Slacker Rock Revival: Let’s Say We Did

Nostalgia for the 1990s, as we all know, is a thing. But it seems to be largely focused on which TV shows we watched and which toys (based on those TV shows) we never got in our Happy Meals. Less talked about are the grungy slacker indie rock then heavily consumed by Generation X, to help them deal with all the positivity going around. Let’s Say We Did is a band that would have fit comfortably in that scene.

First off, there’s the big meaty droner “Into Wherever.” (You seeing a pattern with these names and titles? It’s like they’re too cool to care!) It clomps and slides and wrings little phaser noises from the guitar, never anything less than full and saturated.

After that you can, at long last, learn just how the hell the game of cricket is played with this helpful video for “Goodbye!” It’s the second single from forthcoming album Hello Creatures. You know what? It’s gotta be tough work to sound this good and this gloriously lazy at the same time.

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‘Clarissa’ Fans Needn’t Grow Up: Novel About Twentysomething Clarissa Darling Set for 2014

I know how hard it is to consume culture that was made, like, in the last week when there’s still so much to digest from our childhood! I mean, why bother watching Breaking Bad when I have all of these Doug DVDs laying around? Game of Thrones? No thank you! I could care less about the Westeros because the Roundhouse Anyfamily has forever caught my attention. Isn’t #RememberThe90s fun? We’re a generation of Peter Pans and none of us ever have to be adults. Except, of course, for that precocious teen Clarissa Darling of Clarissa Explains it All

According to Entertainment Weekly, Clarissa is coming back, but not via reruns on Nick at Nite. Rather, she’s the protagonist of a new novel marketing to millennials and, probably, Generation Y, because they can’t seem to shake this crazy nostalgic obsession either.

Now, almost 19 years after the series finale, Clarissa creator Mitchell Kriegman is letting our fashion-forward heroine enter uncharted territory with a new book, Things I Can’t Explain, tentatively slated for Fall 2014.

Acquired by Thomas Dunne Books editor and Macmillan Films head Brendan Deneen, the novel will follow 23-year-old Clarissa as she tries to carve out a career as a journalist and deals with the obstacles toward becoming a real adult: finding and keeping a job in a turbulent economy, the luxury of a first apartment without roommates, figuring out how to deal with parents all over again, and unexpected feelings for a really cute guy who—of course—has an on-and-off again girlfriend.

Well, those of us in our twenties now know that the twenties are the hardest years everrrrrrr, full of confusing feelings and weird body changes that cannot, you know, be explained. Thankfully, there’s an old friend from our childhood who can help us through the tough times of being an almost-grown up. I hope it’s raw and real like Girls. Will Clarissa and Sam have weird, uncomfortable sex in their on-again, off-again relationship? Will Clarissa’s friendship with Hillary survive the test of time? Will Ferguson come out? Will her parents, Janet and Marshall, finally confront Clarissa’s possible schizophrenia, which is the only explanation for why she keeps trying to break an invisible fourth wall with strange, smug soliloquies? Or will they just cut her off? I hope all of these things happen!

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Do You Remember the ’90s? Lisa Loeb Does!

Lisa Loeb, who strummed a guitar into our hearts and begged us to "Stay"—stay, please stay, where are you going? noooo, stayyyyy—never really went anywhere, but she’s back, sort of, with a new album called No Fairy Tale. It’s her tenth album, but her first record for adults in five years. (She released an album for children called Lisa Loeb’s Silly Silly Sing-Along: ‘The Disappointing Pancake’ and Other Zany Songs last year.) While she’s best known for her debut single, which was inclued on the soundtrack for Reality Bites (one of the most ’90s movies to ever ’90s), she’s hardly a one-hit wonder. Don’t you remember "I Do"? I do!

Of course, it’s always tough for musicians to break out of the identities they build with their earliest work, particularly when it’s so associated with the "alternative" (and all it doesn’t mean) from an era currently enjoying a cultural revival. So, of course, Lisa Loeb’s new album features a song call "The ’90s." Loeb opens up to Entertainment Weekly about writing the song:

Chad [Gilbert, New Found Glory guitarist and Loeb’s producer] literally said, “We should write a song about the ’90s,” and I thought “Ugh.” Yes, I was popular in the ’90s, but what am I going to write about the ’90s? I don’t want it to be some cutesy song about the ‘90s, but then I thought I wasn’t sure if my resistance was because I was scared, or what it was. So I tried to write it, and I decided to write it about the specific incident of making the video for “Stay.” About the dress I wore, about my shoes that I wore, and a couple of things I hadn’t been able to express before…

When I first started out, I remember reading press and people would call me a waif, and I felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously as a musician. That felt so strange to me, because that’s what I had done my whole life: Play guitar, write music, play music. I wasn’t this pop singer that appeared out of nowhere, I had been working at this forever. Then when it came to making the video for “Stay,” I had to make the decision: Did I want to go with Ethan Hawke’s idea about a one-take video that would not include my band, or did I want to prove to everybody that I had a rock band and I had been doing this forever? I chose Ethan’s idea of doing it in one take, which I thought was so strong and unique and interesting and told a great story. But now here I am with the song “The ’90s” where I can explain the situation in my specific way that I had a short dress and Betsey Johnson worked with me, and these are the shoes I was wearing, and I didn’t get to go with my band, and I’m not a folkie. I had to keep telling people I wasn’t a folk singer even though I played acoustic guitar. It’s important for me to talk about this time period, which I love, but again as I say exactly in the chorus, I loved it then but I don’t want to go back. Don’t get me wrong, I love talking about it and reminiscing, but I also love moving forward.

Take a listen to "The ’90s" below, via Spotify:

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Internet Explorer Uses Your Childhood to Sell You Stuff

In case you forgot for about five seconds, there was a decade called the 1990s, and in it, people used a browser called Internet Explorer. Whereas hip, shiny Google Chrome uses a sentimental and in some cases quite emotionally punchy approach to its advertising (don’t tell me I’m the only one who straight-up wept in an embarrassing public place at the "Jess Time" Chrome advertisement with the father and daughter), Internet Explorer, often depicted as a paste-eating toddler, has launched this whole rebranding campaign for IE9 based on puns, a sassy "HI HATERS" attitude and trying to appeal to generational pathos in another way: our overblown commitment to nostalgia.

IE’s latest ad appeals directly and not-so-subtly to our #rememberthe90s sensibilities, offering promises to users of a certain age to hearken back to a simpler time when music-playing devices were clunkier and Farmville wasn’t a thing. Come with us, they say, to a bright neon world where the slime rivers flow freely and the hippos are still Hungry Hungry. There’s even a reference to Pogs, which remains forever the benchmark and is possibly still legal tender in some places. We’re pretty surprised it took a major company this long to appeal so unsubtly to that sense of nostalgia considering how ubiquitous it’s been around the Internet and beyond for the past few years. Nevertheless, here it is.

90 Things We Remember About The 90s

With some assistance from Wikipedia, at least.

1. Ninety is the atomic number of thorium, an actinide. 

2. The 97th United States Congress met during the Ronald Reagan administration.

3. 99 is the NBA record for Most Free Throw Attempts in a 7-game series, set by Elgin Baylor of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1962.

4. The aliquot sum of 94 is 50 within the aliquot sequence (94,50,43,1,0), 94 being the ninth composite number in the 43-aliquot tree.

5. Bahá’ís use prayer beads to repeat the prayer Allah-u-Abha (God is most glorious) 95 times.

6. 97 percent of the Earth’s salt water is located in oceans and seas.

7. Ninety-three is the number of the French department Seine-Saint-Denis, and as such used by many French gangsta rappers and those emulating their speech.

8. 10-98 in police code means "Assignment Completed."

9. "92" is a song by Avail from their album 4am Friday.

10. Psalm 91 is known as the Psalm of Protection.

11. The Qur’an alludes to the 99 Names of Allah.

12. 95 South was a Miami bass duo.

13. 90 is a pronic number.

14. 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is normal body temperature.

15. 99 = 23 + 33 + 43

16. In normal space, the interior angles of a square measure 90 degrees each. 

17. There are 92 Johnson solids. 

18. A 92-story Xujiahui Tower is proposed to be built in Shanghai, China.

19. The code for international direct dial phone calls to India is 91.

20. The latitude of the North Pole and the South Pole are 90 degrees.

21. Agent 99 on Get Smart was played by Barbara Feldon.

22. Ninety-seven is the number of different characters that can be used with a standard English Keyboard.

23. There are 92 Johnson solids. 

24. Messier object M97 is a magnitude 12.0 planetary nebula in the constellation Ursa Major, also known as the Owl Nebula.

25. In statistics, a 95% confidence interval is considered satisfactory for most purposes.

26. In The Mighty Ducks, Adam Banks wears the number 99.

27. 91 is a repdigit in base 9 (111).

28. Z-95 Headhunter is a fictitious starfighter from the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

29. Since it is possible to find sequences of 92 consecutive integers such that each inner member member shares a factor with either the first or the last member, 92 is an Erdős–Woods number.

30. Ninety-two in the Shade is a book by Thomas McGuane.

31. The movie 95 Miles to Go (2004) stars Ray Romano.

32. 97 is the smallest factor of one more than the product of the first twenty-five terms of the Euclid–Mullin sequence, making it the twenty-sixth term.

33. The Kemah Boardwalk Boardwalk Bullet roller coaster begins with a steep 92-foot (28 m) drop.

34. The 95th Infantry Division was a unit of the U.S. Army in World War II.

35. Oldsmobile 98 was a full-size automobile and the highest-end of the Oldsmobile division of General Motors.

36. In cricket, it is considered unlucky if you reach 99 due to most batsmen getting out and not making the century.

37. 92 is the number of pounds of sugar the average American child consumes per year.

38. British Columbia Highway 97 is the longest continuously-numbered route in the province, from the Canada/U.S. border at Osoyoos to the British Columbia/Yukon border.

39. Martin Luther wrote the 95 Theses.

40. "Power 98" is the official nickname of radio station WPEG, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

41. Dogme 95, an avant-garde filmmaking movement, was started by Danish directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg.

42. Ninety-seven is the number of leap days that the Gregorian calendar contains in its cycle of 400 years. 97400 is close to the fraction of a day by which an average tropical year exceeds 365 days, so with this proportion of leap years, the calendar does not accumulate seasonal drift of a full day until after more than 3000 years.

43. The Guinness record of the longest placename, "Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaurehaeaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu," has 92 characters.

44. Ninety-eight is the number of sons of Ater in the Census of men of Israel upon return from exile (Holy Bible, Ezra 2:16).

45. Interstate 95 runs from Florida to Maine.

46. 96 is an octagonal number, a refactorable number and an untouchable number.

47. I-94 is the form used to declare to US Customs Officers by international travelers the items in their possession, purpose of visit, etc.

48. The Old 97’s are an alt-country band that took their name from the song "The Wreck of the Old 97."

49. The sum of Euler’s totient function φ(x) over the first seventeen integers is 96.

50. 95th Street is a major east-west thoroughfare on Chicago’s South Side, designated as 9500 South in the address system.

51. Number 96 was an Australian TV show that ran in the mid-1970s.

52. 97 is the 25th prime number (the largest two-digit prime number in base 10), following 89 and preceding 101.

53. CommSuite 95 was a communications software suite of products launched by Delrina in 1995, created for use with Windows 95.

54. Saab 94 was the model number Saab unofficially used for the first generation Saab Sonett.

55. United Airlines Flight 93 was one of the airplanes hijacked on September 11, 2001.

56. 96 is the natural number following 95 and preceding 97.

57. 90 is divisible by the sum of its base 10 digits, thus it is a Harshad number.

58. The M-94 was a piece of cryptographic equipment used by the United States army in use from 1922-1943.

59. Every integer greater than 96 may be represented as a sum of distinct super-prime numbers.

60. The ASCII character set (and, more generally, ISO 646) contains exactly 94 graphic non-whitespace characters.

61. Ninety-Three (Quatrevingt-treize) is a novel concerning the French Revolution by Victor Hugo.

62. Ninety is the number of minutes in a football (soccer) match.

63. The car number of Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson and the main character in Disney/Pixar’s Cars) was 95 because 1995 was the year Toy Story was released.

64. Madden NFL 97 was the first John Madden NFL American football game to be created in the 32-bit gaming era.

65. The 91st Space Wing (91 SW) is a Minuteman (missile) III unit of the United States Air Force, based at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.

66. The highest jersey number allowed in the National Hockey League is 98, as 99 was retired by the entire league to honor Wayne Gretzky, and major-league sports only allow one- or two-digit uniform numbers.

67. Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series on October 8, 1956, throwing a total 97 pitches.

68. There are 92 "atomic elements" in the Look-and-say sequence, corresponding to the 92 non-transuranic elements in the chemist’s periodic table.

69. Ninety-four was used as a nonsense number in various contexts by the British satire magazine Private Eye. Most commonly, spoof articles end halfway through an intriguing sentence with "(continued p. 94)". The magazine never extends to 94 pages: this was originally a reference to the enormous size of some Sunday newspapers.

70. 99 is a common price ending in psychological pricing (e.g., $1.99 as opposed to $2.00).

71. Pathfinder (OV-098) is a Space Shuttle simulator built by NASA in 1977.

72. 95 is an 11-gonal number. 

73. The AN-94 is a Russian assault rifle.

74. One of two ISBN Group Identifiers for books published in India is 93.

75. 98 is a Wedderburn-Etherington number and a nontotient.

76. The length of an NBA court is 94 feet.

77. Major League baseball bases are 90 feet (27 m) apart in distance.

78. The Trail of ’98 is a 1928 western film.

79. The Marching 97 is the marching band of Lehigh University.

80. "93" is a greeting among Thelemites based on the numerological value of Thelema (Will) and Agape (Love) in Greek letters.

81. For n = 8, there are 92 solutions in the n-Queens Problem.

82. In classical Persian finger counting, the number 93 is represented by a closed fist. Because of this, classical Arab and Persian poets around 1 CE referred to someone’s lack of generosity by saying that the person’s hand made "ninety-three."

83. The sum of Euler’s totient function φ(x) over the first seventeen integers is 96.

84. The New General Catalogue object NGC 91 is a single star in the constellation Andromeda.

85. Bay Ridge–95th Street is subway station in Brooklyn, on the R Train.

86. Each February, Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago hosts Hustle Up the Hancock, a race up 94 floors of the John Hancock Center in Chicago to raise more than $1 million for lung disease research and programs.

87. 92 is a pentagonal number.

88. 91 is a solitaire card game where the object is to move cards so that the top cards total 91.

89. Nike Total 90 Apparel is a brand name of football apparel and football equipment from equipment bags to goalkeeper gloves.

90. Ninety facts is too goddamn many.

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Twenty Christmas Gifts I’m Still Waiting For

If your parents had any intention of not raising a willful, spoiled psychopath, then it’s likely they didn’t buy you everything you ever demanded from them. That’d be madness. Being a good mom or dad means saying “no” sometimes. But that doesn’t make it any less painful. So here are some prayed-for presents I’ve yet to find under the tree—in case anyone out there feels like making some old (yet reasonable) dreams come true.

Nintendo.

The original. The best. The only.

Super Nintendo.

THE EVEN BETTER NINTENDO. Come on, it’s got “Super” right in the name? How do you not buy this?

Nintendo 64.

The last Nintendo I will ever ask for, cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye. Swear.

Sega Genesis.

What? You can’t play Sonic the Hedgehog on Nintendo. Jeez.

Red Power Wheels Jeep.

At the time I originally asked for it I was already too tall and lanky to fit in one. Plus I started asking questions about why real cars aren’t electric.

Certificate that entitles bearer to quit Little League.

I think this would have allowed everyone in the father-son relationship to save face.

A cooler, more expensive chemistry set than the one I actually received on Christmas day, 1996.

Which I found before Christmas, while snooping around in the basement. Later I smoothly reminded my mother that maybe she should double-check which chemistry set I had asked for. She told me to stop snooping around in the basement.

Giant trampoline.

FYI, the one my younger siblings got while I was off at college absolutely does not count, except as a knife in my back.

Water gun that, when full, is too heavy to actually use.

Should have an enormous backpack component and cannon-like attachment. Should run out of water after being fired one and a half times.

Doom II on CD-ROM.

Hey, it’s not Nintendo, right? I’m just looking for any alternative to going over to my friend’s house to watch him play this.

Live dinosaur.

Small, obviously. I would take such good care of it, and not give it people food.

Massive inheritance.

I’m not saying kill one of my relatives. But if you could make one of my relatives stinking rich and convince them that I’m their natural heir and then kill them, go for it.

Portable TV set.

You could watch TV anywhere with this! Annoying untold thousands of innocents!

Two weeks at Space Camp.

Realistically, a lifetime appointment to Space Camp. You just know you’ll never want to leave.

Literally anything the contestants won on Double Dare. 

It could have been the junkiest skateboard ever, some consolation toy for when your family couldn’t get past stage one of the final obstacle course, and I’d be jealous.

Unstealable bike.

Not that I wouldn’t love to file another police report.

Used car with CD player.

Would do anything for this, up to and including my regular chores.

Permission to be alone in bedroom with girlfriend with the door closed.

Respect my autonomy, you guys.

Ounce of psychedelic mushrooms.

They are next to impossible to find these days, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.

“We’re skipping church this year.”

Instead we’re going to that new Belgian place for waffles and Bloody Marys. Also, we paid off all your student loan debt.

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Pixar Creates Fake University Website to Market ‘Monsters University’

With the release and reaction to Toy Story 3, it was clear that Pixar was onto something, appealing to the now college-aged audience who had grown up with the films. Now, after a pair of lukewarm releases (Cars 2 and Brave), the studio is marketing to the young-adult Pixar faithful with the upcoming Monsters, Inc. prequel, Monsters University, which looks at Sully and Mike’s college years. In what’s actually a pretty charming promotional exercise (if such a thing can actually exist), Pixar created a fake “.edu” website for the university in the film.

As far as a fake college website goes, the Monsters U site will look eerily familiar to anyone who’s gone through the university application process. Sweeping, brochure-panorama views of the campus, colorful CGI monsters biking on the quad and excessive school pride around athletics—the new football quarterback recruit even has a particularly quarterback-y name and the swim team conference champ won acclaim thanks to his worm-like body and seven legs propelling him to victory. There’s even a university news feed featuring academic studies and choir performances and information about Greek Life. Pandering it might be, but it’s comprehensive and, yeah, still cute. 

In Which I Wonder About the Future of the LES

Today I fawned over a collection of old New York imagery from the late 1800’s through the end of the last century that The Museum of the City of New York recently released, wondering what corner bar now stands where an old city tenement had endured. The cache of images left me feeling wistful about the latest on the Lower East Side’s kill list, as it was recently announced that on top of Max Fish and Pink Pony’s imminent closings, Mars Bar will shutter in 2011 as well. Architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable was famous for her outspoken 1963 New York Times article on the demolition of the original Penn Station in favor of Madison Square Garden, called “How to Kill a City.” She wrote: “Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves. Even when we had Penn Station, we couldn’t afford to keep it clean. We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.” It’s hard to be both a New York nostalgist and also feel positive about change and progress in the city, but are the cookie-cutter developments set to replace Mars Bar things that we really want?

image (Via Curbed). The current plan in place for Mars Bar is a 12-story, 60-unit building by BFC Partners (shown above), who have solidified relocation agreements with the current Second Avenue residents, though they have not yet negotiated such a contract with Mars Bar. Plans may include a 2-year closure for the ramshackle bar, only to reopen as a glossy version of its former self.

While many have expressed concern for such a loss, one person gung-ho for the development is owner Hank Penza, who told the Times: “They won’t choke me, I didn’t get off the boat yesterday with a pound of spaghetti in my hand,” noting that he was likely to “ultimately get a space that’s three to four times the size.”

When explaining the lure of Mars Bar, Nate Freeman of the New York Observer states it best: It’s a bit of a sore thumb on Second Avenue. Mars Bar is garish and gross; it’s on a street that’s so clean you could have a blanket-less picnic with your tofu from Whole Foods, which is conveniently located right next door. Mars Bar is loud, dirty, and full of unapologetic malcontents, seemingly of another age; outside people pass by, quickly and looking down, on their way to buy a bottle of Riesling and some organic kale for the night’s salad. Mars Bar serves up cheap whiskey and cancer; directly around the corner, Daniel Boulud serves up House-Made Pappardelle “Gourguignon” at DBGB. Mars Bar is not a nice place, and this is what makes Mars Bar one of the best.

image

It’s one of those places I made sure to pass while walking with people who had never been south of 14th Street (or to New York in general) so I could get a decent read of them by their reaction (usually either “What a cool building,” or “Is this a safe area?”). Many people could never understand what a perceived eyesore like Mars Bar could mean to a neighborhood, but the loss seems more about the principle—a hallmark of change that belongs to every generation, whether they’ll learn from it or not. Demolishing Penn Station in 1963 proved to be so traumatic to New Yorkers that a preservationist spirit overpowered the modernist aesthetic of the time inspiring Mayor Robert Wagner to sign the 1965 New York City Landmarks Law, creating the Landmarks Preservation Commission we know today.

I’m not saying that Mars Bar should be preserved; I’m not one of those people who claims that the Lower East Side is dead, either. There is no comparison between tearing down one of the greatest Beaux Arts buildings in New York and shuttering a few crumbling venues—but a collection of these institutions add up and amount to the overall feeling that pervades a neighborhood, and ultimately, a city. I’m just wondering if we can experience hindsight, if the ongoing battle between preservation and modernity will once again influence how proactively New Yorkers become involved in envisioning the future of their ideal city, like they were once inspired to do (post-Penn Station projects that were halted by concerned New Yorkers included a parking lot in the middle of Central Park, and plans to build a Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have paved over Greenwich Village and what is now SoHo). As one blogger writes in regard to the supposed modernity of Penn Station reconstructed all those years ago: “I’d like to go back in time, drag the architects into the present, and ask them: what, you thought we would all be wearing George Jetson jumpsuits, queuing patiently for the Atomic Express? The reality is a waiting room with insufficient signage, a great hall that isn’t, and a Hudson News thronged with balding guys, ties askew, furtively paging through battered porn mags.”