2015 is doing just fine so far. What a can-do year! We've got two (maybe 3??? Embrace the mystery!) of the original four horsemen engaged, as well as my brother Tim. What a banner year for the young ladies of America. Lucky lasses!
Here are a bunch of tangents that would probably make an interesting curve of maths
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt is so goddamn lovable. Titus is the greatest new character TV has seen is a few years. There are definitely still some growing pains, and less finesse than 30 Rock by a mile, but it is worth it for the glory of Titus.
Steph and I are catching up on The Americans (recommended, not required (yet)), so I haven't caught Better Call Saul but will after the semester ends.
Saying goodbye to Parks &Rec was sad, but it was time. Community is still fresh and forging boldly ahead, so climb back aboard and you won't be disappointed, I guarantee it.
Kroll Show was a brilliant universe and Broad City just keeps getting better. Seriously wtf happened to Comedy Central?
Last Man on Earth has some definite promise, but is more interesting for the fully-realized world of lost humanity than the humor.
Sufjan released an incredibly heartfelt new album, Carrie & Lowell. I admit preference for Seven Swans Sufjan Stevens, so take it with a grain, but this album is just an amazing step into the soul of a man wrestling with grief, and it captures something rare and communicates it so truly: fresh grief often feels most like a tender hollowness, like you've realized you were a paper-thin vessel all along and you can't bear anything more to be taken out of this beautiful world. He confers this with his usual ineffable grace, and the results feel like a journey you're happy to share, like you're accompanying your friend to releases ashes from the Bridge of the Gods on a perfect June day.
We've also got nice new releases from the Decemberists, Belle & Sebastian, Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie. I love how fresh and assured all four sounded. Perhaps none had outstanding songs you'll treasure forever, but all were akin to visiting old friends and finding them just as warm and true as ever. Oh and Jamie xx's new album will rule all.
The Mountain Goats- Beat the Champ has moments of the truly great speed-freak story-telling of Darnielle and he's delving into a subject that he loves deeply. But there are also detours into jazz and atonal and borderline easy-listening piano composition that seem meant to lend complexity to the inner lives of his wrestlers, but only detracts and robs them of their true weight. He's gone to the well too often with his slow, soft delivery and it just doesn't produce the same results he achieves with velocity. The richness of the lives of blue-collar pro wrestlers doesn't need an Instagram filter. Its pretty and gritty and dire on its own, and he knows it better than most. Give us the turnbuckles dive, give us the drama and trust we'll find the subtext ourselves.
Decemberists- Growing pains have subsided and we get this- a wonderfully mature album, full of the wistfulness they've always done so well but minus the distracting McSweeney's narratives. Instrumentation back from the groggy detour to resemble the subtle brilliance of his Tarkio work. Which, in case you've forgotten, is a very good thing.
Belle & Sebastian: Fun stuff; like the Decemberists', in that nothing is quite as theatrical or memorable as the past, but lovely to hear fresh new work from them, especially with such pulse.
Mark Ronson: very fun album with lyrics by The Michael Chabon. Don't get turned off by the early Msytikal-tries-to-be-James-Brown fail, the rest of it is goofy-uplifting disco-funk stuff with vintage Stevie Wonder harmonica to give it an oddly reassuring historic heft. Uptown Funk is the favorite single of the year so far.
Sleater-Kinney: gosh, I wish I liked it more. Seeing them in April, hopefully it translates better.
Haven't had the opportunity to see many movies yet (continuing education is a bitch) but I can report that Jupiter Ascending was actually great fun, and a truly disturbing allegory for our time of debt-harvesting corporations farming humanity for life-force. Wheeeee!
I'll check in again soon but let me know what I'm missing!
Kyle Kinane's new standup album is great and up on Spotify now