TEST SPIN: The Avalanches — Wildflower

The last time The Avalanches released a full-length album, George W. Bush was just elected president, the internet was still in its infancy compared to the totalizing social presence it ballooned into in the mid-naughties and Sept. 11 hadn’t happened yet. Since I Left You, the group’s debut, is as danceable as it is radical in form. The Avalanches methodically overlaid 3,500 samples to create a funky, rich album that is easily playable at a party, yet also deeply rewarding to listen to while alone. Released initially to moderate success in their native Australia, the album has since grown internationally to be revered as among the sharpest examples of contemporary plunderphonics, a genre of samples-based music.

GUEST ROOM | Considering Coolness

Do you want to be cool? Sub-question: do you think that a person’s taste in pop culture can signify their coolness or uncoolness? Twenty-five years ago, I’m pretty sure that almost everyone would have said yes to both. People from before the Internet took over used to identify themselves using now-defunct subcultures like “punk” and “nerd” — or so my parents tell me — and if you were part of one subculture and not part of another, that was considered cool. This is what spawned movies like The Breakfast Club, which divided teen culture into five easily recognizable and incredibly reductive stereotypes.