Sunday Roundup: Red Wings prospects, Northern Racism, and Lentsploitation

It’s Sunday and it is time to catch up on the best the internet had to offer during the past week. If you have any article suggestions for the Sunday Roundup send me a tweet @tbone1225.

Things you’ve always wanted to know about the Red Wings

Tom Mitsos answers questions about the Red Wings in his mail bag post for The Hockey Writers. As an added compare/contrast bonus, Ansar Khan answers the same questions at MLive.

Racism is alive and well in northern states

“The perfect storm of Northern amnesia and largely white rural-sides weave a story that claims that Northern racial tensions (if they exist at all) only seem to occur in large cities where blacks are concentrated; thereby subtly implying that the issue is the very presence of said communities.” Guest writer Nathan Lewis Lawrence writes about manifestations of white supremacy in northern states in general and Ohio specifically in his post “Four Things You Didn’t Know About Northern Racism” for The Resist Daily. Check out his other writings at his blog Taming Cynicism.

Petr Mrazek won’t be stuck in the AHL for long

“[Mrazek is] the future goalie for the Red Wings, but he’ll need some time to adjust to the NHL.” Tom Mitsos talks about the short- and long-term possibilities for goalie Petr Mrazek in his article “Red Wings Prospect Petr Mrazek Motivated to Improve” for The Hockey Writers.

Is Marchenko a good defensive fit for the Wings?

Tom Mitsos discusses the need for right-handed defenseman Alexey Marchenko on the Red Wings in his article “Do the Red Wings Need to Trade With Alexey Marchenko?” for The Hockey Writers.

Exploited foreign workers and the spiritual season of Lent

“I think it is appropriate here to illustrate the exploitative nature of outsourcing through the context of the current season of Lent.” With the religious observance of Lent in mind, Richard Thomas discusses concepts of freedom in the face of oppressive economic institutions in his article “Our Bondage And Our Freedom: on Lent and neoliberalism” for The Resist Daily.

“Psychic” by DARKSIDE album review

I want to talk about a relatively unknown two-piece recommended to me by my good friend Josh Goulding. The name of the band is called DARKSIDE. Having recently attended one of their live shows Josh immediately recognized their brilliance; and after telling me about them, their atmospheric jams would come to haunt my mind for weeks to come (in a really good way). They are a band responsible for crafting an electronic sound unlike anything I’ve heard before. DARKSIDE is the collaborative union between New Yorkers Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington, two young Ivy Leaguers (Brown) who bonded over laptop songwriting in hotel rooms.  Together they birthed an album (their debut LP) that pushes modern guitar rock in a direction yet unexplored by what few champions of the genre still exist (Radiohead, Kurt Vile, The Kills, and Muse to name a few).  The name of that album is Psychic (Matador, 2013), and despite its quiet downtempo veneer, Psychic roars as a bold and promising statement of what can be achieved by the inevitable union of rock ‘n roll and electronica.

Psychic can perhaps be best described as a minimalist “indie” (God I hate that term) rock experiment that places a refreshing emphasis on groove and atmosphere over vocals/lyrics. The album’s vocals are often times unintelligible, with hints of MGMT-esque psychedelia at times. Rather than serving as sonic focal points, vocals are merely decorations adorning the LP’s eight captivating, pad-riddled soundscapes. The lyrics are obviously not taken seriously, which is totally fine given this endeavor of music.

The album kicks off with “Golden Arrow “ abducting the listener into an alien starship dreamscape laced with four minutes of static, scratches, and cyberpunky synths- all tied to the droning of a soft bass kick. Then suddenly the fog dissipates, and the listener awakens to a tight dance kick that eventually leads into a subtle, muted rhythm guitar jam. What follows is an icy cool A minor arpeggio in the distance. A flowing bass groove takes over as these frantic little tremolo strums ring out from above. At times the track almost sounds as if were written for the late 90’s video game Unreal Tournament (a compliment).

The album breaks its stiff upper lip and loosens up with “Heart”, which hits with a badass, simple-as-hell blues guitar riff, shitty tone, and followed by these wonderfully precise hits of awe-synth. A couple cool interval slides follow (the thing Keith Richards does on Wild Horses) accompanied by some unintelligible vocals and lovely atmospheric keys. The track is somehow able to sound both massive and small at the same time.

“Paper Trails” (personal favorite) is a lighthearted blues number with a brilliantly catchy riff on repeat throughout the track. The tone is again simple, probably recorded off a Vox or Fender amp. It’s a basic riff played imperfectly, but it just sounds perfect (kind of like Stephen Stills’ middle-finger-waving guitar solo in the beginning of CSNY’s “Ohio”). A simple bass walk provides an open canvas for a few minutes of cleverly played blues quips which culminate at 3:35 into a tight little bend played and then re-sampled into the background as Jaar’s synth takes us into space.

The danceable, borderline funky “Only Shrine I’ve Seen” starts out with a few minutes of clap-chant drone that eventually evolves into a steady compressed dance kick. Halfway in, the track is set ablaze by a funk guitar riff that sounds so creamy and slick it feels robotic-but it’s entirely real. “Freak,Go, Home” continues the album’s dance movement with a super cool Thom York-ish bass/synth groove that crescendos and fades as if swimming in a wavepool of psychadelia.

The emotionally devastating “Greek Light” hits out of nowhere and takes the album to its lowest, darkest place. It’s a brutal three minute meditation of pure tragedy, brilliantly accented by the rhythmic oscillations of some kind of soulless hospital machine. An unintelligibly silly voice accompanied by eighth-note hits of sparkle-synth give the song a trace of light-heartedness. I sometimes find “Greek Light” too emotionally overwhelming to listen to, but it is undoubtedly the album’s most beautiful moment.

“Metatron” is the smooth comedown after “Greek Light”, confidently anchoring the listener back into a warm and safe embrace. Harrington throws down another simple reverb-drenched guitar lead in between little funk strums on the “and” of the beat. Jaar then joins in with triumphant blasts of synthesizer at all the right moments. The track cleverly closes under a lo-pass filter as the song’s signature blues riff fades into oblivion.

As a wannabe amateur musician myself, Psychic is the album I’ve always fantasized about making. I must admit that I both love and hate DARKSIDE – love them because they made brilliant music that immediately enhanced my life, but hate them because I am jealous they made this album before I could (and will probably never will).

Psychic by DARKSIDE is a brilliantly paced and articulated statement of minimalism, atmosphere and groove. The kings of subtlety and nuance, Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington are two Millennial electro-rockers doing it right

Sunday Roundup: Party Philosophy, Petr Mrazek’s Fate, and Selma

It’s Sunday and it is time to catch up on the best the internet had to offer during the past week. If you have any article suggestions for the Sunday Roundup send me a tweet @tbone1225.

Andrew WK tweet of the week

Straight up zen!

You can never have too many goalies

“I’ve said in the past that Mrazek has done all that he can in the AHL. He has more than 50 wins and backstopped his team to a Calder Cup during the 2012-13 season. He has nothing left to prove at that level.” Tom Mitsos discusses goalie Petr Mrazek’s likely fate after head goalie Jimmy Howard returns in his article “Has Petr Mrazek Played His Way Onto Red Wings” at The Hockey Writers.

It’s a good time for social justice cinema

“It’s no laughing matter to see enslaved Black persons being beaten on the big screen. These social justice films are enjoyable, but I would not say that they are entirely pleasant experiences. We’re not talking about rom-coms here.” Rod Thomas of The Resist Daily shares his critical observations about the Ava Duvernay film Selma in an article titled “5 Takeaways from #Selma @SelmaMovie.”

Miracle: the Russian perspective

“[I]t was Tarasov’s love of the game and big-hearted nature that helped the Soviet Union players fall in love with the sport.” Tom Mitsos reviews ESPN’s new 30 for 30 hockey-umentary “Of Miracles and Men” for The Hockey Writers.

From Becky to Bechdel

Comedy gold.

Defense fails Mrazek in Red Wings loss to Penguins

“Mrazek most likely played his last game in Detroit for a while, now that both Howard and Jonas Gustavsson are healthy.” After a difficult loss to the Penguins, Tom Mitsos laments Petr Mrazek’s relatively short season as goaltender for the Red Wings in his article “3 Observations from Red Wings’ Loss to Pittsburgh” on The Hockey Writers.

The hypothetical cost of Kessel

“It’s a very solid lineup for sure. Kessel on the top line with Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader is a dream lineup, and the possibility of Henrik Zetterberg taking Abdelkader’s spot on the wing only makes the line that more dangerous.” Tom Mitsos weighs the pros and cons of the Red Wings trading a big chunk of their roster for Toronto’s Phil Kessel in his article “Red Wings Hypothetical Trade: How Much for Kessel?” for The Hockey Writers. Special thanks to hockey analytics researcher David Malinowski for the prompt.

Goalie Tom McCollum on his time with the Red Wings

Tom Mitsos and The Hockey Writers interview Red Wings goalie prospect Tom McCollum about his short stint in Detroit, his continued presence with the Grand Rapids Griffins, and how he got into hockey in the first place.

Sunday Roundup: Croatia’s Jubilee, Hockey’s Biggest Coaching Foible, and To Kill a Mockingbird Sequel

It’s Sunday and it is time to catch up on the best the internet had to offer during the past week. If you have any article suggestions for the Sunday Roundup send me a tweet @tbone1225.

Red Wings need to work on their penalty kill

“When you already are down a man, chasing the puck is the worst sin you can commit on the penalty kill, especially if you are facing a team that is good at cycling the puck.” Despite a winning record, the Red Wings have had some serious problems shoring up their penalty kill. Tom Mitsos discusses ways the team can overcome this issue in his article “How to Fix the Red Wings’ Penalty Kill” for The Hockey Writers.

Croatia is just the latest in a long line of debt cancellation programs

“Whatever happens in this latest game of brinkmanship between creditors and debtors, history shows that mass debt write-offs are neither as rare nor as taboo as we might think.” From the early Jewish concept of the “Year of Jubilee” and the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi to post-war debt forgiveness plans in France, Greece, Italy and Germany, Telegraph writer Mehreen Khan explains how debt cancellation has been a central tenet of many of history’s greatest economic success stories. Check out Mehreen’s article “The biggest debt write-offs in the history of the world” and the book that inspired it titled This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff.

Seahawks decision to pass at the 1-yard line is NOT the biggest coaching foible of all time

After the Super Bowl, football fans were quick to label Pete Carroll’s fateful decision to pass instead of run the ball as the worst coaching mistake of all time, but to Tom Mitsos of The Hockey Writers that award goes to Soviet Union ice hockey coach Viktor Tikhonov who pulled goalie Vladislav Tretiak, who was touted as the best goalie in the world, resulting in a loss to the United States in the 1980 Olympics. “Tikhonov even admitted pulling Tretiak was the worst mistake he ever made, and no one knew Tretiak as an athlete better than Tikhonov.” For more, read Tom’s article “Bigger Coaching Gaff: Viktor Tikhonov or Pete Carroll?”

Harper Lee’s sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird

The internet was set ablaze following the discovery of a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee. Comic writer Paul Cornell and Twitter wisdom curator Jon Winokur were among the many who took this to heart in their daily Tweets.

A great season for Darren Helm, Luke Glendening, Justin Abdelkader, and Kyle Quincey

While many Red Wings fans will attribute the team’s recent bout of success to Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Tatar, and Nyquist, their assault on the top spot in the Atlantic Division wouldn’t be possible without Michigan natives Luke Glendening, Justin Abdelkader, formerly injury-prone center Darren Helm, and Kyle Quincey, the defensemen that many fans last year would have been happy to get rid of. “When general manager Ken Holland re-signed Kyle Quincey to a two-year deal alst summer, it reeked of a panic move after he struck out on all of the free agent defensemen he was pursuing. However, Quincey has been one of the more consistent defensemen for the Red Wings this season.” Tom Mitsos breaks down the reasons to celebrate these four players in his article “4 Red Wings Having Surprisingly Good Seasons” at The Hockey Writers.

For the right price the Red Wings might welcome Toronto’s Cody Franson to Detroit

“In the end, the price has to be right for Franson, whether the Red Wings can get that price will decide whether they should pull the trigger or stand pat.” Tom Mitsos responds to trade deadline speculation that right-handed defenseman Cody Franson might be coming to Motown. While it is clear that Franson would be a great fit in Detroit, many fans are uncomfortable with the potential cost. Read Tom’s article “Red Wings Trade Talk: Is Cody Franson the Missing Piece?” featuring the expert testimony of The Hockey Writers Maple Leafs contributor James Tanner.

Expect a better second half of the season from Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha

“[N]ow that [Mantha] has 35 games under his belt, he’s no doubt got a good grasp of what will and will not work at the AHL level.” Though 20-year-old junior league star Anthony Mantha has not been measuring up to the high expectations set for him this season, writer Tom Mitsos remains optimistic about his future as the 2014-15 season marches toward its conclusion. Check out his article “Anthony Mantha Determined to Have Better Second Half” at The Hockey Writers.

How cosplay is the great equalizer

Comic book writer Dan Slott decided to post an uplifting tweet on Saturday:

Dan Slott currently writes Amazing Spider-man and Silver Surfer for Marvel Comics.