One of my favorite things about December/January is the year-end listifying. I don't have enough time to keep up on the numerous websides I'd have to keep up on, to really be on top of the best new music being made... but at the end of the year, every music website and writer makes these wonderful year-end lists that allow me to skim the cream of the year's reviews, and give me tune jollies all December and January. Spin.com's list is linked above. So far, the two I've liked best (that I hadn't already found during the year) are two albums ridiculously outside my normal range of musical preferences: electronica(!) and hardcore metal(!!!) To make it more (or maybe less) surprising, both were also follow-ups to previous albums I'd loved... and found on year-end best of lists. "Looping State of Mind," by The Field - a follow-up to their similarly amazing "From Here We Go To Sublime" (aka the most unexpected bliss-out I've ever had) -best track off that one: "Silent"
You don't have to like it... but I assure you, over a 50 minute album, these loops become something else entirely.
And... yep. Death Metal. the band Fucked Up impressed me a few years ago with "The Chemistry of Modern Life" -- by creating the most uplifting death metal I'd ever listened to, and have done it again with the sprawling (and about 15 minutes too long) "David Comes To Life" Here's the lead-in to the album -- the slow builds pile up into moments of transformation, and the band has a great knack for knowing exactly when to mix things up with a shift in the sound, pace, or feel.
I got into a little back and forth with John F Power on Twitter about this story:
http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/toy-signs-changed-after-hamleys-accused-of-sexism-2961669.html A feminist blogger complained to a toy store about sorting their toys by "Boy's Toys" and "Girls' Toys." John thought the feminists were nitpicking, and trying to limit free speech for the sake of political correctness (which is something people like to complain about when it's not their group being marginalized with casual talk)
I say things like that ARE important... sometimes for subtle reasons. I think this comic explains why quite elegantly.
Source. There's more to it than that, and hopefully parents are playing an active role in helping their kids not feel limited by the gender expectations created by toys... but that's a good conversation starter at least, that.
Alien Teachers Korea has a post worth reading in response to the Native English stuff: "Why Korea Needs Native English Teachers, Now More Than Ever"
"If I Had a Minute To Spare" has a three-part "On Becoming a Writer in Korea" that, if you are, or want to be a writer in Korea, is worth reading.
Part 2 (with links on where to submit stuff)
And last but not least... go read this. Just... read it. Maybe I'll write about it more later. I have three other blog posts coming down the pipeline that I'd like to finish first, as well as a family thingy for Christmas/New Year.
"Who Is Korean? Migration, Immigration and the Challenge of Multiculturalism in Homogeneous Societies"