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>> We aren't big into visual art, but one of the guys we dig on heavily is Takashi Murakami, whose solo show we saw at Boston's MFA in 2001. The New York Times refers to him as "Japan's answer to Andy Warhol," which we can sort of understand, with some reservations (including precisely which culture pioneered factory-type art production, which culture's art first dealt in repetition of images, but we digress...). We expect not many American mainstream music fans knew of Mr. Murakami before today. But that number will grow exponentially with the release of the next Kanye West album, apparently, as Murakami created its distinctive sleeve design. You can have a look at it over here at The Gum In Stereo. For a look at more of Murakami's work, hit this link; Wired printed a very good feature about him several years ago that is still online here. We're heavy into the Mr. D.O.B (and particularly the amazingly titled print series he is featured in, "And Then, And Then And Then And Then And Then."), and we're heavy into Murakami's theory of the "Superflat," which is sort of amazing since we have zero familiarity with manga (don't really know where to begin; studied pre-modern woodblock prints in undergrad). But that's probably enough art talk for one day. Needless to say, the crass commercialism of Kanye West's music is nicely complemented by Murakami's ideas of art as commodity.
>> We don't know if we've actually reported the release date for the forthcoming Meneguar record Strangers In Our House. A recent posting at the band's web site says the set will be on shelves in early October, which we suppose means either Oct. 2 or Oct. 9. And which we suppose means the record will arrive just in time to be ignored on all the critics' year-end lists. No matter. A message at Troubleman Unlimited's site posted last week says that Strangers In Our House is going to be its next project after a short summer hiatus. We can't wait to hear it.