"Apart" - Yohuna
420 love songs premiered a fantastic new song last week, a not unusual occurrence over there. Their post expresses an adoration of Yohuna’s work that I very much share. Revery? Gorgeous. Her cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River?” It’ll be on all my Christmas mixes, which I’m sure I’ll get around to making at some point. Then there’s this year’s 4-way split with Emily Reo, MoonLasso, and Brown Bread, which I’ve already gushed about quite a bit.
Let’s talk about “Apart,” though. It’s… well, it’s gorgeous. This song is gentle, moving, and, as fellow contributor Kyle relayed to me, “unbelievably crisp.” You’ll be hard-pressed to find a song more tranquil and soothing than this.
As I post this, snow began to fall outside this window that makes up most of the wall. It’s gorgeous, and timely, and perfect.
- Tyler Hanan
torcello, an island on the northern end of the venetian lagoon. it was once the economic center of the area, bigger than venice itself, but before long, the lagoon around the island became a swamp and people moved elsewhere. now, supposedly only 20 people live on the island.
i found the island while reading up about venice and the history of the lagoon. i read that hemingway stayed here in 1948 while writing ‘across the river and into the trees’. i like the idea of finding the out-of-the-way places to explore and to live and to create. as i move around the world, crossing off the big places on my list, i’m making a new list of these out-of-the-ways – those are ones that i hope to come back to, should we ever need a place away from the places.
torcello, italy. june 2013.
Why Tumblr sucks as a music blogging platform (and how to fix it)
A couple of summers ago, I said the best part of Tumblr for me was what Tom Ewing had winkingly called the Pop Intellectual Posse — the group of brilliant writers who had coalesced on the platform to talk about all things music. To read Tumblr in those days was, I said at the time, like reading Slate’s old year-end music-critic roundtables — only year-round, and smarter.
In the years since then, the addition of pop intellectuals to Tumblr has only accelerated. Back then I had yet to discover Soft Communication, or Dalatu, or Jamieson, or Lindsay Zoladz, who wrote a post about writing the other day that straight-up knocked me over. When Grantland’s Steven Hyden joined the gang a couple weeks ago, along with Ann Powers, the Tumblrization of music blogging was complete — other than maybe Christgau, I could no longer name a major U.S. music writer who did not maintain a presence on the site.
None of this is unexpected, exactly. Networks effects are real, and have played out in music blogging more or less as they have elsewhere. And yet I can’t help but noting how weird it all is, for this reason: as a music blogging platform, Tumblr sucks.
Some of the reasons it sucks I described in March, when I wrote about Spotify, Rdio and the slow death of MP3 blogging. Widespread free and near-free access to a celestial jukebox of every song ever recorded has made the utility of dedicated music blogs vanishingly small. The vast majority of music fans are satisfied by a service like Pandora, through which they can simply say “play me this thing and things that sound like this thing.” The remainder can use a streaming-on-demand service like Spotify to check out the week’s new releases, dive into back catalogs, see what their friends are listening to, and get further recommendations from labels, celebrities and other tastemakers. (Tastemakers including bloggers, which is is one reason I assume that in the future, more music bloggers will use Spotify or something like it as their primary distribution method.)
But in the months since I posted that, the ways that Tumblr specifically has failed music bloggers have become readily apparent. Here are three:
Snow Mantled Love “Familiar Ground” (from “Conversations”, 2013)
Snow Mantled Love just released their debut album and it is simply sublime, like Familiar Trees, like if you were at crossroads between Mazzy Star and Bark Psychosis, between Starred and Movietone. I wish it was winter. I wish I was blocked at home with a meter of snow and ice all around, I would close the lights, I would open the curtains, I would look at the starry sky while listening to “Conversations”, I would shiver, I would feel lost and isolated, I would feel strangely alive, vulnerable and lucid.
To Alyssa Royse, a sex and relationships blogger, for saying that she hated The Dark Knight: “you are clearly retarded, i hope someone shoots then rapes you.” To Kathy Sierra, a technology writer, for blogging about software, coding, and design: “i hope someone slits your throat and cums down your gob.” To Lindy West, a writer at the women’s website Jezebel, for critiquing a comedian’s rape joke: “I just want to rape her with a traffic cone.” To Rebecca Watson, an atheist commentator, for blogging about sexism in the skeptic community: “If I lived in Boston I’d put a bullet in your brain.” To Catherine Mayer, a journalist at Time magazine, for no particular reason: “A BOMB HAS BEEN PLACED OUTSIDE YOUR HOME. IT WILL GO OFF AT EXACTLY 10:47 PM ON A TIMER AND TRIGGER DESTROYING EVERYTHING.”
Amanda Hess, Pacific Standard. Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet.
Find time. Read this:
But no matter how hard we attempt to ignore it, this type of gendered harassment — and the sheer volume of it — has severe implications for women’s status on the Internet. Threats of rape, death, and stalking can overpower our emotional bandwidth, take up our time, and cost us money through legal fees, online protection services, and missed wages. I’ve spent countless hours over the past four years logging the online activity of one particularly committed cyberstalker, just in case. And as the Internet becomes increasingly central to the human experience, the ability of women to live and work freely online will be shaped, and too often limited, by the technology companies that host these threats, the constellation of local and federal law enforcement officers who investigate them, and the popular commentators who dismiss them—all arenas that remain dominated by men, many of whom have little personal understanding of what women face online every day.
Take, for example, the case of Jessica Valenti, founder of Feministing:
When rape and death threats first started pouring into her inbox, she vacated her apartment for a week, changed her bank accounts, and got a new cell number. When the next wave of threats came, she got in touch with law enforcement officials, who warned her that though the men emailing her were unlikely to follow through on their threats, the level of vitriol indicated that she should be vigilant for a far less identifiable threat: silent “hunters” who lurk behind the tweeting “hollerers.” The FBI advised Valenti to leave her home until the threats blew over, to never walk outside of her apartment alone, and to keep aware of any cars or men who might show up repeatedly outside her door. “It was totally impossible advice,” she says. “You have to be paranoid about everything. You can’t just not be in a public place.”
Along with the psychological, emotional and professional toll such trolling takes, Hess’ article also explores the role technology platforms (could) play in alleviating abuse, law enforcement issues around cyberstalking, the sociology of online and offline spaces and much much more.