Focus On: Hints
It seems certain that New York is the place to be, at the moment, with its ravaging new music scene, although the Big Apple has always been the setting for some of America’s finest alternative acts. And just one of those exciting new bands from the city that never sleeps is Hints. With three two-track releases to their names, comparisons have already been drawn to British indie titans such as The Smiths, Orange Juice, and Aztec Camera, to name a mere few. And with the band’s blend of clasping guitars, shuffling rhythms, crooned, melancholy vocal hooks, the aforementioned comparisons become completely understandable. With new songs Endless Well and Forced To Ask, sounding as though recorded back in 1983, within the North-most counties of England, as opposed to the East Coast of the U.S.A.
So with the release of Vol. III, we caught up with Hints frontman Garrett Morin, to discuss the release, and his band that are climbing their way through the ranks of alternative aficionados’ affection.
You Are Boring
Here’s the full text of a piece I wrote for The Magazine a few months ago. I really enjoyed writing it, and would like to thank Marco once again for publishing it there. If you haven’t checked out The Magazine yet, you should. Anyway, here’s why you’re a total snooze:
Everything was going great until you showed up. You see me across the crowded room, make your way over, and start talking at me. And you don’t stop.
You are a Democrat, an outspoken atheist, and a foodie. You like to say “Science!” in a weird, self-congratulatory way. You wear jeans during the day, and fancy jeans at night. You listen to music featuring wispy lady vocals and electronic bloop-bloops.
You really like coffee, except for Starbucks, which is the worst. No wait—Coke is the worst! Unless it’s Mexican Coke, in which case it’s the best.
Pixar. Kitty cats. Uniqlo. Bourbon. Steel-cut oats. Comic books. Obama. Fancy burgers.
You listen to the same five podcasts and read the same seven blogs as all your pals. You stay up late on Twitter making hashtagged jokes about the event that everyone has decided will be the event about which everyone jokes today. You love to send withering @ messages to people like Rush Limbaugh—of course, those notes are not meant for their ostensible recipients, but for your friends, who will chuckle and retweet your savage wit.
You are boring. So, so boring.
Don’t take it too hard. We’re all boring. At best, we’re recovering bores. Each day offers a hundred ways for us to bore the crap out of the folks with whom we live, work, and drink. And on the internet, you’re able to bore thousands of people at once.1
A few years ago, I had a job that involved listening to a ton of podcasts. It’s possible that I’ve heard more podcasts than anyone else—I listened to at least a little bit of tens of thousands of shows. Of course, the vast majority were so bad I’d often wish microphones could be sold only to licensed users. But I did learn how to tell very quickly whether someone was interesting or not.
The people who were interesting told good stories. They were also inquisitive: willing to work to expand their social and intellectual range. Most important, interesting people were also the best listeners. They knew when to ask questions. This was the set of people whose shows I would subscribe to, whose writing I would seek out, and whose friendship I would crave. In other words, those people were the opposite of boring.
Here are the three things they taught me.
"Alas, what strikes us as witty, original and winning often comes across to the rest of the world as sloppily confessional, self-promotional or trite. It is, I confess, paradoxically and distressingly difficult for me not to post about how much candy I’ve eaten on a given day. And even I don’t really want to know about that."
OK Go + Sesame Street = Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
Happy birthday to Philip Glass, born today in 1937, and the man behind the music in this classic Sesame Street clip.