Music is personal. It’s something that I’m never more aware of than I am at the end of every year, when best-of lists dominate the coverage at cultural publications, but the idea of “best” is one that I’ve never quite been comfortable with. It seems too objective to take into account personal taste, not to mention the reality that there’s too much music out there for even the most ambitious listener to have heard everything, or even close to everything. So let’s not use the word “best.” Instead, here are 124 songs released in 2014 that I would recommend to any music lover. Its goal is to highlight not only the year’s biggest hits, both commercially and critically, but also songs that commented on what happened in our world this year, and songs you may not have heard but that you’ll hopefully love as much as we …Read More
The New Pornographers
Carl Newman (aka A.C.) should be on the tourism board for Woodstock, N.Y. “I feel like small-town America has become synonymous with Walmart, strip malls, and McDonald’s,” he says one August morning, calling from his house in the renowned hippie town. “But Woodstock’s still got a lot of what drew people here in the first place. Next to Bethlehem, I think it might be the [world’s] most famous small town. I’ve got a two-and-a-half year old, and I think it’s going to be a great place to raise him.”
His burgeoning career as a Cool Dad aside, Newman is known more for his “supergroup,” The New Pornographers. Along with (his mostly Canadian) compatriots Neko Case, Dan Bejar, Kathryn Calder, John Collins, Kurt Dahle, Todd Fancey, and Blaine Thurier, Newman has crafted six albums filled with some of the most over-the-top fun in modern indie rock. The band’s latest, Brill Bruisers, is no different. It’s out this week on Matador, so we caught up with Newman to discuss it, as well as his management style, the amusement he finds in toying with trolls, and which member of The New Pornographers is actually the funniest.
It was Jenny Lewis and Jeff Tweedy last week, now it’s the New Pornographers, Spoon, and Interpol. Did ’00s indie favorites have a summit and collectively decide to own the summer? I mean, that’s cool if they did, just wondering.
The music video is, by all accounts, as much of an art form as the feature-length film, although too often these mini musical movies are too serious. Still, plenty of artists have been able to show that they do, in fact, have senses of humor — not just in general, but even when it comes to their own public personae. Here are some of the best, many of which feature cameos from famous funny people to ensure the musicians don’t have to quit their day job.