Mandatory Pop Culture Tattoos

In which A.V. Club readers ask us: “Congress has passed a law requiring all people to get a pop-culture-related tattoo. What would you get and why?” Check out the entire list here. My response excerpted below …

Do we get tax breaks for already being branded? I’ve got four tattoos so far, and they’re all music-related. Here’s the inventory: Left wrist, inside: A cartoonized teardrop with legs, the latter making up the “LL” in the words circling it, “WE ALL TRY.” That’s a reference to the Frank Ocean song that really truly helped me contextualize my recent divorce (the teardrop dripping down from the ring hand, signifying loss, gangsta-style). Left bicep, outside: A Keith Haring-style bottle of booze and vinyl record holding hands and walking, the logo for a retired L.A. experimental music night dubbed “Calling All Kids,” which was named for the Arthur Russell song. Left wrist, inside: A pen-drawn character with the words “funny ha ha” coming out of his mouth in loopy cursive. It was inspired partly by cLOUDDEAD lyrics and custom-drawn for me by Yoni Wolf of WHY? and cLOUDDEAD. Right shoulder, outside: A super badass skull woodcut piece lifted from the cover of a dusty old classical record I picked up that happened to be Hector Berlioz’ 1830 opium-fueled opus, Symphonie Fantastique, an incredibly trippy piece that Leonard Bernstein acknowledged as the birth of psychedelia in music. (I lucked out on the justification behind that one.) So, yes, obviously my next tattoo is gonna be a “#HIPSTER” tramp stamp.

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Review: ‘The OF Tape Vol. 2’ Proves That the Future is Still Odd (Also: That Earl Sweatshirt is Alive)

Hype is a fickle beast and Odd Future rides it like a pack of rodeo clowns. The Angeleno misfit rap crew seems to understand that the arena wants to see its champions knocked around a bit, wants to jeer before it cheers—that, or the group’s “kill people, burn shit, fuck school” nihilism is exactly what’s needed in the two-thousand-teens. Regardless, their new posse album, The OF Tape Vol. 2, reminds us of what’s so great about these fuckers. Read at The A.V. Club.

A Few of Our Favorite Things, 2011: Black Lips, Stephen Colbert, Sensitive Bros, Ambient Beats…

The good people over at Friends of Friends Music, in keeping with their founding each-one-teach-one ethos, asked their friends, and friends of friends, to contribute some sort of top ten (ish) music-related list of favorites from the past year. My contribution is below, but visit the FoF site to read entries by folks like Shlohmo, Ernest Gonzales (Mexicans With Guns), Lushlife, Clive Tanaka, Low Limit, TAKE, Garth Trinidad, Shaun Koplow and Jeff Weiss.

Like most folks that’ll contribute to this project, I could do this all day. To limit a “best of” list to ten entries is the cruelest of tortures to a real music geek, but the tradition exists for a reason: namely, to ensure we all get back to work. This isn’t definitive. These are the first ten wonderful music-related things that popped into my head, but considering the breakneck evolutionary pace and exponential expansion of our chosen medium, it seems fitting to shoot from the hip.

1) Destroyer goes Kaputt: There’s absolutely nothing I don’t love immensely about this album. Am I the only one who had an unrealized, unrecognized need to meet the lovechild of Steely Dan and Sade? Aside from Destroyer’s Dan Bejar, perhaps, but at least I know I’m not totally alone.

2) The Black Lips destroy a ballroom: Mere hours after watching Jared Swilley pinwheel a guitar body into the forehead of a grateful fan at Lollapalooza, I found myself thrashing in a chic hotel ballroom to “Bad Kids” while being pelted with TP rolls and complimentary vodka drinks. \\m//  

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Review: Odd Future Overloard Tyler the Creator Defies ’em All with his Second Album ‘Goblin’

Tyler the Creator, "Goblin"

Even as more of the world watches and Diddy lurks at his door, it still would’ve been surprising if Tyler, the Creator had made a run for the mainstream on his second album. And by kicking off Goblin with a defiant seven-minute intro, the Odd Future overlord solidifies his place as America’s favorite young nihilist, dismantling the next-big-thing rep that he’s been building. As he debates a “therapist” (Tyler himself, his voice distorted), the MC/producer claims, “People excited, thinking shit is so tight / Getting cosigns from rappers I don’t even like.” For a newcomer …

Spilled a bunch of ink over this album for Spin. 50K in the first week. Wow.

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Hungry Like the Wolves: L.A.’s Odd Future are Spin’s Next Big Thing for 2011 (On Stands!)

Tyler the Creator, Mike G, Syd, Left Brain (L to R)

Run to the stands (now! right now! stop reading! do it now!) to pick up the new issue of Spin. It’s a great one cover to cover, but pages 50 thru 54 are my personal favorites. That’s right. It’s a five-page dive into the bizarre, exuberant world of rising L.A. rap stars Odd Future (OFWGKTA) penned by yours truly. A real labor of love that came with surprising little injury (well, people were hurt, but I wasn’t — it’s in the article). I spent hours with Tyler the Creator, Hodgy Beats, Left Brain, Syd, Mike G and the inimitable Taco (was there when he revealed his new brace-less face), and even more hours (days?) on the Internet, reading Tweets, blogs, obscure articles and thought-to-be-lost emails about and by these young, rakish web-savvy entrepreneurs. I even talked to Flying Lotus, members of Liars and Tyler’s old high school teacher.

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Funny Ha Ha Cameos on Golf Wang (OFWGKTA)

Shamelessness in profile.

[This blog used to be called Funny Ha Ha.] In a long series of pretty much solely self-indulgent posts, this might be rock bottom. But hey, I’m a fan as much as I’m a journalist, so this is me fanning out. The above shot was taken by Taco at Odd Future’s Low End Theory show last year (October?). That’s Left Brain on the left, and Tyler’s right eye on the right. More pictures from that night here, on the excellent Golf Wang photo Tumblr. Better shot from December below:

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Besto 2010: Flying Lotus and Wavves in the A.V. Club’s Top 25 LPs (Plus, Funny Ha Ha’s Faves)

Wavves and Flying Lotus come in at #s 15 and 22

We here at Funny Ha Ha are counting on 2011 reasons that this brand new year will be even better than the last, musically speaking, but it’s still fun to look back. The A.V. Club recently posted its Top 25 albums of the year and yours truly wrote on two greats hailing from (usually) sunny Southern California — Flying Lotus’ Cosmogramma, and Wavves’ King of the Beach. Dig into the entire list here, and when you’re done, you can check out my full ballot (which contributed to the democratically derived rankings of the main list), including blurbs on Warpaint, Glasser and Tyler the Creator.

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