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Austin, Texas. The booming, progressive and erudite capital is a world apart from the roughneck, conservative culture of the rest of the Lone Star State. City Limits, Film Festival, and the emergence of South by Southwest have cemented the city as an arts destination.

Count another outlet on its resume. Poster Cabaret plays host to dozens of artists, specializing in concert poster art that looks as good in your room as it would outside a club.

Having recently moved into my house in Columbus, I started scouring Allposters.com in search of something cool/nice/relatively inexpensive to add some color to an otherwise bland room. But when in search of something ‘alternative’ as opposed to another AC/DC or Doors poster, the site usually turns up that picture of Death Cab for Cutie where Chris Walla makes some shape with his hands. It can be a little underwhelming.

Boring!

So you want something that lets everyone know how much you love Transatlanticism, but want to appear unique as well? You could try this…

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Ramona Gonzalez, the face of Nite Jewel.

OK Confucius may have suffered from a period of inactivity as of late, but we’re coming back with a bang. For the first time in our young history (two months come Sunday) we’re proud to present an original interview to the internet. And for our first subject, we stuck with familiar territory. Marc has been on here once before to evangelize Nite Jewel, a Los Angeles act largely the brainchild of Ramona Gonzalez. 2009’s self-released LP, “Good Evening”, was a synthesized low-fi gem. But July’s release of the EP “Am I Real” saw a noticeable increase in fidelity and the prospect of new territory. Marc had an extensive conversation with Gonzalez, covering even more changes in her upcoming LP, the trouble of live shows, and where degrees in Philosophy are landing one nowadays.

OK Confucius: Your new EP kind of defines this year for you.  When you say it reflects a continued development, what were you doing that you never thought of doing with “Good Evening”?

Ramona Gonzalez: Actually the EP defines earlier years.  this year was spent doing the next album.  that’s how it works with releases.  right when the public gets the material, it’s already way behind the artist’s schedule. However, the title track “Am I Real” was done more recently with my friends Teen Inc. and that was really an incredible collaboration. So I suppose I never expected to collaborate with such special artists during the recording of  “Good Evening”. I never expected anything from that record actually, let alone people hear it. Read the rest of this entry »

Well not really, but this super-slowed down version of his song “U Smile” has nearly 1 million plays since it appeared on SoundCloud yesterday.

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Hipsters! They vex our culture like a plague. Their irony and fixation on being as indie as possible only add to our generation’s reputation for being worse than the hippies, the flappers, and the Nazis combined. They can also function as kingmakers, contributing to the popularity of whatever band/film/whatever until said thing eclipses their niche and goes on to mainstream success. Then they shun it.

So Monday night I was afforded a rare opportunity when I was on hand to see The National at the LC Pavilion in Columbus. The rise of The National is a typical one: they began in Brooklyn, they stuck around and paid their dues in the indie scene for much of the last decade, and this spring the release of “High Violet” catapulted them to mainstream success (no, your local KISS-FM isn’t playing any of their songs, but debuting at #3 on the Billboard 200 will suffice) and the future could possibly leave them as critical darlings on an MTV scale rather than Pitchfork. What I’m trying to say is these hipsters may just shun The National if they get any bigger, say they sold out, etc. So capturing this odd breed at this particular show was paramount.

Pictures are all credited to myself. Faces are blurred out to protect the innocent, and these are posted for humor/documenting an event. Still, should you see your likeness here and wish to have that removed, threaten us with a lawsuit at okconfucius@gmail.com.

vest and t-shirt combo. classic stand-by

???

click for more…

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When we objectively look at the 80s, any contribution the decade gave to pop culture is open season for ridicule. Film’s auteurism was dead and buried; television was anchored by Bill Cosby; and the Billboard charts were, for the most part, soulless. In other words, high culture was in short supply.

Looking into the music realm, those who were looking for music holding any lasting value look to but a handful of places.

First up are those punk bands that made a lot of noise but never made it out of a dive bar in a rapidly deteriorating part of town. So as much as I like listening to bands like the Dead Kennedys or Minor Threat, their cottage industry of hocking any product they can find to rebellious teenagers looking to be in the minority at any cost doesn’t deserve a look today.

Second is usually The Smiths. This is usually because everyone thinks they can brood on the same savage level as Morrisey. And yet, many focus their attention on the melancholia they hear on a track like “How Soon is Now?” at the expense of the wit that came to the forefront with Morrisey’s solo career. The Smiths have also benefited from the release of last year’s (500) Days of Summer, so no one’s exactly expanding their horizons this time.

Contrary to popular belief, the world WILL listen

That said, Morrisey was not the only British songsmith of the 1980s. Believe it or not, a handful of guys actually did manage to release some worthwhile, enduring music in the same era as Bananarama and Kajagoogoo. For that, they’re worth a look for a generation beyond a handful of forty something’s. Read the rest of this entry »

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