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The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
Friday, September 23, 2016 — 5A


Call: #734-418-4115
Email: dailydisplay@gmail.com

1 Out of practice
6 Blue stone
11 It doesn’t last long
14 Casual opening
15 Saudi neighbor
16 Part of un giorno
17 Crayfish habitat
18 Employees
20 Seminal
discovery by
sports historians?
22 Newspaper
25 LAX stat
26 “You got me
27 Comprehensive
text on mints?
32 Card game
33 Certain cross-
country traveler
34 Crane’s
36 “One Mic” rapper
37 Reaction to Bugs’
41 Common ID
43 Soaps actress
44 Some kissing
47 Snap
48 How a snail
51 Lend __
54 “That’s so cute!”
55 Brine-cured
56 “I plotted against
completely on my
61 “Doubtful”
62 Be enamored of
66 Relative of -ista
67 View from the
Eiffel Tower
68 Traction aid
69 Cold and wet
70 Fragrant
71 Quite a while

1 Kid
2 A, in Acapulco
3 Mess metaphor
4 Canter cousin
5 “Am I clear?”
6 Dieter’s choice
7 Milwaukee : mine
:: Marseilles : __
8 Last of three

9 Calligrapher’s
10 Searches
11 Philatelist’s
12 Peloponnesian
13 Nature spirits of
Greek myth
19 Plains tribe
21 List substitute:
22 Cadillac model
23 Hägar creator
24 TV’s “Through
the Wormhole,”
28 Invoice heading
29 Initiation
30 Ryan of
“Sleepless in
31 Night sch. staple
35 Bit of adverbial
38 Confessional
music genre
39 LBJ’s successor
40 Real head-turner
in the animal
41 Deeper into la-la

42 “From Here to
Eternity” Oscar
45 Coverage-
providing org.
46 __ symbol
49 Bit of equestrian
50 __ Beach,
Hawaii, home of
the 2005 Little
League World
Series champs

52 “__ suspected!”
53 Salon
57 Hawaiian
58 Agitated state
59 Pothole
60 Farm female
63 Org. assisting
64 Amtrak unit
65 QB’s stat

By Jeffrey Wechsler
©2016 Tribune Content Agency, LLC



RELEASE DATE– Friday, September 23, 2016

Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle

Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis





In “Amazing or Malaising,”

Daily Arts Writer Harry Krinsky
decides if a piece of culture is won-
derful or trapped in malaise.

Apple Music and Spotify have

a bunch of problems, but it’s easy
to overlook them because only 10
years ago the music industry was
hemorrhaging from an epidemic
of illegal mp3 downloading.

For example: one of the tabs

in the Apple Music app is called
“For You.” The tab features a
constantly updated list of playl-
ists that Apple Music thinks you
will like based on the music you
already listen to. Spotify has a
similar feature. They are both
effectively useless.

Here are the playlists Apple

Music has curated for me and
stored in the “For You” section of
the app.

I Aint Saying She a

Gold Digger…

Meek Mill vs. Drake

3) Inspired By Lauryn Hill
4) Gucci Mane Essentials
5) Hipster’s Paradise, Vol 1.

(Which features hip underground
artists like Kanye West, Tyler the
Creator, Lupe Fiasco and Frank

I have basically never used

the Apple Music “For You” sec-
tion. The only two playlists I have
found remotely useful have been
“Lil Wayne Guest List 2000-
2010” and “Drake’s Pop Culture
Lexicon.” The main problem
with these computer generated
playlists, is that they have the dis-
tinct feel of something made by a
computer. They are not mixtapes
your significant other made you,
or even the “Summer Pregame
2015” playlist your roommate
whipped you up. They are the
product of algorithms. I recently
listened to Gucci Mane’s new
album, so they hit me with the
“Gucci Essentials,” I listened to
Erika Badu the other day. Lau-
ryn Hill. Possibly they know I
just moved into an Airbnb in
Williamsburg, “Hipster’s Para-
dise Vol 1.” The point is that the
playlists are entirely predictable.
It is so clear that an algorithm
sucked up my listening data, and
spit out some set of lame playlists
that I will likely disregard unless
they have the words “Drake” and
“Lexicon” in them.

The “For You” tab is corny and

robotic. It’s easy to see where
technology came in and pushed
the amorphous “soul” of music
discovery out. For some reason,
though, we don’t look at the tab
to the left, the “New” tab, in the
same light. While “For You”


recommendations that we see
through immediately, the “New”
tab helps users find music that’s
not just new to them, but new
to existence. I think the normal
reaction to finding out there is
tab that helps you find new music
is probably somewhere between
excitement and ambivalence, but
the truth is, this feature is some-
thing every fan of creative, non-
homogenous music should be
afraid of.

Today, music discovery is so

accessible that it’s a legitimate
millennial hobby. Like, I spend
between 30 minutes and two
hours a day scouring blogs for
new tracks by new artists. This
hobby is so ubiquitous that find-
ing new songs comes with its own
sort of social capital. Every friend
group has the friend who “always
finds music before it blows up.”

There are entire websites devot-
ed to supplying readers with
new music. I think the music
blog sphere, while at times over-
whelming, is certifiably amazing.
We are in the golden age of music
discovery. There are a seemingly
infinite amount of tracks scat-
tered across the internet, with
no barriers to entry other than
access to a computer and time.
There is an entire ecosystem of
blogs with different tastes they
cater too. There are blogs that
post every 20 minutes, sharing
strange interviews or obscure
shitty mixtapes. Then there are
blogs like Hypetrak that post less
frequently, filter out a little of
the garbage, but are often steps
behind those high output blogs.
Then there are websites like
The Fader or Complex, whose
posts are more often a validation
of fame than a stepping stone
towards it. Yeah, it can take two
hours of scouring the internet
before finding a mildly likable
track, but that’s the point.

(Maybe you can see where I’m

going with this. I’m 21 and I’m
already lamenting the loss of a
simpler time. But when culture
and technology move so fast, it’s
a lot easier to get nostalgic.)

The first problem with Apple

Music’s discovery platform, is
it distills the blog scouring pro-
cess into something anyone can
do. More importantly, it distills
the blog scouring process into
something anyone can do in five
minutes. There are playlists like
“Apple A-List Hip Hop” or Spoti-
fy’s “Rap Caviar” that search the
internet for trending songs, and
spit out the top 15 most trending
songs. Those playlists are then
presented to the user in order

of popularity. In other words, it
tracks the popular “about to be
popular” songs.

Yeah, I’m salty that Apple

Music has made my literacy with
the music blog-sphere a nearly
useless quality, but that isn’t why
these playlists bum me out so

Right now these playlists track

and identify hype. They notice
what is trending and synthesize
it. The same robots who made the
laughable “For You” tab make the
unfortunately legitimate “New”
tab. Though, the true reason to
worry about these playlists goes
beyond the inauthentic distilla-
tion of hype. We should worry
because the logical next step
for these behemoth distribution
platforms is for them to manufac-
ture hype, not just track it.

It’s important to note that the

tab in the center of the Apple
Music’s app is the “radio” tab.
Similarly, it’s important to note
that the only Spotify advertise-
ment I ever hear is for their week-
ly discovery playlist. The internet
is slowly but surely killing radio,
so why did Apple Music invest
millions in deals with Drake,
Zane Lowe and Dr. Dre to pro-
duce radio shows? When Spotify
was first explained to me, it was
pitched as Pandora but with the
ability to choose your own songs.
So why is Spotify pushing a fea-
ture that chooses the songs for
you? Why is radio back from the
dead, resurrected by the technol-
ogy that killed it?

The Answer, I think, is that

the next frontier of these big
companies is to control exactly
what we discover. In corner-
ing the music discovery space,
Apple and Spotify are effec-
tively mass producing trendi-
ness. They are Urban Outfitters
for your ears. Most music fans
roll their eyes at mega popular
songs because they often feel
like they were manufactured
for radio, but openly embrace
songs that haven’t yet become
popular, even if they are des-
tined to do so. It used to be that
the underground or the yet to be
discovered artists were the ones
pushing the envelope of music.
I think this is still true, but can
anything that can be found on
the front page of Apple Music’s
mobile app really be described
as underground?

You would never think any of

the “For You” playlists are actual-
ly for you. Why would you think
anything in the “New” category
is actually anything new?

Internet Music Discovery in

2016: Malaising


Daily Arts Writer

How Apple and Spotify are becoming Urban Outfitters for our ears
The future of ‘For You’


Each night this past summer

ended with the same routine:
me, my friends, Crosby the dog,
a couple bags of Tostitos “Hint
of Lime” chips, tropical mix Hi-
Chews and banana bread (if it
was a good night) all adorned by
some nice citronella candles in
my buddy Matt’s quintessential-
ly Midwestern back yard.

Music played, too.
Often you hear people talk

about their summer “song” or
“anthem” or “jam.” Each of those
terms are fairly clichéd, but
that’s irrelevant. What’s more
important is that, for any type of
music to become at all emblem-
atic of any amount of time, it
needs to seep in organically. It
should be there as you’re there —
unforced and unprompted.

That’s just what happened

with Whitney’s Light Upon the
Lake. I don’t remember exactly
when it started playing or how
it was suggested. On the third,
maybe fourth night in the back-
yard, however, someone had to
notice. It’s good stuff. Julien
Ehrlich’s voice is weepy, sensi-
tive and unlike anything we had
ever heard. Former Smith West-
erns guitarist Max Kakacek’s
gentle touch is quite complemen-

It’s not easy to quantify music.

In fact, it’s more unnecessary and
damaging to the experience than
it is productive. That being said,

looking back on it, each night
now seems numbered, compart-
mentalized to its own tracklist.
The first night we went to the
backyard? That was definitely a
Light Upon the Lake night. The
night we sent our Elder friend
off on his two year Mormon mis-
sion? “Golden Days” worked.
Undoubtedly the best way to get
a grip on what was happening
was to embrace the soundtrack
behind it. Whitney simply made
too much sense for us to ignore.

On “The Falls,” for example,

Ehrlich sounds confused, admit-
ting, “Cause I’m not too sure I
know / Which way the rising
river flows / On the night I lose
control / Oh dear, don’t you let
me go,” stirring in all of us a dan-
gerous cauldron of college-aged
fear and anxiety. He also simul-
taneously highlights his own
understanding of our need for
togetherness — in that defining
moment (whatever and whenev-
er it is), in the uncertainty lead-
ing up to that moment and in the

Maybe it’s that sort of wisdom

that makes me giggle a little bit
and even shed a tear whenever
I talk about Whitney’s influence
on our summer, until I real-
ize that I’m acting like every-
body’s grandfather. But that’s
a really good thing; it speaks
to the enduring quality of the
album. However great our sum-
mer was, the ten tracks on Light
Upon the Lake enhanced it on

another level, and they followed
us everywhere, in the best type
of way.

Whether it was the delicate

jam of “Dave’s Song” (“And I
know how to keep you hung
up but I won’t do it again / Oh
I know I wish you were my
friend”) or the adventure that is
“No Matter Where We Go” (“I
can take you out / I wanna drive
around / With you with the win-
dows down / And we can run all
night”), there was a mood for

We heard it after coming home

from a Fourth of July party, dur-
ing which we saw “acquain-
tances” from high school who
we definitely had no desire to see

We heard it while camping at

Devil’s Lake State Park in Wis-

We most definitely heard it at

Pitchfork Music Festival, where
they played 20 feet in front of us.

And most importantly, we

heard it at Matt’s house with
the chips and Hi-Chews and dog
and, most importantly, us.

I hope to hear Light Upon the

Lake for a while even after this
year. I’ve been listening as I walk
around campus, but it isn’t quite
the same. Whitney preached that
“When it’s coming to an end, at
least the rain won’t come again,”
and it sure seems like something
came to an end. I guess I’m just
hoping something hits me again.
I’d even take rain.


Daily Arts Writer

My summer of ‘Light Upon the Lake’

Following a brief period of

namelessness, the four-piece
post-punk outfit hailing from


with a glossier,

sound. Originally

Cong, the band
elected to change
their name fol-

and at least two canceled book-
ings — both of which were in
response to accusations of cul-
tural appropriation, racism and
glorification of the Vietnamese
guerilla army. Playing shows as
“Matt, Mike, Scott, and Daniel”
(their first names) for several
months, they settled on Preoc-
cupations after a friend wrote
them a list of name suggestions.
Returning now with their sec-
ond eponymous release, Preoc-
cupations debuts a tighter, more
organized and vocally-centered
sound that’s less fixated on
being loud than it is on dupli-
cating the same uneasiness that
permeated their 2015 self-titled
release as Viet Cong.

Opening with leading single

“Anxiety,” Preoccupations does
just that. With an ambient,
creepy introduction just over
one minute in duration, drums
and guitar break the silence
suddenly and forcefully. Fol-
lowing shortly is vocalist/bass-
ist Matt Flegel’s grating growl,
an instrument just as central to
the Preoccupations sound as the
jangly, hollow guitars that hang
over the percussive musings of
drummer Mike Wallace. Tied
together by a simple, melodic
synth line that frequents the
remaining three minutes of
the track, “Anxiety” is a call to
arms, and its most readily quot-
able lyric is a reminder of the
urgency of life: “I’m not here
purely for the sake / Of breath-
ing, I am wide awake.”

No single track matches the


Shelf,” and the “Silhouettes”
bass line is still without equal,
but there are flourishes of
intense accessibility sprinkled
throughout the album. It’s hard

to disagree with

tioned synth line
of “Anxiety,” and
for the first ten
seconds of “Stim-



impression of The

Strokes (after which a discor-
dant guitar puts an abrupt end
to the façade). It’s difficult to
argue that any song off of Viet
Cong aside from “Silhouettes”
or “Continental Shelf” ever
had a sliver of hope for main-
stream success. Almost all of
them threaten to scare away
less open-minded listeners with
prolonged, droning builds —
see the first three minutes of
“March of Progress” — or brow-
beating percussion (or both).
On Preoccupations, however,
the band seem to have acknowl-
edged (or at least subconscious-
ly realized) this risk, and while
songs like “Monotony” and
“Zodiac” aren’t likely to draw
listeners in, neither should they
turn anyone away.

More than just being accessi-

ble, some moments — especially
“Fever” and the four-minute
mark of “Memory” — explic-
itly recall new wave. A third
of the way through “Memo-
ry,” the band emerges from an
impatient percussion line in
a moment positively reminis-
cent of New Order. Propulsive
yet subtle bass and synthesizer
build into Dan Boeckner’s fea-
ture (the sole feature on the
album). With his nostalgic,
Bowie-esque voice, Boeckner
strengthens this New Wave
impression and provides an
intriguing (and welcome) con-
trast to Flegel’s generally harsh
vocals. Though it’s tempting to
try to equate “Memory” to Viet
Cong’s “Death” – both function

as anchors for their respec-
tive albums, each clocking in
at just over 11 minutes long –
“Memory” is pared down, less
frantic and more ambient. It’s
a good summation of the album
as a whole. Where “Death”
rails listeners with relentless
pounding and wall-of-sound
jamming, “Memory” spends its
last four minutes fading slowly
into nothingness, as memories
themselves tend to do.

Following “Memory” is the



unabashedly front and center
and Flegel, in a rare (and brief)
moment of indulgence, sings
about relationship woes: “Won-
dering how long it might take
to leave you / I can’t improve.”
“Degraded” is certainly a sty-
listic exploration, but the final
quarter of the album is where
things get interesting. “Sense”
is uneasy but pleasantly ambi-
ent, with Flegel trading his
typical growl for a falsetto,
and segues directly into its
other half, the low-key “Forbid-
den,” whose final seconds are
intriguing but wholly unsatis-
fying. The album is closed out
by guitar-heavy “Stimulation,”
during which Flegel observes
that “We’re all gonna die,” and
“Fever,” a pulsing, powerfully
repetitive outro on which the
synthesizer, in tandem with


Whether or not there was

actually speculation that their
“identity crisis” would have any
effect on their ability to put out
quality material, their official
return should dispel any wor-
ries that listeners may have had.
Though some may be displeased
with the general departure
from the unforgiving intensity
of Viet Cong, Preoccupations is
an album by the same band as
the former, minus their more
violent tendencies. Whether or
not it is an indication of matu-
rity is unclear and irrelevant;
the band is back and they know
who they are.

For the Daily

The artists formerly known as Viet
Cong are back and more accessible

Preoccupations ushers in a new era for controversial indie band




Flemish Eye


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