more news from nowhere

Hello! It’s been a minute. I’ve recovered from a solid week+ of unspeakable illness (seriously, you don’t wanna know) and am eager to dip my toes back into the kiddie pool called Popular Music Discourse. I figure the stuff I missed may also be stuff you missed, so without further ado, here’s some of The Good Stuff from the past week-ish.

First and foremost, I shall mildly toot mine own horn and direct you to my review of Priests’ The Seduction of Kansas, which is out now on Sister Polygon Records and very much worth your time. If you’d like a preview, check out their video for “Jesus’ Son,” a D.I.Y. remake of Nine Inch Nails’ kinetic, single-take “March of the Pigs” video with Katie Alice Greer playing the role of young Trent Reznor flailing around dramatically and getting all up in his bandmates’ shit.

Priests, in their finest goth/industrial attire.

I couldn’t find an elegant way to work it into my review, but the press sheet for The Seduction of Kansas specifically mentioned NIN’s The Downward Spiral as one of Priests’ inspirations for their new record. Other than the clever video allusion, I’m not sure how much comes through in the finished album, but it adds a fun extra layer of meaning to the way “Jesus Son” grapples with toxic masculinity and besides, I appreciate a good NIN shoutout as much as the next adult teen goth.

Speaking of the NINternet, this week’s big Nine Inch News is thus: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross technically scored their first No. 1 Billboard hit in the form of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” the unlikely but not inexplicable rap/country crossover sensation built on a hypnotic, sped-up loop from “34 Ghosts IV.” Producer YoungKio says he ran across the track on Youtube while hunting for “really weird stuff to sample,” and as a result, Reznor and Ross are credited as co-writers and co-producers on the song. I’ll save the rest of my thoughts for my long-percolating TK thinkpiece about Nine Inch Nails’- again, unlikely, but not inexplicable -influence on rap production, and vice versa. (If you would like to actually read this, let me know!)

If you’re anywhere near Seattle (I’m not), check out this year’s Pop Con, which kicks off today. The (very adult teen goth) theme is “And Only Your Ghost Will Know: Music, Death and the Afterlife.”

And, finally, while we’re on the subject of good criticism (which is always plentiful albeit mildly paywalled at Pop Con) I really enjoyed Amanda Petrusich’s “Against Chill,” an insightful dissection of why we’re so obsessed with “lo fi hip hop beats to study and relax to.”

Maybe the popularity of chill is generational, or linked, in some way, to millennial-burnout culture: always be working or relaxing with vigor! I tried listening to the Chillhop channel again, later on, in my office. It made me feel more agitated than relaxed, as if I were being placed on hold for an indefinite period of time—possibly the rest of my life.

“Against Chill” (The New Yorker)

Well, that’s it for my beloved recurring link round-up. Catch you in another 14 days!! (Kidding.) (I hope.)