Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Angus' 2014 Music Picks

I have to kind of / sort of agree with Tyler that 2014 didn't smack me like 2013 did. Getting an incredible record from MBV after all those years and discovering Waxahatchee and Unknown Mortal Orchestra is not the kind of year one can have every year.

But there was a lot of great stuff this year as well.

I have to start with a confession though. I started out high on The War on Drugs' record, but Mark Kozelek made me face facts and realize that, dammit, it really was beer commercial guitar solos! I really have to ding it for that. I almost can't stand to listen to the thing now.

Parquet Courts (or Parkay Quarts) really solidified their claim on "next great American band" for me with two great releases: Sunbathing Animal and Content Nausea. Sure they're from New York. Sure they sound a bit like the Velvets, but people, Lou Reed ain't walking' through that door, so jump on this!!

Spoon arose from the somewhat ho-hum nature of Transference to produce a stunningly good album, "They Want My Soul". To me it just keeps getting better and better the more I listen. Me and Mrs. A saw them play up in Tulsa this year and the show was incredible. Mrs. A stayed through two encores and never gave me the "ok it's late so let's get out of here" look.  Kudos to Brit Daniels.

Tijuana Panthers are a new discovery for me this year. Their 2014 release "Wayne Interest" is quite good but I also really like their older album "Semi-Sweet".  By the way, they are not from Tijuana. If you like Harlem or King Tuff or Tav Falco's Pantherburns.....

Another top new discovery and top new band is Happyness. Their debut is called "Weird little birthday" and I really like it. Here's a link to one of the songs. OK, maybe it sounds a little like Sparklehorse, but then again Mark Linkous ain't walking' through the door either so............

Khun Narin's Electric Phin Band. This is not old, this is brand new music from Thailand. Pretty awesome.

White Fence, For the Recently found Innocent. Guided by Voice + Rain Parade + Soft Boys. I am a sucker for exactly this kind of music.

White Fence and Parquet Courts were on my list last year. This year's entries by them are even stronger than 2013's. I'd say they were both still on the rise.  Spoon just stubbornly refuses to start sucking. It's really quite amazing. I am really looking forward to more stuff from the others on my list.

When I look at say, Pitchfork's list, I just can't relate. A Sunny Day in Glasgow was aiight, and they got Spoon and Parquet Courts on there (along with the beer commercial guys), but most of it is weak sauce. Though to be fair, Mrs. A won't let me listen to Run the Jewels enough to come to an informed opinion.

Depressing Jobs

Providing aggressively bad service and being rude to everyone results in low job satisfaction.  The only thing that's surprising about that is that anyone is surprised.  You have to sympathize, I admit:  knowing that every day you are going to waste a huge amount of money and provide terrible service would make it hard to have much job satisfaction...

Jobs and depression

The Atlantic story

The actual study

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pirates! Or is it just a matter of moral intuition?

The short- and long-term effectiveness of anti-piracy laws and enforcement actions 

 Tylor Orme 
Journal of Cultural Economics, November 2014, Pages 351-368 

Abstract: Film studios have spent the past two decades lobbying extensively to establish new legislation restricting access to copyrighted materials online. While there is growing evidence of the effect film piracy has on studio profits, the evidence on the impact of anti-piracy legislation is limited. If anti-piracy legislation is having the film industry’s desired impact, we would expect film revenues to be consistently higher following the passage of major laws that restrict access to pirated content, or major enforcement actions, such as the shutdown of Web sites that provide illegal content for download. This paper applies an intervention analysis approach to weekly data on movie box-office revenues in the USA to determine whether the passage of new anti-piracy policy has generated significant changes in box-office revenues during the period from 1997 to the present. These effects are evaluated in both the short and long term, which allows an assessment of the duration of effectiveness of government actions. The results show that four of the six included policies are ineffective in the long term and those policies that do impact revenues in the short term often harm film studios, rather than help them. 

“Piracy is not theft!” Is it just students who think so? 

Michał Krawczyk et al.
 Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, February 2015, Pages 32–39 

Abstract: A fair share of studies analyzing “online piracy” are based on easily accessible student samples. However, it has been argued that the youth tend to have more lax social and ethical norms concerning both property rights and online behavior. In this study we present the results of a vignette experiment, i.e. a scenario survey where responders are asked to provide an ethical judgment on different forms of unauthorized acquisition of a full season of a popular TV series described in a number of hypothetical stories. The survey is conducted both on a student sample and on a sample of individuals who openly endorse protection of intellectual property rights for cultural goods. In this way we can investigate the possibly limited external validity of studies relying solely on the student samples. The vignette experiment concerned ethical evaluation of unauthorized acquisition of cultural content in both virtual and real context and was focused on six dimensions previously identified as relevant to the ethical judgment. Surprisingly, we found that the rules for the ethical judgment do not differ between our samples, suggesting that the social norms on “online piracy” follow similar patterns in student and in other populations. Findings from studies relying on ethical or moral judgments of students may thus be valid in a much broader population. 

With a nod to Kevin Lewis for finding these...

She Shot Him....

...but they still live together.

I think he should move out.  Still, she has a point:  It would have been much easier than a divorce.  Sort of a one-shot solution.