Bri Blahg… Pop Thinking And Thin Slicing

23 07 2009

by Brian Phillips (@brianblahg)


I recently read a couple of books by pop thinker Malcolm Gladwell. (“Pop Thinker” Wha?) Pop thinker, meaning, Gladwell thinks a lot about things, writes about them, and sells a ton of books about his thoughts. Thus he’s a “pop thinker.” Besides I didn’t coin the term leave me alone. Anyway one of the Gladwell books I read was called “Blink.” He wrote of the power of what he called “thin slicing.” That is trusting our unconscious impressions, and initial reactions to help us make solid decisions. Since I’m not a Marine Captain, or a surgeon, or Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, I’ll use some of his ideas here to quickly review a bunch of new albums. I’ll attempt to tap into the great gurgling pool of subconscious rather than my usual listening to the album over and over again until I’ve either fallen in love with the record or am looking for a drill for which to insert into my ear canals.

Future Of The Left “Travels With Myself And Another”


I love McLusky, which makes up two-thirds of this Welsh band. F.O.T.L. doesn’t stray far from that band, but somehow the impact is a bit blunted with some artier touches. As was the case with McLusky, F.O.T.L. have some of the best song titles in biz. “You Need Satan More Than He Needs You” is a pretty hilarious concept. “Stand By Your Manatee,” “Drink Nike,” and “The Hope That House Built” are all eye catching. My first impression is that I’ll dig this record way more after living with it a bit which defeats my initial premise now doesn’t it.

Sugar Ray “Music For Cougars”


My first thought is that our cultural fascination with “cougars” is a little played out. ABC has a new show this fall called (butt puckering) “Cougartown.” Former Friend Courtney Cox stars as a recently divorced 40 year old mother of a 17 year old kid. My guess is she starts boffing all of his friends. Unless she kills and eats them too I’m not watching. Anyway I’m now listening to Sugar Ray’s first new album in six years “Music For Cougars.” Now my subconscious is tossing out images of every mini puke I’ve ever experienced. I guess Sugar Ray is huge in Singapore. Singapore is known for air pollution and beating people with canes right? Good for them.

Dinosaur Jr. “Farm”


I’ve always had this fear for J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr; that one time he’ll start a guitar solo and he’ll just keep playing it forever. This is a man who wrote brilliant indie rock classics like “Repulsion” and “Freak Scene.” Then one day someone played Neil Young’s “Ragged Glory” for J and he started soloing. The solos got longer and longer and longer, the songs more and more pointless, his hair grayer and grayer.

Beastie Boys/Featuring NAS “Too Many Rappers”


This new single drops just as we learn of MCA’s battle with cancer. The Beasties canceled their tour, and the new album is delayed as well. For now this slammin’ drums and throb will have to do, and it does. The spookiest part is when MCA raps “I never die because death is the cousin of sleep.” Prayers for you MCA get well.

Assjack “Assjack”


Hank III (yes Hank Williams’ grandson… yes dad does that retarded Monday Night Football Theme) has worked this sort of material into his live show for years, and did time in Superjoint Ritual with ex Pantera front man Phil Anselmo as well. You may have heard some Assjack boots, but this self titled album marks the official debut. If you’re looking for ole Grand Dad here forget it. This is the White Zombie, Slayer, Butthole Surfers speed freak hit parade people. Assjack is doing Warped this summer. The emo kids will be scared. Good. Do I dig this album? Yup. Is it great? Probably not, but it is good clean American fun. (By the way it’s hilarious that Curb records released this. Label founder Mike Curb is probably music’s biggest tight ass.)




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