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  1. In Topic: Music

    Yesterday, 09:48 PM

    The Guardian gave Laugh Track four stars, First Two Pages of Frankenstein three stars (... and their current live show five stars)...


    the band has faced criticism for becoming boring. [...] The criticism seems to refer to a kind of lyrical slippage from reckless romanticism and withering creative-class satire to half-hearted depiction of an upper-middle class creative life. Take Eucalyptus, from [...] First Two Pages of Frankenstein, [...]

    [...] Laugh Track [...] instead adopting a more grownup take on the existential conundrums of earlier National records. [...]

    Berninger's characters here seem to exist in discomfiting liminal zones, narrating their lives as if from outside their own bodies: Space Invader is an avalanche of cascading "what ifs" that builds to a raucous crescendo powered by Bryan Devendorf's panic-attack drumming[...] Although Weird Goodbyes adopts the squeaky-clean, somewhat mawkish tone of Frankenstein, Alphabet City sounds desperate and strained, with Berninger adopting a compellingly harried guise.

    Laugh Track closes with [...] Smoke Detector. [...] here, finally, is the teeth-baring payoff to 11 songs of building dread and anxiety. It feels like one long scream, a frustrated rejoinder to the album's sad-sack protagonists:

    "Sift through the slush and the ash and the dust / Or whatever stands out for whatever reason / It's a laugh for a rush, a remembered feeling / You don't know what it means but you don't want to leave it," Berninger rages. It's a moment of intense, acidic awakening that feels like a fresh start.

    The National: Laugh Track review – second album of the year feels like a fresh start | The National | The Guardian


    With his unkempt black suit and mutinous hair, the frontman looks – as [...] teases him – like a "dishevelled professor". His stage persona veers from man undergoing psychotic episode to someone having the time of his life. He hurls a drink so high it showers over him and on at least one foray to the back of the hall – with the tangled mic lead trailing over the crowd's heads – you fear he won't actually make it back. Perhaps most memorable is the sight of Berninger and the front rows almost hysterically yelling the lyrics at each other, faces touching, jointly celebrating an era-defining band at the peak of [recklessly spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses just as they're surging?! [Berninger croon] well that's another reason to be sad now anyway...].

    The National review – euphoric catharsis from an era-defining band | Music | The Guardian
  2. In Topic: The USA Politics Thread

    Yesterday, 12:24 PM


    Forty-four percent of Americans [...] say they've gotten worse off financially under Biden[...] the most for any president [...] since 1986. Just 37% approve of his job performance, while 56% disapprove. Still fewer approve of Biden's performance on the economy, 30%.

    [...] 48% say they approve of Trump's performance when he was in office [...] Essentially as many -- 49% -- now disapprove [...]

    On handling immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, Biden[... has] 23% approval. [...] the 74% who say he's too old for a second term is up 6 percentage points [...]

    [...] 62% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say the party should pick someone other than Biden [...] a third back Biden.

    Wonder what's holding plausible contenders back... threats of retribution (in terms of fundraising and political support, that is, not the paranoid fantasy Biden-deep state criminal empire that putatively includes the FBI, the IRS, and no doubt the post office, all secretly being run by high prince Hunter Biden (and cackling Kamala Harris) because poor old tottering Biden has dementia... maybe Hunter is putting crack in his muesli to keep him from falling asleep?)?

    Whoa WTF:


    Such is down-on-Biden sentiment that if a government shutdown occurs at month's end, 40% say they'd chiefly blame him and the Democrats in Congress, versus 33% who'd pin it on the Republicans in Congress -- even given the GOP infighting behind the budget impasse.

    Troubles for Biden not just his age in reelection campaign: POLL (

    That is terrible news for the government shutdown... though it leaves open the question of whether they'd continue to blame Biden if it drags on.
  3. In Topic: Reading at t'moment?

    23 September 2023 - 12:24 PM

    View PostQuickTidal, on 15 September 2023 - 01:57 PM, said:

    View PostAzath Vitr (D, on 15 September 2023 - 01:32 PM, said:

    He gives
    a thick Scottish accent and Fitz and the other characters so far English accents... which seems completely inappropriate. Their accents should be similar.

    Especially because...


    Not to mention poorly done regional accents by audiobook narrators VERY often turn me off audiobooks....hell the narrator of the Green Rider books was SO bad that the only reason I got into the books at all was because I pushed through the physical copy and tried to forget her pronunciation and terrible accents. Another one is the Patrick O'Brian books...Patrick Tull AND David Pigott-Smith give Stephen Maturin a typical and deep Irish accent...but Maturin largely grew up in Catalonia/Spain, so his accent would not have been a full Irish accent, but rather a lilt that would show up occasionally (I think even O'Brian mentioned this while he was alive.....but then he hated the idea of audiobooks altogether) in certain words and phrases, but would not be so dominant. I don't know if Simon Vance does this on his O'Brian readings, but at the very least Ric Jerrom does not....he's the only one I can listen to do these books as a result. Meanwhile everyone thinks Tull's readings are drives me mental.

    has a dainty French accent that is laughably bad... I had to turn it off and take some deep breaths to compose myself. IMO it's the worst choice he could have made (though some other choices would arguably be stranger---Cthulhu accent, etc.). Because
    Even if he didn't bother reading much of/about the first trilogy, just from what he'd already read aloud before introducing her it's obvious that
    And once I composed myself and forced myself to go on, I was still finding it very distracting but borderline bearable until
    started speaking with her and the combination of his Scottish accent (which a Redditor aptly described as 'funny') with her ridiculously bad French accent was just too much. Still, I shall subject myself to several more hours today while electrocuting my abs... will agony distract from agony, I pray (upon my willful crucifixion day)?...

    Also, my joy at learning that
    would be a major part of the plot has turned to ashes in my ears after getting the very clear impression that

    [Edit: Correction: of course
  4. In Topic: Music

    22 September 2023 - 09:03 PM

    View PostJPK, on 22 September 2023 - 08:09 PM, said:

    I really miss the quality of their middle years though (Boxer-Sleep Well Beast). The newer stuff does mix in live pretty well though, and benefits from letting their drummer have more free rein.

    Agreed; I like some of their earlier work a lot.

    Also agree that Weird Goodbyes is one of the best songs on Laugh Track. I've had


    Memorize the bathwater, memorize the air



    I feel like throwing
    into water

    move forward now
    there's nothing to do,
    can't turn around
    and I can't follow you

    ... stuck in my head for the last year intermittently....

    But on the bright side, they're giving me more training data for generating an AI Berninger-late Leonard Cohen-Johnny Cash-death metal Frankenstein model RVC which evades restrictive US 'likeness' laws for me to morph with my own voice (which already sounds pretty similar in the bass register... almost like the second half of Space Invader lol).
  5. In Topic: Music

    22 September 2023 - 07:07 PM

    View PostJPK, on 22 September 2023 - 06:15 PM, said:

    View PostAzath Vitr (D, on 22 September 2023 - 11:53 AM, said:

    ...lowkey death metal country rock electronica:...

    Don't you ever get tired of mashing buzzwords together? It's exhausting just reading it.

    In all honesty though Laugh Track isn't great but, then again, I'm not sure who would expect it to be. It was dropped with 2 days warning and no marketing to speak of. It's pretty clearly a home for misfit songs that weren't included elsewhere as evidenced by the inclusion of Weird Goodbyes (which I find to be one of the only truly memorable songs on the release). Complaining about the lyrics and sadness of the overall project is an odd choice as well. I mean, the band has been known to market itself as "sad dad music". The people that would typically check out a spot dropped release like Laugh Track are gonna know what they're in for, you know?

    If you're looking for something a bit stronger from the band, you should check out their other 2023 album, The First Two Pages of Frankenstein. While I still don't find it to be one of the strongest in their discography it's a much more coherent album with spots of brilliance. See Grease in Your Hair or Ice Machines for stronger samples of their recent work.

    Eh, started out with 'low-key death metal country' but adding 'rock electronica' is more accurate and IMO funnier; YMMV OC.

    Laugh Track is better, and much more interesting, than The First Two Pages of Frankenstein (though I do like the title of that one). Most professional music critics seem to agree with me.


    First Two Pages of Frankenstein [...] was not widely received as an inspiring trophy of a band conquering a middle-age slump. Reviews were so-so. Critics and fans heard redundancy, mawkishness, and complacency.

    The surprise release Laugh Track is that album’s more interesting companion[...] The oscillating chords and drifting time signature of the first track, “Alphabet City,” announce an experimental approach [...] The album also contains cleverly constructed anthems and skewed takes on traditionalist country—but crucially, the National’s songs are once again packing an emotional wallop.

    [...] How do we move forward?

    No work of art has hit me with the weight of that question like the new album from the National has.

    Some Good News About Your Malaise (

    See also the reviews in Pitchfork, etc.


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  1. Photo


    21 Jul 2021 - 12:48
    I hear it's always sunny there
  2. Photo

    Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

    14 Aug 2019 - 21:23
  3. Photo


    14 Aug 2019 - 07:51
    Damn, dude. Where the heck are you???
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