Monday, December 23, 2013

Zers

Merry Christmas from Japan!  Don't know if you've seen this or not, it's Bill Simmons so it's a little corny.  But I think it sums up how devastating it can be to be a Blazer fan pretty well.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Five Favorite Podcasts of 2013

Between commuting and dog-walking, I have a couple hours to day to kill.  These keep me laughing and enjoying my time.

Honorable Mention: WTF (musician interviews only)
His John Darnielle interview is absolutely required, Iggy Pop was fun as hell, and J Mascis was revelatory.  I've been harsh on Marc in the past but it definitely is not his fault that interviewing comedians is now the most boring activity a person can pursue. 

Runner-Up: Sklarbro Country
Not County fuck County.  I love these guys, but wish they'd keep it to under an hour.  Lack of editing leads to diminishing returns.

5. Mike and Tom Eat Snacks
I need this back so bad.

4. Comedy Bang Bang
I am definitely spoiled by the abundance of this.  I listen to it at double-time while commuting and it serves as a coffee substitute.

 3. The Bugle
My favorite news source.  Gives hope through the gloom like wartime radio dispatches.  Their riffing and expounding is like The Onion if their stories were as good as their headlines.

2.  Nerd Poker
Decidedly not for everyone.  But if the idea of comedians playing D&D appeals to you at all (for instance, Patton Oswalt drops by to sing a dwarven drinking song he wrote), you should give it a try.  Their dungeon master Sarc is a phenomenal storyteller, Posehn plays the phlegmatic MC, Gerry Duggan is a hysterically in-character paladin, and Blaine Capatch reveals himself to be the fastest wit I've ever heard.

1. Harmontown
So free format it isn't even funny, encouraging conversations that vacillate from scatological to divine and back.  Jeff and Dan are the ultimate odd couple, Spencer the precocious DM is the foil, and the rotating cast of guest comedians and live show regulars make it a real community.  Also, I met these folks and you can hear me yell out the correct final year of Prohibition at the Portland show.  Nerd among nerds.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Rick and Morty First 3 Eps

The Adult Swim show Dan Harmon was working on when he was supposed to be making new shows for FOX and CBS.  Rarely has displacement activity been so rewarding. 






Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Top Ten Albums of 2013

Honorable Mention: Chance the Rapper- Acid Rain
A pressure cooker like Chicago and its looming summer can't do anything else *but* produce a prodigious mixtape from a kid desperate to keep everyone calm and alive until the mercury drops. Stakes don't get higher, responses don't get craftier or more empathetic.

Runner-Up: Malkovich- Great Expectations
Redemption-Sunday soundtrack.  An IV of Clarity into your veins: inspired lyricism and the freshest boom bap. You will get your shit done with a smile on your face.

10. Daft Punk- Random Access Memories
The coolest kids in class were also pulling the long con.  Of course they were.

10. Forest Swords- Engravings
Crazy inventive without ever sounding forced.  Run if you would like Burial to make a soundtrack for playing capture the flag in the forest with all your friends and some stoners you just met.


9. Tim Hecker- Virgins
What if an entire cathedral rested on your shoulders yet didn't crush you?  The choirs would reverberate through your skull.

8. Steve Hauschildt- S/H
My Emeralds bros carry me.

7. Lady Gaga- ARTPOP 
Leeegit her duet with Kermie crushed me.  Better falsetto than Neil Young. (sidebar Jim Henson was a bigger loss than JFK, agree?)

6. Burial- Rival Dealer
If you have to ask, you're streets behind.

5. Thundercat- Apocalypse
Holy wooly shit are there some great pop songs on here.  And some freaky future-jazz to keep up appearances.

4. Califone- Stitches
Have ya met Ted? (Ted is Ben)

3. Kanye West- Yeezus
He doesn't make it easy.  He wants to believe we're better than that.


2.Friendzone- DX
Not so much music as an alternate state of existence:  dazed happiness and clear blue light under your feet.

1. CHVRCHES- The Bones of What You Believe
Cranberries+New Order=done deal







Thursday, November 21, 2013

Top Ten Celebrities I've Met

Graded in order of some alchemical combo of niceness and coolness and indulgence for an overexcited kid nerding out. 

10. John Darnielle

9. Randy Skylar

8. James Mercer

7. Jason Skylar

6. Janet Weiss

5. Judah Friedlander

4. Isaac Brock

3. Mike Birbiglia

2. Sam Beam

1. Dan Harmon

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

All Night

You guys are usually lightyears ahead of me in discovering new music, so you're probably over and done with this, but JUST IN CASE, I've been pretty obsessed with this for the past few days. I want a dance party.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

How to start a white-person fight....

Which was a bigger disappointment, and why: Arrested Development season 4 or Mad Men season 6?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Yeezus

Been struggling with this album, Ye's rapping is falling off further, though it isn't much worse than his effort on Watch the Throne, or *shudder* Cruel Summer.  I'm really glad A) that he left "luxury rap" behind and B) he isn't relying on guest rappers to carry his songs, but his writing and chops aren't there. (it sounds like he'd be out of breath climbing a flight of stairs.)

It is awesome that he is confident enough to only use a couple Chicago kids; it would be better is he just upped his game enough to rap on the same track with Pusha T without it being embarrassing.  Cuz Pusha could have killed several of these productions.   White indie critics are focusing on the beats being alienating because they swim in a lukewarm soup of bedroom "pop," that isn't the problem with the album.  There just aren't enough Eureka! moments for it to be a top-tier Kanye album.  Although it does get bonus points for excluding Big Sean.

He continues to get awesome work out of Frank Ocean, Bon Iver, Charlie Wilson and Kid Cudi (even Chief fucking Keef is pretty good) and they save the day for me.  6 out of the 10 I legit enjoy, though nothing up there with his best stuff.  Breakdown (with track number) in descending order from most to least.  Except "I'm In It."  I hate that the most.  Out of everything.  Worst.
Dig It
#4 New Slaves 
 Frank Ocean's improvisational coda over this weird old European prog number is the song of the year:
#10 Bound 2 
#7 Blood on the Leaves (needs to cut off the third and fourth verses. Hov-worship was boring 4 albums ago)
#2 Black Skinhead 
#8 Guilt Trip
#5 Hold My Liquor

Alright With It 
#3 I Am a God
#1 On Sight

HATE IT
#9 Send it Up
#6 I'm In It

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Aisling Jane Puett


Born June 11, 2013 at 11:10pm, weighing 6lbs 9.2ozs. She was several weeks pre-term, but is doing well now. We should all be able to go home in a few days.

Friday, June 07, 2013

So you're out one day for a hike, when suddenly...

I know we've all had this conversation about how, even for those of us who aren't scared of clowns per se, you put a clown in the right context (say, on the side of the road at nighttime), they become unbelievably terrifying. And so, also, there's this. Click on the picture for the whole rotten (actually, pretty benign) story.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Favorite new show...

...is a cartoon on the Disney Channel.  I should be ashamed.  But it is too legit to apologize for.



I had been without a Saturday morning cartoon for way too long, and this set-in-Oregon gem is just my jam. Equal parts Duck Tales and Recess, add a dash of Twin Peaks, garnish liberally with the most beautiful background animation since...ever?  The way it depicts the NW is salve for an exile.

Seriously:  record a batch for this weekend, don't bother getting out of your PJs, pour yourself some Apple Jacks and enjoy.

Bonus!  

Top Five Shows, According to the Steepness of its NoseDive

5. The Good Wife- Uncompelling storylines, and an ongoing Kalinda B-story ain't helping.
4. Archer- It has been coasting for-ev-er.  Sadly piling up on our DVR.
3. Boardwalk Empire- Season 3 was a bore, no way around it.
2. The Office-Truly struggling to stay with it til the end.
1. Downton Abbey- Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Ian's Internal Monologue, Sunday Morning Edition

1st Quarterly Good Better Best [2013 Singles]

Disappointment: Darius Rucker "Wagon Wheel"- I like Rucker and I'm real glad the OCMS boys got a paycheck, but he hams it up a little much trying to make it his own.

Good Like a beautifully naive answer to "Heartbeats" 

Better Tie goes to the one with the more pronounced Scottish accent: 

Best One time a Cootie Catcher (edit: actually, on further reflection is was M*A*S*H, which is predicts four major tentpoles in life based on a whirlygig you draw) in Chicago's Midway Airport prophesized my perfect future, except I had to get married in a pink leather tux.  Glad none of that stuff came true, except this song, which is the ideal pop anthem for that mystical device and the girls who run them, so mischievously.  God bless 'em and the mystery with which they imbue our lives.



Bonus, Honus! "I Love It" Icona Pop (ft. Charli XCX) fun pop throwaway.  Told ya so on Charli

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

1st Quarterly Good Better Best [2013 Albums]

Disappointment:  My Bloody Valentine- m b v 
This feels like a practical joke.  Kevin Shields released ten B-sides for the express purpose of A. money and B. joy at watching posers pose.

Good:  Blue Hawaii-Untogether 
Now this is my kind of modern art pop.  Accessible but inventive.  Mixing Bjork, Cocteau Twins and The Knife with some Bay Area, hyphy-lite beats and a warm, mammalian core.  Music to wait out March with.

Better: The Men-New Moon   
The Replacements+Meat Puppets? (I came at this equation independent of The A.V. Club.  Damn my non-prompt posting habits!) Sometimes very noisy Americana finds a new angle on traditional Townes Van Zandt-esque Western themes.  Sounds so fresh it just might make country cool again, like Uncle Tupelo in '93.

Best: Yo La Tengo- Fade    
The Velvet Underground, watching a kid's soccer game after a great brunch and some QC with the spouse.  YLT carries on with such clear-eyed, full-hearted adult sense of purpose.  Reinvigorating; the perfect pick-me-up after a long day.  If their white noise turned you off previously, this one's for you.  Their Loaded.

Bonus, Honus!

16:55 of northwest hermitcore* at its finest.  




*expository essay forthcoming; I hereby copyright this term

Monday, February 25, 2013

Favorite Songs of 2012


POP

10. G.O.O.D Music "New God Flow" {almost perfect, but for a goddamn lazy uncle joke, Ye}
9. Ellie Goulding "Lights"
8. Ke$ha "Die Young"
7. PSY "Gangham Style"
6. Taylor Swift "I Knew You Were Trouble"
5. Future "Turn Out the Lights"
4. 2 Chainz feat. Drake "No Lie"
3. Carrie Underwood "Blown Away"
2. Nicki Minaj "Va Va Voom"
1. Carly Rae Jepsen "Call Me Maybe"

UNPOP
10.  Chromatics "Kill For Love"
9. Grimes "Genesis"
8. Cloud Nothings "Stay Useless
7. Magnetic Fields "Andrew in Drag"
6. Grimes "Oblivion"
5. Spiritualized "Hey Jane"
4. Dinosaur Jr. "Watch the Corners"
3. Chromatics "Into the Black"
2. Clams Casino "Palace"
1. Friendzone "Little Red Corvette" {CMG Fantasy covers Podcast}


~~~~~~~~~~~BONUS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Songs I Would Pay a Monthly Tithing Never to Have to Hear Again

~Ultimate example is All-Star by Smashmouth.  That song is a curse on humanity from the dying breath of a gypsy queen~

10. "We Are Young"- fun.

I'm happy Janaelle Monae hopped on (though under-used) and I'm real glad the Glee kids had a fresh one to sing, but if this song gets stuck in my head again, I will start plotting vengeance.

9. "Bandz Make Her Dance-"Juicy J (unescapable this summer)
8. "Stronger"- Kelly Clarkson

7. "We Are Never, etc."- Taylor Swift (AVRIL thinks this song is trite)
6. "Whistle"- Flo-Rida (Pat likes this song)

5. "Girl on Fire"- Alicia Keys (Written for a Chase card)
4. "Diamonds"-Rihanna
3 "Some Nights"- fun. (no hate, just so0o goddamn earworm-y)
2. "Somebody That I Used to Know"- Gotye (straight up hate)

1. "Truck Yeah"- Tim McGraw(?)

I don't really want to know.  He's the only guy in country smart enough to cover Ryan Adams and he's making Trucktober commercials and putting them out as singles?  How can you Houdini out of that kind of self-loathing?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Favorite Comedies of 2012

Saw nowhere near enough relevant movies this year, so just put together a list of the 'comedies' in the Greek sense of the word, because that's what I am gravitating towards these days.


Huge Disappointment: The Five-Year Engagement

Jiminy Cricket a script by Jason Segel as opportunistic as it is thin and lazy.  Shows some sparks early and goes to an interesting place with manchildren Brian Posehn and Chris Parnell, mocking/celebrating modern DIY faux-outdoorsyness before deciding to leave them as pancake-flat caricatures.  Absolutely arbitrary shit keeps the plot slugging along and then the film wraps up with a set-piece that looks more like a kooky music video/Kia advertisment with apropos indie soundtrack. Allison Brie is saddled with the worst British accent since..........my wife's?  And at least she uses hers to ruin Emma Watson.

Honorable Mention:  Friends With Kids 

Runner-Up:  Bachelorette  - Was this script was sitting in someone's bottom desk drawer for five years before Bridesmaids hit the jackpot, OR did it get typed up immediately after?  Kristen Dunst and Lizzy Caplan almost salvage the effort with their admirable commitment to irredeemable, sociopathic behavior.

10. Cabin in the Woods

Between this and The Avengers, Joss Whedon is an MVP for bringing a little levity back to our BATTLESHIP (no italics for you!) age.


9. Pitch Perfect
Fat Amy.

8.  Bernie
Jack Black is an island unto himself and the townspeople tell their story with as much down-home charm and oddness as possible.  Linklater makes an unpredictable, oddly comforting film about a good man driven to murder, a parable perhaps about the way a hateful, black hole of a person can drag down even the best along with her.  Redemption is impossible for some, and impossible to lose for others.

7. To Rome With Love
I might like minor Allen better than major?

6. Wreck-it-Ralph
Vocal ensemble is perfect, the arcade environment crafted with love, not pandering a la Big Bang like I'd feared.

5. Safety Not Guaranteed
Heartfelt, adorable, NW shaggy-dog tale that sticks to your ribs with its willingness to be sincere and dare.

4. Save the Date
This micro-genre of twenty-something angst is perhaps the most justifiably maligned.  This is the rare, alchemical success that will spawn such drivel as Lola Verus (you either!)  Lord preserve us.  And Christ, someone get Martin Starr more work.

3. Sleepwalk with Me
I have a soft spot from the fact that I've met and conversed with the man, and he is just as earnest and likable as his work suggests.  His description of the early stages of love is so succinct, spot-on and funny that I could have watched a whole romantic comedy of him in that mode.  But he takes us down a darker, more pathetic road of floundering, compromising, half-assing it, that in our age is brave and honest and relatable.

2. Silver Linings Playbook
I am still easy to manipulate, if you play the beats right.

1. Moonrise Kingdom
Far and away the best.  Everything in its right place.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Friday, February 01, 2013

30 for 30 Rock

6th Edition

30. Spider-Man
29. Duck Tales
28. Archer
27. The Adventures of Pete and Pete
26. How I Met Your Mother

25. Justified
24. Star Trek: The Next Generation
23. Game of Thrones
22. X-Men
21. Better Off Ted

20. The Office
19. Boy Meets World
18. Party Down
17. The Wonder Years
16. The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show

15. The Ramblin' Rod Show
14. Freaks and Geeks
13. The West Wing
12. Batman: The Animated Series
11. Late Night With Conan O'Brien

10. Parks and Recreation
9. Arrested Development
8. Recess
7. Darkwing Duck
6. Ed

5. The Simpsons
4. Seinfeld
3. 30 Rock
2. Mad Men
1.  Community

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

BEST TV SHOWS OF 2012

Honorable Mention: Children's Hospital

Runner-up: Boardwalk Empire

10. The Good Wife

9. NTSF:SD:SUV::

8. Parks and Recreation

7. Veep

6. 30 Rock

5. Homeland

4. Justified

3. Game of Thrones

2. Mad Men

1. Community

This is actually very similar to my albums list, where 1 and 2 were just light-years ahead of the pack, but neck and neck with each other, at the pinnacle of the medium.  Mad Men will endure longer.  It will be parsed for decades to come.  But Community just makes me so goddamn happy.

ps (controversy!)

Girls- still not sure what I think, but I do know that it is more compelling and funnier than Louie, which is the critical golden calf.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Podcasts of 2012: 5 I Love and 5 I Hate

First with the stuff I can't stand.  The A.V. club raves about these five, and they were the first I ever downloaded and listened to.  Consequently, I thought I disliked podcasting as a medium.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Despised


5.: Best Show on WFMU-- If there was a condensed version that only included the characters of Newbridge and Todd Barry, I would be a huge fan. [EDIT: THIS NOW EXISTS!  BEST SHOW GEMS! Give it a try!} The callers bring the show to a screeching halt; it is like being in stop-and-go traffic.  I know this is a radio show first and foremost, and Tom Scharpling, who I respect, would dislike being lumped in, but this host-who-disdains-his-dumb-callers bit is soooo worn out and lazy.

4. WTF with Marc Maron -- He is a gifted interviewer when he focuses, but the narcissism and self-involvement is just mind-boggling.

3.  Never Not Funny -- Good golly does the Jimmy Pardo schtick get old.  He manages some humorous turns-of-phrase, but the best thing you can really say of the show's banter is that it moves quickly.  His sidekicks are also as dull as those in our penultimate exercise in self-aggrandizement....

2. I loathed The Nerdist for its schmoozy, boringly showbizzy, unimaginative lines of questioning and the host's proclivity for repeating his stories and injecting himself into every anecdote, but loathing turned into magma hate when Hardwick started calling Alison Brie.....Allie.  Allie Brie.  a lot.  Fuck you dude.  You are the Carson Daly of podcasting.

1. Doug Loves Movies -- I would rather listen to Dane Cook for two hours than Doug Benson for one.  Even his good guests can't mitigate his aggressively stupid sense of humor.  The Leonard Maltin game wasn't fun the first time you played it bro.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Beloved


5. The Bugle --Like the Daily Show let loose, without Stewart mugging for the camera and whipping out hackneyed impressions.  John and Andy bring a great deal of enthusiasm to each week's updates on the imploding of the human race.

4. Mike and Tom Eat Snacks -- Been a little more rare this year, a problem finally explained last month when it was revealed that the Hostess goons were after them because their rating of the Ding-Dong doomed the company to Chapter 11.  Now broadcasting as fugitives, Michael Ian Black and Tom Cavanuagh still got the goods.

3. Harmontown -- Dan Harmon {Creator of Community, personal hero} and comptroller Jeff Davis {Whose Line?} conduct this extremely free-form live podcast from the backroom of a comics shop.  This is the sort of thing that makes me wish I lived in LA.  Hilarious, thought-provoking, invigorating.  Also, they play Dungeons and Dragons with the greatest dungeon master of all time, Spencer.

2. Skylarbro Country/County -- Jason and Randy bring Usain Bolt speed to sports news and comedy, using twin-telepathy to play-by-play stories on the insanity of the modern athlete/criminal.  They get great real guests and bring out the best in them, and their impersonated guests are fantastic.  My favorites are Sam Elliott, Racist Vince Scully, and Jesse "The Body" Ventura.

1. Comedy Bang Bang --This is one of my new favorite things.  Paul F. Tompkins, Nick Kroll, James Adomian kill it with their alter egos, and Aukerman's absurdist ethos allows for an environment that seems like Abed's Imaginarium, a place where any scenario is possible and every story has a great punchline somewhere.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

TOP TEN FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2012

{EDIT: don't miss Moonface With Sinai: Hearthbreaking Bravery}

Listened to far more podcasts than music this year, so I don't have nearly the scope I normally try for.  10+ through 3 are all superior pieces of work that I'll likely return to several times a year.  1 and 2 are all-timers for me, and have already integrated themselves nicely into my psyche, making themselves comfortably at home.

Honorable Mention- Big K.R.I.T.:  4 Eva N a Day

Runner-Up- .L.W.H.: CIA TV

10.  Dustin Wong: Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadows Lead

9. Grimes: Visions

8. Emeralds: Just to Feel Anything

7. Mount Eerie: Ocean Roar/Clear Moon

6.  Pallbearer: Sorrow and Extinction

5.  Frank Ocean- Channel Orange

4.  Spiritualized- Sweet Heart, Sweet Light

3.  Baroness- Yellow & Green


It was a bit of a toss-up for the top spot, both were so clutch for me.  But tie goes to the runner, which has to be the up-and-coming Bay Area MVP producers of FRIENDZONE

2.  Dinosaur Jr.- I Bet on Sky

I would listen to this at 6 A.M. at work, and it put me in this beautiful autumn-afternoon-with-your-dog kind of headspace, a sort of submission to life, like a leaf floating downstream.  Some days J. carries me.

1.  FRIENDZONE- Collections 1

When anger and weariness threatened to engulf me, I turned to this FRIENDZONE release of their cloud-rap instrumental tracks.  Cokemachineglow described it as sounding like angels playing soccer and they are dead right.