In 2011, why bother with a midyear music list? Look at what’s to come

Entertainment Column
Written by Nathan Mattise

Everyone who writes about music loves compiling best-of lists. No exception here. I spent early July musing over a first-half Top 5 (in no particular order: Reptilians, Kaputt, w h o k i l l, Nine Types of Light, Within and Without) then lamenting the slew of other releases I like but would have to exclude.

Some really big guns released solid albums (The Strokes, Radiohead, Death Cab for Cutie, Lupe Fiasco, Peter Bjorn & John, Foo Fighters, The Decemberists, The Cars, Paul Simon, Danger Mouse).  Some growing or lesser known entities produced worthy listens I wanted to champion (Cut Copy, Yuck, Telekinesis, Cults, Tennis, Eleanor Friedberger, Lykke Li, Noah and The Whale) and some acts I don’t care for, despite recognizing their ability and success, continued to perform (Panda Bear, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver). Virtually any combination from the albums listed above could be justified as a compelling, valid list and my running first-half tally likely overlooks a number of underrated gems.

Despite all that, it’s entirely possible no album from the first half of the year will end up in a 2011-ending Top 10. Consider the following 10 albums slated for fall in light of their most recent releases (and corresponding Metacritic scores): Continue reading

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In Pursuit of the Trivial moved (and created a local music calendar already)

There’s a new blog banner in town.

After the redesign at the beginning of the year, that means there’s a new town for In Pursuit of the Trivial. We’ve moved from Central New York to San Francisco for the time being and the site’s local focus will shift appropriately. While not all the blog content is strictly location-based (essay about a Kickstarter for an LCD Soundsystem fan documentary?), the stuff that is now gets a west coast makeover… like the monthly music calendar for instance (see after the jump).

The move should allow for more writing time in general so hopefully posts labeled “site info” that try to explain away weeks of nothing will also evaporate. Until then, check the shows in SF after the jump and try to recognize the new organic type above.


-Nate, In Pursuit of the Trivial Continue reading

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This Mixtape Life: TV on the Radio (4-22-11)

Entertainment Podcast
Recorded by Nathan Mattise

I record a weekly podcast for because one of the multimedia editors there is a Newhouse colleague. They need a new place for me to host the audio file because my laptop is in the shop, thus the return of Trivial Podcasts.

The show is simple: Each week (like Ira Glass) I choose a theme, but bring songs instead of stories on that theme. In light of recent tragedy involving TV on the Radio bassist Gerard Smith, a show honoring both him and the band seemed right.

Podcast available to stream below, playlist of all songs on the podcast after the jump, posting old episodes of This Mixtape Life here coming soon.

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Listen to this playlist: This Mixtape Life: TVOTR (4-22-11)

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Another failed Kickstarter inspires and scares

Arts & Literature Column
Written by Nathan Mattise

I received the following e-mail in my inbox last week:

It’s nothing new. I’ve donated to Kickstarter projects that have sadly failed before: R.I.P. The Mountain Man Fest in Saratoga or the MLAB Renovations for a NYC trip here in ‘Cuse. This one for one reason or another just  hit a little close to home.

Call the folks who wanted to make the All My Friends documentary pretentious if you will (though I’d opt for misguided or over-ambitious perhaps? More on this below…) but they had a musical focus I liked and a D.I.Y. approach I want to one day emulate. Not to mention, their pedigree in multimedia production and storytelling seemed almost attainable (it’s on the Kickstarter bio), making their effort much more inspiring than the latest work from someone like Wes Anderson or Spielberg.

So what does their failure say? Continue reading

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No one will complain when your shirt is inside-out.

Science & Nature Essay
Written by Nathan Mattise

I’m not wearing green despite being home for parade day in Scranton (note: Syracuse celebrating as well). My attire is better suited for SxSw,  a dream roadtrip for me and a conference focusing on technology with a major concert lineup attached. Folks are down in Austin, Tx. right now discussing the next social media tools to engage the masses or how the iPad 2.0 and other venues might be able to (financially) save journalism.

I doubt this idea could save any industry, but it’s an innovative approach to print journalism I was pumped to receive as a gift this past winter.

TPost Mag is a Sweedish print outlet. They operate on subscriptions like any other magazine but instead of printing on newsprint or glossy, they utilize t-shirts that are then designed as art to compliment an article. That makes the above quartet much more respectable than any regular novelty tees. They’re also incredibly effective gifts for nerdy wanna-be journalists.

The articles so far aren’t half bad and it’s easy to talk you into supporting an org who’s trying something different. I’ve often wondered why a struggling magazine or newspaper doesn’t branch out and use their brand to offer related services that customers will trust (Food & Wine wines, SPIN sponsored concerts or produced albums, NY Times series of speakers, etc.). Most probably don’t innovate in this manner thinking it jeopardizes journalistic integrity. Printing on tees doesn’t come close to that, rather it simply adds a degree of edge and innovation that’s easy to get behind (or within I suppose, it is a shirt after all).

(Links today from

Have some thoughts on the matter? Comment below or you can e-mail it too.

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Rock the Vote: Ra Ra Riot needs to speak

Entertainment Column
Written by Nathan Mattise

There’s a lot of attention on the recent announcement of Kid Cudi as SU’s Block Party 2011 headliner. The most interesting part of all the news however is University Union released some statistics from their infamous campus surveys and Cudi is supposedly in line with this results.

It’s good news for both pro- and anti- Cudi booking individuals. If you’re happy this week, rejoice in the fact that your own opinion was heard. If you’re pissed, make sure to take larger action next time a survey opportunity is presented. For both camps, the time is now. The UU Speakers/Comedians survey is live and there is one idea that needs everyone’s support.

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