Review of White Flag, by my boss’s nine year-old
When I lived in Athens, Georgia (as an undergrad, then as a townie for two years), I listened to a lot more music than I do today. Athens is a “music town,” which means that people move there to make music together and, hopefully, find a nice job bartending that lets them periodically skip town to go on tour. It’s a simultaneously fruitful and tragic existence for these people, who make the air around them beautiful—they always have someone to call when a work-in-progress is just screaming for (say) a bass clarinet, but the local market is so ridiculously saturated that, on any given night, you’ve got to choose between four (or more) equally decent shows to catch.
It’s hard to break even, break out, or break away. This is, I think, something that we’ll come to see more and more as independent game development expands, condensing in specific cities that we’ll identify as “game towns.” Already, even though I spend a significant portion of my days scouring the Internet for new game designers, really brilliant stuff is flying under my radar all the time. We’re going to see a lot more game design with a local consciousness and flavor, more people designing games who don’t even entertain the idea that it will be their primary source of income, and more people who design games while they’re still young before moving on to other pursuits.
When I lived in Athens, Georgia, one of my favorite acts was Madeline. Mostly because she’s got the goddamn cleanest, heartbreakingest voice that I’ve ever heard. But partially, also, for laughably personal reasons: The first time I saw her play was the first time somebody had invited me out to the Fólkvangr-esque Orange Twin farm. And the night her White Flag Band opened for Earth at the Caledonia was the night that my friends Rob and Allie went on their first date. Those kinds of embarrassing, saccharine memories.
Madeline’s been making music for ten years now (if you thought you were doing well in your late teens, listen upon Kissing & Dancing, ye mighty, and despair), and she’s about to release a new LP called Black Velvet that I’ve been listening to on repeat for two months now. But the music I first heard her play was off of White Flag, so I paid my boss’s nine year-old daughter to write a review of the album, which she suggested would be appropriate for blogging:
Seriously, who does the White Flag Band think is gonna listen to this garbage?! All the songs have horrible names. I mean, one of them is called “This Train”—which reminds me the whole time in that song she says 8 words 2 times over and then thinks up new ones and on and on and on.
Also, in all songs the lyrics make no sense. I mean, in “Lit Elephants” she’s saying something about a black and white moth in a coffee cup and then suddenly about someone staying somewhere for “a while.” What does that even mean? All Madeline cares about is the words rhyming. She doesn’t care if they make sense or not.
I mean, if you like singers that sound like a drowning wasp, then this is perfect for you. But I say if they’re dumb enough to not know now to make clear what the CD name and the band name is, then they can’t sing or play the guitar or any other instrument in existence.
Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go barf from listening to it. (F.B.)
I also commissioned my friend Theron Jacobs (aka TPHD aka Darklord Tapehead) to make a digital painting on the eve of Madeline’s 10-year anniversary concert. Enjoy!