Just when you thought that the interminable album-of-the-year season was over, the Village Voice has published its mammoth "Pazz and Jop" poll, compiling the favorite records of some 795 music critics, according to an arcane and fantastically complex scoring system known, legend has it, only to Robert Christgau. The not-entirely-surprising news is that Kanye West, M.I.A. and Sufjan Stevens top the list. Not to be outdone, Heart on a Stick has painstakingly assembled a "bloggregate" of bloggers' top 10's -- right down to No. 349 ("Saw," by the Yellow Light). The even less surprising news here is that Sufjan shares the top three with Wolf Parade and Bloc Party. Kanye barely scrapes into the first 20 of a distinctly indie-boys-with-guitars-centric poll, while the White Stripes, in the 6th spot in "Pazz and Jop," register a measly No. 67 with the bloggers. (via Brooklyn Vegan)
While Audiofile generally laps up all things Cat Power, I'm not entirely sure about this video for the otherwise lovely track "Living Proof," from the new album "The Greatest." Directed by Harmony Korine, it consists of about 30 seconds of shoddily filmed, sub-art school footage slowed down to fill the duration of the 3-minute song. Worst of all, with its ham-fisted religious imagery and running track setting, it draws unflattering comparison with the two of the best music videos ever, Madonna's "Like a Prayer" and Roots Manuva's "Witness (One Hope)."
And here's some of Welsh rapper -- and new Interscope artist -- Akira the Don's eloquent Web site commentary on Tuesday's State of the Union speech: "The monkey Resident lied and squinted and smirked for less than an hour, but it felt like an eternity. Everything that slithered out of those thin, dry lips was a foul perversion and a mockery. 'There is no peace in retreat,' he said. 'There is no honor in retreat.' The assembled blue-suited white people clapped like good monkeys. Are they stupid? Or are they actors? Are they all in on it?" Gigwise has an interesting interview with Akira here, which addresses, among other things, how a white, British DIY hip-hopper, with heavy-metal hair and a Salvador Dali mustache, came to be signed by the record label of Eminem and Dr. Dre.
-- Matt Glazebrook