All posts by IP

2016 Tune Tourney Round 2: London

This year’s Tune Tournament hit the higher seeds in London hard. Florence + The Machine, AlunaGeorge, and Hot Chip were all defeated in stunning upsets. Thankfully such twists only help to make the tournament more exciting.

This round sees Kero Kero Bonito, who toppled Florence + The Machine by a 4-1 margin, face off against Jungle, whose luck might just run out against the “Graduation” juggernaut. James Blake and Underworld also go toe-to-toe in a battle of electronic supremacy, while Factory Floor and La Roux do much of the same in their matchup. The most interesting battle however, will be dubstep master Burial, whose new 12″ leaked just a bit too late to be considered for our year-end list, taking on shoegaze revivalists The History of Apple Pie. May the best band win!

Who moves on to the Sweet Sixteen? Cast your votes and spread the word, as these eight matchups close on Thursday, December 1 at noon.

Matchup 1: Kero Kero Bonito – “Graduation” vs. Jungle – “Lucky I Got What I Want”



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2016 Tune Tourney Round 1: London

The second city to be in the spotlight for this year’s Tune Tournament is London. Famous for being the hometown of countless musical legends, including The Clash, The Kinks, Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones. These days London is home to a thriving and diverse music scene, with superstars and popular indie acts both hailing from its many storied neighborhoods.

With its iconic half-dome facade and classical ivory interior, Brixton Academy happens to be one of London’s most essential cultural landmarks, as well as the venue for a massive 70th anniversary birthday celebration for the recently departed legend, David Bowie, who was also born in Brixton. That twofold connection to this year’s Tune Tournament makes it the perfect venue to spotlight in a city absolutely full of incredible places to see live music.

Who moves on to the round of 32? Cast your votes and spread the word, as these eight matchups close on Thursday, November 24 at noon.

Matchup 1: Florence + The Machine – “Queen of Peace” vs. Kero Kero Bonito – “Graduation”


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The Immortal Iron List of Metal Album Covers: 2016

The Immortal Iron List exists to emphasize those things which stand out among their peers. Those things which are a little different in a huge way. Like the hero The List is named for, it stands as a testament to the immortality of ideas. The List might be ranked, it might not. It might be humorous, or it might not. The only thing The List always is, is Iron, definitive and everlasting.

1. Vektor – Terminal Redux

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Vektor not only has achieved the feat of best metal album cover of the year, they have created perhaps the best metal album of the decade with Terminal Redux. The cover does the album justice, suggesting an endless, dangerous space from which a colossal, evil presence emerges. Metal album covers have always tried to achieve a balance of badass and intellectual, or at the very least edgy and weird. Terminal Redux accomplishes everything that a metal album cover should aspire to be, and it helps that the album contained is one of the finest the genre has to offer. In the fine words of hltchk “I want to play the video game of this album cover.” Continue reading The Immortal Iron List of Metal Album Covers: 2016

The Immortal Iron List of Ilya Repin’s Masterpieces

The Immortal Iron List exists to emphasize those things which stand out among their peers. Those things which are a little different in a huge way. Like the hero The List is named for, it stands as a testament to the immortality of ideas. The List might be ranked, it might not. It might be humorous, or it might not. The only thing The List always is, is Iron, definitive and everlasting.

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Self Portrait: 1878

Art has a place in society similar to Literature, yet it is not taken quite as seriously as a means of social and societal change. The Communist Manifesto sparked a movement that shook the entire globe for a hundred years, its effects have surely not been full felt. For the rest of human history, those in charge will see such works as a warning, they will be forced to use it for themselves as a method of control. In much the same way Fine Art, specifically paintings, can have a similar result. Ilya Repin sent shivers through the Russian art world when he first gained recognition for the painting Barge Haulers on the Volgaa haunting yet bright portrayal of the ways in which the rulers were stomping on the throats of the poor. Repin was warning the elite to look upon the faces of these men and see one thing, while most of them are broken, a few are looking right back, plotting a violent revenge. Art is most visible to the rich and ruling, for they have the luxury of time and money. Repin wanted them to know that what they were doing would have consequences. He painted a “manifesto.” This list exists to show that the power of such an idea has not subsided, though the standing of Fine Art has seemed to change.

Continue reading The Immortal Iron List of Ilya Repin’s Masterpieces

Movie Mondays #10: 28 Days Later…

As part of our Ultimate Playbill project, each week a faculty member will take the time to extol the virtues of one of the beloved films on this list. As the Halloween season approaches it seems prudent to write about the horror films selected for our project, beginning with hltchk’s 3rd pick, 28 Days Later

28 Days Later does zombies right. They run, they scream, they vomit blood on the faces of the uninfected. Danny Boyle’s manic film brought zombie movies back from the dead. Boyle had just completed The Beach when he was presented with a story about “running zombies,” which must have seemed like a risky career move for the director, whose debut film, Trainspotting, was already considered a classic, and whose followups until then had been considered disappointments. Thankfully for fans of horror, zombies, and cinema in general, he decided to make this film.

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Movie Mondays #9: True Grit

As part of our Ultimate Playbill project, each week a faculty member will take the time to extol the virtues of one of the beloved films on this list. After a week off in observance of Labor Day, I return to shoot for holybeeofephesus’ 1st pick, True Grit.

Joel and Ethan Coen’s revisionist Western masterpiece was released only 6 years ago. It seems hard to imagine the 21st Century trend of Western revivals would have been able to continue if not for this film, a remake of the John Wayne starring vehicle of the same name released in 1969. The idea of the Coen Brothers remaking a film widely considered a classic was worrisome for many fans. The last film the brothers had attempted to remake resulted in their weakest film, the Tom Hanks starring dark comedy The Ladykillers, released in 2004. Fortunately for everyone True Grit far exceeds their prior effort in re-imaginings, even exceeding the original film upon which it is based. At the 83rd Academy Awards, True Grit was nominated for ten Oscars, taking home none by the end of the night, a somehow appropriate way for the story of this excellent film to end.

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PBC #5: Get Wet

Playlist By Committee is a subdivision of the Institute of Idle Time dedicated to the preservation of the mixtape format. Each month, four governing members and one guest contributor choose a theme and each pick five songs that best correspond to that theme. The songs are then reviewed and ranked by the committee, with the the top songs being added until an 80 minute blank CD is filled. The list is then published via Mixcloud for the listening pleasure of all who seek it. This is our 5th playlist

Rain makes us feel something. Rain makes moments poignant, it facilitates loneliness, forces people to hole up away from each other to wait out the storm. Songs about rain come from all genres, from all eras of recorded music. In an effort to expand the PBC’s musical horizons this month’s guest is TB, producer, composer, and someone whose taste runs tangential to our main group. He chose the theme of “rain” because of its ability to cross genres and time. Next time you hear a storm brewing, see it through to the sounds of this mixtape.

1. Gene Kelly – Singin’ In The Rain

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Movie Mondays #5: Attack the Block

As part of our Ultimate Playbill project, each week a faculty member will take the time to extol the virtues of one of the beloved films on this list. This week, I go for tyrannofloresrex’s 4th pick, Attack the Block.

Attack the Block flew under the radar in 2011. In a just world this film would have exploded like Block producer Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead did back in 2004. Thankfully the film was enough of a success to launch the careers of director Joe Cornish as well as future Star Wars star John Boyega.

A subversive science fiction film with a simple enough premise, Attack the Block is a film that is greater than the sum of its parts. It is rare for a directorial debut to have so much personal style, but Cornish is as confident as co-writer Wright was and has continued to be throughout his career. Right now Cornish is the writer and director attached to an adaptation of Neal Stephenson’s 1991 classic novel Snow Crash, and his name is one of very few that would inspire confidence in such an ambitious project.

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Cornish shows he knows how to direct young black heroes with Samurai swords.

Attack the Block specializes in something that is far too uncommon in science fiction, it humanizes every character, and spreads its comedy, drama, and character development evenly among its talented young cast. All too often science fiction films designate a character as the “funny” one, or the “one with a tragic history,” a technique which allows viewers to notice patterns they’ve seen before, absolving what surprise or suspense they might have had if the characters each seemed like potential protagonists. Continue reading Movie Mondays #5: Attack the Block

The Immortal Iron List of Singles: 2016 part 1

The first half of 2016 is over. The semiannual cycle of list making begins again. The best albums so far, the best films, the best video games. Often overlooked though are singles that aren’t included on albums, or singles that have been released to support albums coming later in the year. This list recognizes those songs in no particular order.

“Good to Love” by FKA twigs

The singer formerly known as “twigs” stuns with another emotive, minimalist ballad. “Good to Love” features the least accompaniment FKA twigs has ever used, but when the full arrangement swells toward the end of the song she creates one of her most powerful music moments, as a high pitched synth voice bends upward to ecstasy. Continue reading The Immortal Iron List of Singles: 2016 part 1

The Immortal Iron List of Summer Blockbusters

The Summer Blockbuster is a difficult thing to categorize. Does it refer to a genre? One usually thinks of Action or Adventure films as being the usual Summer Blockbusters, but Science Fiction films often premiere during the summer as well. Horror is also a huge part of summer filmgoing. What makes a film a Summer Blockbuster is certainly its release date, but successful films of the type also become a part of the filmloving culture around them. These films inspire cosplayers, t-shirt makers, and nerds with money to come together and enjoy classic American commerce and hopefully some entertainment along with it. Steven Spielberg is the undisputed king of this type of filmmaking, and rest assured one of his films will appear on the list, but it should be noted that he would deservedly hold many of the top spots on a purely objective list of Summer Blockbusters. This list is not objective.

Mad Max: Fury Road

George Miller’s fourth entry in the Mad Max saga is the pinnacle of contemporary blockbuster filmmaking. The entire blockbuster concept stems from Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, a movie which brought fright and intensity out into the sun, and a tradition of summertime fear. Fury Road is simultaneously a bright film, a terrifying film, a funny film, even a sad film, though it never decelerates its impressive pace. Continue reading The Immortal Iron List of Summer Blockbusters