the organizations Rolling Jubilee project — an ingenious plan to buy up distressed debt and forgive it. Since debt can be bought for just pennies on the dollar on the secondary market, Strike Debt realized that if they raised $250,000, they could relieve a whopping $5 million of it. To aid in the effort, they planned the People’s Bailout as a live — and live-streamed — telethon, featuring performances by a boatload of entertainers sympathetic to the cause. Although I always supported the cause, I’ll admit that it was those big names (Jeff Mangum’s in particular) that convinced me to make my donation and come down to LPR.
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We still don’t know why exactly Jeff Mangum picked last year to revive his solo career, touring and performing Neutral Milk Hotel songs for the first time in over a decade. So, when the latest round of dates wrapped up, it seemed as likely as not that he would disappear again, outside of the … Read More
Just like the punk movement to which it shares more than a casual connection, Occupy Wall Street isn’t dead — it’s just harder to find these days. But an all-star concert to be held November 15th at Le Poisson Rouge promises a resurgence of the movement in New York’s popular consciousness. The show will feature… Read More
1. Deadline is reporting that Dianne Wiest and Chris Cooper are negotiating to play the leads in HBO’s forthcoming Noah Baumbach-helmed adaptation of Jonathan Franzen’s award-winning novel, The Corrections. We approve heartily!
2. Dark Blood, the movie that River Phoenix was filming at the time of his death, might be getting released almost… Read More
Held for the past three years in a remote, ramshackle Catskills summer resort called Kutsher’s, America’s own version of the British All Tomorrow’s Parties festival was a somewhat different affair in 2011. Although the musical line-up was just as incredible as ever — Portishead curated and headlined two of the three nights, and Jeff Mangum also performed twice (read more about that here) — the event found a new home in Asbury Park, the New Jersey beach town that’s most famous for launching Bruce Springsteen’s career.
We can’t say we didn’t miss the intimacy and seclusion of Kutsher’s, but the new location proved to be a fantastic alternative nonetheless. Along with three days of excellent and challenging music that catered to the crate-digger set, we bowled, strolled the boardwalk, sampled the offerings of a remarkable (and fully playable) pinball museum, walked on the beach, played mini golf, and warmed ourselves in front of a bonfire. Most importantly, we reconnected with a deep-seated love of music that’s constantly tested by the Internet’s exhausting and trivializing hype cycle. A gallery of highlights from the festival — including Portishead, Public Enemy, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Cults, Deerhoof, Swans, Shepard Fairey, and many more — is after the jump.
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It’s strange to see Jeff Mangum in the middle of the first day of a music festival like All Tomorrow’s Parties — the kind of three-day dream event where you love half the bands playing and like most of the rest. The idea that he’ll take the stage sometime between Chavez (who also almost never perform) and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, as just one in a weekend full of performances, is so bizarre that I spend most of the day in denial.
But then, as we filter into the theater, what’s about to happen starts to become real. For Mangum’s set, and only his, festival goers have been issued separate tickets with assigned seats. I assume this is so the superfans don’t skip every band playing earlier in the evening to camp out in front of the venue in hopes of getting a front-row spot.
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When the news broke that Neil Young is writing an all-encompassing memoir, it got us thinking about what other musicians — and specifically which of our favorite current indie rockers — we’d like to see compose tell-all autobiographies. Mysterious band break-ups, high-profile couplings gone awry, reclusive behavior, extensive touring, and cult childhoods exposed would all make for awesome, page-turning reads for those of us who have always been curious about the private goings-on behind the music. So, in hopes of giving our favorite potential memoirists a gentle push, we’ve complied a list of ten artists whose lives who we’d love to learn more about.
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One Flavorpill staffer hopped a bus to Boston last weekend to see Jeff Mangum at an early stop on his long-awaited comeback tour and came back with a glowing report. We were already excited to see him at All Tomorrow’s Parties in Asbury Park at the end of the month, but now we’re practically counting… Read More
In a quite unexpected turn of events, the heretofore super elusive Neutral Milk Hotel frontman Jeff Mangum has unveiled a brand new and super fancy website, something fans have been clamoring for for years while making do with this one. Even better, via said website, he has announced plans to release a… Read More
Now that Jeff Mangum is touring again — and sounding great — it’s time for all the obsessive Neutral Milk Hotel fans to come out of the woodwork. Take, for example, the apparently anonymous soul who has created an NMH-themed video game called In the Time Machine Over the Sea. The 16-bit-style diversion features characters from throughout the band’s mythology, from Anne Frank and, erm, Adolf Hitler to Mangum himself. Opinion seems to be split among the devotees at Elephant 6′s message board; while some fans enjoy the game, others complain that because it came out of 4chan, “It’s less about Aeroplane and more about… 4chan.” Luckily, trying it out and deciding for yourself will cost you nothing: You can watch the trailer after the jump and download it for free here.
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