Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Albums of 2008.

It's been a trying day. I was able to narrowly escape an editorial cleansing. Lots of nail biting, smoking cigarettes, and overall turmoil. I survived, however, and will live another day in the dying industry of print publication. All that being said, I'd be remiss not to highlight the albums of the year. I'll undoubtedly leave some out by accident, but here they are in no particular order.

1. TV on the Radio - Dear Science - May be my vote for album of the year (yes, I agree with Spin). For once they didn't blow their load in the first half of the album. Funk elements, undeniable swagger, enough catchiness to asphyxiate a young child. Perfect.

2. Fleet Foxes - S/T - Justin and I bought this together the same day at Shake-It because we're lovers. Melodies that'll melt your damn heart. They pull that shit off live too. A slice of pop heaven.

3. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges - I'm getting the big boys out of the way first. Not my favorite album of theirs by any means. They tightened the songs up, which I think is kind of sad, but Jim James knows how to deliver a dizzying, hypnotic delight.

4. Los Campesinos - Hold on Now, Youngster & We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed - These upstart Welsh boys and girls released two albums this year. Sprawling pop songs with catchy fucking hooks all backed by spiteful lyrics. Both albums are great.

5. Beach House - Devotion - I don't care if this duo is mind numbingly boring live. This album pours fruity, Skittle-like dream pop everywhere and I'll eat it all up...every single time.

6. Titus Andronicus - The Airing of Grievances - Angst through and through, but done with a slight, condescending smirk. Distorted, cracked vocals hanging over dirtiness. Just really, really good.

7. Racebannon - Racebannon IV: Acid or Blood - My vote for best album cover of the year. Look it up. Less insane than previous Racebannon albums, but still fucking nuts. A little bit more order to the chaos making it feel more plotted and demonic, if that makes any sense.

8. Spiritualized - Songs in A&E - I actually haven't listened to this as much as I should. However, I want Jason Pierce to be my older, strung out brother who comes to family gatherings, never takes his sunglasses off, and appears to have a tick in every conceivable part of his body. Yeah, that's what I want.

9. Plants & Animals - Parc Avenue - Did this album get its just due? A little wacky, a little Queen-ish, but damn catchy. I could listen to the song "Feedback in the Field" and whistle that damn melody until I went nuts.

10. Night Marchers - See You in Magic - John Reis makes magic every time. No Drive Like Jehu or Hot Snakes, but still...I just really like John Reis and that's why this album's in here.

11. Fucked Up - The Chemistry of Common Life - I recently saw these guys live and the rather large singer (Damian Abraham) stripped down to his boxers, did the "mangina," and then broke up a fistfight between a bouncer and some 17 year old kid. That's how shows should be. Future of hardcore? Maybe not, but they sure have something figured out.

12. Blitzen Trapper - Furr - I called it when Wild Mountain Nation came out. Didn't I? They recently did a show I went to at Schubas and sold it out. Next stop, Empty Bottle a few months away. Their next album will be a big deal. This one's the big buzz maker.

13. Arms Exploding - Ruminari - My friends are in this band, and I like this album a lot. Not just because they're in the band either. I swear. I happen to know the people in the band, and they happen to be my friends.

14. Howlin' Rain - Magnificent Friend - Psychedelic, classic rock with all the trimmings. Perfect for a sunny day sitting on the porch with some beers and a couple of your loser friends.

There's more, but this seems like a good place to stop. Plus, I can't really think of anymore off the top of my head, and I don't feel like sifting through my CDs, records, and Itunes.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Retarded.

I love that as you get older, Christmastime begins to lose its luster and allure you often associated the holiday with as a kid. For instance, I have no fucking clue what I want for Christmas. I feel like I should have several grandiose presents mapped out in my head, but all I can think of are practical gifts. I just don't care that much. It becomes more about the stress of what you're going to get others instead of stressing out about what you're going to get. I don't know which one's better or worse. When asked, I told my mom I wanted a paper shredder...a paper shredder. This is what popped in my head. I also need new shoes. Not to be fashion conscious or anything. Simply because my current shoes are falling apart. Why can't I be more creative with what I ask for? Do I not have it in me anymore?

I can possibly attribute this transformation to my childhood when I asked for a Power Wheel every year of my life until I was probably around 15, and I never got one. This obviously has scarred me terribly, and I've never recovered. Being disappointed year in and year out had such a negative effect on my psyche that I'm surprised I ever learned how to tie my own shoes. My older brother (he's 31) is getting a Wii for Christmas this year. That seems like fun, but I can't ever imagine having one. I can, however, imagine getting a paper shredder.

I'm not gonna lie, Christmas has just kind of become a headache. I'm not good at getting presents for people either...just not creative enough. I've come to grips with that. So, that doesn't bring me great joy because I always feel like the recipient is just a little bummed out that he or she got another gift certificate to Best Buy, Target, etc. My uncle, whom I haven't seen in like four years, gets me a gift certificate to Best Buy. See, now that makes sense. I wish I could go to a self-help seminar solely dedicated to teaching the gift-giving-disabled how to properly purchase a creative, heartfelt present and deliver it to its intended recipient.

I can't even imagine what it would be like if I had a family consisting of more than five people. That'd be fucking tough. The mental energy I'd have to spend trying to think up presents would probably result in a painfully crippled mind that wouldn't fully recover until after least.

All that being said, I am kind of looking forward to the paper shredder. I'm a dork.