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Valuing the totally obvious

(04/30/12 4:00am)

This is a tough one. I’m writing my last column in The Chronicle, so these words will almost certainly be more significant to me than to you. There’s a very strong tendency here to devolve into autobiography, or into banal platitudes: Make every moment count, you only live once, &c &c &c, the sort that sound stylish and impactful when delivered by effete Canadian rappers, less so when printed in newspaper columns.

Record Store Day celebrates indie music model

(04/19/12 9:02am)

On a Wednesday afternoon, three days before the fifth annual Record Store Day, employees at Schoolkids Records in Raleigh are clearing shelf space to make room for new arrivals. Owner Stephen Judge talks to the frontman of a Fayetteville, NC metal band who evidently wants Judge to stock his CD. Judge patiently explains why he can’t afford to purchase a number of copies sight unseen.

Editor’s Note—April 12, 2012

(04/12/12 4:00am)

This is my last one of these. Next week, I’ll hand the keys—to this column and to Recess generally—over to our editor-elect Michaela Dwyer. Change is good, and Michaela is good, and she’ll do a good job here. Worry not for the future of Recess. I’ll get one more opportunity to use The Chronicle as my soapbox when senior columns start running, but my run of free form opining with little to no supervision in Recess ends here.

Editor’s Note—March 29th, 2012

(03/29/12 4:00am)

I enjoy thinking about music critically, which is one of the reasons I regularly write music criticism (the others are the lucrative compensation and the opportunity to appear objective when trolling on LMFAO or whomever). Part of the appeal of criticism, I think, is the ability to divide myself into two separate entities, an evaluator of music and a consumer of it, and to let the former guide the latter through the tangled jungle of torrents and taste-making blogs. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship, because it allows me to justify both my taste in music (as a consumer) and my capacity to think about it (as an evaluator).

Big K.R.I.T.— 4eva N A Day

(03/22/12 4:00am)

It can’t be easy to be Big K.R.I.T. these days: dude’s basically shouldering The Future of Southern Rap by himself, but it’s not all that clear what such a title would even mean. All due respect to Rick Ross, Lex Luger and the goons from 1017 Brick Squad, but they’re pretty apparently not the heirs to Antwan Andre Patton. To make matters worse, he’s coming of age in an era where rap is less bound to geography than ever before—look at ASAP Rocky, who seems intent on appropriating the UGK legacy as the New New York rap, old schools be damned. On top of all that, the familiar label anxieties: his official debut album, Live from the Underground, is now scheduled for a June release, fully nine months behind schedule.

Editor’s Note, March 15 2012

(03/15/12 4:00am)

Tamarindo is a beach town in northern Costa Rica, a country recently named one of the developing world’s 12 most ethical travel destinations by Ethical Traveler. Ethical Traveler is either not very scrupulous, or they simply don’t share my code of ethics. I spent spring break in Tamarindo and took a few occasions to record my thoughts. This account is almost totally unverifiable, but still: I couldn’t make this s**t up.

Editor’s Note— February 23, 2012

(02/23/12 5:00am)

The last time I wrote this column, you might remember, I described an LMFAO-headlined LDOC lineup as my nightmare. Naturally, the LDOC committee went ahead and made that a reality by booking Redfoo. Of course, he cancelled a couple days ago and saved the committee from themselves; with a handful of exceptions, nearly anyone they could book will be preferable to a LMFAO-associated act. Thankfully, the old line about our best laid plans applies as well to our worst-laid plans.

Editor’s Note, Feb. 9

(02/09/12 5:00am)

By tonight, you’ll know the LDOC lineup. There will probably even be a Duke Meme about it, but spare me. (An aside: a lot of those aren’t funny, but the “Got a 5 on the AP Calculus Exam/Failed Math 32” meme is actually the geometric inverse of funny. Maybe it’s a meta-meme.) But I couldn’t wait for the release of the lineup to write this column, so this week is gonna have to be about predictions. I made up some absurd hypothetical lineups and ranked them for quality and plausibility on a 1-10 scale. Then, you can rank the actual lineup yourself, ex post, and that’ll be fun. So here goes!

Around the triangle: standout concerts of the spring season

(01/17/12 11:00am)

Between programming from Duke Performances, DUU and Duke’s arts-related academic departments, the university will play host to a vibrant and diverse collection of performance offerings over the spring semester. But to take full advantage of the Triangle area’s emergence as a hotbed of musical talent, students must venture beyond campus. Here’s an overview of a few of the exciting musical acts coming to venues in Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill during the spring.

The Weeknd

(01/12/12 10:00am)

On December 21, well after various best-of-2011 lists had been tabulated and published, Abel Tesfaye pulled off one of the most ambitious feats of the year by releasing Echoes of Silence. Merely completing the trilogy he promised on time (Echoes follows earlier 2011 releases House of Balloons and Thursday) was one thing. That he appears to have defied the law of diminishing returns in doing so is an altogether more impressive achievement.


(12/08/11 1:31pm)

Here’s a hypothetical: the student union at a major university sponsors an on-campus party with a theme that inherently marginalizes and objectifies women. Students who attend the party are encouraged to wear costumes that reflect this theme, and the venue where the party is held is adorned with themed décor.