The Strokes: Textbook Rock Band Implosion

The Strokes exploded on the scene with This Is It (2001), one of the shining examples of the garage rock resurgence. The band, full of charismatic personalities, did not handle success well and soon fell prey to the stereotypical band killers (ego, drugs). Their follow-ups, derided as both too similar and too divergent, did not do nearly as well commercially and the band was left chasing what it had thrown away. Vulture provides a beautifully illustrated, and brutally honest, retrospective of a band that could have been.

The Last Moment of the Last Great Rock Band, 5.15.17

The National’s “Boxer” (2007)

The National took the long view and it has paid off for them. Incubating in the same Brooklyn scene as The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Interpol, the band watched all three explode to international popularity while they nurtured a more modest fan base with a decidedly less intense sound. With their third studio album, Alligator (2005), something started to click. On endless tours their audiences started to grow organically and expectations grew for the their next album. Boxer would have a difficult birth, however, as the band exited the record studio after months of effort with a half-finished album. Their diligent work and experimentation would pay off, though, as the album would catapult the band to newfound fame.

Everything counts a little more than we think: An oral history of The National’s Boxer, 9.7.17

Raw Comedy: “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

On the eve of Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s return The Hollywood Reporter provides some choice excerpts of an oral history podcast about the show. The unique sitcom’s unabashedly honest approach makes for an interesting dynamic amongst the cast. Shrinking violets need not apply. The quotes chosen for the piece are almost universally funny and are absolutely worth your time.

‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ The Early Years: Crazy Auditions and the Art of the Cringe, 9.8.17

Lumascape: Making Order Out of Chaos

Terence Kawaja introduced Lumascape, a one-page graphical representation of the online advertising industry, in 2010. At that time things were nutso. Google’s AdWords was taking over the world, and the industry was growing, evolving, and consolidating all at the same time. His industry landscape became a sensation in that it helped provide definition to the players and their roles. Plus, he used their logos, which made everyone happy. Digiday takes a look back at one of the most famous PowerPoint slides of all time.

‘I just wanted to organize this mess’: An oral history of the Lumascape, 9.12.17

NASA’s Golden Boy: Cassini Readies for the Plunge

On the eve of Cassini’s plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere the Los Angeles Times gathers the spacecraft’s human progenitors and stewards for a look back at one of the most successful missions in history. It was a mission that survived two budget crises (although it lost project scope and functionality each time) as well as environmental protests concerning the safety of its plutonium fuel, but once it left Earth the spacecraft has seen smooth sailing. Its mission has been extended twice as it has found ocean worlds and moons suitable for life, all while extending our knowledge of the iconic ringed gas giant by orders of magnitude. The nicely illustrated piece is a worthy look back.

‘OK. Let’s do it!’ An oral history of how NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn came to be, 9.12.17