"As more and more of our daily interactions become text-based—people preferring texting to phone calls, workplaces that rely heavily email and instant messaging—we’re developing ways to stretch our written language so it can communicate more nuance, so we can tell people what we mean without accidentally leading them on or pissing them off. Periods have become more forceful, commas less essential, and over the last few years, the hashtag has morphed into something resembling the fabled sarcasm font—the official keystroke of irony."

Lindsay Zoladz breaks down "The #Art of the Hashtag"—and which musicians are taking advantage of its culture-jamming potential—in her latest Ordinary Machines column.



"As far as entertainment goes, [2Pac] is the first deceased artist that we brought back like that publicly. But we’ve been doing this for years. We do a lot of things for corporate—private events where the CEO that started the company comes back and talks to the sales team about where things are going today."

— Nick Smith, co-founder of the company behind 2Pac’s 2012 Coachella “performance,” talks to Lindsay Zoladz about the current (sort of disturbing) state of holographic technology in the latest installment of Ordinary Machines.



"I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who self-identifies as a ‘millennial,’ and when people my age (26) hear that word, it generally strikes us as a story being written without our consent— like a cheesy made-for-TV movie about our lives. But, with or without our approval, it seems like a new ‘millennials’ article crops up every other day, an endless series of jabs at the pause button, each one trying to capture a more perfectly composed freeze-frame of right now. They are usually written by people from previous generations and published in places like The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times and Time; I even have a recollection of one in Amtrak’s seat-back magazine, illustrated by a dynamic photo of a Cool Millennial Dude in sneakers and a business suit, breakdancing on a conference table."

Lindsay Zoladz writes about her uneasy relationship with the term “millennial”— and how Vampire Weekend are helping to rescue it— in her latest Ordinary Machines column.



"The early days of MTV were all about epic narratives and the dazzle of rapid fire cuts, but the more my life and average workday starts to look like something out of Minority Report— constant clicks from browser tab to browser tab; imploring IMs and Gchats and email prompts— I have noticed a shift in what I consider to be a good music video. I still want to escape, but escaping looks different now. Maybe this is why a lot of my favorite videos from the past couple of years— Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend”, Grimes’ “Oblivion”, Tyler the Creator’s “Yonkers”, Zebra Katz’ “Ima Read”, Beach House’s “Wishes”, Kanye West’s “Power”, Jessie Ware’s “Wildest Moments”, and of course Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies”— feel either suspended in slow motion or brazenly low-concept. Slow and simple becomes rebellious in a world that’s anything but."

Lindsay Zoladz considers the past, present, and future of the music video in her latest Ordinary Machines column.



"On P2P sites, most things that seemed too good to be true actually were: SEO-baiting, fantasy-football remixes (“Big Pimpin’ Remix [ft. Eminem, Dr. Dre, DMX, Nas, Biggie and Tupac”), “covers” that were actually just the original song (“You Really Got Me” by the Who turned out to just be the Kinks’ version), or painfully obvious amateurs uploading their demos and calling it, say, “Beastie Boys— Intergalactic ALBUM VERSION.” Plenty of mislabels were obvious as soon as you previewed them, so you could simply cancel the download in progress— but this was still annoying. Considering that plenty of Napster and early P2P users had temperamental, slow-as-molasses 56k modems, these kinds of mislabels spelled nothing but frustration; they were wastes of all-too-precious downloading time. Looking back now, though, I find something almost poetic about them— inviting the listener to imagine cross-generational mash-ups and back-from-the-dead collaborations, the titles themselves read like fan fiction in miniature."

katherinestasaph:

a) As usual, this is very good.

b) The one I remember most is the fake clip of Sarah Brightman performig the Diva Dance from The Fifth Element. As far as I could tell this was pure wish-fulfillment — but it seemed plausible at the time! (Actually, it probably seems even more plausible now considering she did Repo and all….)

Lindsay Zoladz revisits the days of Napster-era mislabeled mp3s in her latest Ordinary Machines column. It seems like everyone was duped at least once back then …



lindsayzoladz:

The third installment of my Pitchfork column Ordinary Machines is up, and it is about digital grief, virtual cemetery experiences, and the late folk singer Judee Sill. It was partially inspired by something Kate Durbin said in this interview recently (“…the social media age is changing our cultural relationship to death. I think the internet has made us feel closer to the dead, like some Eastern or Native American traditions, where the dead are always close at hand”) and it is dedicated to the memory and the comfortingly, mischievously enduring Twitter feed of somebody very special.

lindsayzoladz:

The third installment of my Pitchfork column Ordinary Machines is up, and it is about digital grief, virtual cemetery experiences, and the late folk singer Judee Sill. It was partially inspired by something Kate Durbin said in this interview recently (“…the social media age is changing our cultural relationship to death. I think the internet has made us feel closer to the dead, like some Eastern or Native American traditions, where the dead are always close at hand”) and it is dedicated to the memory and the comfortingly, mischievously enduring Twitter feed of somebody very special.



In the latest installment of her column Ordinary Machines Lindsay Zoladz offers a chronicle of pop fandom’s 21st century evolution— from “Whackstreet Boys” to Carly Rae Jepsen to Grimes— and a looks ahead to what’s next. 

In the latest installment of her column Ordinary Machines Lindsay Zoladz offers a chronicle of pop fandom’s 21st century evolution— from “Whackstreet Boys” to Carly Rae Jepsen to Grimes— and a looks ahead to what’s next. 



Introducing Ordinary Machines, a new column by Lindsay Zoladz about the bizarre and fantastic ways music, technology, and identity intersect in the 21st century.

Introducing Ordinary Machines, a new column by Lindsay Zoladz about the bizarre and fantastic ways music, technology, and identity intersect in the 21st century.