Saturday, July 6, 2013

I think Lois Lane is a camera w####

OK, so I'm not sure what all the contempt is about regarding Man of Steel. It's not that bad. Certainly better than ~55% on Rotten Tomatoes. Maybe the contempt is regarding Lois Lane. I am certainly contemptuous of her, and I think Amy Adams is pretty good (though I didn't like her or her self-centered character in Julie and Julia, but that's another blog post).

 If (when) you watch Man of Steel, try to focus on how much Amy Adams is actually in the film. She is in almost every scene past the back-story development. Military finds strange object in ice (maybe a spaceship), so of course Lois Lane is arriving there and is able to hop into the shape-ship. Lois Lane dropped off on a random ice patch in the arctic, and wakes up to a helicopter picking her up. Lois Lane figures out who Superman is. Lois Lane mentioned on TV knowing who Superman is. Lois Lane brought to army headquarters. Lois Lane only person allowed to interview Superman. Lois Lane invited to spaceship of General Zod. Lois Lane crashes to earth but saved by Superman (Fall #1). Superman flies from China or Australia - or whatever place is on the other side of the planet - in a minute or so, and saves Lois Lane when crashing to earth (Fall #2). Superman flies all over city crashing into building after building after building from one end of the huge city to the other, and finally lands on the ground, Lois Lane happens to be just outside.

If this is some contract thing established by Amy Adams, both she and Hollywood really suck, and I like her and her Julie character even less. I wouldn't want to meet her either.

Continuum Drinking Game

OK, we all know that Continuum kinda sucks, but it's not bad from time to time. I especially like it with a drink in hand.

If you ever decide to watch it, here's a simple drinking game to improve the TV experience: 

Kiera gets teary-eyed = Drink

 I promise you'll be smashed by the end of each episode.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Island Records

Okay.  Everybody knows that the "what album would you take with you to a deserted island" question is stupid.

So here's the game.  Name one album from each year that you would take with you to your deserted island.  This isn't "best album of each year"...this is "what album from each year would you listen to for the rest of your life".  I think that is more honest.

As well, no honourable mentions.  No runners up.  One album.  You'll be amazed at some of the battles.  In some of these cases, I don't even think these are the bands best albums, but this is the way things shook out.  As well, I was really surprised by the strong years.  2011. 2008. 2007. 2004. 1996.  Do these years say something about me?  Does it have something to do with where I was at in life?  Hopefully I didn't get any of these years wrong.

2013 - Deerhunter - Monomania - Nothing will touch this album this year.
2012 - Frank Ocean - Channel Orange - Another easy one.
2011 - Wu Lyf - Go Tell Fire to the Mountain - I'm going to miss these guys. Great year though.  Lots of runners up.
2010 - Beach House - Teen Dream
2009 - Sunset Rubdown - Dragon Slayer.  This seems really wrong somehow.  But there it is.
2008 - Fucked Up - The Chemistry of Common Life.  Man, this was a hard year.  Lots of great albums...nothing that really set itself apart.
2007 - Dan Deacon - Spiderman of the Rings. Another great year that made the decision tough.
2006 - The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine
2005 - Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary
2004 - Fiery Furnaces - Blueberry Boat.  This was a battle to choose this one.  Lots of great albums.
2003 -  Broken Social Scene - You Forgot it in People.  I actually thought 2003 would hold up as a better year than this.
2002 - ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Source Tags and Codes
2001 - Fugazi - The Argument
2000 - Swingin' Utters - Swingin' Utters
1999 - Superchunk - Come Pick Me Up
1998 - Rancid - Life Won't Wait. This was a tough call.  I chose this album because it was a bit atypical, a bit under-appreciated, yet representative of the era.
1997 - Supersuckers - Must've Been High.  I so badly want to name a runner up here.  This oh so narrowly wins.
1996 - Belle and Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister.  Tough year.  So many albums.
1995 - Fugazi - Red Medicine
1994 - Beatnuts - Street Level
1993 - Wu-Tang - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). This was a narrow win.
1992 - This is the worst year for fucking music.  Easy.  Anything that I write in here will be a revisionist lie.  So I'll go with the most under-rated album from this year.  Faith No More - Angel Dust.  Haven't listened in a few years, but it's full of surprises.
1991 - Nirvana - Nevermind.  There were some other albums here...but honestly?
1990 - Jane's Addiction - Ritual De Lo Habitual.  I cannot listen to "Been Caught Stealing" any more, but the rest of this album is amazing.
1989 - Pixies - Doolittle
1988 - Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation.  Just because of "Teenage Riot".  It took me a few years to discover this album.

My back catalog gets a bit thin at this point, so I'm going to end it here.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mac Demarco

We somehow found ourselves with free tickets to Phoenix last week.  It was kind of one of those "Free tickets.  Sure.  Why not?" kind of things.  Here's a tip.  Two tips.  Tip 1 - If you have absolutely no interest in seeing a popular band, don't go.  Even if the tickets are free.  Tip 2 (and totally unrelated) - If you've never heard a band but know of them and they sound vaguely interesting, go.

Shortly before the start of the show, we figured out that Mac Demarco was opening and got really excited. I generally have a rule (and an addendum to Tip 1) - never go to a show just to see the opening band.  You'll probably be disappointed.  But seeing as we were already going to see a band we didn't really care about, it seemed like a really great bonus to have an opener that had put out such a great album and that wasn't Phoenix.

We stumbled in to the Queen E a few songs in to Mac Demarco's set.  It all seemed a bit surreal.  This huge theater.  Rows of empty seats.  25 people standing up by the stage.  And Mac Demarco.

As a guy that tries to see the humour in everything and that has probably never been accused of taking something too seriously, it blows my mind that I'm going to say what I'm going to say.  But Mac Demarco needs to stop dickin' around and take his music a bit more seriously.

The set skittered about from faster and heavier versions of songs we knew, to instrumental jazz covers, to...shit...I can't even remember half of what was done.  And then at one moment he starts really fucking singing...and all you can think is "Where did that come from and why isn't there more of that?"

Honestly, if this guy would take his music/existence the tiniest bit seriously, I can imagine great things.  I just don't get it.

Monday, January 28, 2013

2012 Best Of

Okay.  Evan is right.  There is absolutely nothing learned from publishing a "best of" list.  But as the weeks drift by, I'm feeling really bad about not putting something together.

To start things off, how much does the new iTunes suck?  Man.  This thing is impossible to use.

Next, stuff that kind of sucked (or at least disappointed).

Grizzly Bear - Shields
As I said to Evan a few months ago.  " Listen to Southern Point. And then Speak in Rounds. And tell me those aren't the same fucking song."  I'm just not really interested in these guys.

The XX - Coexist
We saw these guys at Zulu records just after the last record came out.  It was like it was their first show ever (I almost spelled that "furst") and they profusely thanked every single person that clapped.  Like we were actually doing something special.  Anyhow.  That has nothing to do with this album.  I just wanted to mention it.  This album is booooooring.

And I'll finish this part off with the list of stuff that was just disappointing.  AC Newman.  Beach House.  Animal Collective.  Islands.  M. Ward.  You're just not holding my attention, people.

Stuff that didn't suck.

Dan Deacon - America
I love Dan Deacon.

Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory
Even on their truly great songs (Wasted Days, Stay Useless, No Future/No Past) they seem to jam something in that doesn't make sense.  But, still, a great album.  Not liked by any female that I know.  Granted, I don't know very many.

The Walkmen - Heaven
Hey hey.  They play here tonight!  Not their finest album but always worth a mention.

Ty Segall - The Bag I'm In
Man.  What a great song.  Thanks for pushing this on me Evan.

Mac Demarco - 2
Okay.  The fact that this guy has all the basic trappings of...shit...what's that surfer dude's name that all the girls like?  Ah, yes.  Jack Johnson.  Despite the fact that this guy has all of the trappings of Jack Johnson (mellow sort of surfy vibe, similar voice), he doesn't suck.  This album is amazing and it makes me wonder why Jack Johnson is so terrible in comparison.

Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
I think the Hallmark of a truly great artist is that they bring in people that otherwise wouldn't listen to their type of music.  I would argue that Frank Ocean isn't really "R&B", even though there are elements, for sure.  But I honestly can't even take anybody's "best of" list seriously if this album isn't number one.

There it is.  My crappiest list ever.  But a list nonetheless.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Revisiting: Green

OK, not so much revisiting as a recent discovery. I can't stop playing this album. Little hard to track down: email me if you want a share copy.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Revisiting: OK Computer

I'm late getting to this post, but I've been rolling it around in my head for a while. Reason: I am deeply confused by this pitchfork reader's poll, which named Radiohead's OK Computer the most significant album of the last fifteen years.
I know. Reader's polls. Pitchfork. Each one is an easy reason to dismiss the list. Combine them, and it's kind of pointless to even waste a minute worrying about it. What we have here is basically a guide to the formation of hipster taste, as imagined by hipsters.

I don't want to beat up on hipsters too badly. I'm probably one of them. But if you're canonizing OK Computer, you're ripping it out of its context. That's what canonization does; hipsters could look at their parents and learn how this works. Elvis, the Stones, the Beatles: when you pull them out of history, you lose the depth of field you need to assess what their music was doing in the culture around it, other than frothy inaccuracies like “it changed EVERYTHING” or “it just sounded like NOTHING ELSE,” etc etc.

What OK Computer did to the culture around it—and I remember it being celebrated right away as something like the future of rock music—is make electronic music safe for the mainstream again. Remember The Prodigy? They were the other big breakout band of 1997, the year of OK Computer. They did a sort of comic book version of the punk-electronica clash that bands like Refused and Atari Teenage Riot made the moment's sound of choice for some critics. (Pitchfork wasn't around yet to lobby for a certain tasteful blandness. You could still be tacky and overbearing and get listened to.)

Refused and ATR were radical leftists. The Prodigy had no politics, though you could probably argue that they embodied a warped mirror image everything social conservatives feared in 90s rave culture: they were loud, extravagantly dressed, probably fucked up on pills, threatening, multiracial. Pure difference, in a way that tries too hard.

They were also, it seemed at the time, the future of rock and electronic music. "Breathe" was on modern rock radio. The future was in the air: Refused called their album The Shape of Punk to Come, ATR was releasing The Future of War, politics claimed to have found a Third Way that cured capitalism's excesses, and so radical politics resorted to a dour millenarianism. The Prodigy also wanted to embody that future. This was not a reassuring idea. Their imaginary world was half Billy Idol and half nightmare frat party. “Smack my bitch up?” Shut the fuck up. These guys were like the Gilbert Gottfried of pop music: calculatedly annoying, and pushing taste into a place where they were easy to dismiss.

So Radiohead basically saved rock from this bullshit. It's not necessarily a bad thing. But to call OK Computer the most significant album of the last twenty years is to basically say that we'd rather have music that doesn't want to challenge middle class taste. The Prodigy were terrible, but the bands whose shoulders they stood on weren't. Radiohead pushed them all off the critics' desks, and made it so that criticism doesn't have to talk about art and politics in the same sentence, ever. Say what you want about Thom Yorke's politics, which I'm fine with, but the music isn't trying that hard to upset anyone. And neither is Pitchfork, and neither, it seems, are their readers--just look at how introspective and tortured the rest of that top ten is on their list.