However, I really enjoy the sound they get live (which is funny since in the article below they talk about how much of a perfectionist Jamie, the studio tech guy, is about the recordings).
This set from KEXP (KEXP always has great audio quality) contains four songs “Fiction” “Reunion” “Sunset” and “Angels.” And I have to say the band sounds amazing. So close, so clean, so intimate. Oliver’s voice is right there, whispering in your ears, and Romy’s guitars sound gorgeous–gentle vibrato, chiming chords; her voice is also beautiful.
The thing that throws me about The xx is how spare their music is. Sometimes it’s almost like there’s no music at all. And I keep thinking of reasons why I wouldn’t enjoy such simple music (it’s usually not my thing). Or that it should only be experienced in a dark room by yourself. But the melodies are so beautiful that I think they’ve made a convert of me. I really adore these songs. And I must have heard “Angels” somewhere because it is completely familiar.
I wonder if they sound this good on record. You can watch the show here:
[READ: July 9, 2013] Grantland #5
Grantland continues to impress me with articles about sports that I don’t care about. They style that the writers have (and the humor they impart) is wonderful. And it goes to show that if you are passionate about something you can make it interesting to anyone. So, even if I don’t know who some of the people who they’re talking about are, I can still enjoy what they say about them. Plus, their entertainment coverage is really fun, too.
BILL SIMMONS-“Battle of the Olympic Heavyweights”
I really enjoyed this article which compares Olympic swimming and gymnastics to see which one “wins” in this battle for TV coverage and the hearts of Olympic fans (hint: it’s gymnastics, but Simmon’s categories are very good).
BRIAN PHILLIPS-“The Death’s Head of Wimbledon”
Phillips tries to cover Wimbledon and finds it very difficult to manage because it is all designed for TV, not in person coverage.
REMBERT BROWNE-“I Feel Like a Free Man”
The amazing decision of Frank Ocean to come out and how little it impacted his career.
MICHAEL SCHUR-“Requiem for a Hardass”
Kevin Youkilis is a dick. Apparently. This article was very funny, his description of Kevin at bat and his ridiculous stance was hilarious. So here it is:
When he hits, he stands with his feet so close together the ump could tip him over with one quick index-finger jab to the sternum — an action that must have been tempting for many umps over the years — and as he raises the bat above his head and aims the barrel back toward the pitcher in a manner any Little League coach would surely curtail (“No, Kevin, not like that, that’s all wrong … just … is your dad here? I need to talk to him”), his hands are a foot apart on the handle of the bat, and he then slowly slides them toward each other as the pitcher moves through his delivery. It’s fucking insane. (“Kevin? Buddy? Hands together, buddy. See? Like this? … Is your dad here?”) From this stevedore’s frame, alopecic head, and just completely goofy stance came a truly elite ballplayer. Who is also kind of a dick.
BILL BARNWELL-“The Tight End Revolution Will Be Televised”
Tight ends are becoming more prominent–will it impact the future of football? (Probably not).
JONATHAN ABRAMS-“The Music in His Head”
About Royce White, who has anxiety disorders and is public about it–hoping to bring attention to the problem.
CHARLES P. PIERCE-“Strikeout”
The steroids trial (and second trial of Roger Clemens) was a huge waste of taxpayer money.
RANY JAZAVERLI-“The Great Bryce Hype”
Bryce Harper is a young phenomenon–and he warrants the hype.
BILL SIMMONS-“The Consequences of Caring”
It’s very exciting to get your kid really into a sports team, but when their team chokes in the playoffs, their crushing sadness is really hard. (Especially if you like the team that won).
MALCOLM GLADWELL & BILL SIMMONS-“The Exchange”
A brief conversation. Who knew Gladwell worked for the Times back in the day? Back when you could be “out of touch” from the bosses, unlike now.
JANE LEAVY-“The Woman Who Would Save Football”
The story of Ann McKee, a life long football fan, who also dissects brains to see if football is damaging players. She loves the game but the game doesn’t love her. This was a fascinating and medically interesting article that I’m really glad I read.
DANIEL KELLISON-“Last Century’s Action Hero”
An interview with Michael Keaton. What the hell has he been up to?
HUA HSU-“The Enigma of Boston”
All about Rajon Rondo
KATIE BAKER-“The Reign of Kings”
LA gets the Stanley Cup. This looks at the press conference and how little their young kids seems to care about the excitement.
MOLLY LAMBERT-“American Divorce”
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes broke up. Ha.
ZACH BARON-“The Hero We Deserve”
The new Batman movies are really dark and really popular. So popular that people defended the new one before it came out (and Caron was forbidden from giving any spoilers whatsoever in this column).
JAY CASPIAN KANG-“Dumb Move, Dolan”
There is no justification for trading Jeremy Lin.
CHRIS RYAN-“The Text Messages of Dwight Howard and Mikhail Prokhorov”
Fake texts from two people I don’t know.
BRYAN CURTIS-“The Ballad of the Piggyback Bandit”
Can this be real? A man with aspergers who traveled around the country getting forcible piggyback rides from students? Bizarre.
ALEX PAPPADEMAS-“Rozay is Rozay is Rozay”
All about Rick Ross, who i don’t know anything about. However, I really enjoyed this piece about reinvention.
LOUISA THOMAS-“Gravity’s Rainbow”
McKayla Moroney, who i grew to dislike immensely during the Olympics for her bitchy expressions, is apparently a major vaulter. Look for her in the next Olympics.
CHUCK KLOSTERMAN-“The Two Lines That Never Cross”
Football is incredibly dangerous. Football is incredibly popular. This is one instance where the two things do not have anything to do with each other. usually the first one causes the second (until people burn out on it). In this case they are unrelated.
CHRIS RYAN-“Scene from the Olympics Aquatic Center”
An amusing fake captioning of a photo.
ALEX KAHN & HOWIE FRENCH-“The Sound and the Fury”
All about Sports Radio, WFAN and the team of Mike and the Mad Dog. An interesting historical look at sports talk radio.
SHANE RYAN-“Ichiro in Pin Stripes”
Ryan is pretty psyched to see Ichiro at the Yankees.
BRIAN PHILLIPS-“Destiny is Ruthless”
The U.S. Women’s soccer team may have been destined to win gold.
ANDY GREENWALD-“The Scientific Method”
The brutally good show that is Breaking Bad.
BRYAN CURTIS-“Five Stages of Media Critics’ Olympic Grief”
We love the Olympics. Then we hate NBC. And we hate NBC more. And we hate the Olympics, but really we don’t we just hate NBC’s coverage.
EMILY YOSHIDA-“Living the Hite life’
All about the YouTube “sensation” called K-Town, a kind of Korean Jersey Shore. (shudder).
RAFE BARTHOLOMEW-“A Question of Sanity”
Victor Ortiz could have been somebody in the ring. Then he got his jaw broken. Ortiz’s could be the next Tyson–ie. someone who might bite an opponent’s ear off. But then he’d apologize at least.
TOM BISSELL-“Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Shooter”
If we put better stories or more painful looking deaths in first person shooter games, will it change anything? Plus a list of the most compelling games for Bissell.
CHRIS RYAN & DAVID CHO-“Sweater King: Toshimori Muto”
Muto has the nicest sweater on the golf course. It’s like a day-to-night look!
MARK LISANTI-“Abraham Lincoln Goes to Hollywood”
An amusing look at the advertising for the Spielberg film Is it in black and white? Why is Spielberg’s name so small in the poster? If you put an axe in the poster would people think he chopped down the cherry tree?
DAVID JACOBY-“The Aquatic Ape Theory of Evolution”
About the show Bachelor Pad (a show I’ve never heard of) and a guy who spends most of his time in a hot tub.
AMOS BARSHAD-“Whispering in the Dark”
A history of The xx. I learned a lot from this article, and now after listening to the concert, I’m becoming a fan. It’s adorable how shy they are.
BILL SIMMONS-“One Giant Leap”
You know, we were making fun of LeBron James recently but holy crap did he just show up everyone or what? He may now be at the peak of his career.
STEVEN HYDEN-“Twilight of the Dinosaurs”
Can you believe Black Sabbath is till touring, and, amazingly, they sound as good as ever. This decade is probably the last time that most of these dinosaur bands will play live (which may be a good thing) but it certainly puts a premium on seeing them one more time (if that’s your thing).
JONAH KERI-“Budget Busters”
All about the budgets that baseball teams have to buy players. I personally don’t understand why baseball teams don’t have the same budget–that seems like it would be a lot more fair.
JORDAN CONN-“Let It Fly”
Mo Isom is an amazing goalie. She tried out to be a kicker for LSU. And even though she could nail 51 yard field goals she didn’t make the team. Although that probably had more to do with the fact that they have the best kicker around than sexism. I really enjoyed this article, although it also made me laugh because Isom did something really stupid hoping that God would send her a sign (she’s a devout Methodist). So naturally when she survived a crazy car crash, it was a sign from God. Right? Of course. Despite that, her life story is compelling and her game is amazing. Check out this clip in which she scores a goal…from the goal.
Again, I say, I really enjoy these Grantland books. These articles were originally published almost a year ago from June-August 2012). How much has happened in the year. How much am I supposed to know about already as a postscript. (Like that Isom did NOT make the team–which wasn’t covered in the article). Or what about that Bryce kid? Or Royce White? What about LeBron in the past year…how did he do? Any sports fan should know this, but I’m not so I don’t.
How can I get the books to give me an update after each article??
Oh, and this book was simply riddled with typos. Riddled! I know that McSweeney’s jokes that their books are edited, just not by professionals. But man, this one desperately needed a spell check. Ouch.